Grey is the Devil’s Favorite Colour

It hit the racks faster than any other work of literature in the past ten years. It sold more copies quicker in more countries in more different currencies than ever before, and it drew women and girls of every age group like never seen before. In short, it was nothing but a phenomenon.

We heard about Twilight, and warned our youth against it. We saw the draw for The Hunger Games, and publicly spoke out against it. But, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this particular book snuck in, ensnaring women with its captivating plot, alluring psychological warfare, and explicit sexual content. Under the cover of ‘erotic romance,’ 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels have infiltrated our society, catechized our youth and attacked our Biblical, God-given views on love, purity and the sanctity of marriage.

What is it about 50 Shades of Grey that we are so concerned about? Is it the dominance, the abuse, the excitement, the fear of the unknown, or is it gripping tale that have had women confessing that they read all three books in just two days? Is it the kinky, ironic ‘love story’ that has females, from middle school age to senior citizens, on waiting lists at their local library waiting to get their hands on this latest sensation? Or perhaps is it the glamorized rape that violates all biblical commands and morals that has had women across the globe, Christian and atheist alike, glued to its pages?

Proverbs 5 reads: “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets, let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (15-18). Clearly talking about marriage, which God designed and sanctified to be between one husband and one wife, we would be lying to ourselves if we condoned anything other than God’s design for sex. Sex was meant to be exclusive to marriage, should be valued and viewed as a holy part of marriage, and is a precious gift from God to be shared between husband and wife.

From the beginning, God made it known to man that adultery was a sin (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5), and that it is grievous if we take pleasure in something He abhors (Gen 6:6, 7). Therefore, it is palpable that in partaking in deeds that condone this action, we are also guilty of condoning the action. What is more, we are now guilty of the sin ourselves.

E.L James, author of 50 Shades of Grey, very obviously disregards God’s blessing of marriage, and actively promotes the disregard for this covenant between husband, wife and the Lord. Instead, James portrays a relationship as nothing but sexual, disregarding chastity, disembodying the covenant, and disclosing the relationship to be nothing but a contract.

James also very explicitly violates the biblical concepts of authority and submission in her novel. With BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism & Masochism) being the root of the erotic thrill in her novel, James has, knowingly, told millions of people lies about the nature of relationships. Biblical standards of relationships clearly speak of loving service to one another, violently contrasting her view of an egotistical power trip. The Song of Solomon, written to mirror Christ’s love for His church, does not speak of domination, abuse, control and humiliation. Instead, it speaks of Christ’s overwhelming love, more evident in His agonizing death on the cross to save His people whom He cherishes so dearly.

Not only does BDSM provide full, cruel access to the male in authority, but it also portrays the biblical directive to submit as a direct link to brain-dead, passive, weak-willed doormats who comply with the whims of dominant, controlling men. Distorting and misleading, BDSM mocks the beauty of what true submission is all about—first and foremost, living a life in service of the Lord, and in so doing, to those around us, and in marriage, to one’s husband or wife. The command to submission is not a command to subject oneself to abuse, disrespect, and passivity. It does not mean the lack of independent thought, or letting oneself be trampled over in daily decisions. In using “dominant” and “submissive,” James steals the gift of true respect, in Christ, to one’s husband.

In addition, 50 Shades also encourages the sin of sensuality. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he warns them as follows: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness… of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (5:16,19-21). Directly referring to the sin of sensuality, Paul commands the church to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

The apostle James also speaks about resisting temptations in his letters. Speaking of our magnetic nature to things that displease God, he warns to resist these desires, and to “not err, my brethren.” Contrarily, 50 Shades not only trivializes, but encourages the sin of sensuality, which is “anything that is characterized by lust, expresses lewdness or lust, and tends to excite lust.” Not only does Scripture tell us it is wrong, but it also commands us to flee from all things, much less willingly indulge and expose our minds to such perverted content (1 Timothy 2:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

The old expression ‘curiosity killed the cat’ might not be too far off where 50 Shades is involved. Curiosity has led to the downfall of multitudes- trapped in the destructive, downward vortex of sexual sin. We think only of alcohol, drug and pornography addictions. Plaguing curiosity, it dangles behaviors in the foreground of society that are forbidden, unfamiliar and titillating. The widespread media hype about 50 Shades has led society to rationalize the behaviors it suggests, which are nothing short of graphic torture porn.

Categorized under ‘erotic romance,’ the fundamental idea behind this alleged ‘literature’ is to make one crave more, thus the reason women have shame-facedly admitted to reading all three books of this particular series in less than forty-eight hours. Similar to pornography, erotica makes one crave increasingly graphic, perverse images over time. This slippery slope leads to deeper and darker erotica, which is known to destroy marriages, robbing people of joy and satisfaction of “ordinary,” non-twisted sex with an “ordinary” spouse. Not only that, but once the ‘thrill’ sets in, like a typical addiction, it is near impossible to get it out of one’s head. Psychological studies have proven that our very thoughts have transformational power, with the ability to lead us to good or evil.

