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game of thrones 2I don’t understand Christians watching Game of Thrones. That’s what I said two weeks ago. And a bazillion blog and Facebook comments later, I still don’t understand.

This seems like an important-enough issue--not the show itself, but the larger principle at stake--that I thought a follow-up post might be helpful. Let me zip through a number of common criticisms and then finish with one salient point.

1. You haven’t even seen the show! True, but no one has tried to refute that Game of Thrones is full of graphic sex scenes. The facts of the matter aren’t in dispute.

2. Don’t like it? Then don’t watch it! That would be a fine point if the argument only concerned taste and preference. But what would you say if your son tried that line in defense of his pornography?

3. The Bible is full of sex and violence. This is a popular retort, though hardly persuasive. No one is arguing that reading about sin, or even, in every case, watching sin, is necessarily sinful. But there is a world of difference between a terse description of sin (David lay with Bathsheba), a metaphor-laden poem about romantic love (Song of Songs), or a chapter about the ugliness of spiritual adultery (Ezekiel 16) and watching two naked people pretend to have sex. There’s a reason the Bible speaks of the lusts of the eyes. Hollywood skin and Hollywood sex are meant to arouse. That’s the aim. That’s part of the attraction. By contrast, the Bible never aims toward unholy arousal--exactly the opposite. The most explicit sexual book in the Bible celebrates the pleasures of married love with metaphorical language designed not to encourage voyeurism but to appreciate the beauty of what God created for one man and one woman.

4. Sex scenes and nudity don’t phase me. No doubt, people are wired differently, but I question whether the folks who say this know themselves as well as they think they do. And if looking upon what God has forbidden has no effect on us, that’s not a good sign.

5. My conscience isn’t bothered. The conscience can misfire (Heb. 10:22). We may not feel conviction for sin where we should (1 Tim. 4:2). God covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness (Gen. 3:21). Job made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1). And Christians are commanded to dress modestly (1 Peter 3:3-4). Sex scenes should bother us.

6. Stop judging and shaming! Judgmentalism is a spirit of censorious nitpicking. Making moral evaluations is what Christians do all the time, like arguing that a television show is not appropriate or that a blog post is judgmental.

7. I close my eyes during the bad parts. Better than nothing, I suppose. But how reliable really is squinting and peaking to see when the bad stuff if over? And how important is it to watch HBO that we must go to these lengths to get in on the action? Some mentioned that they use VidAngel to cut out the bad parts. That’s a better option.

8. Most shows have good and bad elements. The story and artistry outweigh these bad scenes. But everyone agrees (I hope) that some elements are so bad that the good stuff is not worth it. Like picking up Playboy for the articles. Or thumbing through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to enjoy the pretty beaches. Granted, Game of Thrones is a more impressive piece of art (from what I’ve heard) than these blatant attempts at sexual stimulation. But then again, from what I’ve heard, the sex scenes in Game of Thrones are pretty blatant too.

9. I watch the show to engage my co-workers with the gospel. I’m willing to bet that the number of unbelievers coming to Christ through Game of Thrones chatter is quite low. Perhaps we could get to the gospel more quickly in gently explaining why we don’t watch the show.

10. Don’t we have more important things to worry about? Of all the bad social media arguments, Whataboutism is one of the worst. There are always a thousand other important issues we could be addressing. But then again, there are also a thousand other important things we could be doing rather than watching graphic sex scenes on television.

Heart of the Matter

The problem with these rebuttals is that most of them make an implicit assumption; namely, that immersing ourselves in sensual entertainment is somehow a gray area of Christian liberty. It isn’t.

Which leads to my one salient point: I’ve not come across a single, compelling argument for the legitimacy of Christians viewing graphic sex scenes.

From Adam and Eve scrambling for fig leaves (Gen. 3:10), to the dishonorable nakedness of Noah (Gen. 9:21), to the embarrassingly exposed buttocks of David's men (2 Sam. 10:4), the Bible knows we inhabit a fallen world in which certain aspects of our bodily selves are meant to be hidden. Indeed, this is precisely what Paul presumes when he speaks of "our unpresentable parts" which must be "treated with greater modesty" (1 Cor. 12:23). There's a reason Momma called them private parts. Outside of marriage, we aren’t mean to show them, and we aren’t meant to see them.

Does anyone actually think the apostle Paul (or any other apostle, or Jesus for that matter) would have been cool with the sensuality prevalent in Game of Thrones (and so much of our entertainment)? We are not talking about marble statues or a Holocaust documentary or a physician examining a patient. We are talking about two naked people doing in front of us what naked people do together. Take the medium of television out of it. Would you go into a private room and look through a peep hole to watch this? Would anyone think that’s the sort of thing we can give thanks for? Or the sort of thing mature Christians do?

