"I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me" (Psalm 101:3).
In the culture wars-I mean within the Church, not outside the Church-there are heated opinions about what we should and should not expose ourselves to in the marketplace of ideas. Here are some familiar opinions from one side:
- We must study and talk about the things the world is doing in order to be relevant to our world and to have a point of contact from which to speak to them.
- We must reject the legalism of those who say, "Do not handle, do not touch."
- We must reject all moralistic approaches and remember grace.
- We must be in the world (though not of it) in order to save the world.
- We must know ourselves and our own level of maturity, and whether certain visuals or entertainments would damage our souls.
- We must remember that the Bible itself is full of stories of murder, rape, immorality, and treachery. Therefore, if we think we should eschew these in our culture, then we would have to reject the Bible too.
- We must remember that Paul himself knew Greek and made a reference to their poets at the Areopagus.
I have heard and believed all these arguments in my lifetime. I have seen plenty of movies and plays. (And, to tell the truth, I cannot think of a single thing I learned there about culture that I didn't know or that turned out to be essential for "point of contact.")
But when all is said and done, and as the shadows of my own life lengthen, and I tally up all my reasons in Column A, I still have this one nagging item in Column B:
"I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me."
This is how radically and scandalously demanding the Word of God has become in my life.