Monday, August 31, 2015

Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers' new movie, "War Room", part 1

Part 2 here


Kendricks: L-R: Stephen, Alex, Shannon
For Christians seeking family friendly faith based movies either as entertainment or as ministry the Kendrick Brothers movies from Sherwood Pictures have been the go-to series for many. Originally from Athens GA, the Kendrick Brothers are Shannon, Alex and Stephen. The latter two attended college, were ordained as ministers. Alex accepted a call to Roswell Baptist Church as staff, then later to Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany GA as associate minister of media. Stephen joined him there two years later. Shannon completed college and accepted a job at IBM.

It has been a lifelong dream of Alex and Stephen to make full-length Christian movies, and at Sherwood Baptist that dream came to fruition in 2003 with the independent production of their first film collaboration, Flywheel. After that came Facing The Giants, a huge hit in 2006, Fireproof in 2008, a bigger hit which starred their first bona fide professional actor Kirk Cameron, and then Courageous in 2011, yet another hit with secular validations of climbing the NY Times Bestseller lists and gate take to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Movie #5, War Room, is due out Aug. 28, 2015.

After this the brothers split from Sherwood Pictures/Sherwood Baptist as their base for production and formed their own company, Kendrick Brothers Productions. Shannon, the eldest brother who had been working at IBM all this time, resigned to help his siblings with the management of their new company. Along the way much merchandise has been sold under the auspices of each film, notably the Love Dare and the LoveDareTest among LOTS of other merchandise from Fireproof, and the Courageous Resolution from Courageous, among LOTS of other merchandise from the aforementioned film. (2 Peter 2:3)

Many folks are pleased that faith-based honorable movies are being made which they say honor Christ, and are even more pleased that much merchandise is available to re-stock the movie company coffers so that these movies can keep being made. Churches who have been relentlessly pressured hype the films and in their church sanctuaries host previews, events, marital retreats, Courageous ceremonies, and 'bible' lessons accompanied by all the paraphernalia and curricula associated with the movies. Marriages are being saved. Fathers are returning to biblical duty. It's all good.

Isn't it?

I'd like to offer a different view.

My first introduction to the Kendrick Brothers was as a newbie Christian, hapless bystander of the waves of hype when Facing the Giants was released. The Baptist church I'd been attending at the time heavily promoted the film and everyone was encouraged to attend. No doubt, the movie was a tearjerker, a feel good movie that seemed right with Jesus- on the surface. I was discomfited by the thread throughout that when one submits totally to God is when things begin to work in your earthly life and all your temporal wishes will come true, like winning football games and getting a new truck. It seemed to me a kind of slick Christianity. But I was new to the faith and more to the point, new to church life, and didn't know for sure.

Kendrick Brothers' "Movie #5"

Yes, it's true that when one submits to God, we will be blessed, but the biblical Stephen was 'blessed' with a vision of heaven before the last killing stone crushed his head. Paul was 'blessed' with a thorn in his side which tormented him God called sufficient grace. Peter was 'blessed' with a long career preaching in a persecuting world that ended with martyrdom on a cross. Facing the Giants bought into and promoted every Western Christian cliche imaginable. I would like to have seen the coach get fired even if he had won the championships. Or what would have happened to their faith if they hadn't won the championships. Or if they never had gotten pregnant. What then? Would THAT kind of faith hold true? But Facing the Giants isn't that kind of movie.

Then Fireproof came out and I was more discomfited. The hype was louder and tsunami-like this time. I can't tell you the pressure at churches when a new Kendrick Brothers movie is issued. It's like the second coming and this movie is gonna solve everything. I am not exaggerating. It was almost as if I would be blaspheming if I said that I didn't want to watch the movie or if I said that I didn't like it. There were parts in Fireproof I enjoyed but my discomfort with the doctrine in Fireproof was more coalesced this time.

First, I hated Catherine.

I was aghast at her adultery and more aghast that it was never addressed. I was stunned that her act of filing for divorce with her signature on the decree was never addressed as unbiblical. She was never shown as repenting. Much was made of the male actor's pornography viewing but not of her flirtatious adultery in lining up the Doctor as husband #2. I was sorry that her withholding of sex from her husband, unbiblical as it is, was never addressed but all the fault lay at the husband's feet with his porn, anger issues and distancing himself from her. It takes two not to tango, but the woman's culpability was never seen as an issue.

Worse, it was not clear from the hype, plot synopsis, or posters that Catherine was not a Christian. The husband, Caleb, might not have been but it's more sure that Catherine wasn't. The movie took the stance that it was a movie about Christian marriage but if it was, the writers would have to address being unbiblically yoked. If neither was saved when the movie began then it wouldn't have been a Christian movie. Did you realize that? That one or both marital partners are not Christian in the film for most of the running time?

