Should Christians See Devil's Due?
- Jim Denison Denison Forum on Truth and Culture
- 2014 24 Jan
Devil's Due was released last week. Here's the plot: a couple on their honeymoon ends up in a satanic-style nightclub and later finds themselves unexpectedly pregnant. The wife begins craving raw meat (despite being a vegetarian) and demonstrates telekinetic abilities and unusual strength. When they attend a holy communion at their church, the priest who married them violently coughs up blood. The husband learns that a strange symbol he sees in their honeymoon videos is related to summoning the Antichrist. The wife eventually stabs herself in the stomach and dies after the baby is stolen.
To promote the movie, a creepy remote controlled doll has been scaring people on the streets of New York City. A video of the "devil baby attack" had been viewed more than 8.5 million times in 24 hours. A writer for Forbescompliments the creativity of the prank but calls it "a mean-spirited and nasty stunt that shocks people in a very personal, primal way." I assume the film is intended to do the same.
Should Christians see Devil's Due and movies like it? We are called to engage the culture for the sake of the Kingdom—how far into the culture should we go?
Here's an argument for seeing the film. Jesus wants us to be "salt" and "light" (Matthew 5:13-16), but salt is not much good in the saltshaker or light under a basket. We must connect with the culture if we are to change it. In engaging our fallen culture, we are following the example of the One who was criticized for eating with "tax collectors and sinners" (Matthew 9:11) and for being their friend (Matthew 11:19). If we see movies on satanic themes, we can discuss them with others who have seen them. In a sense, they are the people we should most be seeking to reach with the gospel.
Here's an argument for refusing to see the movie. God tells us what to put in our minds: "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8). Images stay in our minds for years. Graphic visuals affect us more than we know, which is why we are to "take captive every thought to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If we see the movie, we are endorsing it to others. Seeing a movie so we can minister to others who see it is logic that could be extended to pornography. Our Lord instructs us "to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
I believe that seeing Devil's Due would grieve the Holy Spirit who lives in me as his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), who goes where I go and sees what I see. Job said he "made a covenant with my eyes" (Job 31:1)—so should we. Here's my bottom line: "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up" (1 Corinthians 10:23).
Will your life build up God's Kingdom today?
Publication date: January 24, 2014