Think the outcry by some Christians against the upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” is overblown? Prudish? Legalistic? If so and you’re a Christian, please give me the chance to convince you to change your opinion. (I could not let the New Start 15 emphasis on holiness end without addressing this timely issue.)
First, please hear me. I have not perfected holiness. Over the years, I have read books and watched movies that I later regretted because the content was inconsistent with my faith. And I still make mistakes. But, oh sisters, this one is a BIG mistake. And it’s so easy to avoid.
No “Shades” Should be a No-Brainer
“Shades” is classified as “erotica,” which by definition means “sexually explicit literature or art.” Here’s a quick summary of the book I copied from a blog by Mary Kassian:
The books (Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy) in question are erotica that explicitly describe sexual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM). The story follows an unfolding affair between a recent college graduate, the virgin Anastasia Steele, and handsome young billionaire entrepreneur, Christian Grey, whose childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual, and who enlists her to share his secret sexual proclivities. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her. Because of her fascination and budding love for him, she consents to a kinky sexual relationship that includes being slapped, spanked, handcuffed, and whipped with a leather riding crop in his “Red Room of Pain.”
Oh my. Let’s stop right here. Honestly, based on the book description and the dictionary definition of “erotica,” Christian women have no business reading this book. But they have. Christian women have no business seeing this movie. But they plan to. My question is: Why?
Justifying the Unjust
I’ve heard the arguments in favor of the New York Times best-selling book and what’s sure to be a blockbuster hit in the theaters. Here’s a sampling:
- It’s just a movie. It won’t affect me.
- It will spice up my marriage.
- I need to know how to speak to the culture.
- Christians shouldn’t judge other Christians’ behavior. What’s wrong for you isn’t necessarily wrong for me.
Any of those sound familiar? Maybe you’ve heard one. Maybe you’ve used one.
Let’s turn these arguments for watching “Fifty Shades” into reasons not to watch it:
- It’s not just a movie. It will affect you – Everything we allow into our minds shapes our thinking and eventually changes our behavior. That’s why God tells His people to think on “true, noble, pure, lovely” things (Philippians 4:8). He knows that our spiritual transformation begins in our minds. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Spiritual maturity begins to develop when our thinking begins to line up with God’s thinking.(For more on this see “What are You Feeding Your Mind.”
- The sex in “Fifty Shades” is a warped, sinful version of God’s good gift – God created sex to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage. It is to be an expression of a respectful, kind, and loving relationship between a man and woman who have committed their lives to one another. Among believers, there “must not be even a hint of sexual immorality” (Ephesians 5:3). Sexual impurity and perversion is particularly destructive (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, 1 Corinthians 6:18). By the way, the movie’s Valentine Day release is very purposeful.
- We don’t have to “experience” every aspect of the culture to impact it for Jesus – Yes, Jesus commanded us to go out into the world – to share the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), not to blend in with the world. Consider Jesus’ prayer for us the night He was betrayed in John 17:15-19. This passage is where we get the phrase “in the world, but not of it.” Jesus died so His people can be lights of holiness in a dark world. And I don’t have to read or see “Fifty Shades” to know it blatantly goes against God’s holy character. In today’s New Start 15 passage, James 4:1-10, James calls this kind of behavior “friendship with world,” which is also “hatred toward God.”
- God has already judged sexual immorality – Only God has the authority to determine right and wrong, good and evil. And He has. He doesn’t ask us to judge what’s right and wrong, but He does tell believers to hold each other accountable for His Word and to exhort one another to holiness. (For more on this see “To Judge or Not to Judge”)
So, considering God’s Word, why will believers still go see this movie? As the saying goes, sex does indeed “sell.” Unfortunately, sex sells to Christians too.
God’s Word is black and white. So why do we keep trying to blend God’s truth. Holiness is not grey – not any shade of grey.
This topic is heavy on my heart. I really want to hear your thoughts. And I would love for you to share this post.
For more information on the topic and the destructive nature of “Fifty Shades of Grey” read:
- Dannah Gresh gives biblical and sound scientific evidence why reading this kind of material is harmful to women and our marriages on the True Woman blog
- Crystal Renaud offers help, hope, and healing for women and girls with pornography and sexual addiction at Dirty Girls Ministries.
- Author and Bible teacher, Mary Kassian on her blog Girls Gone Wise. Mary gives 7 solid reasons why a Christian woman – or any woman for that matter – should not read this book.
- Lest you think this is just the opinion of “ministers,” check out this blog by Dana Suggs. She is a mom, photographer, and Christian blogger writing from the perspective of an average Christian woman who loves to read.
- An honest and entertaining view by Christian mommy blogger Melissa Jenna.
- Matt Walsh’s post “4 Reasons to Hate 50 Shades of Grey”
- “Lies Christian Women Believe to Justify Watching Fifty Shades of Grey” by Carmen Miller