If there are serious Christians reading this blog who really feel okay with viewing graphic nudity and sex, I humbly challenge you to take a week and pray every day, asking God if you are listening to the Spirit and reading the Word correctly on this matter. Better yet, take a month to pray, and during that month do a detox of anything that could possibly be construed as sexually explicit or provocative. You may see with new eyes what you are too comfortable seeing at the moment. You may even discern a nagging conviction of sin that you’ve been pushing aside as nothing but religious baggage. And in coming to grips with our casual approach to sexual sin, could it be you are missing out on grace, forgiveness, and the purity of heart that is blessed to see the Lord (Matt. 5:8).

On occasion I’ve stumbled upon a few minutes of PG-13 movies I used to enjoy as a teenager (like the Naked Gun series). I’m appalled by the things that didn’t tweak my conscience then but do now. We are so awash in sensuality that many Christians have no idea how compromised they’ve become. I’m not on a crusade to banish one particular TV show. The show itself is not the point. But as long as I am still considered somewhat “young” and “current,” I want to do all I can to ring the bell for holiness and sound the alarm against all the high places we don’t even recognize. Only in a hyper-sexual, pornographic-saturated culture like ours could we think that graphic sex scenes are no big deal, or somehow offset by a brilliant screenplay. I cannot imagine how anyone growing closer to the God of the Bible will want to see more sex and nudity, or that anyone has found shows like Game of Thrones to be a serious blessing in seeing and savoring Christ. We become what we behold. So let’s be careful little eyes what we see.


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136 thoughts on “One More Time on ‘Game of Thrones’”

  1. Vernon Fatima says:

    This is a better argument than the previous article. My first stumbling point is that we shouldn’t say that we don’t understand why someone would watch this show. In fact, if it’s truly sinful, shouldn’t we, as believers educated in God’s Word, be the ones to understand why a Christian would watch this show? The Bible teaches us time and again the allure of the world. When we say we can’t understand why someone does one sinful thing or another, we’re coming off as either ignorant or holier than thou. When we admit we understand why someone watches something that Kevin DeYoung says is sinful, then we become more relatable and the person becomes more teachable. Nobody wants to not be understood.

  2. Joe says:

    “There is a difference between the explicit content of the Bible and the explicit content of GoT”

    I’d beg to differ. You claim there is a difference because Song of Solomon portrays the loving relationship between a husband and wife, ok. So would you say that so long as a movie or show shows a sex scene between a married couple it’s fine? That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. But then it’s still two naked people in the private confines of their bedroom and you are peering through into that. When we read the Bible we are like the analogy you gave of peering into the next room while a couple has sex. We are watching Solomon and his lover in the midst of their intimacy. And then sure the sex in GoT is done in a sinful manner like that if the other stories of the Bible when it is talked about. I don’t watch the sex scenes of GoT and suddenly think what they are doing is ok. I watch it with the knowledge that is not what sex is supposed to be and grieve at it and can then see why it shouldn’t be done that way because all of those sinful relationship end badly.. none of the ones they show truly last or if they do they are from from healthy and good. They don’t glorify any of those relationships as the right way for things to be just that that is how people do it regardless of whether it is right or wrong, much like our society

  3. Kris says:

    Thank you. It’s baffling to see the justification that continues in the comments… We didn’t have a lot of rules for our children growing up, but would simply ask, “Is it wise? Is it beneficial? Is it God-honoring?” As Christians we are to be set apart.

  4. ig says:

    While I don’t doubt Mr. DeYoung’s heart and sincerity in writing this post, I’m a little confused as to how the church of Jesus Christ became a bastion of behavior modification and virtue signaling.

    Questionable – and yes, even sinful – content permeates the culture of our day. We live in a vile and filthy culture in the U.S. and the West. Even in more conservative cultures, the rot of porn and every other sin-promoting medium is only a stone’s throw away (no pun intended).

    I myself am as guilty as anyone. I am the chief of sinners. I need grace and I need salvation, and I thank my God through Jesus Christ he has pardoned fully and eternally.

    But Kevin – your social feeds, while mostly encouraging and biblical in their content, do contain you partaking in “worldly” events. Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with going to a baseball game (for example) even as drunkenness and lewdness is practiced all around you and your child. How can you be held responsible for the behavior of others?

    Similarly, asking the church to pretend separation from this world (which we are – in doctrine, in spirit, in truth) is the equivalent to abstaining from the world’s events and forums would mean, in practice, withdrawing from the world.

    But we are in it, as Jesus said, not of it. He dined with a devil. He broke bread with sinners. And he was mocked by the legalists of his day for doing so.

    May it never be with us, his blood-bought church.