From the script: at the very end-
This may be the second time they've made a commitment to this marriage...     ...it is the first time they've done so on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ.
So if one or both parties is not of Christ, then we can see that the theme of the movie is how you act (demonstrate unconditional love, and overlook sin) is what brings a marriage together, not Christ. This secular reviewer hit the nail on the head when he wrote:
What about that message? There was really very little, if any, explanation of why Christianity had anything at all to do with the saving of Caleb and Catherine’s marriage. That’s what made the message so weak. All the actions shown from the “love dare” book were secular in nature, except the day where Caleb was supposed to pray for Catherine, which he admitted he didn’t do… which seems to be showing that, even without the religious parts, the marriage was saved.

I enjoyed Dalrock's review of Fireproof but here is an Internet Movie DataBase reviewer who has the same take as Dalrock (and me) but is more detailed, and funnier.
Caleb is a respected leader of a firefighter squad. His wife works in the hospital and flirts with a married doctor. When Caleb comes home, all he gets from his wife is complaining and disrespect. No wonder he resorts to internet porn and is saving money for a boat, probably so that he can sail away and finally enjoy life outside of his work. His wife wants to intercept all the money he has been saving and make him doing household chores, so she constantly nags and shows disrespect. In the meantime, she is working on her backup option, a rich doctor who would likely give her more money than her blue collar husband. Finally she resorts to a divorce threat to break Caleb's spirit. The firefighter would be happily free from the greedy witch, but his father begins a series of preaching sessions and is finally successful in persuading Caleb that he is the one to blame for all the marital disorder. The newly brainwashed firefighter smashes his porn loving computer and starts a program in which he sucks up to his wife every day. He even starts doing household chores. She ignores him and continues to work her charms on the doctor, until she makes sure that Caleb is totally obedient to her, and would accept any crap she gives to him. Finally he gives her (actually her mother) all the money he has been saving for his boat.

The only thing that the wife really goes after is money. She did not care that her hubby was doing his best to please her for 40 days. When she was thinking that the Doc was the one who gave her the money, she was falling for him and was ready for a divorce. When she realized that the money was actually given by her husband, she started loving Caleb again. Basically she acts like a super expensive escort, If the married doctor had given her more money than her husband, she would have followed the money, because this movie blatantly shows that this is the main thing which makes her tick.

The movie basically teaches how to emasculate and brainwash your husband, to get all the money and all the control in the relationship. Well, life is brutal. But wait, why is this called Christian?
Now it's tricky to negatively review Fireproof because it's true that Jesus needs to be the center of marriage. It is true that unconditional love needs to be the way we act in marriage. Mutual submission is the goal but if one is unequally yoked (Caleb converted first) then one needs to make the first move and continue it, as Jesus did no matter the rejection encountered. But I'm offering these alternate views for food for thought. Most aggravating to me is the lack of repentance on the wife's part. She accepted the gifts, the attention, and entered into vows at the end, but never humbled herself as Caleb did.

I chose not to watch the Courageous movie, insulted as I was at the merchandising which turned me off from the outset. In addition, given the trajectory of the previous three movies (counting starting from Flywheel) the likelihood that the movie wouldn't be doctrinally sound was higher. I also did not like the emphasis on the main characters' faith being demonstrated by a public signing of a resolution. It is my contention that making extra vows and resolutions above and beyond what the bible commands is unnecessary and adds man's words to God's. Taking a vow before the LORD is a weighty, weighty matter, not one to be emotionally manipulated into based on peer pressure- which you know happened in churches all across America the months after the movie came out.

Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37)

I am personally highly insulted to be the target of merchandising but I know that is how the world works. But I'm more insulted when churches target me. If I go to a church-led small group session to learn the Bible, if I am given a curriculum from a movie I heatedly resent that.

Now I understand that the intentions of the Kendrick Brothers was to make Jesus-honoring movies that address certain important aspects of Christian life (honesty, faith, marriage, fatherhood, now prayer). And of course fatherhood, faith, prayer and marital commitment are terrific themes for any book, movie, or curriculum. I don't doubt their motives...but they make it harder for me to trust their motives when the lead writer for the movies resigns his pastorate to follow a new calling, abandoning his flock and failing to fulfill his ministry in order to produce more Hollywood-style movies that have more and more merchandising attached. (2 Timothy 4:5).

