Posted in discernment, movies, priscilla shirer, war room

Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, "War Room", part 2

Part 1 here

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. Alex and Stephen have been making full-length Christian movies since 2003, initially at Sherwood Baptist and now from their newly formed production company. Their first film was the independent release of Flywheel in 2003. After that came Facing The Giants (2006), Fireproof, (2008), and Courageous, (2011). Movie #5, War Room, came out Aug. 28, 2015. The opening weekend Box Office stunned Hollywood. It brought in 11 million dollars.

The films seem almost universally and uncritically adored, from patrons of them who flock to the screens to church pastors and leaders who show them in their sanctuaries. The films’ showings are often accompanied with attendant paraphernalia such as curricula, studies, sermon outlines, resolutions, books, journals, devotionals and other merchandising. As a side note, translate the fervency and diligence some pastors promote and urge attendance at these movies to their fervency for preaching the Word expositionally and urging worship in their church. I wish.

Whenever anything, and I mean anything, that is promoted from the pulpit it is wise to delve into whether the thing being promoted is consistent with the bible and thus edifying for the sheep. It is also wise to research the people behind writing these movies, books, devotionals, and study guides.

In Part 1, I mentioned that I do not like the movies the Kendrick Brothers have produced so far. I have seen three of them (not Courageous, and not War Room). The films do present a good storyline, engagingly developed. The films are based on biblical themes such as prayer, submission, fatherhood, etc. The films are written by pastors and are prayed over diligently, we hear. They’re emotional and watchable. So what’s not to like?

Discernment is not just looking at the surface. Discernment is not just accepting that a Christian thing is “close enough.” Jesus did not come ‘close enough’ to sinlessness for the Father to accept His sacrifice.  The Apostles and Martyrs didn’t preach and die a ‘close enough’ faith. We must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Jesus said,

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16, commentary on what this means here)

In Part 1 I’d said I’d look more at the Kendrick Brothers’ choice of casting. They had said in this Youtube interview from several months ago that for the movie War Room —

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. 

So, since they announced the basis for their casting decisions, let’s look at them and compare to scripture to see if they hold up.

Priscilla Shirer dominates the movie, being its main cast member (TC Stallings plays her husband). Since the Kendricks deliberately choose Christians who live what they believe, then what does Shirer believe?

Shirer believes and teaches extra-biblical, personal revelation

Unfortunately, Shirer is a proponent of hearing directly from God. Here in an interview in Charisma Magazine, Shirer explains her basis for launching her “Going Beyond” ministries. Charisma Magazine has the tale (and even being quoted in Charisma is another discernment red flag). In the article it states,

In her case, God was speaking to her about going to “the place of abundant living—an experiential relationship with God.” “He said: ‘Priscilla, you’ve been at this mountain long enough. There is a new place that I want to take you to,’” Shirer says. In light of God’s challenge, Shirer naturally desired to “go beyond” personally.

So God personally speaks to Shirer clearly enough that she can put His words in quotes? This is a problem. When one tells the world that God speaks personally to her (and this isn’t the only instance of her recounting extra-biblical revelation from God) then she denies the sufficiency of the Bible.

Shirer believes in and teaches an experiential faith


Secondly, look at the phrase “she naturally wanted to go beyond…” Go beyond what, exactly? The bible tells us not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) something Shirer has already done in speaking of direct revelation from God. (Revelation 22:18). Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others, as we’re told in 2 Corinthians 10:15. In Galatians 5:12 Paul cursed the Judaizers, wishing they would “go beyond” their circumcision and excise the entire appendage lol. But Shirer’s basis for a ministry of ‘going beyond’ is really a basis to go beyond what is written and venture into the experiential, something she says all the time should be normal for Christians. For example she said, “A lot of the demonstrative gifts of the Spirit aren’t used all the time in my church—almost never—so I could easily box God in and say because that is not my experience, God must not operate in that way. We need to accept that the body of Christ is full of other believers who have experienced God in equally relevant, equally reliable ways.”

