Video games have been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the ‘90s, I was raised on the NES and my best friends were Mario and Luigi. Gaming appealed to me in such a visceral way because I was the one making the long jumps, beating the bad guys, and saving the princess (or planet). After a few console generations, my parents began to ask me the age-old question, “When are you going to grow out of these video games”. My answer was always, “Never”.
Now in regards to my faith in Christ, it started in high school where I learned more about Christianity. Admittedly, I began attending the Bible Club because a cute girl was there. After attending for a few weeks, I knew something was different about this brand of Christianity than what I initially thought.
I remember playing Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on GameCube one night when someone from Bible Club IM’d me on Yahoo Instant Messenger (yes, I’m that old). Our conversation quickly turned to the Gospel and the conversation ended with me putting my faith in Jesus Christ. Ironic, now that I think about it, after that conversation I went to play a video game.
As I went through high school and found the likes of Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and Voddie Baucham Jr., I began to really admire these men and take my faith more seriously. I got into the Bible more and studied heavily. As I did, I came across one verse that just stopped me.
‘So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’
1 Corinthians 10:31
What did that even look like? How do you eat a pizza to the glory of God? I became consumed with figuring out what it meant. The best I could come up with in regards to food was to be grateful for what you have and don’t complain about what you’re eating. After all, it’d be like yelling at the cook for handing you the food. When it comes to finances, it’s being content with what you have and not living outside of your means. The answers for every area of life seemed to fall into place somewhat smoothly. But video games? Now that was a Rubiks Cube kind of puzzle in my brain.
As I began to think more about this and come to grips with the realization that everything has a worldview, I began asking what worldview is being presented in the games I play. I began to pay attention to games like Bioshock with Andrew Ryan’s famous quote, “A man chooses, a slave obeys” and “No God, Only Man” plaque that greets you as you enter Rapture. I began paying attention to Joel’s somewhat selfish decisions in The Last of Us. Kain’s constant struggle with darkness and Cecil’s forsaking of the darkness in Final Fantasy IV. Video games, coincidentally enough, have a lot more going on than just pure fun.
When I searched the internet for someone discussing video games from this perspective, I couldn’t really find anyone. At least, that was the landscape back in 2015. I was really into podcasts at the time, had a Blue Snowball microphone and saw the lack of Christian voices discussing games in the way I was interested in. I figured there were others out there like me, why not fill that space and provide that outlet?
Thus, The Reformed Gamers has become an outlet for my cohost, Adam, and I to discuss these themes from a Biblical worldview. What naturally outflows from these discussions is a deeper appreciation for God’s Word, character, and grace. It also has enhanced many of the games we play while also realizing that some games have an incredible amount of depth. Video games are much more than a K/D ratio, big explosions, and grotesque fatalities. Each game has a worldview. In order to truly game to the glory of God, we must begin with renewing our minds to reform the way we approach games.
“In order to truly game to the glory of God, we must begin with renewing our minds to reform the way we approach games”
Since January 2015, The Reformed Gamers community has grown in ways that I honestly never saw happening. It started out as a Facebook group but has now branched out to so many places across the internet that I’m convinced we probably have some Deer Listeners on MySpace. It’s a great place for Christians, whether you lean towards reformed theology or not, to hang out and talk about some of your favorite games and gaming related news. We even installed an auction house for members to sell their games and accessories to one another. If you’re interested, we’d love to have you!
Through it all, it’s been amazing to see God take this hobby of mine and turn it into something much bigger. He’s gathered people around this hobby for His glory and used it as a means to encourage one another. It’s been fun to see Hebrews 10:24-25 come to life.
To learn more, you can check out episodes of our podcast by visiting our website. You can also check out Gaming Theology series through the game of Furi on our YouTube channel.
Check out The Reformed Gamers podcast, blog, and social media as well.
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GG & Amen