We are living in a fast-paced technological age. Information and technology are expanding rapidly. One of the most significant areas is the dramatic expansion in communications technology. Much of our age's exploding information is now readily and economically available in a variety of video and other electronic formats. These range from computers with their wide variety of programs and games, to video cassette recorders and monitors and other electronic games and devices
Man's moral consciousness, however, has not always kept pace with his technological advances. Many of the tools of our age are accepted without adequate thought to the moral or ethical implications involved in their ownership or use. Such is the case with video devices -- the coupling of sight and sound.
There are many similarities between video devices and television, however, we make the distinction based on the more personal control of subject matter and the broader and less threatening uses possible with video than with television. Caution must he exercised, however, that familiarity with video does not lead to a weakened conviction regarding the use of television.
The applications of video are many and varied. Among them are: instructional, educational, job training, religious, family, business and entertainment.
While we recognize some practical and legitimate applications of some of these categories, we also recognize some inherent dangers. For instance, most religious programs do not reflect our understanding of biblical principles or theology. The same concern would also be valid in relation to some educational and instructional programs. These may also present unscriptural philosophies in subtle ways and thus undermine faith.
The area of entertainment is fraught with many dangers since it is essentially geared to the non-Christian mind with its appeal to the senuous and frivolous nature of man. There are also the attendant aspects of the unchristian environment where video games are played in public places and the captivation of the mind by unwholesome stimulus. To maintain purity of mind and holiness of life, the Christian must avoid all such influences.
The matter of Christians stewardship also comes into focus with regard to the ownership and use of video devices, not only the stewardship of finances, but the stewardship of time as well. There is also the danger of getting caught up in the spirit of consumerism so prevalent in our materialistic society. Buying for buying sake or for personal gratification or following a worldly fad is not the Christian norm.
Therefore, while recognizing that for the nature Christian there may be some legitimate uses of video devices, we would urge extreme caution and mature supervision in their use. Also, we feel uses must be limited to areas not conflicting with either biblical principles or our Conference standards. One should also beware and exercise caution regarding his influence on others.
We offer the following scriptures to provide basic guidelines for decision-making with regard to video.
"Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31). "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak" (Romans 14:21). "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:21-23). ___________________________ Adopted by the Southeastern Mennonite Conference June 24, 1988.
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