Would You Let Your Wife Be a Physician?

We’ve seen this one before. Tim Challies applies the skin test to movies to argue against watching a performance that involves bare breasts:

What would it take for you to be okay with your wife participating in that scene? Would you send her off to work tomorrow knowing that she would be topless for hours at a time, that she would be rolling around on a bed with another man as a crew looked on, as they adjusted the lighting, as they practiced different angles, as the director instructed her, “No, put your hands there. Move in that way…” She would not be having sex with him, but she would be doing her best to act like it, to make others believe it. She would be taking all she knows of the movements, the motion, the pleasure of sex with you and imitating it with this other man. Wife, what would it take for you to be okay with your husband stripping her and kissing her and carrying her to bed? My guess is that you cannot imagine any scenario in which that would be tolerable, in which that would be moral and right. Now hold onto that conviction for a moment.

Why exactly is this a slam dunk?

Consider women who serve as physicians and examine men’s private parts (among others) for a living. Why doesn’t the skin test apply to careers in medicine? Heck, what about nurses who bathe men in hospital beds?

And it’s not just a question of exposed flesh. If we made comfort with-what-the-missus does a standard for engaging with the world, what do we do with a woman who is a defense attorney and represents people she knows to be guilty before the law? Or for those complimentarians out there, what do you do when your wife serves in the military? Leave the OPC?

The point is that we all have different standards for different levels of engaging the world. When my wife comes before session, either I recuse myself because I am going to have to relate to her as an elder rather than as her husband, or I put on a different vocational hat. Same goes for when I enter the voting booth. I don’t use the same standard for a political candidate that I do either for a wife or for a minister.

Life comes with different standards. For pietists that concession is the road to hypocrisy. For Old Lifers, it’s just life on planet earth between Christ’s advents.

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615 thoughts on “Would You Let Your Wife Be a Physician?

  1. How about reading accounts of nudity and/or sexual activity? Can’t the mental images we form be as dangerous or titillating as the visual? Don’t we tend to sanitize and idealize the body in our minds while the real visuals are often disturbing, repellent, or disappointing? (Asking for a friend)

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  2. Just imagine, a woman playing a police officer in a movie. The horror. Think of all the reasons not to watch that.
    1) its a woman in an even more authoritative position over a man than being his doctor.
    2) you don’t your wife to be a police officer
    3) you don’t want any women to be police officers
    4) you don’t want your wife to shoot people (especially men)
    5) you don’t want anybody to shoot people
    6) you don’t want your wife to act like she’s shooting people or having authority over a man.

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  3. My guess is that Challies would say that none of those other situations are designed for arousal and entertainment (not exactly virtues) the way the actor’s is. But it still wouldn’t fly very well because the actor portrays plenty of other vices for the purposes of arousal and entertainment, which would then lead to having to refrain from watching a performance that includes any vice. How then to escape charge of ascetsim?

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  4. Do I get to factor in whether or not the actor is gay? Cuz that’s likely to be the situation. Has Tim ever been behind the scenes of even commmunity theater? Talk about chummy and sharing dressing rooms and lots of flamboyance. It makes me question whether they like men or just want the opportunity to see women naked. It’s enough to make a straight go gay.

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  5. He concludes:

    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those actors are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your voyeuristic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by watching it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ.

    But does it? What it forbids is adultery. Is depicting an act the very same as committing it? Or does it land in the land of gray where each must make up his own mind?

    And by his own pietist reasoning, if the Bible forbids breaking the Sabbath, does watching on Monday the recorded game played on Sunday mean you’re guilty by watching it?

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  6. Watched Vinyl last night. Part of portraying the culture and specifically the decadence was the utilization of naked women and orgies. Now, is that a gratuitious situation or a necessary or effective one? What about when the excesses of the protagonist portrayed end up serving a plot line, a biblical morality even, of the diminishing return and violent or tragic ending of those who follow that lifestlye? Is it ok, then?

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  7. Btw, all of you have now entered my circle of trust and are my pop culture consumption accountability sharers/partners. I have more to share just so you know.

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  8. DG:Consider women who serve as physicians and examine men’s private parts (among others) for a living.
    No fair-ies, context was illicit entertainment

    DG: what do we do with a woman who is a defense attorney and represents people she knows to be guilty before the law?
    Remind her she can’t lie, deceive or otherwise sin, in any case, right?

    DG: what do you do when your wife serves in the military?
    decide how the husband best loves his wife?

    DG:…or I put on a different vocational hat
    even though even ‘Gentiles’ instinctively know the wisdom of recusal or spousal testimony privilege?

    DG: Life comes with different standards.
    Jesus: keep living by the same standard to which we have attained
    Scripture: one interpretation, many applications

    DG:For Old Lifers, it’s just life on planet earth between Christ’s advents.
    maybe partly why Jesus said “ when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
    render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; to God the things that are God’s; no soul can serve two masters- only a soul gaining or losing; an enemy of the cross of Christ or not

    DG: For pietists that concession is the road to hypocrisy.
    we’re all hypocrites; pietists’ believed that every believer and every church must submit to the same standard – the authority of God’s Word – and any practice or teaching in contradiction to God’s clear command must be surrendered

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  9. How about reading accounts of nudity and/or sexual activity? Can’t the mental images we form be as dangerous or titillating as the visual?

    No. There is a reason that porn searches continue to dominate the internet. If mental images were just as titillating folks wouldn’t return over and over…and the skin mags would have gone under long before internet came on the scene.

    But does it? What it forbids is adultery.

    It seems to me that Bible forbids a lot more than adultery. It also forbids things like lust and impurity while commanding modesty. I’m sure there are guys out there that aren’t aroused by looking at attractive women naked, but I don’t think that describes the overwhelming majority of men (or women for that matter).

    Zrim, but of course not all naked bodies are designed for arousal.

    True, but my understanding is that most of the naked bodies on film aren’t old and saggy – at least this is what I gather from hearing about the complaints of older women not being able to get roles past the age of 40 or so.

    Part of portraying the culture and specifically the decadence was the utilization of naked women and orgies. Now, is that a gratuitious situation or a necessary or effective one? What about when the excesses of the protagonist portrayed end up serving a plot line, a biblical morality even, of the diminishing return and violent or tragic ending of those who follow that lifestlye? Is it ok, then?

    Is the graphic depiction of orgies really “necessary” – one can be more subtle and still get the point across – sometimes subtle is more effective – violence is certainly one place where the gross out factor of being really graphic can overpower the story. Could this also have been true in Vinyl?

    All that being said, I agree with the basic point that asking your self to evaluate the morality of a profession based on whether you would be squeamish having your wife do it is a terrible way to make ethical/moral judgments.

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  10. sdb, I agree sometimes subtle is more effective but then sometimes it’s compelety inadequate. Thus, it depends. Thus, also, rating systems and distinction between consumption suitable for adults or children. As regards Vinyl, I think it was necessary and helpful to the story. It would’ve been difficult to go subtle and understand the nature and degree of the dilemma the character was trying to manage or had even become desensitized to. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone or even for me. In fact, I don’t know if the story is compelling enough to watch a series. But, the underlying plot line is one a moral person could get behind, drugs and illicit behavior leads to death and destruction. No one comes out unscathed.

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  11. The WLC seems to focus more on “me” than the actors on the screen. Since it forbids lascivious books in the same breath as stage plays, there is no consideration for the fact that “those are real people.” Rather, the concern is chastity of body, mind, affections, words, and behavior.

    Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?

    A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections,[767] words,[768] and behavior;[769] and the preservation of it in ourselves and others;[770] watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;[771] temperance,[772] keeping of chaste company,[773] modesty in apparel;[774] marriage by those that have not the gift of continency,[775] conjugal love,[776] and cohabitation;[777] diligent labor in our callings;[778] shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.[779]
    Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?

    A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[780] are, adultery, fornication,[781] rape, incest,[782] sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;[783] all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;[784] all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;[785] wanton looks,[786] impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;[787] prohibiting of lawful,[788] and dispensing with unlawful marriages;[789] allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;[790] entangling vows of single life,[791] undue delay of marriage,[792] having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;[793] unjust divorce,[794] or desertion;[795] idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,[796] unchaste company;[797] lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;[798] and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.[799]

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  12. This is what happens when the Holy Scriptures and reformed tradition and standards are systematically replaced with the wisdom of men Darryl. (not a syllable of either here) YOU ain’t even buying this sophomoric confusion of categories you’re putting forth here anymore. You really are much better than this, but the church will never have that benefit while you persist in this idolatry. It really is heartbreaking.

    Your conscience has peeked through just enough for me to catch glimpses of it here and there. There is absolutely NO way that you actually believe the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who became flesh and dwelt among men is on your side on this. Just no way.

    There’s not even any real use in arguing over it at this point. Your pathetic plebes can sneer all they want. There’s people praying for you. The King of the universe always gets his way. You just can’t know how badly I want to see all that talent turned to His glory.

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  13. Well, but then there’s

    Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?

    A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[780] are, adultery, fornication,[781] rape, incest,[782] sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;[783] all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;[784] all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;[785] wanton looks,[786] impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;[787] prohibiting of lawful,[788] and dispensing with unlawful marriages;[789] allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;[790] entangling vows of single life,[791] undue delay of marriage,[792] having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;[793] unjust divorce,[794] or desertion;[795] idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,[796] unchaste company;[797] lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;[798] and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.[799]

    The Scripture on ref [798] is interesting also

    Ephesians 5:4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Ezekiel 23:14-16. And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion, Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity: And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea. Isaiah 23:15-17. And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. Isaiah 3:16. Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet. Mark 6:22. And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. Romans 13:13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 1 Peter 4:3. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.

    There’s probably enough meat there to chew on for a while without adding the “wife test.”

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  14. To add to all these considerations I would like to offer the consideration of ‘art’ done poorly or well and stories that are well written and compelling versus those poorly written and/or dull. Regardless of the morality play that may underline any of it.

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  15. Apropos of nothing, I see that “allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them” is forbidden along with gluttony and drunkeness in the 7th commandment. Are casseroles a violation of the spirit of the 7th commandment as well?

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  16. I guess this guy is a “new lifer”

    Mike Horton–“ I know what it means to be confessional: it’s to affirm that Scripture so clearly reveals “the faith once and for all delivered to the saints” that churches can recognize and affirm this faith together across all times and places. But what exactly is a “confessionalist”? Typically, this is a swear-word hurled at those who are simply confessional. However, sometimes it is worn proudly as a label by anti-pietists. If “pietism” sets the inward work of the Spirit over against the external means of grace, “confessionalism”—in some versions, at least—simply reverses the antithesis. This is a dangerous opposition that is foreign to the Reformed confession.”

    Horton— The Belgic Confession treats the marks of the true Christian (faith in Christ, following after righteousness, love of God and neighbor, mortification of the flesh) in the same article as the marks of the true church (Art 29). Although assurance of God’s favor is founded solely on his promise of justification in Christ, “we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 86). Personal faith, repentance, and growth in godliness are enjoined in the Westminster Confession (chapters 13-16).

    Horton—There is no hint of the means of grace being opposed to one’s personal relationship to Christ. It would be ironic—and tragic—if “confessionalism” became identified with positions that are actually inimical to the confessions themselves.

    https://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/entry/general/2011/04/19/piety-vs-pietism-confessional-vs-confessionalism

    But the more you actually define a word like “pietism”, the less you can use it as a swear word. Let it mean–“we don’t like it”.

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  17. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, this isn’t an argument. It’s a bluff.”

    I don’t understand. What kind of bluff and to whom? I am not accusing or contending. I’m asking. I honestly don’t understand.

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  18. No sweat, Jeff. And that Ezekiel proof text is very interesting. It’s really vulgar itself, especially the surrounding verses. God chose to display sinfulness as adultery. Hmmmm interesting. I wonder if he was trying to make a point.

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  19. sdb and Jeff, so there is no difference between depicting sin and committing it? I’m not sure either of you would much like where that leads, e.g. bye-bye classic novels.

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  20. Walton says: “The WLC seems to focus more on “me” than the actors on the screen.”

    Question 99: What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?

    Last half of the answer:

    “…What God forbids, is at no time to be done;: What he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto. That: What is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.”

    Don’t sell the assembly short my friend. They would be aghast and appalled and weep bitterly at what is not only tolerated, but celebrated under the banner of reformed orthodoxy and Christian “liberty” today. Dr. Hart is a historian par excellence. NOBODY knows that better than he does. Oh yes he does.

    He is an elder and therefore far more accountable too. He knows that too. I simply refuse to believe that the Lord our God is going to leave him here.

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  21. Except for the cases when watching certain movies causes me to sin (and im not denying that there certainly are cases), I don’t see how that applies. It probably comes down to how you define occasions and appearances. Is shopping at Walmart an occasion or appearance of greed? Can you eat with gluttons?

    Just to clarify, I definitely think there are real temptations to be guarded against concerning movies and stuff.

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  22. Let’s ask Dr. Hart, certainly the most qualified among us, if he thinks that the historic reformed church would have thought that what Challies describes would be included in their meaning of q. 99.

    Dr, Hart?

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  23. Greg, you asserted that I don’t really mean what I wrote. That’s not an argument. It’s a bluff that you know my psychology.

    So make an argument. Why is it okay for my wife to look at men’s genitalia when she examines them as a physician?

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  24. D. G. Hart Ali, “Jesus: keep living by the same standard to which we have attained”
    Now you’re making it up.

    You can’t make this kind of stuff up, DG. It’s right there in the book.
    Paul’s directive was to stay in line spiritually and keep progressing in sanctification by the same principles that had brought them to this point in their spiritual growth (cf. 1 Thess 3:10; 1 Pet 2:2) [note, MacArthur Study Bible, Philippians 3:16]

    don’t hear that much, or at all, it in some places these days ,even though we are people of the same book… must be..development..or progress.. or something

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  25. Mr. Chailles writes his post to aid men in their sanctification. Does he make such a mess of things that he deserves ridicule? I do not think so. He could have finished with 100 qualifications to satisfy the obscurantist interests of Old Life readers but he did not. Instead he used a fairly common method of putting us in the shoes of neighbor to plead for better love of neighbor. I do not need him to make the world safe for female proctologists before I can appreciate his point.

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  26. Is there a sudden rash of covenant wives running off for cosmetic enhancement to play a nude scene on film?

    It’s good a man loves his wife and admires her overall beauty, but put down the Crack pipe if you are making such a comparison to the unicorns on film

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  27. John, so actual application to life pursuits and realities is now obscurantist and the death of a thousand qualifications? Some of us actually are tired of such simpleton, drive by attempts to animate Christian piety.

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  28. @Jeff – I see… That makes a lot more sense, and now that I think about it, I seem to recall that came up here before. A few more threads and I suppose it will sink in eventually.

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  29. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, you asserted that I don’t really mean what I wrote. That’s not an argument. It’s a bluff that you know my psychology.”
    I thought you meant you were making a bluff. I really did. So far from my thoughts was the idea of myself bluffing you, that it didn’t even occur to me. I don’t play games with people Darryl.

    Dr. Hart says: “So make an argument. Why is it okay for my wife to look at men’s genitalia when she examines them as a physician?”
    Maybe it’s not. That’s what Calvin thought.
    Deuteronomy 25
    11-“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, 12-then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.

    Calvin’s commentary:

    This Law is apparently harsh, but its severity skews how very pleasing to God is modesty, whilst, on the other hand, He abominates indecency; for, if in the heat of a quarrel, when the agitation of the mind is an excuse for excesses, it was a crime thus heavily punished, for a woman to take hold of the private parts of a man who was not her husband, much less would God have her lasciviousness pardoned, if a woman were impelled by lust to do anything of the sort. Neither can we doubt but that the judges, in punishing obscenity, were bound to argue from the less to the greater. A threat is also added, lest the severity of the punishment should influence their minds to be tender and remiss ill inflicting it…

    If Calvin is right, God doesn’t seem to allow any reason, not even saving her husband, to be an acceptable excuse for this. This IS another modern practice after all, where we think what’s normative in the United States must be approved by God. Would it be so shocking that a pagan nation got this wrong too?

    I’ve answered your question. Now would you please be so good as to answer mine directly above you in my exchange with Walton? Would the assembly have considered what Challies describes, to be a violation of the principle they set forth in question 99 of the larger catechism? Thus applying all that follows in their exposition of the Decalogue to their treatment of others as well as their own practice? Thank you.

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  30. B**bs, the problem is usually b**bs. If we make too much of them — positively (let’s see ’em all the time!) or negatively (shriek! horror! I saw a b**b!) — then we go wrong. Common sense. God put ’em on the front of people, just below eye level. B**bs happen. They even had ’em in Geneva.

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  31. CW, I think I saw some pietiest test once trying to see what the acceptable level of naughty bits was for artwork to the “usual folk’ who go cuckoo for cocoa puffs over the smut on TV.

    some condemned the nakedness of little angels in paintings from the 1400s

    said it made them doubt their faith, it was so disgusting

    bloom where you are planted.

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  32. to me it’s “an issue of the heart”

    i’m not totally immune to this struggle and find it’s best to stay out of it totally, with some kind of support and worry for those beating people over the head with a black Thompson Chain Reference KJV over it

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  33. Greg, is it a sin disagree with Calvin or the Assembly?

    The question is Challies. I find his argument to be weak. I gave my reasons. Your reasons for finding mine weak are historical sources.

    I don’t see how following Calvin and the Divines helps us navigate this world.

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  34. @ DH – Yes. I can appreciate that, which is one reason I read OL far more than the aforementioned blog. However, I appreciate the simple core of Chailles rhetoric on this point – jealousy for one’s wife is highly instructive for one’s consumption of sexually-laced entertainment. If I am suppose to be discomforted by how my own employments hinder others from keeping the 4th commandament (WLC 118), then I can be discomforted by how my choice of unchaste company (WLC 138) hinders others from keeping the 7th. I grant Chailles this also: his saying, “Do not sin,” is not the same as his saying, “I am without sin.”

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  35. John, that’s the question. If “do not sin” is different from “I am without sin,” then can one apply that same distinction making to “depicting” and “committing”? If depicting sin is the same as committing sin, it opens the can on all sorts of worms. So Challies might do better to dial it down and just admit he’s ill-at-ease with consuming certain depictions and naturally just as ill-at-ease with his wife depicting. But to suggest that it is sin to depict and consume those depictions seems over the top and what earns anti-pietist scorn.

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  36. @zrim
    I seem to have lost my response. To be sure it was brilliant, unassailable, and would have convinced you that I am right about everything….or not.

    Anyway, in short, seeing sexually explicit material is different than reading or hearing about it. While there are certainly gray areas where believers absolutely should be free to follow their conscience, I also think there are areas that are clearly sinful as articulated by both the WLC and HC discussions on the 7th commandment. To follow the lingo of the HC, we are required to avoid material that “may” incite unchaste looks. I think that has to rule out sexually explicit graphic media forms. There is a big difference between David going to Bathsheba, fading to black, and seeing them lying in bed under the covers the next morning (a depiction of David’s sin) and a graphic depiction of them having sex.

    Viewing sex (and erotic poses) arouses in a way that watching the depiction of bank robbery or murder doesn’t. This is why our confessions do not have a discussion about not viewing sinful material in their discussion of the other commandments.

    As far as the whole doctor thing, I think the same reasoning that leads to acts of mercy being an exception for working on the Lord’s day applies here too. A prosecutor making a case a against a pedophile, a doctor examining genitals, or etc… may have to view things as part of their work that we shouldn’t normally do (just as a policeman or soldier may need to confine or kill in a way that is improper for private citizens).

    All that being said, given the wide spread use of pornography among professing Christians, debating what side of the line an R-rated movie falls on seems a bit silly.

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  37. How about this, what if our attempts to apply christian piety to common engagements ends up trivializing sin, law and the gospel? What if a pastoral application would have a lot more to do with maturity(leaving aside childish things(porn as sex)) and pulling someone out of their navel-gazing(Challies litmus test for ethical/christian discernment) and pointing them in a direction that indirectly sanctifies these other areas(the law has no power and it’s not as if I don’t know what it’s saying). Otherwise mere asceticism qualifies as sanctification and I can get that done just fine without Jesus.

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  38. sdb, I’m not so sure it’s at all accurate to say that depictions of violence and murder don’t arouse and incite. You might reconsider that one.

    Agreed that what a doctor does with a human body in his examining room is different from another situation, but it’s not as clear that just because I’m not wild about my wife depicting sex that somehow that leads to my refraining from viewing others depict it. The reasoning just doesn’t work the way Challies wants it to; he’s trying too hard. It may work with the already convinced (like Greg), but for those of us fundamentally for liberty and conscience, meh.

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  39. In fact, if someone came to me ‘confessing’ his sin of porn use, I’m pretty sure I’d tell him to grow up. And if it were a teenager or a particularly fragile conscience, the last thing I would do would be to encourage them to bear down and really struggle with it and try to overcome it. Oftentimes if you just defuse the situation and take all the angst out of it(rob it of it’s power) it resolves itself quite well. Again, Challies version of piety not only is usually ineffective but actually tends to exacerbate a problem.

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  40. Dr. Hart says: “I don’t see how following Calvin and the Divines helps us navigate this world.”
    It’s the same world Darryl. Different packaging. Thank you, this is very telling. You will abandon binding Presbyterian standards, which you have publicly committed to uphold, and the witness of the historical church, if it threatens your pagan media entertainment.

    Yes sir, you absolutely DO know that no person embracing such bloody, blasphemous, pornographic “art”, produced with live people, would last 5 minutes in a position of influence or leadership in historic reformed orthodoxy.

    You really should thank God you live today, in a grotesquely compromised OPC, than back then when you would have been tried, and at the very least, removed from office and the table on the spot. Had you showed them this crap on a television set in the 17th century, you would have been marked as a moral heretic and dealt with as such.

    This is not even a fall into adultery or fornication or a struggle with sin which even the great apostle admitted to in the 7th of Romans. This is the proclamation of evil as good and embracing it as an object of gospel liberty.

    Call it a bluff or whatever you wish sir. There is no possible way you believe the God who reveals Himself in that bible is okay with this. I don’t think you can type that. Try it please. Say that the God of the bible and WCF II agrees with you on this topic. Put that on this screen please.
    ===========================================================
    I asked you the exact question Challies asks, the very first day I knew you 2 years ago. “What if it were your wife?” Remember? I’d link to it, but the comments are curiously gone now. Your answer was, “I can’t really say”

    So I’m asking you again. Forget doctors and all these rationalizing diversion tactics. These shows and movies you love. Would you be ok if it were your wife and would she be ok if it were you? We ARE talking about about what Challies describes now. Not doctors and emergency personnel. Would God consider that porneia? Answer that question directly please sir.

    (I am not yelling btw. I promise)

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  41. John Hartley, Thanks.

    Not everyone agrees with what constitutes “sexually laced.” Doesn’t mean people shouldn’t worry about it. But there are 9 other commandments.

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  42. Sean, Martyn Lloyd-Jones pretty much agreed with your suggested approach — said focusing on the problem, studying it, reading all the latest books and studying the latest coping techniques made things worse more often than not. Don’t remember which book he wrote this in.

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  43. CW, Challies is talking about the sin of the “performers. As have I since day one here. Could you address that please? Forget about ME ME ME, and the effect it has on ME for a minute. What about them? And can I ask you to answer the question I asked Darryl about his wife about yours?

    “So I’m asking you again. Forget doctors and all these rationalizing diversion tactics. These shows and movies you love. Would you be ok if it were your wife and would she be ok if it were you? We ARE talking about about what Challies describes now. Not doctors and emergency personnel. Would God consider that porneia? Answer that question directly please sir. “

    That’s the topic Challies is addressing. What do YOU say and what would your wife say. THAT question please. Can you do that?

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  44. Chorts, so, some baptist came to the same conclusion? I’ma have to rethink the whole thing now. But then there’s the sun and a dog’s butt and twice a day clocks, so, maybe.

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  45. Greg, we dealt with all that yesterday. We’ve pushed on to the faulty pieitistic impulse that commends such hypotheticals

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  46. Sorry, Greg — I find myself without a wife at the moment. And — and I believe I speak for everyone here — granting the fact that it gets hot in Motown in the summer, please keep your shirt on, man.

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  47. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Non answers as usual. Maybe Darryl will surprise me.I want to hear him say that the God of the bible and WCF II agrees with him on this topic. That the holy one of Israel would find it artistic and edifying for him to do what Challies describes with another woman and his wife doing it with another man. I can’t even hardly type that without feeling like I need a spiritual shower. 😦

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  48. Greg, don’t beat yourself up too much. Let someone else do that for you. And this isn’t even close to my fault.

    Roxanne! you don’t need to put on that red light.
    ROXANNE!!!

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  49. Greg, tone it down. Why go from me to the OPC? And why make this personal?

    My response is that my wife does things of which I don’t approve. I imagine most husbands live with that, and parents with children.

    So why is nudity so rotten to the core? Are you as worried about the fourth as the seventh commandment?

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  50. But, Greg, even if you are as worried about the 4th as the 7th, the dial down is still recommended. Decibel 10 helps nobody.

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  51. Oftentimes if you just defuse the situation and take all the angst out of it(rob it of it’s power) it resolves itself quite well.

    Dear sean, please take your head out of the sand.

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  52. Ali, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight.
    Walk the street for money, you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right…….Wait for it…….
    ROXANNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you don’t have to put on that red light………..Wait……
    ROXANNE!!!!!!!!!

    But Ali, it’s twwue, the bible coveys as much Ooh, convey, stick that in your wooden(no pun intended) literalist biblicism pipe and smoke it.
    ROXANNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  53. sean: In fact, if someone came to me ‘confessing’ his sin of porn use, I’m pretty sure I’d tell him to grow up.

    Good suggestion, the last part. Grow up sean.

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  54. (I am not yelling btw. I promise) is what I said.
    I’m demonstrating that what passes for Westminster Presbyterianism today is a diluted and morally compromised caricature of the standards she herself set centuries ago and pretends to still maintain. My sincere heartfelt hope is that you will one day fully surrender to what you absolutely DO know to be the truth. THEN, maybe some of the rest of what we both want will have credibility on your lips. Yes sir, that really IS my thinking. I aim high in Jesus name. (I’m actually being quite serious)

    Let me ask yet one more time:

    We ARE talking about what Challies describes now. Not doctors and emergency personnel. Would God consider that porneia? (reread his article) Answer that question directly please sir. You’ve already conceded that the assembly and Calvin would say yes. I’m now asking you, again, to say that the God of the bible and WCF II agrees with you on this topic. Is that not a legitimate question? Are you willing to so much as let it flutter across your mind what it mans if He does not?! Seriously Darryl, I’m asking from the heart here.

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  55. We were talking about how you don’t take Greg seriously and he means it. I tried to sing about the issue but everybody’s a critic these days.

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  56. Greg, you on intellectual steroids go from me to generalizations about contemporary Presbyterianism.

    We can have a conversation? One that raises questions about Tim Challies? Or is it a conversation that leads you to conclude my destruction (and the OPC’s).

    I see artistic expressions that include nudity. I can distinguish kinds that are designed to titillate and those that aren’t.

    Can you distinguish between a prudery that should send you off to the desert with the monks, and a genuine concern for keeping God’s law?

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  57. @gtt re: sin of performers
    I take the position that the sin of the performers is irrelevant. I think that we can agree that offering a sacrifice to a false god is a major sin. In fact, it is impossible for me to eat the meat sacrificed to an idol without someone violating a major commandment. Now, as Paul notes in the text, if your conscience accuses you then it is sinful for you to eat meat sacrificed to an idol. But that doesn’t make it sinful for me. The fact that it is impossible for a football player to pursue his career without breaking the 4th commandment doesn’t mean that I can’t root for my team on Monday even if I wouldn’t want my son playing and violating the Lord’s Day (which again I think we can agree the bible teaches is sinful).

    Watching programs with sexually explicit content is not sinful because the performers are pretending (or actually as the case may be) engaging in sinful behavior. It is sinful because we are commanded by God to guard our eyes and in the words of the catechisms “to avoid material that “may” incite unchaste looks” or “to engage in corrupt communication or listen to it”.

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  58. @zrim

    I’m not so sure it’s at all accurate to say that depictions of violence and murder don’t arouse and incite. You might reconsider that one.

