I recently received this message from a fellow elder:
“With the growing trend, even in our own circles, to subscribe to video on demand services like Netflix, I believe it would be prudent to ask those in our care during our annual home visits whether they subscribe to these services.”
Referring to a warning by MP Andrew Hastie he added,
“… these subscriptions are not likely to promote our service of the Lord, let alone prove to be money well spent in His honour. This is yet another means the devil employs to tempt our weak flesh to falling prey to the lusts of the flesh.”
Andrew Hastie had written this:
“Loving and protecting our kids is instinctive to us. So it’s troubling that we need to be reminded as a society to care for our kids.
But it’s necessary—especially when we have multinational entertainment services like Netflix streaming programs that sexualise young girls and objectify their bodies.
This week Netflix premiered a new program called Cuties, which depicts scantily dressed 11 year old girls dancing in a hypersexual manner.
Their original promotional poster was so inappropriate that Netflix pulled it, after a public backlash. That’s not entertainment. That’s normalising paedophilia.
The film was rated MA 15+ on the 8th September by the Australian Department of Communications. I strongly disagree with this assessment.”
Hastie added that
“Sovereignty begins in the family home. If the safety and wellbeing of our kids are threatened, then families like yours and mine need to assert our sovereignty and take back control.”
And Hastie concluded:
“Today, Ruth and I took back control when we cancelled our Netflix subscription. As a father to young children I don’t want anyone, including Netflix, undermining my family, my community and the welfare of Aussie children.”
I remember when TV first made its appearance on the scene. Church members were strongly urged not to get one. They were reminded of their need not to let anything threaten to undermine their holiness to the Lord. Today most church members and, I suspect, ministers have one.
Of course, it’s not just the TV; computers, smart phones and other devices also allow us easy access to what the world offers. And so much of it is dangerous junk—entertainment that inculcates the attitudes and values of a godless, sin-sick society that is in various ways reflecting the hallmarks of Sodom and Gomorrah.
We see its effects seep into the churches as increasingly members soak up what the world offers so alluringly. Elders on home visits are now needing to probe and ask some blunt questions about the influence of the world, including that of pornography, while children at school reflect that worldly influence with their knowledge of film stars and sports idols and even begin raising questions about transgenderism.
No unnatural mix
A hundred years ago K Schilder appealed to parents to send their children to the Christian school. The title of his speech was “No Two Types of Seed” (published elsewhere on this site).[i] It referred to God’s command to Israel not to sow two types of seed into their fields. Nor were they to plough with an ass and an ox yoked together. Indeed, God’s children were not even to wear clothing made of two types of cloth woven together. The purpose of these strictures was to emphasise that there should be no unnatural mix. God’s people were to be holy, separate from all that was unholy.
Well, said Schilder, that’s why we need our own Christian schools. Otherwise the children would have two types of seed sown into their hearts and minds—one type of seed sown at home and in church, but another type if they attend the state school.
We have our own Christian schools and Christian homes and Christian churches. But if we allow our children to watch that which promotes values and attitudes contrary to God’s Word, we transgress this Scriptural principle not to sow two types of seed into the minds and hearts of our children. Nor into our own hearts through our indiscriminate viewing.
David said (Psalm 101:3): “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.”
And we sing:
“Things base and worthless I will not have near me.
The faithless and their deeds I hate sincerely.
I shun all evil. No disloyalty
shall cling to me.”
And Sunday after Sunday we are reminded that we have been brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. We’re redeemed from our slavery to sin and Satan, and brought into the glorious light of the gospel of Christ our Lord, to be a people holy to Him who purchased us with His precious blood. So why would we let our sinful lusts and desires lure us back into that slavery?
Some decades ago Neil Postman published a booklet Amusing ourselves to Death. The title sums it up. He pointed not only to the bad values being promoted but also to the medium itself. It requires far less effort to watch the screen than to read. The amount of time children are glued to the screen has ramifications at school. Screen-watching students soaking up entertainment tend to lack concentration in reading.
And so do adults. How many are still willing to wade through a challenging article or good book in order to glean spiritual benefits? How many can still discern facts from opinion, let alone truth from heresy?
Let us reform our way of life, shun all that might lure us away from holiness and faithful service to God, and wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves in thankful service to our God and Father. He drew us out of slavery to sin, having redeemed us through the priceless cost of His own Son, and made us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that [we] may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).