How should Christians prioritize personal holiness in their engagement of the art and entertainment of an unbelieving culture?

Christians often think we can avoid being “conformed to the world” (Rom 12:2) by avoiding worldly ideas. But as G. K. Chesterton said, ideas are more dangerous to the person who has not studied them. He has no mental filter, so a new idea will “fly to his head like wine to the head of a teetotaler.” And where do most people pick up those intoxicating ideas?  From books, music, movies, advertising. That’s why Christians must learn how to “read” worldviews when they come to us not in words, where they’re easier to recognize, but in image, plot and characterization.

Is there such a thing as unredeemable art and entertainment?

Certainly: pornography. Anything intended to destroy human dignity and devalue human life. The reason to learn about American culture is to address Americans in ways they can understand. What would you think of a missionary in a Muslim country who refused to learn about Muslim culture? He would not be very effective in communicating the gospel. To train as a missionary, however, you should expose yourself to the best books, the best music, the best movies. The classics are where a culture’s serious ideas are given expression.

What does your ideal Saturday morning look like?

I like to make Saturday a time to refuel. I listen to classical music and read the classic novels that have shaped the Western mind. I read books on apologetics and worldview to learn to “translate” timeless biblical truth into contemporary language — to anticipate people’s questions and rehearse how to answer them. By immersing myself in the arts and ideas, I want to help Christians learn how the arts can be a powerful means of communicating biblical truth.


Nancy Pearcey serves as Editor-at-large of the The Pearcey Report. She is a scholar in residence and professor at Houston Baptist University, where she is also director of the Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture and a fellow at the Discovery Institute.


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The Briefing – A daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview by R. Albert Mohler Jr.


Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Today’s Critical Concerns)