What Shirer is saying here is that if another person who calls themselves a Christian is experiencing the sign gifts, we must accept their experience as valid, or we will be putting God in a box. Notice she didn’t have a biblical stance for her reasoning why she believes the sign gifts continue. Only that if the experience is happening it must be valid.

She says this not because she has come to a concerted biblical conclusion, but because of “other believers who have experienced God in equally relevant, equally reliable ways.” Again, she has come to this belief – and teaches it- because people EXPERIENCE the gifts, not because she has exegeted the text to prove it so.

Shirer believes in and promotes contemplative prayer

Third, in addition to receiving and promoting as normal the extra-biblical revelation from God, experiential approaches to teaching and believing God’s word, Shirer also teaches and promotes Contemplative Prayer. (Also known as Centering Prayer) This is a Catholic/Occult/Mystical practice which is not based on the bible but on inner knowings and experiences that supposedly occur after emptying the mind and experiencing the presence of God. “We are to meditate actively, using our minds, based upon Scripture, not empty nothingness and waiting” as the writer at CARM explains.

Learn more here, here, and here on why this practice is not biblical.

Back to the Kendricks and their discernment

When the Kendricks say they pray over each role and take time selecting Christians who are sound and non-hypocritical, this is the level of their discernment? Putting front and center a charismatic mystic who promotes extra-biblical revelation and the experiential method as the benchmark of affirming truth? It seems to me the discernment level of those making the decisions at Kendrick Brothers Productions is not what it should be.

In addition, their casting of Beth Moore leaves much to be desired, since Moore engages in occult channeling, receives visions and extra-biblical personal revelation, puts herself out as a prophetess, promotes pop-psychology, mysticism, contemplative prayer, and legalism, poor exegesis, teaches men, lives like a feminist, and much more.

Speaking of associations, the Kendrick Brothers’ discernment on this front also leaves much to be desired. They associate with TD Jakes, an unsaved pastor who denies the Trinity. Back in March of this year, Alex Kendrick was a featured speaker at the “Missions and Marketplace Conference” in Chicago. Also speaking at that conference was Jakes. The #WarRoomMovie twitter stream recently published a thank you to Jakes for his support of the movie. Remember, Jakes produced the film version of the heaven tourism book Heaven is for Real.

This week, the #WarRoomMovie thanked heretic Paula White. Accepting a favorable review from false prophetess Paula White is like a restaurant chef accepting a food review from Jeffrey Dahmer.

HT Twitter, Sunny Shell,@Sunny_Shell

So back to the Kendrick Brothers’ discernment. It seems that each of their movies have promoted some aspects of Christian life that are not biblical. It seems that each movie has gotten a bit more blatant and forward in the departure from biblical discernment and practices. It seems that it got worse after they left the oversight of Sherwood Baptist and began partnering with heretics and hiring false teachers for their movies.

  Accepting a favorable review from false prophetess Paula White is like a restaurant chef accepting a food review from Jeffrey Dahmer

Merchandising Merchandising Merchandising Merchandising

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2:3 KJV)

Make room, Ephesian silversmiths and idol makers. (Acts 19:19-20).  A new merchant is in town. Here are some examples:

Kerusso parthers with Kendrick Brothers for “War Room” film merchandise.

Kerusso, the leader in Christian apparel and gifts, has announced a new partnership with the Kendrick Brothers who recently produced their fifth film titled WAR ROOM releasing August 28, 2015 from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s TriStar Pictures, distributor of Soul Surfer, Courageous and last summer’s faith-based sensation Heaven is For Real. The partnership grants Kerusso rights to produce officially licensed merchandise and apparel for the upcoming film.

Books to accompany new Kendrick Brothers movie

Coming along with it is a line of books, including a novelization of the film, officials from the publishing companies say.


For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17).

Don’t forget your Battle Plan Prayer Cards! Buy now!

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. (Luke 19:45)

This promotion-poster misuses the verse. I find the use of merchandising along with the word of God crass in the extreme.

This photo uses the Psalm verse out of context and incorrectly,
Note the ‘Battle Plan you can BUY, combined with the verse. Gross.

