Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is the fact that 2014's been dubbed 'Year of the Christian movie" a good thing? Well, was Ahaz redecorating the temple a good thing?

The year 2014 has been dubbed "The Year of the Christian Movie." Ten years ago Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" was released and it became a blockbuster by any standard but especially for a Christian movie. Then...nothing. Crickets. No mainstream Hollywood movies with a Christian theme have been released. Until now.

All of a sudden, in 2013 New Ager Mystic Roma Downey and her equally lost husband Mark Burnett released a television mini-series called "The Bible". They relentlessly hyped it in print, promoted it on tv and flogged it to preachers. Many mega-church bought into their hype, like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren (who were on the series' 'doctrinal staff') and so the mini-series was even promoted from pulpits. Only thing, it wasn't a series about Jesus, at least, the one from the actual bible, the Word of God. There were so many doctrinal errors and aberrations that it could easily be seen that the series was not spiritually profitable. But it was terribly financially profitable.

Except that many Christians couldn't or didn't see that the series was not about the real Jesus and it had left the real bible in the dust.

Spurred by the mini-series' success, the Downey/Burnett duo extracted scenes from and re-worked the mini-series into a feature movie for theaters. The hyping, flogging and promoting went apace, and it was released this month. Once again the movie did brisk business at the box office. This has opened the bible-based movie floodgates, so to speak, as a Hollywood movie called Noah starring Russell Crowe is out, and almost a dozen Christian or bible based movies are ready for release or are in development or talks. 2014 has been dubbed the year of the Christian movie and many undiscerning pastors, congregants and others are hailing this as a mark that 'the world is hungry for Jesus.'

Except it's not. But more on that in a minute. Let's take a look at the slew of media based on the bible that will be an affront to Jesus and unholy to everything we hold dear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~2014~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

February: Son of God, reviewed here, and here where there are even more links to other reviews.
March: Noah (Russell Crowe). Noah is depicted as a boat-building psychopath wanting to murder his grandkids. Ray Comfort of Living Waters said of Noah: "They have no qualms about sensationalizing the story of Noah in order to make it more profitable," he says. "That's their bottom line. But the movie strays so far from the biblical account that it omits its essential message – God's judgment for man's sin and evil."

March: Noah and the Last Days (Ray Comfort made this movie to respond to and oppose the Crowe movie Noah)

Spring: Left Behind, reboot of the old Left Behind released in 2000 by Jerry B Jenkins, Tim LaHaye. This one stars Nicolas Cage. Reboot translated means 'better special effects.'

March: God’s Not Dead, Willie and Korie Robertson from Duck Dynasty. The Robertsons, while well-intended, are part of a church that preaches baptism is necessary for salvation. Go here to view a response as to whether this is correct doctrine and advance to 4:00 mark. Or here to read one.

April: Heaven Is For Real, book by Todd Burpo. Go here to read Justin Peters explain why trips to heaven do not line up with the bible.

December: Exodus (Directed by Ridley Scott, who once called religion the “source of evil.” Starring Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver)

Easter 2015: Mary Mother of Christ, starring The Bible and Son of God actor Diogo Morgado as Joseph and 16 year old Israeli Odeya Rush plays Mary. Ben Kingsley and Julia Ormond round out the star power. Joel Osteen is Executive Producer.

In development: Gods and Kings, (biography of Moses directed by Ang Lee.)
In talks: Pontius Pilate (potentially starring Brad Pitt)
In talks: Cain & Abel, dir by Will Smith

And in a weird and horrifying turn of events, a new video game:

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture video game PS4, "The game will take place in a village in Shropshire during the apocalypse."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So are you excited that after a ten year drought of movies depicting the God of the Universe with His Holy Word as the script that finally a slew of entertainments using the bible as source are slated for your popcorn pleasure? No? Good. Because it's not good. It's apostasy is what it is.
Photo CC, Liz West

Hollywood is not making movies to edify your soul, they are making movies to line their pockets. Run out of creative ideas, they saw the response from the Bible miniseries and went for a long-ignored source for the craven entertainment of the pagan populations. They ran like rats to a carcass to rip off a piece for themselves before all the 'best characters' were taken. They are not making movies that show a real Jesus as THE Son of God, they are re-making Jesus into a comfortable idol they can feel good about having brushed up against, if only on celluloid.

