$571,000,000.00 Worldwide

If you want to know why there is a sequel coming out for Fifty Shades of Grey, look no further than the number above. That is the worldwide box office totals for the erotic novel-turned-film. While the film was ravaged by critics, even earning a Razzie (Golden Raspberry Award) for the year’s worst film of 2015, sex seems to sell when content no longer does. The latest installment, Fifty Shades Darker, is expected to make another huge splash at the box office over Valentine’s Day weekend. The trailer for the film has been viewed over 17,700,000 times on the film’s official YouTube Channel alone. It’s quite interesting to see such excitement for a film that some have called “erotica lite” and “an informercial for Sex Toys R Us”.

Just How Raunchy Is The Film?

The film, as Lily Harrison of E! Online puts it, “dodged the NC-17 rating, much like the first flick Fifty Shades of Grey” and received an R rating for “strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity and language.” (Source) Harvey Day of The Daily Mail says, “It’s one of the raunchiest Hollywood franchises in recent history.” (Source) Dakota Johnson, who stars as Anastasia Steele, said that the film will be even more “sexually heightened” than the first one. (Source) So how does she get through filming scenes with such a heightened level of sexuality? By getting drunk of course! Johnson admitted to having a “pregame ritual” in which she gets drunk before filming the movie’s sex scenes: “He does pushups and I just lay there and drink whiskey.” (Source)

It’s no surprise, from a Biblical perspective, that a person who is about to engage in such a filthy adaptation of this erotica novel would need to get drunk to help her make it through the scenes. The Bible warns that we should not get drunk and that it leads to debauchery (Ephesians 5:18). Much like Lot’s daughters who would use alcohol to get their father drunk so that they could commit grievous sexual sin, Dakota self-medicates with alcohol to help her get through her sinful acts. While Dakota was able to numb herself enough to help her act the gratuitous sex scenes, the same could not be said for her mother, actress Melanie Griffith. On the red carpet for the 2015 Oscars, Melanie could be seen visually uncomfortable as an interviewer asked if she has seen her daughter act in her biggest role yet. Griffith replied, “I don’t think I can. I think it would be strange.” The woman interviewing her tried to calm the obvious tension as her daughter became upset, explaining that Johnson was a very talented actress and telling her she should be proud of her, but Griffith replied, “She’s a really good actress … I don’t need to see that to know how good she is”. At this point, Johnson can be seen visibly upset with her mother, and the interview went viral because of the candid display of embarrassment. (Source)

But that isn’t the only relative who isn’t all that thrilled with watching their loved one be displayed for all to see. Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey, said of his wife, “She hasn’t seen the film and I don’t think she will, to be honest.” One could imagine how difficult it would be for the wife and mother of their two children to make it through such scenes without feeling repulsed and even betrayed.

A Different Kind of “Love”

While the film will come ridden with sadomasochism and public displays of sexual gratuity, the executives at Universal have reportedly given the actors a gag-order when it comes to how they talk in interviews and on their own personal Twitter feeds. According to Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Christian Grey’s mother in the film, she was reprimanded for tweeting about “sex toys”. This is because the directors would like you to believe that the expressions made in the film are those of true love. They do not want you to see the film for the smut it truly is, but would prefer you believe this is the way love is truly meant to be. As Hollywood has continued its push at making fornication, adultery, homosexuality and polyamory a normative societal expression, the Fifty Shades series has attempted to bring sadomasochism into the fray. If you do not believe that the entertainment industry has had an effect on how young people view relationships, you are simply not paying attention. In 1991, Madonna made the following statement on how to desensitize people into accepting homosexuality as normative:

“They digest it on a lot of different levels. Some people will see it and be disgusted by it, but maybe they’ll be unconsciously aroused by it. If people keep seeing it and seeing it, eventually it’s not going to be such a strange thing.” (The Advocate, May 7, 1991, pg. 49)

This is not an accident, this is by design. And don’t think that this isn’t having an affect on people. This lax view of sex, and the idea of your own pleasure and desires trumping that of God’s will, is not missed in our society. In fact, a recent study done on sex and the millennial shows us just how far we have fallen in our view of the marriage bed.

Sex Before Marria…THE FIRST DATE!

According to the annual Singles in America Survey, 34% of singles say that they have had sex before a first date. You read that right…BEFORE THE FIRST DATE! Helen Fisher, Phd., a biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser for Match.com said, “We have a real misunderstanding of Millennials, I think they are very career oriented, so sex before the first date could be a sex interview, where they want to know if they want to spend time with this person.” (Source)

So-called “Sex-Therapist”, Kimberly Resnick Anderson, believes that the dynamic has changed when it comes to our viewpoint on sex.

