See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 69

The Law of God discuss Christian Actors and the 3rd Commandment in the Theological Forum forums; I have to confess to being one of the stodgy sort who is appalled by the all-too-common laxity of Christians (even "Reformed" Christians) towards language ...

  1. #1
    Fly Caster's Avatar
    Fly Caster is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    714

    Christian Actors and the 3rd Commandment

    I have to confess to being one of the stodgy sort who is appalled by the all-too-common laxity of Christians (even "Reformed" Christians) towards language vulgar and profane, including that found in the arts. Thought it might be helpful to get that out of the way first.

    Doug Wilson mentions on his blog that the young star of the movie Super 8 is from his church. Hopeful that this might mean it would be suitable for family enjoyment, I looked at Plugged In to get a synopsis. Apart from the (usual) excess of crass terms, there's this-- "God's and Jesus' names are misused nearly 30 times."

    I realize that the folks over at Plugged In don't always have a handle on what makes a film suitable, but can anyone find this excusable? I also realize that it doesn't state that this young man (child?) actually says these words (and since I don't plan on watching, I won't know unless someone tells me), still by playing the main role, he is yoked with the whole. I wouldn't allow a child of my his age to view a scene in which the Lord's name was used profanely, let alone play in it-- and profit from it.

    I do think that there is a genuine need for Christian influence in the arts, and in film. And this sometimes will mean portraying what God forbids-- but doing it as to show the results of judgement upon adultery, drunkeness, etc. However, I don't see any possible way of baptizing the profaning of our Lord's name in this manner. If this is what it means to bring a Christian infuence into the realm of the arts, it would be better to let them go.

    That's my humble opinion. Someone else can have a say...
    Last edited by Fly Caster; 06-14-2011 at 02:05 PM.
    "Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes." --John Newton

    Timothy
    Member, PCA
    Kingsport, TN
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Jack K's Avatar
    Jack K is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    To tell any kind of meaningful or redemptive story, a movie or novel or similar sort of art must depict sinful behavior. So I'm hesitant to say that all instances of a character misusing God's name are necessarily wrong in a movie. Are all instances of a character telling a lie also wrong? No, not if they supply insight into the character's struggles, morality, need to repent, etc. So lying, stealing, adultery and—yes—misuse of God's name are problems if the movie glorifies or celebrates these things. But not when the movie condemns or corrects them.

    Remember that the Bible itself includes accounts of many, many people who misuse God's name, and doesn't necessarily directly condemn the behavior in each instance. But such behavior is useful insight into the character's sin.

    HOWEVER... That said, I contend that the majority of the misuses of God's name in movies today are simply gratuitous and are used only to make a character's speech more colorful or, in the screenwriter's opinion, sound more authentic. I tire of it, too, and we should be wary of becoming accepting of it. It represents not the sinfulness of a character, but the unthinkingly sinful patterns of the filmmakers.
    Jack K.
    PCA, worshiping with some fine Baptists in Colorado
    Gospel Teacher website
    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    J. Dean's Avatar
    J. Dean is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    1,396
    As an author, I will say that you can write a powerful dialogue without using God's name in vain. It can be done. I've read excellent works-from Christians and non-Christians as well-that use little to no profanity, yet are well-written and engaging. So this whole idea that dialogue has to be loaded with profanity is bunk.

    That being said, Jack K is right that sin has to be depicted in meaningful art. The difference is that in non-Christian art, sin is depicted as cool or pragmatic.
    J. Dean, author
    EPC
    Flint, Michigan

    “If your preaching of the gospel of God's free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you're not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
    ― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Interesting discussion..
    As for the actor and his culpability, one could argue that it is not he saying the words, it's the character that has been written in the script which he is portraying as a paid professional.

    In a similar case, all TV commercials feature "employees" of companies that do not actually work of the company but are paid professional actors and actresses. Is this the sin of giving false testimony?
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  5. #5
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4,197
    I'm just thinking off the cuff here, but my first inclination is to think that taking the Lord's name in vain is probably different from other sins depicted in movies. I'm reminded of a quote by John Piper in an article on why he doesn't watch movies much:

    "I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching. And somewhere she has a brokenhearted father."

    From here: Why I Don

    Does blasphemy fall under a similar category? Should we say, "that person is really taking God's name on his lips in an irreverant or even spiteful manner"? I'm inclined to think so.

    I can see how it might instead fall under the "they don't really mean those bad words" category, but then, I think watching a movie with even just those tends to numb the conscience and make us comfortable and familiar with profane language.

