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Is there a danger in supporting immoral actors and film companies?

I have two questions: In [a recent] article you indicate you subscribe to Netflix. We also used to but stopped because of Netflix support of gay agenda. Other video rentals have a very small selection, mostly for children. What's one to do? As more information is available, we find that several of the best actors and actresses of those Classics lived lives full of sin. I find it difficult to watch those films now. Same is true with current films. Isn't there danger in watching good films with actors and actresses I would not associate in daily life?

Miguel

From Chuck Colson:

These are good questions. Let’s start with what we know. As Christians, we are told that we must “hold to the good and flee every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). No one can dispute that violence, profanity, and sexual immorality have become mainstays of modern film. The Bible plainly instructs every follower of Christ to avoid exposing his or her mind to this kind of material.

But here’s where the difficulty lies. In our commercial society, corporations give away millions every year to political and social causes of which we may not approve.

Amongst the biggest corporations supporting the gay agenda, for instance, we find such familiar names as American Airlines, British Petroleum, Microsoft, Apple Computer, Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s, Lexus, Google, Nike, Wells Fargo, Dell, Starbucks, Tylenol, and Waste Management (the company that probably empties your trash)!

You report having difficulty finding a quality, on-demand movie company that doesn’t support the gay agenda.  Well, it may soon be difficult to find any company that doesn’t support such an agenda.

To make matters worse, you also point out that it seems many of the best actors and actresses of our day and even of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” have given their lives over to all manner of sin.

So what’s the answer?

It may surprise you, but I believe God has already given it to us.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul instructs the church to expel unrepentant sinners from its midst.  But in the next breath, he reminds them they must not disassociate themselves from “the people of this world who are immoral, greedy or swindlers,” for “in that case, you would have to leave this world.”

Christians are commanded to serve as salt and light in the world—-to be witnesses to the lost, just as Jesus himself was.  Even though the Bible instructs us to abhor immoral causes and behavior, this does not mean we must isolate ourselves from secular society.  We have a God-given duty to impact the world with the message of salvation.  Part of this duty means seeing past the unsavory aspects of the entertainment industry and the actors it employs to the messages of the movies they produce. After all, does it make sense to discard The Passion of the Christ simply because of its director and his sordid personal life?  I don’t think so.

Of course, the Bible also instructs us to avoid activities which may cause new believers or those in the world to stumble.  So even if I think a film is acceptable and teaches some good lessons, if I know that watching it will damage a brother’s faith, I would probably be better off reading a book.

But I have to make prudential judgments for my own sake as well. I feel my calling is to prophetically critique what is happening in the culture. My wife and I are deeply offended sometimes by coarse language and explicitness and films  And when we encounter it, we usually shut the movie off at that point. But if it’s a film that I feel I must watch in order to be aware of how it’s impacting the culture, or one that captures some significant moral message, then we grit our teeth and bear it.

A good case-in-point is The Shawshank Redemption. It contains terrible vulgarities and obscenity. But it also contains some of the most powerful moral messages I’ve ever seen on film.

Maybe the real test is whether I sense images from the film may be indelibly impressed up on my mind. At that point, I’d flee from it, no matter what. This is where you have to make some serious prudential judgments.

Summing up, ask yourself these two basic questions when deciding whether or not a movie (or a film distributor) is acceptable:

1.) Am I acting in love by watching/supporting this? (Romans 14:15)

2.) Is this movie spiritually or intellectually nourishing? (Philippians 4:8)

If the answer to both of these is “yes,” I think your entertainment choices will be safely within scriptural bounds.

All human products will be flawed to some degree, and movies are no exception.  But if a film possesses qualities from which we can benefit, God gives us the freedom (1 Corinthians 10:29), indeed, the power (2 Corinthians 10:5) to “take it captive” and re-consecrate it in “obedience to Christ.”

Chuck Colson