    IG

  5. Chandler says:

    To those who, like me, have seen DeYoung’s point as implicit and self-evident since the first post (I am not intending to speak to you have taken issue – I realize you will take issue with me as well); what has happened to our Reformed community? I mean that’s still what TGC is at the center of, right? It seems perhaps I’ve missed a drift in some direction. The content and volume of the reactions DeYoung is accurately describing come from a mindset and a heart-set which – I think – can’t survive in someone steeped in Piper’s call to supreme joy in a supreme Christ above all, or Sproule’s passionate expression of the high and transcendent holiness of God. These are just the two who come to mind as examples. My point is that something is off if a community which one would think is bound by the particular appreciation for the sovereignty and grace of an awesome and holy God, scrambles so desperately, with such foolish thinking, only to hold on to some pitiful little bauble of the spirit of this world. What has happened?
    Again, to those who disagree with me, I realize you’ll take exception to my characterization; please understand. You already know that this is what those of us who disagree with you think.

  6. Chrissy W says:

    Bravo. Good for u, telling the truth.

  7. ChrisM says:

    In the September issue of the AFA newsletter on page 2 Luke Gibbons states that 68% of Christian men view pornography on a regular basis. His article is titled, “How Pornography is Paralyzing the Church”. Since my son spoke up on Twitter about how he cannot watch GoT because he tries to avoid pornography, I have wondered why/how any Christians would watch it. The liberty in the church is evidently destroying the church.

  8. Jim Beamer says:

    You all need to go read through Kevin’s other posts. He makes up alot of rules for people to follow. Another example is no laptops in the classroom

    this is just another example of a Christian with some level of influence modeling correct behaviour in their own image in order to exert control over the normal Christians.

    GoT is just a distraction away from real issues like endess war in Afganistan, endless violence in our streets, and a endless lack of love and compassion for individuals.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sinners-Hands-Loving-God-Scandalous/dp/1601429517/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503448823&sr=1-1

  9. John Banks says:

    Great article! We are the same age. We are not able to use the term young anymore. Perhaps…the old, in need of revitalization, and the tired.

  10. Julie Harward says:

    I’ve never seen GoT but that’s exactly the reason why I stopped watching Outlander. As much as I loved all the beautiful Scottish scenery and accents I didn’t think all the nudity and sex scenes (even between married couples) were appropriate.

  11. Jen says:

    I read the book series before watching the show – I started watching the show because I loved the books so much (yes, they do contain sexuality and violence, but obviously that isn’t as overt as the show). So when I watch, I’m watching for the story.

    But that doesn’t mean you are wrong here. It may very well be that I should not, as a Christian, watch this show. It probably IS true. But I do worry about the ultimate goal of your argument, which I think leads down a slippery slope of legalism. Game of Thrones isn’t even the most gratuitous show on television, so if we start making a list of shows that Christians shouldn’t watch, at what point do we stop? Once you start, there are most likely arguments against every single show. And why stop there? Movies, music, books, plays contain similar pitfalls. Entertainment as a whole is honestly a very difficult subject for Christians. Should Christians spend time in unproductive leisure at all? Why limit this argument to entertainment at all?

    I don’t know the answer to that. But I grew up in an extremely legalistic household, in a family where legalism goes back for generations, and I can’t say that there was much room for a walk with Christ when constantly focusing on all the things you (and others) can’t do. Think the pharisees. Christian freedom can certainly go too far (and I’m guilty of that at times), but it is supposed to be a blessing. Again, I think your points are all correct, I’m just curious as to how far we should go down this particular road.

  12. Kay says:

    Discernment is something that is so necessary. And so lacking, it seems.
    Old testament….. New testament….. same God.
    He is holy and desires his children to pursue holiness.
    Thank you, Kevin, for taking the time to write this article.

  13. Denny Burk says:

    Right on, brother Kevin!

  14. Kvwells says:

    I’m not a reformed-ite. But I love y’all. I will say that I read in the same bible as you about a narrow way. Confucius, not Jesus, taught about the middle way. For Jesus and Paul there is either a narrow way to life (which requires dying to self and rights continually) and a wide path that leads to destruction. “Take up your personal execution-by-torture device daily”; “let the dead bury their own dead”; “loving the cool stuff of the wold means you hate God”.

    If you are justifying loving what God hates, whatever that is, then you are making your choice: either losing your relationship with God, or (as I think you reformed types believe) showing you never really had one.

    Come on guys! Where is your love for God? I sin all the time, but I don’t WANT to! I want to be transformed to Jesus’s likeness! That means I have to choose to not do stuff all the time that i would rather do in the moment because I have been bought with a very steep price. Jesus owns me and his proper title is Master and Lord.

     Who cares what DeYoung thinks? Can you sincerely say in all honesty that YOU know watching media for entertainment (for fun) which is explicitly antichrist in its content brings you closer to God– honors God? That you can receive it with thanksgiving as any other good gift from Him? If not it is sin for you and it NECESSARILY is actively separating you from God.