“We used to think of sex as you crossed the line now you are in an intimate zone, but now sex is almost a given and it’s not the intimate part.” (Ibid.)

Good Christian SexBut Christians couldn’t be using this line of thinking, right? Actually, Bromleigh McCleneghan, author of Good Christian Sex: Why Chastity isn’t the Only Option – And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex (talk about calling good evil and evil good), a married mother of three and an associate “pastor” says that single Christians can have sex as long as it’s “mutually pleasurable and affirming”. (Bromleigh McCleneghan, Good Christian Sex: Why Chastity isn’t the Only Option – And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex, HarperOne, 2016, p. 103)

In her Op-Ed in The Washington Post concerning her book she says, “Part of figuring out how to live into the creative life of God is figuring out how to live into being yourself, and choosing the spiritual practices and disciplines that support your own discipleship. One of the most unfair things the Christian tradition has foisted on singles is the expectation that they would remain celibate – that is, refraining from sexual relationships.” (Bromleigh McCleneghan, The Washington Post, August 22, 2016)

One must ask McCleneghan, under who’s discipleship do you follow whatever rules you want to follow? The Jesus of the Bible asked His followers, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46), and that those who love Him obey His commandments (John 15:10). I imagine that the Lord’s brother, Jude, would have this to say to someone telling Christians to engage in sexual sin, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” She is giving them poison and telling them it is grape juice!

These are the very stumbling blocks that Peter wrote about in 2 Peter 2 when dealing with false prophets.

“These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:17)

Rather than the call to “Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18), Bromleigh McCleneghan calls for singles to give in to their desires. These desires that wage war against the soul will lead into nothing but despair. When you fashion a god that is different from the one we find in Scripture, this is called the sin of idolatry. A god that does not care whether or not you follow His commands or choose for yourself which commands you wish to follow is not real.

Interestingly enough, as our 2015 article regarding Fifty Shades of Grey pointed out, the number of women who have begun frequenting pornography websites after reading the book series has increased significantly. It was one researcher’s view that the book would only aide in this trend:

“…researcher Diana Parry interviewed 28 women ranging in age from 20 to 50+ who had read Fifty Shades of Grey, and asked about their pornography habits. She discovered that women in the group increased their consumption of sexually explicit content after reading the book. “So many of the women [we interviewed] were hopping in for the first time to pornography or sexually explicit material that was written by women for women,” Parry told Salon in an interview.

If the numbers given out recently during the Women’s March are any indicator, it is certainly having an effect. According to the most visited pornography website in the world, the normal amount of visitors on their site dropped significantly during the march. It was estimated that they lost over 2,000,000 visitors that would normally be tuning in while the march was taking place. The majority of those missing visitors, coming from the female side of the spectrum.” (Source)

If you are a woman or a man who is thinking about watching these films or reading these books, we implore you to flee from this sensual desire. If you are someone who has already given into this temptation, we hope that you will prayerfully repent and help to warn others of its sinfulness. If you are having trouble with this or other forms of pornography, I encourage you to speak with a trusted brother or sister in the Lord and pray about how you can be held accountable. The following excerpt is taken from an earlier article titled “Pornography Through The Lenses of Scripture”:

We need to recognize the spiritual warfare that is going on. One of the chief dangers when it comes to men fighting against this sin is not knowing who the enemy is! The Bible gives us an exact guideline on not only who he is, but how to defeat him! The Bible says that we aren’t fighting merely against a flesh and blood battle. It is not only our fleshly desires that are tempting us, but a cunning enemy who will bring about temptation in our life. This is a battle that is won not only on our knees but with our comrades. We have fellow soldiers in the army of God who need to come together and fight this battle with us.

In Exodus chapter 17 we read of the battle of Amalek and Israel. Not only did Moses raise his arms to Heaven, but his brothers came to his aid when he didn’t have the strength to hold them up himself:

“So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” (Exodus 17:11-13)

This is where the Body of Christ needs to step up. We need to hold our brothers arms up when they are lacking in strength. We need to make sure we hold each other accountable. If you are struggling with sin, find a brother or sister that you can confide in and ask him/her to pray for you.

As God puts it:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of the righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

Remember, don’t let Google know more about your struggles than a brother or sister in the Lord. Pray without ceasing. Do not simply pray THAT God will get you through the struggle, pray UNTIL God gets you through the struggle and lean on your brothers or sisters. Carry one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2)!

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