    Thoughts?
    4 member(s) found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Scott1's Avatar
    Scott1 is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    10,505
    Any clear violation of taking the Lord's Name in vain in a movie is in itself reason to decline viewing or supporting, or even lending credibility to it for the believer.

    Whether done under pretense of amusement, cultural critique, ignorance etc, particularly for an actor who professes to be a believer.
    Scott
    PCA
    North Carolina


    Post Tenebras Lux; "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4
    6 member(s) found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    he beholds's Avatar
    he beholds is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,101
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Does blasphemy fall under a similar category? Should we say, "that person is really taking God's name on his lips in an irreverant or even spiteful manner"? I'm inclined to think so.

    I can see how it might instead fall under the "they don't really mean those bad words" category, but then, I think watching a movie with even just those tends to numb the conscience and make us comfortable and familiar with profane language.

    Thoughts?
    This is my line of thinking, as well. If I were to utter those words, even at the direction of a script (or were I reading aloud from a novel), I'd still be saying them.
    In fact, even when I read them in a book and the voice is only audible in my head, I am uncomfortable.
    J.L.


    9 member(s) found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    I think there's a difference between a description of a sin and a commission of a sin. Theatrical portrayals, news broadcasts, fiction writing, and hear-say reports of sinful acts are not themselves sinful. Even scripture, which cannot sin, describes graphic violence and sexuality in its pages, and gives reports of those who blasphemed and what they said. Offense received from the hearers is one-step removed from participation in the sin itself.

    ---------- Post added at 01:41 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 AM ----------

    at the end of the day, i think this may be a case of personal conscience -- I'm just glad I'm not in the industry. We should pray hard for our brethren in Hollywood.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  9. #9
    FCC's Avatar
    FCC
    FCC is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    198
    Blog Entries
    15
    There are several old Puritan books and articles on the theater and it's ill moral effects on those attending and especially on the actors that should be revisited by Christians living in our current permisive culture. We are media addicted and think that we must "redeem" the arts or the movies or any number of other cultural icons, when in reality we should be forsaking them. The Puritans even went so far as to close down the Globe theater, where Shakespeare's plays were performed.

    Our Christian fathers took a very high view of the law, not only the third but also the ninth commandment against lying. The early church was stedfastly against any Christian attending the theater to the point of denying communion and church membership to the actors. This was not only because the early theater was performed in the worship of false gods, but because the actors were actively engaged in lying as part of their daily work. The early church fathers and the Puritans have much to re-teach us regarding the theater, or as they are known today the movies and television.
    David Biser
    Non affiliated at present time (but searching!)
    Maryland
    9 member(s) found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    This reminds me of the movie, The Invention of Lying. In this pristine world they had no concept of acting or movies, but people who read historical pieces in front of a camera. But even that would be inconsistent, because history is often shaped by the authors.

    What are considered cultural taboos fluctuates as much as the cultures themselves, with reasonable arguments each time to back it up in light of their societal ills. While the Puritans condemned the theatre, they also condoned and practiced drinking and smoking tobacco, which is condemned by most Christians in Asia. I've heard fundy baptists tell me that drums are evil and syncopated rhythms are unnatural and do not follow the beating of the heart, and is therefore should not be used in church. Tell that to the church in India or Africa. Abraham Kuyper thought that certain pieces by Wagner were vulgar and aesthetically horrendous.

    Our benchmark is scripture, which alone can bind the conscience, and I believe there is a difference between describing and committing sin, and we should appreciate that cultures change and its theology should develop in response to it, rather than imposing anachronistic and antiquated models.

    what think ye, is Shakespeare trash?
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry
    2 member(s) found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    FCC's Avatar
    FCC
    FCC is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    198
    Blog Entries
    15
    Shouldn't our culture develop in response to our theology and not our theology in reponse to our culture?
    David Biser
    Non affiliated at present time (but searching!)
    Maryland
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Quote Originally Posted by FCC View Post
    Shouldn't our culture develop in response to our theology and not our theology in reponse to our culture?
    I would say both are happening and should happen, but culture probably changes faster than our theology. A "Christ against culture" outlook would view them antithetically, whereas Christ the transformer of culture is what we should aim for (according to Niehbur's model). You might be mistaking me to say that culture is foundational and logically prior to our theology, which is not what I'm saying. Only look at nearly every major theological development and see whether or not it has arisen as the church sought to understand God's revelation in light of the worldviews, beliefs, practices, and culture around them. I believe it has in almost every case, which is why each generation writes a new theology and seeks to understand things afresh.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  13. #13
    Grillsy's Avatar
    Grillsy is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,929
    Quote Originally Posted by FCC View Post
    There are several old Puritan books and articles on the theater and it's ill moral effects on those attending and especially on the actors that should be revisited by Christians living in our current permisive culture. We are media addicted and think that we must "redeem" the arts or the movies or any number of other cultural icons, when in reality we should be forsaking them. The Puritans even went so far as to close down the Globe theater, where Shakespeare's plays were performed.