I'd mentioned above that 2014 has been dubbed the year of the Christian movie and many undiscerning pastors, congregants and others are hailing this as a mark that 'the world is hungry for Jesus.' The world is most assuredly NOT hungry for Jesus. The world does not want Christianity. The world hates Jesus, hates Christians and hates everything we stand for. Hates.

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." (John 15:18)
"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil." (John 7:7)

The matter is very simple. If it comes from the world, its works are evil.

The interest of Hollywood in bible movies is one prime example right off the bat they they are showing a false Jesus and presenting aberrant doctrine. 'The Bible' was almost universally praised. So is Son of God. I call the following verse the curse of popularity-

"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)

Buddy Christ, from movie Dogma
The only reason they are making bible and Jesus movies, and they hold their nose while they do it, at least until they change Jesus enough for them gulp the putrid air they are used to breathing, is to make money. And again, Jesus said this would be so.

"And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." (2 Peter 2:3)

'Son of God' Kicks Off Flood of Religious-Themed Films in 2014
Hollywood is looking for that new market and it’s ignored that market for a while,” says the Rev. Michael Morris, who teaches film and religion at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, Calif. It is a great marketing device and a direct appeal to a market that has somewhat been estranged from movies and are not going to go unless they get their money’s worth,” Morris says.

Biblical films' Hollywood comeback
Whatever happens, Noah will have the same advantage for studios as the other biblical epics. Unlike movies based on superheroes, or the latest literary sensation such as Fifty Shades of Grey, the studios will not have to pay millions of dollars in copyright and licensing fees. The stories in the Bible are free to use.

Just the combination in the same sentence of the mention of 50 Shades of Grey, a porn movie, and movies about Jesus is enough to make one shudder. But to flippantly state that the bible is an even better source because there are no licensing fees, is over the top.

But what the Hollywood movie-makers are doing and saying is not any different than what evil King Ahaz did. Ahaz went up to the King of Assyria and saw in his temple at Damascus some cute furnishings. Ahaz returned home and treated God's house like "Extreme Makeover: Temple Edition."

"When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details. And Uriah the priest built the altar; in accordance with all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Uriah the priest made it, before King Ahaz arrived from Damascus. And when the king came from Damascus, the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near to the altar and went up on it and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering and poured his drink offering and threw the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. And the bronze altar that was before the Lord he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of his altar." (2 Kings 16:10-14)

Pulpit Commentary says of this passage and the verses subsequent:

"He had a new altar made and introduced into the temple, which at first he used for his own private sacrifices (vers. 10-13); then, that his new altar might occupy the pest of honor, he removed from its place the old brazen altar of Solomon, and put it in an inferior position (ver. 14). After this, he required all sacrifices to be offered on the new altar (ver. 15). Finally, he proceeded to interfere with several other of Solomon's arrangements, with what particular object is not very apparent (vers. 17, 18). ... One sin leads on to another. Having introduced his self-invented quasi-idolatrous altar into the temple, and so inserted "the thin end of the wedge," Ahaz was not satisfied, but proceeded to another innovation.

For example, the High Priest was not to be commanded by the king in matters of worship but was only to be commanded by God. And so little by little, a redecorating here, a move there, and pretty soon God's divinely ordered Temple was a shambles of scurrilous offerings and idolatrous activity. It is the same with the culture today. We do not have a temple but we have the word of God which is also divinely authoritative. But a little wedge here and a camel nose there, and you have seen how quickly the flood of blasphemous movies made by blasphemous people has swept in and one innovation proceeds to another. Satan was removed from Son of God because he looked too much like Obama. Noah is dark and psychotic and the reason for the flood has been omitted. And so on. These are not good innovations.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary,
"The sin in this affair consisted in meddling with, and improving according to human taste and fancy, the altars of the temple, the patterns of which had been furnished by divine authority (Ex 25:40; 26:30; 27:1; 1Ch 28:19)."

