Questions of Discernment
making good decisions about personal entertainment

Words of wisdom

“The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.” —Proverbs 12:15 NIV

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23 NIV

“The values of both children and their parents are shaped by the cultural air they breathe. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley said that poets are the true legislators of the world, and the same today could be said of rock stars, TV producers, filmmakers, and journalists, all of whom have more influence on people’s lives and people’s thoughts than an army of politicians.” —Gene Edward Veith, World magazine

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” —Psalm 51:10 ESV

“…Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” —Romans 12:9 NKJV excerpt

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.” —Psalm 101:3 NIV

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; not to look lustfully at a young woman.” —Job 31:1 NIV

About godliness versus worldliness…

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”Romans 12:2 ESV

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” —1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” —Colossians 3:1 ESV

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” —Colossians 3:5 NIV

“…I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.”Romans 16:19 ESV excerpt

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Philippians 4:8 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” —Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

“…For this is the will of God, your sanctification [holiness]…” —1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV

Articles on discernment

Can I generally rely on MPA ratings in choosing my films?

Answer: Definitely not. The MPA (Motion Picture Association) makes no effort to comply with God’s standards or purposes. Far too many Christians naively rely on MPA ratings in choosing movies for themselves and their children—and make some bad choices in the process. That is why Christian Spotlight reviews are so necessary. Brothers and sisters in Christ, please don’t rush out to theaters without taking at least a little time to consult Bible-believing followers of Christ who have seen the movie’s content and discovered its actual contents. Even “G” and “PG” movies may promote content, attitudes or worldviews that are contrary to God’s Word. Find out in advance what is involved. Do you want to be worldly or Godly? Do you want to financially support good content or misleading and bad content that is helping make our world worse?

It takes particularly careful Biblical discernment for our reviewers to sort through the many movies that mix good content with godless worldviews and sinful behavior. The Great Deceiver and his allies know how to appear to be angels of light and goodness to more effectively seduce souls to their ultimate destruction. And he often uses human desire for fun and pleasure as a lure.

Are “PG-13” movies generally a safe choice for adults and teens?

Answer: No. Again, keep in mind that the MPA is not a Christian or Bible-based organization in any way; it is totally secular. They give no regard to the changeless Word of God in their ratings. The age appropriateness boundary lines they draw are clearly changing along with perceived societal “norms”—and political correctness. Movies with very heavy and terrible violence are receiving “PG-13” ratings. Homosexuality is accepted in PG films. Heavy sexual immorality (fornication, promiscuity and rather strong homosexuality) are increasingly rated “PG-13, rather than “R” or “NC-17.” The line between “PG-13” and “R” is continually being probed and pushed in the wrong direction.

An increasing number of SECULAR “PG-13” movies revel in immorality, wicked behavior, merciless violence, angry revenge, lust, perversion, profanity and totally godless thinking. Some producers include as much of this content as they possibly can without totally crossing that somewhat fuzzy line into the “R” category—primarily because distributors’ know that keeping it “PG-13” significantly increases a movie’s profitability potential in the USA.

Bottom-line: Don’t make your choices based on MPA ratings, consult trusted Bible-believing followers of Christ, and compare what they say with the Bible.

Is it okay for a Christian film to have a “PG-13” rating?

Answer: The first question should be what specific type of mature content is involved and why. Without details, the designation of “PG-13” alone tells us NOTHING about the relative morality or sinfulness of a movie. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA), a “PG-13” rating simply notifies parents that “SOME material MAY be INAPPROPRIATE for children under 13” (that is, 12 years old and younger). A “PG-13” rating is not meant to imply anything morally negative (or positive); it is not a moral judgment—the MPA is not trying to make morality judgments—nor are they qualified to do so. They deal with age appropriateness guidelines for current American culture, not morality.

Assuming that the mature content is handled very carefully and is included for legitimate and wise reasons, and is in no way salacious, gratuitous, or profane, a PG-13 rating should not be construed as an automatic black mark on a Christian production.

There are some very moral and praiseworthy “PG-13” films—both Christian and secular. The Christian movie “Courageous” that depicted policemen was listed as PG-13 “for some violence and drug content”—both mild and legitimate. “Fireproof” was PG-13 “for thematic material and some peril”—the issue being a possible divorce and a sexually-related sin issue—all handled very tastefully. The depiction of some of the details of our Savior’s death in “The Passion of the Christ” brought an R-rating. There are various historical records in the Bible that might be considered “PG-13” or even ”R,” due to their honest mention of various examples of human depravity and Divine judgment. Yet, these stories are meant by God to be read, told and shared so that we may all understand mankind’s true ungodly and sinful nature and better understand our urgent need for the Savior, lest we be separated forever from our Creator.

Television viewing

Streaming video— 
“Christians need to know this about Hollywood”
Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort
Video by Living Waters, a Christian Answers Team Member
Length: 28 minutes
Streaming video— 
“Hollywood Wants Your Money… and Your Mind”
Ben Shapiro
Video by PragerU
Length: 5 minutes
Streaming video— 
“Hollywood and God”
About the issue of profanity and R-rated content
Video by Living Waters, a Christian Answers Team Member
Length: 9 minutes

Wise choices

Guest Editorials

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