Can We Learn Anything From
Fifty Shades of Grey?
by Mary Stephens, Feb. 2015
On Valentine's Day, 2015 the movie version of E. L. James' Fifty
Shades of Grey opened in theaters in the U.S. There has been
a lot of controversy surrounding the book and now the movie.
Christians are not the only ones who have objected to this "romantic"
glamorization of an abusive relationship. There are even feminists
and people in the BDSM life that have objected for various reasons.
What is it about this book and movie?
A Little History
Fifty Shades Trilogy started its life as a "fan-fiction" story by
Erika Leonard (pen name E. L. James). The "real" series it was
based on was Stephanie Meyers' Twilight series and the
original main characters in Fifty Shades were actually Bella
and Edward the vampire. Considering the history and content of the
Twilight books, this shouldn't be a big surprise. Abusive
sexual relationships could be called a form of emotional vampirism.
Bad trees do bring forth bad fruit. It is an unavoidable law
that God has set in motion.
Matthew 7:17-20 Even so every good tree bringeth
forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is
hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall
Fan-fiction is a genre of stories written based on
existing books which give further details, alternate storylines, other
characters' views, etc. They are published now on web sites, but
one key element is that they are noncommercial, meaning the authors don't
make any money from them. Erika Leonard departed from this "rule"
rather widely when she made some minimal alteration in her TwiFic [Twilight
Fiction] book and took it to
According to The New York Review of
Leonard initially posted her AU [Alternate
Universe] TwiFic, Master of the
Universe, on FanFiction.net, under the alias Snowqueens
Icedragon, but it was eventually taken down, presumably because it
violated the rule on explicit content. She moved the story to her
personal website, and in the summer of 2010 she appeared with six other
prominent TwiFic writers on a panel at Comic Con, the comic-book
convention in San Diego. By 2011, after she transformed Master
of the Universe into the Fifty Shades trilogy
and published it with The Writer’s Coffee Shop, in Australia, Leonard
had an organized fan following. She also had detractors. Some argued
that sanitizing a fan fiction for publication, an act known as “filing
off the serial numbers,” constituted a betrayal of the genre’s
noncommercial ethos and an invitation to legal trouble. Writers had
published TwiFics before, typically as ebooks, but none had readerships
anywhere near the size of Leonard’s, and some accused her of exploiting
the Twilight fandom...for her own gain. (source: nybook.com)
[WARNING: This page has some explicit content. I don't recommend
reading it unless you feel you really need to.]
[By the way, I find it more than curious that
changed the hero's name to "Christian". There's more there than
meets the eye.]
From a biblical perspective, of course, this trilogy and movie are
wicked and shameful. So much has been written and said by others
on the books that I didn't feel it necessary to add my thoughts.
Some things changed that for me with the release of the movie.
First of all, as seems to be common, people who would never read a
book will sometimes go to see a movie - as if that were a less offensive
format. I don't understand it, but it happens. This gives
the message of said book a much more far-reaching influence, and in fact
can introduce really bad things to people who might not otherwise have
searched them out.
Secondly, I've read various things this time around that were
bothersome and really motivated me with the need to speak up.
There were two things I read by secular, unsaved women.
The first one was written by a doctor and psychologist who
specializes in youth and adolescence,
Miriam Grossman, MD. Dr.
Grossman clearly spelled out the fact that acceptance of or desire for
abusive relationships are a sign of a psychologically unhealthy woman,
and that in real life those relationships never work out well for either
party involved. Real life tells us that abusive relationships lead
to unhappy endings, not happy ones. Dr. Grossman wrote a letter to
young people explaining why they should not see this movie and should
resist its message. Among other dangerous ideas presented in the
movie that she exposed
in her letter this one really hit an important mark:
3. Anastasia exercises free choice when she
consents to being hurt, so no one can judge her decision.
Flawed logic. Sure, Anastasia had free choice – and she chose
poorly. A self-destructive decision is a bad decision.
(To read the entire letter, which I recommend, please go to
her own post of it. I will remind you that she is not a
Christian and some of her observations are contrary to the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus. Be forewarned on that.)
The second woman whose article I partially read is a member of the
BDSM community. I'll not link to it for obvious reasons. I
didn't even read the whole article myself because it was too sickening.
She was trying to build a case that Fifty Shades of Grey is a "misinterpretation"
of BDSM and that this deviation can be practiced in a "loving
relationship", so to speak. She claimed that she had grown up in a
loving home and her choice was purely her preference and not based on
any psychological deficiencies. Yeah. Well. Anyway,
even the parts I did read emphasized several things in my mind, the main
one being what Dr. Grossman said - a "free choice" to do something
self-destructive and abusive is still a bad choice.
We are all capable of deceiving ourselves, even when the people
around us know we are self-deceived.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it?
Just because you choose something and like something, it does not
follow that you have made a good choice or liked a good thing.
