Seduced by Fifty Shades of Grey

How is a story about bondage supposed to be liberating to women?
From the April 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

A naive woman is drawn into a relationship with a mysterious, sexy billionaire with a dark side. Against her better judgment, she allows him to seduce her deeper and deeper into his world and to coerce her into degrading acts.

The basic plot of Fifty Shades of Grey also serves as a metaphor for what is happening to millions of people entering its world of dark, abusive, demeaning, perverse sexual practices.

It started in 2012 with a self-published e-book that eventually became a trilogy. Overnight it became the United Kingdom’s fastest-selling paperback in history. It has been translated into 52 languages, and has sold over 100 million copies.

Movie makers rushed to cash in. The Fifty Shades of Grey movie smashed box office expectations. Released in time for Valentine’s Day—as if it was the perfect date movie—it raked in more than $94 million in the United States alone over the four-day weekend. Establishment news programs, respected publications and popular websites rushed for an audience share by reporting on the movie as if it were just another Star Wars installment.

If you want a snapshot of the moral climate in America and Britain, look at the frenzy over Fifty Shades of Grey. Just don’t look too close. This entertainment juggernaut has quite suddenly brought sadomasochism into the morning shows, the newsmagazine on your coffee table and your local school hallways.

Women are collectively paying millions to absorb its message—a message that on its face is explicitly damaging to women. The story sends deeply confusing and toxic signals, glossing terrible evil with an alluring, mysterious veneer. It dusts violence against women with glamour. It entices women to subject themselves to unhealthy relationships and/or to participate in harmful sexual practices. A study published in Journal of Women’s Health last summer found that readers of the series are much likelier than nonreaders to be in abusive relationships.

Somehow the purveyors of this entertainment say this is empowering and liberating women. That is ironic, when its overt theme is subjugation and bondage. Ask a woman who has been abused or raped how empowered she feels by it.

In a truly galling segment on its daily news show This Morning,cbs News audaciously conflated the twisted sexual “submission” depicted in Fifty Shades with the “submission” wedded wives give to their husbands under God’s laws for marriage in the Bible. In reality, the Bible is absolutely contrary to everything Fifty Shades represents. This film exemplifies society’s unrelenting stampede away from biblical morality and truth.

In a literal sense, Fifty Shades exposes the true nature of the sexual revolution: It is alluring—and it leads to bondage. As Romans 6:16 says, sin enslaves people. Evil is a drug. People become hooked and constantly crave stronger doses. Fifty Shades is drawing millions deeper into that dark world.

The Bible commands men to curb our lusts. It directs us to commit to family. It commands us to protect women and children, to safeguard them from predators. Fifty Shades of Grey wallows in lust. It ignores family. It idealizes sexual predation. It sends the message that women want to be dominated sexually. It glamorizes abusive, repugnant selfishness. The success of this series demonstrates and accelerates society’s efforts to exempt men from our biblically mandated responsibilities toward women and children, and to encourage us to gratify our appetites, however wicked, without thought to consequences.

The Bible contains the viewpoint of the Creator of sex. He commands that it express nothing but love, outgoing concern and affection between a committed husband and wife. (Herbert W. Armstrong wrote beautifully about this in The Missing Dimension in Sex—we strongly recommend this book and will send you a copy for free.) Fifty Shades of Grey is the exact opposite. This is the war on women.

The husband-wife relationship is a human-level embodiment of the beautiful relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32). The “submission” enjoined in scriptures like Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18 and 1 Peter 3:1 has absolutely nothing in common with the perversions of sadomasochism—and if the people at cbs were honest, they would admit that.

The Bible never permits husbands to abuse their wives or treat them unlovingly. God commands a husband to love and honor his wife, to give himself in sacrifice for her (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19 and 1 Peter 3:7). He is to be her self-sacrificing leader, putting her needs before his own. And his authority is not absolute. His wife submits “as is fit in the Lord,” within the bounds of God’s law of love, never contrary to it (Acts 5:29).

Nothing upholds the honor and dignity of women like the truth of God. Right now, nothing is bruising and staining it quite like Fifty Shades of Grey.

Society has discarded God’s absolute morals and embraced a world where everything is a shade of gray. There is darkness in everything, and it holds the world in its thrall. But there is no darkness at all in God (1 John 1:5). He tells us to flee fornication, to come out of evil, and to walk in the light. He wants to break the chains of sin on your mind (Isaiah 61:1).

This truth should be self-evident: There is such a thing as evil—and Fifty Shades is wretched, dark evil. Don’t be seduced by it. Stay away from bondage. As Jesus said in John 8, “[Y]e shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”