Cleanse Our Eyes! A Call to Consecration in the Area of Entertainment

Filed under The Kingdom of God on October 19th, 2009 by Bryan Anthony

“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
How then could I gaze at a virgin?
…. for that would be a fire that consumes….
and it would burn to the root all my increase.” -Job 31.1, 12

I understand that many would brand my faith antique and my convictions archaic for approaching this subject, but that is a minuscule risk for me to take. God is too glorious, His Gospel too precious, and the fate of our sons and daughters too much at stake for me to worry about the consequences that these themes bring. I am convinced that we have woefully underestimated the damage that is done to the world and to the Church, particularly with regard to the issue of so-called entertainment.

The Church is largely bored with the Scriptures, unwilling to sacrifice for eternal things, unacquainted with the Spirit of prayer, and is harboring such distorted views of God that it is often difficult to tell if the One she is proclaiming is the same Lord that the apostles and prophets set forth. There may be a litany of reasons for this decrease of majesty, but I believe that one of the greatest of these is that Hollywood has a stranglehold on the hearts and imaginations of God’s children.

The pornography epidemic could be driven home here, and to sound the trumpet against that demonic system will require the emergence of a true prophetic voice indeed. Almost 40% of American pastors admit to a current struggle with internet porn, and the numbers are even greater amongst men within our congregations. This is beyond tragic, and we are in need of a massive overhaul of repentance and mercy. Now more than ever are we in need of awakening, and if you are in this category there is deliverance and freedom from this deathtrap. The Gospel of Jesus sets us free “from all sin,” and He will give you grace to slam the door once and for all on this terribly besetting sin, when you repent and turn to Him with a whole heart, clinging to the Son of God.

Yet as horrific as the pornography phenomenon is, that is not the primary burden of my heart in this writing.

I am convinced that the Church of America, as a majority, has been removed from, or has never known, the kind of trepidation and tenderness of heart that Job was expressing when he declared, “I have made a covenant with my eyes….”

It was part and parcel with the faith of all the saints of old, that what they allowed to pass through the eye-gate, and what they permitted willingly to go into their ears, would taint their souls at best, and find residence in their lives at the worst. I am suspicious of modern “prophetic” men who commonly cite movies and shows that contain illicit sex, profane lingo and themes, glorified violence, immoral innuendo, or other defiling examples as points in their messages. The only reason these points hit home with so many church members is that they themselves are given over to the same powers and influences.

Our hearts are too taken up with this world, saints, and there has never been a generation wherein the spirit of this age strikes the soul with such color, such special effects, and such mesmerizing power as the one we find ourselves in. Yet we are called to an ultimate holiness nonetheless, and it may be said that one of the distinguishing factors between those who will bear the testimony of Jesus at the end of the age and those who will take the mark of the beast during tribulational times will be this radical consecration of the eyes to God Himself.

In Eph. 5, Paul declares that there should not even be a “hint of immorality” in the lives of God’s people. Dear believer, I ask you pointedly, what constitutes a hint? How many of Hollywood’s characters, themes and plots can we drink in without receiving a “hint” of darkness?

There is something sleazy about many of our lives, charismatic or not, and while it might not be overtly recognized, I believe there is a residue of immorality resting upon those who have freely given themselves to morally compromised entertainment. There is something flimsy about our religion, and the bright burning of holiness that marked John the Baptist, the prophets of old, and Jesus Himself is conspicuously absent in the sanctuary, where His name is declared “holy” in verbal exercise, but the sense of His holiness has become foreign.

“…. it would burn to the root of all my increase.”

While we have boasted in “liberty,” and spoken poetically of our spiritual interpretations of Hollywood flicks (interpretations that Hollywood would largely reject and ridicule), we have too often condoned the spiritual pollution of our hearts.

Would the porn epidemic be so far-reaching and deeply-rooted if the Church hadn’t dropped the ball in areas of more subtle compromise? We have become arrogant in our boasting. And we wonder why our kids are prayerless and numb to eternal reality, buying into agnosticism and atheism when they graduate high-school and make it to their respective Universities. We wonder why thousands of “evangelical” teens are converting to Islam or diving headlong into the “party” life when they get out from under the wing of a youth group, and into the reality of college life. This may not be the only issue, but it is much more prevalent than we know. It’s a battle of ideologies, and hell has no greater method than to slowly dull our hearts to the God of righteousness through cute, subtle, and entertaining displays of hellish ideas. As a friend of mine so rightly wrote:

We have so saturated our minds and imaginations with man-created images that we are bound to those images and therefore subject to the agenda of the men creating them.