Here's an example: I like Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. They are
sugary, chemical laden cakes. They are bad for my body, nutrient
deficient and give me a false sense of satisfaction. They also are
fattening. Do you see where I'm going? Just because some
people find an abusive and demeaning relationship or lifestyle
"satisfying, sweet and desirable" it does not mean that it is "good for
wicked hearts will lead us into all kinds of error and ugliness. Just
because we like it doesn't mean it's OK. Just because we choose it
doesn't mean that we're still free!
Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart
is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the
servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth
ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
This brings up another whole line of thought.
The Christian Perspective
Do you realize that there are people who have been or will be saved
out of BDSM?
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners,
shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such
were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our
Yes. There are undoubtedly those among us who have lived this
lifestyle before they were saved. We read in
1 Corinthians 10:13, There hath no temptation
taken you but such as is common to man... That means that
accepting or choosing abusive relationships is a common temptation.
It doesn't matter whether the person is miserable in it or thinks they
like it. It is still a bad choice and it isn't uncommon. You
probably know someone who has fooled around with this, if you haven't
If this is a temptation then we
might ask: Should Christians be choosing to be entertained by this kind of
deviant behavior? Obviously, the answer to that would be no.
Not only are we told to think on things that are pure and lovely (Philippians
4:8), but we also should not be putting ourselves in the way of this
temptation because it could affect us. Watching a movie or reading
a book that glamorizes abusive and deviant relationships is obviously
going to introduce thoughts and temptations that we shouldn't be dealing
with. This would be willfully seeking temptation instead of God's
way of escape.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no
temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be
able to bear it.
There is another aspect of this that bothers me
There is this thing in Christianity which in my own mind I refer to
as "the purity cult". I really should write a whole article on it
because it's a little hard to explain so that someone won't
misunderstand. But, in essence what I see is a lot of people who
have idolized the concept of "purity" as they interpret it. It
often revolves around young girls and young women. Virginity is
not the only objective as it emphasizes keeping hearts, thoughts
pure until marriage. In theory, there is nothing wrong with this,
and there is a lot right with it, which is why it's so deceptive.
The thing that bothers me is the self-righteousness that enters into it and the idolatrous view
that some Christians develop around it. Some of the things I see
and hear smack of the parable of the publican and the Pharisee.
You see there are those who make it sound as if you are extra
special, extra pure, extra lovely, extra clean if you have never
done certain sins or thought certain thoughts. They have built up
a certain set of requirements for young women in particular, but young
men also, which, if kept, supposedly makes that young person appear to be
a better Christian than those who have not met the requirements.
Michael Pearl has made it clear that no boy who has ever viewed
will ever marry his granddaughter (which means she's more
likely to marry a liar). [NOTE: Don't read Pearl's article unless you
have a strong stomach and a good understanding of what it means to be
regenerated in Christ!] Bill Gothard, James Dobson and many
various groups have exalted "guarding your heart" and purity covenants
to the point of making it an idolatrous obsession for some. They
feel like they are being extra "holy" and "godly" if they manage to get
through their younger years having never "liked a guy" or member of the
opposite sex. But, what would Jesus say to these things?
Luke 18:9-14 And he spake this parable
unto certain which trusted in
themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the
other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
God, I thank thee, that I am not as
other men are, extortioners,
or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all
that I possess. And
the publican, standing afar off, would not
lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,
but smote upon his breast, saying, God
be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you,
this man went
down to his house justified rather than the other:
for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted.
I think it's pretty safe to say that all of us have been in both of
these situations at various times. It's easy to despise others for
sins we haven't committed, but it's humbling to realize the extent of
our own sins before God. In dealing with BDSM and the
whole issue of Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm afraid that too many
Christians will be tempted to trust in themselves and despise others.
In fact, I've seen it. I've run across those who were "thankful"
that they hadn't allowed such things into their minds. Really?
Doesn't that remind you of the passage above? "God, I thank
thee, that I am not as other women are, adulterers, viewers of perverse
movies and readers of wicked books..." Well?? Isn't it the
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make
ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend
themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing
themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Now, this doesn't mean that it's OK to read and view this type of
filth. It isn't. Anyone of us could witness to the fact that
we have things in our memory bank that we wish weren't there, whether it
was something we chose to put there or that was introduced some other
way. But, I think we fail to understand some important things when
we exalt people who have never committed certain sins as better than others or
as having an advantage over Christians who have "done those things".
Let me put this bluntly so there's no mistake.
Is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ sufficient to remove
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able
also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them.
1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son
cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.
Whom did Jesus come to call to repentance - the righteous or sinners?
Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answering said unto them,
They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came
not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Is pride a sin? Is it just as much a sin as deviant sexual
Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things
doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands
that shed innocent blood, An heart that
deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that
be swift in running to mischief, A
false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord
Ezekiel 16:49-50 Behold, this was the
iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride,
fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her
daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
And they were haughty, and committed
abomination before me: therefore I took
them away as I saw good.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the
world, the lust of the flesh, and
the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world.
Can God make us new creatures in Jesus Christ? Can we truly be
cleansed from our sin?
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore
if any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And
such were some of you: but
ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name
of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Revelation 1:5-6 And from Jesus Christ,
who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the
dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto
him that loved us, and washed us from our sins
in his own blood, And hath made us
kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which
I have spoken unto you.
