JOHN PIPER: NEVER WATCH NUDITY
Although I am not a Calvinist, I’m a huge fan of John Piper, who used to be the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His teaching has invariably enriched my Christian life. I know I am not alone. (I would say the exact same thing about Tim Keller, lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.)
I wanted to pass along a superb teaching from Piper regarding nudity in media and Christian holiness. You read that right. Piper addresses a question put to him regarding the popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones on HBO. The show has been enormously popular but contains explicit nudity and sex.
Piper says: “The closer I get to death and meeting Jesus personally face to face, and giving an account for my life and for the careless words that I have spoken (Matthew 12:36), the more sure I am of my resolve never intentionally to look at a television show or a movie or a website or a magazine where I know I will see photos or films of nudity. Never. That is my resolve.”
His reasons for this commitment are framed as answers to 12 questions, some of which are jarring. Here, for example, is question number 1 and its answer: “1. Am I Recrucifying Christ? Christ died to purify his people. It is an absolute travesty of the cross to treat it as though Jesus died only to forgive us for the sin of watching nudity, and not to purify us for the power not to watch it. He has blood-bought power in his cross. He died to make us pure. He ‘gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession’ (Titus 2:14). If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side every time we do. He suffered to set us free from impurity.”
I don’t watch TV programs or movies with nudity or sex. I have never watched Game of Thrones. For one thing, I don’t have HBO. I don’t have Cinemax. Why not? Precisely because I do not want to be tempted to go beyond what is appropriate for a Christian.
I realize some people will use this blog as an opportunity to proclaim their personal holiness code regarding television, and that’s fine. At this point in my life I still find television to provide some welcome relaxation and enjoyment, and sometimes I even learn something valuable. I enjoy watching football and hockey. I watch the news. I enjoy programs about history or the military. I love the Andy Griffith Show.
But the older I get – and the worse television gets – the more I waver. Like Piper suggests, nothing – and I mean nothing – is worth disappointing our Lord or bringing reproach to the gospel.
If you are a Christian and also a fan of Game of Thrones or similar programs, I hope you prayerfully read Piper’s exhortations.
Click HERE to see all 12 Questions to Ask Before You Watch 'Game of Thrones."