Filling one’s mind with sin, sensuality, dysfunction, and the fundamentals of BDSM will not lead one closer to God. Psalm 73:28 reads: “But it is good for me to draw near to God.” Thomas Watson writes in his commentary on Psalm 73 that it is a duty incumbent upon Christians to draw near to God. How is that possible, when one’s mind is full of impure thoughts? How can we lead a righteous life before God, when we are willingly and intentionally partaking of such filthy behaviors?

Finally, 50 Shades of Grey glamorizes pathological relationships, twisting and distorting ones human nature into sympathizing with the protagonist, justifying the seriously dysfunctional, abusive relationship that fills the pages of this latest thriller. Dr. Drew Pinksy, a relationship expert comments: “Why women would pick this up as any sort of model for a reasonable relationship, I find just short of disturbing… the idea that women look at this relationship as anything other than absolute, categorical, profound pathology is more than I can imagine.”

This book is targeted at girls, but what kind of message does it actually send to them? In the age of internet pornography where many men think women “owe them something,” is it not extremely damaging to have a book that tells girls they should be giving these boys everything they want, even if it includes rape and torture? Is this the type of garbage we should be encouraging to teenagers and young women, many of whom may already be insecure in a hyper-sexualized society?

In Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he writes: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8) Infiltrating our society with its graphic, sickening content, 50 Shades of Grey violates all the God given commands, delving deep into the murky waters the devil loves to see us swimming in—every shade of grey.

But this isn’t a grey issue. This is a black and white issue, an issue that needs to be faced today. Letting it go untouched, ignoring it, hiding it behind closed doors, pretending it doesn’t happen, and pretending we don’t read it isn’t facing it. Erotic romance should not be a 9th grade conversation. Erotic romance should not be the escape from an unhealthy teenage relationship. Erotic romance should not be the stimulant for a happy married life, and erotic romance should not be lining our shelves at home. Violent, twisted pornography isn’t going to make you feel better. But it will likely scar your mind and, God forbid, even destroy your chances at a healthy relationship or (future) marriage. The choice is yours. But remember, the devils favorite colour is grey.

Why the Pro-Life Cause Is Important: An Interview with Reverend Cornelius Sonnevelt

What do you feel the Christian’s duty towards the pre-born are?

I cannot express this better than with the words of Psalm 82 (the rhymed version):

         “Do justice for the helpless,
          The orphans cause maintain;
          Defend the poor and needy,
          Oppressed for wrong and gain.”

What made you so pro-life?

1. I was brought up with a strong sense for justice and injustice.  My dad, in particular, was a man who always chose the side of the underdog even when that got him into trouble at times.

2. When I was 17 years old, the Lord came into my life.  From that moment on, God’s Word became the standard for my outlook on issues of life and death.  Especially Psalm 139 had a powerful influence on how I began to see the pre-born.

3. When abortion was about to be legalized in the country of my birth, I attended a huge rally organized by leaders of various churches including the Roman Catholics.  The late Rev. A. Vergunst (by no means a man who preached salvation by works) accepted the invitation to attend this public meeting.  His example and address during that large gathering made a very deep impression on me.

How has being pro-life and the recognition that abortion is happening affected you?

After returning from the mission field in Nigeria, I have always tried to lay these needs before the Lord in my private life and in public.  Sometimes, when posting in front of abortion clinics in the Netherlands, I took my children along.  My wife and I realized that the abortion issue could be shocking for them, but we did not want them to grow up in a vacuum.  Additionally, the fact that the legalized child murder continued unabatedly has often made me depressed.  Will God not avenge the blood of all those helpless children?  Is the hardening mentality in our western societies not a sign of His judgment?  It seems we’re living under a cloud.

What are the biggest obstacles pro-life activists face from religious communities?

1. Indifference.  Many assert that, “of course,” they are pro-life (who is not?), but how many are really wrestling with this in prayer?  How many send letters to the responsible people?  How many go out of their way to make a difference?

2. Complacency.  We tend to think that, no matter what we do, the abortion caravan cannot be stopped.  We get used to the horrible practices that occur in hospitals and clinics.  And so we carry on with our life, our careers, our vacations, and you name it.

3. Active opposition.  There are Reformed people who regard all activism as a kind of good-works religion or, even worse, as outright wrong because “we are not supposed to demonstrate or to protest in the first place.”  This is hard for me to understand.  In my younger years, when I was a member of a communist youth group, I participated in demonstrations, in strikes and sit-ins, and in street battles with the police.  But our methods were totally different (they were often violent), and so was our goal.  We did not fight so much for others but primarily for our own rights, for more freedom, for higher wages, and so on.  Reformed people who actively oppose the work of organizations such as CCBR are either confused or influenced by an Anabaptist, a-political way of thinking.  Of course, they are entitled to their own opinion, but by portraying pro-life activism in a negative way, they undermine the good cause.

Can you think of other obstacles?