It has burned to the root of our “increase” in Christ. It has dulled and blurred the “inner-man” of the Church. We have lost the hunger and thirst for righteousness that Jesus encouraged, for we have given our hearts, minds, and pocketbooks to the broken cisterns of carnal entertainment.

It’s staggering to me that when the subject is raised to most believers, the tag of legalism is immediately raised. While there are legalistic souls who lack an understanding of mercy, and who often place heavy yokes upon others, the vehemence and rage of those who dish out accusations that men like myself are “legalistic” is far more widespread, at least in my own experience. I’ve never heard more warnings against “the religious spirit,” “self-righteousness,” and “legalism” than I have in the last few years.

In the area of entertainment they say, “Paul said we had liberty in Christ, and we’re walking in that freedom.” But these modern examples are usually employed in a context that is far different from the situation with the Judaizers in the churches of Galatia. There is not an iota of Scripture that would encourage me to set my eyes, ears and emotions on themes that make light of sin.

The apostles, quite contrary to the liberal ideas of today, addressed issues of righteousness with remarkable frequency and intensity in the New Testament, and I believe they would weep over the Church in our day, that we would be delivered from the murky waters that have tainted and dulled our spirits in the realm of entertainment. Gospel liberty is not license, but rather freedom from the death grip of this dying age. It is a liberty to come into the wonderful reality of communion with the Living God, and to taste of the “powers of the age to come.”

This is not about judging our movies based on their ratings. A thousand “PG” movies could be just as detrimental as one “R” movie. Addictions to political news or social networking must also be challenged if they burn up our time and keep us from the place of prayer and worship, diminish our passion for the Scriptures, and fog our awareness of the lostness of humanity. This is about a total consecration of our eyes and hearts unto Him, that we might gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, tremble before His majesty, remain in the loving counsel of His voice, and set Him forth in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Our eyes have been too opened to the lying glimmers of this age. The time is here for an ultimate consecration of the eyes to the Lord, that we would see the increase of Christ Himself in our lives. We haven’t got room even for a “hint,” friends.

Let us return to Him with weeping and mourning, that so many of us have preferred the fading lights of this age to the glorious light of God Himself. We need not buy into the lie any longer. He longs to pour out mercy upon us, to purify us down to the marrow of our bones, to make us a tender-hearted people, enjoying deep communion with Him, and walking in meekness and holiness unto the day of His return.

Oh God, cleanse and purify our hearts with the fire of Your holiness and love. Catch us up in the Spirit of prayer and the glory of worship, quicken our souls to love the Scriptures, awaken us from fantasy and bring us into eternal reality. For Jesus’ sake.



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36 comments
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  1. Bryan,

    Much credit to you for having the courage to write an article that you felt others would disapprove of.

    A couple points I’d like you to consider…

    First of all, it could very well be that the repression of these “immoral desires” could actually lead to their fruition more surely than if they were acknowledged as normal and human.  Notice that of all the clergy convicted of sexual abuse, it’s the celibate ones who have the most problems.

    Another example is in Utah, where the strongly religious Mormon areas have the highest percentage of people Googling softcore gay pornography.  Mormonism is another religion where there’s a lot of repression of what you’re allowed to think and feel.

    I trust you won’t rationalize this by “these aren’t real Christians,” because I think you’d agree that in Protestant circles, there are suppressed desire issues on a smaller scale as well.

    I do avoid excessively violent and sexually explicit entertainment myself, just for my own peace of mind, but if any “deviant” thought crosses my mind, I don’t feel bad about it.  I just accept it and let it go, similar to a dark cloud passing through the sky.  No need for resistance or denial.

    I think that while we can make an effort to always effort to focus on the good, our animalistic passions will always rise up, whether we act on them or not.  In the end, I’d say as long as you don’t act on them, you’re doing a pretty good job.

    One last thing to consider is that there was no concept of “entertainment” in the New Testament, as we know it today.  I don’t think there’s even a mention of “theater,” let alone entertainment when you have no chance of ever meeting the actor or actress involved.  What Paul or Jesus would have said on the matter will always be a mystery.

    In Job’s case, he was talking about a virgin he could plausibly approach and have relations with, not someone on the silver screen.  Jesus talking about lusting for another woman could only mean someone you can approach at that very moment, as there were no TV’s or magazines back then.