Should I buy the “Battle Plan for Prayer”? If I do, I’ll have to move the Love Dare aside to make room on the shelf…And where will I put my Courageous Resolution?

He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:13)

Remodeling, AKA the “Doing Something/Experiential” method of Christianity

Most of the Kendrick Brothers movies blame the man. Here is one meme that pokes at this fact.

Let’s all remodel our closets!

This woman remodeled already ! Because it’s the room that does it!

Awww, so sad this lady didn’t have a closet to donate to the cause. She made a nook. Her prayers will be nook sized instead of #powerful.

Spot the missing resource!!

In conclusion…yes I have a heated righteous indignation at the lack of discernment evidenced here. I have a heated anger regarding churches that relentlessly promote these films yet when it comes to sharing the Gospel or even personally shepherding the flock they have they tolerate sin and compromise. I am very upset at all the merchandising. I really am.

I do understand the power of prayer and the wonder of prayers being answered. I am for prayer. I am against Hollywood films showing a pale and shallow Western Christianity where prayer gets you things. Where a remodeled closet is the answer and not the God who sees and hears. Where the woman leads (subtly, because satan is crafty). Where prayers are to satan and not to Jesus. Where, despite all the Kendrick Brothers statements about prayerfully considering each person for each role, in another interview they decided that casting Black actors would be “more heart grabbing.” And here I thought that there was no Greek or Jew, no slave or free, no male or female. (Galatians 3:28). But apparently using Black people in your movie brings the bucks.

War Room’ Nearly Topples Gangsta Rap Blockbuster  

CBN News asked the Kendrick brothers about their decision to cast mostly blacks in the film. “When it came to ‘War Room’ there was a passionate flavor we wanted to present that really would have been different any other way,” director Alex Kendrick said. “I felt like the Lord was saying it needs to be told through the African American perspective and the female perspective,” he added. [emphasis mine]

How did we get to this low point, of an undiscerning people buying merchandise at the temple and miss God, His Son and His Spirit so badly? It is all foretold, the time of apostasy, tickled ears, and lack of discernment is upon us. And yet there is a remnant strong and true, praying in whatever room they are, to a strong and mighty God.

Part 1 here

Thank you everyone for your comments. I am closing comments at this time.
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Further Reading

Justin Peters reviews War Room.

War Rooms then & now. Also, what is a prayer closet?

How Fireproof Lowers the Boom

The Heresy of Christian Movies: War Room

Lifeway Promoting False Teacher Priscilla Shirer Experiential Event

Posted in courageous, facing the giants, fireproof, flywheel, love dare, movies

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.

Posted in elmer gantry, lists, movies, sermons

List-o-mania: best books, journalists, movies, sermons, and cancelled tv shows

EPrata photo

From I Die Daily (IDD)

This person did a yeoman’s job, but a pleasant and edifying one, listening to over 650 MacArthur sermons in order to make his determination.

TOP 13 JOHN MACARTHUR SERMONS OF ALL TIME

A friend asked me to tell him the best MacArthur sermons of all time, and since it took me a while to put it together, I figure I’ll share with everyone! I have listened to over 650 different MacArthur sermons, and these are “the best” imho.
“The best” depends on what you want to know. For instance, for doctrine there are essential sermons on regeneration, absolute inability, Scripture, premillennialism, perseverance of the saints, saving faith, atonement, salvation assurance, inspiration, repentance, election, effectual call, deliverance, … you name it. Those are CORE and all very, very nice. 

But if you’re looking for the rare-jewels, the KABOOM sermons that you gotta dig out and find through long hours of listening…if you wanna know the sermons that I particularly hold dear… well, I can only hope they also trigger something within you as well! Here they are…

IDD made his list in 2013 but I’d add several recent ones to it, plus my own older favorites.

The first two sermons were a response to cultural goings-on during the US Election cycle in 2012. These sermons made a deep impression on me. It was by then obvious that God was rendering wrath on this nation in terms of lifting His hand and allowing sin to flood in unrestrained.

Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality

Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality

These next two are similar tot he above. They were delivered this summer 2015 and the first was a going-away address MacArthur preached in advance of his long summer vacation. He provided his flock with a biblical template for dealing with whatever events occur while he was away. The events that did unfold were shocking and upsetting in the extreme, giving his going-away address an almost prescient or prophetic aura. The Supreme Court decided that homosexuals in all the land have a right to marry, there were shootings on military bases, churches, and movie theaters, and the Planned Parenthood videos were released.

Hope for a Doomed Nation

As a result, when MacArthur returned from vacation, he preached this sermon, which has become a battlecry:

We Will Not Bow

My personal favorite sermons are from a series preached in 1999, a Creation Series from Genesis 1. These sermons astounded and thrilled me. They also made me love the Creator all the more. This first sermon in the series has a code of 90-208 and the series continues with sermon code 90-209 through to 221.

Creation: Believe it or Not Part 1

Tony Reinke lists the The 50 Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

2015 is 60% over, and that means all the books for the year have either been released or announced. In the summer months I begin to compile a rough list of about 50 of the potentially best Christian (non-fiction) books of the year into a list that I will use to pick my top choices in November.

On his list are the solid authors from whom we have come to expect good scholarship, Mark Dever, Iain Murray, Os Guinness, Donald Whitney, Douglas Moo, etc. Check it out.

Of my own favorite books, I strongly recommend:

John MacArthur’s ESV Study Bible,
Pilgrim’s Progress,
Valley Of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers.

Every Christian should have those on their shelves.

I also recommend John MacArthur’s Because the Time is Near, (exposition of Revelation) and Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis, a fictional and devastating portrayal of hypocrisy and opportunism among the Evangelical clergy of the early 20th Century.

Journalists

Oy, what can we say about the state of the media. In America where I live, it is deplorable, no other word can describe what passes for alerting and educating the American public tot he news and events of the day. It’s biased, sloppy, inaccurate, and on broadcasts, loud. All sturm and no drang. With the opening of the US election cycle for voting in November 2016, it’s more important than ever to find media one can trust. Twitter helps here.

I trust Steve Herman, @W7VOA Voice Of America correspondent in Asia, where he has lived for 25 years.

I enjoy Jake Tapper, @jaketapper, CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent.

Uh, that’s it.

List of most under-appreciated/underrated ‘Christian’ movies. It’s from Relevant Magazine and I have not seen any of these except End of the Spear, which I already recommended in another blog essay movie review. Take note that oftentimes when a magazine recommends a Christian movie it also includes Catholic movies as part of faith, and this list is no exception. There is one immediately identifiable Catholic film, a documentary about monks in the French Alps. Anyway, several of these look intriguing, especially Believe Me, which reminds me of the book Elmer Gantry.

I’ll list them here but the link contains synopses plus trailers.

8 Underrated ‘Christian Movies

Believe Me
Amazing Grace
Blue Like Jazz
Into Great Silence
The Mission
Linsanity
End of the Spear
Book of Eli

List of best shows ever (in my opinion) that were cancelled after one season. This list burns my bacon every time I look at it.

Terriers
Firefly
Hope Island
Enlisted
The Finder
The Cafe (two seasons, but being British, the seasons were short)

OK this is all I can manage today. I threw out my back somehow and it hurts to sit for to long. Till next time!

Posted in apocalypse, God, jesus, movies, sin, threads, tribulation

(Updated) The most unrelentingly horrific and unsettling apocalyptic movie you will ever watch that comes the closest to what the Tribulation will be like: "Threads"

Update: Russia’s Putin oversees Russian nuclear forces exercise 

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Photo by Waiting for the Word, labeled for reuse

A couple of years ago in Sunday School, I was explaining the importance of understanding eschatology (last things). I was showing from scripture that pre-Tribulation rapture is biblical and is the only stance supported clearly by scripture. It makes a difference, I said, because firstly, it gives us hope and a goal to look forward to the return of Jesus for His bride without the fear of going through the Tribulation, and secondly, it gives us urgency to witness to unbelievers because the Tribulation is going to be horrific.