Worse, as ordained ministers formerly operating under the oversight of their home church, (but no longer) listen to how the brothers decide to move forward with the themes for each of their movies. It isn't from the Bible. God tells them.
We go through the better part of a year, saying, ‘Lord what do you want us to focus on, what do you want the plot be?’ It’s usually near the end of that year. It could be eight months, ten months, or a full year… it’s almost like he downloads something to us. ... It wasn’t something where we sat in a room and said ‘What do you want to do?’ We’ve never done that. 

For the movie Fireproof, Kendrick says his team heard God give them a theme of marriage. For the movie Courageous, fatherhood. And so on. He speculates that upcoming themes may be military faith, motherhood, or teen issues, but says he won’t really know until God downloads. [emphasis mine]
I have previously discussed this approach to decision making. At minimum it is mystical. At maximum it leads to monstrosities like Sarah Young's Jesus Calling and most things false teacher Beth Moore. Do pastors sit in a prayer closet for 10 months and ask the Lord what to preach on, and wait until He downloads a theme? Hardly. (Hopefully).  But this "Ask the Lord and He will tell you" method is all too common today. Is it wrong to seek the Lord in all you do? No. Is it wrong to consult with one another and say, "Let's do a movie on the importance of prayer"? Of course not. Christians have been making decisions this way for millennia. It's called "making a decision." However, attributing the theme of your movie to God because He downloaded it to you or personally revealed it does not inspire my confidence, it diminishes it, because now I'm concerned with their discernment. This concern revolves around three fronts. One, the aforementioned Mystical-Method of Hearing From God. Second, their choice of casting. Third, the Kendrick Brothers associations and partnerships.

In this Youtube interview from several months ago regarding the upcoming release of War Room, the Brothers stated,
  • We pray over every single role
  • We want Christians playing Christians in these movies, we want to know they believe what they are speaking in these roles
  • We want no hypocrisy, [we hire Christians who show that] we believe what this movie is about then live it out, outside the credits
With that in mind, we will look more deeply at the Kendrick Brothers' fifth move's main role, Elizabeth Jordan, played by Priscilla Shirer. What does Mrs Shirer believe? How does she approach prayer and decision making and faith? Did you know that the Resolution for Women in the movie Courageous was written by Shirer?

Part 2 discusses Mrs Shirer's beliefs, approach to Bible study, and then we will return to a discussion of the Kendrick Brothers' discernment.


Further Reading:

Justin Peters reviews War Room
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Thank you everyone for you comments. I am closing comments at this time.



32 comments :

  1. I don't think I'd heavily promoted any of the movies, though I generally viewed the content positively. I appreciate the insights you offered.

    I have another one -- and not because I'm taking a side, this just came to mind as I was thinking it through -- with respect to the endings being too positive. One can think of the book of Job, as well as the story of Joseph, Ruth and Esther as Biblical examples where 'everything worked out' as a 'result' of faith [in quotes because it's God's providential prerogative to do what He will whether you have faith or not]. So if a film about Christianity ends like a moralistic fable, it's not necessarily something wrong with the movie. As with the Biblical stories referenced, it is simply showing what *may* happen, even though there should be no expectation that it represents the general trend.

    That said, I too disliked the 'resolution' from Courageous -- and found the movie to be more disjointed than Fireproof, with a handful of morality plays as subplots that weren't connected to faith in more than a superficial way. It was some time ago that I watched Fireproof, so I don't remember enough to recall how the wife reacted. Nevertheless, if the claim is that she cares most about money, that's pretty realistic as far as my observation of people in this society goes. I can see that there would be a problem if she was represented as a believer, but I don't remember if she was? Yeah, it's a downside that 'unequal yoking' wasn't brought up but on the other hand, when a spouse becomes saved, it's a different dynamic than avoiding marriage in the first place. 1 Cor 7 indicates that faithful witness may be used by God to save the other spouse. In that respect, it's a strength that it focused mainly on what the saved spouse should do -- although once again, they made it too moralistic and I don't recall there being an emphasis on marriage as a living type of Christ.

    The lack of discernment re: Shirer, and her prior involvement is the most disturbing thing to me. One can speculate about motives and effectiveness at crafting a Biblical message on screen, but joining together with false teachers is a spiritual issue that will affect everything coming out of that cooperation.

    Maybe we can organize a letter-writing campaign to bring this unequal yoking to the attention of the Kendrick Bros.

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  2. I agree with everything you posted here. Up until a few years ago, I loved these movies and anxiously awaited each release. Partly, I think, because of my children and not being able to find that many "clean" family movies for them to watch. The only one of those movies that had any redeeming scene in it was Courageous. If I remember correctly there was one part where the gospel is presented, between two of the police officers. I can't recall that in any of the others.

