Culture At Large

How Should Christians Engage with Pop Culture?

Jordan An

"The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it" (Psalm 24:1, NIV)

Everything, including culture, is covered by God's sovereignty. We believe that by his common grace in the world, believers and unbelievers alike are capable of creating beautiful things—including movies, TV shows, music, and more.

As we allow our faith to motivate and inform how we navigate the world around us, how should we as Christians engage with pop culture?

With curiosity

Because culture is included under God’s creation and sovereignty, we should approach pop culture with an optimistic curiosity. At Think Christian, we like to explore every piece of pop culture by asking:

  • Does it echo the gospel in some fashion?
  • Does it evidence our need for the good news?
  • Does it contradict our understanding of the world in a way that deserves a loving response?

These questions allow us to consider a piece of art or pop culture on its own terms and then ask how it might sit alongside our faith. We can appreciate the parts that resonate with our faith while learning more about the world and our shared humanity. We can also notice how the good news of the gospel rises to respond to patterns of thought or action present in the piece that aren’t aligned with what we know of our faith from God’s Word.

With grace

Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (NLT).

Just as all of our conversations should be seasoned with love, our discourse around pop culture should offer grace and space for those with differing opinions and beliefs. To put it plainly, we can’t expect a non-Christian piece of art to align with all of our Christian values, but we can look for the ways that God’s truth and beauty might be present in unlikely places.

With discernment

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23, NIV).

In this verse, Paul touches on something crucial to our Christian lives: the Bible doesn’t say “Don’t watch non-Christian movies or listen to non-Christian artists.” Nor does it give us a check-list of what makes a TV show acceptable for Christians or detail how many hours of video games a Christian should play. However, the Bible does tell us that God has given us a spirit of discernment and wisdom.

Every Christian, informed by Scripture, should prayerfully make their own decisions about what pieces of pop culture are beneficial and constructive for them. And just as we should be gracious towards non-believers, we should extend the same grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ who may have different boundaries than we do.

As you consider how you can meaningfully engage with pop culture with curiosity, grace, and discernment, pray that God would give you the eyes to see and ears to hear “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, [and] whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8, NIV) in his creation.