03 May 2009

Something to Bear in Mind While Choosing What to Watch on TV

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Holiness Demanded," a sermon preached in 1862 at the Met Tab in London.



hose who can look with delight or any degree of pleasure upon the sins of others are not holy. We know of some, who will not themselves perpetrate an unseemly jest, yet, if another does so, and there is a laugh excited upon some not over-decent remark, they laugh, and thus give sanction to the impropriety. If there is a low song sung in their hearing, which others applaud, though they cannot quite go the length of joining in the plaudits, still they secretly enjoy it; they betray a sort of gratification that they cannot disguise; they confess to a gusto that admires the wit while it cannot endorse the sentiment.

They are glad the minister was not there; they are glad to think the deacon did not happen to see them just at that moment; yet still, if there could be a law established to make the thing pretty respectable, they would not mind.

Some of you know people who fall into this snare. There are professing Christians who go where you at one time could not go; but, seeing that they do it, you go too, and there you see others engaged in sin, and it becomes respectable because you give it countenance. There are many things, in this world, that would be execrated if it were not that Christian men go to them, and the ungodly men say, "Well, if it is not righteous, there is not much harm in it, after all; it is innocent enough if we keep within bounds."

Mind! mind! mind, professor, if thine heart begins to suck in the sweets of another man's sin, it is unsound in the sight of God; if thou canst even wink at another man's lust, depend upon it that thou wilt soon shut thine eye on thine own, for we are always more severe with other men than we are' with ourselves. There must be an absence of the vital principle of godliness when we can become partakers of other men's sins by applauding or joining with them in the approval of them.

Let us examine ourselves scrupulously, then, whether we be among those who have no evidences of that holiness without which no man can see God. But, beloved, we hope better things of you, and things which accompany salvation. If you and I, as in the sight of God, feel that we would be holy if we could, that there is not a sin we wish to spare, that we would be like Jesus,—O that we could!—that we would sooner suffer affliction than ever run into sin, and displease our God; if our heart be really right in God's statutes, then, despite all the imperfections we bemoan, we have holiness, wherein we may rejoice.

C. H. Spurgeon


Frank Turk said...


It's a good thing the new house doesn't have cable.

eastendjim said...

Very timely. Our church is in the middle of a series of sermons "At War with Sin. On Fire for God."

Jeff Branch said...

Double Ouch. We just got digital cable with all kinds of movie channels :-(.

This is especially timely for me because as the Holy Spirit awakens me more to how I should live in a fallen world, I have come to realize that when I do something as little as smile when a dirty joke is spoken, I participate in that sin. I can't be unique in that I work with some world class sinners. How I react to these situations is a struggle for me.

Just the other day one of my co-workers, just for shock value, asked me if I was having sex with one of the women at a particular customer location. I told him I wasn't going to answer that question. I'll bet if I started sharing the Gospel with him, he would stop asking such things.

Ebeth said...

"We are always more severe with other men than we are with ourselves"--pertains to everything, doesn't it? Convicts

~Mark said...

Powerful message, good for the eye-gate and the ear-gate.

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...


I know this makes me a freak but i have never owned a TV. In 1968 I spent most of the summer in El Salvador, too two books an RSV and Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan. Reading McLuahn and later working with some folks who were doing media impact research for the armed forces during the last years of Vietnam, I decided I could live without TV. After 40years I can't say that I have missed much.

~Mark said...

I'm really surprised that this post has had so few responses. It must've really hit home!

Mik Harewam said...

Wow. That was a really good one, Phil. Thank you. I needed to hear it.

Jon said...

Yeah, silence on a thread of this sort can be either good or bad.

I still struggle with what I watch on TV or how much time I put into vain entertainment. I've gotten better, but I'm far from where I think I should be.

We do need to be very careful or we could fall into a sort of legalism. We need to make sure that we're biblically discerning when it comes to our choice of entertainment.

It still amazes me (it really shouldn't) that Hollywood with the view of being either relevant and/or "artistic" that you have to be as vulgar, explicit or gratuitous as possible to entertain the public.

How many movies could be decent enough entertainment if they'd just lay off the vulgar language. You can even get pragmatic with them by giving statistics that show that movies with bad language don't do as well overall as those without. Movies with PG or even G ratings can still take the Lord's name in vain, constantly even. But yet, they just keep churning out movies/TV shows that are at the outset offensive to most Christians.

I could ramble on forever on this topic, but I think I'll stop there. I really do pray for Christian entertainment that can edify, teach, rebuke, etc. It can be done, but definitely not by Hollywood, it just wouldn't be politically correct to present "our" worldview.