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  3. She was uninterested in her husband because of the adultry he was already commiting in his viewing of Porn! Christ himself calls that adultry, so yes she was in the wrong for looking for another man to fulfill her needs but he had already began cheating on her in his heart. He was selfish and always thought of himself first, over time that turned her heart from him. A woman whose husband cheats has every right to ask for a divorce. Even if it's Porn, Christ defined lust of the heart as adultry. Adultry on either side is just cause for divorce, by either spouse. God is just and men and women are both equal in his eyes. ( There is neither male nor female, in God's eyes we are the same.) Yes, he was the one who was shown repenting, how often have movies been made the other way round, men actually commiting adultry with a wife sitting at home praying for him and offering him forgiveness? Those movies are a dime a dozen. Neither parnter is allowed to cheat, Porn or other wise and both have the right to end a marriage once the other has broken the marriage vow. Read your Bible. God has no preference with gender, he will judge all sinners equally on Judgement Day. If a man can come to the end of himself and save his marriage, good. No life doesn't magically fall in place when you get saved in fact in usually becomes more difficult, but when God is put in control, even when things don't run perfectly, God's Holy Spirit brings us Joy and Peace.

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    1. I agree, he is culpable for his part in the distancing of the two of them. Yes I agree he committed adultery. If this is going to be called a Christian movie it'd be nice of the writers showed both characters' repentance since the movie took time to show both their sins, and ended with a neat bow of HIS submission, but not hers. It's unbalanced and I don't excuse that because the movie touts itself as a movie about Christian marriage.

      "A woman whose husband cheats has every right to ask for a divorce." Yes, you are referring to Matthew 19:9 here. but read the first few chapters of Hosea, especially Hosea 1:2 where marriage is a picture of God's marriage to His adulterous people and in grace forgave the adultery. This is preferred. . In addition, she cheated too. So according to Mt 19:9 Caleb also had the right to ask for a divorce. Further, she caused the temptation in Caleb toward porn by withholding herself from her husband in violation of 1 Cor 7:3. She also pursued the doctor adulterously.

      What's with the "read your Bible" comment? I mean, really, for heaven's sakes. Is that what passes for biblical discussion these days?

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    2. Elizabeth,

      Joseph, when he found out Mary was pregnant, sought to divorce her quietly because he was a righteous man. A person who wants to divorce a philandering spouse is being righteous in their decision. Yes, if the faithful spouse chooses to stay, that person is free to do so, but that person is also free to leave, without condemnation. Staying isn't "preferred", especially if the cheating spouse is unrepentant.

      I find this strange: that you are being very heavy handed about Catherine in this movie, but when the scandal with Tullian T came out, his wife being the one who cheated first, you said TT should have "covered over her sin" and only dealt with his. In that case you hardly had a whisper about TT's wife's sin.

      -Carolyn

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    3. And PS, Hosea was commanded by God to marry a harlot, because he was a special case... a prophet who was called to be a living example of God's relationship with Israel... an unfaithful people who in the end repents.

      God does NOT command anyone to marry a harlot otherwise, so applying Hosea's story to regular people's marriages is not a proper use of Scripture.

      -Carolyn

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    4. Carolyn I didn't say God commanded Hosea to marry a harlot. I'd said it was a picture of God's marriage to His adulterous Bride. This concept is carried over into Ephesians 5:22-24, and Eph 5:25-28 and is a perfectly acceptable use of scripture.

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    5. Hi Carolyn,
      I had agreed with you that the cheated-on spouse has the right to divorce, but was merely suggesting that it is not necessarily a given that this should *always* occur. Since God hates divorce, staying is preferred if possible. I understand Hosea was a one-time real life incident, but had indicated it is a permanent picture of God’s marriage to His own adulterous spouse as noted above. Here is a good teaching on God’s view of divorce. http://www.gotquestions.org/I-hate-divorce.html

      As for Tchividjian, I did not say TT should have “covered her sin.” Here is what I said verbatim:

      "I had wondered if the two of them wrote the initial statement sent to the Washington Post together, or if he had released it himself. I also wondered even if it was true, why the husband would not want to cover his wife and leave her behavior out if it in his own admission." 

      My perplexity related to the press release TT had issued, not to his or her sin itself. In other words, I was wondering why TT had included his wife’s sin in how own admission, seemingly to shift blame (as Adam did with Eve). I’m sorry I had not made that clearer and caused your discomfort with a reply that seemed strange to you.

      I don't mind if you disagree, but I respectfully request that you quote me accurately before disagreeing with something I did not say.

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    6. Hi Elizabeth, sorry for misquoting you, I did not mean to do that. Please forgive me. I apparently misunderstood you.