    Our Christian fathers took a very high view of the law, not only the third but also the ninth commandment against lying. The early church was stedfastly against any Christian attending the theater to the point of denying communion and church membership to the actors. This was not only because the early theater was performed in the worship of false gods, but because the actors were actively engaged in lying as part of their daily work. The early church fathers and the Puritans have much to re-teach us regarding the theater, or as they are known today the movies and television.
    Would you allow your children to play make-believe or use their imaginations when playing?
    Perhaps historical reenactments should be outlawed as well since they too are performances and all the performers are lying because they are not actually fighting a real battle nor do they live in another time period.
    Vicar Willie Grills
    Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
    Fort Wayne, IN
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    he beholds's Avatar
    he beholds is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,101
    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FCC View Post
    There are several old Puritan books and articles on the theater and it's ill moral effects on those attending and especially on the actors that should be revisited by Christians living in our current permisive culture. We are media addicted and think that we must "redeem" the arts or the movies or any number of other cultural icons, when in reality we should be forsaking them. The Puritans even went so far as to close down the Globe theater, where Shakespeare's plays were performed.

    Our Christian fathers took a very high view of the law, not only the third but also the ninth commandment against lying. The early church was stedfastly against any Christian attending the theater to the point of denying communion and church membership to the actors. This was not only because the early theater was performed in the worship of false gods, but because the actors were actively engaged in lying as part of their daily work. The early church fathers and the Puritans have much to re-teach us regarding the theater, or as they are known today the movies and television.
    Would you allow your children to play make-believe or use their imaginations when playing?
    Perhaps historical reenactments should be outlawed as well since they too are performances and all the performers are lying because they are not actually fighting a real battle nor do they live in another time period.
    Good points. I think lying has the intent to deceive. I am not deceived when I see an actor playing a part. He is not bearing false testimony to me.
    J.L.


    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Quatchu's Avatar
    Quatchu is offline now. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    574
    Is it lying when everyone involved and watching knows that its not real, when there is no deception going on. No one is being deceived in theater because there's a universal assumption that what is being said and done is not real.
    Justin Clarke
    Member of New Life Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    La Mesa, CA
    MDiv Student at Westminster Seminary California

    From
    Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Living In San Diego

  16. #16
    Fly Caster's Avatar
    Fly Caster is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    714
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Interesting discussion..
    As for the actor and his culpability, one could argue that it is not he saying the words, it's the character that has been written in the script which he is portraying as a paid professional.
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.

    This is similiar to a "Christian" actor "playing" a Sabbath breaker by filming on the Lord's Day, "playing" a thief by actually stealing from a fellow cast member, "playing" a murderer by actually taking another's life, "playing" an adulterer by actually committing a sexual act. No "paid professional" argument could excuse any of these actions.
    "Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes." --John Newton

    Timothy
    Member, PCA
    Kingsport, TN
    6 member(s) found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Interesting discussion..
    As for the actor and his culpability, one could argue that it is not he saying the words, it's the character that has been written in the script which he is portraying as a paid professional.
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.

    This is similiar to a "Christian" actor "playing" a Sabbath breaker by filming on the Lord's Day, "playing" a thief by actually stealing from a fellow cast member, "playing" a murderer by actually taking another's life, "playing" an adulterer by actually committing a sexual act. No "paid professional" argument could excuse any of these actions.
    I would disagree. He is not saying the words; it is not coming out of his own soul and mind (unless he's employing "method" acting, but that's another issue). His character, whose fictitious lines he is delivering, is saying them. Do you consider an author who writes these lines for one of his characters as committing a sin when he writes these words for his character to say? What about biblical authors who wrote blasphemies for his real life characters to say? The words themselves are not sin; the soul and intention of the person must be taken into account.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  18. #18
    Jack K's Avatar
    Jack K is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.
    Yes, he is actually saying the words and for this reason I think an actor would have to pay particular attention to portrayals of a character who broke this particular commandment. The vast majority of uses in movies today are not warranted.

