Recently I’ve received lots of “Can you be a Christian and…’ questions. For example, can you be a Christian and watch Game of Thrones? Such inquiries usually come less in the form of genuine curiosity and more in the form of judgmental arrogance. The tone, in other words, tends to be “How can someone possibly be a Christian and…?”
So let’s break this down. Can you be a Christian and…
- Watch Game of Thrones?
- Watch Deadpool?
- Read Harry Potter?
- Read Twilight?
- Like Rob Bell?
- Listen to Iron Maiden?
- Not go to church?
- Support Blackpool Football Club?
Yes. Yes, you can. Denying Christ is the only action that can actually and effectually make you “not a Christian.” We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), not by works or any other peripheral actions we might or might not do.
Paul was a murderer who was saved by grace. David was a murder and a rapist, also saved by grace. I’m a (fill-in-the-blank)—yet saved by grace.
So yes: It’s possible to “be” a Christian and do all kinds of things. Let’s think about some other ways to approach this type of question.
Can you be a Christian and watch Game of Thrones: 5 things to consider
1. Could it eventually steal your salvation?
Without getting into the “once-saved-always-saved” debate, it’s worth noting that the Bible does distinguish salvation (coming into relationship with God) and sanctification (growing in that relationship). In the same way that the wedding is not the marriage, a partner might reject you eventually if you make no effort to change and grow.
Being addicted to pornography, for example, can steadily pollute and corrupt a relationship, first through secrecy, then by objectifying your partner, and finally through rejecting their comforts in favor of the internet abstract. Thus the intimacy and commitment of marriage breaks down.
Indulging in areas that pollute your relationship with God can do the same thing. They lead you to know Him less, eventually either reimagining Him into something He’s not or rejecting Him altogether.
Does Game of Thrones do that? After reading the parents guide on imdb.com, I decided it would not serve my personal relationship with God. So I decided not to watch it.
2. Is it helpful?
Twice in 1 Corinthians, Paul says all things are permissible (saved by grace, right?), but not all things are helpful.