    I am admittedly the world’s crappiest disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. I do not exaggerate about that and I am not humble. But I’ve studied the bible most if my life and regardless what you think of requirements and hyperbole and virtue and vice lists and first century historical contexts, it is painfully clear and dead certain: the stakes are unexaggerratably high and most people won’t make it — even most of those who believe the right facts.

    If you love Jesus then you won’t persist in partaking of things He hates. As He reveals sin to you you will choose Him. You will want to, or at least want to want to. If you dont, then beg God to help you, “God, i go to church and check the boxes, but I don’t really want to follow You. I want to keep my stuff. Please help me see You for the treasure You are! Help me love You for real!”

    That is a standard prayer of mine. And He absolutely answers it.

  15. James Williams says:

    Kevin – you are exactly right! Thank you for warning and instructing us.

    Make no provision for the flesh.
    Flee youthful lusts.
    Set no wicked thing before my eyes.

    It’s sad seeing people fight for a “right to be entertained” rather than fight for holiness and purity of witness.

  16. The question “is this a sin?” I have always thought is the wrong question. That question looks for reasons and justification to do something that we have a feeling we probably shouldn’t. We try and get as close to sinning without actually thinking. The better question, and one being posed is “Does this bring glory to God by doing this?” Personally for me, I have opted out of watching the show for the reason of the sex scenes and the temptations that presents. I think that’s the issue is whether we can say we are in pursuit or worship of God by engaging with certain types of media.

  17. Jamie says:

    A friendly grammar tip: #4 should read “faze,” not “phase.”

  18. the says:

    Your refutation for #7 is pretty weak. Unless they are deliberately making it hard to avoid, you don’t have to squint and peak to avoid a sex scene. You look so that you can only see the bottom corner of the screen and wait for the lighting to change (muting or pulling out headphones prevents using audio clues).

    Bringing a little data, I counted 17 actual sex scenes on IMDB’s parental advisory (I recommend you try sources like this that don’t show pictures when looking for info like this) but I was not interested in reading scene descriptions so I just read a couple words around the appearance of sex to see if it was saying there was an actual depiction of it. As a result, my count might have a few extra or be missing a few. At 66 hours (assuming an hour per episode which I think is about right for HBO shows with no ads) that is 1 every 3.88 hours so less dense than a movie with a single sex scene of course I have no measure for how graphic they are (if you are skipping them in some effective manner, this might not matter at all). It looked like there were also a lot more scenes that showed various degrees of nudity but I’m not particularly interested in reading descriptions in enough detail to determine the nature of all the scenes.

    I do have to say that people arguing christian liberty while attacking you for having not watched it should probably read how they are supposed to behave toward someone who doesn’t eat meat because even if they are right on the former, that response is certainly wrong.

  19. Kathryn Skinner says:

    Very encouraged that there are believers who love God and His word and there neighbor as themselves regardless of the consequences. Keep admonishing others to holiness.

  20. Kindy says:

    I was a big game of thrones fan since it came out, last year was a time I really sought and broke through and was able to get into the presence of God..and the Holy Spirit convicted me of watching Game of Thrones and it was then and there I vowed to Him that I would not watch it ever again. This has really made a difference in my walk with God and in being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. People here may debate about why and why not. I am evidence that if you are sensitive enough to His voice, and obey, He will make Himself very real to you. Bless you all in Jesus’ name.

  21. Katherine says:

    Lord of the Rings is also violent, but you don’t see Xtians complaining about that.

    Good luck getting to the Gospel by explaining why you don’t watch the show, you will merely come across as a self righteous prat.

    Spoiler alert:

    GoT is about a Prince of Peace (who has been prophesied about) who is killed by his own people under a wooden cross. What was his crime? Saving people who his own people didn’t deem worthy of saving. He is then resurrected. Oh, and his birth shares striking similarities to Jesus.

    I think the show’s direction will be ultimately about peace between enemies (wight walkers and humans.) It’s similar to the peace made between God and humanity.

    Given the unfolding nature of the story, it lends itself to having real conversations with people, not simply moralistic ones.

  22. Jess Fonseca says:

    Excellent post.
    “Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.”
    Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, “What are you doing?” ~J.C. Ryle

  23. MDK says:

    I’ll come out and say it because it is worth saying: I have watched Game of Thrones and I agree with everything Kevin is saying here. Seriously — I have watched every single episode through the end of the last season. I watched from the end of Ned Stark to the Red Wedding to the Three Eyed Raven and “Hold the Door.” I know how precisely how compelling the story is, and I still now say “If you’re going to watch, do so through something like Vidangel where you can guarantee the nudity and sex will be skipped.” And even then, I would plead with people to resist the urge to go back and make sure they didn’t miss anything relevant, justifying a seared conscience for the sake of a quality story. The temptation is great, especially in the earlier seasons when the occasional important plot point is slipped into scenes of debauchery and nudity (especially when Peter Baelish is involved), and the consequences are all too dire. For a long time, I made many of the same arguments that I am hearing others now make. I want to address a few of those here with the hope that I would help someone make a wise decision, filled with discernment, if they see some of the same things in themselves that I saw in me.

