Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
For those who still have some agrarian roots, the memory of slaughtering your first animal can be very vivid. When you chop the chicken’s head off in preparation for dinner, and the body proceeds to run around for a few minutes, it is an unnerving experience. Now of course, we get chickens drawn and quartered in the supermarket, and they don’t look at all like the frightening fowl.
Many years ago, when I was the president of a mainline denominational agency that produced “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe” for CBS-TV, I also sat on the board of the Broadcast Film Commission for the National Council of Churches. During one of the many discussions about cultural relevance, adapting the Gospel to contemporary culture, liberation theology, and other time-sensitive subjects, it became very clear that this agency was like a chicken with its head cut off, running around furiously, but disconnected from the head, who is Jesus Christ.
Over the last few months, several evangelical Christian organizations, in the interest of cultural relevance, have exhibited the same disconnect from the Head who is Jesus Christ. The method of disconnecting from the Head is denying the truth of the Word of God.
In this regard, the Head who is Jesus Christ tells us in Ephesians 5:3-5: “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed, for these are improper for God’s people. Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” Thus, the Head has told the body what to do.
When I read this passage to a group of Christians in the entertainment industry, they said this is all very interesting, but we’ll have to go back and figure out what it means. Well, anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear know that it means what it says.
That is why it is so distressing to read the comments of one leading Christian working in Hollywood, who wrote recently in an irrelevant, allegedly Christian publication about “God, life and progressive culture”:
For those of you who have problems with language, sexual situations or violence, going to films above ‘G’ is always a dicey proposition, and supporting films that have any of these elements can be a hard egg to order. So here’s my solution, something I call ‘The 90 Percent Rule.’ As long as a movie has 90 percent of what you’d want, support it and just wince through the rest.
Our intent in publishing MOVIEGUIDE?, the definitive family guide to movies and entertainment from a Christian perspective, is not to throw a burka over the entertainment industry. However, if you knew that the restaurant serving you an egg-salad sandwich had put 10 percent chicken manure in the sandwich, would you still eat that sandwich? Of course not!
MOVIEGUIDE?, of course, has much higher standards, and answers to a higher authority. And, our mission is to actively encourage those in the entertainment industry to remove all offensive elements in their movies, DVDs, TV programs, video games, plays, music and books.
Encouraging Christians to use a “90 Percent Rule” – or encouraging Christians to read the heretical, Christophobic, unholy “Da Vinci Code” book and see the upcoming movie, as one religious authority recently did on a misguided, allegedly Christian website touting the movie – is not God’s idea of what Christians should be doing in Hollywood.
Do not, therefore, stoop to conquer. Instead, let us “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1) and be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), putting off our old natures of sinful and deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of our minds, so that we can put on the new self, which is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24) through Jesus Christ our Lord.