    But... to merely say the words does not break the commandment. To say them "in vain" breaks the commandment. I maintain it's possible for a character to misuse God's name but for the actor involved to portray this sin in a way that acknowledges it as sin and intends, through the telling of the story, to bring honor to God. In such a case (rare these days), the actor himself is not using God's name vainly at all, but soberly and reverently, albeit in a creative fashion.
    Jack K.
    PCA, worshiping with some fine Baptists in Colorado
    Gospel Teacher website
    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids
    4 member(s) found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    He is only saying it in the same way the biblical author is saying it when he puts the words in the mouth of his character. I don't consider it sin. "In vain" are the operative words.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  20. #20
    he beholds's Avatar
    he beholds is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,101
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Interesting discussion..
    As for the actor and his culpability, one could argue that it is not he saying the words, it's the character that has been written in the script which he is portraying as a paid professional.
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.

    This is similiar to a "Christian" actor "playing" a Sabbath breaker by filming on the Lord's Day, "playing" a thief by actually stealing from a fellow cast member, "playing" a murderer by actually taking another's life, "playing" an adulterer by actually committing a sexual act. No "paid professional" argument could excuse any of these actions.
    I would disagree. He is not saying the words; it is not coming out of his own soul and mind (unless he's employing "method" acting, but that's another issue). His character, whose fictitious lines he is delivering, is saying them. Do you consider an author who writes these lines for one of his characters as committing a sin when he writes these words for his character to say? What about biblical authors who wrote blasphemies for his real life characters to say? The words themselves are not sin; the soul and intention of the person must be taken into account.
    I would consider an author to be sinning were he to write a line that actually takes the Lord's name in vain. Someone is responsible for the writing of that line. Now if he described it and merely said, "He took the Lord's name in vain..." That wouldn't be sin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.
    Yes, he is actually saying the words and for this reason I think an actor would have to pay particular attention to portrayals of a character who broke this particular commandment. The vast majority of uses in movies today are not warranted.

    But... to merely say the words does not break the commandment. To say them "in vain" breaks the commandment. I maintain it's possible for a character to misuse God's name but for the actor involved to portray this sin in a way that acknowledges it as sin and intends, through the telling of the story, to bring honor to God. In such a case (rare these days), the actor himself is not using God's name vainly at all, but soberly and reverently, albeit in a creative fashion.
    I don't think it's possible to "misuse God's name" in a way that is not in vain. Either it is a misuse or it is not. If the actor swears with God's name, he swears with God's name.

    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    He is only saying it in the same way the biblical author is saying it when he puts the words in the mouth of his character. I don't consider it sin. "In vain" are the operative words.
    Most of the characters in the Bible were real people, so an author did not put words into his mouth, but recorded what he said. (I still can't think of any times where the Lord's name is taken in vain in Scripture, but if it was how you described, it'd not be the writer's fault.)
    J.L.


    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  21. #21
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    to use His name "in vain" would be to misuse and vice versa. When Matthew writes, "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons,” (12:24) is he blaspheming? No, he's reporting what was said. He did write the words that blasphemes the Lord's name, but obviously his heart is not behind these words he writes. The blame of the blasphemy lies with the Pharisees. In the same way, the actor's heart is not behind the words he speaks. In a sense, he is "reporting" (though role-play) what a character was saying.

    In terms of the distinction between real and fiction. One might say that to rehearse what happened in real life by real people would be worse than something that's purely fictitious, isn't it? Which is more tragic and heinous: details of a brutal murder on the news, or the same in a work of fiction?
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  22. #22
    Fly Caster's Avatar
    Fly Caster is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    714
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steadfast7 View Post
    Interesting discussion..
    As for the actor and his culpability, one could argue that it is not he saying the words, it's the character that has been written in the script which he is portraying as a paid professional.
    But in this instance, he is saying the words-- he is committing a violation of the 3rd commandment.