    For the record, the healthiest marriages I know are ones where each partner is open when a stray attraction to a celebrity happens.  Ones that repress any sexual desire for another person are the ones I see that often end up in infidelities, or inevitable divorces.

    –Dan

  2. I heard this interesting statistic the other day.

    80% believe that tv and movies are a bad influence, but only 12% believe it affects them.

    Now I have no research to back that statistic up but something about it just sounds right and it definitely goes along with human nature. It’s my belief that by watching tv and movies we get our eyes off of the kingdom of God and on to the dead and dying world around us. We begin to believe and accept the lies this world offers as truth over that of the gospel. This doesn’t happen overnight but it’s almost sub conscience like subliminal advertising for the world.

  3. Dan,

    This article is not about a suppression of desires for successful religious performance, but a consecration of the heart to remove everything that hinders our love to God. 

    Regards,

    BP

  4. Andrew, 

    I don’t know about the accuracy of that statistic either, but I do know that it’s in our human nature to make light of dangerous things, that is, until the point that they actually bite us in a public way.

    I’ve often thought of fallen Pastors and Leaders in this regard. When it is discovered that they’ve had affairs on their wives, embezzled large amounts of money, or been involved in homosexual relations (etc.), I’ve thought, “Oh God, protect my heart and keep me from taking even the first step that led to the place of their total fall out. I am a man of dust like anyone else, and I don’t want to “sip” poison, lest I grow indifferent toward “guzzling” it, and find myself dead in the end.” 

    In the vast majority of the cases, these leaders didn’t immediately enter into an affair, or secret drug use, or some other obvious thing. They let their guard down with what was coming into their eye-gate or what they allowed to dwell in their hearts. They held some bitterness in their soul. They clicked on a porn site in the secrecy of their study. And the downward spiral of sin commences, until finally you see that they’ve lost their marriages and devastated their families and congregations. As you said, they began “to believe and accept the lies this world offers as truth over that of the gospel.”

    Any of us could fall prey to that trap, and I remain convinced that freely drinking of almost everything that Hollywood offers is only deepening the probability of moral and spiritual tragedy. Communion with God is so much more wonderful, the Scriptures are so much more enjoyable, and obedience brings so much more joy, doesn’t it? 

    Regards,

    BP

  5. Bryan,

    bless you for ministering to my heart through this article. There is a subtle lie in today’s generation… that we are strong ‘by grace’ enough to watch or hear something, and for it not to affect our spirits. This talk is nowhere to be found in Scripture, it is foreign to the words of Jesus, who instructed us to deal radically with sin (plucking out our eye, etc) and thus many of us come into the house of God wondering why we have struggled to get our mind clear before the Lord.

    I too have recently gone through much of a sifting of God in re evaluating these things in my life. I have realised my heart’s ugliness without His faithfulness, righteousness and grace. Your article is ‘in season’.

    Again, thank you,

    Andrew

  6. Andrew,

    You have written it clearly and pointedly, the lie is subtle, and as you said, it is causing many to “come into the house of God wondering why we have struggled to get our mind clear before the Lord.”

    Art Katz used to note how our congregations are often filled with souls who have stayed up late before the T.V. on Saturday nights, slept in on Sunday, and almost crawled into our meetings just hoping the worship team and pastors will “do it again.” We have lost the reality of priesthood at home, and it’s not something that we can fabricate in our gatherings at meeting time. It has to become true in hidden places, or it has not become true anywhere.

    But the Lord is sifting, as He so faithfully does, and calling us to an abiding Life with Him, that is so much more glorious than the greatest of that which the world of entertainment has to offer.

    You are one of His beloved laborers, brother, and I’m privileged to be in fellowship with you. Happy to hear that the word was ‘in season.’

    Regards,

    BP

  7. Dear Bryan,

    Thank you so much. True, interesting, and convicting.