    I didn’t mean to imply that depictions of violence can’t arouse or incite – “Taken” was marketed as revenge porn for a reason right? But I would say that sexual arousal is different and it is the difference that informs the prohibitions/warnings in the catechisms (and Paul’s warnings) about avoiding corrupt communication or listening to it (to paraphrase WLC) in the context of the 7th that is missing in the 6th and 8th. In other words, it is not the case that all sexual depictions always arouse and violent depictions never arouse, but the former is much stronger than the latter.

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  59. In fact, if someone came to me ‘confessing’ his sin of porn use, I’m pretty sure I’d tell him to grow up. And if it were a teenager or a particularly fragile conscience, the last thing I would do would be to encourage them to bear down and really struggle with it and try to overcome it. Oftentimes if you just defuse the situation and take all the angst out of it(rob it of it’s power) it resolves itself quite well. Again, Challies version of piety not only is usually ineffective but actually tends to exacerbate a problem.

    I think there is some wisdom there. Back in my youth group days, all of those lectures about not having sex and how awesome it would be if we just saved it for our wedding night did more to get me thinking about sex than to keep me on the straight and narrow. Teenage awkwardness was far more effective than promises of great sex a decade down the road.

    The data I’ve seen puts the fraction of men who view porn at 90%. I remember stopping in a convenience store in my grandparents retirement village. The magazine stand was remarkably “colorful” – hope springs eternal or something…. Porn isn’t just a thing for teens and college kids. Passing off struggling with lust as merely needing to grow up seems more than a bit naive. That being said, it is probably better than the 24/7 naval gazing/accountability partner/daily pratter about “struggling” that seems to do little more than remind everyone what all is out there.

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  60. Let’s all sit around and talk, think, and comment about all the things we don’t or shouldn’t watch or think about. And let’s think about what we think others are thinking about when they watch things we don’t think they should watch. And comment on that, duh. Let’s assume it’s as bad as all that, ’cause what could be more productive and conducive to holiness and fellowship than all that. This sort of thing has never gone wrong before — can I get a hay-hay-uhn?

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  61. sdb, not that I would know, but thought I remember an analysis of promise keepers accountability groups actually creating an envrionment of permissiveness, with all the guys confessing their porn failures. Plus, gross. But beyond that, there is Paul’s whole bit about being alive apart from the law but then the law came and so did the sinful increase. Law good, fallen nature bad. Finally, I think possibly some people should go to a strip club or a drug den and just get an actual sense of it(save the drug den for the morning after). I think they’d find the reality much less appealing than the celluloid sell of it. Which might just ‘cure’ them right up. But beyond all that Scorcese has earned the right to be viewed first and judged later.

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  62. sdb, as I read the prohibitions listed in 6-8 it isn’t exactly clear how the 7th is substantively different, such that “In the Cut” is more of a problem than “The Last of the Mohicans.” I’ve heard this philosophy before and have never understood it, that sex is in a category of vice all its own. It does align with the obsession with sex that someone like Challies tends to display and that similar to the wider culture he wants to critique, but I must admit it just comes across as two sides of a skewed (sex) coin.

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  63. Also, what is more cringe-worthy than going to the local coffee shop and over-hearing a guys’ “community group” or “d-group”? Three guesses as to what they’re talking about.

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  64. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, you on intellectual steroids go from me to generalizations about contemporary Presbyterianism.”
    If what myself, Calvin and the divines/historical church say is true, your views, and the communion that by your good standing presence condones them, are by definition in serious spiritual trouble. That has been my contention since day one. Please read on before allowing your blood to boil.

    Dr. Hart asks: “We can have a conversation? One that raises questions about Tim Challies?”
    I have no questions about Challies on this. No biblically informed Christian could. His is the unassailable (slam dunk) dearly historical reformed view. You’ve conceded as much yourself. The burden is on YOU to overthrow this centuries old standard. A standard declared in your own denominations foundational documents as hosted at your very own website and which have been extensively copied and pasted verbatim in this exchange. My interpretation of which again, you have yourself conceded is correct.

    Dr. Hart asks: “Or is it a conversation that leads you to conclude my destruction (and the OPC’s).”
    Lord Jesus help me with this man!! 😀 no nO NO. Its’ just the opposite Darryl. I don’t want to see ANYbody’s destruction. I want to see you turned to the truth of YOUR OWN church’s high biblical standard and then see you have a glorious positive influence on Presbyterianism generally and the OPC in particular. There. I said it.

    Do you not understand that the church’s witness to the lost is neutralized if we are paying them God’s money to damn themselves? Your spiritual ancestors absolutely understood this. Didn’t they.

    Dr. Hart asks: “I see artistic expressions that include nudity. I can distinguish kinds that are designed to titillate and those that aren’t.”
    You’re a real smart guy. Nobody earns 5 degrees by being an idiot. I’ve also read alot of what you’ve written and watched many hours of you on youtube. Some of it excellent. I know you’re in there and I know you hear me. Read Challies article again please. We both know that much of the stuff that is promoted and praised on this site falls into that category.

    I finally beg of thee sir. Hat in hand. We ARE talking about what Challies describes now. Full on true to life sexual contact minus actual penetration. Not doctors and emergency personnel or statues of angels or even paintings or literature. Would God consider your shows and movies porneia? ANSWER THAT QUESTION DIRECTLY PLEASE SIR. You’ve already conceded that the assembly and Calvin would say yes. I’m now asking you, again, to say that the God of the bible and WCF II agree with you on this topic. Is that not a legitimate question? Are you willing to so much as let it flutter across your mind what it mans if He does not?! Seriously Darryl, I’m asking from the heart here.

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  65. It’s me, myself, I, Calvin, the historical church, and the power rangers who disagree with you Dr. Hart, there is just NO WAY you can be a Christian and disagree with Tim Challies’ virtue-signaling faith!!!!1111!!!

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  66. “sdb, not that I would know, but thought I remember an analysis of promise keepers accountability groups actually creating an envrionment of permissiveness, with all the guys confessing their porn failures. Plus, gross. ”
    Sounds about right….ewwww.

    ” But beyond all that Scorcese has earned the right to be viewed first and judged later.” Could be. I’m a total philistine when it comes to tv and movies. Apart from the fighting Irish from Sept-Nov, march madness, the Spurs from Apr-June, and the occasional ppv boxing match I don’t watch too much tv. I think I ‘m too holy or something (or more realistically can’t get my wife to switch off project runway).

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  67. @z regarding sex being in its own category, I think the exegetical basis is partly the warnings in proverbs and Paul’s statement to,

    Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

    To put it crudely, I suspect the key difference is that there is no analog masturbating when it comes to witnessing someone lying, stealing, or killing. But to be honest I never really have thoughtball that carefully about what Paul means here. I just took it for granted.

    Regarding the obsession with sex, accountability, etc… yeah I think the yrr types and broader evangelicalism would be wise to be a lot more discrete and let unmentionables stay unmentionable. Which of course I just violated in this comment…I am duly ashamed.

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  68. SDB: The data I’ve seen puts the fraction of men who view porn at 90%.

    Per the study, that’s “have ever, once.” Is that a meaningful statistic?

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  69. Zrim: sdb and Jeff, so there is no difference between depicting sin and committing it?

    Not sure how that conclusion was drawn…

    My point is that there are at least two sins in WLC that are relevant here.

    (1) Consuming media that are “provocations to uncleanness”, and
    (2) Producing the same.

    There is substantial, but not coextensive, overlap here with “depictions of sin” in that many, but not all, “depictions of sin” are intended to provoke to uncleanness, to use the awkward 17th c phrase.

    That doesn’t get us to banning all novels. It does get us to thinking about ways in which media provoke us — not just sexually, but in terms of all ten commandments.

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  70. SDB: To put it crudely, I suspect the key difference is that there is no analog masturbating when it comes to witnessing someone lying, stealing, or killing.

    Good point. Maybe cutting.

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  71. Greg, I’m not talking about what Challies describes. That’s where you go wrong. I’m talking about the way he frames what he sees. I think that’s a problem. I think you conflate nudity with Challies’ attempt to show how wrong it is. I think the attempt is silly.

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  72. Jeff, right, but if “producing and consuming media which provokes uncleanness” then how does it not lead to having to refrain from taking in some Shakespeare, which arguably does so. Depictions don’t just entail the full breadth of the commandments as you say, but aren’t all visually immediate either. Some of them are more mediate and drawn for our minds with words.

    But at the risk of straining gnats, I’m still not sure why any of this isn’t simply ascribed to letting it be left to each one’s conscience. But have you noticed how those persuaded in the direction of abstinence tend to be the same who want those who aren’t to emulate them? It’s rare for the participators to prescribe consumption for their counterparts, even if they think it could do them some good. It’s just bad form.

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  73. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, I’m not talking about what Challies describes. That’s where you go wrong. I’m talking about the way he frames what he sees. I think that’s a problem. I think you conflate nudity with Challies’ attempt to show how wrong it is. I think the attempt is silly.”
    Is what he does describe sinful to “perform”?

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  74. “b, sd, and Jeff, eating disorders, hello. ”

    Watching “Last of the Mohicans” incites bulimia? I mean, the schmalz made me throw up a bit in my mouth, so maybe so…

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  75. D. G. Hart: Greg, you missed the point. What if the question isn’t whether it’s sinful? What if other questions should inform how we assess life?

    don’t think he missed the point DG; think he’s boiling down all ‘other questions’ to THE question- as Jesus did: “ I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:29

    -Therefore we also have as our ambition to be pleasing to Him. 2 Cor 5:9

    -trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord; not participating in unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even exposing them Eph 5:10-11

    -so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who examines our hearts. 1 Thess 2:4

    -and we urge each other: keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Pet 2:12

    -whatever, then, we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:22

    -therefore we ask: that the God of peace equip us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever; that our love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Heb13:20-21;Phil 1:9-11

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  76. “Per the study, that’s “have ever, once.” Is that a meaningful statistic?”
    Fair enough. That was lazy on my part. 90% ever could include people who did and stopped. This news story puts the number of adult men who view at least monthly at about 2/3’s. For 18-30 it is about 80%. What is curious is that this study puts the number of men who have never viewed at 2-3%. That strikes me as curious when the other study put it at 90% who had. Margin of error is part of it I suppose. At any rate, I would be very surprised if the majority of men in the typical conservative prot congregation were not regularly viewing.

    I don’t think mental games along the lines of “image that was your wife or daughter doing that” is very helpful. Nor is banging on the drum of the dangers of porn Sunday after Sunday and setting up countless “accountability” groups all that helpful. I think Sean’s advice on that front is basically right. But it is pretty silly to worry about boobs on HBO when 2/3rds of self identified Christian men are looking at actual porn at least monthly.

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  77. which brings to mind sdb,, what if there ought be other questions to inform how we assess life?

    ramifications, full weight – of the confidence we have before God, that, if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask… the certainly God has heard and given heed to the voice of our prayer …we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 John 4:14-15

    If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened Ps 66:18

    show wives honor as a fellow heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Pet 3:7

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  78. …and too brings to mind the other post discussion of the Lord’s pictures in scripture – how He uses actual sexual immorality to be such a depiction of all defilement, harlotry, unfaithfulness.

    Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.
    THINK.

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  79. Ali, Babylon can be interpreted in many useful ways.

    Where did Jesus outright reject those who came to him with a life of immorality, did he make them stop before they were confessed believers? Do we know what they did with the rest of their life, maybe they stop being a prostitute and the next morning started a new career as a doctor?

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  80. D. G. Hart:Ali, if all of life is either sin or obedience, should you separate colors when you do laundry or not?

    DG, do not try to deflect by bringing up my weaknesses (laundry sorting)
    anyway, did you read…
    1)that our love may abound still more and more
    2) in real knowledge and all discernment,
    3) so that you may approve the things that are

    4) excellent

    Phil 1:9-11

    have a good day

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  81. Would you let your son play an acting role in the move “The Sandlot”? A young boy steals his step-father’s autographed baseball, hits it over a fence, lies to step-father about it, then trespasses in an attempt to get the ball back. Another boy fakes passing out at the pool and lands a seductive kiss on the lips of the girl performing CPR. A lot if sins were depicted in this most innocent of films. If I can’t even watch this movie then there probably isn’t a single movie, play, opera, ballet that I could ever watch again.

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  82. Scofflaw, don’t forget committing double negatives: “I’ve been coming here every summer of my adult life, and every summer there she is oiling and lotioning, lotioning and oiling, smiling. I can’t take this no more!”

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  83. My first female doctor was also a Muslim. So we broke through gender, ethnic, and religious barriers. All with a simple cough.

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  84. Muddy, don’t forget your pioneering efforts in men’s yoga pants and saddle butter. Revolutionary. Well, maybe not since Caitlyn, but for the heartland shock inducing certainly.

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  85. sdb,

    Watching programs with sexually explicit content is not sinful because the performers are pretending (or actually as the case may be) engaging in sinful behavior. It is sinful because we are commanded by God to guard our eyes and in the words of the catechisms “to avoid material that “may” incite unchaste looks” or “to engage in corrupt communication or listen to it”.

    How is two people making out with their clothes off that aren’t married and being filmed by others not engaging in sinful behavior? So it’s ok for unmarried men to make out with women in the nude so long as its “make-believe”? Would that work on your session if a fellow single church member said, “yeah, but it was just pretend”?

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  86. Nate, how’s this supposed to work for actors? And why is it necessary for my session to know everything I do? Not sure nudity has a lot of bearing on it, necessarily, how about two people just portraying illicit sex?

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  87. Nate, isn’t that essentially the logic they used in past generations to condemn acting altogether, as in it’s a form of lying? But that only works when one doesn’t have an alternative category between truth and falsehood (pretend, mimicry, fantasy, imagine).

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  88. Zrim: Jeff, right, but if “producing and consuming media which provokes uncleanness” then how does it not lead to having to refrain from taking in some Shakespeare, which arguably does so. Depictions don’t just entail the full breadth of the commandments as you say, but aren’t all visually immediate either. Some of them are more mediate and drawn for our minds with words.

    But at the risk of straining gnats, I’m still not sure why any of this isn’t simply ascribed to letting it be left to each one’s conscience.

    And you probably know me well enough to know that that’s where I go.

    One of my former colleagues and good friends was in the occult scene before coming to faith. Accordingly, she refrained from all manner of fantasy — Tolkien, Lawhead, whatever — because it was a legitimate temptation for her.

    And of course, she understood that to be a boundary for herself and not for others.

    Zrim: But have you noticed how those persuaded in the direction of abstinence tend to be the same who want those who aren’t to emulate them? It’s rare for the participators to prescribe consumption for their counterparts, even if they think it could do them some good. It’s just bad form.

    Not sure if you’ve checked out the “marital relations” section of Christian bookstores recently, but abstinence is back shelf. The “act of marriage” sells like hotcakes.

    But back to the point, are you objecting to Challies on the grounds (1) that he lays out a bad test? Or (2) that he is attempting to lay out a test at all? Or (3) that he is attempting moral reasoning in the public square?

    I understood DGH to be arguing (1), with which I agree. Greg is upset about (3). What is your position here?

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  89. Just to pop in here briefly. I’m not upset with Challies at all Jeff. His case is unassailable from an actually Christian point of view. Which can be quite scarce on this site. Ya know what though? I no longer include Darryl in this assessment. I think he actually does have a gospel pulse. Faint though it may be, it’s there.

    Nate says: “How is two people making out with their clothes off that aren’t married and being filmed by others not engaging in sinful behavior? So it’s ok for unmarried men to make out with women in the nude so long as its “make-believe”? Would that work on your session if a fellow single church member said, “yeah, but it was just pretend”?”
    All snark aside Darryl. Honest sir. I’m asking you to forget about everything else and deny Nate’s point here. With every bit of undeserving humility I have, I’m asking you to say that what Nate describes is not sin. That you feel a biblical case can be made that God accepts this as art. That the people, especially young ones, over which you have been given spiritual charge, are well served by your advising them that the Holy One of Israel will bless their acting this way as long as they’re ok with it and it’s done in front of cameras for a movie or television show.

    Can you please sir, simply say that what I’ve just said is true? Yes or no? That’s a ten second response I’m asking for. I don’t know that I’m capable of asking any more charitably and sincerely.

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  90. Jeff, I avoid Xian bookstores as a matter of conscience. Only half kidding.

    But I’m in camp 1 with you. What the Greg’s don’t seem to get in their accusations of the 1s as lax is that there are other ways to gauge what’s fit for Christian consumption other than Challies’ sort of sophomoric reasoning. My teetotalers used to do something similar, claiming that one reason abstinence was best was that a recovering drunk might see you imbibing, be tempted to follow suit and fall off the wagon. Sounds almost convincing at first glance, but when you think about it for more than five minutes it doesn’t square with how the real world actually works. Am I really that persuasive to someone I don’t know (I’m not even persuasive among those I do know)? Am I really that responsible for strangers’ own behavior? Are recovering addicts really that susceptible? Not if you listen to serious ones who encourage non-addicts to imbibe in their company. Etc.

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  91. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink
    Just to pop in here briefly. I’m not upset with Challies at all Jeff. His case is unassailable from an actually Christian point of view.
    >>>>>

    Do you mind a Catholic agreeing with you? Well said, Greg.

    I still like Challies quite a bit. He stood up strong for the unborn as well.

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  92. Muddy, phew. You’re all good then.

    For some reason this thread has me all nostalgic.

    …………..past the church and the steeple, the laundry on the hill…………..

    ……………at my bedside empty pocket, a foot without a sock…………………

    ……………but it’s not my conscience that hates to be untrue…………………..

    here’s your not so subtle-subtle, sdb. No mental pictures

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  93. It is EXACTLY a slam dunk. Challies was not talking about women doctors. This is what he was talking about.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those actors are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your voyeuristic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by watching it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ. God forbid that you would ever accept your wife baring herself for our entertainment! So God forbid that you would ever tolerate another woman baring herself for yours!

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  94. The Little Mermaid asks: “Do you mind a Catholic agreeing with you? Well said, Greg. “
    We are in mortal disagreement on plenty already my dear. There is no need to make more where it doesn’t exist. Of course I don’t and thank you 🙂

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  95. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
    The Little Mermaid asks: “Do you mind a Catholic agreeing with you? Well said, Greg. “
    We are in mortal disagreement on plenty already my dear. There is no need to make more where it doesn’t exist. Of course I don’t and thank you :)>>>>>

    Thank you. This deeply grieves me, Greg. Here you have pastors and officers of Reformed churches – and I still respect many of Reformed teachers and Christians – showing moral confusion.

    Maybe they didn’t bother to read the whole article. To change the subject to whether or not a wife should be a doctor is a twisting of the true meaning of the article. Why?

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  96. Greg and Merm, the larger point is that Challies test is trivial and fails to do justice to the nature of sin and the tragedy of the human situation. The test is as sophomoric as the subject it deems to tackle; boobs. When the secular prophets do a better job of diagnosing, depicting and portraying fallen man, the shame doesn’t then lie with the secular prophets for having done so.

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  97. Jeff, I agree with 1 as well.

    @GTT, here is what I don’t get about your or Tim’s reasoning. It is just as impossible to sacrifice animals to idols without sinning as it is to “act” in a dirty movie. Further I would not want my wife to work in a market that required her to sacrifice to an idol. So by your logic I am sinning by buying meat sacrificed to idols because I am subsidizing idolatry. However, Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us that if our conscience does not accuse us, it is ok to eat meat that required some one else to sin (and that we wouldn’t want our wife to prepare).

    Now this isn’t to say one shouldn’t avoid explicit entertainment. Rather, it is a critique of his moral reasoning. It would be like a pastor telling you to avoid drunkeness because all that beer will make you fat. Well ok, maybe one shouldn’t get drunk, but the effect on your waistline is not the reason why. Tim’s argument (piper makes a similar one in his seven reasons to avoid nudity) is fundamentally flawed. It conflates Christian living with a bourgeois lifestyle – think the blue nose dismissing such common behavior…would you want your daughter around such riffraff? This mindset is antithetical to the gospel. The HC and WLC tell us why we should not view such material, and it isn’t because we wouldn’t want our wives doing it.

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  98. Sean,
    That sounded suspiciously like rock and/or roll music. You could’ve warned me before subjecting me to those devilish rhythms. I needed to cleanse my aural palette with this… Enjoy:

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  99. But, Ariel, your side might get a little further if you could see a category for wisdom. The Bible actually doesn’t forbid what those actors are doing. What it forbids is adultery, not faux-adultery. It’s a bit like carrying on flirtatiously but non-sexually with another. That’s dangerous and unwise, but it’s not really sinful. But something tells me you’re from the school that says there really is such a thing as “emotional adultery.”

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  100. sdb, that was turrible. Where’s your shame? Which reminds me of another great line;

    Priest: “Sister, where is your compassion?!”
    Sister: “Nowhere where you can get at it.”

    It doesn’t have to be relevant, just memorable.

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  101. There is no larger point guys. Your nakedness is showing. You are in chaos.

    Challies hit the bullseye with this one. His point is clear. Let me cut and paste it again. It’s not about women doctors.
    ————————

    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those actors are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your voyeuristic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by watching it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ. God forbid that you would ever accept your wife baring herself for our entertainment! So God forbid that you would ever tolerate another woman baring herself for yours!

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  102. Tlm try this:
    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those idolaters are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your gastronomic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by eating it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ. God forbid that you would ever accept your wife sacrificing meat to idols herself for our dinner! So God forbid that you would ever tolerate another woman sacrificing meat to idols for yours! Clearly it is intrinsically sinful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t that what the apostle Paul said?

    Or maybe Tim’s reasoning is faulty and there are different (better) reasons one should avoid such fare.

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  103. Just finished True Detective season 2. The first two scenes in the final episode were better than the entire rest of the show. It was entertaining though and had its moments. Now I’m gonna try season 1 probly.

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  104. Greg, going through the motions at church is bad, right?

    So going through the motions of sin is better than actually sinning, right?

    It’s a simplistic question. Why does an actor portraying Hitler not fall under your or Challies’ condemnation? Possibly because the naked body titillates you? So you shouldn’t see naked bodies. But even some people can eat meat offered to idols.

    BTW, this notion that Challies is unassailable and that I barely have a gospel pulse is further indication of analysis gone awry. No one is that good.

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  105. Mermaid, why don’t you ever express the slightest twinge over your holy father’s moral and theological confusion?

    No bias on your part, right? Just Christian virtue and reverence for the Virgin all the time.

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  106. Another reason why the New Calvinism flesh-test fails:

    Piper’s distinction between violence, which is always fake, and nudity, which is never fake, seems to me very compelling. A gunfight between characters is entirely staged. The blood is phony, the bullets are rubber, and the explosions are highly controlled. But a nude actor is really nude, and thus, the audience does not have the epistemological distance from the sexual that it does have from the violent. If a superhero film were produced with real guns that really shot real extras, nobody would find it praiseworthy.

    Naked bodies on screen are never fake? Then what’s the difference between porn and non-porn? Do New Calvinists really get knock-kneed every time they see skin?

    All the more reason you don’t let your wife go into medicine. Those bodies aren’t fake; they’re not even on the screen.

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  107. D. G. Hart: Ali, if all of life is either sin or obedience, should you separate colors when you do laundry or not?

    ok, thought about it while sorting laundry, DG – I must separate black and white (colors);

    Color exists in the mind of the perceiver -how much of the color present in light, the-degree reflected; when one perceives black- there is no perception

    whatever not from faith = sin; without faith = impossible to please Him; there are only sons of light and sons of darkness Rom 14:23 ; Heb 11:6; 1 Thess 5:5

    Jesus: warning to us hypocrites:
    therefore, watch out that the light in you is not darkness Luke 11:35

    God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10

    :Even as a bad eye will make a person blind, so bad hearts will make one spiritually blind. When one lives in darkness, there are two possible reasons why. There may be no light source, or the darkness may be within – the inability to perceive light. ”Guzik

    “Having the light, their concern was to have the sight, or else to what purpose had they the light? So the light of the soul is the understanding and judgment, and its power of discerning between good and evil, truth and falsehood. If this eye of the soul be single, if it see clear, see things as they are, and judge impartially concerning them, if it aim at truth only, and seek it for its own sake, and have not any sinister by–looks and intentions, the whole body, that is, the whole soul, is full of light. The gospel will come into those souls whose doors and windows are thrown open to receive it and where it comes it will bring light with it. But, If the eye of the soul be evil–if the judgment be bribed and biased by the corrupt and vicious dispositions of the mind, by pride and envy, by the love of the world and sensual pleasures,–if the understanding be prejudiced against divine truths, and resolved not to admit them, though brought with ever so convincing an evidence,–it is no wonder that the whole body, the whole soul, should be full of darkness, How can they have instruction, information, direction, or comfort, from the gospel, that willfully shut their eyes against it? and what hope is there of such? what remedy for them? Take heed that the eye of the mind be not blinded by partiality, and prejudice, and sinful aims. Be sincere in your enquiries after truth, and ready to receive it in the light, and love, and power of it and not as the men of this generation to whom Christ preached, who never sincerely desired to know God’s will, nor designed to do it “Henry

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  108. Ali, come on — we want to know if it’s a sin for you to exercise bad stewardship by recklessly mixing likely-to-fade dark garments with white garments. If it’s all-the-way-down, every square inch you have a call to make here. And should you even wash as often as you do? You selfishly use gallons of water while third world children die for lack of clean water. What are you doing about this?

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  109. ..and to counter sean and sbd songs (question: are they both equally bad?)
    ..here you go (cw and muddy are gonna love this one, I know!)

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  110. So many caps this early today cw. You get so MAD at me. anyway…

    cw:Ali, come on — we want to know
    ‘we’ cw? ; are you speaking for the OL-culture-crusaders as a group. I thought it was…. EACH person must be fully convinced in his OWN mind. Are you a cult or somethin’

    Cw: should you even wash as often as you
    probably more so, but at least feet only

    cw:a sin to exercise bad stewardship
    yes, probably so

    cw:it’s all-the-way-down
    yes, I think we are told this is so

    cw:every square inch
    yes, I think we are told this is so

    cw:third world children die for lack of clean water. What are you doing about this?
    water well donation – are you aware of how much of the world does not have access to clean water – a tragedy;yet we are so rich

    cw l’unificateur Great, Ali. Now you post a video link of Doris Day
    did you listen cw
    Doris Day: day by day cw… to see more clearly, love more dearly, follow more nearly….
    John Denver: Jesus: “Follow me where I go what I do and who I know,Make it part of you to be a part of me,Follow me up and down all the way and all around,Take my hand and say you’ll follow me”
    Day: legacy?: scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind, smiles we gave to one another for the way we were?

    DG: Ali’s cooking skills …The inhumanity.

    laundry, now cooking, deficiencies…..mean…have you been talking to my husband 🙂

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  111. Dr. Hart quips: “Mermaid, help me out here.
    You agree with Greg because:
    1) you lost your figure;”

    This is juvenile and despicable Darryl. 😦 And far beneath you. I very truly want to believe that. Back to the business at hand though please.
    ==================================
    Dr. Hart asks: “Why does an actor portraying Hitler not fall under your or Challies’ condemnation?”
    Because an actor portraying Hitler is not actually committing Hitler’s sin in the portrayal. (or in any of the other examples these other guys are giving here) I want you to tell me if what Challies describes actually IS the actual committing of sin in the portrayal itself. If there were actual genocide being committed in the making of the film, then we’d have an analogy.

    Greg, going through the motions at church is bad, right?
    So going through the motions of sin is better than actually sinning, right?

    This is still the question. We’ll get there yet again, in a moment.

    Dr. Hart says: “But even some people can eat meat offered to idols.”
    Sir, I would LOVE to discuss this gospel principle with you. This is a horrific confusion and conflation of categories that has utterly castrated today’s American church. I’ll show you if you’re interested? I promise. But first things first.

    Dr Hart says: “BTW, this notion that Challies is unassailable and that I barely have a gospel pulse is further indication of analysis gone awry. No one is that good.”
    I said no such thing Darryl. NoBODY is unassailable. I said his position in this piece is unassailable and I stand by that declaration.

