Thursday, March 30, 2006

Live or Onscreen, It’s Still Voyeurism

by Douglas Wilson

The sexual union is such an intimate aspect of our lives that it has to be protected if we are to be protected. It must have a tall covenantal fence all the way around it. But because the one-flesh union occurs any time there is a sexual union, whether moral or immoral, we must sanctify and seal the sexual union with the lawful covenantal oath of marriage.
Christians (young people included) often have a view of sexual relations that is out of balance because they’ve allowed themselves to be propagandized by the entertainment industry. But suppose one afternoon a neighbour came to a Christian’s door and said something like this:
“We would like to invite you over this evening…”
“Why, thank you!” he says, innocently enough.
“Wait, wait, that’s not all. We would like to invite you to come into our bedroom and watch us while we have sex. It could be a really exciting time for all of us.”
The Christian recoils in horror. “We couldn’t do that. You see, we’re Christians.”
“Oh, I see,” he says, scratching his head. “That could be a little much for you then. I’ll tell you what! We have a video camera. Why don’t you let us tape it, and I’ll just bring it over in the morning. Then you watch it whenever you want.”
The Christians explains that this wouldn’t be possible either.
“I don’t understand,” the neighbour says with a puzzled look. “Last week you invited us over and we all watched that new DVD release. It had a couple of skin scenes in it. Why are you willing to watch another man’s wife, but not mine? My wife may not be the best looking…”
Here the hapless Christian interrupts and explains that her looks have nothing to do with it. He goes on to explain that they are not ordinary Christians. They belong to that very special breed – hypocrites.
Is hypocrisy too strong a word? I don’t believe so. Many Christians are willing to watch, by means of a movie camera, what they wouldn’t dream of watching in person. You couldn’t get them into a topless bar, and yet they cheerfully go to films where they see far more. Would most Christian men be willing to be peeping Toms, roving the neighbourhood? Certainly not. But what if they discovered a women who knew of their presence and was willing to undress in front of a window? That would be worse. What if she were paid to do all this? Worse, worse, and still worse. But what if she is paid lots of money, has a producer and director, does all of this for the movie cameras and has millions of men drooling at her windowsill? This is suddenly different and becomes quite a “complicated” issue – as it may have been [last] summer for some who lined up to see the R-rated comedy Wedding Crashers.
Youth groups across America [or churches]contain young people [and adults] who express a love for Jesus Christ yet try to excuse this sort of behaviour on the basis of contemporary standards. Many Christian teens [and adults] don’t want to be different in what they watch. They don’t want to admit that their discipleship applies to this area. And they also don’t want to admit that sexual activity and nudity on the screen is sexually exciting for them. But those who deny that such things affect them are simply deceiving themselves.
Help adolescents [and peers] recognize sexual voyeurism for what it is and value the marriage covenant long before they enter into one. Can a couple gain short term excitement from movies, books, or magazines that range from suggestive to explicit? Perhaps, but that does not make it right. Lust always demands more excitement – always more, more! Consequently, lust attempts to get from a finite thing what only the infinite can provide. God created sex as a blessing. But sex in the real world is not at all what teenagers [and adults] have come to expect from the world of sexual fiction.

Taken from Plugged in (Focus on the Family), Vol. 10. No. 11 (November 2005), 9, and adapted from the book Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson, pastor of Community Evangelical Fellowship, Moscow, Idaho. He is also the editor of Credenda Agenda magazine.


Nick Hill said...

This article really impacted me. I fully agreed with his conclusion. Do you agree or disagree? Let's have a discussion.

Shane Sowden said...

At first I thought that was you writing all of that! Good stuff and very good point!

Kevin Weeks said...

Thanks for posting this, Nick. It was a tough read for me, but I'm not sure why. I've posted a response on my blog ( since it would have taken far too much space on yours. Hope everything is going well for you guys!

Nick Hill said...

To see my response to Kevin's response, see the comments on his article "Going to the Movies" in his blog called Brown Spots on the Wall:

Nick Hill said...

Two excellent and powerful books by Douglas Wilson that I have read are "Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief" and "Fidelity: What it Means to Be a One Woman Man."

Kevin Weeks said...

Hey Nick,

I'm wondering if you misunderstood what I am saying in my response. As I stated a couple of times, I completely agree with Wilson's instruction. At no point am I seeking to find fault in him or what he wrote. I think we would both agree this is a very thought-provoking article. I don't think he's being judgemental at all, and I would agree that Christ-like holiness calls for a high standard of living that means turning away from things that are impure. As I also stated, my response is part of a personal process to come to terms with how Christians - which may include Wilson, or not - tend to "compartmentalize" these kinds of things. K.

Nick Hill said...


I am sorry that I misunderstood you. Thank you for the clarification. I agree with you also that we do not want to make sexual sins worse than murder, etc. I agree with you that it is a challenge: how do we as Christians be in the world but not of it? May God give us both wisdom in this regard. Your brother in Christ,


Nadja said...

Hey Nick, thanks for posting this! I was nodding the entire time I was reading it. I totally agree and think that it's sad how lacking some Christians are in their obedience with God's Word and His will.

Nick Hill said...


Thanks for your response, but the point of posting it is not to judge others on their obedience, but to look into our own hearts, and to allow God to shape us and to change us. We can tell others the difference these decisions have made in our lives, and offer hope!