    This is similiar to a "Christian" actor "playing" a Sabbath breaker by filming on the Lord's Day, "playing" a thief by actually stealing from a fellow cast member, "playing" a murderer by actually taking another's life, "playing" an adulterer by actually committing a sexual act. No "paid professional" argument could excuse any of these actions.
    I would disagree. He is not saying the words; it is not coming out of his own soul and mind (unless he's employing "method" acting, but that's another issue). His character, whose fictitious lines he is delivering, is saying them. Do you consider an author who writes these lines for one of his characters as committing a sin when he writes these words for his character to say? What about biblical authors who wrote blasphemies for his real life characters to say? The words themselves are not sin; the soul and intention of the person must be taken into account.
    There is an added seriousness to this command, note by the warning attached to it. The warning is grave and serious, and we dishonor God if we don't take it that way. Any leeway added for fiddling around with it isn't expressed by God and seems to me to be a course of wavering to the right or to the left. Jessica has well stated that, were it necessary to portray this sinful behavior, it could be done without committing the sin of violating this commandment..

    As far as charging the human authors with sin, I sense no compulsion to accuse a Holy Spirit inspired writer of any such thing-- no more than I do of accusing John, for relating a physical description of the Glorified Christ in his Revelation, with violating the 2nd commandment.

    ---------- Post added at 01:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by FCC View Post
    There are several old Puritan books and articles on the theater and it's ill moral effects on those attending and especially on the actors that should be revisited by Christians living in our current permisive culture. We are media addicted and think that we must "redeem" the arts or the movies or any number of other cultural icons, when in reality we should be forsaking them. The Puritans even went so far as to close down the Globe theater, where Shakespeare's plays were performed.

    Our Christian fathers took a very high view of the law, not only the third but also the ninth commandment against lying. The early church was stedfastly against any Christian attending the theater to the point of denying communion and church membership to the actors. This was not only because the early theater was performed in the worship of false gods, but because the actors were actively engaged in lying as part of their daily work. The early church fathers and the Puritans have much to re-teach us regarding the theater, or as they are known today the movies and television.
    I can't say that I'm ready to accept everything that you have stated here, but I do recognize that these were the views commonly held by a Godly group of blessed men that were far less encumbered by the spirit of the age that most of us are.

    And yes, you are correct that we should learn from them.
    "Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes." --John Newton

    Timothy
    Member, PCA
    Kingsport, TN

  23. #23
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Caster View Post
    There is an added seriousness to this command, note by the warning attached to it. The warning is grave and serious, and we dishonor God if we don't take it that way. Any leeway added for fiddling around with it isn't expressed by God and seems to me to be a course of wavering to the right or to the left. Jessica has well stated that, were it necessary to portray this sinful behavior, it could be done without committing the sin of violating this commandment..
    It has not yet been shown that the 2nd commandment has been violated in this case, IMO.

    As far as charging the human authors with sin, I sense no compulsion to accuse a Holy Spirit inspired writer of any such thing-- no more than I do of accusing John, for relating a physical description of the Glorified Christ in his Revelation, with violating the 2nd commandment.
    This is precisely MY point. But to add, it is not because they are inspired that protects them from committing the sin, it is because it isn't a sin to do what they did. My argument stands, once again, that there are such things as description, reporting, and portrayal of sinful events that are not to be confused with sinful acts themselves.

    I think we should also be sensitive of wrongly imputing sin on a brother, if a sin has not been committed. This would be a violation of the 9th commandment, which is grave as well.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  24. #24
    Jack K's Avatar
    Jack K is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Quote Originally Posted by he beholds View Post
    (I still can't think of any times where the Lord's name is taken in vain in Scripture, but if it was how you described, it'd not be the writer's fault.)
    There are many instances of characters invoking God's name for their own purposes rather than his glory; for instance, while clearly telling lies. Two come to mind immediately. There's Jacob when he pretends to be Esau and brings meat to Isaac, who asks how he finished the hunt so quickly: "The LORD your God gave me success." And there's Saul when confronted by Samuel after failing to completely destroy the Amalekites' livestock: "The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God."

    These are clear misuses of God's name. But was the Bible author wrong to report them? Was I wrong just now to type them? Am I wrong if, in telling these Bible stories to kids, I reenact those words? No, because my purpose is sober and God-honoring, even if the character who spoke them was doing wrong.

    This is why I say that when it comes to storytelling arts, it isn't always automatically wrong to act out a character committing this sin. Most of the time it's unnecessary and has no godly purpose, but sometimes it may be allowed.
    Jack K.
    PCA, worshiping with some fine Baptists in Colorado
    Gospel Teacher website
    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

  25. #25
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    I agree with Jack. That most television and movies is rubbish and serves no godly purpose to produce and watch is obvious and true - but that's a separate question altogether.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  26. #26
    he beholds's Avatar
    he beholds is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,101
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by he beholds View Post
    (I still can't think of any times where the Lord's name is taken in vain in Scripture, but if it was how you described, it'd not be the writer's fault.)
    There are many instances of characters invoking God's name for their own purposes rather than his glory; for instance, while clearly telling lies. Two come to mind immediately. There's Jacob when he pretends to be Esau and brings meat to Isaac, who asks how he finished the hunt so quickly: "The LORD your God gave me success." And there's Saul when confronted by Samuel after failing to completely destroy the Amalekites' livestock: "The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God."

