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Worldly Amusements: Restoring the Lordship of Christ to Our Entertainment Choices [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   297
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 1999
ISBN  1579212131  
EAN  9781579212131  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Do we love movies more than God? Have we compromised God's standard by letting Hollywood assault our minds and hearts with sensuality? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". Matthew 5:8

Buy Worldly Amusements: Restoring the Lordship of Christ to Our Entertainment Choices by Wayne A. Wilson from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781579212131 & 1579212131

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More About Wayne A. Wilson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Wayne Wilson's first novel, "Loose Jam", was published in 1990 to critical acclaim. His stories have appeared in "Buzz", "New Delta Review", the "Carolina Quarterly", and other literary magazines. He received his MFA from Louisiana State University. A graphic artist and editor in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wilson also teaches fiction writing at the Harvard Extension School in Boston.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good, solid thinker  Oct 19, 2008
Pastor Wilson is a good solid thinker. He sets forth questions and answers in a thorough, logical manner. His first hand knowledge of Hollywood and the movie industry lends much credibility to his book and he is an articulate writer. He does not address other forms of worldly entertainment.

The Contents:
Wilson clearly delineates the necessity of this book in the first chapter:
"My contention is that we have grown too close to the world...The decadence prevails because it is largely funded by Christian dollars, viewed in Christian homes, and welcomed by Christian hearts. Somehow we have grown fond of the world. Christians have always been tempted by the world, but this is, I believe, the first generation of Bible-believing Christians ever to have embraced evil amusements so completely." (p. 9-10)

In chapter two, Pastor Wilson defines worldly amusements. "They are amusements, or entertainment, that do at least one (or both) of the following: 1. They promote an evil celebrating sins. Sin is presented in an attractive way. 2. They use evil methods. Regardless of the point of the story, the performers are made to behave in ways that are shameless and immoral." (p. 19-20) See 1 John 2:16.

He also describes "the shifting standard," which Christians must be quick to identify and avoid. "It is a mistake to define `mild' evils by comparison with our culture's greatest deficiencies. When the church does that, Christian standards also decline. We live to a lower standard than previous generations because we measure ourselves by the bottom, and the bottom keeps sinking lower." (p. 21)

The third chapter is most excellent as he wisely answers the question, "What does the Church say? Because we have centuries of wisdom and experience behind us, we are fools to ignore those voices...." (p. 25) He quotes church leaders from the early church to modern eras unequivocally denouncing movies and the precursor of the movie, the stage, as worldly entertainment to be avoided by the body of Christ. "The capacity of the arts to touch the soul has made art's influence a concern for the church and rightly so. The church is the shepherd of the soul." (p. 56)

Chapter Four is titled, "The Movies: Four Views." Here Pastor Wilson carefully leads the reader through 4 basic positions a Christian can take, including possible objections to each position.
1. Avoidance--an outright ban on all movies. He presents 4 arguments in favor of this stance and 5 objections, although three of the objections are weak (in my estimation).
2. Silence--pastors simply don't talk about movies, positively or negatively. This approach is "cowardly and negligent." (p. 61)
3. Engagement--Christians should immerse themselves in the culture of the world, always seeking good artistic standards and ignoring vulgar elements in films, looking for a higher good.
4. High Standards--"Christians should hold the arts to a clear standard of morality in order to justify Christian patronage." ( p. 64)

The only positions which can possibly be Scriptural are numbers 1 and 4. Pastor Wilson's personal position is #4.

Wilson then asks, "What is good art?" He defines good art as good in the moral sense, not "good" in its ability to "hold" us. Cinema is the most powerful form of art existent today. What we see changes us. "It prioritizes emotions...Even innocent love in the play creates in us the subtle desire to have what we have seen, even if that means...possibly submitting ourselves to an unhealthy situation in order to have it." (p. 37)

He then addresses the all important question, "What does the Bible say?" We must use Scripture as our sole, external, objective standard. "To rely on what `bothers' me is trusting my heart, the very thing the Bible warns I should not trust." (p. 92) He cites:
Ephesians 5:3-12--forbids the slightest hint of sexual immorality, any kind of uncleanness or lustful impulses. This applies to language and humor, too.
Genesis 2:22-3:11, 21; Genesis 9:23--nakedness (male or female) is always a shameful condition with one exception: marriage, where the innocence of Eden is remembered.
Exodus 20:26, 28:42; Ezekiel 43:17, 44:18--God says cover up, cover up.
Proverbs 6:25-27--Men, to keep from the strange woman physically, you must first keep from her mentally.
Job 31:1; Matthew 5:28-29--Men, it's not what you touch, but what you look at.
1 Timothy 2:9--Ladies, dress with men's eyes in mind. You must go the extra mile to discourage lust. "Lust is more demanding, more easily influenced, and more prevalent than we care to admit." (p. 102)

In subsequent chapters he cites other Scriptures as well, including Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Peter 3:2-4, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17, and James 4:4. We are not to be friends of this world nor conformed to this world.

