Christians and Game of Thrones


by John Ellis

I’ve gone back and forth about posting this. On one hand, I’ve already published a fairly long anti-porn screed this week. To top it off, I’m working on another lust/modesty article. On the other hand, this is a serious issue among evangelicals. Sexual immorality is never taken lightly in the Bible – not in the Old Testament, not by Jesus, and not by the Apostle Paul. In fact, the first known church council – the Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15 – lists abstaining from sexual immorality in its creed. Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, professing Christians still fall short in pursuing holiness in the matter of sexuality.

The hypocrisy among many conservative Christians is glaring in this regard. During the week, we tweet, post rants on Facebook, and share articles decrying the perversion of God’s parameters for sex by the lgbtq community. We circle the wagons and righteously (probably self-righteously much of the time) prepare to do battle against the onslaught on our society’s morals by the lgbtq agenda. Yet, on Sunday nights, many of us turn on HBO and watch Game of Thrones, a TV show known for its gratuitous sex and nudity. As a general rule, I avoid using the term cognitive dissonance, but I’m afraid that it’s more than apt to use it to describe people professing allegiance to Jesus while watching Game of Thrones.

Already this week, there have been two articles that are pertinent to this discussion. One article speaks directly to the problem of Christians watching Game of Thrones. That article, written by Kevin DeYoung is linked to below. The other article, written by Katelyn Beaty for Christianity Today, cogently lays bare the fact that Christians should not watch movies and TV shows that contain rape scenes. While I don’t agree with all of Beaty’s conclusions about Christians watching nudity on screen, I wholeheartedly applaud her admonishment that Christians should abstain from watching scenes of simulated rape (you can read her article by clicking here).

In all, more Christians need to stand up and pushback on the belief that it’s ok for followers of Jesus to watch scenes that included nudity and/or explicit sex (however “explicit sex” is defined, and I probably define it far more broadly than entertainment loving Christians would prefer). As one commenter on DeYoung’s article wrote, “It is amazing that people will actually equate watching sexually immorality with maturity.”

One final thought before the link to DeYoung’s article about Game of Thrones – another commenter lamented that Christians weren’t producing alternatives. According to her comment, she believes that, “I don’t think we can sit back and expect the world to make them for us. It will be Christians who need to figure out how to write stories that resonate with the public and engage their imaginations but without the gratuitousness of today’s ‘Peak TV.’ Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Frankly, that’s “peak” nonsense.

Her comment elevates entertainment to the level of necessity. When Jesus commanded his disciples to refrain from hiding their candle, he wasn’t meaning that they should produce quality entertainment. Not that there is anything wrong with a Christian doing so, but if no Christian is producing “stories that resonate with the public and engage their imaginations without the gratuitousness of today’s ‘Peak TV,'” so be it. No one needs movies and TV shows, no matter how wholesome and interesting. The lack of “good” movies and TV shows that “resonate with the public and engage their imagination” does not justify, on any level, Christians watching movies and shows that contain nudity and sexually explicit material.

Click the link below to read Kevin DeYoung’s article about why Christians shouldn’t watch Game of Thrones.


2 thoughts on “Christians and Game of Thrones

  1. I must admit I don’t watch much besides sports on TV. I see television as, generally, a wasteland. So I certainly agree with your analysis of “Game of Thrones,” especially given the cultures bent for gratuitous nudity and downright pornography. We live in a sex-saturated world, and all of us, including Christians, easily allow the flesh and our lack of self-discipline to place us in the role of voyeur. Great commentary on a critical cultural issue, John. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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