    Olive

  8. I totally agree with your Article, Bryan, and I thank you for writing it!
    (Rom.12:1&2)

  9. Brian,

    I read the article and I loved it.  I especially took in the statement about a thousand PG movies being just as bad as one R rated movie.  I think many of us in the church should be honestly saying to God Psalm 139:23-24 and letting God search our hearts and look at how much time we spend looking at the news, or what shows or movies we watch and letting him lovingly show us what’s best and direct us away from to much T.V. and the harmful things that are hardening us.  I just think your article is right on.  And all of us have to be careful of not using our freedom in Christ to indulge the sinful nature. (Gal 5:13)Help us Holy Spirit, soften our hearts, take the blinders off us and may you help us to see the entertainment that is hurting us and our children.  Have mercy on us God.
    Will Brakl

  10. Dr. Brown
    Thanks for a very insightful article which clearly expresses your concerns for the Christian family.

    As I read I was reminded of:
     a) Christ being tempted visually (Mt 4:8-11) and his resistance causing the devil to leave b) Pauls rebuke to the church at Corinth yet cautioning that they live in the “world” 1Co chp 5
    c) Temptation is common to human existence 1Co 10:13 and Yahweh’s provision of a an “escape”,
    d) James’ declaration that enduring temptation brings a blessing, even while giving the admonition that we avoid error by our response to temptation.
    Jas 1:12

    Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    Jas 1:13

    Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    Jas 1:14

    But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    Jas 1:15

    Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

              Jas 1:16

    Do not err, my beloved brethren.

    e)      Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. And,

    f)   1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

    The reference to “prophetic” preachers using examples from movies in sermons can be viewed as subtle innuendo regarding their spirituality and character, which is judgmental.  Research has shown that many of Jesus stories were everyday occurences familiar to his hearers, even if the ‘point’ was hidden to the people including his very disciples.  A relevant Sermon illustration from the good or bad of this world can reach a heart with which it resonates, connecting that heart with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Caution sir.  Remember many pastors use sermon illustration “the story is told of a …” which they heard and cannot validate.

    The internet, and other entertainment are not the only distractions to bible study and prayer. One could also add work, reading books other than the bible, going to the theatre, shopping, study, the multiplicity of church fund raising activity and projects etc, etc, etc.  Where does one draw the line?.  Each person must guard his own soul according to his own circumstances and spiritual needs.

    I kind of wondered if you are the type who would be willing to go into “dark” places such as the dancehalls and clubs of countries like Jamaica, where I’m from, to share the gospel  and be the “light” to the patrons’ in their world. 

    Apart from the foregoing comments, I am encouraged and cautioned to make Phillipians 4:8, Ps 19:14, Ps119:11and Mt 5:30 be my spirit guides 24×7.  Thanks

  11. “It’s staggering to me that when the subject is raised to most believers, the tag of legalism is immediately raised. While there are legalistic souls who lack an understanding of mercy, and who often place heavy yokes upon others, the vehemence and rage of those who dish out accusations that men like myself are “legalistic” is far more widespread, at least in my own experience. I’ve never heard more warnings against ‘the religious spirit,’ ‘self-righteousness,’ and ‘legalism’ than I have in the last few years.”
     
    Great point, Bryan. This resonates so much with me, particularly your objection to “the religious spirit” one. Why is religion (not necessarily a bad word according to James 1:26-27) equated with legalism by so many evangelicals? I hear this false dichotomy all the time: “Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship.” Shouldn’t we use our language to carefully reflect Scripture before resorting to popular clichés and platitudes?
     
    Or perhaps there is this contemporary evangelical perceived need to distance oneself from the term religion because some people say that they “hate religion.” But when some non-Christians say, “We hate religion,” they’re not necessarily saying, “We hate a faith of legalism or salvation by works,” contrary to how some evangelicals have redefined the word religion. In some cases, non-Christians are saying, “We hate belief in God or gods.” In others, they’re saying, “We hate any kind of organized belief in the supernatural.”
     
    We are indeed saved by grace (not by our works), and I do think it is legalistic and dangerous when we forget God’s grace in our daily lives. But I also think it’s dangerous to confuse people with platitudes that, while well-intentioned, actually go against what Scripture teaches.
     

  12. Thank you for this Godly stand.  We cannot be clean if we allow thoughts or images from the other kingdom to have first place, though we may be in denial that they do have first place!.
    Where do I spend most of my time?  given to what ???

  13. Dear Bryan,
    Thank you for reminding us of something so important!  We have become so desensitized to pornography that we don’t recognize it being delivered to us via television even during prime time.  Even if you are watching something that has reasonably neutral content, the commercials advertising other shows are filled with images/ideas that would have been considered pornographic 20 years ago.
    I would like to challenge the idea that “repression” of sexuality causes deviant sexual behavior or abuses.  A traditional lie that has been perpetrated by the media is the one that bible believing Christians are more likely to have unhealthy marriages, be sexual deviants, or otherwise be victims of repressed sexual desires, than non-believers. Where is the research supporting this?

