Guarding Against the “Art” of Foul Language

By David Halbrook

Any Christian who has seen a movie in the last 25 years, likely has thought to himself on some occasion, “What was the point of all the filthy language?” Well, David Greene, director of the National Campaign For Freedom Of Expression, has given us an answer. Commenting on the possible uses of a new device that filters foul language out of movies, “He said he hopes schools stay away from the box. It’s like using abridged books. The language is part of the art form” (; emphasis mine, dh). This is the attitude of the leading minds of today’s entertainment industry, that using profane and offensive language is “part of the art form.” This is the same line of thinking that the National Endowment for the Arts used to prevent censoring of pornographic “art.” “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).

Paul vs. The “Art” of Foul Language

“Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:1-4).

This passage urges us to be followers, or imitators, of God. Not having seen God, we are to follow the example of Christ, and by imitating Christ, we imitate God (John 14:7). Verse 3 begins a sharp contrast between the life Christians are to walk and the sinful lusts of the world. Fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness are to have no part in the life of a Christian, but it goes further than that. Verse 4 shows that, not only are we to guard our lives from practicing these sins, but also we are not to not to take them lightly. 

When filthy language and ungodly jokes are spoken, they trivialize the darkness of sin. The Bible describes this type of humor as things “which are not fitting” (v. 4). When Christians constantly expose themselves to this most base type of humor, they are weakening their defenses to hate every false way (Ps. 119:104). No one would go into battle and purposely leave a few pieces of armor behind, yet Christians often lay aside the breastplate of righteousness (moral uprightness) for a few laughs, and in doing so they have unwittingly exposed their minds as a target that Satan will not overlook. By exposing our hearts to the shameful deeds of darkness, we defile our hearts from which comes our thoughts and words (Matt.15:18-19).

So What Can We Do?

1. Let no one deceive you. Let us not be fooled by the “empty words” of political correctness that make adultery and all kinds of fornication “an affair,” which make homosexuality “an alternative lifestyle,” and the condemnation of it, “homophobia” (Eph. 5:6). For a Christian trying to live a godly life, it is becoming increasingly difficult to participate in various activities without being bombarded by immodesty, filthy and suggestive language, and suggestive and explicitly sexual scenes. It is difficult to renew our minds and transform our hearts, if we are allowing our minds to be filled with the garbage of this world (Rom. 12:2). The media uses humor to get us to laugh at these and other “unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11). This is Satan taking aim as we have let our guard down. Instead of accepting these things and saying, “Oh, that doesn’t bother me,” God would have us rather expose them, reprove them (Eph. 5:11).

2. Do not be partakers. Watching movies and similar activities can provide for wholesome entertainment, but when the content becomes such that it can defile our minds, we need to “lay aside every weight” and turn the TV off, leave the theater, or do whatever we have to do to guard our hearts (Heb. 12:1; Prov. 4:23). Parents, help your children to recognize immodesty and moral impurity in the “teen idols” of the day. Young people, help your friends who may be inclined to watch TV shows and movies which are not fitting by changing the channel or making a comment to cue them into the fact that what is being watched ought to be reproved. By doing these things, “you are light in the Lord” by “proving what is acceptable to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8, 10).

3. Think ahead. We often get ourselves into difficult situations by going to the movie theater or video rental, not knowing what we are going to see or what we are planning to rent. Though technology and the Internet have provided Satan with new avenues to promote old temptations, they have also provided means by which we can get around some of the perversions of wholesome entertainment, which Mr. Greene calls “art form.” The device which Mr. Greene was referring to is called “TV Guardian.”  It is a small box which is connected to the TV/VCR to filter out the foul language of any movie that is closed captioned (most, if not all movies since 1976 are closed captioned), and it works on most TV shows (with the exception of live TV). 

More information regarding purchasing and other details, can be found at the website http://www.tvguardian. com or call 1-888-799-4884. It is available to purchase through the website or at WalMart, RadioShack catalog, and other retailers listed on the website.

The web has also produced sites such as which reviews practically every new and recent movie. The site was created as a tool for parents to be able to keep up with what their children are seeing, but it is an excellent source for people to use before seeing a movie so that a wise choice can be made as to whether or not a movie is worth seeing. The site reviews the movie by giving the plot of the movie and then identifying potentially offensive content in such areas as nudity, blood/gore/violence, language (it lists practically every potentially offensive word in the movie), and several others. It is a very practical and useful site. The website also provides information on receiving a free newsletter “that details the current week’s new movie releases and the upcoming video releases coming out the following Tuesday” (
“Nothing Wicked Before My Eyes”

We all need to use wisdom in what we allow ourselves and our children to see and hear because Satan can desensitize us to sin if we allow ourselves to be bombarded with ungodly pictures and words. Whether or not the world regards them as art, let us have the attitude of David, when he said, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” (Ps.101:3). 

Truth Magazine Vol. XLV: 6  p8  March 15, 2001