I used to go to the movies. First, my parents took me there as a child. Then, as a teenager I “hung out” with a few friends and there were times when we had gone to the movies. I wasn’t a frequent attender mainly because it took a lot to go; gas, money and time. As a young person I didn’t have a vehicle to get around (I had to get carted around), I did have money (but not lots of it), I did work to earn money and my parents were gracious to give me an allowance (very nice of them). So between work and allowance, I did have money (just not lots of it, also I saved some of it, too). Saving is as much an activity as spending (but that’s a totally different topic for a different blog post). And time, well, it’s not that I had any more than the rest of humanity, but as a young person it is very easy to think you have more than what is divinely allotted and even much easier to squander it. So I would go to the movies. No problem. It was fun, it was leisurely, costly but worth it, as my dad use to say…”It’s all bought and paid for.”
Then, I got saved. Glory to God for His tender mercies and loving kindness! I attended a church that was IFB. It was there that I heard that going to the movies was a wrong thing to do. It was wrong because it was a “worldly place.” I was shocked at first. I did not understand what was so wrong with going to the movies. Of course I understood not going there if they were showing something as egregious as pornography. That’s a “no-brainer.” But what about viewing “Moses and the Ten Commandments?” that seems harmless enough, very family-friendly. What about some of those Disney-type flicks? What’s the big deal? I listened closely to my preacher and studied the Bible. I stopped attending partly at first because that is what my pastor preached and taught (and there is something Biblical to say about a pastor’s “conversation” in Heb. 13:7, but I won’t go there, at least for now). If I had nothing else to say, I could at least say that I don’t go because that is precisely the example that I have had from all three of the pastors that God has placed in my life. But as I searched the Scriptures, I see a couple of glaring reasons why I wouldn’t want to attend the movies, and I would want to discourage others from attending as well.
First is the absolute lack of content control. The difference between watching a movie at home vs. the theater is a matter of content control. I need not to explain much here because it is quite obvious that if you are in a theater you will be exposed to whatever flashes on the big screen regardless of what you came there to see. Ps. 101:3 says: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” This cancels out much of what the world produces and passes for a movie. Romans 1:32 also applies to movie content also.
Second is the toleration of or even acceptance/endorsement of many lies and anti-God philosophy. Take a one minute commercial promoting the next flick, in just 60 seconds or less you (and/or your children) would be exposed to some ungodly sight and sound. And what would be your recourse? Look the other way? Plug your two little ears? It is foolish, but even more foolish because you put yourself there (Rom.14:22). Col. 3:8 - "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." The big screen with very little time and with great ease can teach a philosophy that is in direct contradiction to God’s Holy Word – and nobody says a hoot against it. Does it matter that what you are watching contradicts godliness, and that your conscience can actually be defiled (Acts 24:16; 1 Cor. 8:7; Titus 1:15), and how do you suppose a person gets to the place where their conscience is “seared?” (1 Tim. 4:2). Paul was able to say that he had a clean conscience in 2 Cor. 1:12 and with that was effective for God’s service. A dull conscience is about as useless as any dull tool. You are what you contemplate in your heart (Pr. 23:7). All the more reason we are warned to think of the right things and even morally excellent things (Phil. 4:8). How about the warning about a “little leaven” in 1 Cor. 5:6 and Gal. 5:9? Ps. 106:34-41 warns us about learning the ways of the heathen (movies can and do facilitate this) and don’t be naive in this area of the corrupting element of corrupt communications (1 Cor. 15:33) there is such a thing as "corrupt communication" and the Bible assumes we can distinguish such things.
Other things could be mentioned here: Christianity vs. theatrics (yes, the history of Christendom doesn’t bode well for movie goers, it isn’t till just recently that churches are being transformed into worship centers which is patterned after the entertainment culture – historically speaking of course :-)), Crowd culture, the various Scriptural principles which are violated by the movie industry, Commercialism and stewardship of God’s money, Christian affections, Time management and economics, Association, and on and on we can go, but I digress.