John Piper: Questions Christians Need to Ask Themselves Before Watching Netflix Shows
Christian preacher and founder of desiringGod.org John Piper has listed a number of questions Christians need to ask themselves before watching a show on Netflix or any TV network.
Piper warned on Monday that Christians are "in the grip of the spirit of the age and in the grip of popular culture and popular entertainments." Believers need to reorient their thinking.
"For this to happen, it would be a great work of God, not me. It would be a miracle if it happened to a few listeners. I certainly need it to happen more deeply in my own life as I try to navigate these cultural waters," he stated.
One of the questions Christians need to ask themselves is: "What are you longing for most earnestly and with the greatest passion in your life? What are you longing for? Let's just say in your relation to Christ — in your personal walk and relation to Christ — what are you longing for?"
Piper suggested that people need to analyze whether they are searching for intimacy, depth, power, or whether they are searching for Jesus.
"Do you even think in these terms? Do you go to bed with these longings? Do you wake up with these longings governing your life? Do you devote time, perhaps on the Lord's Day, to seek his face in intensifying these longings? If not, that's the issue," he said.
"This is ten thousand times more important than what particular shows you click on. This will govern that. But if this is missing — if the growing intensification of these longings in your relationship with Jesus is missing — no answers will make any difference about your entertainment habits."
While posing the question differently, he said that people need to explore what they long for in relationships with other people.
"Do you long to represent Jesus with greater compelling forcefulness? Do you long for a greater love for people and a greater zeal for their salvation? Do you long to have greater boldness and encouragement from God in your own representation of Christ? Do you long to be a means of other people's holiness and purity and power?" he asked.
"Do you long to bring the word of God from your encounter with the risen Christ into the lives of other people with effectiveness? Do you long for readiness to speak hope-filled words into the face of those who are dying or suffering or coming out of divorces?"
He further suggested that people need to carry the "aroma of Christ" and seek to inspire others by their own example.
The preacher warned that if Christians are not thinking in such terms, then there's no point in discussing whether watching particular shows is right or wrong.
"If we don't have that, we don't even have in place the mindset that can make those kinds of judgments possible," he said.
Other questions he said should be explored include whether a show makes Christ "more clear and precious," or whether it makes "biblical realities more unreal."
"Does the show make the Bible and immersion in Scripture and meditation more desirable to my heart or awkward to find time for? Does this show leave me with a disinclination to pray and seek God's face and long for his power? Does this show dampen my zeal for missions and my desire to see salvation come to the lives of the people around me — not to mention the people in Hollywood?" Piper continued.
"Does it leave me with any desire for a great revival in my city — to see people brokenhearted for the sin represented in a lot of these shows? Does this show sweeten my experience of corporate worship with God's people and make it more authentic?"
Shows, he said, should heighten one's desire for justice and God's righteous rule.
"Does it help me want to get in a boat or a plane and go to some hard place and die for Jesus? Does this show make a better, more natural conversationalist about spiritual realities like heaven and hell and the Holy Spirit and the gospel and faith?" he said.
In the past, Piper has suggested that popular shows like HBO's "Game of Thrones" may not be suitable for Christians, due to the way sexual content is presented.
Pastor Kevin DeYoung of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, recently made a similar observation, arguing that he has not seen a single compelling argument for Christians watching "Game of Thrones" and its graphic sex scenes.