  14. Dr Brown,

    I am right there with you on the cry of my heart too, I have been known to be called a legalist also. I have had a ringing for some time now, to preach on righteousness and I do. The eye is the worst gate, it seem’s to go thru the heart to the soul. I last week have called my congregation to a real task of holiness. To obey the LORD in all things and ask him to reveal the things that are not of HIM. I am not unaware of our need to have the help of the Holy Spirit, but as i have told them disciple is to discipline one’s self. I find most believers think that there is no resposibility to be accountable for how they live. Like it is GOD’s will to see them make poor choices, and he will mature me in his time, or he know’s i was going to continue to sin and it’s okay. We need to close that gate when sin has any chance to influence us, why people think it is legalistic when you mention any such relation, to us working out our walk. As if we speak of working out salvation, it is so wrong to think we can just let life take it’s course and land where we land. I think it is a slap in the face that Yeshua die for our sin’s and some of us don’t even try to show thank’s by how they live. I see the enemy has done a great job with TV, it’s okay to be a good vampire or witch or what ever. I spent hour’s with my nieces to explain how there gates that let junk in effect them. And to my amazement it went well, we must pray that the people understand the truth on this matter. Blessings My brother’s

  15. An article very dear to my heart. I am a follower of Christ (do not belong to any
    denomintion) but I do adhere to the Ten Commandments. A few years ago I decided
    to not watch anything that was over the PG rating and you’re so correct when stating that much of that stuff can make us gasp.  I didn’t subscribe to cable either.  
    A few weeks ago I gave my TV away and all my VHS movies. The relief I felt not having that insidious machine in my home is beyond words. 
    I thank the Lord that I was listening when He said for to get rid of those distractions and come closer to Him, that He wanted a deeper relationship with me. I do beleive He is sifting and I am so grateful to have eyes to see and ears to hear. 
    fondly and friendly,
    L.D. in Melbourne, FL.  
         

  16. Hallelujah! The truth is being sounded on the roof tops! God’s warning is going out to alarm our hearts to the ultimate and eternal dangers of eating this garbage that pollutes our very imaginations! Oh yes, the affect may not be felt today or tomorrow, but be assured that this evil seed that only feeds the soul and not the spirit will have a harvest. What you sow, you will reap! Run from this exciting, special effect laden, sexual, selfish, soulish, lustful addiction for entertainment, satan-style. A friend of mine, says that entertainment, enters in to attain you. I beleive there is a lot of truth to that and those who disregard the warning to repent and clean their eye gates will reap a deadly reward for their irresponsible choices before our God who is a consuming fire!! Beware of the leven of the world system that totally hates God!

    Rob Reid, Barrie, Ontario, Canada

  17. Dear respected Dr Brown,
    As usual your current article on the dangers of the Internet and the secular Media is highly incisive and a sort of spiritual wake-up call. I am an Indian Christian, a gentile to be precise who like Ruth of the Old Testament has always cherished a special love for the Jewish people and their God fully revealed to us by Jesus Christ, the complete revelation of God in human form.My admiration for the contributions of the Jewish people, God knows has no bounds.I can say confidently with St.Paul, a Jew himself, that ” the life I live now I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

    Your online program “THINK it THRU” is my favourite and I had the providential opportunity of watching “World Changers” “Incomplete Religion”.etc. which further reinforced my belief that right now the Messianic Jews are God’s chosen people to reach the House of Israel. The true bible-believing Christians because of their faith in the scriptures and deep love for the Lord Jesus can never ever be anti-semitic. Our hearts are in our mouths as we pray constantly for all jews to find salvation in one of their own brethren Yeshua the Messiah.May God continue to increase the range and effectiveness of your blessed ministry.
    I request your special prayers for Indian christian men, who according to internal statistics are addicted to Internet porn ( 70%) and struggle to come out of the stranglehold of this ‘demonic system.” I use the Web with great fear and trepidation and ask for divine strength and protection to escape the lures of Hell.