    (you are an exceedingly intelligent man and an elder in one of the most theologically sound communions there is. There IS an answer to this question. The all wise omniscient God would not leave us without one. What is yours please? Can you humor my simplicity?
    Once again. With a few revisions, so I ask that you reread it please.
    ===========================================
    Nate says: “How is two people making out with their clothes off that aren’t married and being filmed by others not engaging in sinful behavior? So it’s ok for unmarried men to make out with women in the nude so long as its “make-believe”? Would that work on your session if a fellow single church member said, “yeah, but it was just pretend”?”
    All snark aside Darryl. Honest sir. I’m asking you to forget about everything else and deny Nate’s (and Challie’s) point here. With every bit of undeserving humility I have, I’m asking you to say that what Nate describes is not sin. That you feel a biblical case can be made that God accepts this as art. That the people, especially young ones, over which you have been given spiritual charge, are well served by your advising them that the Holy One of Israel will bless their “performing” this way as long as they’re ok with it and it’s done in front of cameras for a movie or television show. That the honor and reputation of Christ will be promoted before the world by this public behavior with a person not their spouse. (or actually blaspheming the name of the Lord and abusing his gift of spoken language which is a major component of His image in man, maybe we’ll get there too. ).

    Can you please sir, simply say that what I’ve just said is true? Yes or no? I am asking to see your words on this screen declaring the non-sinful nature of these actions according to the word of God as seen through your church’s tradition. That’s a ten second response I’m asking for. I don’t know that I’m capable of asking any more charitably and sincerely.

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  112. cw, well… everyone is offended by some over the top topism
    here’s what I think – no matter what Greg might say, you would find opposition because you are already opposed to him for being him, same with me….possibly same with DG with Challies, etc.
    THINK on that.

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  113. Juvenille and despicable. LOVE, horrific, utterly(udderly-hehe) castrated. I promise. Unassailable. Exceedilngly intelligent. Humor his simplicity. Forget about everything else and deny…….with every bit of undeserving humility I have………..young ones……have spiritual charge……..Holy One of Israel will bless…….the honor and reputation of Christ……..blaspheming the name of the Lord and aubsing His gift of spoken language……can you please sir…………..I am asking to see your words on this screen…….not capable of asking any more charitably and sincerely.

    I’m pretty sure there is not a sincere bone(no pun) in that interloper.

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  114. Naked bodies on screen are never fake? Then what’s the difference between porn and non-porn? Do New Calvinists really get knock-kneed every time they see skin?

    Ding. An actress from “Game of Thrones” recently told NPR that the nude body viewers saw attached to her head was computerized, wasn’t hers. But just like the teetotalers don’t distinguish between hard drinkers and drunks, the skin pietists don’t distinguish between racy and porn.

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  115. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink
    Dr. Hart quips: “Mermaid, help me out here.
    You agree with Greg because:
    1) you lost your figure;”
    This is juvenile and despicable Darryl. 😦 And far beneath you. I very truly want to believe that. Back to the business at hand though please.>>>>>

    This comment is far beneath the office of elder in the OPC. What does an elder have to do these days to be put under discipline?

    Challies’ argument is very specific. It is not about women as doctors. It is not about meat offered to idols. It is not about art galleries. It is not about food or looking at pictures of food. It is not about drinking – which is not prohibited in Scripture. It is not about my figure. It is not about any of the things that the guys here have presented as refutations of the Challies article.

    It is not a grey area at all. It is about this.:

    Matthew 5:27-28English Standard Version (ESV)

    Lust
    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
    28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

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  116. I have been reading this thread as this conversation has been developing. When the fact was brought up that sex scenes are sometimes computer simulations, I decided to check into this for myself. I found and read several deeply disturbing articles. These articles were interviews with folks in the movie industry, actors, actresses, and producers talking about how sex scenes are done and what it is like to do them. These folks did not do these scenes with computer animation.

    For those of you that take this subject lightly, that seem to see nothing wrong with Christians actually paying money to go and watch these movies for whatever reason, I ask you to please read this article. Read it and then ask yourself if you can still say that you have no problem with Christians monetarily supporting this type of film and sitting and watching it after you read what these folks have to tell you.

    http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/548411/actors-on-what-it-s-really-like-to-do-a-sex-scene.html

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  117. @TLM
    “Challies’ argument is very specific.”
    I agree. Let’s see if we agree what this specific argument is:

    It is sinful to avail one’s self to service X if the provider must sin in order to proffer it. Further, if you would not want your wife to provide service X, it is sinful for you make use of it.

    I disagree with this argument. That one must sin to provide a service is not necessarily an indication that it is wrong for me to take advantage of that service. Thus the reference to meat sacrificed to idols. That I would not want my wife doing something (the so-called ick factor) is not a good measure of the sinfulness of some activity.

    The criticism of Tim’s column is not about his conclusion (we should not watch sexually explicit entertainment), but about the moral reasoning that gets him there. The reason that this matters is that faulty moral reasoning can undermine one’s credibility. We’ve seen this on a number of different issues over the years (e.g., homosexual activity is a mental disorder; premarital sex is bad because of unwanted pregnancy, stds, or depriving future spouse of your virginity; gluttony is bad because it makes you look fat). When one demonstrates that the reasoning was flawed, we get moral chaos.

    It is not a grey area at all. It is about this:
    “…I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart…”

    Well, a lot of people would agree with you and conclude that dancing should be prohibited, co-ed swimming should be prohibited, and classical art depicting nudes should either be destroyed or covered up. My understanding is that the RCC has generally opposed this approach and has even dropped its objection to maintaining the Pompeii artifacts while bemoaning lowering the age limit to access them to 11.

    I don’t think that there is any debate on whether it is acceptable for one to lust. The question is where (or whether to) draw a line to forbid activities we all assume cause one to lust. I think there are clear activities that should be forbidden – viewing pornography for example. Should renting an R-rated movie that has a nude scene in it automatically be considered sinful? I know I can’t watch such a movie, but I’m not so sure my own convictions should be pressed on everyone else. Should the Pompeii artifacts in the “secret cabinet” be destroyed. I’m much less certain even if I would avoid them on a trip to Naples. Perhaps you disagree? I’d be interested in what you think about it and why.

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  118. I’m a bit confused. There seems to be 2 aspects to the dispute – the purported sin of the performer and the purported sin of the viewer. For the performer, the problem seems to be with the act performed on screen. An actor performing as a drug using wifebeater is not actually using drugs or beating his wife, nor was Ralph Fiennes actually sending Jews into gas chambers so they are fine (nor was Liam Neeson actually saving Jews). An actor (or their double) in a nude or simulated sex scene is in reality nude, so they are not fine. So why is an actor performing hate and bigoted speech or acting as a devout member of a non-Christian religion fine? They are actually saying the words and have – depending on their degree of skill and dedication – likely actively sought to get themselves in the emotional and mental state of the character to bring out their best performance.

    Were Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhal sinning in Brokeback Mountain when acting as characters in a homosexual relationship? Were they sinning when kissing and showing physical affection to each other to give weight to the performance? Was it sinful for any Christian to watch that movie?

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  119. C-lu, nobody’s work is perfect. Lots of tough choices and difficult things. What’s being taken lightly is the pietistic hypothetical, it’s inadequate to the evaluation of christian sincerity and obedience. Liberty of conscience takes maturity, it involves something more than mere asceticism and paint by numbers morality. Life is complex. I’m familiar with what actors deal with and go through. Like I said work is imperfect and thorny in this fallen world. And even when you think you’ve been as circumspect as a monk, you often get it wrong. Challies went for a cheap gimmick. He’s getting pushback for it.

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  120. I prefer when Hollywood and rock music isn’t brought into theology.

    It never ends well.

    keep the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing.

    and if it’s too much to keep you “walk” steady, start paring away the things that are hindering you, sometimes it is easier than other times

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  121. Sean says: “Liberty of conscience”
    Sean, I would like to talk you about this after Darryl and I are finished. Are you willing to do that from the scriptures and reformed tradition? I will respectfully listen to anything you say. I will not however leave this path with Darryl until he answers me (which he is of course not obligated to do, don’t take me wrong Daryl) or says he refuses.

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  122. Ariel, that passage is about original sin and total depravity, not sex. This may be why you’re not getting a few things.

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  123. Zrim
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, that passage is about original sin and total depravity, not sex. This may be why you’re not getting a few things.>>>>

    Zrim, you are wrong, my dear brother. Just think the next time you watch a movie where a woman bares her breasts on screen. She is someone’s daughter, sister, maybe wife, maybe mother. She is made in the image of God and has a greater purpose in life than what is being portrayed on screen.

    Read the Challies article and see what the real context is. It is not about women as physicians at all.

    She is a real person, and admit to yourself at least that you wish you could be the guy making love to her.

    There is hope for you, yet, otherwise I would just ignore your antinomianism. Remember your sinful tendencies, and humble yourself.

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  124. @cvd Tim poses the following test for whether not it is wrong to watch something: if the performer must sin to do it, then it is sinful for me to subsidize it by watching. Secondly, if you wouldn’t want your wife doing it, you shouldn’t pay someone else to do so. This is more or less cherylu’s argument above.

    Those tests fail in my estimation. I have yet to hear anyone explain why the analogy to eating meat sacrificed to idols does not contradict this line of reasoning. TLM tells me that isn’t the issue, and GTT promises a knock down argument for why it doesn’t apply. I don’t see it.

    As far as when an actor’s acting crosses the line into sinful behavior, I don’t know where to draw the line, though I’m confident that there is one. My understanding is that Marlon Brando clearly crossed that line in Last Tango. And obviously Fiennes wasn’t guilty of genocide. If there was a model who posed for one of Michelangelo’s nudes (I don’t know if he used models, but let’s say he did), was the model (or artist) sinning? It seems that there is some gray area about what is proper for a model/actor to do and this is where one’s convictions and wisdom should guide.

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  125. sdb: ” I have yet to hear anyone explain why the analogy to eating meat sacrificed to idols does not contradict this line of reasoning.” (which IS the topic of liberty of conscience that Sean brought up)
    sdb, would you like to talk about this after Darryl and I are finished? Are you willing to do that from the scriptures and reformed tradition? I will respectfully listen to anything you say. I will not however leave this path with Darryl until he answers me (which he is of course not obligated to do, don’t take me wrong Daryl) or says he refuses.

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  126. sdb: I know I can’t watch such a movie, but I’m not so sure my own convictions should be pressed on everyone else.

    But as has already been brought up by several people, wouldn’t you be loving your brother –hopefully treating him as you would want to be treated (Matt 7:12) – by reminding him/her to be on guard- “to put on Jesus and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust” (Rom 13:4)
    …for each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust, then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15

    It seems that a major aspect of the ‘deceitfulness of sin’ (which hardens and leads to progression) is deciding, sure that is true, but just not applicable in this circumstance or to me about that thing. Some here just seem to protest too much – they should just be honest.
    When one sincerely contemplates ‘ putting on Jesus’, justifications and rationals fall away.

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  127. Ariel, and now you’re sounding like my liberals. Funny how Catholics, evangies, and liberals start to sound so similar on this. But what you’re all ironically missing is how pervasive and abiding sin is. You think that by avoiding certain things you’re cozily packed away from its effects. It’s not what goes into the body that makes it unclean but that which lies within that does. Sinners can sit in a box all day and still sin as much as the one watching some film.

    Which means my fully and modestly clothed female doctor routinely treating me for my high BP can be just as much of a source for my sin as the scantily clad woman on the screen. But the way you all talk it’s really only one of them, which only reveals how little you grasp the nature of human sin. And she’s somebody wife, daughter, or sister. So what? That’s nature. Are you saying men shouldn’t want women?

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  128. sean
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
    Nate, how’s this supposed to work for actors? And why is it necessary for my session to know everything I do? Not sure nudity has a lot of bearing on it, necessarily, how about two people just portraying illicit sex?

    Zrim
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
    Nate, isn’t that essentially the logic they used in past generations to condemn acting altogether, as in it’s a form of lying? But that only works when one doesn’t have an alternative category between truth and falsehood (pretend, mimicry, fantasy, imagine).

    Sean, not saying its necessary, but if a member of your church is on the big screen having pretend-sex, I would assume the session would have some kind of discussion with him. The pretend-sex was done for public consumption so it’s fair game. I presume Dr. Hart would apply the same logic if a member was playing football for the NFL on Sundays. It’s done publicly so they can ask.

    It’s not supposed to work for actors. People shouldn’t be having pretend sex. 1 Corinthians 6 is quite clear about uniting your body to another (Prostitute or not, if she’s not your wife you shouldn’t unite), I don’t know why this is in doubt. If (as it seems some are saying) you can have pretend sex as a single man, then you can have pretend sex as a married man and its all good. And the session can’t inquire cause its your private business. Or you can fudge and say the single guy gets to do pretend sex and its all good, but then all the sudden for the married man its not?

    Zrim,

    Not sure on past generations, but the issue isn’t the portrayal of sin, but the actual engagement in sin. People who are acting out killing aren’t actually killing the people, and the words they’re using aren’t intended against the actual person. But bodies don’t get that luxury. 2 people getting groovy on screen, whether they are engaged in coitus or not, is still 2 people doing sex.

    Touching body parts in and of itself isn’t sinful. It’s the sexual acts that are (outside of the proper sphere – marriage). The same logic could be applied to a doctor visit, where if a couple was having trouble making babies and the doctor asked the patient to show on him/her or carry out the act on the doctor so that the doctor could get a better understanding. You could easily argue this is “pretend sex” or merely a doctoral examination. But I still think that’s wrong for obvious reasons.

    I doubt myself since GTT

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  129. Greg, put aside the clothes. Would you want your wife to perform in a play where she falls in love with — get this — another man?

    So is the issue mere nudity?

    Or are you and Challies trying to stumble on the danger of misplaced affections.

    If the latter, then lock up the women.

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  130. James Young, “So why is an actor performing hate and bigoted speech or acting as a devout member of a non-Christian religion fine?”

    ding.

    The answer is that those actors keep their clothes on. Skin is taboo. (What would the psychologists do with this?)

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  131. Greg, this isn’t Reformed. It’s the apostle Paul. If you offer meat to idols you sin. If you eat meant offered to idols you don’t (necessarily).

    No one has yet to see you hold up an apostle to a blogger.

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  132. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, it was a joke. I kid. I’m a kidder.>>>>>

    Oh, I know you are a kidder. Nothing you say should really be taken seriously. I agree with Greg because he is right on this one.
    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
    Zrim, Mermaid says, “Just think the next time you watch a movie where a woman bares her breasts on screen.”

    I say, don’t THINK about women baring the bosom.>>>>

    Oh, you are a kidder! So, guys. This is what you do. Next time that soft porn, nude scene comes on the screen, DON’T LOOK! Got it! Or is it look, but don’t THINK about it?

    Or is it poke your eye out if it offends you?

    Hey, you have a good day, and don’t think about women’s bare breasts.

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  133. Nate, but the law is don’t commit adultery which is coitus, not don’t commit faux-coitus. But again, what about not leap-frogging over wisdom which might tell us that faux-coitus? And if intent now counts, why is depicting violence without intent ok but depicting sex without intent isn’t? Are you saying depicting sex without intent is impossible? The way most actors speak, sex scenes are difficult because there is no intent. Re the doctor, I think that might be called malpractice.

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  134. Darryl, is that like saying don’t think about zebras? You’re picturing a zebra right now, aren’t you? I hope it’s fully clothed.

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  135. Zrim : reveals how little you grasp the nature of human sin.

    Even though we are all humans, with the same temptations common to man (1 Cor 10:13), some just don’t understand, right, Zrim.

    Some should just admit they’d disdainfully call Jesus a ‘pietist’ if He was here talking to them.
    We should just admit, not only have we not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin ( Heb 12:4), but admit that intended motivation – to consider the Savior who died for us- just often falls flat upon us in our indifference- a big shrug.

    And though the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that we may not do the things that we please. (Gal 5:17), we should just admit, we just override the Spirit’s desire, even though, Jesus also says the call to salvation is a call to lose one’s life (Mark 8:34-35). He’s just being unreasonable and well, pietist.
    Some should just admit they think Jesus, through Paul also, is being an irritating pietist when he said “ Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)

    All that also to say, at least we shouldn’t disdainfully invoke ‘pietist’, when one says a believer’s whole life ought be one of repentance.

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  136. (still no answer)
    Dr. Hart asks: “Greg, put aside the clothes. Would you want your wife to perform in a play where she falls in love with — get this — another man?
    Not if she had to bare her intimate parts or kiss or touch the man, or be touched by him, in a way or in places that God clearly designed to be only for her covenant husband. I would be absolutely violated and would be heartbroken if the day ever arrived that she would tolerate such perversion from me.

    Dr. Hart asks: “So is the issue mere nudity?”
    I will rephrase the qustion yet again. Please read one more time.
    (you are an exceedingly intelligent man and an elder in one of the most theologically sound communions there is. There IS an answer to this question. The all wise omniscient God would never leave us without one in an age of absolute media obsession. WHAT is yours please? Can you humor my simplicity?

    Is WHAT CHALLIES DESCRIBES sinful activity to “perform?” (This IS English I’m speaking here right folks?) I beseech you sir. Please type onto this screen, that the public sexual handling, kissing and groping of a person not your spouse is an activity blessed by the LORD our God as revealed in His ancient scriptures seen through the eyes of your church’s tradition, as long as it’s performed in front of cameras for a media production to be seen by millions of strangers.

    I now beg of thee sir, to please type the letters “Y. E. S.” on that keyboard in answer that question. That’s a ten second response I’m asking for. I don’t know that I’m capable of asking any more charitably and sincerely.

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  137. Nate,

    Do actors have a pretend voice? Was Sean Penn sinning when portraying Harvey Milk? Or Benicio del Toro in 21 grams or Oldman in Dracula when cursing God? How about actors in homeland praying to Allah? Or Ed Norton spouting hate speech as a neo-nazi?

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  138. The underlying implication of “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18) is sex and the body are not indifferent acts. It’s like eating food. You can’t pretend eat food. Once you put the food in your mouth, you are eating. Certainly you can spit it out, but once you put the food in your mouth, you have begun the eating process.

    The same goes for sex, it’s an act itself that has certain intentions regardless of what you might think about it. If you think people pretend sex, then people can pretend eat. They might not go all the way through with it, but its still eating.

    Unlike eating though, sex is with another person so we can’t act like its some independent thing that we can make-believe. It’s actual sex. And the bible strictly prohibits having sex (and all the attendant acts) with anyone who is not your wife.

    Additionally, the one who “pretends” sex actually has no way of knowing if the other person is “pretending”. You’re not an indifferent observer but a willing participant.

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  139. Sex does not have to do with the heart, sex is a physical act, and that’s the whole issue. Killing is a physical act, but if you aren’t actually killing someone then its ok to do it.

    That’s the difference between sex, swearing, killing, etc. Plus, it’s a double shift, how can you pretend to really have sex? Like, I’m running, but it’s pretend running? That doesn’t even work.

    A doctor isn’t pretending to touch your genitals when they give you an exam. That’s a weird way of thinking of it. He/she is actually touching them, but they’re not doing it in a sexual manner. You can’t have fake sex. You actually have to engage in sex (or sexual activity) to display sex.

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  140. Nate,

    Since when do non-porn actors copulate?

    So far, I’m not seeing where the distinction lies between actors “pretending” with their bodies – which gets no pass from your side since they are actually naked – vs actors “pretending” with their voices – which is getting a pass even though they are actually saying those words.

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  141. Nate, but if the actors are in fact not engaging in sex, as in genitalia never meet, how does that become engaging in sex?

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  142. Zrim:Which means my fully and modestly clothed female doctor routinely treating me for my high BP can be just as much of a source for my sin as the scantily clad woman on the screen.

    honest Zrim, and certainly not crude, unlike elder Muddy, who may be one who of those who says re: ‘deceitfulness of sin’ sure that is true, but just not applicable to me

    Muddy Gravel above :Is this a good time to talk about our female family doctor and that highly recommended test for men over 50?….Finger size makes a difference…..On the other test I thought I was I was coughing as a polite distraction….My first female doctor was also a Muslim. So we broke through gender, ethnic, and religious barriers. All with a simple cough….. quietly breaking down barriers. And sometimes inadvertently.

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  143. Nate, Im not following you. How are you defining sex? I thought the ‘other side’ was pretty clear about the pretend part. Cuz if you’re trying to expand sex to imagining it or emotional adultery or I don’t know what else, we’ve all got problems that go way beyond what shows we’re watching and whether we are actors in those shows or not. You’ve just laid waste to everyone( I guess there’s the asexuals, I don’t know them) which is true but has nothing at all to do with actors playing out what is most often an uncomfortable(think non arousal) scene for them much less a scene that actually requires consummation of sexual arousal.

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  144. I also have to say that some of the objections I’m hearing are very sexist. It’s a bit like when someone asked me if I was a leg or boob guy? Huh?! I’m both. What’s wrong with you?

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  145. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I say, don’t THINK about women baring the bosom.>>>>>

    This is a feminist argument. In a way, feminists have a point on this. Men need to control their thoughts.

    That is true. That is especially true for men who want to live as Christians of any brand.

    However, that is another subject.

    You have still not accurately represented Challies’ argument.
    ——————————————————————
    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those actors are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your voyeuristic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by watching it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ. God forbid that you would ever accept your wife baring herself for our entertainment! So God forbid that you would ever tolerate another woman baring herself for yours!

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  146. Zrim,

    That feels like the old “how far is too far” question. It may not be “sex” in the true sense of the word (genitalia penetration) but sex is also a broader term. I’m saying you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Sex is an act, as much as any of the other things in question (violence/killing, swearing/language), but unlike all the others, you’re actually doing it to portray it. You can’t fake it. You actually have to engage in it to portray it. You don’t have to kill someone to portray it. You can use fake blood and use special effects/stunts. With swearing you’re not actually calling that person an SOB. Not so with sex, you can pretend to put your hand on someone else in a sexual manner. Maybe you’re not penetrating but I nary think you would advise an unmarried couple “as long as you’re not penetrating or orgasming its ok.”

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  147. And right on cue, Merm.

    Greg, I don’t think it would work out. You and I would fight over the ground and it would never go anywhere. And, no, I’m not willing to cede to you your takes on the reformed tradition and scripture and selected references. Which would then make for a really long and time-consuming effort and I just don’t have that kind of time.

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  148. Sean, by your own admission you’re proving my point. From you’re stance why should it be uncomfortable to pretend sex? Tell them to get over it, it’s just pretend.

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  149. Nate, I’m still not tracking. We all have jobs that require difficult or ‘uncomfortable’ opportunities. Those opportunities may exceed what you’re willing to do. That’s fine. Those are scruples and you’re free to have them. But what requires your scruples to be mine?

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  150. Sean,

    My point is that sex is a physical act just like any physical act. It would be like if God restricted eating or running or swimming or reading only to marriage. You can’t fake read, eat, run or swim.

    Once you’re naked and you’re sexually rubbing up against someone else who is naked, you’ve begun a sexual act. You can’t fake sex. Maybe you’re not intending that sexual activity to communicate that you love or care for that person, but it’s still sexual activity. And the bible limits all sexual activity to marriage.

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  151. Nate, so, like Challies, you’re going to insist that the way your conscience is informed on the issue dictates my conscience on the issue because you just can’t imagine that this would go any other way than how it does for you or how you imagine it would for you(if you were an actor in this scenario). That’s a bit much for me. I like you and all but you and I might have drawn legitimate(faithful) lines at different places and I still fail to see how this doesn’t get extended to other prohibitions when actors engage in ‘method’ acting or simply because they’re good at, doesn’t inspire others to act in inappropriate(sinful) ways. So, if we follow your scruples we really shouldn’t have acting that portrays vice of any sort, regardless, of a moral outcome or not.

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  152. Nate, come on. “you don’t have to kill someone to portray it.”

    Didn’t Jesus sort of raise the stakes that if you hate someone in your heart, you kill? So all portrayals of sin are bad, right?

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  153. sean,

    Nate, I’m still not tracking. We all have jobs that require difficult or ‘uncomfortable’ opportunities. Those opportunities may exceed what you’re willing to do. That’s fine. Those are scruples and you’re free to have them. But what requires your scruples to be mine?

    Drawing the line is difficult, but my conscience isn’t bothered by binding yours (I’m sure that makes you happy!). I think that if you’re cool wearing a tan skinned thong, rounding third base with your co-worker then your scruples need to be re-examined. Of course, not every sex scene goes that far, but as SDB has pointed out, I think there is a way to depict adult themes without being explicit.

    My conscience isn’t an infallible guide, but I know I wouldn’t want my wife making out with another guy on camera and neither would my wife. I wouldn’t imagine you or your wife would feel very keen on that, either.

    And I’m not trying to ride the slippery slope, but if your scruples stop at third base (or super close to it), why do you push your scruples on the dude who thinks it’s fine to ignore the third base coach and make his way home? Point is, the boundaries aren’t clearly defined, but I think that the sean, DGH, Zrim triumvirate may be shrugging their shoulders past the breaking point.

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  154. Sean,

    I like you too, but with all this sex talk it could get weird…

    Back on topic:

    You’re going to insist that the way your conscience is informed on the issue dictates my conscience on the issue because you just can’t imagine that this would go any other way than how it does for you or how you imagine it would for you(if you were an actor in this scenario). That’s a bit much for me.

    I’m not insisting what anyone’s conscience should do, I’m just trying to argue facts about what 2 people on screen are doing. What you do with that is another matter. In fact, I think an argument could be made (contra Challies and friends) that it’s not necessarily wrong to watch such things. I wouldn’t hold that myself, but God knows and sees (in some sense) all evil and it’s not wrong for him to do so, so there’s something to that. I’m not God and I know (hopefully) my limits as to what I can watch and not be tempted or sin, I’m not going to set those same limits for someone else.

    But as regards “fake sex” I don’t believe there is such a thing. Trying to justify watching sex on screen because it’s “fake” seems absurd to me. It’s sex (or sexual activity) and there’s no splitting hairs. What about a documentary? That’s real sex. What’s your argument then? The “fake sex” argument breaks down at some point.

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  155. Brandon, I guess it’s always possible that I’m wrong about it. Maybe acting isn’t a morally plausible occupation. There are occupations that inhabit such a place. Let’s see, it passes on the criminality front, so, I’m not violating state or federal law by my engagement. So, that’s good and seperates the vocation from a large group. How about moral corruption? Well, it’s possible so it still inhabits the realm of legal but capable of moral turpitude but that’s an opportunity for any number of legal engagements. So, I’m in the legal but capable of promoting virtue or vice realm, so, I’m now gonna trade on industry standards, workplace standards and compliance, and conscience. So, let’s say I’m considering a project that meets all the legitimate standards above, is artistically viable with my faith( we don’t shoot on sunday for example), it fits my talents and profile but it’s gotta scene that requires fake sex. Can I reconcile to that as an actor? Can I reconcile with my wife doing that project? Well, it depends. Is it gratuitious, does it serve the story, is it necessary, does my wife want the role, how does she feel about it, what’s involved, is this traumatic for her, is it just part of doing the job for her, does she and I need to think it over, sleep on it, pray about it, talk to someone else about it? I mean there’s a whole littany of things that have to be served in this process. In other words, it’s not all that simple or straightforward as it would seem at first. Then there’s still the unanswered extension of portrayal of other vices. Is my grid suitable for everyone or even other considerations that she might make in the future. Maybe in a combox it comes off as shrugging but that’s not my intention. However, I still find Challies test inadequate, unfair, and illegitimately binding upon my religious conscience. It’s cheap.

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  156. DG,

    Where did I equate a portrayal of sin with sin itself? My argument all along has been that people engaging in sex/sexual activity for art/movies/the can’t be fake (e.g., the argument above about Violence and Language being fake, can’t sex be too?) and it’s therefore wrong for them to engage in that activity. They may not even be lusting, but they’re still engaged in an act that is reserved for marriage. I doubt anyone on set is hating the person they are fake-killing so no sin there. I don’t believe I’ve said to the contrary.

    If depicting (or in another sense, reporting) sin is wrong then we’d throw out the bible and not proclaim the gospel. Seeing sin depicted may not be wrong in and of itself. Which is why I don’t necessarily say all Christians whatsoever should never watch/see anything with sex/nudity. But I would recommend people to be wise about it and understand their limitations, just like with alcohol. But also “do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh”.

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  157. Nate, I think we’re jumping back and forth between watching and/or participating. I think I’ve answered the participating part with my response to Brandon. It depends, context has a lot to do with the decision and context includes a hell of a lot more than ‘now imagine your wife……….” it’s so inadequate as to be juvenile quite frankly. Probably perfect for drive by evangelicalism. As far as watching, it depends. Honestly, if we’re gonna go the route of thumbnail sketch morality plays, I think a far better test with much better results would be; did you get adequate sleep last night? Are you well? Are you fed? Are you high? Are you drunk?. If we’re gonna go just cheap and easy, those are much more relevant questions to your moral decision making process.