Pastor Wilson challenges the reader to consider and apply the law of love to the cinema. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," Matthew 22:39. "Treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity." 1 Timothy 5:2 (p. 112) "I believe the most practical expression of the law of love for performers is to shun works that misuse them." (p. 122)

Wilson makes a profound comparison between violence and physical intimacy. The similarities are as follows: Both warrant objective, Scriptural evaluation, both have a role in the social order, and both have tremendous potential for perversion and abuse.

The primary difference is in the public/private use of them. The Scriptural boundaries for physical intimacy include complete privacy. By contrast, appropriate violence in Scripture (God's judgment, human execution of divine judgment, and the military) is always public. When physical intimacy (or nudity, which is practically synonymous in Scripture with physical intimacy) becomes public by portraying it in drama, or when violence is shown as a private act, these acts are outside of God's boundaries and therefore sinful.

Pastor Wilson then addresses the profusion of coarse and sinful language in entertainment. The ears, as well as the eyes, are a channel to the soul, therefore Christians must establish standards for listening as well as viewing. There are two reasons the entertainment industry widely uses various forms of sinful language. One is their desire to shock, humiliate, and assault innocence. The second reason is a desire for more money. The most lucrative rating for a movie is PG-13, therefore producers purposefully add the language (and other elements) necessary for this rating. As he more fully addresses in chapter 12, the ratings system is tied ONLY to profit and marketability. It bends with the winds of culture and acceptability, and is not a reliable standard for Christians.

The topic of chapter 9, "Stumbling Blocks," is the long lost goal of protecting the moral innocence of children. Sadly, many Christian parents do not see the necessity of, or are too lazy to employ the necessary diligence to guard their children from exposure to carnal things. Many children today are permanently scarred from early exposure to both auditory and visual filth. "Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" Matthew 18:7 (I contend that if "viewer discretion is advised," it's probably not fit for adults either. Should not we treasure innocence for ourselves as well as our children? I Corinthians 14:20)

Finally, the author answers the question "Is the Bible Rated X?" as some have purported. The answer is no. When Scripture relates sinful acts, explicit details are omitted. Even the Song of Solomon is protective of innocence because it is written in a discreet manner that can be understood only by the initiated.

The Recommendation:
I would recommend this book only for the spiritually mature. While the spiritually immature are perhaps more needy of the information, I have serious reservations about the explicit illustrations used by Wayne Wilson. He even quotes foul language that I chose to blot out of my copy of the book.

I question the wisdom of his stance on the following bases. First, does it give a greater place to entertainment than is actually needed? It is true that a balanced life includes some recreation, however, I submit that most of us devote far more time and importance to entertainment than is dictated by wise stewardship.

Secondly, I ask, is it a wise use of the time it takes to evaluate every movie and TV program produced or being produced?

Thirdly, is there not a myriad of alternative forms of entertainment superior to TV and Hollywood movies? Many other forms of entertainment allow interaction with other people, which I submit is more valuable than entertainment that limits interaction with family and friends. Many other forms of entertainment do not have the power over the human heart and mind that cinema does. If I truly desire to keep my heart and mind pure for my Lord, why not choose one of these forms of entertainment instead?

Wilson justifies his position by stating that "a complete ban on film is legalism." (p. 59) I simply ask, is it legalistic to avoid something completely, risking erring on the side of caution, when the motivation is to achieve greater personal purity out of love for our Lord and Savior? Dozens of sinful sounds and images unavoidably bombard us daily as we walk in this world. Why take a risk to add that which CAN be avoided? Which is my greater concern: personal pleasure and enjoyment or the state of my heart and mind?

One of the best quotes in the book is by Rev. Harry J. Jaeger from a tract reprinted in the Sunday School Times. He said "movies are dangerous because they are the product of an entertainment industry. The audience, he said, suspends their critical faculties when watching entertainment. They swallow unknowingly the underlying philosophy. What is that philosophy? It is man centered. The problem with good pictures is that they suggest man is good apart from Christ." (p. 49)

Very good advice for families  Jun 9, 2006
If Christians enjoys watching movies, then the question is whether "Christians are guilty of collaboration" (p. 13). Does a Christian who pays ten dollars in order to enjoy a good movie work jointly with "a glamorous, global, ubiquitous force for the corruption of souls"? (p. 12) Wayne Wilson, a pastor of a Faith Bible Church in Southern California with a television degree from Columbia media college in Chicago, addresses the above problem and presents "four basic positions" (p. 57) and offers historical support for each position.

Wilson writes, "The first view is the oldest: don't go... Period" (p. 58). Tertullian (160-230 A.D.) supports the first solution, Avoidance, and writes, "You have the theater forbidden, then, in the forbidding of immodesty" (p. 27); modesty demands the boycott of movies. The second position, Silence, "is the easiest: don't talk about it" (p. 60). John Wesley (1703-91) states, "I am not obliged to pass any sentence on those that are otherwise minded. I leave them to their own Master" (p. 40); let the Lord do the talking. Engagement is the third view which commands us to "immerse ourselves in the experience of those around us" (p. 61). Christians in the Middle Age (800-1200) "developed mystery plays and morality plays which sought to communicate Christian morals through a rough-and-tumble style" (p. 33); watch movies and make better ones. The fourth and last position, High Standards, where "Christians should hold the arts to a clear standard of morality in order to justify Christian patronage" (p. 64). For example, Postmaster Will Hayes "published a movie code, endorsed by film producers in March 1930, which stated, 'No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it'" (p. 44).

