So, the “50 Shades of Grey” theatrical trailer came out today… Yes, the on-screen version of the recent book is on the way, and it’s causing quite an uproar among Christians online. Known for its graphic sexual descriptions including a number of activities not fit for this site (or any other medium), the book’s scenes are now almost ready for release where the readers’ mental fantasies will be visualized.

It should go without saying that no Christian has any business reading “50 Shades of Grey” or seeing the movie. Ephesians 5 makes it crystal clear that Christians are to keep themselves from the sinful influences of the world. Paul mentions the idea of sexual immorality and impurity twice before saying,

“Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” (Ephesians 5:7-12 NASB)

Unfortunately, this reminder is passed over or ignored in favor of personal pleasure or the “God wouldn’t care” excuse that’s used so frequently by folks today who want to believe in the God who created heaven but not the God who will judge us all. Here are three brief thoughts to keep in mind about this book/movie.

First, it’s disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to God and His laws for humans, and it’s disrespectful toward other men and women. Objectification of the opposite sex is a serious problem in today’s society, and a movie about sexual activity that objectifies the body of another person in borderline dangerous ways is not going to be a step in the right direction for a society with a growing rape problem.

Second, it’s harmful. The studies have been produced for years to show how pornography and other sexually explicit, voyeuristic material re-wire the brain’s neurological pathways and make sexual fulfillment more elusive as time goes on. Desensitization increases. As The Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter points out, “Men’s exposure to sexually explicit material is correlated with social anxiety depression, low motivation, erectile dysfunction, concentration problems, and negative self-perceptions in terms of physical appearance and sexual functioning.” (More on that here.) No short-term gratification is worth the long-term mental and physical damage caused by exposure to artificial sexual stimulation.

Third, it’s sinful. If the other arguments aren’t enough to make you reconsider “50 Shades of Grey,” consider the fact that it is against God’s law for men and women to receive their sexual gratification through lust. Matthew 5:28 calls lust adultery of the heart. Remember, though, as with “Magic Mike” and other movies of the past that caused Christians to speak out, sin doesn’t begin where we are disgusted. It begins where God is disgusted. To condemn one sexually explicit book or movie while engaging ourselves in another is the kind of hypocrisy that the world uses as an excuse to ignore the Bible every single day.

We don’t preach against pornography, explicit books and movies, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality because we are prudes, because we want to control how others live, or because we think we’re better than anyone else. We preach against them and for life-long heterosexual marriage because that is what God wants for mankind, and because He ties it directly to the truth of the Gospel in Ephesians 5:25-27. To speak the truth on marriage and its sanctity is to bring about the saving truth of the Gospel to our daily lives in an actionable way, and that’s what we’re called to do.

Do we take sin seriously, or do we get baptized and hope we’ll never have to talk about how it affects our daily lives? It is faith that leads to action that saves, and when God calls us to avoid certain things for our own holiness and we ignore Him, it shows we have no faith and therefore have no hope of salvation. Christians (and anyone else), avoid any movie, book, website, or anyone else that compromises your relationship with God.


 

Full disclosure: I haven’t read one sentence of the books, and I haven’t watched the trailer. One doesn’t have to expose one’s self to such filth to speak against it when the information is available everywhere you turn, and anyone who tells you otherwise is contradicting wisdom presented throughout the Bible (see Psalm 1 and Proverbs 1-4, in particular).