      That said, I am aware that God hates divorce, but He also hates unfaithfulness and does not require one to be yoked to an unrepentant philanderer.

      When it comes to divorce, the adulterer has already destroyed the covenant. In adultery, a divorce is not the cause of breaking the covenant, but is an effect of an already broken and destroyed covenant. That is why it is not sin in this circumstance.

      Obviously, divorce for any other reason besides adultery and abandonment is itself a covenant breaking action. In that case, it is sin.

      As for TT, yes, perhaps he was blame shifting. Given how he keeps staying in the spotlight, his behavior is concerning to say the least.

      Finally, I would say there is a theological distinction between Israel the wife of God, and the Church, which is the bride of Christ. So I do not connect Hosea and Eph 5, and neither does my husband.

      I won't comment any further, since this is a rabbit trail, and this post is about Kendrick's new movie. On that count, I am in agreement with you 100%. I am VERY disappointed over and concerned about the issues surrounding the movie the War Room.

      Grace and peace to you,
      -Carolyn

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    7. Hi Carolyn,

      Thais so much. Grace and peace to you as well. Here is Rick Phillips tonight with a masterful statement on TT's wife's sin, if I was eloquent this is what I was trying to say:

      Does the covenant nurture of women matter? One of the more horrific moments in this affair was Tullian's disgraceful exposing (even highlighting) of his wife's sin before the national media. Likewise, Paul Tripp's public article defending Tullian's divorce implied that the problem was her unwillingness to reconcile. One may wonder why a private counselor would even publish such information about his clients (for the answer, see #3). - See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/church-discipline-contemporary.php?utm_content=buffer3f1f6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.JecPbSjR.dpuf

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    8. "A woman whose husband cheats has every right to ask for a divorce." - No. Matthew 19:9 only applies to husbands, not wives. Please read it more carefuly. A wife must not leave her husband, but if she does she must remain unmarried (1 Cor 7:10,11).

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    9. With regard to pornography being seen as equal cheating, I have this to offer.
      I'm willing to agree with this notion on one condition: that these romance movies that are viewed with reckless abandon by the vast, vast, vast majority of women of any religious persuasion are considered equal to pornography. It has been stated that men and women are wired differently in many ways. In this case, men are wired visually while women are wired toward the emotional. Romance movies trigger these emotions and produce the EXACT same negative effects asserted that pornography promotes. False expectations, misdirected desire, addiction, etc. Romance movies just happen to enjoy the very subjective terms of "normal" and "socially acceptable".
      This is in no way a defense of pornography or the harm that it brings, but we need to stop kidding ourselves and call a sin a sin.
      When the romance genre is equated with the pornography genre, then and only then will we have an honest and open discussion of whether or not pornography truly constitutes adultery.

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    10. Elizabeth, if Phillips is reflecting your heart, he is reflecting mine as well.

      I don't know much about, and honestly haven't been following much of, the TT story, other than assuming he would be given a 'pass' as so many 'celebrity' pastors are. Unfortunately it seems 'celebrity' pastors don't seem to be held to 1 Tim 3 or Titus 1, never mind that the Bereans of Acts 17 were COMMENDED for scrutinizing Paul, holding him to the bar of the written word, and Paul is the one who was used of God to pen the pastoral epistles.

      I agree, in the church, women and children are often victims of tolerated male sin. That's why I said what I said about divorce not necessarily being "preferred". Ideally, does God want repentance and reconciliation, of course, yes. BUT, honestly the majority of what I've heard/seen is that the male philanderer has no heart toward repentance, and the poor wife and children are told "God Hates Divorce", and so she believes she has to live in the humiliation and heartbreak of being yoked to a cad, instead of being ministered to by the church and encouraged to walk in the freedom God gives her. Instead of being a balm to heal the bruised reed and smoldering wick, God's word is used as a battering ram.

      (For the record, I am married to a gracious, godly, gentle, kind-hearted, and faithful man, so I'm not speaking from personal agony. I just have a very sensitive spirit toward those who are bludgeoned and wounded by the church, like spouses of philanderers, children of abusers, childless couples, etc.)

      -Carolyn

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    11. Correction, Anonymous:

      In the movie when Catherine confronts him about his porn, he says that he started it because she was denying him sex (which is a biblical sin). One could put forth an argument that porn (a bad as it is) is at least submissive to whatever man is using it. Catherine was not being submissive (another biblical violation).

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    12. Anonymous, I'm not sure I'm with you on equating romance movies with pornography.