    1. “If you go after GoT for nudity and sexuality, where does it stop?” Can I not enter the Louvre when visiting Paris because there will certainly be nude paintings on display? Do I need to stop watching [Insert Professional Sport] because there are cheerleaders/dancers dancing provocatively?” There are many variations on this general idea, but the fundamental claim is that if prominent Christians start telling people what media Christians ought to and ought not to see, the slope is quite slippery, and we might all end up legalistic Pharisees.

    Two things: First, if you have watched Game of Thrones, you know that especially in the first few seasons, but not entirely absent in the latter ones, the nudity and sexuality are gratuitous and sensual — designed specifically to arouse. They are neither tasteful nor artistic, and they serve primarily as “red meat” for a lustful heart. Remember, I’ve watched the show — which, to my great shame, I didn’t fast-forward nearly enough — and I know exactly the sort of images we are dealing with. No one who has seen the first few seasons of Game of Thrones can legitimately claim ignorance about this fact. Even one of my non-believing coworkers, when I told him that I needed to quit watching due to the way the nudity affects my own heart, admitted, “Yeah, it was pretty raunchy in those first few seasons — but it has gotten better.” He is right, later seasons have less gratuitous sex, but we aren’t called to leaven our eyes with just a little bit of nudity and sex, are we?

    Second, if you’re anything like me, this is just an excuse to avoid dealing with the more legitimate call for wisdom and discernment that DeYoung is advocating here. He explicitly states near the end of the post that his goal isn’t to call out Game of Thrones exclusively but to use GoT as a stepping stone to a broader conversation about the sort of media believers subject themselves to under the guise of Christian liberty of conscience. I think, and DeYoung can correct me if I’m wrong, that the general thrust of this post is a plea for Christians to carefully consider the things that they are consuming through their ocular organs. I am a poster child of the failures that can come when a believer fails to guard his lustful heart against the input of his eyes, and I plead with you, men especially, not to make a shipwreck of your home by giving lust a swinging door through which to take root in your mind. Beware the media you consume and stop making excuses to leave doors open to a little bit of lust. It never stops at a little bit, no matter how great we think we are, does it?

    2. Worldliness abounds. Why would we flee GoT and not [insert professional sport] for its idolatry or [insert another event] for the lewdness or drunkenness celebrated there? Can Christians go to concerts? Sporting events? Or do we all need to become monks?

    Okay, I added the last bit in there, but the rest is pretty much the argument people are making. The argument is also often infused with a recognition that we are all sinners and need God’s grace (true and true) but fails to take notice of the Biblical imperatives when it comes to the lust of the eyes. Jesus raises the stakes when it comes to lust in Matthew 5, equating a lustful thought with adultery and pleading with people to take drastic measures to combat it — even cutting off hands or removing eyes if that’s what it takes, because the consequences of not fleeing lust are so severe. Paul reiterates this reality in 1 Corinthians 6, pointing out the gravity of sexual immorality because it is a sin against one’s own body, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit. As such, it makes sense that Game of Thrones would be worth talking about considering the amount of sexual content in the show, the way it portrays it, and the widespread following the show has among professing believers.

    Furthermore, I don’t think DeYoung would be against people legitimately questioning whether or not they should partake in any given cultural event. I think he would encourage thoughtful discourse and prayer-saturated decisions on other matters of life too. Far too often, we operate without thinking carefully and Biblically and DeYoung’s post is merely a call for change on that front. It just happens to be with a widely beloved show in the focus.

    3. The Bible has sex, rape, incest, etc. etc. etc. Why would you criticize a show for just portraying the very things that the Bible describes?

    This may be the most egregious of the excuses I have seen. It shouldn’t even warrant a response, but here we are. Anyone who makes this claim either hasn’t truly read their Bible or isn’t actually watching Game of Thrones. The Bible’s portrayal of human sexuality, even when celebrated in the Song of Solomon, is never lewd or intended to evoke arousal or lust. Descriptions of the human body are metaphorical and modest in their scope. There is no equivalency here. The Bible is not Kama Sutra. The scenes in question from Game of Thrones are designed to enflame human lust and put bodies on display that God did not intend for us to partake in.

    In Conclusion:

    I think part of the frustration is that people feel like the decision to focus on Game of Thrones, when there are plenty of other low hanging fruit, seems unfair. I think that the response to the original post and now this one just proves how necessary it is that Game of Thrones gets mentioned by name.