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his
grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Sin is sin. If we think that we are less of a sinner than the
next person, we deceive ourselves, not God. The ideology that teaches us that we can be better, less
hindered, more vibrant, "wholer" Christians because we didn't commit
some specific sin is idolatrous because it denies the power of salvation
and redemption through Jesus Christ. It denies the very thing that
Jesus died to do - to cleanse us from
all sin! God forbid that we should belittle the
power of redemption!
Ephesians 1:17-20 That the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what
the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what
is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,
according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in
Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his
own right hand in the heavenly places,
1 Corinthians 4:19-20 But I will come to you
shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which
are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in
word, but in power.
Yes, we can learn something from the issues
surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey.
As believers we have a responsibility to ourselves, to our fellow
believers, and to the lost to always remember the enormity of all sins
against God and to remember the greater enormity of His power to forgive
that sin. We must never indulge our own flesh either in deviant
behaviors, or in pride and self-righteousness. Both are wicked
You know, some things in this world are shocking to some of us when
we run up against them, but I wonder how that reflects the mind of
Christ. I don't recall Him ever being shocked or surprised when He
came across something really deviant - the man possessed of many devils
(Luke 8:26-39) who lived among the tombs and abused himself, the
Samaritan woman who had had five husbands and was shacking up with the
man she was with at the time (John 4:17-18), Mary Magdalene out of whom
He had cast seven devils (Luke 8:2), Judas who was a traitor and a
thief, and many others. Is Fifty Shades of Grey a
repulsive story that is capable of doing great evil in the minds of many
people? Absolutely. But how are we going to ever reach the
people who are trapped in this bondage if we are too proud to soil
ourselves by ever getting near them - not the movie or the book, but the
real live people who do those things?
You see there are hurting people out there who are bound in abusive,
manipulative relationships. They may even call it bondage and say
they like it. But, the day may come, and already has for some,
when they will want out, and there is only ONE Savior who can truly
deliver them. If you are a child of God, you know who He is.
Are you willing and able to introduce them to Him? Do you want to
see them delivered? I'm guessing that a lot of Christians could
give the right answer here, but, my last question for you is this:
Do you consider their sin "worse" than your own? If you do, you
need to examine yourself and your own understanding of what it means to
be a slave to sin and to be freed by the power of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether
ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves,
how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever
committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not
in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son
therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
A Word of Hope
If you are trapped in BDSM or any other form of
bondage and you would like to get out, the good news is there is hope.
His name is Jesus Christ. He died on a cross outside a city called
Jerusalem and took all of God's wrath and judgment against your sin upon
Himself to pay for your salvation. In fact, the Bible says
regarding what God did when Jesus died on the cross,
"For he hath made him to be sin for
us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in
him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
Friend, that means you.
Because of what Jesus Christ did for you - dying in your place and
suffering the righteous judgment of God on sin - because He did that for
you, you can be made the righteousness of God in Him. You can be
free from your bondage.
after He died, Jesus Christ rose from the dead for our justification.
Speaking of Him the Bible tells us He
"...was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
justification." Romans 4:25
What is justification? Well, to justify
is "To clear from imputed guilt; to absolve from an accusation...To
maintain; to defend; to vindicate...To free from past sin by pardon." (Samuel
Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language). Every one of
us is a sinner, and every one of us deserves the righteous judgment of
God upon our sin, but when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and His
death and resurrection we are justified in Him!
Jesus said of Himself,
"The Spirit of
the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach
deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to
set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of
the Lord." Luke 4:18-19
do not have to continue to be a bruised and brokenhearted captive of
BDSM or any other sin. Liberty and deliverance and healing are
available to you in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
If you have been freed from this bondage already
through Christ, please don't imagine that you are somehow dirtier than
Psalms 103:10-12 He hath not dealt with us after
our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven
is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that
fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he
removed our transgressions from us.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their
unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no
As humans in this present life, we may not be
able to forget past sins and may be tempted by them again, but God has said that He will not remember
them. Your freedom from those sins of the past is as perfect today
as if you were already standing in heaven. The flesh may trouble
you, as it did Paul when he wrote, "For
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to
will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good
I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I
would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that
do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I
would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God
after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of
sin which is in my members. O wretched man
that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God
through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself
serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." Romans
But, how did he get the victory? Through
Jesus Christ our Lord!
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to
God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Links for further consideration:
Disclaimer on all Bible translations other than
the Authorized King James Version and possibly some content.
From Jo at "Finding Joy In the Every Day":
Mummy Porn, Part 1
Mummy Porn, Part 2
There Is A Lot Wrong with Porn
50 Shades of Grey: Glamorizes Sexual Violence -
Quote: "One woman every week in Australia dies as a result of
Intensity Vs. Intimacy - Be sure to read the words carefully in this
article so that you don't get them mixed up. Also, it's a bit of
an advertisement blurb at the very end, but the main point goes very
and backgrounds by Mary Stephens