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    13. Chris, it is my understanding that in looking at the totality verses which apply to adulterous situations, both husbands and wives may apply for divorce. A cheated-on wife may ask for a divorce after becoming convinced her husband is unrepentant. She may also seek divorce if he abandons her. Of course, reconciliation is always the goal.

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    14. Jesus gives "fornication" as a valid reason for divorce, -not- "adultery" as is commonly believed. In Mt 19:9, Jesus says “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication (unchastity,immorality), and marries another woman commits adultery.”

      Fornication and adultery are two different words (both in English and in the original Greek language). I believe Jesus knew the difference and used the words intentionally to state his position on divorce.

      This also means that pornography viewing is -not- a valid reason for divorce, because, although porn = lust = adultery, it is still -not- fornication. Yes, porn is sin and it is adultery, but it is not fornication.

      Nor does Jesus state breaking of marriage vows is a reason for divorce. It's just as well, because, commonly, marriage vows say the husband will love the wife, and that the wife will obey the husband. I rather suspect that both spouses break these vows early and often. If breaking marriage vows was a valid divorce reason, then almost everyone would qualify!

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    15. The movie/book/study/merchandise you'll never see: "The Respect Dare"

      Love, we're told over, and over, and over, and over (and rightly, I might add) is unconditional. But it takes zero courage to proclaim that message from any pulpit in America, any grocery store tabloid, or any pithy Facebook/Instagram/Twitter post. Is the "marriage crisis" really going to be solved by husbands manning up and just doubling down on love, all the while walking a tightrope that - just like Catherine in the movie - puts the wife firmly in charge of every aspect of the relationship being carried out to her satisfaction lest she push the nuclear button?

      For every 500 sermons from Eph 5 reminding husbands of their duties, you will be lucky to hear even one that dares broach the 2nd half of verse 33, and for the rare one that does, it is almost guaranteed that it will effectively nullify the passage by explaining that while love is unconditional, respect is not: if the wife is not respectful, it is hubby's fault for failing to be worthy of respect. Behind every unhappy wife, a bad husband is surely to be found. We're told that wives cannot help but respond positively to a loving, respect-worthy husband. I guess that means every unrepentant sinner actually has Christ to blame, since He obviously is not romancing them properly.

      Commenter Carolyn: the problem with Fireproof is that it teaches precisely the opposite of what the Bible says, yet you seem to be supporting it at the top of your lungs. Here is what the Bible says in 1Peter 3:1-2

      "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."

      Here is what Fireproof says, in essence:

      "In the same way, you wives be unsubmissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won over with many words, threats of divorce, and instilling of jealousy via an affair with another man. You're worth fighting for, and don't let him forget that your heart must be won over and romanced continually."

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    16. OKRickety,

      I appreciate the word search, delving deeper into the verse. The ESV says of Mt 19:9

      And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

      Here, the word for sexual immorality is 'porneia' defined by Strong's as

      4202 porneía (the root of the English terms "pornography, pornographic"; cf. 4205 /pórnos) which is derived from pernaō, "to sell off") – properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.

      No one is saying that the bible allows one to seek divorce for ANY breaking of the vows. Just the biblical "exceptions" Jesus outlined in the Bible. Of course, forgiveness and reconciliation are primary.

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    17. Steve Sabin, you utterly are misunderstanding my point and are falsely accusing me of "promoting a movie at the top of my lungs". Most of my comments actually have little to nothing to do with Fireproof specifically.

      But since you are quick to judge and make accusations, I won't be responding to you any further.

      My husband and I both have a very Biblical view of marriage, lest you continue with your unfounded accusations.

      -Carolyn

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    18. PS: This is honestly getting unreal, but regarding the movie Fireproof, of which I have specifically commented little so far, this will be a comment with substance...

      Fireproof - first, it was clear to both my husband and I that Catherine was not saved at the beginning of the movie. Her behavior was clearly that of an unsaved woman. So expecting her to obey 1 Peter 3:1-2 before salvation is ridiculous. The natural man cannot subject himself to the things of God. (If anyone thinks she was saved, which we do not, she was clearly in sin. If the movie claimed her as a Christian, which we do not recall, she was clearly a CINO. Unsaved woman.)

      As for Caleb, it was also clear he wasn't saved at the beginning, either. Therefore he was unable to love his wife like Christ loves the church (Eph 5), view his wife as a coheir in the grace of life and dwell with her in an understanding manner (1 Peter 3:7), or to not be embittered by her (Col 3:19). This is evident by his watching of porn, screaming his wife into a wall (verbal abuse), having a temper problem, neglecting his wife, and pursuing selfish gain. (PS: Elizabeth, as much as you "hated Catherine", I HATED Caleb screaming his wife into a wall, I can't even watch a man do that to a woman in a movie, let alone in real life.)