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  158. @gtt I don’t think Ihave much to add to the dozen or so comments I’ve made here. If you see an error in my reasoning, I’m all ears. The issue I am interested in is the validity of the moral reasoning expressed by TimC. I hear it a lot and find it unhelpful at best and a rejection of the gospel at worst.

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  159. SDB,

    The issue I am interested in is the validity of the moral reasoning expressed by TimC. I hear it a lot and find it unhelpful at best and a rejection of the gospel at worst.

    I wonder if there isn’t a place for Tim’s argument. Perhaps not as moral justification for not doing something but maybe as a motivating factor to stop doing something. Maybe it could be a secondary encouragement for the husband who is struggling with a porn addiction or something like that.

    The moral justification is the command against adultery. Maybe Tim’s point would be better served to help draw out empathy in the man and give him another recourse for thinking twice about it. Does that make sense?

    Just thinking out loud here.

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  160. Nate, the courts and censors make the distinction between fake and real sex all the time. That’s why porn is a category.

    If Christians were the censors and ran the courts, would they ban both? Probably. But denying the distinction seems close to saying microagressions are racist.

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  161. You can’t fake it. You actually have to engage in it to portray it. You don’t have to kill someone to portray it. You can use fake blood and use special effects/stunts. With swearing you’re not actually calling that person an SOB. Not so with sex, you can pretend to put your hand on someone else in a sexual manner.

    Nate, if I’m using my mouth to call someone an SOB but it’s not actually calling someone an SOB then how is not actually having sex with someone actually having sex with someone?

    You seem to give a lot of rope to the violence thing but somehow sex comes in for greater scrutiny. It seems because you think there is no such thing as depicted sex. How far will you take this? You don’t seem to require genitalia, it seems it’s whenever something remotely sexual happens. So when Mr. Brady kisses Mrs. Brady the two actors who aren’t married to one another have entered the realm of sex and Florence Henderson’s actual husband should consider her an adulteress. That’s where your reasoning leads. Is that really where you want to be?

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  162. DG,

    Faux sex and real sex, sure there’s a distinction. But has someone committed adultery who only penetrates? Sounds Clintonian to me – “I smoked, but never inhaled”.

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  163. Zrim,

    Because in one (words) you’re not actually calling someone an SOB, you’re not actually asserting anything about the person to who you are speaking. In the other (sex) your body is actually touching another in a sexual manner. How could it be otherwise? Your playing pretend with real bodies. It’s the same if you started actually killing people in movies, or at least were really cutting them. Try running that one past the MPAA.

    “Fake” sex is an actual engagement with the other person. It’s the same as if you actually started attempting to kill or murder someone. What about this scenario: You’re asked to kill the person in the movie, but you’re not really killing them, but their character in the movie. How is the court going to look at that? “It was just fake killing that happened to result in their death” – “It was fake sex that happened to result in us lying together, fondling each other”

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  164. Robert
    I see what you’re getting at, I’m just not sure it is a good motivating factor. More a recipe for a Victorian prudishness that turns sin into a matter of class distinction. It’s like the old youth pastor trick of trying to convince kids not to have sex by passing around a piece of tape and then ask if you want to be that piece of tape. Message is that sinners are icky and we don’t want to be around people like that. Where is grace?

    Here the message is a transitive property of sin that the bible tells us does not apply. Then there is the ick factor in “would you want your wife doing that”. Terrible impulse to draw on to avoid sin.

    The problem with consuming media that ” incites unchaste looks” is that it violates God’s decree. Where I part woth Ali is that I’m not so sure there is bright bold biundary that applies to every one. Our forebears (i.e. my parents) forbade going to dances. My uncle wouldn’t allow his daughters to wear shorts. A summer camp I attended had separate times for boys and girls to swim. I would be surprised if Ali thought it was obvious that we were in denial about sin if we went to a coed public pool to swim laps. That isn’t to say there are no boundaries. A christian movie reviewer who wrote a review of porn flicks would be a big problem. But of r-rated fare? Not so sure.

    As far as the actors go – I just don’t know. I think Nate has the better argument. I don’t see how a believer can utter blasphemous dialog “for pretend” or pretend to kiss a woman and not get aroused. But then I’ve never acted. Perhaps they do make enough distance…I just don’t know. But then I don’t have to because I doubt I will ever know anyone making that decision.

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  165. Nate,

    How about touching a body in an acting manner?

    In a medical manner?

    In a parental manner?

    In an emergency manner?

    In a pedagogical manner?

    Practically all of those touchings have been abused. But you and Challies aren’t objecting to those.

    That’s why his criteria epic fails.

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  166. sdb: used to be consideration: no dances; no shorts; no coed swim times

    today’s consideration: twerking; r-rated/soft porn/other fare; barely-there shorts/bathing suits,etc.

    tomorrow’ s consideration ? (hate to THINK about it)

    at least maybe admit the progression and warnings about that long ago

    therefore, as long as it is still called “Today,” let’s encourage one another so that none be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:13

    Encourage how?: “Brethren, take care about evil, unbelieving hearts that falls away from the living God – do not harden your hearts like those disobedient, unbelieving ones in the desert who provoked Him” Heb 3:11-12

    We know that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, evil men and impostors proceeding from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    so, just a suggestion -be careful – just don’t protest, justify, rationalize TOO much…

    and THINK… alot (1 Cor 2:16); …about the things which give wisdom leading to salvation through faith (2 Tim 3:16); …and about the Lord sitting on His throne, lofty and exalted, His robe train filling the temple and seraphims call out: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts. (Isa 6:1-4)

    ‘nough said.

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  167. I hate to say it but I have to tell you if you have a problem with actors being nude, doing nude scenes or otherwise involving themselves in faux romantic or even ‘hazards of the job’ sort of opportunities, it says so much more about your ignorance of the situation and the occupation or maybe even your own perversion than it does about the moral compass of the actor or even the consumer of the art. As Darryl noted, it’s an epic fail.

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  168. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink
    Nate,

    How about touching a body in an acting manner?

    In a medical manner?

    In a parental manner?

    In an emergency manner?

    In a pedagogical manner?

    Practically all of those touchings have been abused. But you and Challies aren’t objecting to those.

    That’s why his criteria epic fails.>>>>>

    This is an epic fail for you, Brother Hart. You have changed the subject, trying to make Challies look bad. He is not the one who looks bad. What does “Reformed faith and practice” even mean to you?
    You are a leader in your denomination and all your kidding in this case is at the very least, in bad taste and classless.

    You have still not accurately represented Challies’ argument.
    ——————————————————————
    The reality is, the Bible forbids what those actors are doing. If the Bible forbids what they are doing, it also forbids your voyeuristic participation in it. If they act sinfully by doing it, you act sinfully by watching it. But you bear the greater blame because you are a Christian, one who is meant to think of them with the mind of Christ and to see them through the eyes of Christ. God forbid that you would ever accept your wife baring herself for our entertainment! So God forbid that you would ever tolerate another woman baring herself for yours!

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  169. sean: I hate to say it but I have to tell you if you have a problem with actors being nude, doing nude scenes or otherwise involving themselves in faux romantic or even ‘hazards of the job’ sort of opportunities, it says so much more about your ignorance of the situation and the occupation or maybe even your own perversion than it does about the moral compass of the actor or even the consumer of the art. As Darryl noted, it’s an epic fail.

    You had mentioned embarrassment about Miley Cyrus, sean. Why? I assume you are talking about her infamous performance with Robin Thicke. Why embarrassed? Shrug. It was just entertainment, faux stuff,acting, and maybe even honest – since the song was promoting …. ‘Blurred Lines’

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  170. Frankly, though a consumer of movies myself, of all kinds (not applying a strict no-nudity rule to myself, but not ruling out the possibility that perhaps I ought to, perhaps we should consider such), I do wonder how and why we ended up moving away from our Puritan and Presbyterian forebears’ views against stage plays; why we don’t hold the same views as they do about the immorality of them; when I compare our times to theirs, esp. as regards collective morality, I can’t help but wonder how we think we’re correct and they’re wrong in regards to their views on entertainment, sometimes.

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  171. My hat is all the way off to Will S.

    The fact that this isn’t a no brainier is a heart rending indication of the torrid, slobbering love affair the guardians of Westminster Calvinism have been now long engaging in with the world and the things therein. (1st John 2:15 > )

    The verses Ali brought above are right on. The “deceitfulness of sin”. It’s a disgrace that our papist little mermaid friend (God bless her), gets this better than we do.

    To be crystal clear Darryl, I am asking my question with no fancy toward any imagined authority over you or other obligation on your part toward me as a man. I’m simply asking. You can ask me anything and I will answer as well as I am able.

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  172. Nate, huh? How is asserting to someone that he’s an SOB not engaging him? You talk about bodies with sex. It’s the same in violence–one uses his mouth to engage another’s ears and mind. And yet, you are able to see how depicted violence isn’t actual violence. But you still haven’t really engaged the point that depicted sex isn’t actual sex (and how porn is actual sex). You keep swallowing up actual and depicted when it comes to sex, but then all of a sudden get the difference when it’s violence. In non-porn IT’S NOT ACTUAL SEX. It may make you uncomfortable as a viewer, but how are you maintaining it’s actual sex when it isn’t?

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  173. Will, maybe the same way we came to see their theocratic views were off the mark and products of their time which could no longer be maintained? But for you and Greg there is an untouchable golden era it seems. Maybe if you wiped your misty eyes.

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  174. I think I’m gonna cut you guys in Challie’s corner a break. You don’t know what you don’t know. But I’ll give you a glimpse of your dilemma( just a glimpse), let’s say you like plays. Let’s say you really like period pieces, lots of costumes and revolving stages and your a big fan of Disney and your wife is a performer. Your wife, just in doing costume changes, is damn near naked or naked eight or nine times during a performance and is being ‘handled’ by at least one or two costumers at a time. And that’s six, eight times a week(minimum) for a six week run. They all see each other naked. It’s an occupational hazard. Movies are actually easier on the naked score than plays. This is all in addition to the acting demands of the role(kissing, intimacy, fake sex, whatever).

    I think all of you who are terribly vexed by this should not only not allow your wife to perform, but you need to end your support of all forms of performance art(movies, plays, you name it) and go ahead and censor all your reading materials for ‘racy’ opportunities. Cuz according to your conscience you’re either sinning or supporting someone else in their sinning.

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  175. Oh, give it up, sean. That’s just moronic and antinomian. Why is Elder Hart presenting liberal arguments that run contrary to his own vows to uphold Westminster standards?

    Think about it. Read Greg’s comments.

    He is not presenting any kind of Christian point of view. Remember? He rejects the very concept of worldview. See what that gets him? Open your eyes, man.

    All the anti Catholic stuff is a smoke screen. Don’t you get it?

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  176. Sorry to go off on you, sean. Yes, you have a clue about a lot of stuff, but this one is just pretty clear cut.

    There are other areas that have been brought up that fit more into the Christian liberty category, but the way that Challies focused his post is quite cut and dried.

    So, I do apologize for taking my frustration about this issue out on you. Sorry about that.

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  177. The Little Mermaid says: “Christian liberty category”
    I’ll make ya a deal. 🙂 After I get through this chapter with Darryl, how bout if you and I talk about biblical Christian liberty Maam? They can watch. The papist and the pietist.

    This really is crystal clear. It’s only complicated if somebody really wants it to be. I bet you’ll agree with me. It shouldn’t be too hard to guess who won’t. Waddaya say?

    (unless of course Dr. Hart forbids it. This is his house after all)

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  178. @tlm
    “You have still not accurately represented Challies’ argument.”
    No. The argument is that if someone else has to sin to produce x, then it is wrong to use x. That reasoning is faulty. Where you are tripped up is that here you agree that is wrong to use x. So you cannot concieve of a problem with any argument against x no matter how specious. It’s a theme from you that derives from your stated priority at winning over learning from a conversation. It is the same error you proudly displayed on the “unchristian option” thread. The problems caused for the life movement by Dadelein’s unwise tactic reveals the inadequacy of your approach.

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  179. sdb
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
    @tlm
    “You have still not accurately represented Challies’ argument.”
    No. The argument is that if someone else has to sin to produce x, then it is wrong to use x. That reasoning is faulty. Where you are tripped up is that here you agree that is wrong to use x. So you cannot concieve of a problem with any argument against x no matter how specious. It’s a theme from you that derives from your stated priority at winning over learning from a conversation. It is the same error you proudly displayed on the “unchristian option” thread. The problems caused for the life movement by Dadelein’s unwise tactic reveals the inadequacy of your approach.>>>>

    You didn’t factor in something called the Bible. You fail on this. 🙂 Logic is only as good as the information you program into the problem. GIGO.

    You can’t argue that Dadelein was sinning, and then turn around and argue that it’s somehow okay to produce and then get off on soft porn – enjoying watching other people have sex.

    You are confused.

    …and it’s not about me, sdb. I believe that truly is a logical fallacy.

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  180. As usual, you don’t know what you’re talking about. But you have no problem lying do you. As I clearly noted in several comments here, I believe watching sexually explicit material is sinful. For example, I wrote,

    ” Watching programs with sexually explicit content is not sinful because the performers are pretending (or actually as the case may be) engaging in sinful behavior. It is sinful because we are commanded by God to guard our eyes and in the words of the catechisms “to avoid material that “may” incite unchaste looks” or “to engage in corrupt communication or listen to it”.”

    How you go from that to “it is ok to produce and then get off on soft core porn”? However you do so, it is slander. I am not all confused, but you are (still) a liar. And that is about you.

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  181. Mermaid, so how do you look consistent when you said Daleiden wasn’t sinning?

    Do you know rakes are out there waiting to be stepped on?

    And if Challies actually supports the idea that falsifying our existence is wrong, then your apologist friends should really get off the Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic soap box. After all, all acting is wrong and Shakespeare only encourages more people to do it.

    Sort of like you not using your real name in the comm box. You sinner, you.

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  182. Ariel, “liberal arguments”? Liberals are on your side. They want us to think of women in certain portrayals as “someone’s sister or daughter,” as if that’s some sort of a magic slam dunk. Though if that held up, how would marriage ever stand a chance? My wife is someone’s sister and daughter. Am I not supposed to pursue her? I have a daughter who has a boyfriend. Do her mother and I want certain unseemly things going on? Nope. (And do he and she know the expectations and rules? Yep.) But am I also to expect he doesn’t think like a normal red-blooded male about her just because she’s someone’s daughter and sister? How can I when I’m one of those same kind of males?

    Why is this an argument with you and the liberals? It’s a male shaming tactic.

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  183. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
    The Little Mermaid says: “Christian liberty category”
    I’ll make ya a deal. 🙂 After I get through this chapter with Darryl, how bout if you and I talk about biblical Christian liberty Maam? They can watch. The papist and the pietist.

    This really is crystal clear. It’s only complicated if somebody really wants it to be. I bet you’ll agree with me. It shouldn’t be too hard to guess who won’t. Waddaya say?

    (unless of course Dr. Hart forbids it. This is his house after all)>>>>>

    Well, that sounds kind of interesting. The Papist and the Pietist. I like the sound of that.

    It’s not that all situations are that crystal clear, but this one is. I think that Church history has something to add to this.

    Attendance at Greek plays and the Roman Gladiator and other kinds of blood sports were issues in the early Church. Augustine and others wrote about that sort of thing if I am not mistaken.

    Seems it would have some application to today’s issues.

    It’s not like in the 2,000 years since God took on human flesh, lived, died, was buried, rose again, appeared to witnesses, and ascended people have changed all that much.

    Then there is the example of the guy in the church at Corinth who was engaged in the kind of behavior that even the pagans disapproved of.

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  184. @ Greg: Thank you.

    @ Zrim: Actually, my views on the Puritans and Covenanters are quite mixed; no theocrat I. And BTW, this is to do with personal practice, not politics or laws enforced by the State, necessarily.

    I do find the Puritans and Covenanters commendable in their pursuit of personal holiness in their day to day lives, regardless of their excesses in trying to enforce such standards on the community as a whole by means of force, i.e. the State.

    And when I look at where we are now, versus where they were then, socially, morally, culturally, I see little to rejoice in, vis-à-vis how we differ from them. I’m inclined to think we have lost much, and might do well to consider what that all might be, and why. I don’t endorse Greg’s previous approach when he came on here a year or two guns-a-blazing, but he’s asking good questions.

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  185. TLM says: “It’s not that all situations are that crystal clear,”
    The principles by which to assess all situations of liberty of conscience, or not, are crystal clear in the bible. That’s what I’m saying. It’s really pretty simple if the scriptures are allowed to speak for themselves unfiltered through a modern/post modern framework of art and culture worshiping idolatry. Make no mistake. I will make that case and I’m betting you will agree.

    I will not lie. I like you and respect you as a lady, but my primary motivation is that I think you would be useful to the making of my points. In a good way. Before being accused of this by somebody later, I’ll simply put it on the table now.

    It’s beginning to look like Darryl is not going to answer my question. Before I give up, let’s try this Darryl. You ask me any question you want first. Go ahead. Seriously. I want no angle of my good faith attempt to have you answer my question go un-utilized. You will never be able to say that your not answering was anything other than simply that. Nothing to do with me. It’s the question you don’t like.

    Can you at lest tell me explicitly that you decline to answer? I’m not even asking for a reason. Please?

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  186. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 12:20 am | Permalink
    TLM says: “It’s not that all situations are that crystal clear,”
    The principles by which to assess all situations of liberty of conscience, or not, are crystal clear in the bible. That’s what I’m saying. It’s really pretty simple if the scriptures are allowed to speak for themselves unfiltered through a modern/post modern framework of art and culture worshiping idolatry. Make no mistake. I will make that case and I’m betting you will agree.>>>>>

    I think that what you say is interesting, Greg. I just don’t know. I don’t understand how the Puritans here could miss this one. It is so clear.

    Greg:
    I will not lie. I like you and respect you as a lady, but my primary motivation is that I think you would be useful to the making of my points. In a good way. Before being accused of this by somebody later, I’ll simply put it on the table now.>>>>

    Hey, I’m used to being called names, told to repent, and stuff like that. Not sure I could get used to being liked and respected around here. 😉

    See, how can the guys be so sure that I am sinning and need to repent when they can’t even figure out that, well, I won’t go into details again. They can’t figure out that Challies is presenting a situation that especially within the Puritan context – which is what you guys are – is a slam dunk.

    What is going on, here?

    Then there’s that provisional knowledge epistemology stuff. The idea that all knowledge is provisional knowledge is not a Christian concept. Sure. Some kinds of knowledge may be considered to be provisional, but irreformable, infallible knowledge can’t be provisional by definition. It has to be one or the other, not both provisional and infallible.

    Why can’t the logicians here see that problem?

    What is going on here, Greg?

    Well, we will be out of the country for the better part of a month, so I probably can’t take you up on the offer right now. Hey, thanks.

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  187. Ariel, right, we’ve always had the pietsist outlook. You don’t think there were those down through church history who pushed back against it and their notions of slam dunks?

    Will, your historical view is too sentimental and rosy. And Greg isn’t asking good questions. Per usual, he’s baiting others so he can bash them over the head with his morality club. I don’t either of these things very Calvinistic, though it is widespread, in which case you do have a point about how today’s Reformed haven’t followed their ancestor’s very well.

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  188. Zrim
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink
    Ariel, right, we’ve always had the pietsist outlook. You don’t think there were those down through church history who pushed back against it and their notions of slam dunks?>>>>

    Here is where Dr. Hart misrepresented Challies argument.

    “Tim Challies applies the skin test to movies …”

    Challies applied the adultery test to movies. Big difference. To quote Dr. Hart, Brother Zrim, THINK. Always question what Brother Hart is saying.

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  189. Ariel, the motive was the skin test. Challies is fundamentally opposed to skin in film and its consumption by believers and trying to be creative in piling on to it by tying it to the golden rule. As I said, it’s the tactic teetotalers use to argue against alcohol consumption. It’s sophomoric and an embarrassing reach, it doesn’t work. If the pietist is categorically opposed to the consumption of either, fine, then just say so and be done with it, but please spare us this tortured attempt to sound concerned for our neighbor when it’s really “don’t touch, don’t taste, don’t handle” in order to keep the pure self clean.

    If you think your side is slam dunking, you’re doing it wrong.

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  190. Zrim, if one believes that what these actors and actresses are doing is sinful, then how can we say that we are loving our neighbor as our self if we support them in that sin? If we enjoy watching them commit that sin? If we finance it by paying our money to watch them do it?

    Or is their an exception to the second commandment that automatically falls into place when art and entertainment are involved? I don’t recall Jesus making any such exception when he said that to love our neighbor as our self is the second commandment, second only to loving God.

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  191. cherylu, that’s a big if and part of the question. How is depicting sex sinful? Some of us say it isn’t.

    What’s worship have to do with it?

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  192. Zrim, in my last comment I was responding to what you said in your previous comment just above mine, “but please spare us this tortured attempt to sound concerned for our neighbor.” I was pointing out the fact that IF we believe that sin is being committed by the actors and actresses, there is a very valid biblical reason why we are not “loving our neighbor as our self” if we support them in that sin.

    And I said nothing about worship whatsoever. I simply pointed out that to love our neighbor as our self is, according to Jesus, second only to our love for God.

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  193. Zrim
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, the motive was the skin test. >>>>>

    Well, there you go reading Challies’ mind and his motives. Read what he actually said. He was talking about adultery. He was talking about actors who are sinning on the screen – real people having real sex in front of the real camera. Read what actors actually say about the subject and what they are feeling and doing.

    See what is really happening. It is really happening before your very eyes. Let that sink in. You are watching an unmarried couple having sex and being filmed while they are doing it. Then the audience watches them and …

    What if it were your wife? What if it were your daughter? What if it were your sister? What if it were your neighbor? Those are the issues that Challies raises.

    What does “pornea” mean, anyway? Does it include watching people have sex? What does voyeurism mean anymore anyway?

    It’s not that the “skin test” is always a slam dunk. Challies is not arguing that. I will give you one example where nakedness in paintings is teaching a theological truth.

    “In addition to adult male and female figures, Renaissance artists also developed a nude type for the Christ Child. As analyzed by Leo Steinberg, the depiction of the baby undressed in his mother’s arms, with sex prominently exposed, was meant to express the theological status of Christ as God made man.”

    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/numr/hd_numr.htm

    Anyway, thanks for your response, Zrim. BTW, I like the name Ariel.

    Hey, you have a wonderful day, Brother.

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  194. cherylu, ah, second greatest (sorry). But still, Challies does the pietist prescription thing by concluding that there is no IF about it. It IS a sin they are committing, and as such becomes sin for us to view willingly and approvingly. And, frankly, it’s arguably a disservice to not pipe up when someone prescribes something for which there is weak warrant to bind consciences.

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  195. Ariel, and there you go, conflating depiction and reality. Once that happens, and it becomes pornea, we agree. But until then, you have to show how two actors not having sex is two actors having sex. But once it becomes pornea, still spare me the golden rule jazz, because it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the women have familial connections (what about the men having them too or doesn’t that calculate in the male shaming move?).

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  196. Zrim, if you read my first comment in this thread, you will know that I am one that definitely believes sin is being committed in filming sex scenes. The article I posted had enough quotes from those in the industry that I thought gave quite ample evidence of that fact.

    I just wanted to be sure that I did not leave any question about what I believe about this by what I said in my last comment.

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  197. Greg, what is your question? Is it still about my wife? If it’s that personal, forget about it. I’ve said plenty that you can figure out. Heck, your objections indicate you’ve already figured it out — the answer.

    So you want me to sign on the dotted line? Why?

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  198. C-lu, do you know any actors? They all whine and are fairly certain they are being abused, eclipsed and miscast. Somehow and someway they keep coming back for more. All the ones you highlighted just keep doing it. It’s so traumatic and those nasty directors are just relentless. What are they ever supposed to do? Oh the tragedy. It’s as rough as golf.

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  199. Mermaid, your anti-dgh bigotry is showing once again. Challies identified adulterous movies by applying the skin test. That’s an interpretation. It’s hardly a stretch.

    And my point is that it’s simplistic. Real Roman Catholics agree.

    You still haven’t gotten the Protestant pietism out of your system.

    Hah hah.

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  200. Mermaid, “You are watching an unmarried couple having sex and being filmed while they are doing it. Then the audience watches them and …”

    No, that would be watching porn.

    They are acting. Why not act like you live not in a convent but the world.

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  201. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “You are watching an unmarried couple having sex and being filmed while they are doing it. Then the audience watches them and …”

    No, that would be watching porn.

    They are acting. Why not act like you live not in a convent but the world.>>>>

    My dear Brother Hart, you really need to read what actors themselves say about what they are doing and what it feels like.

    You are watching soft porn. They are having sex on the screen.

    You are not accurately representing reality, here. In fact, you changed the subject from adultery and the sex act on the screen and the audience joining in as it were to nudity in all situations.

    Category error.

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  202. Cherylu, it’s clear where you fit (though questions still remain). What isn’t so clear is how this is a golden rule issue. Even as I would contend consuming actual porn is sinful, I don’t see how the point is made by appealing to the second greatest the way Challiesittes do with non-porn. It’s a chastity issue, not a neighborly issue. Is it that you all don’t want to be perceived as prudes? Too late for that since you want to construe non-porn as porn. You may not believe it, but chastity is a concern on this side of the table, but the point is you have to suss it out much better than you are.

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  203. D. G. Hart
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, your anti-dgh bigotry is showing once again. Challies identified adulterous movies by applying the skin test. That’s an interpretation. It’s hardly a stretch.

    And my point is that it’s simplistic. Real Roman Catholics agree.

    You still haven’t gotten the Protestant pietism out of your system.

    Hah hah.>>>>

    Oh, you’re so cute and funny! That’s why I keep coming around here. The discussion is always interesting, that’s for sure.

    And like the good Protestant you are, your interpretation is once again flawed. 😉

    Did you like the website I linked to and the portrayal of the baby Jesus fully nude and fully human? Now THAT is a good use of skin.

    Hey, is this kind of like role reversal, where you are the Catholic and I am the Puritan? Now that is starting to worry me.

    You are the fundamentalist Puritan, remember?

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  204. Zrim & DG,

    How do you know it actually isn’t, can you see in their hearts? And additionally how can you “fake” sex/sexual activity and not be engaged in sexual activity? It’s one thing for a doctor to touch someone’s privates, where the clear understanding is that they are not approaching this person in a sexual way. Now, I can’t actually know if in their heart there isn’t more going on but I’m not going to sweat until I get some clear indication that funny business is happening.

    But with sex/sexual interaction in acting, the actor is actual engaging in a form of sexual interaction, otherwise it wouldn’t be called “fake” sex. It would just be two bodies touching each other inertly and everyone would know there’s no sexual activity going on. It would lose its emotive & visual impact.

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  205. Nate, I know you left me out(wounded) but, again, they’re engaging in a form of fake intimacy not sex. And they often despise each other(or one of them doesn’t like girls, keeping with the wife angle) and it still gets edited or they have the chops to make it look real. It’s called good acting. I don’t imagine I’ll convince you but I’m gonna keep correcting your assertions.

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  206. I can’t control whether you believe this or not Darryl, but I do appreciate and respect your willingness to dialog even this much.
    Dr Hart asks: “Greg, what is your question?”
    Please type onto this screen, that the public sexual handling, kissing, licking and groping of a person not your spouse is an activity blessed by the LORD our God as revealed in His ancient scriptures seen through the eyes of your church’s puritan reformed heritage, if it is performed in front of cameras for a media production to be seen by millions of strangers. Is that “porneía” by scriptural definition?

    As an elder in the church of Jesus Christ, would you advise especially young people, that this is an artistic activity that is not sinful as long as their conscience is not bothered by it? Is this not a reasonable question? Seriously now Darryl.

    Dr Hart asks: “Is it still about my wife? If it’s that personal, forget about it. I’ve said plenty that you can figure out. Heck, your objections indicate you’ve already figured it out — the answer.”
    Actually I wasn’t thinking about your dear wife with my questioning. Also, I honestly have not figured out whether you would be alright with her doing the things you see other women doing in the shows and movies you watch or not. The things I describe in general terms directly above. However, your once again bringing her up does then have me wondering. How would my asking that question be more personal than your blessing upon another man performing these acts with her? My question is certainly not more personal than his hands, lips and other body parts. IF your saying you would be ok with her doing that? (that was an IF sir)

    Dr Hart asks: “So you want me to sign on the dotted line? Why?”
    Because I want to have your views plainly stated on the record. Notice how I have no problem answering anything and welcome even more questions. You asked me a question about my wife above and I answered without hesitation because I am supremely confident of the biblical and historical voracity of my views. Honest now man. Is it not reasonable to expect that a lifelong Christian, ruling elder, author of 22 books with 5 earned degrees, would have at least as much confidence?

