Westminster Seminary California
Sin + Time = Normal?
Sin + Time = Normal?

The other day I was meandering through a department store; I don't remember why I was there, but I do remember that I was surprised at what I heard. As I stepped on the elevator I quickly recognized a song by Def Leppard playing in the background. A lot of thoughts rushed through my mind: Why was this once "heavy metal" music of youthful rebellion now playing in the elevator at an upper-class department store? Was I really that old that the music of my youth was now relegated to background music by which to shop for socks and shirts? What had happened to the rebellious anti-establishment persona of these in-your-face rock-n-rollers that they had sold out to the elevator music company? Aside from these varied thoughts there were other theological questions that came to mind.

It seems like there's a tendency in society that yesterday's rebellion is today's elevator music. Yesterday's TV shows and their cutting-edge immorality is today's re-run of ho-hum average life, and today's TV shows are the new cutting-edge of immorality. We're a far cry from Leave It Beaver and the Brady Bunch. Fiftteen years ago homosexuality was still somewhat taboo on sitcoms and today it is one of the chief staples of a number of storylines. It made me think of Paul's warning in Romans 12.1-2 of not being conformed to the patterns of this world but to be renewed by the transformation of our minds. 

In other words, for our culture, SIN + TIME = NORMAL. All too often Christians do not think critically about the things they watch on TV, the clothes they wear, and the books they read. Christians use the present societal norms as the rule to measure morality. This can be very dangerous, to say the least. To give a historical example, the Westminster Larger Catechism on the prohibitions on the seventh commandment warns against "lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays" (q. 139). I have no hard proof, but I suspect that one of the things they had in view with this statement were the plays (perhaps not all but likely some) of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Is this another instance of SIN + TIME = NORMAL? Is yesteryear's scandolous play today's high brow literature, read, admired, and loved by Christians?

I'm not saying that everything that Shakespeare wrote is sinful, but I am suggesting that Christians should read, watch, consume, wear, etc., with a critical eye and not assume that all of the things we do in our lives are innocuous or mundane. We might just be uncritically imbibing from the cup of immorality, a cup that has been mixed with the anesthesia of time. We should always live coram Deo, immersed in the Scriptures, and always asking whether we are being conformed to the world or transformed by the Word.