11/17/2012 – “Vampire, Occult Entertainment Going Too Far?” – Pastor Shane Idleman
By Shane Idleman
This week, the Christian Post ran the following headline: ‘Vampire, Occult Entertainment Going Too Far? Christian Leaders Urge Action’. The article captured the words of Steve Wohlberg, director of White Horse Media: “[These programs] will only increase the trend of kids and teens going online finding real vampire websites, and diving headlong into occult darkness.” I couldn’t agree more.
Sadly, viewers may not recognize the subtle seduction in these “milder” forms of evil when compared to movies such as The Last Exorcism, but they are destructive nonetheless. Here are a few biblical points to consider:
1. There is no such thing as “good magic” or “good witches” or “nice vampires”? These things, by their very nature, are evil. Scripture makes it clear that fascination with the powers of darkness and the occult have no place in the heart or the mind of a Christian.
Even more discouraging than the time and money spent on the occult and vampire craze, is the young age at which children are exposed to these spiritual perversions. There is no such thing as good evil—evil is that which God defines as evil, it opposes the character and nature of God—there is nothing good about that. God is not mocked. We only deceive ourselves if we believe that we will not reap what we have sown.
2. Our minds are to be fixed on what is noble, pure, excellent, and good (Philippians 4:8). Jesus never encouraged enthusiasm over things that God forbade. There are no scriptural grounds in defense of these type of movies. It is more reasonable for Christians who enjoy these movies to simply admit that they enjoy them, rather than try to defend them.
3. We must be pure vessels that God can use. (II Timothy 2:19-21.) A pure vessel cannot come from a polluted mind. Enchantments, witchcraft, familiar spirits, and wizards are always condemned as evil practices throughout the Bible. For example, 2 Chronicles 33:6 says that those who use enchantments and witchcraft, and who deal with familiar spirits and wizards, provoke the Lord to anger. There is no gray area here. If these things entertain, something is clearly wrong. Darkness should not entertain. Once something entertains us, we then accept it. Once accepted, it begins to influence.
Years of feeding the flesh will leave us spiritually weak. Let’s be careful not to make excuses and compromise God’s Word in the name of liberty. As we all know, liberty has limits, and those limits are defined by Scripture.
4. Being selective with what we watch and listen to has nothing to do with legalism; it has everything to do with wisdom. We are to recognize what glorifies Christ and what clearly does not, then choose accordingly. Grace does not relieve us of responsibility. We actually live under a higher standard when grace, not rules, guides our decisions.
It’s not about following rules. Let your freedom in Christ, and a relationship with Him, guide you. We’ve all watched questionable material and have made wrong choices; don’t live with ongoing regret. But don’t justify wrong behavior by thinking that God doesn’t care about what you watch or listen to, because He does; we serve and love God with our mind. (See Romans 7:25)
5. What we watch and listen to affects the heart; it’s impossible to separate the two. If we find dozens of hours a week to watch movies and television programs, but have little time for God, our relationship with Him will suffer—period. What goes in the heart ultimately comes out in actions.
When we repent and believe in Jesus, read and study the Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, questionable entertainment should no longer amuse us—we have a different Spirit guiding us. Romans 8:5 says that those who live according to their sinful nature set their minds on the things that excite that nature, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on what the Spirit desires.
This message is not a small recommendation, it’s a call to a life changing decision–what goes in the mind ultimately comes out in our actions. Of course watching these programs now and then may not lead people astray, but how can a child of God truly enjoy these programs? Why walk willingly into the enemy’s camp? Why quench and grieve the Spirit of God? It’s impossible to develop a deep respect and desire for God if we repeatedly fill our mind with things that oppose Him.
6. When it comes to drawing a line between healthy entertainment and a destructive influence, follow Christ rather than the crowd. Would Jesus really enjoy watching these movies? I think that we all know better.
To suggest that what we view and listen to is not important to God, is to alter His word. We should be selective when it comes to entertainment—once others see an authentic, committed relationship with Christ (although they may not admit it), they may begin to desire one as well.
Let me leave you with this thought: are you willing to do what it takes to protect your mind and your relationship with the Lord? It’s your choice. Drawing a line can be out of step with the mainstream, but, like Joshua, we too must say, “Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
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