Power Tools of Influence

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive
philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this
world rather than on Christ. —Colossians 2:8

Above all else, guard your heart,
       for it is the wellspring of life. — Proverbs 4:23

Guide to Entertainment

You and your children are targets of a subtle but vicious
enemy. The enemy is a master of deception and stealth. He knows that if he
attacks openly he will be recognized for who he is. So this enemy plans his
attacks when they are least expected. He has no sense of fair play. He looks
for the times when you and your family are the most vulnerable. His desire is
to create as much destruction and mayhem in your lives as he can. Am I talking
about Osama bin Laden? No, actually, this enemy is more dangerous and cunning
than bin Laden. The apostle Paul warns against being taken captive by this
enemy, and Solomon says to guard your heart. Both are speaking about the world
as influenced by Satan (I John 2:15-17; Ephesians 2:1-3).

This enemy uses deception as a key strategy.  The medium of entertainment, particularly the
audio-visual segment of the industry, is an effective tool to launch attacks.
Families are vulnerable, because we tend to think of viewing entertainment as a
time to relax. This is true whether you view a movie, DVD or TV, surf the
internet, play a computer or Playstation
game. However, just because we think we can take time off doesn’t mean that the
enemy will. For example, homosexuality has become an accepted part of our
culture largely due to the efforts of those in the entertainment media. Because
of its ability to impact our worldview so profoundly, I have labeled the whole
area of audio-visual entertainment as the
power tools of influence
. Below are some things to consider as you and your
children interact with our culture in the arena of entertainment. I will
address movies in particular, but these principles apply to all areas of audio-visual

As Christians we must ask ourselves, “How have I been
influenced by movies and by those who make them?” When you watch a movie you are
in close company with people who are specialists in the field of influence. When you watch a movie you enter a world
where skilled professionals attempt to manipulate your thoughts and your
emotions for their purposes. The producers, directors, actors, film editors,
music editors, cinematographers, sound technicians, script writers and more all
bring professional expertise to their jobs. More importantly, each one of them
also brings a worldview and personal agenda to their tasks. Usually, sin is
made to be attractive. For example, in the movie, Out of Africa, powerful acting, beautiful cinematography and a compelling
plot all worked together to glorify an adulterous relationship. Yet few would
say the movie is about adultery.

Here are a few questions to help
you to analyze the impact of movies on your life.

What is the message, theme or main point of the movie?


How is this message most powerfully conveyed?

Was the message carried primarily
through the actors, the plot, the cinematography, the special effects, the
music, the editing, or some combination of these?

What is the movie’s view of God?

Ways you can tell—

§ What
is the view of creation of the earth?

§ What
is the view of sexuality?

§ What
is the view of authority?

§ What
is the view of the weather, or other examples of providence?

§ What
is the response to fearful situations?

§ What
other ways can you discern the movie’s stance toward God?

How did the movie impact you?

Attempt to analyze why you were
happy, sad, tempted to sin, angry, or cynical toward something portrayed in the

How did the use of humor impact you?

Were humorous situations occasions
for you to laugh when God and His laws were openly mocked?

How prominent is the appeal to sensuality—for example,
a rush of fear & suspense (Eph.

In other words, does a chase scene
or horror sequence create such a sense of excitement that you want to watch
just to experience the physical rush of excitement?

Was godly sexuality assaulted by the movie?

· Were you influenced to think that being a
homosexual is not really a big deal?

· Were you relieved that only heterosexual sin was
shown in the movie? In other words, are you less disturbed at heterosexual sin
than homosexual behavior?

· Were modesty and purity mocked?

· Was virginity portrayed as a social liability?

· Were there occasions where you were tempted to
envy and lust?

Other Issues

· Were you tempted to see fear as something that
can be overcome without the power of God?

· Did the movie make you see your own home
situation less sympathetically?

· If the movie was historically based, was the
historical representation accurate?

· Do you find yourself wanting to be like one of
the characters portrayed in the movie? Why?

Parents, these are just some of the factors that influence
you and your children you are in the audio-visual entertainment media. Talk
with your children about these things. Help them to understand that people are
attempting to influence them through this form of entertainment. No, you don’t
have to stop watching all together. But you do need to be aware of the
influences behind the scenes, so to speak, and use wise judgment.

One illustration of this behind the scenes agenda is George
Lucas’ purpose for the Star Wars
movies. He wanted to use Star Wars as
a platform to introduce Buddhism to  America. The "Force" represents
the impersonal  god  of eastern mysticism. You don’t necessarily have
to ban Star Wars, but you  and your children should be aware of its agenda.

Look for opportunities to discuss the temptations that have
been presented in the audio-visual media that your children watch.

Movies and other elements of the new media also present
opportunities to talk to others about Christ and his gospel. This is a great
way to help your children see the difference it makes to be a Christian in this

Let me know your thoughts. Don’t let your children or yourselves
be taken captive. Or stated positively, by the grace of God, shepherd your
children’s hearts.



Shepherd Press