    These are clear misuses of God's name. But was the Bible author wrong to report them? Was I wrong just now to type them? Am I wrong if, in telling these Bible stories to kids, I reenact those words? No, because my purpose is sober and God-honoring, even if the character who spoke them was doing wrong.

    This is why I say that when it comes to storytelling arts, it isn't always automatically wrong to act out a character committing this sin. Most of the time it's unnecessary and has no godly purpose, but sometimes it may be allowed.
    These are still not examples of the actor/writer doing the taking. Many sins portrayed in arts do not require the artist to sin; however, I believe that if I were to take the Lord's name in vain (even if done in pretend--or in vain, ironically) I'd be sinning. I just cannot imagine a way for it to be OK taking the Lord's name in vain.
    I think an artist could portray sin, such as adultery, without sinning. But were he to actually have relations in that acting, he'd be sinning. An actor has to actually SAY his lines, and the saying, in my opinion, is half of the sin in taking the Lord's name in vain.
    J.L.



  27. #27
    kainos01's Avatar
    kainos01 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,420
    Jack is right to note that there are certainly times when reenactment of stories (where biblical characters misused the name of God) for the sake of instruction (e.g. to kids) can be proper. However, I think that, for the most part, we are considering an entirely different idea from instruction: namely, entertainment. That is the primary purpose of most movies, right? (I know, there are exceptions, but they are few - and what many of those seek to instruct is equally godless.) Can the premise honestly be defended that the misuse of God's name is in any way justifiable for the sake of entertainment? I think not. That, then, disqualifies the vast, vast majority of such productions from any reasonably defensible position.
    Steve Curtis, DMin
    President, Timothy Two Project, International
    Ph.D., Missiology (candidate)
    RE, EPC
    Home: Wilmington, NC
    Living in the Philippines

  28. #28
    JennyG is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    3,064
    J Dean says:
    As an author, I will say that you can write a powerful dialogue without using God's name in vain. It can be done.

    yes, it most definitely can. Every worthwhile novelist writing before the 20th century managed it effortlessly. There are villains aplenty in Dickens and his contemporaries, some spine-chilling exemplars of pure evil, but none who depend on profanity for the expression of that evil.
    Or take Tolkien. - not even Sauron swears. The nearest the writer gets to the use of that crutch is some invented orc words. Still moving down market, Star Trek the same - I was happy to let my children watch it knowing no matter how tense the action got, blasphemy would not figure.

    The profanity that modern writers indulge in is not there because artistic expression demands it.
    JennyG
    Member, Free Church of Scotland
    Scotland
    4 member(s) found this post helpful.

  29. #29
    TimV's Avatar
    TimV is offline. Puritanboard Botanist
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    8,198
    I guess two young Christians could have sex on TV to illustrate Sampson's life. :-)
    Tim Vaughan
    Member, Redeemer Presbyterian, OPC,
    Santa Maria
    California
    6 member(s) found this post helpful.

  30. #30
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4,197
    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    I guess two young Christians could have sex on TV to illustrate Sampson's life. :-)
    Nice and succinct. This highlights the basic disagreement on the thread: Is an actor pretending to take the Lord's name in vain or actually doing it, assuming the action is presented in a negative light within the context of the movie? Some of us (including me) think it's actual; others classify it as pretend. How do we determine who is right?

    ---------- Post added at 04:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:35 PM ----------

    Here's how I would answer my own question: Some things shouldn't even be pretended on film, even though it might make it difficult to tell the story otherwise. I don't think two young Christians should pretend to fornicate on camera, and I would place blasphemy in the same category.
    2 member(s) found this post helpful.

  31. #31
    littlepeople's Avatar
    littlepeople is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    331
    Easy test here: Imagine you are in conversation with your friend, pastor, elder, mother-in-law whichever....you are relating some of the dialogue from the film to this friend. Would you censor the film's content to your friend i.e. "f-word, n-word, God" Or would you just repeat in conversation what was said in the film. I myself would censor because I feel that if I have said the word in retelling the film, i've broken the command.

