Don’t Add to God’s Word

The following is my response to criticism a friend received for using an
excerpt from the movie “Saving Private Ryan” in a lesson for his youth
group.

The point I disagree with is where he arbitrarily says R rated movies are
evil and then states that we shouldn’t have anything to do with evil. While
I agree that we shouldn’t have anything to do with evil, where does
Scripture say “Pvt Ryan” or R rated movies are evil? The thing that we need
to be careful of is adding to Scripture and giving our addition the same
credence as Scripture. Doing this only leads to trouble. The classic example
is Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In Genesis 3:3 the serpent was questioning Eve about God’s instructions when
she added to God’s Word. Her reply seemed innocent, “God said that we must
not eat from the tree in the middle of the Garden, and we must not touch it
or we will die.” Not so. God simply said, “Don’t eat from it.” He didn’t say
anything about touching it. What had Eve done? She added to God’s Word “just
to be safe.” So what’s wrong with “just being safe”? By doing this she was
implying that God’s Word wasn’t good enough to stand up to Satan’s
temptations. She thought that she had to “help God out.” Today we know it as
legalism.
How do Eve’s actions relate to your critic’s stand on R rated movies?
Scripture is clear on many things we should avoid, but it is silent about
movies. I would say that it is a good policy to avoid R rated movies in the
majority of cases, just as you said in your article, but be careful of
saying it is a sin to attend R rated movies. That’s adding to God’s Word and
it can only lead to trouble. Why not simply say we should evaluate each
movie on its own merits in light of Philippians 4:8? Doing this will
eliminate 99.9% of R rated movies. We are not condemning the movie; we are
simply evaluating it in light of God’s Word. Be careful about making blanket
statements and making conclusions Scripture doesn’t.
I believe this would be an excellent time to teach your kids how to discern
quality entertainment as a whole. They typically don’t know. The problem
isn’t R rated movies; the problem is most kids don’t know what is quality.
Their parents or youth pastor tell them to avoid R rated movies, but they
never taught them what is worthwhile. Many PG and PG-13 movies are much
worse than many R rated movies. Often the child’s thought is, “It’s not R
rated, so it’s okay.” Is it really? Someone needs to teach him how to choose
quality entertainment. If most kids are asked if a movie was good, their
response is often, “It was funny!” Or “It was exciting!” Or “It was sexy!”
Or “It had a lot of special effects!” But they can’t explain if it was good
or not..
If your kids don’t have the ability to discern quality entertainment, they
will forever be subject to the manipulations of the Hollywood marketing
machine. As parents and leaders, we must see the vast majority of
entertainment as “ammunition” aimed at our kids in the spiritual war of
life. It is our responsibility to teach our children how not to be
causalities in this battle for their minds. A way you can do this is to
bring “their entertainment” into your Sunday school class and help them
filter it through the grid of God’s Word just like you did with “Pvt Ryan.”
Finally, as a caution, study Eph 5:1-12. We are to expose evil, but to stay
innocent of sin. How can we do that? This is my most difficult challenge as
a speaker. I don’t have a problem with knowing my material, it’s how do I
expose evil and still keep my audience innocent of sin. I’m sure you have
seen presentations on the evils of entertainment that exposed too much.
Don’t be one of them!
Advice to Wives About Television
Advice to Allison
God Doesn’t Ask us to be Successful
Winning the Spiritual War
Al’s AnALysis
I Will Never Watch West Wing Again
Violent Media Causes Violent Kids
From our archives

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