The bible is divinely authorized, and to meddle with or improve to human taste or fancy, and in these cases from Hollywood, to line pockets, is sin.

They keep asking the question, "Why are there suddenly so many bible movies?" and the undiscerning response has been "because the world is hungry for Jesus." We have seen that it is not so. They are hungry for a spiritual idol of their own making, and soon they will find it in the antichrist. Rearranging the Temple went badly for Ahaz. And re-arranging the word of God to suit fancies or line pockets will go badly for those who participate also.

"Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31)

Or an image on silver celluloid.

Never fear! “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

No amount of celluloid adulterating can ever tarnish the wonderful God we have in Jesus. He is holy and pure and unchanged, and He is coming to rescue His children, who persevere in the faith.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:

I recommend these non-fiction/ documentaries:

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies (really REALLY good!!)


Bible/ People biopics:

The Jesus Movie
Damascus the Movie
Ben-Hur
The Gospel According to St. Matthew 1964. (I haven't seen this one though it is in my queue. The director was a gay Marxist atheist... but nearly every single line of dialogue comes from Matthew's Gospel, so I leave it to you)

Fictional films with a Christian theme

WWJD II: The Woodcarver
What if…
Flywheel
Facing the Giants
Fireproof
Love Comes Softly


10 comments:

  1. Have you seen Todd Friel's commentary including an interview with Russell Crowe? I can't get it to link here, but check You Tube - "Todd Friel Noah" and you'll find it. Russell clearly has no concept of the character he was to play. It's worth watching - he seems to think Noah was some bad guy who let everyone one around him die, was "in charge of the animals" and only built the ark because "he could get the job done". And yet people will flock to this, and think this is a "Biblical representation" of Noah. Sigh.

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    1. Let not EXODUS, by Ridley Scott, be a lot of nonsense, such as Russell Crowe's NOAH, which was a load of non biblical rubbish. If one is to make a movie with a biblical title based on biblical events one has to make sure that one stay exactly on track and USE the bible (KJV). Now Moses was God's chosen man. This Moses was lowly, weak and subject to all the failures of man under the condemnation of God, but God in His mercy and grace saved this man and provided with him a way for the Israelites to flee from the bondage of Egypt.

      1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

      Now one would wonder why there is this desire to once again produce films based on true biblical events. Only time will tell.

      Delete
  2. Going along with Anonymous' comment (March 16, 10:47PM) ~ I'd suppose that'd be about right: WHAT THE WORLD is conditioned to think as far as Noah being a bad guy who let everyone around him die -- SAME THING on a T.V. Noah movie made years ago starring Tony Danza..... basically, "here is what GOD would do ~ keep you out of this ark & let you die in this flood" ~ but here is what *I* choose to do ~ let everyone come in!! Moral of their stories' bottom line: "I am better than God"....

    Boy..... if only people could understand that THE DOOR **IS** going to be SHUT in their faces very soon! And if they're not on the right side of it (Rev. 4:1 and Isaiah 26) then they're going to experience hell on earth & will DEFINITELY have to choose sides *then*!! And follow to the Lake of Fire FOREVER the "god" they worship now, or give all ~ including most likely horrendous torture and death.
    Will people who become Christians during the Tribulation be strong enough to DIE FOR the Lord *then*.... when they will not LIVE FOR HIM *now*?? They will be FORCED to choose sides. And whichever their choices: it counts for all eternity.

    Good essay, Elizabeth! We all know far too many UNdiscerning Christians who will see these movies as a *good* thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Elizabeth, I agree, no this slew of movies is NOT a good thing. I agree with you, it's a "sign of the times" - of apostasy. And as Reva said, far too many UNdiscerning Christians will see this as a *good* thing.