    ---------- Post added at 04:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:48 PM ----------

    btw i think if you are able argue that an actor can speak 3rd commandment violations without sinning, then you can likewise argue that an actor can perform 7th commandment violations without sinning. I think thats just consistent
    Brandon Morgan
    Husband to Callie, Father to Graysen, Noah, Atticus, and Evelette.
    Member of Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Ms
    RTS Jackson M.Div (2014) caught between Seminary and the real world
    http://littlemorganpeople.com/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonmacmorgan/
    5 member(s) found this post helpful.

  32. #32
    he beholds's Avatar
    he beholds is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,101
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    I guess two young Christians could have sex on TV to illustrate Sampson's life. :-)
    Nice and succinct. This highlights the basic disagreement on the thread: Is an actor pretending to take the Lord's name in vain or actually doing it, assuming the action is presented in a negative light within the context of the movie? Some of us (including me) think it's actual; others classify it as pretend. How do we determine who is right?

    ---------- Post added at 04:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:35 PM ----------

    Here's how I would answer my own question: Some things shouldn't even be pretended on film, even though it might make it difficult to tell the story otherwise. I don't think two young Christians should pretend to fornicate on camera, and I would place blasphemy in the same category.
    I think the couple can pretend to fornicate if they don't have to sin to do so. If they don't have to actually be or appear to be naked and they aren't being suggestive, but instead they just close the door and the audience gets why, then I don't think the actors are sinning, even if their characters are. I don't think an actor can pretend to take the Lord's name in vain. I mean, a lot of people here wouldn't allow an artist to pretend to draw Christ, even if they acknowledged that it was just a pretend version of him. I don't think it's physically possible to pretend to take the Lord's name in vain without doing it.
    J.L.


    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  33. #33
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4,197
    Quote Originally Posted by he beholds View Post
    If they don't have to actually be or appear to be naked and they aren't being suggestive, but instead they just close the door and the audience gets why, then I don't think the actors are sinning, even if their characters are.
    Sure, but that's not "on camera." The equivalent here would be someone closing the door and the audience understanding that, behind the door, the character took the Lord's name in vain.
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  34. #34
    Jack K's Avatar
    Jack K is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Quote Originally Posted by kainos01 View Post
    Jack is right to note that there are certainly times when reenactment of stories (where biblical characters misused the name of God) for the sake of instruction (e.g. to kids) can be proper. However, I think that, for the most part, we are considering an entirely different idea from instruction: namely, entertainment. That is the primary purpose of most movies, right? (I know, there are exceptions, but they are few - and what many of those seek to instruct is equally godless.) Can the premise honestly be defended that the misuse of God's name is in any way justifiable for the sake of entertainment? I think not. That, then, disqualifies the vast, vast majority of such productions from any reasonably defensible position.
    The line between entertainment and poignant commentary is well blurred in good movies and novels. But I generally agree with your point. If our only purpose is to entertain ourselves, there's no defensible reason to have a character misuse God's name.
    Jack K.
    PCA, worshiping with some fine Baptists in Colorado
    Gospel Teacher website
    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  35. #35
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    The point of this thread is not whether stuff on TV and movies is, or can be, always edifying. Clearly it's not. It is also not the point (and difficult to argue) that things done for entertainment vs. other reasons constitute varying degrees of sin. It's not that simple. The point is whether a Christian actor is guilty of 2nd commandment violation when he is verbalizing words that are written in a script for him to deliver as a character in a production. Censoring your hearsay vulgarities at Granny's house, and getting naked with someone not your spouse fall into other categories of sin and only confuse this issue. Also, why is it OK for Lord of the Rings to be full of portrayals of graphic violence and murder, but we're relieved that he didn't swear - now our kids can watch it. Anyone else sense the double standard here?

    No one is saying you can "perform a violation without sinning" - this is a clear contradiction. We are asking whether it is a violation in the first place. It is begging the question to keep saying that the words themselves are blasphemous, for then we do charge biblical authors like Matthew for writing (and the Church for copying and propagating) the most blasphemous words that were ever spoken against the Holy Spirit. Here is at least one case in which the all-or-nothing definition of "violation" needs amendment. My argument is that an author writing words for a character to say and an actor delivering those words is not necessarily a sin in either case.

    ---------- Post added at 11:14 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:05 AM ----------

    Consider Bob, who did the scripture reading on Sunday. The text is from Matthew 12. Because it's a narrative, Bob decides to 'dramatize' his reading a little for effect, inflecting his voice differently when Matthew is narrating and when a character is speaking. He comes to 12:24, and puts on a Pharisees voice, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons!”