Yes, I have come across the idea that a pre-born child does not have a soul until it is a few months old or even until it is born.  This weird idea, cherished by a few ministers in former times, is potentially dangerous today as it plays directly into the hands of the abortion movement.  After all, if a pre-born child has no soul, what is it?  Just a cluster of cells?  A handful of tissue?  A blob?  You may still call it human life, but if it is not a human person, abortion loses much of its pervasive, sinful, and criminal character.  Then there is the innate fear to be seen as a radical, either by the outside world or by the members of your own church community.  And finally, many prefer to have a paid job to being involved with volunteer work that earns you little more than flak and spittle.  Suppose you have the choice between a teaching position with a fat salary and a job with a pro life organization where you must live from gifts―what would you do?

What words of advice do you have for those within our communities who seek to do pro-life work?

1. Pray for a deep compassion with the pre-born and their mothers.

2. Have a little patience with those who oppose you.

3. Go out and do the work with God’s help!

How To Die In Oregon: Our Culture’s Dance with the Devil

Generally, people don’t like a story where all the main characters die. However, that is precisely the point of a new HBO documentary entitled How to Die in Oregon, which traces the lives—and deaths–of a number of people after the passage of Oregon’s notorious 1994 assisted suicide, or “Die with Dignity” law.

The documentary begins with a morbid scene of a volunteer from an assisted suicide group called “Compassion and Choices” asking an old man surrounded by his family two questions: “You know you have the right to change your mind?” and “Do you know what this medication will do to you?”

The man answers gruffly that he wants do die, and affirms that he knows he is choosing suicide. The scene closes morbidly as the man breathes his last.

This documentary is a perfect example of how those who reject biblical truth are selling their message to the next generation. “I’m very against religion telling me what to do,” declares one man defiantly. And the message of “dying with dignity” is cleverly sold to viewers as it follows the lives of a number of elderly people and cancer victims, all asking for “medication” that will kill them while saying things that while intended to be comforting, should chill all of us.

“I don’t want to be a burden.”

“It’s the decent thing to do. For once in my life I’ll do something decent.”

“I just want to close my eyes and drift off…”

The film is eminently visceral, and incurs powerful emotions. It follows the journey of one likeable, dignified woman with cancer as she tells her children and husband that when she loses certain functions, she wants to take poison to end her own life. As the documentary records her grief, the grief of her family, and the gut-wrenching pain she suffers from her cancer, you begin to feel empathy. Her suffering tore at my guts while I watched. You slowly begin to understand why she’s making the decision to die.

That is because when we abandon any objective truth, decisions become about how one feels, not about what is right. Compassion becomes not what is best for someone, but what will make them feel the best temporarily. The documentary does not once address the fact that death is the gateway to an eternity, that we will not just “close our eyes and drift off,” but rather face our Creator. It cites people talking about how they want ultimate control over their lives, without examining whether or not that control is ours to take.

Neither does it address more fundamental truths. Why is human life valuable in the first place? What are the dangers, the “slippery slope” of assisted suicide? When God is taken out of the picture and we succumb to utilitarianism, it can be argued that suicide in the face of suffering is the right answer. Of course, if God does exist, then our desire for the “right” to choose our own time to die is just one more evidence of our complete societal rejection of the sovereignty of God. This documentary tries to normalize death, ignoring the fact that death is inherently unnatural—a punishment for our original sin that should never be considered normal.

And while the secularists will immediately accuse me of a slippery slope argument, how can we not examine the implications of allowing the practice of medicine extend to the gruesome business of ending lives? We have only to look at the Netherlands, where reports tell us many are euthanized without their consent, and the elderly often fear going to the hospital because doctors have become dispensers of death as well as life. They cannot be sure that what the doctor is putting in their IV bag is medicine—because the word “medicine” has been mangled to include poison.

Indeed, the documentary does admit the possibility of this, citing a man named Randy Stroup. Stroup was suffering from prostate cancer, and asked his health insurance provider to cover new chemotherapy treatments. Instead, he received a letter informing him that while his prognosis wasn’t good enough to waste money on chemo, they would pay for “end of life treatment.” Essentially, they quietly informed him that his life was no longer worth fighting for, and that if he wanted to die, they would pay for the poison.

When Stroup went public, the Oregon Health Board reversed its decision. However, this scenario is just a little preview of what is to come. With many reports citing the desertion of elderly parents and relatives in care homes by the younger generation, we should ask ourselves not just what a terminal cancer patient would do with a perverse law like this, but what impatient and greedy children might do as they see “their” inheritance slowly shrinking to pay for the care of their parents. When love waxes cold and human life is valueless, there may be many who will say in despair, “I don’t want to be a burden” and actually believe that taking their own life is “the decent thing to do.”

For Canadian readers, take note. The documentary also interviews a woman named Nancy Niedzielski, who helped crusade for the legalization of assisted suicide in Washington State. On her way to an interview with a Canadian radio station, she comments: “Evidently this is a hot topic in Canada.”

And so it is. We must remain vigilant against the further eroding of our Christian heritage and further attacks on the value of human life, created in God’s image. When you receive requests for assistance by those who seek to combat euthanasia and other attacks on human life, please respond. The churches are the conscience of the nation. If those consciences fall silent, what can we expect? Look to the Netherlands, and say “Not here. Not in Canada.” Look at their mobile euthanasia units, the commitment of infanticide due to the 2002 Groningen Policy, and their downgrading of human life, and make a decision. This cannot happen here.

Here, we can still fight.