    It is worth calling out Game of Thrones because Jesus said that people would be better off removing an eye from their head than letting lust run rampant in their body. It is also worth having the broader conversation about other consumed media that is specifically designed to arouse lustful desires too (increasingly, network television is falling into this category too), but since so many feel so slighted that Game of Thrones is being “attacked”, it seems prudent to deal with this specific show with gratuitous nudity that so many are willing to defend without a scrap of truly Biblical evidence. It seems odd that no one is arguing from the Bible that the sex scenes from GoT aren’t by their very nature sinful, yet so many are defending their right to consume those scenes (or close their eyes and listen, or only see flashes as they fast-forward) so long as their conscience isn’t burdened by it. If you can’t come up with a Biblical defense for the sexual content of the show, is it possible that your conscience is wrong on this one? As someone who made all of these same arguments and had no burden on his conscience for so long, I plead with you to take DeYoung’s advice to heart. Fast from the show. Fast from all entertainment media if you have to. Maybe DeYoung is right. Maybe you’re like me, a guy with a seared conscience and a lot to lose. I promise, in the long run, you won’t regret missing the final seasons of GoT.

  24. Mike Bull says:

    People watch Game of Thrones because it has teeth. Unlike most preachers. I don’t anyone who watches it for the sex scenes. Perhaps if idiot evangelicals stopped making the most exciting book in the world as dull as dishwater, and avoiding the Old Testament, we wouldn’t need Game of Thrones. Listen and learn, you dullards. You’ve lost an entire generation because of your failure to teach the Bible on its own terms.

  25. Saul says:

    If you’re faith is put into question by a few sex scenes, then you’ve got bigger problems. Also, news flash… Christians have sex… Christians masturbate… Christians watch porn… Time to stop acting like we’re not sinners with guilty pleasures.

  26. ACG says:

    I agree with Mr. DeYoung wholeheartedly. Adultery, fornication, voyeurism, these are not entertainment. Since this is purportedly a “Reformed” venue, I would challenge anyone to read what the Heidelberg, Westminster Shorter, or Westminster Larger catechism has to say about the requirements and prohibitions of the 7th commandment and still offer an argument in favor of Christians entertaining themselves with the nudity of anyone other than their heterosexual spouse.

  27. Andy Jones says:

    … We’ve found the High Sparrow.

  28. Carole Makowski says:

    This is truly one of those “there but for the grace of God go I” moments. By a sovereign action in 2009, God did a purge in me of my ability to read or view things my conscience was too seared to be bothered by. Had He not done that, though, I would still be immersed in profane things. As a “Christian”. The thing is, that was His first step in demoing my “house” in order to transform me into a place in which He would dwell with me. Now there is little I can watch – or even revisit from my past that I thought were harmless – that do not repel me or grieve me. But this is His doing…in other words, we must grasp that sanctification is His work, and depend on Him to do it. So for me, I pray the Father have His sovereign way in brothers and sisters that are not sensitive to this issue. As for me, I must walk in the light He has given me.

  29. MakeWar0813 says:

    I’m baffled that you have insisted on continuing this argument. I love TGC and I watch GoT (along with another person on staff at my church) and the only argument you want to focus on is the sexual nature of the show. The last 3-4 episodes haven’t even had a single sexual scene in them, not one. I know of no Christian who is watching for the sexual nature of the show, not one. Isn’t straight out porn a whole lot easier to wade through than waiting an hour into GoT for a provocative scene? That makes no sense.

    Why do I watch it? Because my wife loves the show, she loves the costumes, she love the incredible storylines being told, and she loves looking forward to an hour when we can sit without distraction after a long day and watch something together. And please don’t equate that to Eve giving Adam the fruit.

    I feel like what you are saying is going to be irrelevant when the show ends. Who’s talking about 50 Shades of Gray now? Who cares? I get your arguments, I appreciate them, and I’ve heard comments on both sides of the arguement. But where is the cultural line? Should we all live in caves without electricity? What about Fargo? House of Cards? Breaking Bad? How about The Wire (no sex but it’s pretty “bad” those cops sin all the time), Narcos (they mirder someone every 10 minutes)? Is murder portrayed in film better than sex or are they both the same, if they’re both the same I can’t think of a popular (well made) drama, action, or documentary that doesn’t have a murder in it. What about Dunkirk? That was amazing filiming, and I didn’t go see Dunkirk for the murders and killing!?

    What about a story of a guy who takes his prostitute to a strangers house and a crowd wants to rape the two guys but instead they throw out a virgin daughter and his prositute so they can gang rape them all night only to have the guy cut her up into 12 pieces and mail her around the country? I’m trying to envision how Judges 19 might be portrayed in film today, no maybe we don’t want to see that?

    Please drop the GoT argument it makes us Christians seem hypocritical to an extreme and where does the slippery slope stop, on either side of the argument? If something causes a brother to stumble don’t do it, if you honoestly don’t struggle with it, don’t be critical of a brother who in his freedom chooses something you wouldn’t choose. You’ve counter all arguments anyone could make, but it now feels like click bait and it’s frustrating to see the wound reopened a second times. There are so many other things we as the church should be arguing about and trying to solve other than whether GoT is or isn’t appropriate.