    If not to the elders of the church, where do people go to get answers to questions like these? They are genuinely pastoral questions that cannot but come up at some point in everybody’s ministry career. They’ve now come up in yours. How is it possible to object to this?

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  207. Dr Hart,

    I thought the conversation here was on the subject of sex and nudity in movies or TV. That is certainly what the Challies article was all about. Here is the basis for all that he said as I understand it, “I believe the Bible makes it very clear that sex and the nakedness that goes with it are sacred, matters to be shared only between a husband and wife. What is good and appropriate within marriage—unashamed nakedness and uninhibited sex—are matters of exclusivity and privacy. I think you probably agree with me.”

    You are certainly trying to change the goal post in your last question to me.

    And Zrim, I agree fully with what Challies said in that quote. Sex and nudity in the Bible are portrayed as matters that are supposed to be exclusive between husband and wife and also to be private. What is being done today on movie sets and in filming TV shows is going against God’s plan. It is wrong. It is sinful. An extension of that then is that to enjoy watching them engage in that sin and to financially support their engaging in it with our dollars is to not love our neighbor as our self. If we love them, do we enjoy seeing them sin? If we love them, do we promote their sinning with our dollars?

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  208. sean
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
    Nate, I know you left me out(wounded) but, again, they’re engaging in a form of fake intimacy not sex. And they often despise each other(or one of them doesn’t like girls, keeping with the wife angle) and it still gets edited or they have the chops to make it look real. It’s called good acting. I don’t imagine I’ll convince you but I’m gonna keep correcting your assertions.>>>>>

    Brother sean, you might want to read some articles where the actors themselves talk about what happens in the filming of those scenes.

    They are having sex and being filmed while doing it.

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  209. Merm, I read it. Not that it was particularly helpful. They’re women, they’re actresses, they make bank and they keep doing it. So, I’ve got rich, female actresses seeking sympathy for what they must do to get by in the world. ‘It’s a hard knock life for us’. And they aren’t having sex. I wish some of them would stop, please, acting that is.

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  210. Merm, if you don’t wanna watch it and they don’t want to do it. I encourage both of you to stop, immediately, and commence doing something else.

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  211. Nate, I don’t need to read any hearts. I read their words about what happens and none of those words convey that any actual sex is happening. Is there a gas leak in here? Your side keeps repeating this point but even the piece Ariel links makes this clear. Maybe it’s a testament to acting skills that you’ve been dazzled that what is being DEPICTED is ACTUALLY happening?

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  212. Cherylu, I don’t by-pass porn because I love the “actors.” I by-pass it because it harms my own chastity. Do you really think that in by-passing both the R- and X-rated stuff you are helping the “actors” in some way? Right, and the teetotalers’ abstinence is helping the recovering alcoholics stay sober. Funny how your far-fetched scheme ends up making you look like a hero. I thought it was all about the other?

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  213. @cherylu
    You wrote,

    “if one believes that what these actors and actresses are doing is sinful, then how can we say that we are loving our neighbor as our self if we support them in that sin? If we enjoy watching them commit that sin? If we finance it by paying our money to watch them do it?”

    I agree that watching sexually explicit fare is sinful as is producing it. However, I disagree with your reasoning here.

    The logic of your argument is that if it is sinful for your neighbor to produce ____________. Then we are not loving our neighbor by giving them money for _________. Presumably we can think of a lot of things that can fill in these blanks. In NT times a biggie was meat sacrificed to idols. It is obviously sinful to sacrifice meat to an idol, so by your and Challies’s rationale, we would not be loving our neighbor by spending our money to subsidize their trade. Curiously though, the apostle Paul disagrees.

    Now I agree with your conclusion, so why split hairs over whether this is a good argument? For one, it teaches poor moral reasoning. “unchaste looks” aren’t sinful because we wouldn’t want our wives to be the object (this puts us on the road to dehumanizing “scarlet” women and inculcating a shame culture that works against the gospel). Secondly, it is the sort of transitive property of sin that leads to legalism (e.g., how can you say you love your neighbor and shop at walmart? Support a living wage, BLM, open borders, my political platform, etc or you are violating the second greatest commandment). Thirdly, what counts as “inciting unchaste looks” will vary. I am unconvinced that Douthat’s negative review of “Girls” or the movie reviewers in CT writing about R-rated fare are necessarily sinning by watching the films they review? I suppose it depends on the films. To be sure we all should guard our heart, but we can also recognize there is a big difference between serious film and sexploitation flicks on cinemax or between Michelangelo’s David and Playboy. That does not mean that we shouldn’t remind our friends what the Bible teaches as helpfully summarized by the carechisms teaching on the 7th commandment. Finally, in an age where 80% of young men have viewed pornography in the past month and another 10% a few times a year, emotional blackmail just hasn’t worked (that’s someone’s babygirl). Perhaps hearing the gospel, growing in grace, and leaving unmentionables unmentioned could help? Maybe even keeping sabbath (free up time for catechizing our kids on that stuff in the 7th commandment) could help too.

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  214. Greg, oh, that question.

    No, licking another person sexually is not blessed by the Lord.

    Nor is offering sacrifices to idols. But eating the meat of such sacrifices is not blessed but yummy.

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  215. Cherylu, the subject is about the inadequacy of Challies’ reasons for not watching some things. I applied that rule in a place you don’t want to take it.

    I win.

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  216. sdb:In NT times a biggie was meat sacrificed to idols. It is obviously sinful to sacrifice meat to an idol, so by your and Challies’s rationale, we would not be loving our neighbor by spending our money to subsidize their trade. Curiously though, the apostle Paul disagrees.>>>>

    Category error. Meat is not in and of itself sinful. In fact, eating meat offered to idols is not inherently sinful. It can be sinful to the one who has a weak conscience. That is Paul’s argument.

    Adultery is always sinful by definition. Are those on the screen committing adultery? Are those who are watching their sex acts joining in their sin?

    Those are the issues.

    Why not argue Paul’s moral teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Eating meat offered to idols will not send you to hell if you are not doing it to honor a pagan god or goddess.

    Fornication will send you to hell if it is not repented of.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

    9 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

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  217. Merm, have you stopped watching movies with fake sex in them? Have you stopped reading books with fake sexual encounters in them? If not, why not? Are you sure? Have you sorted out your favorite actors, production firms, film studios, publishing houses, etc and vetted them fully for their possible support, financing and profiteering from the same? If not, why not? How circumspect are you? Have you done all you can in this regard? Are you sure? Have you been active financially, politically, in your local community to do all you can to prevent yourself or others from behaving contrary to your convictions? If not, why not? Are you sure? There’s not one more thing you could be doing? These are also the issues and but a small part of complying with the conclusions of your religious conscience. How are you doing? Was today as circumspect as yesterday? Are you sure? How about now?

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  218. Dr Hart,

    You said, “Cherylu, is Casablanca sinful? Bogart and Bergman are doing things, unmarried, that lead to sex?

    Is petting with clothes on okay to watch?”

    I am remembering what Saint Paul told us,”Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” I Corinthians 6:18

    It would seem to me that to be doing things that lead to sex is not exactly fleeing from sexual immorality, is it? As a matter of fact, it is putting ourselves in a position where that is very likely to happen.

    Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Again, if we are going to be “doing things, unmarried, that lead to sex,” are we not disobeying this commandment? Are we not “making provision for the flesh?”

    So , no, I do not believe that the scenario you gave me is right, if it be in Casablanca or any other movie. And there is no reason that Challiies principle should not be applied there also.

    And why should we take joy in watching them sin? Is entertainment really so all fired important to us that we have to watch people committing actual sins and enjoy it just so we can get our entertainment fix?

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  219. GTT: lots of books and degrees, ….

    think you might be conflating categories, GTT. Love, wisdom.

    ps. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

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  220. “Category error. Meat is not in and of itself sinful”
    Agreed. Either is sex. But sex out of bounds is sinful jus as offering meat to idols is inherently sinful. If watching a show is sinful because the actors were sinning, then eating meat produced by sinning cooks would also be sinful.

    “In fact, eating meat offered to idols is not inherently sinful. It can be sinful to the one who has a weak conscience. That is Paul’s argument.”
    Agreed. But you cannot offer meat to idols without sinning. So, it is not true that just because a person must sin to provide service X that it is sinful to avail yourself of service X.

    “Adultery is always sinful by definition.”
    Agreed

    “Are those on the screen committing adultery?”
    Maybe. Let’s assume so.

    ” Are those who are watching their sex acts joining in their sin?”
    Likely, but not because the actors are sinning. Lust is sin.

    “Those are the issues.”
    No. The issue is why it is sinful. The fact that the actors may or may not be sinning is irrelevant. Just like whether the cook was sinning or not to provide your meat is irrelevant to whether eating it is ok. Watching sexually explicit fare is sinful because it “incites unchaste looks” even if it was produced by an asexual cgi animator.

    “Why not argue Paul’s moral teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Eating meat offered to idols will not send you to hell if you are not doing it to honor a pagan god or goddess. Fornication Swill send you to hell if it is not repented of.” Eating meat won’t send you to hell. Sacrificing meat to an idol will. Sex won’t send you to hell. Lust will. So will slander by the way. I have repeatedly stated that watching sexually explicit fare is sinful. You accused me of arguing that “it is ok to get off on soft core porn”. This is of course a lie.

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  221. Dr. Hart says: “No, licking another person sexually is not blessed by the Lord.”
    Of course I agree and you just can’t know how much joy this answer from you brings me Darryl. I mean that with all my heart. If you would bear with me please just a bit more. Does this licking include kissing? Is deep sensual kissing with a person not your spouse an activity CONDONED by the LORD our God as revealed in His ancient scriptures seen through the eyes of your church’s puritan reformed heritage, if it is performed in front of cameras for a media production to be seen by millions of strangers? Is that sexual by God’s definition?

    Would you counsel young single Presbyterians that they will be well prepared for a future godly marriage by engaging in this activity as long as it’s only “acting?” And after they’re married that the deep sensual licking of a person’s mouth other than their covenant spouse will promote the bond of their holy covenant relationship in Him and help build a holy foundation for their family and the reputation of Christ as the public sees them doing it while claiming His name? Is this not also an appropriate question to ask? That may even be more likely to come up.

    Dr. Hart says: “Nor is offering sacrifices to idols. But eating the meat of such sacrifices is not blessed but yummy.”
    Let’s talk about that since you brought it up again. You’re trying to walk a moral tightrope here my friend. Anything with innate moral content is either blessed of the Lord or it is forbidden and it’s not that tough to tell the difference. The “liberty” passages. No pressure, no time constraints as usual. TLM is not going to be available and your other two friends have turned me down. What could be the harm in that? I would very much appreciate your answer to the above question first though. If you would further indulge me please.

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  222. sdb:
    The fact that the actors may or may not be sinning is irrelevant. >>>>

    It is relevant.

    sdb:
    “Why not argue Paul’s moral teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Eating meat offered to idols will not send you to hell if you are not doing it to honor a pagan god or goddess. Fornication Swill send you to hell if it is not repented of.” Eating meat won’t send you to hell. Sacrificing meat to an idol will. Sex won’t send you to hell. Lust will. So will slander by the way. I have repeatedly stated that watching sexually explicit fare is sinful. You accused me of arguing that “it is ok to get off on soft core porn”. This is of course a lie.>>>>

    Okay, once again I am slandered here at Old Life. Explain the statement below, then, sdb. To me it shows some moral confusion, yet you accuse others of faulty moral reasoning in this case. That is a lie, of course.

    Some of the other examples you brought up might show faulty moral reasoning, but I don’t see that the meat offered to idols example has any application to the arguments that Challies actually presented.

    The article was narrow in scope. Is it legitimate to also bring in other issues that might be related? Possibly, but it gets all muddled if all moral choices are governed only by the meat offered to idols principle.

    It’s that hammer and nail analogy. You know. If all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Not all moral choices are the same kinds of moral choices.

    There are situations where a person thinks that something is inherently wrong when it isn’t. Still, it may be wrong for that person who has a weak conscience. Hopefully with maturity, that conscience can be strengthened.

    There are situations where a person thinks that something is inherently wrong and it really is. Challies has brought up one of those “it really is” situations.

    There are situations where a person thinks that something is okay, when it really is not.

    It is complicated, but it can’t all be relative. There really are things that are sinful and should be avoided.

    Seeing nude people having steamy, naked sex on the screen is meant to incite lust. Now could there be a healthy human being able to not have lustful thoughts if they watch the scene? I suppose so. We’re not omniscient after all. There might be bats flying out my nose, too.

    Well, I think we agree on the basics, so I am not sure what your issue is in this case. I think it has to do with putting this situation into the wrong moral category. Maybe?

    ———————————————————————–

    “I don’t think that there is any debate on whether it is acceptable for one to lust. The question is where (or whether to) draw a line to forbid activities we all assume cause one to lust. I think there are clear activities that should be forbidden – viewing pornography for example. Should renting an R-rated movie that has a nude scene in it automatically be considered sinful? I know I can’t watch such a movie, but I’m not so sure my own convictions should be pressed on everyone else. Should the Pompeii artifacts in the “secret cabinet” be destroyed. I’m much less certain even if I would avoid them on a trip to Naples. Perhaps you disagree? I’d be interested in what you think about it and why.”

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  223. Greg The Terrible
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink
    Dr. Hart says: “No, licking another person sexually is not blessed by the Lord.”

    Oh, Christ Mary. I’ve missed so much around here since Darryl banned anyone from talking to me or whatever his perverted rule is.

    FTR, anyone who licks Dr. Hart does so out of mercy and kindness, not concupiscence. Please don’t lick me, said no one, ever.

    Old Life continues to amaze and astound. Rock on.

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  224. Greg, “Anything with innate moral content is either blessed of the Lord or it is forbidden and it’s not that tough to tell the difference.”

    That’s not what Paul says. The categories are blessed, forbidden, and indifferent. Your mistake is to leave out the middle category or indifferent or common. The Bible doesn’t identity everything.

    So you really don’t understand confessional Presbyterianism. But you are a good exhibit of pietist/fundamentalism. Not trying to call you names. Just making a point about different grades of Protestantism.

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  225. GTT: Ali says to me: “GTT: lots of books and degrees, ….”I don’t know what you mean by this 🙂

    Oh just a comment that you seem to be saying writing books and having degrees qualifies one with the ability to abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, able to approve (and counsel on) the things that are excellent, ..

    when that it is actually only possible having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God….

    …the glory and praise of God -that is – choosing better things/best things,laboring for food that endures unto everlasting life, not that which perishes; being more and more sensitive to superior beauty and love; and being delivered from the influence of one’s own evil tastes and squandering on unworthy, profitless, lower focus and attachments

    now your turn : GTT: SDB, you are engaging in faulty reasoning with Ali

    ?

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  226. well, in the same vein of unfair-ies, cw, wouldn’t you be one to know all about being a yes-man (here, to OL, that is) 🙂 

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  227. Ali says: “Oh just a comment that you seem to be saying writing books and having degrees qualifies one ..”
    Not necessarily, but it is the prevailing view on this site. All those things can be good too, if viewed and used in a proper biblical way to the glory of the Lord alone. I respect Dr. Hart’s learning and achievements, my intention is not to dismissively slight him in that regard.

    Ali quotes me as saying: ” SDB, you are engaging in faulty reasoning with Ali.”
    Patience please. I’m not playing games, I promise you, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Feel free to drop me a note offline. I’m easy to find and I suspect you may be someone I already know. Maybe.

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  228. Greg:
    TLM is not going to be available and your other two friends have turned me down. >>>>

    Well, I’m really not sure I am the one you want to help you, but I am rooting for you.

    You show kindness even to people you disagree with. That’s a good thing. Thank you, Brother Greg. You are a good example to all of us.

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  229. Something all the Challies backers and others should consider is competence. It may be that Challies lacks the experience and training to make an informed decision. I know that chrisitans are often certain that their faith makes them ready made experts in ethics in any field. I have to tell you, that that is often not the case. Maybe the christian ethical response is to defer and exercise self-control and humility as it regards occupations and endeavors about which they only have cursory experience. Maybe even the pagan trained in a particular discipline is a much better arbiter of what’s acceptable and appropriate than a pastor blogging as a consumer of the product. Maybe training enables you to execute difficult things that would’ve overwhelmed you as an untrained individual. Maybe training so as to overcome an initial uncomfortability is an integral part of maturity and an actual hedge against sinning even in difficult situations.

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  230. cw: Ali, have an original thought. It will hurt but it might be worth it.

    anti-biblical cw.
    The Lord says have the mind of Christ. It will hurt, but it will be worth it.

    have a good day, (anyway)

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  231. Oh, it’s nice to see TVD around here. Notice: I am not talking TO him, but about him – which is okay here at Old Life I presume.

    Not leaving you guys until tomorrow, so don’t do your happy dance just yet. 😉

    Love to all of you and yours.

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  232. DGH: Dr. Hart says: “Nor is offering sacrifices to idols. But eating the meat of such sacrifices is not blessed but yummy.”

    Greg: Let’s talk about that since you brought it up again. You’re trying to walk a moral tightrope here my friend. Anything with innate moral content is either blessed of the Lord or it is forbidden and it’s not that tough to tell the difference.

    @ Greg: Actually, this is where the rubber really meets the road. You have in mind a single situation that is actually fairly clear: man and woman are naked on screen, perform sexually, movie is published, people watch in order to get turned on.

    You think, “That’s clearly not right” — and you’re right. It’s not right. It’s not right for the actors to incite lust in others and not right for the viewers to try to get aroused by watching the actors.

    But in the real world, there are many situations that are NOT at all clear. Further, there are many situations that seem clear yet for which the “Challies test” fails.

    To be clear, this is his test: If it would be intolerable for you to watch your wife acting out sexual deeds and sexual pleasure with another man, it should be equally intolerable for you to be entertained by watching anyone else simulate those deeds and that pleasure.

    The movie “12 Years a Slave” depicts a man brutally whipping his slave. It, too, is simulated. But I would not be comfortable seeing my wife in that role. It would be a huge emotional upheaval to imagine my wife doing that to another human. (It would certainly be a new side to her personality!) By the Challies test, reasonably extended to sins other than sexual, it should be intolerable for me to watch 12 Years a Slave.

    The same would be true seeing my wife pretending to idolatry. In fact, the oldest Caglet and I had to have a fairly long conversation about the differences between fantasy and reality, and what kinds of play-acting was OK, when she and her friends were all reading the Rick Riordan series. Her friends wanted to pretend to make sacrifices to Zeus, and the Caglet drew the line. (Happy dad moment).

    I give non-sexual examples here to point out that either (a) Challies is thinking too narrowly, or (b) he is fixated on sex as a specially bad sin, or (c) he thinks there is something different about simulated sexual acting that is different from simulated other kinds of acting.

    If (a), then those examples will help broaden the discussion. If (b), he’s wrong. If (c), he’s also mistaken and needs to learn more about how sex scenes in non-porn movies are filmed (hint: not sexy), or else learn more about method acting and how actors can truly embrace the sin they depict in many different areas.

    If we want to return to sexual sins, we quickly find ourselves lost in the morass of “how much is too much?”, which is usually a clear sign that we’re asking the wrong question. Could I watch my wife pretend to fall in love with another? Pretend to be a prostitute even if no actual sex is depicted? Pretend to be a gold-digger?

    Is Chicago OK? How about 16 Candles?

    Once you start looking, sex is Every. Where. That’s by design in this culture — and in 15th century Renaissance Italy, and in 1st century Rome.

    GRANTED that lusting is wrong and that we are to flee it, does the Challies Test help, or does it make a confused mess?

    I argue the latter. It is unclear and binds the conscience, both forbidding things that are OK, while possibly opening the door to things that are not.

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  233. @ali and gtt

    “now your turn : GTT: SDB, you are engaging in faulty reasoning with Ali”
    ?

    I agree… “?” Perhaps he has my conversation with TLM confused?

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  234. @tlm
    “sdb: The fact that the actors may or may not be sinning is irrelevant. >>>>
    It is relevant.”

    Keeping in mind that I agree that watching sexually explicit fare is sinful, explain why the fact that the actors must sin to do what they do makes watching their performance inherently sinful? And if consuming the sinful production is in itself sinful, then why is it OK to eat meat that one had to sin in order to produce?

    Okay, once again I am slandered here at Old Life. Explain the statement below, then, sdb. To me it shows some moral confusion, yet you accuse others of faulty moral reasoning in this case. That is a lie, of course.

    You accused me of saying that “getting off on softcore porn” is OK after I explicitly stated that watching sexually explicit material is sinful. This is slander, but instead of acknowledging that what you wrote about me was wrong, you have decided to play the victim. That’s unfortunate. You should either show where I wrote that it is OK to lust or retract what is a pretty serious accusation. Slander is a mortal sin isn’t it?

    Well, I think we agree on the basics, so I am not sure what your issue is in this case. I think it has to do with putting this situation into the wrong moral category. Maybe?

    I think we all more or less agree on the conclusion. At the very least you and I seem to agree that watching sexually explicit material is sinful and producing such material is sinful. The question posed here is how does one arrive at that conclusion. Challies says that if the performer must sin to produce the product, then it is sinful to produce the product. I disagree with that syllogism. My argument is not that therefore watching sexually explicit fare is sinful. My argument is that it sinful for other reasons than what Challies provided. Further, Challies test forbids things that should not be forbidden and allows things that should not be allowed. Therefore, it isn’t just a formality, teaching people to apply this test has negative real world consequences.

    Explain the statement below, then, sdb.:

    OK, here goes…

    “I don’t think that there is any debate on whether it is acceptable for one to lust.”

    Sexual desire for anyone other than one’s spouse is wrong.

    The question is where (or whether to) draw a line to forbid activities we all assume cause one to lust.

    Fundamentalists (and others) used to forbid dancing, co-ed swimming, etc… because they could incite unchaste looks. Are we all sinning when we allow our daughters to where shorts rather than culottes? I think most Christians agree that this is an overreaction. People used to draw the line here and now we think that was an error.

    I think there are clear activities that should be forbidden – viewing pornography for example.

    I cannot think of any justification for ever viewing pornography with the exception of law enforcement.

    Should renting an R-rated movie that has a nude scene in it automatically be considered sinful? I know I can’t watch such a movie, but I’m not so sure my own convictions should be pressed on everyone else.

    I’m not ready to suggest that every instance of nudity is always and everywhere wrong. I know my limits, but I suppose that a reviewer of arthouse films that include some form of nudity could be justified in watching that film as part of his job.

    Should the Pompeii artifacts in the “secret cabinet” be destroyed. I’m much less certain even if I would avoid them on a trip to Naples. Perhaps you disagree? I’d be interested in what you think about it and why.”

    This is a tough one for me as well. Should the cultural artifacts from ancient Rome be destroyed? They are pretty evil, but perhaps they have value and it is not intrinsically sinful to study them? I admit to not having a good answer in this case. Which is why I am interested in what you have to say here. Perhaps you are not familiar with this work? If not, then you probably would be wise to remain that way. Maybe a better example comes from classical nudes like Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Not sexual per se, but clearly nudes. Could the models pose for the sketches without sinning? If not, is it thus wrong to view these pieces? Perhaps they should be destroyed? I don’t think so, but how do we distinguish this from a nude in an art house film? I wouldn’t want my wife posing for Botticelli and I imagine that the nude model could have incited unchaste looks from the artist. By Challies’ reasoning such work should be destroyed. I think most would disagree thus inferring his test doesn’t work well.

    Just to be completely, totally, crystal clear – I think it is wrong to view sexually explicit fare because it may incite lustful thoughts we are commanded to flee from. I don’t think this necessarily rules out all forms of nudity in art, but I draw my own lines much more conservatively than most I imagine. I do not think that the fact a participant may be sinning or that I wouldn’t want my wife involved is a good test for whether or not viewing said art is sinful.

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  235. Well, Greg, you have your work cut out for you with the guys arguing the exceptions against the rule and then bringing in unrelated topics. It’s a mess. Hope you can sort it out.

    Jeff:
    GRANTED that lusting is wrong and that we are to flee it, does the Challies Test help, or does it make a confused mess?>>>>>

    It helps. You started out well, but then muddied things to the point of incoherency.

    2 Timothy 2:22New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

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  236. Jeff, I very much appreciate your thoughtful and substantive input, but you are starting from the wrong premise and have a couple more, what believe to be honest errors as well .

    At the risk of sounding the wrong way, I have been making this case a lot longer than Challies has. I only say that because brother Tim, who I hold in very high regard and agree with 95+ % of the time, is not the point. His points are the point. From this moment forward, I’ll rely on my own formulations of those points, which I will humbly assert, until evidence to the contrary is forthcoming, are more thoroughly developed than his. Not because I’m smarter or holier, but only because it’s been a focus of mine longer and I have encountered every conceivable objection from some rather formidable folks desperate to protect their beloved worldly idols of art and entertainment.

    I do not concentrate on the incitement to lust in the consumer because people will build some downright impressive self deception when rationalizing their desire to have what they want. Truth be told? I don’t think guys like Darryl watch this stuff to lust after the women anyway. I think he’d love the wire if it had no sexually sinful content at all. It is his willingness to grotesquely compromise his puritan reformed heritage, by paying Gods’ money to his fellow children of Adam to damn themselves, in a campaign to justify his addiction to worldly art and entertainment, that is my heartbroken passion here. (wait til we get the 3rd commandment too. For instance.)

    It is my unshakable conviction that the twin idols of art and media entertainment have castrated, crippled and corrupted the modern American church on a scale and at levels that far surpass the success of every other Satanic strategy in the history of this planet combined. The influence of German liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy, fruity Arminian and Charismatic screwballery AND the false church at Rome are together easily dwarfed in terms of necrofying influence on the life of the church. Baal, Moloch and Dagon were amateurs. Yes, I know exactly what I just said.

    You seem a good man Jeff with a real conscience, so I hope you will not take it as an attack when I say that your mindset is still the one that made this possible. If Darryl will graciously oblige me, the reasons why will come out in my discussion with him.

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  237. Here’s another twist on the participating and consuming front, Jeff brings up the show Chicago, what if Chicago is acceptable but on the participating side, it DEPENDS on who is directing(I’m aware of actual dissent by actors)? On the consuming side, what if we postulate discrimination based on both the age and maturity level of the consumer? Both of these situations go on ALL the time.

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  238. @ Greg:

    I don’t take offense, but I also don’t quite see what your point is, exactly.

    Are you saying that the sin consists in viewing nudity and/or sex scenes, regardless of monetary transactions? Or paying money to see such scenes? Or in being idolatrously addicted to media?

    When you censure nudity and sex scenes, would you include the following:

    The tarring and feathering scene in John Adams? (non-sexual nudity)
    The reunion between John and Abigail in the same movie? (non-nude sex implied)

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  239. @ sean: On the consuming side, what if we postulate discrimination based on both the age and maturity level of the consumer?

    Right, and so here come the MPAA ratings. Let the gaming of the morality system begin!

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  240. Sean,

    Wasn’t intending to pass you up, just missed some of the comments. I don’t read all the comments, so I’m not up to speed on what some of the others are saying in support/denial. Forgive me if I’m repeating arguments others have made or you or others are repeating arguments.

    My problem isn’t with watching movies with sex/nudity per se. My problem is with calling what people are doing on screen not sex/sexual – calling it “fake”. It’s a curious move considering what is actually happening. Sure, it’s not the kind of sex / sexual interaction that occurs between a husband and a wife, or between two teenagers on their parents’ couch. There is a specific intent behind these latter examples. Calling it fake doesn’t get you out of anything. What about documentaries that include real sex? They aren’t faking it are they? Is it ok to watch then? Sure, you aren’t watching for arousal, but it’s not fake.

    Or what if they don’t even copulate, they’re just fooling around, but its real? Is it ok to watch then? To me, that’s why the whole “fake” argument doesn’t fly. The problem at the end of the day is not merely with what is actually happening. If it were, God couldn’t be cognizant of our evil.

    I posed this on a different thread one time but what if a D.A. (who was a Christian) had to review scenes from a pornographic film for part of his research into a case? Should he watch it? As a Christian is that ok? I actually believe he could and could do it in good conscience. So my problem isn’t necessarily with whether or not Christians can/should watch sex/nudity. But to me to try and assert that what two people are doing on screen is not sex/sexual is strange, to say the least.