      So we've got two unsaved characters with a terrible marriage, both of whom need the Lord. Their behavior should not shock or upset us.

      Caleb gets saved, and does the "dare", but it takes a while for his wife to truly "get it", as she rebuffs his early attempts to show his love. What finally changed her? Caleb's sacrificial action of giving up his boat money for her ailing mother. No we did not see this as a trollop digging for cash who finally "struck gold" and would have happily taken the doctor as the cynical reviewer in E's original post stated (we're not that cynical), but we saw a woman who was genuinely broken by the sacrificial love of her husband. As a result of this, she said she wants to have in her life the same thing that had changed him.

      So my husband and I saw that as her point of salvation, though yes we agree that the movie didn't flesh out her confessing her sins. But why did this not bother us? Because we see a movie as a snapshot of time. If given time, "after the movie ended", the lives of the characters would certainly go on, and no doubt, Catherine's character would start showing sanctification. Why the Kendricks didn't show that in the movie, we cannot say, we can't read their minds. But neither my husband or I were upset about it. Because we know that even after salvation, sometimes it takes a while for change to happen in a person.

      So that's it. Our take on Fireproof. Perfect movie? No, but then what movie is? Could all of you here at End Time Blog done a better job? That's for you to answer, not us. Should anyone be seeking to draw theology out of movies? No. Read the Bible. So bottom line, the advice to watch all things with discernment, yes, of course, is the reasonable answer.

      Finally, my husband absolutely scoffs at the idea that a wife "withholding" CAUSES a man to pursue porn. He said men choose to watch porn all on their own, whether or not a wife "withholds" herself. If we're going to blame a man's porn on a woman for "withholding", then to be fair, let's also blame emotionally unavailable, harsh, and verbally unkind men for turning off their wives. Hm, we don't want to go there, I suspect.

      You are a patient soul, Elizabeth, thank you for your graciousness.

      -Carolyn

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    19. Carolyn,

      You seem to be advocating divorce for the "adultery" of pornography viewing. In fact, you asserted divorce is actually righteous in such situations. Perhaps we should begin trying everyone for murder that has ever hated their brother in their heart. Those are Christ's words as well, but I would imagine you have reasons why a heart attitude of murder shouldn't be equated with actual murder in our penal code, yet a heart attitude of lust should be treated as equal to the actual sexual union of two people.

      My point is that Christians are conflating the message in a movie like Fireproof with biblically-inspired wisdom when the Bible actually coveys almost the polar opposite. Can you imagine, for even one minute, the pariahs that the Kendrick brothers would be if they had instead chosen to shame the wife's behavior? Or to show her respecting and loving her husband and turning him around in the Biblically prescribed manner? That box office draw would be about 10 tickets, and mostly by critics to take copious notes about the unfair treatment of women.

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    20. >Christ defined lust of the heart as adultry. Adultry on either side is just cause for divorce, by either spouse.

      This twisting of Scripture is unfortunately common. "adultery in his heart" is not physical adultery. Christ is calling us to not be content with only righteous outward acts, but to go further and have righteous intentions and thoughts. See all of the passage, from Matt 5:17 to 6:18 for examples on anger, adultery, only being truthful when we give an oath, being vindictive about received insults, having hatered, giving to the poor, praying and fasting.
      As Steve wrote at 2:48 above, would you like to be executed for murder, as the Bible requires, because you were angry with someone once in your life? Matt 5:21-26, the portion immediately before the Matt 5:27-28 portion on lusting, discusses murder and anger together, same as he then discusses adultery and lust together.

      Some women like the particular example of twisting Scripture that Anaymous gave at 12:55 above because if they equate lustful thoughts with adultery, they can then tell themselves that they have permission from God to divorce their husband. This is a lie however; Christ did NOT say they were equal. He said called one "adultery" and the other "adultery in his heart". "Adultery in his heart" does not YET have an outward action, but it certainly can lead to adultery. Which is again the whole point. Do not be content with a pure appearing outside, while your inside is full of hatred and covetousness. E.g. Matt 23:27-28: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

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    21. yep...thats the truth!!

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  4. Notice the Occult Symbol on the front of War Room. I saw others in different promo's
    Two false teachers are in the film.

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    1. Hi SImplicity2012,

      Can you be a little more specific about the occult symbol you saw? I missed it. Unless you mean the 'O' in the title War Room is shaped like a gun sight, a reference to the fact that prayer is battle?

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    2. I'm sticking with the Kendrick Brothers. Great film. Great theme.