  30. David M says:

    Thank you Kevin! The world around us continues to tell us “what’s acceptable” and I believe it is critical to be reminded that God’s word is the only measure of what is acceptable.

  31. Chris Mayberry says:

    Let me first say that I’ve had a lot of internal battles as to whether or not I should abstain from just about anything coming out of Hollywood that promotes graphic violence, sex or an ideology that rails against the Gospel. These days the vast majority of the most popular shows contain all the above, and in some instances take either direct jabs at Christ (Orange is the New Black & House of Cards both come to mind) or passively jab at God (Kubo is a recent example I can think of). I can 100% tell you that in my own experience, consuming such media (music or video) has never stirred my affection for the Lord – and highly doubt any such things of the world could do such for anyone else. Some may make us consider the gift and brevity of life, but most will promote the idea that this is your life, take everything you can get and maybe get in touch with your spiritual side – whatever that meand.

    In reading the defensive posts about GoT there is a mixture of a lack of spiritual maturity, discernment and idolatry on the part of those who claim Christ who respond defensively. The other part with the defensive crowd is many clearly don’t even fully read the post. Most appear to have skimmed the article at best and than rambled on about how you shouldn’t judge others, aimed to misdirect towards other possible idols in others lives and shown a probability of a seared conscience. I think much of that is due to a lack of prayer and biblical literacy among professed believers. So many of us will spend hours every day dedicated to shows/things which do little to to nothing to grow our knowledge and affection for the Lord, His people and the lost – but plenty to feed our flesh and the lusts there of. Kevin’s comment about detoxing and spending dedicated time in scripture and prayer is a call that only hope more of God’s people heed. It’s so needed on order for us as the Body to reflect the love of Christ.

    On the flip side, I somewhat get the arguments aimed at those who might go so fast as to say that any Christian who watches GoT is condemned and not a believer. I think such claims are pushing into self righteous territory and yes, we should take all sin serious in our lives and ask whether the things we participate in honor Christ or do the opposite.

  32. AndyB says:

    Thanks again for inserting your hand into the wood chipper of applied Christian ethics in the 21 century!

    I tell ya what I don’t get. Why on TGC articles like this are even necessary. How is it possible that this even needs to be said? How on earth did it come to be that in a community started by D.A. Carson, John Piper, Sproul etc… saying something like “Christians shouldn’t watch nudity” is controversial is beyond my comprehension.

    Keep the faith!

  33. Mike says:

    People can justify sin in a number of ways, but scripture is clear and our personal opinions, feelings, and desires must submit to the authority of scripture if we call ourselves Christians.

    “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5: 3

    “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10

  34. Douglas Hornok says:

    Thank you for your strong and Biblical stand. It is incomprehensible to me that any Christian can justify watching such a program. Like you, i have never seen the program, but from what I’ve read and heard it is totally inappropriate for a Christian. God bless you Kevin in your new ministry and may you and your loved ones be protected from the evil one and those who attack you.

  35. Christopher Hanna Padgett says:

    I enjoy Game of Thrones. I do not condone all of the content. I don’t even think the writers condone all of the content. There are “sex” scenes, but there are NO “graphic sex” scenes.

    I DO love the place from which you–Kevin–are speaking though. This article is a Call to Arms for believers everyone and it does not stop at Game of Thrones; it is goes to the core of the culture of the world. And we must combat all avenues of sin and recognize how blind our consciences have become.

    Do not be deceived, we are living in The Game of Thrones. HalleluYah that we know Him who sits on The Throne!

  36. Christopher Hanna Padgett says:

    I enjoy Game of Thrones. I do not condone all of the content. I don’t even think the writers condone all of the content. There are “sex” scenes, but there are NO “graphic sex” scenes.

    I DO love the place from which you–Kevin–are speaking though. This article is a Call to Arms for believers everyone and it does not stop at Game of Thrones; it goes to the core of the culture of the world. And we must combat all avenues of sin and recognize how blind our consciences have become.

    Do not be deceived, we are living in The Game of Thrones. HalleluYah that we know Him who sits on The Throne!

  37. Ken says:

    You nailed it.

  38. Krista M says:

    I hear all the time about how sex and intimacy were created by God for a husband and wife to enjoy but what if you haven’t been blessed with that yet? Or maybe never? I’m not condoning watching porn or explicit sex scenes but unless you are still a virgin and don’t want to be – you can’t understand what someone in my position goes through. People who are married can turn to their spouse for sexual gratification, comfort and intimacy. I personally feel deprived of love, intimacy and closeness. I’m 42 and can’t remember the last time I didn’t practically have to beg for a simple hug. The only reason why I’m still a virgin is because I believe so strongly that God wouldn’t allow me to desire this so terribly if it wasn’t in His plan for my life. So I wait. And waiting for fulfillment when you can’t get it without sinning is pretty difficult. If it’s a choice I’d rather watch a sex scene than go out and commit the actual sin. Sexual desire is God given and when you can’t satiate it, it’s practically torture.