    How do you behave in a sexual manner (specifically, nude and interacting with someone in a sexual manner) and yet it is not being sexual? Or how can you assert that people can behave in a non-sexual manner yet do everything up to penetration and not call it sexual?

    I don’t get it.

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  241. Sean, et. al.,

    In sum. I agree with everything Challies says about not wanting his wife to do what he proposes because I agree that what he states about the nature of what is occurring. But I also find his argument insufficient in warning Christians against seeing films and images that portray sex/sexuality. To me, it’s not necessarily about the act itself, but the “how, why, and what” of our watching.

    It’s like having your friends over to drink: Taking a shot of Odouls, Glenmorangie, or Everclear would be very different. At a certain point our bodies are not made to handle certain things, and it would be unwise to think I can handle a substance like Everclear. So it would be with other things – I would be very foolish to think that I could handle certain kinds of content, and would strongly urge people against viewing certain content because it’s designed to be very powerful in a certain kind of way. I’m not God, and my heart is sinful, and people have different levels of what they’re able to reasonably handle, but there’s also a point where you’re just inviting sin (particularly lust) into your heart through what your consuming (just like Everclear – you’re stupid if you think you can handle it like you do other substances).

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  242. Nate: Or what if they don’t even copulate, they’re just fooling around, but its real? Is it ok to watch then? To me, that’s why the whole “fake” argument doesn’t fly.

    That’s the larger problem with art in general, not just sex. At one level, the artist is portraying … something. Or nothing, if that’s his thing.

    But most artists don’t just depict random things, but random things that express the meaning of heart’s desires. John Cage wrote music based on random selections from the I Ching because he believed that all of life is random chance. (And it sure sounds great, doesn’t it?!).

    So there is an interplay between depiction and message that is not one-for-one, unless the artist is purely doctrinaire like Ayn Rand, but is also not purely empty either.

    Jackie Chan films fake violence, but his kung fu is real enough to break limbs and give some hilarious outtakes. The Greeks used real violence in their plays.

    So what is the clear path forward? It’s not to institute a “no boobs” rule, which permits Baywatch but forbids Schindler’s List and National Geographic. Rather, it is to hew closely to Scripture: Flee youthful lust.

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  243. JRC: GRANTED that lusting is wrong and that we are to flee it, does the Challies Test help, or does it make a confused mess?

    Mermaid: It helps. You started out well, but then muddied things to the point of incoherency.

    Paul via Mermaid: Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

    Mermaid, life is muddy. Anyone who says differently is selling faux epistemological certainty something. What clears things up is Scripture. Paul above is clear: put off the old man, put on the new.

    Challies muddies things again by instituting a new rule not in Scripture: Flee things you would feel uncomfortable seeing your wife do. So apparently, I have to flee I Dream of Jeannie.

    That’s why liberty of conscience is tied so tightly to sola scriptura, which has much less to do with epistemology and much more to do with church governance: In order for the believer’s conscience to be free from the traditions of men, it is necessary for the church to restrict its teachings to what can be proved to be the Word of God in Scripture.

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  244. So suppose someone decided to make the book of Judges into a movie. Do we skip the chapter about raping the concubine and cutting her body into pieces?

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  245. Thanks for your clarification, sdb. I agree with some of it, but not other parts of it. I don’t feel comfortable with continuing the discussion, though, because I don’t see that you or others have a problem what Challies actually said. I don’t have anything to add or take away.

    It seems like his article triggered a lot of other issues that he didn’t even raise. Maybe you guys feel a need to – pardon the pun – flesh this out more. That’s fine.

    Besides, if you read what I have said, you will see that I am not objecting to nudity in art per se. You may have missed that.

    BTW, I do not grovel. I do not submit to online demands for apologies. Just FYI.

    No hard feelings. It’s just that the ad hominem argument takes many forms. Demanding apologies is just one of those forms that I find especially immature and even demeaning both to the one making the demand and to the one who is the target of said. I would not be doing you any favors by submitting to your demands.

    I do thank you for explaining your comment, though. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to do so.

    All the best to you and yours

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  246. @tlm I take slander seriously. You accused me of approving of “getting off on soft core porn” a charge that is in direct opposition of what I wrote and to which you were responding. I am surprised that you find taking offense to such statements “immature” or “demeaning”. A simple retraction along the lines of “I apologize for misreprenting your views” would have done. I hope you understand why “all the best” rings hollow. If you feel free to slander and find apologizing demeaning, that indicates a rather curious moral compass.

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  247. Nate, I still don’t completely follow you but I understand(I think) what your concern is and I don’t have a problem that it bothers you and you take precaution. That’s good. However, what’s good and right for you is not always necessary for someone else. There really are opportunities in life where what is inconceivable for you or Challies is really O.K. for someone else within a given context. Wisdom can be really hard to quantify all the time. Challies likely lacks the specific competence to make those assesments on this issue. I would’ve rather he recognized that and didn’t try to trade on religious exhortation/authority to attempt to bind other’s conscience, illegitimately. He mischaracterized the opportunity and it’s certainly no slam dunk from a participant nor consumer point of view.

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  248. Mermaid: BTW, I do not grovel. I do not submit to online demands for apologies. Just FYI.

    Apologizing is not groveling. It is acknowledging that you’ve done wrong. It is what real people do because they care about each other.

    Your refusal to apologize for past wrongs undercuts any claim that you make to faith working through love.

    Just FYI.

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  249. Jeff Cagle
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: BTW, I do not grovel. I do not submit to online demands for apologies. Just FYI.

    Apologizing is not groveling. It is acknowledging that you’ve done wrong. It is what real people do because they care about each other.

    Your refusal to apologize for past wrongs undercuts any claim that you make to faith working through love.

    Just FYI.>>>>

    What you say here confirms what I suspected all along.

    Your demands for apologies are insincere.

    You still have Galatians 5:6 to contend with. Is it part of Paul’s Gospel or not? Attacking me will not remove that passage from Scripture.

    Let all the Papists disappear in one day, and you will still have the Apostle Paul’s Gospel to contend with.

    …and I still forgive you.

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  250. Jeff asks: “Are you saying that the sin consists in … [the idolatrous worship of art and media?]”(Revision obviously mine.)
    That is the moral tree from which this bad fruit is spawned. All the rest (the devil’s bonus of the paying of God’s money to support it, nudity, sex, blasphemy and barbaric violence etc.) is symptomatic of that. Even for you Jeff.

    Take a look at your comments. You proceed under the pre-committed foregone assumption that pagan art and movies and television are of such primary vital importance that the goal of the church MUST be to determine how best to interact with them. It doesn’t even cross your mind that until a little over a hundred years ago, the people of God didn’t even have electricity. And that for most of church history, the then cultural equivalents played little to no role whatsoever in the life of the church. Except for the Catholics. We know what we think of them. In fact as Will S. brought up (And as Darryl well knows) our puritan reformed forbears would have sooner died at the stake than be known to tolerate the unbridled depravity in media that their spiritual descendants attach such profundity to today.

    I say the first question is WHETHER Christ’s bride should interact with these powerfully influential products of the world at all. I’m not even necessarily saying she shouldn’t. I’m saying that the question is considered answered by almost literally everybody, including you, before we even approach the subject.

    Now you DO invoke scripture. But only AFTER you’ve already determined the foundational necessity of art and media. So God in scripture doesn’t get to answer the first and most important question of all, but is recruited to supplement your predetermined answer.

    WCF I:VI:
    “VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”

    There is nothing that is not morally indifferent that is left up our individual conscience in scripture. Ever. I must respectfully disagree with Darryl. There are two categories in scripture, not three. That which is indifferent and that which is not. A thing indifferent (food, alcohol, what car to buy etc.) is indeed left to the liberty of the Christian conscience. Meat is meat. Whether offered at some point to a nonexistent god or not, meat in itself is incapable of conveying moral content. The individual’s conscience is what makes the morally neutral meat an occasion for sin or no.

    A media production wherein real imago dei bearing human beings are blaspheming the name of our Lord and behaving sexually (among a host of other activities) is by definition a morally charged category and therefore as the assembly quite rightly determined, there are universally binding principles in the the scriptures, the disregard of which are sin in every instance for all time.

    Please give me some examples of “art” in the bible and how it’s used under the favor of God Jeff. Serious request.

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  251. Galatians 5.6 is fully contended with.

    But how about this?

    So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

    That’s Jesus’ command to you, and me also. He doesn’t give you a pass for your exception, “Unless you have a rule about not apologizing online.”

    So who then is deleting Scripture? The one who boasts of refusing to do what it commands.

    But you reply to me, What you say here confirms what I suspected all along. Your demands for apologies are insincere.

    In other words, my supposed insincerity justifies your intransigence.

    Well, suppose that were true, that I am insincere. Suppose that I were simply a malicious accuser. What did Jesus say to do with me?

    Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

    I’m not insincere. I genuinely want you to change the nature of your relationship with people here so that you can offer your views from a perspective of loving others and wanting the best for them.

    But even if I were insincere, your obligation to SDB and to me and to others is very clear.

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  252. Mermaid: BTW, I do not grovel. I do not submit to online demands for apologies.
    Mermaid: You still have Galatians 5:6 to contend with.
    Mermaid: and I still forgive you.
    Jeff: Your refusal to apologize for past wrongs undercuts any claim that you make to faith working through love.

    ditto Jeff
    Gal 5:6 – the only thing counting – faith working through love – is a curious verse to invoke for one who consistently refuses to apologize for slandering others, mermaid.
    I guess your “I forgive you”; tactic is also to demonstrate that biblical principle… quid pro quo

    well, again, one thing we have together here is continual opportunity to be reminded of how spectacular is the Lord’s kindness and patience!

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  253. @ Greg:

    In case it wasn’t clear, the forgoing comment was directed at Mermaid.

    GTG: Take a look at your comments. You proceed under the pre-committed foregone assumption that pagan art and movies and television are of such primary vital importance that the goal of the church MUST be to determine how best to interact with them. It doesn’t even cross your mind that until a little over a hundred years ago, the people of God didn’t even have electricity.

    I think you’re reading a little strongly into my comments. I don’t assume that art, movies, or television are of any importance at all. They are temporal, destined to pass away.

    I DO assume (and this may be what you were perceiving) that art, movies, and television are inevitable living on this side of glory.

    I have a hard time envisioning how you might structure your life so that you are entirely isolated from art. Pick up your Bible and look at the table of contents. The layout, the kerning of the font, the literary form are all small bits of art, mostly developed in secular contexts. Amish outfits and furniture are art.

    So it’s unclear what you are proposing, but it would appear to be that we rid ourselves entirely of art, movies, and television. How? Is it sinful to show my students a video of paint exploding at 15000 frames per second so that they can understand conservation of momentum?

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  254. sdb
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink
    @tlm I take slander seriously. You accused me of approving of “getting off on soft core porn” a charge that is in direct opposition of what I wrote and to which you were responding. I am surprised that you find taking offense to such statements “immature” or “demeaning”. A simple retraction along the lines of “I apologize for misreprenting your views” would have done. I hope you understand why “all the best” rings hollow. If you feel free to slander and find apologizing demeaning, that indicates a rather curious moral compass.>>>>

    I do not take your demand seriously. In fact, if I were into that sort of thing, I would demand that you apologize to me. I don’t take your insults seriously.

    What I did say was sufficient, but here’s more. I just don’t give in to your demand to repeat some phony lines to make you happy. It’s phony. I don’t demand that you repeat some phony lines to me, either. That’s just weird.

    Thank you for clarifying. I understand and appreciate the time you took to do so. You do not disagree with the gist of what Challies actually said. You have other issues you wish to bring into the discussion that are related indirectly and that you think about for yourself.

    You are free to take that or leave it. Maybe you need to take yourself less seriously. Just a friendly suggestion. Relax, man. I do wish you all the best.

    I did think of a situation where people were sinning, but really didn’t know they were until the Gospel came to their tribe. A friend of mine from India told about a friend of his from Northern India – Nagaland, I think it was – whose father or grandfather – can’t remember which – had been a head hunter before he received the Gospel.

    He didn’t think there was anything wrong with that. When his conscience was awakened by the Word, he quit his head hunting ways. So, the details are a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea.

    Anyway,…Make of that what you will. The CCC talks about something like that if you wish to look it up.

    I also recently heard of a group of men in central Asia who didn’t know it was sin to beat their wives. When they learned what Scripture teaches about the husband and wife relationship, they were convicted of their sin and decided to repent of their past practices.

    Now the wives beat them. Just kidding! The other part of the story is true.

    Chill out, man. And please do receive my warmest wishes, which include wishing you would relax a little. It’s okay. We’re all BFFs here – Best Frenemies Forever.

    …and Jeff, seriously? You are still smarting because I thought one of your arguments was Pelagian? You clarified that. I accepted your clarification. Man, what about not letting the sun go down on your wrath or forgiving quickly?

    I still don’t get what bats flying out of my nose – you wish – has to do with epistemology. Thankfully, that whole discussion was destroyed by the Internet Balrog, collapsing into the abyss.

    Hey, guys. Relax. Jesus loves you. He really does.

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  255. Greg, “We know what we think of them. In fact as Will S. brought up (And as Darryl well knows) our puritan reformed forbears would have sooner died at the stake than be known to tolerate the unbridled depravity in media that their spiritual descendants attach such profundity to today.”

    Anachronism alert. They didn’t have movies or social media. So what stake would they die on over that — which is Challies’ point?

    Also, Rutherford had sex before he was married — can’t remember if it resulted in offspring. I don’t think the Puritans and Reformed were as spooked by sex as you. Yes, it’s a sin. Does it bring down the church? Have you ever considered that Paul did not anathematize the Corinthian church were incest was tolerated, but he did Galatia where the circumcision party was all in favor of morality?

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  256. Mermaid, “Hey, guys. Relax. Jesus loves you. He really does.”

    Even when we slander? Even when we don’t show love? Even when we watch movies with naked bodies?

    Wow! Roman Catholicism sounds great. Cheap grace for everyone. No worries even about purgatory. You’ve got the team with all the championship rings.

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  257. @tlm I am sincerely offended by your slander. Not sure why you would conclude from Jeff’s comment that I am insincere.

    Regarding Gal 5:6, I’ve never understood why you find this passage to be problematic for reformed folks. It forms a key part of Article 24 of the Belgic Confession,

    We believe that this true faith (described in Article 23), produced in us by the hearing of God’s Word
    and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates us and makes us new creatures, causing us to live a new life and freeing us from the slavery of sin….So then, it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls “faith working through love,” which moves people to do by themselves the works that God has commanded in the Word.

    While you may find the reformer’s exegetical treatment of this passage and the other proof texts that inform their understanding of justification, sanctification, and the connection between the two, it is clear that the reformers have not removed this text from scripture.

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  258. What I did say was sufficient, but here’s more. I just don’t give in to your demand to repeat some phony lines to make you happy. It’s phony. I don’t demand that you repeat some phony lines to me, either. That’s just weird.

    No it isn’t, but it is telling. You are a slanderer and instead of apologizing for lying about me, you suggest that such an apology would be phony. A very curious moral compass indeed.

    I know I’m just a lowly protestant, so perhaps you might consider the words of a an RC blogger,

    I am referring to the…malicious use of lies to degrade […] the reputation of another person with the intent to isolate, punish and hurt them. That is slander, and it is a mortal sin. You can go to hell for it.

    Accusing me of justifying the morality of “getting off on soft core porn” was a lie intended to undermine my credibility. It was slander, a mortal sin in your system, and something you should indeed take seriously.

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  259. @Jeff

    Is it sinful to show my students a video of paint exploding at 15000 frames per second so that they can understand conservation of momentum?

    Yes. Isn’t paint viscous and thus a non-conservative medium? Then again, I use similar videos of diet coke and mentos to illustrate the origin of structure in stellar outflows (with all the caveats that while the structure looks eerily similar, one is caused by shocks and the other by gravity).

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  260. Dr. Hart says: “Anachronism alert. They didn’t have movies or social media.”
    NOW you speak up? When I’m engulfed in a dialog with Jeff now 😀

    Are you saying Darryl that the word of God has no principles applicable to these areas of life? That The omniscient creator God, who declares the end from the beginning and calls those things that are not yet as though they already were, has left His people with no instruction on how to navigate this all consuming modern phenomena? That the divines were wrong and that “the whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, AND LIFE, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture,” until the industrial revolution when God’s wisdom expires? Maybe you flunk after all. Come on man.

    What an individual (Rutherford for instance) does is irrelevant to this conversation by itself. EVERY true Christian fights the war against sin while in this flesh or he isn’t one. What he PREACHES is what matters for our purposes here. I know a guy right now who is at full time war with homosexuality. He falls sometimes (less and less, yet still up and down), but I see Jesus in his eyes and he would blow his brains out before ever declaring good what His Lord has clearly condemned as evil. That is what matters Darryl. Today’s pitiful excuse of a reformation faith has embraced what you KNOW those men of old never would have. You can’t possibly believe that the men who wrote the the exposition of the Decalogue in the LC (OR Christ or the apostles) would have sat down and watched your movies and shows with you while musing over all the towering the wisdom they contain. You’ve already conceded that.

    Paul delivered the perp to Satan and commanded the Church at Corinth to put the “wicked man” out. Please click my name above this comment for a thorough treatment of that very passage. In fact I would be honored by your critique. Truly.

    Paul did NOT anathematize the Galatian church. He anathematized the JUDAIZERS and any who brought a law bound false gospel as a warning to that church who had imperiled themselves by embracing teaching not supported by Paul’s own. Both legalism AND license are condemned in scripture Darryl. Both are damnable. In today’s church, license is the far greater heresy while the enemy has most mistaking biblical holiness for legalism.

    My goal on this site is not to beat you down. I really hope you can believe that.

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  261. sdb, I am grieved by your reactions. I am shocked, even. Still, I do forgive you. I have nothing against you or anyone here.

    Peace.

    I just think that Challies is an excellent man and that you guys were not giving him a fair hearing. He’s one of the good guys, and I think he should be listened to.

    Now you are sending me to hell. I am very sorry to see your outburst like this, but I do forgive you and wish you well.

    I feel like I am the outcast, but you feel justified in your own conscience. God have mercy on all of us.

    I am the outcast. I am the Papist. I am the idolator. I am going to hell according to your theology, and you are going to heaven.

    I sure hope you all are going to heaven. I really do.

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  262. Jeff says: “I DO assume (and this may be what you were perceiving) that art, movies, and television are inevitable living on this side of glory.”
    Television and movies are not inevitable for anybody, least of all Christ’s church, except the occasional seat in the public waiting room somewhere.

    Jeff says: “I have a hard time envisioning how you might structure your life so that you are entirely isolated from art.”
    I said nothing of the kind Jeff. There IS art in the bible. Not much, but there is.

    Jeff says: “So it’s unclear what you are proposing, but it would appear to be that we rid ourselves entirely of art, movies, and television.”
    No sir. Photographic and moving picture and television technology are entirely indifferent in themselves and are as good or evil as the uses to which they are put. Same with most artistic mediums. Which are not ipso facto strictly synonymous with TV and Movies in every case, but the same principles generally apply.

    Jeff says: “How? Is it sinful to show my students a video of paint exploding at 15000 frames per second so that they can understand conservation of momentum?”
    It isn’t. Guess why 🙂

    Please Jeff. Think with me. Where is the art in the biblical text and how is it used? There IS art in the bible (not much, but there is) and it IS used certain ways every time. 2 to be exact. With as staggeringly important as most of today’s church seems to be believe art is, one would think that those naming the name of the risen Christ would pay more attention to where it is in His word and how it’s used there. I’m not trying to trap you. I’m asking you to think and tell me, where is the art in the biblical text and how is it used?

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  263. @ SDB: Isn’t paint viscous and thus a non-conservative medium?

    Energy, yes. In the absence of outside forces, momentum is always conserved. The video in question is lovely.

    Slo-Mo Guys

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  264. Nate, so your stated problem is the idea that sex can be feigned, portrayed, depicted. It can only be done. So I wonder, would a husband or wife be satisfied doing in real life what what actors fumble around doing on a set, wearing underwear and other kinds of falsies to only make it appear that sex is happening but really isn’t? Doubt it. In which case, your sustained contention that depicted sex is essentially actual continues to bewilder.

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  265. I don’t think the Puritans and Reformed were as spooked by sex as you.

    Darryl, it’s odd that Greg keeps referring to the Puritans as if they were a standard–what confessional standard of unity did they write? But they sure were weird on sex, and their descendants follow suit (David Murray alert), in which case his referencing makes some sense. After all, look at his explicit questions, which are more willies-producing than the films he rails against. Ironic how explicit his type is willing to get.

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  266. @ Greg: I’m asking you to think and tell me, where is the art in the biblical text and how is it used?

    We have the artwork in the tabernacle and again in the temple. We have the myriad of songs sung — psalms, Moses; songs sung in praise of David and Saul; Lamentations; trumpets blaring around the walls of Jericho. We have Lydia, seller of purple. We have the Creation itself. Songs and images in Revelation.

    We have Jubal of Gen 4.21, and arguably Tubal-Cain.

    Some negative examples: Music accompanying the statue of Nebuchadnezzar.

    I’m sure I’m missing some.

    Question: You’re not assuming that these were the only artists and musicians ever, right? It is clear that Hiram from Tyre (1 Kings 7) had to have been trained by a long line of craftsmen, and didn’t just spring from the earth ready to work bronze?

    Assuming you agree with me, then it is a necessary inference that there were many instances of art that were not pressed into service in the temple or tabernacle. Are you saying that these non-sacred artists were ipso-facto sinning?

    Not trying to misrepresent, but I want to get some clear definition on your position towards art and music.

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  267. “sdb, I am grieved by your reactions. I am shocked, even. Still, I do forgive you. I have nothing against you or anyone here.”

    So if I were to spread around that you got off on porn, you’d be ok with that? I doubt that.

    “Peace.”
    Not when you spread salacious lies and refuse to retract.

    “I just think that Challies is an excellent man and that you guys were not giving him a fair hearing. He’s one of the good guys, and I think he should be listened to.”
    Great guys can make bad arguments about good conclusions. Exploring the quality of an argument and its limits is part of what it means to be discerning. There is nothing to win…only to learn.

    “Now you are sending me to hell. ”
    Not at all. Your faith teaches that slander is a mortal sin, and your false characterization of my view (that I think it is ok to get off on soft core porn) is slander.

    “I am very sorry to see your outburst like this, but I do forgive you and wish you well.”
    Curious.

    “I feel like I am the outcast, but you feel justified in your own conscience. God have mercy on all of us.” Apologizing for lying about someone shouldn’t make you feel like an outcast. Ali called me on something similar a few threads back. I thought Rove came out as an atheist. Turns out Hitchens misunderstood a comment Rove made and I missed the correction. I was wrong and retracted my assertion thanks to Ali’s correction. You should do the same.

    “I am the outcast. I am the Papist. I am the idolator. I am going to hell according to your theology, and you are going to heaven.”
    Well I agree that bowing to statues is idolatry, but I don’t believe your errors necessarily consign you to hell. According to your theology, a mortal sin (like slander) does remove you from a state of grace. You should make this right by retracting your accusation that my comments imply that I support getting off on soft core porn.

    “I sure hope you all are going to heaven. I really do.” That’s nice, but your refusal to retract your falsehood speaks louder.

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  268. Jeff
    Thanks for the link. Those are great! I need to think more about viscosity. I’ve always thought of it as a sort of friction (thus an outside force), but that isn’t really true in general.

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  269. Zrim,

    So I wonder, would a husband or wife be satisfied doing in real life what what actors fumble around doing on a set, wearing underwear and other kinds of falsies to only make it appear that sex is happening but really isn’t?

    Either you misunderstand what I’m saying or you’re misrepresenting me. There’s sex (intercourse including copulation) and then there’s sexual interaction, both are reserved for marriage. Fondling isn’t sex (proper) but it is sexual interaction reserved for marriage. Unless of course your OK with people who are not husband-and-wife doing that. You’re collapsing my position to be that any form of sexual interaction is “Sex” proper and I’m not asserting that. I’m saying that there is “Sex” proper and there is sexual interaction, and that both are reserved for marriage. Additionally, according to your line of reasoning, it would be ok for a married couple who are members at your church to make a movie about their lives along with a scene of them having “fake” sex (in good-old Woody Allen fashion), put it out there for the masses, and it’s ok for them to show up at church on Sunday and take the Lord’s Supper without consequence. I think thats flat out insane.

    To answer your question, of course not. But that’s not the point. The point is that the type of interaction being displayed is reserved only for those in marriage, whether or not your litmus test of penetration has occurred. Besides, you still haven’t answered whether or not sex in a documentary is ok to watch. It’s real sex, you don’t get the “out” of pretend sex. It’s actual sex, but you still would assert that its ok to watch. Why? That’s my point. It’s a fiction to assert it’s “fake” sex makes it ok to watch because then you’d still watch a documentary that has real sex in it. Or wouldn’t you?

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  270. sdb:sdb
    Posted February 23, 2016 at 12:14 am | Permalink
    “sdb, I am grieved by your reactions. I am shocked, even. Still, I do forgive you. I have nothing against you or anyone here.”

    So if I were to spread around that you got off on porn, you’d be ok with that? I doubt that.>>>>>

    Now you are slandering yourself! There is nothing I could do or say that would make you look worse than you look right now.

    So, out of pity for you, I will bid you a fond farewell and go to Dubai.

    Don’t miss me too much while I am gone. 😉

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  271. The Little Mermaid
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink
    sdb
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
    @tlm
    “You have still not accurately represented Challies’ argument.”
    No. The argument is that if someone else has to sin to produce x, then it is wrong to use x. That reasoning is faulty. Where you are tripped up is that here you agree that is wrong to use x. So you cannot concieve of a problem with any argument against x no matter how specious. It’s a theme from you that derives from your stated priority at winning over learning from a conversation. It is the same error you proudly displayed on the “unchristian option” thread. The problems caused for the life movement by Dadelein’s unwise tactic reveals the inadequacy of your approach.>>>>

    You didn’t factor in something called the Bible. You fail on this. 🙂 Logic is only as good as the information you program into the problem. GIGO.

    You can’t argue that Dadelein was sinning, and then turn around and argue that it’s somehow okay to produce and then get off on soft porn – enjoying watching other people have sex.

    You are confused.

    …and it’s not about me, sdb. I believe that truly is a logical fallacy.>>>>>>

    Seriously?

    This is what might send me to hell? Uh, no. No, it won’t.

    Sorry to disappoint you.

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  272. Sean,

    I’m not defending Challies application, hope that’s understood. I don’t believe “fake” sex is a matter of conscience. Darryl didn’t come out saying “Challies is wrong because I would let my wife take that kind of role in a movie” but the implication he sets out could lead someone in that direction. I think that’s shaky ground. He compared it to doctors, which if being a doctor and handling someone’s privates is the same as what actors do on screen, then by implication we should take as much issue to our wives being andrologists as to being actresses getting naked on screen and letting other men rub up against them.

    That’s preposterous.

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  273. Greg, you cut through complicated moral choices with a mallet. Other believers choose a sharper instrument. You don’t like the difference. So we disagree.

    Leave it.

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  274. Nate, it’s not preposterous because Challies didn’t consider a host of ways in which a husband could wonder about whether his wife should do this.

    You really think that nudity in the doctor’s office is never sexual? What news sources do you avoid?

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  275. ” You can’t argue that Dadelein was sinning, and then turn around and argue that it’s somehow okay to produce and then get off on soft porn – enjoying watching other people have sex.

    You are confused…..Seriously?”
    Yes. I have not said that it is okay to produce and get off on soft porn. Saying that I did as you just repeated above is slander. Your refusal to retract your statement indicates you stand by it. The statement is a malicious lie. Your intransigence is unfortunate.

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  276. ” Mermaid, always the victim (who loves the championship bling).”
    Who knew joining the champions meant never having to say your sorry. Part of the appeal I suppose.

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  277. Nate, now you’re back to being all wrong again. I like it better when you’re just uncomfortable and concerned for your chastity. There’s what you can’t imagine and then there is actual sex, actual sexual interaction and sin. Btw, have you curtailed all your movie watching to avoid all fake sexual interaction that might be going on between actors?

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  278. “A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving…By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity.” (CCC 2482, 2485)

    it’s ok, though; maybe even in Dubai, mermaid may gain an indulgence, can’t tell for sure – lots to sort out ….