The author then presents very clear examples of how a Christian might navigate his or her way through the movie industry. Wilson clarifies his reasons for supporting the fourth position, High Standards: "people obviously have had to confront the entertainment question" (p. 66). He shows why there is "bad language" in movies even though no one likes it (pp. 147-52). And he teaches us how to examine movies by telling us to watch out for "an evil message" delivered by "evil methods" (p. 171). An evil message is known to Christians as "idolatry" (p. 178) and clever, evil methods deliver the message "as a big lie... wrapped up in a beautiful package" (p. 182). Thus, worldly amusements show us artificial, man-made things with bright lights, crisp sounds systems, smooth acting, and revealing costumes.

In "Worldly Amusements" Wilson examines a set of movies (chapters 10-14), gives expert advice to parents, men, women, young people and ministers (c. 16), and makes an excellent suggestion for the folks in Hollywood: "Why not produce 5 to 10 percent of your movies under the old code?" (p. 282). I know that I would go to those movies.

Worldly Amusements has very good information for Christians who enjoy movies, a movie index, Scripture index, and a helpful bibliography. A good book for family members and friends who enjoy watching movies on Saturdays and praying in church on Sundays.
Worldly Amusements  Oct 21, 2005
Wayne Wilson has provided a useful tool for Christians who desire to please God in every area of their lives. Wilson does not merely rant and rave against the Hollywood entertainment industry. He gives Biblical principles, helpful examples and well-reasoned arguments that will help believers to determine the kinds of entertainment that will prove beneficial for the spiritual welfare of their family. Good job Mr. Wilson!
Rage against the machine!!  Sep 7, 2003
The media is not a gray area as many Christians want to believe. There is a verse in 1 John which calls us to "not love the world". This book beckons us in a definite way to heed this call. There are in fact standards that need to be maintained. We are willing though, to compromise those standards and dig through the filth of most of the entertainment industry to find the one grain of truth. As the author, Wayne Wilson says, "Christian groups lavish praise on and even hand out awards to films that give any kind of approving nod to Christian beliefs, even if the film grossly violates any sense of decency in telling the story. That's how pitiful we have become. We are dogs begging crumbs of acceptance from the wrong table. I don't believe we need to be quite so desperate for the praise of the world that we forsake our Master's standards..." (pg 281)

Another reviewer wrote that the author wrote too much about Franky Schaeffer. There are two chapters where Pastor Wilson does write quite a bit about and against Schaeffer (son of Francis). This is because Shaeffer comes from the "anything goes if you can toss a 'redeeming' feature into the story somewhere" point of view(pg 250). Many Christians have this view. But what would Christ say? "Question: what do you think Jesus would say on the set of ___ ___ when the director tells the actors to disrobe? My guess is He would not say: 'It has a moral theme ladies, really.' I doubt He would compliment the director for his 'unblinking' portrayal of real life." (pg 224)

He also uses the movie the Titanic a lot as an example. This is because it was the most popular movie at the time that this book was written. He breaks it down and shows why a follower of Christ should not see this movie. Many Christians did and did not see anything wrong with it. There were movies that we used to watch that we thought were ok because we thought we could "handle" it. But we realized that our thinking was all wrong. We should not say, "that doesn't bother me" but "should this bother me?" Does it bother God?

You would think Mr. Wilson is just "cursing the darkness" and he is on one hand. But at the same time he is not against all movie watching. Neither is he just for poorly made "Christian" movies. He is all for good quality movies as long as they do not offend the One we say we love more than those films .

This is a book about changing the standards that we have come up with via our own deceitful heart, and forming standards that come from God's word. "The heart is deceitful above all things..... " (Jer. 17:9). It's so easy to love the world. You are thought of as a legalistic fundamentalist pietistic if you do not. Aren't we as Christians called to be different? Instead of loving ourselves and the things of the world we love Christ who bought us at a price. We will be different and look odd if we begin to evaluate movies and television with a standard that God has set forth for us in his Word. It is not easy to follow Christ. That he why He says we need to "take up our cross and follow Him." He also tells us that we will be persecuted if we choose to follow Him and if that means looking weird because we don't watch the same movies as everyone else then so be it. This book clearly and accurately helps us redefine a standard that comes straight from the Bible. It's time to reevaluate our hearts and our love for the media. Thank Mr. Wilson for standing up for truth and for helping us to think more clearly on this very important issue.

Manipulative propoganda.  Jul 31, 2002
This book is faulty at its best. Besides the fact that it is speaking on a gray area of the Bible as if the author's opinion was fact, (requirements for "sound, wholesome entertainment" are not found in the Bible) it is one-sided. Avoid at all costs. It's books like this that make the general public think we as Christians have gone off the deep end. But on the other hand, if you had a lot of fun burning books from the "Harry Potter" series, this is a book for you!

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