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  5. Come on! There are finally good movies being made that are not full of sex and violence and now it's time for the someone to tear them and those who produce them to shreds? Since when when is seeking answeres from our Father a bad thing? If that is "mystical" and if THAT is wrong, then so are all of the fathers of the faith! It's not the organized church that saves us or the bible; it's the person of Jesus Christ! You can hold anyone suspect who says they hear from God but more to the point, does what they hear oppose the word or agree with it? If we can't trust God to speak to us then the bible is invalid as well. That's exactly what the bible trains us to do.....have a personal relationship with our creator. Not a second hand relationship through some kind of hierarchical "church" structure where only those at the top can be trusted. That is not the Ecclesia of the bible, that's a man made organization that seeks to control God and those who belong to it. it seems one of your biggest problems with the Kendick brothers is that that are no longer in the Sherwood Baptist Church...or under its "covering". How about encouraging those who labour among us for good rather than tearing them down? If you have legitimate criticism that can help, approach them in love to share it. If it's nitpicking you're into, then just stop. The Body of Christ doesn't need anymore friendly fire, thank you.

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  6. These movies are a blessing!
    I thank you Lord for them! Amen

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    1. Let's just ignore scripture and go with how the movies make us feel! Amen!

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  7. divorce - Jesus merely said that this was not purity merely because Moses allowed it. He did not rescind it. Paul decrees divorce for abandonment. Threats of divorce etc. may be the one thing that gets a man to stop the behavior that may put him in hell. Peter says that your prayers get hindered if you are not treating your wife like a fellow heir. what good is dotting the i's and crossing the t's if your submissiveness leaves his hellward trip unchallenged? and your children corrupted by his example?

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  8. I'll be honest, I think you missed some things about Fireproof. It just so happens I recently saw the latter half of the movie on TV, this being the second time I've watched it (well technically 1.5 times); the first was in the movie theater years ago when it came out.

    But first, some background: I'm not a huge Christian movie supporter, and neither is my church. I've never seen Flywheel or Courageous. I was disappointed by Facing the Giants for some of the reasons you listed. It was just too coincidental, too cliche, too much Western Christianity "Jesus gives you life improvement." And although there was much to like in Fireproof, I agree it was a little bit tainted with that theology.

    Also I too have suffered, and continue to suffer, a broken marriage and thus I am seeking to learn absolutely everything Biblical I can apply to help out our marriage. So I have some discernment when there is bad theology with regards to marriage.

    That said, the impact Fireproof had on me, the lesson it taught me, is that Christ is what brings a marriage together. Nothing the husband was doing before he came to Christ was helping the relationship; in fact it drove her further away. But Christ enabled him to love an unlovely woman, a woman (as you rightly pointed out) was driven by money and the love of another man. Isn't that a great picture of Christ and the church? Isn't that Hosea loving the unlovely prostitute?

    Secondly, you complain that the wife's repentance was never addressed. That at first might seem to be a valid concern, but I gathered it was all implied when she shed tears of joy in anticipation of returning to him, when she ran back to him for an embrace, when she began going to church with him, and when she re-married him on "a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ." I understood from these things that repentance was to be inferred. Movies don't spell out absolutely everything, nor should they, given time constraints. Also there is artistic flourish; painters don't paint everything, either. Often the message is subtle and implied. So while I agree that in real life she could be a false convert; she goes back to a man because he has money, she goes to church to humor him and not for Christ, and she claims to be a Christian. But frankly I would find that an untenable conclusion given her tears of joy in private and the arc of the story. And that's what it is: A story. The ending, an implied repentance and a renewed marriage in Christ, is precisely what the Kendrick brothers want us to imagine.

    Finally, the secular reviewer noted that, "All the actions shown from the “love dare” book were secular in nature, except the day where Caleb was supposed to pray for Catherine, which he admitted he didn’t do… which seems to be showing that, even without the religious parts, the marriage was saved." Where do I begin with this? 1.) The actions might have been similar to secular actions, but it was clear that the motivation, which only came from Christ, is what changed the marriage 2.) The secular reviewer clearly has no understanding of the gospel. (Have you met anyone outside of Christ who really understands the gospel they reject?) It is not our prayers which make things work, but the God who we pray to. It is not our works righteousness, it is grace alone. And grace alone changed that marriage.

    While I'm not a huge fan of the Kendrick brothers' tainting from Western Christianity, I can say with confidence after watching these two movies that their intent, especially working with Kirk Cameron who definitely preaches the true gospel (Living Waters/Way of the Master) is to magnify Christ in the lives of Christians. Thus, the story told in Fireproof impacted me in this way, and had a net positive impact on my marriage.

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