    “An indulgence that may be gained in any part of the world is universal, while one that can be gained only in a specified place (Rome, Jerusalem, etc.) is local. A further distinction is that between perpetual indulgences, which may be gained at any time, and temporary, which are available on certain days only, or within certain periods. Real indulgences are attached to the use of certain objects (crucifix, rosary, medal); personal are those which do not require the use of any such material thing, or which are granted only to a certain class of individuals, e.g. members of an order or confraternity. The most important distinction, however, is that between plenary indulgences and partial. By a plenary indulgence is meant the remission of the entire temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory. A partial indulgence commutes only a certain portion of the penalty; and this portion is determined in accordance with the penitential discipline of the early Church. To say that an indulgence of so many days or years is granted means that it cancels an amount of purgatorial punishment equivalent to that which would have been remitted, in the sight of God, by the performance of so many days or years of the ancient canonical penance. Here, evidently, the reckoning makes no claim to absolute exactness; it has only a relative value. God alone knows what penalty remains to be paid and what its precise amount is in severity and duration. Finally, some indulgences are granted in behalf of the living only, while others may be applied in behalf of the souls departed. It should be noted, however, that the application has not the same significance in both cases. The Church in granting an indulgence to the living exercises her jurisdiction; over the dead she has no jurisdiction and therefore makes the indulgence available for them by way of suffrage (per modum suffragii), i.e. she petitions God to accept these works of satisfaction and in consideration thereof to mitigate or shorten the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm

    sheesh

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  279. You’re collapsing my position to be that any form of sexual interaction is “Sex” proper and I’m not asserting that. I’m saying that there is “Sex” proper and there is sexual interaction, and that both are reserved for marriage.

    Nate, but what you’re calling “sexual interaction” some others are calling “acting.” Actors portray a myriad of human interactions and I’m sure you’d agree that those are also “acting.” Why when it comes to particular physical human interaction you are slotting it out of “acting” and into “sexual interaction” isn’t clear, except perhaps because you share with Challies a fundamental opposition to skin in film and are trying to find a way to morally justify it.

    And actually, the reasoning that leads to viewing an actual married couple sexually interact is yours, because you want only married folks to be physically interacting. So as long as the pair is actually married, we’re good. I’ll exercise charity in your direction that you don’t seem to afford in mine and say that’s not exactly where you want to land either, but I’ll leave to you the work of getting there.

    But I’m making a distinction between “acting” and “sexual interaction” and saying that there is no problem in consuming “acting,” while there is a problem in consuming “sexual interaction,” whether the pair is married or not and sexing (porn).

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  280. .. wading through all that indulgence muddle and more, though, brings to mind potential confusion about lying, possibly thinking that some lies may be of the truth, rather than fact of truth in God’s word – that no lie is of the truth.

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  281. Dr. Hart asserts: “Greg, you cut through complicated moral choices with a mallet. Other believers choose a sharper instrument. You don’t like the difference. So we disagree.”
    The question Darryl is which, if either of us, is upholding biblical morality as bequeathed to history by the men your own communion claims to be the spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical heir of.

    This is where Jeff’s unbiblical, anti-reformed epistemological uncertainty is the even more foundational error that all this art and media worship is itself a symptom of. The questions brought up in this thread are not areas of ambiguity that good solid upright believers disagree on in good faith. Either YOU are faithfully upholding the scriptures as interpreted in historic reformed orthodoxy and I’m a pharisee, or I am and you’re an immoral backslider… at best. OR, we’re both wrong. It is not possible that both of us can be right and equally pleasing to God in the way we live our lives.

    The situation is exactly the opposite of what you say. It is not that I am oversimplifying a biblically complex moral dilemma. No sir. It is that you are creating a complex moral dilemma where your puritan reformed forefathers would never have seen one to even exist at all. You absolutely KNOW that to be the case. Oh yes you do. Since the very first time I brought it up 2 years ago.

    That’s why when I quote someone like Calvin or push the catechism in your face, you respond by telling the world that you don’t accept their efficacy in the decision making process of modern Christians where it is needed more than ever before. What does the church do with a multi-billion dollar servile media obsession of modern pagan culture that is saturated in everything the Lord hates? Right where and when their crystal clear godly wisdom is needed most, you declare them “unhelpful.” You of course have to say that because you know for a fact that they mortally oppose you and I’m just the messenger. We both know you know that.

    There is NO way you are going to type on that screen and go on record saying that Moses, the Prophets, Jesus Christ, the apostles and your puritan reformed history are in accord with you in your views on this. Just no possible way. That’s the test I meant when I said you passed. That still faintly beating gospel pulse, of which the Lord Jesus is the author and finisher, is still beating indeed. It doesn’t matter who gives it, it’s a fair test. Had you answered that in the affirmative, I would have written you off as a godless apostate. A wolf to be marked and denounced as a moral heretic. Yes sir, I absolutely can make that determination and so can any Christian. In fact we are commanded to do just that. It is the word that has the authority. Not the man in himself. The fact that nobody does anymore is another symptom of this tragic apostasy we are living in.

    From the mushy muddy conflation of a morally neutral food like “sweetbreads” with onscreen nudity, sex and blasphemy, to the now conflation of life saving medicine with the same. That uncertain foundation, which you most assuredly did NOT get from the bible or inherit from reformed history, is killing you. It has rendered a brilliant gifted man, with the potential to do great service to the body of Christ, but who instead spends far more time soaking in the corruption of the world than he does the word and will of almighty God, docile and harmless to the kingdom of darkness.

    Books, lectures, positions and degrees mean nothing if not offered from a life surrendered to the service of the thrice holy God on HIS terms. You could be forgiven, I suppose, due to my past here, for reading what I’m saying as insult and disdain. I tell you Darryl from the heart. It is no longer so. 😦 Forget who I am (or am not). I could be Bonzo the performing chimp. It makes no difference. All that matters is if what I’m saying is true or not.

    I pray for you. That’s not just something I say. I really do. And not just about ministry. I pray for YOU as a fellow man. For you to find joy in the things of God, that He draw you nearer to Himself than you ever thought possible. That he prosper your marriage and give you folks joy in Him therefore each other as well. As a testimony to a culture that sees no difference between those claiming to be disciples of the most high God and themselves. And no wonder. You are what you eat. Physically AND spiritually.

    I do fervently pray that you receive what I’ve said in the brotherly spirit in which it has been sent Darryl. My goal is absolutely not to beat you down. Quite the reverse actually.

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  282. Sorry Jeff. I was falling asleep last night. (blood sugar issues too) I’m not ignoring you, but there are only so many hours in the day. 🙂 I got off on this little sermonette to Darryl this morning. I’ll do my best to get you a response later. Probably tonight.

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  283. Greg, believe it or not, I disagree with much of the application of Reformed teaching by 16th and 17th century divines social and cultural matters. Lil’bit.

    I don’t think heretics should be executed. You?

    That’s not a diversion. It’s an application yet again of your use of the past as authority.

    And the way you appeal to the past indicates that one day when I’m past, my practice will be the authority for your great grandson. I really don’t think you want to go there.

    I am bound by what I have vowed, not by what Calvin did or didn’t do.

    Plus, it’s really annoying that you don’t give me any credit for interacting with holy writ and Paul’s teaching about meat sacrificed to idols. All you do is wave it past. Sorry, but God’s word is more important than Calvin or the Puritans.

    Or are you a Protestant papalist?

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  284. A better question is whether Greg read this affirmation of P. T. Anderson’s film, Boogie Nights:

    I was living in the small town of Huxley, Iowa with my wife and two young daughters. I was 27 and remember seeing a review by Siskel and Ebert of Anderson’s second movie “Boogie Nights”. I was intrigued — a movie about pornography that isn’t itself pornography? You can find their review here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_2dKTxpH7o . Siskel liked it, but didn’t love it. Ebert put it on his top 10 list of the year. I didn’t end up seeing it in the theater (I hardly saw anything in the theater back then).

    A few years later “Boogie Nights” came out on VHS and I rented it. My wife and I attempted to watch it, but the sexuality was too much for my religious sensibilities at that time (I now have a different view on the relationship between Christ and culture — but that’s a topic for another day). We gave up midway through the first half. Time went on and I got more into film. I have a job where I work a lot with numbers and can often watch or listen to things while I am at work. over the last 10-15 years I have watched hundreds of movies and TV series. Eventually I re-rented “Boogie Nights” and gave it a second try. This time I made it the whole way through and found it to be unlike anything I had ever seen before. The best word I can use to describe it is “electric”.

    As mentioned, the movie is about pornography but is not itself pornography. There are a couple of pornographic (or former pornographic) actresses in it — Nina Hartley, who plays a pornographic actress, and Veronica Hart, who plays a family court judge. All of the other actors and actresses are mainstream and the cast is probably the greatest asset of the film. 1970’s movie icon Burt Reynolds, who had not had a good decade (or two) plays Jack Horner, a “filmmaker” (i.e. pornographer) who acts as a flawed father figure to his actors, a group of misfits and hard cases. He received multiple award nominations — including a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination — for his performance (Burt Reynolds – Academy Award Nomination?).

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  285. musings… Spirit fully- informed conscience, by the whole counsel of God; all about me (or not) ; non participating website webmasters; ignored argument – seeking the profit of the many(1 Cor 10:33); answer to erik’s – how else to demonstrate? in a non-sinful way
    Paul :1 Cor 10 – fear and honor God; 1 Cor 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Paul

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  286. “Greg, believe it or not, I disagree with much of the application of Reformed teaching by 16th and 17th century divines social and cultural matters. Lil’bit.

    I don’t think heretics should be executed. You?”
    I don’t see the execution of heretics in the Westminster Standards, Three forms or LBC 1689 (definitely wouldn’t be there would it LOL!). While not condoning it, I do have some sympathy for why it was done at that time.

    “That’s not a diversion. It’s an application yet again of your use of the past as authority. “
    It’s the OPC’s use of the past as authority that is most important here.

    “And the way you appeal to the past indicates that one day when I’m past, my practice will be the authority for your great grandson. I really don’t think you want to go there.”
    This is a simple non-sequitur Darryl. By what law of logic does mere chronological distance imbue anything or anyone with authority and where have I said so? Being old doesn’t make a thing or person right or wrong. Being biblical does. Or we’d be flipping a coin over Trent or Dort.

    “I am bound by what I have vowed, not by what Calvin did or didn’t do.”
    Calvin was indeed a mere man. I cite him so as to disabuse any naysayers of the notion that I am advancing novelty unique to myself. While certainly not perfect, most people will put more weight in most cases on Calvin’s exegesis and exposition of scripture than yours. Or mine. And rightly so.

    “Plus, it’s really annoying that you don’t give me any credit for interacting with holy writ and Paul’s teaching about meat sacrificed to idols. All you do is wave it past. Sorry, but God’s word is more important than Calvin or the Puritans. “
    Oh, I assure you sir that I am more than happy to do that. Jeff and I were headed down that road as matter of fact. The application of personal liberty of conscience to a media production with sinful content is a woeful misconstrual of those passages. Work must however intrude until later. I apologize for the annoyance. It certainly wasn’t intentional. You may have missed where Sean outright rejected my offer to discuss this very thing. It’s up above. I look forward to this edifying and uplifting dialog with you as we are both able.

    “Sorry, but God’s word is more important than Calvin or the Puritans. “
    Of course, but everybody says that the bible is their authority. Confessionalism is by definition the affirmation of a particular expression of biblical understanding as having non theopheustos, but nonetheless binding authority which terminates in, because it also originates from, God’s word. Now sir you ARE Captain Confessionalism himself. You know that and the puritan divines either authored or greatly upheld the expression that YOU have been championing for years. I’m simply holding you to the standard that is as of this moment resident at opc.org.

    Questions 91 through the 10 commandments of the larger catechism, prefaced by the following words added by your church: (caps theirs)
    HAVING SEEN WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PRINCIPALLY TEACH US TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD, IT FOLLOWS TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY REQUIRE AS THE DUTY OF MAN

    “Scriptures”, requirement” and “duty” sounds fairly non optional. Don’t get me wrong. Most of the OPC couldn’t care less about this anymore. The PCA is even worse. I’m not picking on you exclusively as some standout reprobate in this regard. Look at the time, gotta go. Forgive any remaining typos please.

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  287. Greg, “I don’t see the execution of heretics in the Westminster Standards”

    And I don’t see condemnation of acting or movies in the Westminster Standards.

    But you do try to hold me to the practices of the sixteen and seventeenth centuries. So, you wobble.

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  288. DG,

    Nate, it’s not preposterous because Challies didn’t consider a host of ways in which a husband could wonder about whether his wife should do this.

    What are the “host of ways” – specifically regarding actors?

    You really think that nudity in the doctor’s office is never sexual? What news sources do you avoid?

    I didn’t say or imply such. I said a doctor is one who isn’t approaching you sexually (even if some occasionally wrongfully do). But it seems you’re helping my case since you agree that a doctor can move from a legitimate non-sexual interaction to an illegitimate sexual interaction and they’re not even having sex. When, according to you, does something move from being a non-sexual interaction to a sexual interaction?

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  289. Sean,

    Nate, now you’re back to being all wrong again. I like it better when you’re just uncomfortable and concerned for your chastity.

    I like it better when you’re not contrarian either. Can’t we all just get along?

    There’s what you can’t imagine and then there is actual sex, actual sexual interaction and sin. Btw, have you curtailed all your movie watching to avoid all fake sexual interaction that might be going on between actors?

    Not sure I follow your point.

    I actually stopped watching movies altogether. I couldn’t bear the thought of accidentally being presented with something remotely sexual.

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  290. Nate, a date.

    Two actors under contract doesn’t constitute a date.

    Can two actors get frisky sexually? Of course. But Challies (and you) don’t consider the other ways that a husband might object to his wife’s duties — like medicine, or police work (hand cuffs anyone?), or teaching little children (ahem).

    So Challies comes up with in my view a silly rule to show why he only watches G movies. No one would even rate the Bible PG.

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  291. Zrim,

    Nate, but what you’re calling “sexual interaction” some others are calling “acting.” Actors portray a myriad of human interactions and I’m sure you’d agree that those are also “acting.”

    But we don’t call when actors are sitting down at a table in a movie and are eating “fake eating”. There are certain things that actually have to be done. You can “fake” kill someone in a movie, you’re not actually killing them. You can “fake” jump off a bridge, but the act of jumping is real. You can’t “fake” run in a movie. You can’t fake “sexual interaction”. You may not intend what the act symbolizes, but that doesn’t make it any less sexual. You might be acting (portraying someone/something other than who you are) but you still have to engage in a certain set of real acts in order for something to be plausible.

    Why when it comes to particular physical human interaction you are slotting it out of “acting” and into “sexual interaction” isn’t clear, except perhaps because you share with Challies a fundamental opposition to skin in film and are trying to find a way to morally justify it.

    I’m not fundamentally opposed to skin in film (or other forms of artistic expression) but I think 1) it’s a misdirection to justify watching sex/sexual interactions because its “fake” because 2) watching/observing sinful content isn’t inherently sinful (as I have said before). My point is that saying “fake sex is ok because doctors” is wrong. It leaves the door open for people to to think that doing otherwise sinful practices is acceptable.

    I’ll exercise charity in your direction that you don’t seem to afford in mine and say that’s not exactly where you want to land either, but I’ll leave to you the work of getting there.

    I’m not intending to be uncharitable (I’m sorry for being so if I am) but as I understand your logic that’s where I see it leading. If you think otherwise I would like to be shown, genuinely.

    But I’m making a distinction between “acting” and “sexual interaction” and saying that there is no problem in consuming “acting,” while there is a problem in consuming “sexual interaction,” whether the pair is married or not and sexing (porn).

    So would you watch a documentary on the original Woodstock?

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  292. Nate: But we don’t call when actors are sitting down at a table in a movie and are eating “fake eating”. There are certain things that actually have to be done. You can “fake” kill someone in a movie, you’re not actually killing them. You can “fake” jump off a bridge, but the act of jumping is real. You can’t “fake” run in a movie. You can’t fake “sexual interaction”. You may not intend what the act symbolizes, but that doesn’t make it any less sexual. You might be acting (portraying someone/something other than who you are) but you still have to engage in a certain set of real acts in order for something to be plausible.

    Let’s just stipulate that acting is weird, period.

    I mean, if I’m acting the part of a reprobate, my lines might include blasphemies. So I have engage in the real act of saying the blasphemy out loud.

    So then … am I being a blasphemer? What if I cross my fingers? (Kidding!)

    Same thing with verbal abuse towards another character.

    Your point is taken when you observe that screen sex consists of actual actions (on set, those actions are probably not what you imagine, unless you really are watching porn). Now, that opens up two separate questions. No, three actually:

    (1) Are those faux-sex actions themselves sinful? Where is the line?

    (2) Assuming sinful to do, is it sinful to watch? (This is not a slam-dunk question. It was wickedly sinful for the Nazis to experiment on people. It is not sinful to use their data. Wagner’s motives in writing his operas were sinful and vainglorious. Listening to those operas is not inherently sinful)

    (3) What if the actors are actually portraying wholesome sexuality, such as the married sex scene from the opening to The Fugitive?

    This latter question is interesting because it turns things on its head. The actors aren’t married, but they are pretending that they are, whence their pretend actions are in the marriage bed which is “to be honored by all.” How would your test apply now?

    If it is sinful to pretend to have extramarital intercourse while not actually doing so, is it then sinful to pretend to have marital intercourse while not actually doing so?

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  293. You may not intend what the act symbolizes, but that doesn’t make it any less sexual.

    Nate, wait a tic. I thought you said that since one actor doesn’t INTEND on actually harming another when depicting violence that the portrayal was legit? Why can’t the sexual portrayal get that kind of room from you. But I think you show your hand below.

    I’m not fundamentally opposed to skin in film…

    But you just said “I actually stopped watching movies altogether. I couldn’t bear the thought of accidentally being presented with something remotely sexual.” That’s pretty telling. You sure sound fundamentally opposed to skin in film.

    Re the charity point, you’re saying my reasoning ends up ok with consuming porn. I’ve said it doesn’t. I’ve said yours ends up avoiding the Brady Bunch because Mike and Carol might kiss each other. I was trying to be charitable in saying that i don’t really think you want to end up there because its so darn silly. But given what you say about avoiding films because you’re scared you might be scandalized, well, maybe that’s not only where your reasoning takes us but where you want to go. If so, sorry, but you’re being silly.

    A documentary on Woodstock doesn’t sound interesting, so no, I wouldn’t, but not because footage of an orgy might slip into the screen. Dirty hippies just aren’t very interesting to me is all.

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  294. Nate, so, you’re teetotaling. Ok. I’m not gonna try to move you off your conviction. I’m just not willing to let your conclusions drive my bus or determine the veracity of Challie’s argument. I really do think a lot of this, particularly from the participating side, is a matter of ignorance. That’s not a reflection on your intelligence but rather, maybe, lack of first hand experience with how this goes down on stage or on a set. Mine’s limited as well, but I’m probably more familiar than most. Sometimes familiarity with the production side helps blunt the ‘realism’ of what you’re seeing on screen. Challie’s test seems obvious until you spend some time with it or know more than he knows about it. It’s also pretty cheap to throw out there that you think the pushback, at least in part, is so I or others can see some boobs. While I like the female form and swing from the hetero side of the plate, I’m actually trying to argue for mature(not disney-though there’s a good amount of skin going on in Disney productions as it turns out) cinema and productions. I like a lot of R rated filims and believe it or not, it’s not for the boobs.

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  295. I get that there is complexity on *some* level in this discussion and I don’t think Challies statements are as nuanced as they could be. But I’m really struggling to understand DGH et al on this one.

    I’ll take the venerable Mr. Cagle as an example.

    Jeff said,

    on set, those actions are probably not what you imagine, unless you really are watching porn)

    In some cases there is very little left for you to imagine! Whether or not there is *romance* involved in the interaction is left to the imagination, but I don’t have to imagine that man naked on top of that woman because it’s visibly perceptual.

    Are those faux-sex actions themselves sinful? Where is the line?

    Faux-sex actions are not in themselves sinful, but what should we consider faux-sex? Perhaps part of the disconnect is we’re envisioning different scenarios. Challies is talking about an explicit sexual scene and not just a scene where people are kissing or cuddling. To me, the only further way to go is fully consummating the act. And if they are consummating faux-sex, then is it really sex?

    Assuming sinful to do, is it sinful to watch?

    Again, I want to be cautious about drawing a hard and fast line, but in the scenario Challies sets out, I would think it’s problematic to watch, but more for considerations of purity than because it is wrong to view other’s sin.

    What if the actors are actually portraying wholesome sexuality, such as the married sex scene from the opening to The Fugitive?

    Again, nothing wrong with portraying wholesome sexuality, but it should be done in a wholesome manner. (And I don’t like the language of “actually portraying” when we’re talking about actors. It starts to get my head spinning when we talk about actors “actually portraying.” I think I get your point: given their characters, they are acting consistent with wholesome sexuality).

    And I’m curious based on this question about my question above with consummation. If the actors are playing a married couple, is it wrong for them, in character, to consummate the marriage? Would it be wrong to watch such a portrayl of “wholesome sexuality?”

    Clearly you would not affirm that, but my concern is that the line of inquiry tends toward an indifference that leads to (drum roll please)…antinomianism. For my part, I think that showing the sexual side of humanity is good and fine in art. In order for the marriage bed to be honored by all, however, it ought to be respected by directors and actors.

    I remember Dr. Hart recoiling in horror at Tim Keller’s comments about how great his sex life with his wife was. I agree–keep that stuff between you and your spouse. Based on DGH’s comments here, however, I wonder if DGH’s reaction to a cinematic portrayal of Mr. Keller’s comments would be different.

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  296. Still working guys, but being deluged with notifications on my phone. I did see enough to know that the parade of faulty logic, lack of paying attention when others speak, diversion tactics and just plain absence of biblical intuitions and sensibilities marches on unabated.

    If you email me Darryl, you have my public word that nobody here will ever find out unless you tell them and I will not make you sorry you did. The second you say: “never contact me again” I never will.

    tiribulus@yahoo.com

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  297. BA: but what should we consider faux-sex? … not just a scene where people are kissing or cuddling.

    Right. And yet I would not want my wife doing that, either. So that’s the problem with the Challies test. Even applied to sexuality, it’s actually too lenient (!!)

    BA: Perhaps part of the disconnect is we’re envisioning different scenarios. Challies is talking about an explicit sexual scene…

    Right, we might very well be. Just keep in mind that even those scenes are often more camera magic than actual body parts.

    But here’s the thing: the magic sucks us in. The scene between Cruise and whatsername in Top Gun doesn’t show anything body parts, the actors aren’t actually naked, and it was all probably filmed in little microclips. Still and all, the movie makes you want to root for and approve of … well, fornication.

    So shouldn’t *that* be our focus, how the sexuality is framed, rather than how many or few clothes are worn?

    It seems to me that I should avoid movies that make me want to approve of sin, regardless of type.

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  298. Brandon, how about portraying decadence? Can’t the portrayal of decadance both clarify(accuracy) and provide the context for righteousness? Scripture doesn’t seem shy about describing some uncomfortable sexual immorality. Scripture seems to intend to shock at certain times and most pastors blush about accurately pronouncing from the pulpit certain activities and descriptions that the word of God doesn’t seem to ashamed to proclaim. Can’t we land somewhere in the land of wisdom and liberty of conscience and not presume to scorch the earth with our particular scruples?

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  299. Brandon, you do understand I am not advocating porn, right?

    So then if sexually questionable material is in a movie or novel do you watch? It depends a lot on conscience. See Paul on meat offered to idols and weaker brothers.

    But why do some object only to sex? What about a host of other things actors do that violate God’s law? Are we that fixated on naked bodies but not dead or lying or stealing ones? So if you can allow a Christian to play a role that involves bank robbing, why is an adulterous role different? Only if the clothes come off?

    Sorry, but that seems so fundamentalist (and I know fundamentalism). And if you want to follow Greg back to the Puritans, then close down all theaters, ban all novels, and don’t tell me about all the illicit stuff that kids study in Christian schools to establish a Christian w-w.

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  300. Brandon, it may be that real people talking about their real sex lives is more imprudent than actors portraying a sexual act, especially religious figures; Keller seems to take a page from the Puritans when he does so. Is that really so strange? But this seems to be the weird posture of the day: rue the fact that actors are portraying the lives of others, but talk about your actual sex life publicly as a Christian, because as everybody knows when Christians do something it’s automatically sanctified. So why do others get the willies when hearing about the TGC sex lives?

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  301. Jeff,

    Right. And yet I would not want my wife doing that, either. So that’s the problem with the Challies test. Even applied to sexuality, it’s actually too lenient (!!)

    And then:

    So shouldn’t *that* be our focus, how the sexuality is framed, rather than how many or few clothes are worn?

    Yep, fair enough. That’s why I admit that Challies test needs to be more nuanced. To your last point, I listened to an interesting lecture by John Haldane yesterday and he presented the picture linked here: https://youtu.be/fO0Zdd_LdjQ?t=57m31s

    One of them contains “nudity” in Rembrandt’s painting and the other does not. Haldane points out, however, that the painting without nudity is far more sensual than Rembrandt’s, and I think that gets to your point.

    If I’m understanding you, however, I think Jeff is saying that Challie’s test is not strong enough while I hear DGH deriding the test and seemingly leaving the question open-ended.

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  302. There continue to be issues of legalism, self-righteousness and false piety tied into Challie’s test. If Brandon can raise the specter of antinomianism then I’m gonna point out the banner of false piety and wihite washed tombs for which the Challie’s side can be utilized to champion. Should we bring up the old yarn about who talks to whom in the liquor store and who keeps the vodka in the unmentionables drawer?

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  303. I actually stopped watching movies altogether. I couldn’t bear the thought of accidentally being presented with something remotely sexual.

    It was a joke, I clearly need to lighten it up a bit. This discussion would be much better had over a glass of whiskey and Marlboro Reds (Lucky Strikes have been banned, much to my dismay). I fear you think I am a teetotaler (in all respects) but am far from such. Though I have had my bouts…

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  304. Dr. Hart says: “So then if sexually questionable material is in a movie or novel do you watch? It depends a lot on conscience. See Paul on meat offered to idols and weaker brothers.”
    Two distinct and fatal category conflations in this single statement. This is next Darryl. As soon as I possibly can. Jeff, I may have to put you on hold for a little while buddy. I apologize, but this is of central importance, Darryl was first and he challenged me on it earlier. Unless somebody else gets it covered before I do. Which of course could happen. Actually its’ practically been covered already anyway. That’s ok. BBL guys.

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  305. DGH,

    I assumed as much. Maybe I’m not fully understanding what you’re saying. If you’re just saying Challies “test” is incomplete, gotcha. If you’re shrugging your shoulders about cinematic sensuality, however (as I’ve understood you to be), then I think your justification doesn’t fly and I’m pressing the reductio. Here is why I think you’re shrugging your shoulders,

    So if you can allow a Christian to play a role that involves bank robbing, why is an adulterous role different? Only if the clothes come off?

    Playing an adulterous role is not the issue and it’s not what Challies was talking about. It’s not about someone playing an adulterer, it’s about explicitly portraying sex acts. I do believe it morally compromises the actors because in the types of scenes Challies is describing they are doing everything outside of consummating. I also don’t believe Christians should be watching such things for a whole host of reasons rooted in Scripture.

    Your argument seems to be, if you can shrug your shoulders at a kid playing a murderous Herod in the Christmas play then you should equally shrug your shoulders at nudity and explicit sexuality. I don’t see the connection and I think it makes *more* sense to follow your line of reasoning to shrug your shoulders at porn than at the children’s Christmas play.

    And at this point I think you hit on a point Jeff has already mentioned: Evangelicals are PREOCCUPIED with sex. They mirror our cultures fascination with sex but try to baptize it in a Christian ethic. I don’t think we should only be evaluating our cinematic standards based on the amount of skin a film shows. For example, I think there are reasons to object to the gratuitous gore and murder in movies like “Kill Bill.” I think it’s fine to point out that Christians can be inconsistent, but that doesn’t mean “fundamentalists” inconsistency means they should give up their opposition to irreverent sexuality. Maybe the answer is to be more consistent in the other direction. And I think there is quite a bit of room between Purtian objections to theater and shoulder shrugging at explicit sex scenes.