    With special thanks.
    Your admirer and learner,
    Joseph Chandra

  18. Amen! To you speaking the truth Dr. Brown.

  19. I rejoice that this article seems to be hitting home with so many. May we respond to Him with whole hearts, and run the race with joy until the Day of His return. I stumbled upon this very relevant quote from Tozer today, and thought I would pass it along:

    I cannot think of even one lonely passage in the New Testament which speaks of Christ’s revelation, manifestation, appearing or coming that is not directly linked with moral conduct, faith and spiritual holiness.
    We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin as the enemy of the human race and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

  20. I agree taht what we allow to enter our eye and ear gates must be filtered with God’s wisdom. Not only because scripture warns us, (though that should be enough); but because soeing to the flesh WILL reap corruption. Is growing up into the fulness of the stature of Christ more important than being the appeasing o0f the desires of our flesh?
    The decision is ours.
    We can have down time and be entertained without being defiled. Let’s choose wisely.

                                                                     Pete

  21. Amen Bryan!Thank God for you being able to touch this subject!   We can so much be in denial butyou brought it out to what has God has been telling us all the time! Hats off and God bles!

  22. [...] being personally challenged and blessed by the recent article on a call to ‘Cleanse Our Eyes!’ by VOR writer Bryan Purtle, I felt led to write a short follow [...]

  23. [...] Cleanse Our Eyes: A Call to Consecration in the Area of Entertainment [...]

  24. I agree with the heart of the article, as Him being the one to be captured by and devoted to as well as being cautious of what we allow in through the eyes and ears.

    I have also heard much about “legalism”, “religious spirits” and the like and this is taken to far.  The truth is, however, there has been much of this(legalism) and while, biblically speaking, NT examples were referring to Judaizer’s, the “spirit” that brings legalism today is the same one at work in biblical days.

    The enemy will be content with anything that replaces Christ as our life.  Be it moral compromise or self-righteousness, the result is the same…a confused, powerless church.

  25. Dobson has stated that “pressure builds up in a man and demands release”.  Certainly since post modern times much has been written on sexuality in terms of the world’s preoccupations, little has been highlighted regarding God’s provisions for his own programming of mankind.  Marriage has been reduced by many religious commentators to some kind of family companionship, rather than a multiple provision for care, intimacy of souls, and intimacy of shared physical life and the kind of sharing described in the Song of Soloman. 

    Certainly the subject of this article is an obvious preoccupation of the times, especially so in a consumer culture.  I wonder too it the provision of marriage for meeting this component of human creation for believers has been adequately explored as a provision for believers of the Kingdom of God?  Purity of heart has been discussed, yet without the additional perspective of provision of God for intimacy and the shared life of a committed and engaged couple.

  26. I want to comment here that Dan A., the first poster, actually brought up an extremely legitimate point in regards to this topic.  The author, rather than answer it graciously, simply squelched it and went on to converse with all the people that agreed with and praised him. I come from a heavy background of leaders who preach on these things and when challenged that is a very consistent response.  Dan was simply saying that it is a very thin line and in my personal experience it absolutely is.  Being a holiness teacher is also a thin line.  I have found that these teachers can be both the most and least like Jesus of any persons I’ve been exposed to.  See the above.

  27. Bill B.,  I read your comment with interest, but did not follow your meaning or its linkage in your last two sentences.  Could you reexpress these for greater clarity?  To what or who were you refering with your last sentence???   I concur with you that here, unlike with Line of Fire, there is little engaging discussion when someone has a different perspective within the pale of Christian or Biblical faith than that of the emphases of a named writer here.  There may sometimes be veiled intentions of assertion, then other times assertion which is simply opinion, rather than Biblically explored consideration.  What has struck the most is the rather youthful idealism of many article posts, as to the way it is assurred it ought to be.  Then we have the other side of posts directly addressing actual sin, which may be avoided altogether in secular or Christian culture press.  This article in particular seemed to leave out the obvious reality that our Father created the sexes and their attraction within set boundaries of blessing, sharing, and appointed fellowship between a couple in His sight.

  28. Jabez-
    As for my last few lines, I have been a devoted Christian for 15 years and have been in and out of just about every North American revival movement there has been in that time.  I have arrived at the hard-earned conclusion that, while doing a lot of good, hardcore holiness preachers also ruin the lives of a lot of good people…many of which I have known, and a few of which I am related to.  Fallout is undeniable from this type of approach.  They also tend to have a martyrdom syndrome (see the 1st few lines of the article) so any criticism is immediately taken as persecution.  But, as I also said, some of the greatest men of God I’ve ever been around are holiness preachers.  So, it is a thin line….for them and for all of us.  I think they can get lost in it and lose the Spirit of Jesus and of the Gospel altogether..and burn out good people in the process.  I thought the way the above author shluffed off the first disagreer and went on to high-five his choir members was classless.

