Piper on TV, Movies, and Contextualization

fuzzy televisionThis is one reason why it’s inaccurate to write off all conservative evangelicals as worldly. Piper (who I’ve heard attribute much of his biblical insights to the fact that his mind isn’t cluttered with pornographic images; he’s seen something like two in his entire life, and those many years ago) speaks eloquently in this post about why he avoids almost all Hollywood entertainment. I summarize his arguments with 3 T’s: temptation, triviality, and time. It’s well worth the 60 seconds it will take you to read it.

Because he is providing an answer to a question that specifically contrasts his take on entertainment with Mark Driscoll’s, I think his denying that entertainment has anything to do with legitimate contextualization is especially helpful:

“I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. Sources of spiritual power—which are what we desperately need—are not in the cinema. You will not want your biographer to write: Prick him and he bleeds movies.

If you want to be relevant, say, for prostitutes, don’t watch a movie with a lot of tumbles in a brothel. Immerse yourself in the gospel, which is tailor-made for prostitutes; then watch Jesus deal with them in the Bible; then go find a prostitute and talk to her. Listen to her, not the movie. Being entertained by sin does not increase compassion for sinners.”

The kicker? Many young men hang on Piper’s every word until he says something like this. It’s past time for those of us who appreciate Piper’s high views of God and salvation to also learn from his radical commitment to purity and industry!

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3 Responses

  1. Very convicting!

  2. Thanks for this. Has Piper made any statements about Hansen’s book (Young, Restless, and Reformed) at all, to your knowledge?

    Having grown up in new-evangelicalism, I certainly can affirm that it’s inaccurate to call all evangelicals “worldly” (although many are, to be sure, if you’re allowed to call people “worldly” these days…) However, I knew some who cared as much about purity (personal and ecclesiastical) as any Christian I’ve known, despite not bothering to call themselves “fundamentalist.” They were a huge influence on me during my formative years and I am incredibly grateful for the stands they took, taught, and lived.

    There’s value in labels, to be sure, but the ultimate value is in the substance.

  3. Sorry. The link should read please SEE this LOL!

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