Is it a Sin to Watch ‘Game of Thrones’?

The sermon was titled “Fatal Attraction.” It was a cautionary message to those of us who were married members of the congregation to scrupulously observe the wedding vows we took according to God’s holy ordinance:

To have and to hold each other from our wedding day forward. To forsake all others who might come between us. To love each other, comfort each other and keep each other, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, until death do us part.

But wait, said the junior pastor. He had an additional vow to suggest to Christ- following couples – to assiduously avoid watching “Game of Thrones,” the HBO series that begins its seventh season tonight.

I was taken aback by the pastor’s pronouncement. I could understand him condemning adultery. I could understand him discouraging divorce. I could understand him warning of the evils of strips clubs and massage parlors.

But I could not fathom why the pastor saw fit to mention a lone TV show – “Game of Thrones” – as if it singular poses a clear and present threat to Godly marriages.

I don’t think the pastor was impugning the morality of those in the congregation who have a taste for HBO’s critically-acclaimed fantasy drama, which is based on the best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” authored by George R.R. Martin.

I imagine he simply thinks the violence and debauchery fairly regularly depicted on “Game of Thrones” is inappropriate entertainment for Christ followers.

That’s where I believe the junior pastor erred – by turning a “disputable matter,” as the Apostle Paul called it, into a matter of Christian doctrine.

Indeed, in 1 Corinthians, Paul writes: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful for me, but not all things edify.”

Now, let us not misconstrue what the apostle is saying. He is not suggesting it is acceptable in the eyes of God for him to disregard the Ten Commandments; that he can murder, commit adultery, practice idolatry (or whatever else he sees fit) with impunity.

No, what he is saying is that practices not addressed in the law, not set forth in the Bible, either directly or indirectly, are not verboten to Christ followers. However, he suggests, we would do well to avoid things that are neither helpful nor edifying.

The pastor obviously believes that “Game of Thrones” has no redeeming value to offer Christ followers. But in Romans the Apostle Paul advises: “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.”

That’s good advice not only to pastors, but  the entire body of Christ. Let us remind ourselves that not all of us are mature Christians; that there are many among us whose faith is week.

We do not help them grow nearer to God and stronger in their faith by quarreling with them on disputable matters. So let us not look disapprovingly upon those who, say, patronize bars. Or those who listen to secular (rather than praise and worship) music on their Ipod. Or those looking forward to the new season of “Game of Thrones.”

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This entry was published on July 16, 2017 at 4:46 AM. It’s filed under Popular Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Is it a Sin to Watch ‘Game of Thrones’?

  1. T _ Marie on said:

    Seems like you are more so looking for a reason not to give up your favorite show..

    This is the question we should be asking ourselves and serves as a solid litmus.. Would I watch this with Jesus?

    If the answers no, then you ought to listen to your conviction.

    • The post really isn’t about ‘Game of Thrones.’ It’s about disputable matters. I was just using the show as an example.

      • T _ Marie on said:

        Dang it. I went to copy a link and erased my reply. Well I will try to recap that now.

        Right. Perhaps a different example should be used then. I was curious about Games of Thrones, so I googled it one day. The results came up with a compilation of all the sex/nudity seasons from its first six seasons and I was appalled. It was literally as graphic as porn. And the nudity was shown in a way that was not Godly either. This to me is not disputable. I do not think God would approve of the show because of “the amazing plot.” If you are digesting the same material as a strip club ir porn, then it’s no different. So, I do not think the assistant pastor erred, in fact he was right on point. I’m sure this was hard for those Christians that love the show, yet if they listen to their conviction they know the pastor was right.

        The following blog also covers the topic of disputable matters. I haven’t researched his response but at first look, it seemed sound. One thing he tried to differentiate between is things that are indeed doctrine and that we must not compromise and the gray areas that we shouldn’t make such a big deal.

        http://www.epm.org/blog/2008/Jun/11/disputable-matters-in-romans-14-what-they-are-and-

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