    But I praise God - there are many who see the errors and disapprove. In fact, I just ran into a Christian lady I haven't seen in a while, and we had a great discussion about how both the Son of God movie and the Noah movie deviated substantially from the truth. We both were very opposed to the movies.

    Another potential Bible movie for your list: The Gospel of John. The script is just the literal Scriptures from the Gospel of John.

    http://www.christianbook.com/the-gospel-of-john/pd/281842?item_code=WW&netp_id=434019&event=ESRCG&view=details

    -Carolyn

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  4. Thanks for the list of good movies and your suggestion, too, Carolyn. We just paid our last tuition payment to a private Christian school because we've decided to homeschool in the fall. A recent school outing welcomed families to meet at a theater to see "Son of God." I think it would be better for our kids to be in a good public school rather than a "Christian" school where there is not enough discernment. What does "Christian" even mean? This makes me sad even as I write it because they have had many good teachers and learned a lot of scripture but at this point I'm excited to take all of the matters into my own hands. There is a good local school which will be our plan B if homeschooling is a disaster. :)
    Melissa S.

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  5. Not a good thing at all and I agree with you Elizabeth. I always think of the verse in Revelation 22:18-19
    "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book" and I also think of what Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 --

    "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken".

    Also -Isaiah 8:20
    "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn."

    People are being dummied down and lulled to sleep

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    Replies
    1. Elizabeth and Linda - Those verses from Revelation 22 are *exactly* what my friend and I said, when discussing these movies!!!

      -Carolyn

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  6. "Extreme Makeover: Temple Edition."

    Awesome - thank you for making me smile on an otherwise mopey day :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stated,

    “...Why are there suddenly so many bible movies?.....the undiscerning response has been because the world is hungry for Jesus. We have seen that it is not so. They are hungry for a spiritual idol of their own making...”

    The following scriptures may have a little insight into the above.

    “...they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).

    “Ignorant,” (Gk. agnoeo), means “not to know or understand, ignore or disregard.” “Ignorant” in the above scripture does not involve a lack of knowledge (“not to know”) for they had been enlightened to the righteousness of God in the teachings of Paul (Rom. 11:21-25; 1 Cor. 14:37-38). Rather, even though they knew, they voluntarily, actively, and freely chose to “ignore” the righteousness of God, setting up their own righteousness and seeking teachings that satisfied their wants.

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).

    “Endure” (Gk. anexontai), means to “bear with, put up with, have the mind or patience to receive”) sound doctrine. Instead, they will “heap” (Gk. episoreusousin), “accumulate” teachers who will say things that will tickle their ears. The idea behind “itching ears” is that of entertainment. Such people want their ears tickled with sensational, stimulating oratory. So, opportunistic teachers take advantage of them and tell them what they want to hear (what we see today).

    Because some will not put up with sound doctrine, they will “turn away their ears from the truth.” This suggests a deliberate refusal to hear the truth of the gospel (Rom. 10:3). When they do this, then they will “be turned unto fables.” “Turned unto,” (Gk.ektrapesontai), a verb that suggest a wandering from the true path without knowing it.

    God's written Word must be our ultimate guide to truth and practice. We must use God's Word, given by the Holy Spirit, as our full and sufficient guide by which to judge what we believe and do. The tendency within some churches to form doctrine, practice, or new truth on subjective experiences, tradition, miracles, success, man-centered goals, or man made theories without solid Scriptural authentication will be one of Satan's chief means of deception in the apostasy of the last days (Matt. 24:5,11; II Thess. 2:11).

    Mario

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  8. I have to post a note on "God's Not Dead." Willie and Korie are only in the movie for about 3 minutes.None of the dialogue from Willie and Korie mentions that baptism is essential for salvation. Willie makes a brief appearance on the big screen at the Newsboys concert as well. The movie is very well done. Kevin Sorbo does an excellent job playing an atheist philosophy professor, so good that it's hard to believe he's really a Christian. We saw this movie last Saturday night and there was not an empty seat in the theater. The audience applauded at the end of the movie. I highly recommend "God's Not Dead."

    ReplyDelete

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