  39. Aaron A says:

    I think that verse 22 of the following passage from Romans particularly applies here: “Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.” We all could benefit, myself included, from remembering this verse and seeking to apply it to all areas of our lives.

    13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
    20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
    Romans 14:13-23

  40. Ashley says:

    You are so correct that there is no reason to watch sex scenes, and to compare them to the metaphorical and flowery language of Song of Solomon is ridiculous. What we have here is many Christians who are too dulled in their sensitivity to the Christian’s call to holiness to recognize that their minds are full of carnal reasoning. What a waste of time to sit and absorb something so completely unredeeming!

  41. Stephen says:

    Could it be that we shouldn’t be watching hardly ANYTHING coming out of Hollywood? I’m with you Kevin all the way. I am a youth pastor and I see all the destruction TV shows are doing to our Christian youth. Not only are they robbing them of joy and pursuit of Christlikeness as they both steal and steel their consciences, but they also suck up hours of their time! Hours they could be reading God’s Word, good books, with friends, doing their homework (so that it’s not an excuse to miss church), or with their family.

    I am so thankful my wife hates immodesty even more than I do. Heck, she covers my eyes when people kiss on screen! (usually jokingly, but when I push away she keeps my eyes covered). We are so very careful what we watch as a couple and I am so very thankful. I’m not missing a thing. We don’t watch any TV shows (addiction and 1 Cor. 6:12 come to mind), and when we watch movies, it must be rated a 2 or LESS on kids-in-mind.com’s rating system for sexuality.

    One last comment. LEGALISM is imposing your personal views (like mine in paragraph above) on others (I am not imposing those views, only sharing). GODLINESS is letting God’s Word impose on you what IT says. Watching nudity/sex on screen is sin (see Eph. 5:3). Saying so is not being legalistic, but being a brother in Christ who will stand on the authority of God’s Word. Thank you Kevin for affirming God’s Word.

  42. Hojo Hominygrits says:

    You can find fan-censored versions of GoT out there with a few Google searches. Though they’re not legal… Some versions cut out all the sex scenes/nudity, some cut sex, language, and gore. I’d recommend a VPN if you decide to go that route. *nudge nudge wink wink* Of course, then you’re going from the dilemma of sinning while watching sexual scenes to sinning by stealing. ;-)

    My wife and I have been watching the censored versions, and we both agree that it takes nothing away from the story in the slightest. HBO just added the graphic sex to get ratings. The story is perfectly fine without it.

  43. Eric says:

    Most Evangelicals voted for a guy who bragged about grabbing women in their “private parts” and was in a Playboy video. They don’t care, and you’re deluding yourself if you think more than 90% of them are “Christians” in any sense you understand them to be. Also, Game of Thrones is not very good. Even the sex scenes are boring. Watch Twin Peaks: The Return instead.

  44. Chelsea says:

    I agree 100%. Thank you taking this stand & writing this article.

  45. Justin says:

    Just out of curiosity, do you think it wrong to be part of the production team if you work in the entertainment industry as a Christian? Say you were a musician or mixer who did work on the score or a costume designer who contributed your craft or any other behind-the-scenes worker who has nothing to do with the sex scenes or violence on GoT. I’ve never seen GoT but it seems like they have some of the best talent working on the show and I do know some most excellent Christians who work in music production for TV shows.

  46. Janeta says:

    There are enough better things to watch. We need to stay away from evil as far as we can, not get as close to evil as we can.

  47. Devin says:

    First off, lets all give brother Kevin a big round of applause for confronting an issue in the Church that needs to be addressed. We’ve become numb when the pastor mentions pornography at the pulpit and calls it sin, but now we’ve just replaced good stories with explicit sex and given ourselves an out to view high-brow porn.

    Secondly, if your response to this article is to take scripture or find an excuse to watch more GoT and shows like it you really need to ask yourself if you’re striving for the holiness by which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14)

  48. James A Rutherford says:

    Thanks Kevin, the article is much appreciated.

  49. Dot says:

    Kevin, you are unrelenting. Thank you for speaking out on this. These are things that need to be said.

  50. Maria says:

    Very well said. Very sad that any Christian would argue about this. This is the same thing as books. A lot of Christians thought it was okay to read 50 shades of grey and justified it. It’s very sad when you can’t tell the difference between a so called Christian and someone out in the world. Aren’t we supposed to be different and set apart. Regardless of the backlash don’t stop standing up for the truth.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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