  29. Bill B., while I can’t comment on your experiences, I can comment on your comment, and it is your last line in particular that gives me concern.

    Bryan responded to the first disagreer with a simple, accurate point, one which, if grasped, would completely remove the objection. He wrote, “This article is not about a suppression of desires for successful religious performance, but a consecration of the heart to remove everything that hinders our love to God. ” This is hardly “shluffing off” the first disagreer; rather, it is explaining to that person that they have misread his article.

    Your comments (most particularly, your negative judgments on Bryan, not only inaccurately characterizing his first explanatory comment but then accusing him of “high-fiv[ing] his choir members” — even calling it classless) actually indicate to me that your own grid causes you to hear a call to enjoy God in the beauty of holiness and to cleanse ourselves from anything that defiles — in the word and spirit of the NT — as something potentially destructive. Perhaps you need to look inside before accusing people in this way (the “matryrdom syndrome” accusation in particular is the most dangerous). Perhaps there’s a message here that you could benefit from hearing afresh? 

  30. Bill B.

    Perhaps it would be helpful regarding giving a positive contribution to change what you disagree with or do not like to expand on your statement ” Fallout is undeniable from this type of approach”.  What approach?  Be more descriptive and definitive and less the wounded burnt out one from engagement with what you primarily seem to assume, yet not really identify objectively.    

    It is easy to criticise and not to contribute to the community of faith.  Years ago I heard the addage that preachers are supposed to make hearers both uncomfortable, and comfortable.  Bring them to the place of discomfort with the flesh, then to the cross, then comfort in Christ.  OK, that may be so, but it only takes us so far as to arriving at a solution focus for the state of spiritual depravity anyone can be in and out of.

    Mt. 18, as to an approach to differences, and divisions requires that we articulate our issues precisely, exactly, and with the disposition of “winning” one’s brother.  This would mean reinclusion where once excluded by this lack of loving as Jesus does, or that one, etc. 

    As far as holiness preaching, it seems flawed from the perspective of anyone in such a pursuit also having sin (as I John states).  What stirs one to holiness then may not be one encounter with someone whose content and conscience is to be a mouthpiece of conviction.  It must be the Holy Spirit which grants words for such preaching, and, as you apparently have mentioned, this is the fine line of abiding which holiness preachers have a legacy of a lack of self knowledge in at least several alarming cases.  One simply has some difficulty coming to a mature understanding of Christ if constantly being stirred up as to conviction, without arrival at some state of inclusion and acceptance, as well as a considered contribution to industry in a local fellowship community.  Holiness preachers seem to lack an ability to contribute to the step by step growth of other believers, rather than to means of creating awe of themselves for a season.

    I rejoice that Paul tempers his own delivery on issues of conviction by self confession, by remarks about his history of suffering, and by a side by side identification with believers who struggle in many ways.  That he heard directly from Jesus, and pursued the teaching of Romans 12-15 is refreshing of such a one.  Sharing the pie was his outlook so to speak on mutual edification.   Conviction preaching without community accountability, and cultivating the continuous practices of later Mt. 18 all the way around is to erect a we/they dichotomy. 

    It is a season in Christ where a generation of upcoming people do not know Him.  The Asbury model magnified the Message and the Spirit to my generation, as leading to inquiry over the reality of Jesus as Messiah in 1971.  Though I admire Paul, I am not in awe of Paul; though I love Peter, I appreciate his limits; and, though, John shines like a light in dark places, I would be completely comfortable with him at my supper table, as a member of my family so to speak.    It is remarkable that Paul gave the insight of II Cor 4:5 after speaking directly to risen Jesus (not to objectifiy him either with “the” risen Jesus, our brother).

    A plain message, through plain speech, mutual edification, and the ongoing practices of the approach of Mt. 18, with right living gathers no moss in a believer’s own heart journey to Jerusalem.

  31. Thank you SO MUCH for this article!!!!

  32. Thank you so much for the article. This is something that has been on my my heart for a few years now. Its surprisingly hard to find people who see things this way in the church. I have even been mocked by fellow believers for taking a stand against impurity in movies, music, and media. It is encouraging and renewing for me to read that there are others who are making a stand against the subtle deception that has blinded north American churches.

