Watching ‘R’ Rated Movies

At the conservative Christian college where I teach, I frequently get challenged on my movie watching habits.  I point out that many ‘G’ rated movies preach a self-focused existentialism that is at odds with Christianity.  So some of my more legalistic charges start to think that there are no movies that they can watch.  The question I leave my students with is, “By watching a certain movie are you corrupted or transformed?”  In other words, it is permissablefor you to watch any movie.  No movie will take away you salvation.  The question is whether you see a rape scene in a movie, become repulsed and start a Christian haven for abused women.  If a rape scene would excite you, you need to not only refrain from seeing the movie, but you probably need to engage in some serious therapy.  Even though it is permissable for a Christian to watch any movie, not all movies that a Christian should watch are beneficial.  This, unfortunately, becomes highly subjective and complex.  Many Christians want simple answers.  So, they will go unthinkingly to the movies and become brainwashed by the messages of ‘G’ movies.  Or, they may never go to a movie and walk away from the culture into a desert of self-righteousness.  When would you watch an ‘R’ rated movie?

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

23“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

 25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[c]

 27If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake[d]29the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved


  1. What two things does Paul say that permissable things are not?
  2. Whose good should be a person’s concern?
  3. How should I react when I hear that someone has a problem with my actions?
  4. What is the point of seeking others’ good?
  5. When you are told that someone has a problem with the movies you watch, the alcohol you drink, the music you listen to, or the places you go, how do you react?  Is that in line with Q. 3?

Going Deeper


  1. What should nobody seek?
  2. What should not be raised when a person is in the meat market?
  3. What should you eat at an unbeliever’s meal table?
  4. With what attitude does a person eat a meal with an unbeliever?
  5. What should be the attitude as Corinthians do all things?


  1. What is the role of self  in the service of others?
  2. To what verses in previous chapters is Paul referring when talking about meat?
  3. Is the person who points out that the meat has been offered to idols a believer?
  4. What principles from this passage are guidelines for all of life?
  5. To what extent is Paul a people pleaser?  Not everyone is pleased with Paul.


  1. How do you refrain from beating your self up (cutting, thoughts of suicide), or taking care of your own needs at the expense of others?
  2. Do you err towards filtering everything out as non-beneficial?  Do you err towards filtering nothing because it is all permissable?
  3. How do you decide whether to go to an event?
  4. Could you watch an ‘R’ rated movie for the glory of God?  How would that be?
  5. Is it ever beneficial to watch a horror movie?

For further reflection: and click on Cruel Logic from the menu.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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