Christian Liberty and Fifty Shades of Grey



I have hesitated to say anything about the book and upcoming movie entitled Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s a plethora of articles out there written by both secular and Christian authors, and in some way, that makes me think nothing else needs to be said.

I’ve also figured that I would merely be preaching to the choir, as that seems to be my general audience.

Surely everyone in my church and my friends inside and outside the church are spiritually savvy enough to make a good decision about Fifty Shades.

That’s been my thought. And while I hope my thought is correct, it’s also come to my attention that several Christian ladies whom I know personally (outside of church) have already read the book.

In light of that, I’ve decided to bring out a few points and a handful of testimonials – just in case anyone is still on the fence about whether to read the book or watch the movie and is searching for direction.

So here goes.

1. Try not to get bogged down in what man has to say, but what God has to say. True, there are many good conversations going on about this work of “art”, but that has the potential to get confusing. That’s why I encourage you to first and foremost, search what the Bible says about this genre – because it will keep your decision pretty simple. Ephesians 5 is a great place to start. If you read it carefully, in a spirit of submission to the Lord, you’ll find that maybe things aren’t so “grey” after all.

The second passage I suggest reading is The Song of Solomon. Many couples are claiming the book is spicing up their sex life, and therefore, the movie can only serve to make it spicier. If you need that as a couple, the Bible has plenty of advice in the Song of Solomon. If you feel SOS can be too cryptic, well … you’re not alone. Thankfully, we live in an age of information, and there are plenty of SOS studies to help you de-code the message. Remember, there’s no shame in needing help. The shame comes when we try and find help in ways that will harm rather than help us.

2. This is not an issue of Christian liberty. I am all for Christians living in the liberty that is theirs in Christ when trying to determine what they watch, what their children watch, what music they listen to, if they can (bleh!) eat haggis or not, whether they homeschool, etcetera. But some things that seem to fall under the category of “liberty” are, in fact, strictly prohibited in Scripture. Not because God is a party pooper, but because they are guaranteed to make you stumble, and God prefers His children remain upright and healthy. So please consider that truth as you read through Ephesians 5. Again, I think you’ll find it sheds light on the so called grey areas.

I will close with a few quotes (used with permission) from women I know personally who have read the book. The reasons they chose to read the book differ. Some read because they felt Christians should keep up with secular issues. Some just wanted to. One read because she was dared by a non-Christian friend who thought her “Baptist mind couldn’t take it.”

Here are the various reactions to the book:

It (the book) is a ploy. It takes women out of their reality and into a dream world that their husbands and families cannot compete with.

It was too much. I had to take a break in between readings. (Meaning, the content was so brutal and disturbing, she could only read in small spurts.)

Nobody lives like that. That may be the allure. It’s Satan’s tool to create the dissatisfaction.

I would rather just be loved and respected. (Rather than dominated, bound, and abused both physically and emotionally, which the book depicts as highly desirable.)

It’s a fantasy life that no woman would want…and yet they get all googly at the thought.

And lastly, I was in on a conversation that took place in mixed company. A Christian lady was asked what she was currently reading by a non-suspecting male. Referring to Fifty Shades, she somewhat blushingly replied, “Just some really trashy, pornographic novel.”

Christians have many liberties, and that includes the liberty to sin, albeit not habitually, lest we be chastened. We can choose to not think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy, but as with any sin, though there may be pleasure for a season, ultimately, there will be consequences.

If it’s liberty we are looking to exercise, then let’s exercise it in the Spirit. Because as 2 Corinthians 3:17 says … that’s where true liberty is found. Not in pornographic material meant to dissatisfy us in our marriages and singleness, and expose us to crude, immoral, abusive works of darkness.

From what I’ve gathered, Fifty Shades and the Spirit of the Lord don’t mesh. Where the Spirit of the Lord is (in the hearts of Christian women), the general consensus seems to be that Fifty Shades is, at best, literary garbage.

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