  33. Thank you!!! We need to stop finding excuses – when we allow Hollywood actors and film makers to define our morality, and find in today’s movies more sermon substance than in the Word, unadulterated (pun intended), then we’re in serious trouble. But that’s nothing new.

    2 months ago, I made a commitment I would stop watching my favorite TV series I was following for over a year. I don’t watch TV as I can’t stand the obvious sensuality and sleaziness of commercials. But I still found much delight in many cop shows, lawyers, detectives, as well as the UFC and action movies. As an artist, I was looking for a message of righteousness through all this, filtering out all the sinful images (even if I fast forwarded those parts) and “plots.”

    The very 1st day, I felt the Spirit speak to my heart and I was suddenly hungry for solid teaching about the assurance of my salvation. I poured over the Internet to find relevant biblical teaching, and since then have grown into a more solid understanding of God’s relationship with me, and my life has changed.

    Anyone who says they can watch CSI or the UFC without flinching at the violence and unveiled sexual content, watch decomposed bodies and vengeance sprees day after day, week after week, well that person is already compromised. It’s a black and white issue. Most of those actors forfeited their morality because it pays monstrously if you can act perversely in front of a camera.

    Artists are hired by the powers of the world and leaders of the Church to create tools of propaganda, seducing presentations and attractive packaging: not for God’s glory, but for impact and results. Outright occult, detailed sexuality, antichrist, blasphemous remarks and language, we forget all this to empathize with the hero of a movie or TV show about his of her plight, and in our hearts we cheer murder, deceit, abuse, voyeurism, etc.

    Now listen to this: “28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

    Now ponder your actions in light of Jesus’ saying, this is the Word of God, and don’t fear the work it will take for you to clean up your life and house of sinful content as a husband and father, as a single man or woman, as a pastor or politician, an artist or mechanic. What will come after you recommit your eyes to steer away from lust will be nothing short of a localized revival.

    Or is Revival another word abused by leaders who care only about the pursuit of their ministry, as their significance has shifted from the Lord’s calling, to their own self-awareness of success in that calling.

    Souls are at stake, and our way of life is blocking the way. Terrorism has many faces, and what comes into our homes and exposes our innocent children to images that will seer their conscience should be filtered out. Loving the world, and defending our sinful habits always places us on a crash collision course with God. Let’s repent (turn around) and follow Him. The Spirit of Holiness living in us is offended by sinful acts and images: why would we not care about such an important reality?

    Thank you again Bryan for writing a bold and to the point article.

    Blessings,

    Andre Lefebvre
    Alberta, Canada

  34. I don’t want to keep preaching to the choir, but there is something serious, in my opinion, with the infatuation with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other “symbolic” movies of the same type. Few know this, but on day 666 of the filming of the last movie of the trilogy, the whole crew and staff threw a “satanic festival” day. It’s on the 3rd CD’s bonus features. You can be sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The content can be a mix of just about anything that goes against God’s commandments and Jesus teachings, yet allow the images to reach our souls, not much we can do once we are before them, as we are caught up in the storyline. We love to be impressed. We look for signs and miracles, and 3D technology and surround sound will give us a great show. And when we go back to church, “inspired”, are we recognizing the Lord, or secretly desiring to be little Gandalfs?

    Revival starts with us, not heaven. Heaven responds to repentance and contrition and sends refreshing.

    Blessings,

    Andre Lefebvre
    Alberta, Canada

  35. The presence of GOD is better than any legitimate or illegitimate experience that I have ever had. Its is the glory to change one’s whole direction and makes you thirsty for more. To not respond would leave me dead and empty. Its is because of God’s wonderful glory that a person(ME) loses all interest in the world and RUNS as hard and fast after a our KING, our Lord, JESUS. No matter where you are, there is so much more, when the blinders come off, all you want is him.His presence, his glory, his power, his yoke. Bryan, I understand your message. There is no resistance here,full support. When someone is more in love with the spirit of the world than Jesus, it’s very clear in their response. When they can’t honor Jesus and defend their position they give themselves away. My prayer is that all would have that glorious revelation. It is so worth it, my soul longs for GOD. I am consumed by his holy fire.

  36. Thank you for this great article.

    Awesome to hear so many responses of individuals desiring to follow His pure, unadulterated Words.

    Have I missed something? What’s wrong with happy & Holy? What possibly does this world have to offer?

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