    Did Bob just blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  36. #36
    littlepeople's Avatar
    littlepeople is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    331
    I am quoting and rephrasing you, not to be offensive, Dennis. Rather, I think it will be helpful in understanding why your argument seems lacking. I'm just saying. this sounds a little harsh, and I don't mean for it to.

    you said: "My argument is that an author writing words for a character to say and an actor delivering those words is not necessarily a sin in either case."

    and I say for consistency sake, you would likewise need to allow that an author writing sex acts for a character to perform and an actor performing those sex acts is not necessarily a sin in either case."

    You seem to be allowing one, but not the other.
    Last edited by littlepeople; 06-16-2011 at 12:57 AM. Reason: typo
    Brandon Morgan
    Husband to Callie, Father to Graysen, Noah, Atticus, and Evelette.
    Member of Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Ms
    RTS Jackson M.Div (2014) caught between Seminary and the real world
    http://littlemorganpeople.com/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonmacmorgan/

  37. #37
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Thanks for challenging me on this Brandon. It's tricky, I'll admit.
    First, what do you mean by "writing sex acts for a character to say"? Are you referring to portrayals of cyber sex? In terms of performing sex acts (porn), this is wrong. Pretending to perform sex acts is probably wrong, but not because violates the 7th properly, but violates other commands, like adultery in the mind perhaps? But how does one define sex? for some, kissing on screen might as well be sex. Again, we're not dealing with sexuality on this thread, so it's an evasive argument that distracts from the issue, IMO.

    But here, we're dealing with words. Words written, words spoken. Many seem to argue that the words themselves, in whatever form, are blasphemous. I think this needs heavy qualification lest we impute sin on even the Biblical authors. This suggests that there are times, like in reporting, re-enacting, and portraying, when the words do not entail a violation of the command.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  38. #38
    littlepeople's Avatar
    littlepeople is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    331
    To your first question, "say" was a copy paste error. It should have been "perform". And I believe where we disagree is over reporting vs. portrayal and reenactment. I think any sin can be reported without the messenger sinning (scripture, courtroom, etc) Portrayal and reenactment are what an actor does, which is what is being discussed. Even by breaking down the word "reenactment," its pretty clear that action must be taken not simply the conveying of information. (BTW this is the fruit of a personal struggle as a song-writer, and in high-school an actor.)

    Why would you consider porn a sin? is it not a reenactment? If the crux of the issue is the actor's separation of his heart (sin) from his body (portrayal), then I think the same would apply to on-stage sex. Either both are not sinful because the actor is not sinning in his heart, only portraying the sin of another; or both are sinful for obvious reasons.

    I won't spend much time defending scripture because it doesn't need my poor defense, but I suggest that scripture is merely reporting. So its not under fire in this thread.
    Brandon Morgan
    Husband to Callie, Father to Graysen, Noah, Atticus, and Evelette.
    Member of Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Ms
    RTS Jackson M.Div (2014) caught between Seminary and the real world
    http://littlemorganpeople.com/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonmacmorgan/

  39. #39
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,250
    Again, I don't have a problem with your argument regarding portrayals of sexuality. You're spot on, but that's another thread!
    Regarding reporting and portraying, I see them in the same category with only a change from a 3rd person to 1st person perspective. Bob's dramatized reading of the Matthew passage shows it's not that easy to make the separation.

    the real crux of the issue is whether an actor is himself when he is in character delivering lines. I say no, he's not himself. He's in character, and the words are not his, he is only conveying them (like in a courtroom, good example ). Are those words coming from his mind, aimed at God, with the intention of dishonouring him? Not any more than Matthew's (or Bob's) words were theirs.
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  40. #40
    littlepeople's Avatar
    littlepeople is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    331
    "He's in character, and the words are not his, he is only conveying them ...... Are those words coming from his mind, aimed at God, with the intention of dishonouring him?"

    i'm not sure how you are exempting on-stage sex from a similar justification. It's not really another subject, God's law is a whole. If one is permissible by the grounds you provide, the other must follow.
    Brandon Morgan
    Husband to Callie, Father to Graysen, Noah, Atticus, and Evelette.
    Member of Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Ms
    RTS Jackson M.Div (2014) caught between Seminary and the real world
    http://littlemorganpeople.com/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonmacmorgan/

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72