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  306. Sean,

    It’s also pretty cheap to throw out there that you think the pushback, at least in part, is so I or others can see some boobs.

    I sure hope I didn’t say anything like that. Yeah, there are guys out there who do (mainly 14 year olds) , but access to that trash is much easier these days and if people want boobs they’ll use more effective means than an R-rated movie. I appreciate (and thanks to DG himself as well as others) am learning to appreciate more movies & genres I may not have 10 years ago (in my teetotaling days). I appreciate the approach to looking at things more ‘humanly’, but in my mind this is a subject that I disagree on, at least as far as whats actually happening in those instances.

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  307. sean,

    Scripture seems to intend to shock at certain times and most pastors blush about accurately pronouncing from the pulpit certain activities and descriptions that the word of God doesn’t seem to ashamed to proclaim. Can’t we land somewhere in the land of wisdom and liberty of conscience and not presume to scorch the earth with our particular scruples?

    Speaking for myself, I’m not opposed to mature themes from the pulpit, pew, or the pub. There has to be a place for liberty of conscience and wisdom, but I also firmly believe that there are moral boundaries Christians submit themselves to. Watching people simulating the entire act of sex naked is something I find opposed to a life led by the Spirit.

    I also want to be clear that I have not called anyone antinomian, but if I’ve accurately understood what’s been argued, I fear it is lurking. If everything can be brandied as a matter of conscience except for the imputation of Christ’s passive *and* active obedience for those who believe in the Gospel, then Christian morality is devoid of meaning. I’m not saying you or anyone else has done that, but I’m trying to understand where the boundaries are in your opinion and how they are more firmly grounded than someone like Challies’s.

    Jeff has provided a good answer I think, in that Challies’s test is not strict *enough.* As far as I can tell from others, however, it’s a shrug of the shoulders. That concerns me and I want to see if I’m mischaracterizing your position.

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  308. Zrim,

    I thought you said that since one actor doesn’t INTEND on actually harming another when depicting violence that the portrayal was legit?

    I think I did say something to that effect. And you’re right, I should be more consistent.

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  309. Brandon, speaking for myself, it’s certainly no shrug of the shoulders. It’s an issue of liberty, rightful authority and a pretty obvious lack of understanding on Challie’s part of what he’s talking about. And in going for a ‘rule of thumb’ test on the consuming and producing side, he just furthered an ignorant bias against actors and theater that has some history among fundy prots and actually has a lot more in common with legalism and self-righteousness than sanctity.

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  310. OUTSANDING Brandon. I assure you sir that I do practice this consistency inasmuch as I am at present capable. Growth is always welcome. Contemporary media entertainment is a spiritually decomposing, blasphemous, barbaric and debauched cesspool of every single consequence of death in Adam. I may not see as much room between the puritans and that as you might, but I appreciate your comments.

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  311. BA: Jeff has provided a good answer I think, in that Challies’s test is not strict *enough.* As far as I can tell from others, however, it’s a shrug of the shoulders.

    Let me add a bit to that. The paradox of legalism is that it creates rules that simultaneous tighten and loosen God’s Law in all the wrong places.

    I am NOT accusing Challies of being a legalist any more than the rest of us.

    I am, however, saying that the “Challies Test” fails because it adds to Scripture a test not adduced in Scripture: Don’t watch anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing your wife do.

    As a result, the test is both too strict (forbidding some things that Scripturally should be OK) and too lax (accepting of other things that Scripturally should not be OK).

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  312. DG: affirmation of P. T. Anderson’s film, Boogie Nights

    and so this story illustrates that though the guy’s conscience rejected viewing those scenes, he overrode that after ‘thinking on it’, that being his fleshly nature, since that leading would not be further illumination by the Holy Spirit, since the Spirit (through his conscience) had already spoken; and so we see how the searing and desensitizing of conscience begins and how a heart starts on the path to hardening?
    There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Prov 14:12)

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  313. Jeff Cagle:I am, however, saying that the “Challies Test” fails because it adds to Scripture a test not adduced in Scripture: Don’t watch anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing your wife do.

    Jeff – this is Challies argument. It’s confusing which of his statements and premises are being agreed to and which are not.

    -Bible is clear :sex and the nakedness that goes with it are sacred matters to be shared only between a husband and wife. What is good and appropriate within marriage—unashamed nakedness and uninhibited sex—are matters of exclusivity and privacy.

    – Bible forbids what those actors are doing and forbids voyeuristic participation in it
    -If it intolerable to watch your spouse acting out sexual deeds/ pleasure with another- it should be equally intolerable for you to be entertained by watching anyone else …because…

    -2nd greatest commandment – God assumes you will protect own interests/the ones you love most and makes that same self-interest your standard for protecting interests of others/ones you love least/ even ones you don’t know (love neighbor as self or new commandment-love as Jesus has loved us)

    -his conclusion: I am increasingly convinced that Christians should avoid watching movies with scenes of nudity and sexuality.

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  314. Ali: Good question.

    TC: -Bible is clear :sex and the nakedness that goes with it are sacred matters to be shared only between a husband and wife.

    Yes.

    TC: What is good and appropriate within marriage—unashamed nakedness and uninhibited sex—are matters of exclusivity …

    Yes

    TC: …and privacy.

    If privacy means modesty, yes. Modern notions of privacy, maybe.

    TC: – Bible forbids what those actors are doing

    Unclear in *all* cases, as seen above. Naked bodies and parts doing their thing, yes.

    Moving backwards from there, what if clothes are on? Is kissing OK? etc. There are a LOT of different depictions of sex in movies and art and literature that invite the reader to voyeuristically participate, but do not directly show naked bodies in the act.

    What if the actors are married and portraying a married couple?

    What if the “actors” are cartoons or CGI?

    The logic problem is that Challies holds up a particular case, which sounds like porn, to cover all cases. And “all cases” is really broad, much broader than the rule can handle.

    There are movies — Once, for example — that portray an emotional affair. That would certainly be sinful in real life. Is it sinful to portray? To “voyeuristically participate in”?

    TC: …and forbids voyeuristic participation in it

    What’s up with Song of Songs? I’m aware that there are typological readings of it, but even at the metaphorical level, the text invites us to voyeuristically participate in either a literal or typological sex scene. Why?

    I’m not suggesting for a moment that Song of Songs is in any way intended to be like an R-rated movie. I’m saying that Challies doesn’t help us to see how the two are different.

    Imagine for a moment that some movie-maker decided to put Song of Songs to the screen. What would Challies say? Why?

    TC: -If it intolerable to watch your spouse acting out sexual deeds/ pleasure with another- it should be equally intolerable for you to be entertained by watching anyone else …because…

    It would be intolerable to see my wife kissing another man, or exchanging flirtatious glances. It would be intolerable to see my wife whipping a slave or verbally abusing a child.

    Does Challies intend for the rule apply to these cases?

    We’re all pushing in the same direction — “flee youthful lusts.” And contra Zrim, I actually do appreciate some reflection upon the fact that these actors are people and someone’s wife/daughter/mother.

    But where the Scripture says to “flee youthful lusts”, which allows me to recognize when a text or movie is urging me to do otherwise, Challies says “flee naked bodies engaged in sex.” That rule doesn’t help me to obey the Scripture.

    It does support logic of the G / PG / PG-13 / R / NC-17 rating system that has become a game to be played by movie makers and the public.

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  315. Brandon, you use the word “explicit” twice. That raises the stakes. What if I say these are “romantic” portrayals of human relationships? Seems a lot less tawdry.

    Words matter. The way Challies and others describe nude acting is as if it is porn and so I’m in the position of endorsing pornography. Which I am not.

    I will acknowledge that not everyone should see shows or movies with nudity. It depends on someone’s conscience.

    But Challies is a pietist (and his defenders are fundamentalist).

    Whatever happened to Tim Keller and being all down with art and urban life? Challies is so suburban, yo.

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  316. Interesting discussion, Jeff. One thing it all makes me think about is how important ‘worldview is’.
    Why are we here in this world anyway?

    We’re told : we the saved, are to no longer to live for ourselves but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf (2 Cor 5:15). Changes everything really – now, we are to live the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).
    And the will of God is that we are being transformed into Jesus’s image from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). He’s got big plans for us, training us up here to approve the excellent things ( Phil 1:9)….don’t we know that we will judge angels (1 Cor 6:3)…don’t we know we will reign with God forever and ever.(Rev 22:5)

    The Lord is very patient, ‘cause we all go on living as we want; some even continue committed to teach our liberty as essentially all-about-me–do-whatever-I-want-no-demands liberty…. as if THAT would be ever be the reason God sacrificed Himself and delivered from destruction.

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  317. Theme change and notifications now work. Hopefully the comment limit increases with the theme change. I also hope the contact page is fixed. I’ve sent you a few messages over the last couple years Darryl (not very many) that I’m pretty sure you never got. You may be shocked to learn that they were genuinely friendly. Even, indeed especially, the couple from back in may of 14.

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  318. Dr. Hart says: “Brandon, not everything is a matter of conscience. Just everything that adiaphora.”
    Can I ask you for a biblical example of adiaphora involving blasphemy, violence and sex please?

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  319. DGH,

    The reason I use the word “explicit” is because that is what Challies is talking about, he’s not talking about a “romantic” love scene (something I think is fine for both actors and consumers). If you’re thinking of something different then we’re talking past one another.

    Words matter. The way Challies and others describe nude acting is as if it is porn and so I’m in the position of endorsing pornography. Which I am not.

    I think what Challies is describing is an explicit sex scene: “topless for hours,” “She would be taking all she knows of the movements, the motion, the pleasure of sex.” Nude acting is another ball of wax. I know a Christian artist (an attendee at Redemmer, no less!) who told me that he worked in studios and completed nude paintings before. He explained it was not a sexual experience but portraying the art of the body God had made. I couldn’t do that, but I’m going to be less quick to condemn this sort of thing (nudity) than what Challies is talking about (explicit sex scenes). I’ll also note when I think of movies I’ve watched (mea culpa) that have contained nudity, rarely can the argument be made that it is for artistic expression. Most often it is a cheap appeal to the sexual appetite. So while I don’t think you’re endorsing pornography by pointing out the incomplete nature of Challies’s “test” I am not confident you can come up with many examples of “artistic nudity” cinematically displayed.

    Finally, (and then I’ll bow out), I think there is some dispute about whether or not this is truly adiaphora. For example, let’s say members of your congregation tell you that they have no qualms watching 50 Shades of Grey and claim its adiaphora. What’s your response? Just because someone claims something is adiaphora doesn’t mean it is. Moreover, calling something adiaphora that is in fact essential can be spiritually disastrous for people. My concern is that we make sure that we aren’t asking the wrong kinds of questions (which I think Challies is) *and* that we aren’t avoiding questions for fear of asking the wrong ones (where I view you, Zrim, & sean).

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  320. I am eager to talk to Dr. Hart about the biblical precepts for and precedents of adiaphora. Especially since he has charged me with avoiding the subject above (“Plus, it’s really annoying that you don’t give me any credit for interacting with holy writ and Paul’s teaching about meat sacrificed to idols. All you do is wave it past.”) A thing I continue to assure him was never the case. I am one guy.

    Dr. Hart says: “Brandon, not everything is a matter of conscience. Just everything that adiaphora.”
    Can I ask you for a biblical example of adiaphora involving blasphemy, violence and sex please?

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  321. My concern is that we make sure that we aren’t asking the wrong kinds of questions (which I think Challies is) *and* that we aren’t avoiding questions for fear of asking the wrong ones (where I view you, Zrim, & sean).

    Brandon, and my concern is that once we start hearing “is this one ok, how about this one, can I watch that?” we are actually witnessing a legalistic list getting compiled. And the danger of legalism is that a person manufactures for himself a false sense of security, e.g. “Well, that movie God doesn’t approve of, so the more I avoid it the more God approves of me. Easy peasy.” But once one thinks the Christian life is easy peasy, he’s lost grip of the point.
    So I’d suggest that what you think is asking of the right questions could also be an admixture of fair questions but also a slew of legalism hiding in plain sight.

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  322. Greg, it’s usually those who work so hard to deny they could be guilty of something even in the slightest who tend to be. Do you ever consider how you come across in those kinds of statements? Like this: “I could never be guilty of anything. I’ll tip my hat politely and generally at not being perfect, heck, I’ll even sound pious by saying something Paulish like ‘chief of sinners.’ But I don’t actually believe that because, well, I have it all figured out.”

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  323. Greg: Can I ask you for a biblical example of adiaphora involving blasphemy, violence and sex please?

    Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

    16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

    17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

    19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

    Clearly it was not a sin for Naaman to take the action of bowing when the purpose was to be a support for his master. Yet it troubled his conscience nonetheless, because it outwardly looked as if it were bowing in worship.

    Elisha declared his freedom in this matter.

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  324. Greg, the point of adiaphora is that the Bible is silent about such matters. You think the Bible’s teaching about sex applies to actors. I don’t in certain cases. There’s the rub.

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  325. Brandon, isn’t it just as bad for my wife to “act” like she’s in love with another man? And if it’s another woman, HOLY SMOKE?!?

    Fifty Shades of Grey. How would I know if it’s sinful? Wouldn’t I have to watch it?

    You could talk to church members and see how they justify watching something that was off color. That might satisfy. But I’m not going to use Challies’ blanket guide to movies.

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  326. DGH: You think the Bible’s teaching about sex applies to actors. I don’t in certain cases.

    That could be taken in two ways.

    (1) The Bible does teach about sex, but there is a special exception for actors.
    (2) The Bible does teach about sex, but it does not teach about acting as if having sex.

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  327. Zrim, no offense, but I have no idea what you said or what it has to do with what I said.

    Jeff, THIS is a case of the spirit versus the letter of the law. Like David eating the shewbred or the Lord picking corn and healing on the Sabbath. Although related I suppose, still a different principle than “adiaphora.” A thing indifferent in itself.

    We are talking about New Testament gospel liberty here. Where is an example in any way related to sex, violence or blasphemy, all key ingredients of today’s media, where it is said that “one participates and one does not, but let each be convinced in his own mind.”

    I see food, drink, dirty hands and Jewish festivals. All things in themselves entirely neutral. Allow me to demonstrate please. If I asked Darryl whether he would allow his wife to eat halal meat with unwashed hands, with a glass of wine on her (or his ) birthday, the answer would be an eye rolling “OF COURSE Greg, sheesh”

    I ask whether his wife should be with another man deeply kissing her, and licking and fondling her body as they roll around naked on a movie set, like he pays other women to do in these productions he loves, and I get 2 years of wrangling. See what I mean? They are not the same and he knows that or they would produce the same eye rolling response. If I thought he really believed they WERE the same, he would be to me by now a 1 Cor. 5 case and I would be asking the OPC why they allow debased immoral pagans to be Elders in their denomination.

    NO godly man would ever entertain for one second the notion that what I describe would be counted by God as him loving his wife like Christ loves His church. That being the case, the idea of financing the damnation of my neighbor by paying them to do what I would NEVER allow MY wife to do, is both duplicitous and the diametric opposite of loving them as myself. Unless someone is ready to make the case that one can hold this mindset while loving God, I say they flagrantly fail to even attempt to live the two greatest commandments as prescribed by the incarnate, eternally begotten logos of the living God.

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  328. DGH,

    Brandon, isn’t it just as bad for my wife to “act” like she’s in love with another man? And if it’s another woman, HOLY SMOKE?!?

    Nope, I don’t think that’s problematic at all. The word “act” is pretty broad here though so if you’re using it in the broadest possible sense, I don’t see why that’d be a problem. In the narrower sense of this discussion, I do think it’s a problem to “act” like you’re having sex while doing everything but the final act.

    Fifty Shades of Grey. How would I know if it’s sinful? Wouldn’t I have to watch it?

    You could say this about virtually any sin, but I think you get the point (How would I know if a “Strip Club” is sinful? Wouldn’t I have to see what happens?). The premise of 50 Shades of Grey has been popularized in the media and I’m sure you’re aware of it. If not, then you’re soooo like a fundie separatist…or you’re an old foggy. I’ll let you pick.

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  329. I’m not sure the purpose of this entire thread (other than seeing how far 2K stretches, how impious Darryl is, trying to get each other to confess naughties/pieties???), but I’d just like to point out that this conversation is taking place under a picture of John Updike. John Updike. Wry, Darryl, wry.

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  330. Jeff: Naaman and adiaphora

    what Greg said, and as well, Jeff, some of you guys sure like to use that one questionable text for supporting a doctrine of conscience or compromise. If you read commentaries, there is much divergent thought on it and representative below, and which hinges on a very unique circumstance in a unique context and, in any case, on a few words “go in peace” and what that might mean.

    “Naaman is an early example of the family of ‘Facing-both-ways,’ and of trying to ‘make the best of both worlds.’ But his sophistication of conscience will not do, and his own dissatisfaction with his excuse peeps out plainly in his petition that he may be forgiven. If his act needed forgiveness, it should not have been done, nor thus calmly announced. It is vain to ask forgiveness beforehand for known sin about to be committed. Elisha is not asked for his sanction, and he neither gives nor refuses it. He dismissed Naaman with cold dignity, in the ordinary conventional form of leave-taking. His silence indicated at least the absence of hearty approval, and probably he was silent to Naaman because, as he said about the Shunemite’s trouble, the Lord had been silent to him, and he had no authoritative decision to give. Let us hope that Naaman’s faith grew and stiffened before the time of trial came, and that he did not lie to God in the house of Rimmon. Let us take the warning that we are to publish on the housetops what we hear in the ear, and that, if in anything we should be punctiliously sincere, it is in the profession of our faith.” MacLaren Exposition

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  331. Justin, it used to be Machen in the Favicon. Though I imagine his spirit still hovers over these interwebs, image or no. Wry..

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  332. Brandon, whatever happened to the human heart? Is skin and flesh all there is? As if crushes can’t happen when actors act?

    Sean’s point about people not understanding the profession of acting seems to be too narrow. It’s like people forgot the possibility of temptation — like — everywhere the human heart goes.

    “Not problematic at all”? Psshaw.

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  333. @ Ali: We’re at something like a side-trail on an interruption to a dal segno, so I’ll just focus on the Scriptural passage here.

    MacLaren states, correctly, that “If his act needed forgiveness, it should not have been done, nor thus calmly announced. It is vain to ask forgiveness beforehand for known sin about to be committed.”

    So given that “an act that needs forgiveness should not be done”, we are faced with two possibilities.

    (1) Elisha believes that Naaman is sinning, but refrains from telling him so. In this case, “Go in peace” is coldly ironic, meaning actually “do whatever you want”, with no actual blessing of peace.

    (2) Elisha believes that Naaman’s bowing is not actually sin. In this case, Elisha’s “Go in peace” is sincere, and Naaman’s fretting is simply evidence of his weak conscience. He is concerned that he might be sinning — and mistakenly asks for forgiveness aforetimes — but Elisha offers him peace because there is no conflict between God and Naaman in this matter.

    Which of these is the more likely understanding?

    Consider two additional questions: Why is this exchange included in the text? How is Naaman portrayed before and after the exchange?

    And then some critical thinking questions re: MacLaren.

    * Is there any evidence that “go in peace” is used elsewhere in Scripture in “cold dignity”?
    * Is it plausible that a prophet would fail to tell a new believer not to sin?
    * MacLaren draws a parallel between this situation and the death of the Shunammite’s son in 1 Kings 4 (“But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.””). MacLaren speculates that Elisha is silent because he does not know what decision to deliver. Is it reasonable that God would have hidden from Elisha whether Naaman’s actions were sinful or not?
    * What are we to make of the fact that Naaman is singled out by Jesus?

    These are open questions, since the text does not fully and finally deliver a verdict on Naaman.

    Blessings,

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  334. @gtt

    “No godly man would entertain the notion that having his wife sacrifice meat to idols would be counted by God as him loving his wife like Christ loves His church. That being the case, the idea of financing the damnation of my neighbors by paying them to do what I would never allow my wife to do, is both duplicitous and the diametric opposite of loving them as myself. Unless someone is ready to make the case that one can hold this mindset while loving God, I say they flagrantly fail to even attempt to live the two greatest commandments as prescribed by God.”

    Paul did. Eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols and watching sexually explicit fare are different of course. But not because I am ok with my wife doing one and not the other. This is why the Challies test fails. The basis of that difference are the injunctions throughout scripture to guard our eyes. Your line of reasoning here leads to legalism. Of course if your conscience accuses you, then don’t eat meat sacrificed to idols, shop at big box stores, buy stuff imported from developing countries, or visit art museums. But if it doesn’t, the fact that a producer had to sin to provide what you consume should not bind your conscience.

    My understanding is that Paul quotes three pagan authors in various parts of the NT (acts, cor, titus if memory serves ). Evidently he was familiar with the literature of his culture…a literature that is not exactly G-rated. If there were some special rule about not consuming literary art, one might think there would be some mention of it by him. You are overreaching.

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  335. Now Darryl, you’re the one who complained that I had brushed off your use of Paul and his principle of liberty. (“Plus, it’s really annoying that you don’t give me any credit for interacting with holy writ and Paul’s teaching about meat sacrificed to idols. All you do is wave it past.”) Those were your words at 10:53 this morning above.

    HERE I’ve put together a concise and straightforward piece expressing why the NT liberty passages, including those of Jesus as well, do not apply to television and movies involving real people and you’re not going to give me any response at all?

    Again, you’re a smart man. I know you see the difference between the areas of life that Paul is talking about and how you are trying to apply them to ones that he never would have. I’d be happy to tell you why Jesus “what comes out, not what goes in” sayings (Matthew 15 and Mark 7) are just as inapplicable if you’d like?
    ————————
    Whatever the divines meant in WCF XX must comport with WLC 91 and following or they weren’t worth listening to at all. Wouldn’t you say? How can a group of men who proclaim liberty in one place and flatly contradict themselves by advancing legalism in another be reliable? The answer is that those two areas of biblical thought from the respective confession and catechism define one another. Their vision of liberty in WCF XX was bound within WLC 91 and following. Isn’t that true? It is not possible to credibly charge me with pietistic legalism without at once charging them as well. Is it?

    You certainly at least implied that you wanted to talk about this. So I am. And now you’re not.

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  336. sdb says: ” a producer [of meat sacrificed to idols] had to sin to provide what you consume…. “
    No sir. He didn’t have to sin. He did, but he didn’t have to. Meat is meat. Had I gotten to it 5 minutes before he sacrificed or 5 minutes after makes no difference. It’s still just meat. Like any other meat. Producing public sexual performances with a person not your spouse cannot be done in a lawful manner. The thing itself is sinful. Not so with meat.

    “If there were some special rule about not consuming literary art,”
    How many real people produce public sexual performances in a piece of non visual literature? Yes, Paul quotes Epimenades and Aratus in Acts 17 and I might be mistaken offhand, but I believe he also quotes one of those two in his letter to Titus. Might have been somebody else. A couple Greek writers he probably read in the course of his education as a pharisee. Meaning what to this discussion?

    There’s a reason the Lord delivered His inscripturated Word long before the age of even electricity. Additionally, unless you count the parables, there is pretty much zero fiction in the bible. It’s all history. God’s divine privilege of historical reportage does not translate into our license to visually portray Genesis 38 or Ezekiel 14 on screen with real people.

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  337. Would you let your wife play a person who takes the pill?

    But the Congo case and the Zika virus case would only be (morally) analogous if the women threatened by Zika are not intending any sexual intercourse; if they fear rape at the hands of aggressors and wish to avoid the consequences for themselves and any baby who might be conceived (e.g., the fearsome congenital condition known as microcephaly), they may use, as it were, a “uterine breastplate” to protect against their aggressors’ assaults.

    But a sexually active woman who uses contraceptives to avoid pregnancy can hardly claim she is engaging in an act of self-defense. If she chooses intercourse, she chooses a procreative-type act. She may not want it to be what it is. And she may have strong reasons for wishing to render it something other than it is. But if, unlike the religious sisters in the Congo, she chooses to have intercourse, her intercourse’s inherent procreativity is not an attack upon her, but a part of the fullness of the act she has freely chosen. If she supervenes upon that act another act aimed at rendering the procreative-type act sterile, she intends what the Church has always condemned.

    The constant and authoritative (and arguably dogmatic) teaching of the whole Catholic Church is that one may never intentionally render one’s sexual intercourse sterile. If there are good reasons for avoiding pregnancy — and avoiding a debilitating disease for a child not yet conceived is certainly a strong reason — then a couple should abstain from intercourse during the phases of the woman’s menstrual cycle where she is most likely to be fertile.

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  338. thanks Jeff – definitely open questions there, to think on, as you say, since that text does not fully and finally deliver a verdict on Naaman
    but would the message ever be e.g, like say to millennials, (whose trend is extrinsic over intrinsic values; who are more ‘open-minded’; ‘receptive to new ideas’; delaying/forsaking marriage; cohabiting for financial reasons or because marriage is just not ‘important’)…. be a Naaman – convince yourself/make sure your compromise is solely outward (though ask ahead of time for forgiveness just in case)
    it’s just serious interest in what the Lord has to say might be more believable if even ever just once in a while there were the post whose message was.. “flee from idolatry- Gentiles sacrifice to demons and not to God and I do not want you to become sharers in demons- you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons”

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  339. …and adiaphora? … is the Lord really neutral or indifferent about anything, Jeff. Just don’t think that is His character

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  340. sdb says: ” a producer [of meat sacrificed to idols] had to sin to provide what you consume…. “
    No sir. He didn’t have to sin.

    Then it wouldn’t be meat sacrificed to idols.

    He did, but he didn’t have to. Meat is meat. Had I gotten to it 5 minutes before he sacrificed or 5 minutes after makes no difference. It’s still just meat. Like any other meat.

    You cannot eat meat sacrificed to an idol without someone sinning. We aren’t talking about just any meat. If it was “just meat” there would be no basis for one’s conviction that you shouldn’t eat it – but evidently, for some people there was. It was meat produced via idolatry. Now given that someone sinned to produce it,

    Producing public sexual performances with a person not your spouse cannot be done in a lawful manner.

    Agreed. But that fact is not what makes watching such a performance sinful. That’s the point. not that watching isn’t sinful, but the reason it isn’t sinful is not that one had to sin to produce it. So explain why “the idea of financing the damnation of my neighbors by paying them to do what I would never allow my wife to do, is both duplicitous and the diametric opposite of loving them as myself. ” doesn’t apply.

    It can’t be that you would buy the meat even if hadn’t been sacrificed to an idol first. The fact that one *could* sell meat that hadn’t been sacrificed to an idol is beside the point. One *could* produce a show without sexually explicit fare. That doesn’t make it OK to watch the sexually explicit fare. Surely you don’t want to way that it is OK to watch a sexually explicit show even if the actors could have provided the performance without the dirty bits. Of course that is nonsense. There is a difference between eating meat sacrificed to an idol and watching a sexually explicit show, but it isn’t that you would approve of your wife doing one and not the other. Nor is it that you are not loving your neighbor by subsidizing sinful activity in once case and not in the other. The difference is that it is not inherently sinful to eat meat, but it is inherently sinful to engage in “unchaste looks”. Thus Challies test fails and your assertion that, “the idea of financing the damnation of my neighbors by paying them to do what I would never allow my wife to do, is both duplicitous and the diametric opposite of loving them as myself” is false.

    “If there were some special rule about not consuming literary art,”
    How many real people produce public sexual performances in a piece of non visual literature?

    Sorry, perhaps I misread you. I thought you were opposed to all forms of drama, fiction, art, entertainment, etc…

    Meaning what to this discussion?

    These writers wrote blasphemous texts (much of classical greek/roman literature is actually quite sexually explicit as well). We are not forbidden from this literature as a whole, rather we are given guidance in order to protect our heart (flee youthful lusts, make a covenant with your eyes, guard your heart, avoid idols, etc…). My earlier reading of you, which seems to have been mistaken, was that you were opposed to all forms of lit.

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  341. …and adiaphora? … is the Lord really neutral or indifferent about anything, Jeff. Just don’t think that is His character

    The apostle Paul disagrees.

    Col 2: 16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,[d] puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

    Romans 14:2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him….5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God…14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean…16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    It appears quite clear from these texts that there are certain behaviors that are neutral – not sinful in and of themselves. God doesn’t care if one eats meat or is a vegetarian. He cares very much about whether you are honoring him and loving your neighbor by doing so.

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  342. what I meant, sdb, is the Lord is not indifferent to anything – whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
    He’s having us spend our lifetimes THINKING on that, all it’s implications and being fully convinced

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