And yet, people still say that “I can make it through, after all I love Jesus.” Or, “It won’t be so bad if Jesus is on your side”, or other foolish comments like that. People have no clue as to how bad the Tribulation will be. Gaining a clear understanding of it is essential as is knowing where the Bride fits in the prophetic timeline.

After I got done explaining, one man who is of the ‘go along to get along, if you love Jesus then that’s all that counts, doctrine doesn’t matter” kind of guy said, “I’m a pan-tribber. It will all work out in the end.” Everyone in class laughed, and the five minutes I’d spent urging caution and due diligence to these matters evaporated.

I thought his was a craven rejection of the importance of Eschatology, something JESUS feels is important or He wouldn’t have spent the longest discourse in the entire bible speaking about it (Matthew 24). I thought that was a terribly laid back attitude and a failure to study of all the scriptures, prophecy included, because ALL SCRIPTURE is profitable, says 2 Timothy 3:16.

I’ve read Revelation many times and the horrors of God’s wrath can’t be overestimated. It gives me

shivers even to think about His unleashing of His wrath upon the unbelieving and rebellious world. The best book I’ve read on Revelation is John MacArthur’s “Because the Time Is Near“, which made me love God and fear Him all at once, even more. My breath was taken away at the verses and the explanation of His wrath and what lay ahead for people who delay too long in repenting and believing on Jesus.

Sometimes I get interested in a movie or a documentary that visually depicts a post-apocalyptic scenario. Not the Hollywood movies, but docu-dramas like BBC’s End Day. So, this week I was reading a headline that reminded me of one of the most chillingly accurate depictions of the rise of and aftermath of a global pandemic. Except I couldn’t remember the name of the documentary.

The docudrama was about the beginning of a flu epidemic that gained traction to become a near-extinction event. A Los Angeles family led by a doctor dad, are shown dealing with their growing understanding of how much of an extinction event it was, while the action was interspersed with interviews with actual doctors, sociologists, and the like describing the likely scenarios that will occur along the way as the pandemic grew. The film started with a cough and ended a full generation after society had collapsed.

I was thinking of that movie because I’d read a headline that antibiotic resistance has grown to be a present danger. It is no longer a future threat. I’ve been worried lately about antibiotic resistance and how that will impact the prophesied plagues set to overtake mankind during the Tribulation. So I read the article, still searching for that elusive documentary title about the pandemic. The report is from World Health Organization: (WHO)

A new report by WHOits first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.

I had seemingly forever forgotten the name of that pandemic docudrama about that Los Angeles family, and I kept searching for the title for a long time. During my search I came across the well-remembered US armageddon films, The Day After and Testament. The Day After was touted as a program likely to cause nightmares and counselors were standing by. In truth, even then, I thought it was pretty sanitized. Testament affected me greatly because it never showed a bomb but showed a family suffering anyway from nuclear fallout hundreds of miles from where the bombs actually fell. Normal life just sort of ended, slowly and agonizingly.

The main character, acted by the magnificent Jane Alexander, was part of the reason for the movie’s impact on me. She did a wonderful job as a mother watching her children and her way of life die in front of her eyes. Yet even that film was pretty sanitized also as to the effects of nuclear war. Nuclear winter in either film was never shown, and people appeared kind of grubby but were still pretty clean looking. Desperation was prevalent but despair was absent.

My search for the title of the pandemic movie set in Los Angeles finally yielded paydirt. It is called “After Armageddon” and it was on The History Channel in 2010. I recommend it. The link brings you to the full movie at youtube.

I came across two other documentary type films illustrating a societal collapse, this time, from nuclear war. They were “The War Game” (1965) (youtube link to The War Game here) which won an Oscar for Best Documentary, though the film is fiction. The summary of the film at Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) says “It was intended as an hour-long program to air on BBC 1, but it was deemed too intense and violent to broadcast. It went to theatrical distribution as a feature film instead. Low-budget and shot on location, it strives for and achieves convincing and unflinching realism.” The War Game was never shown on the BBC until a full 20 years after it was made, and a year after Threads was shown first. Threads is the movie I watched.

Threads was shown on the BBC in 1984 and is considered the ninth best UK television show of BBC history. The imdb.com summary states, “Documentary style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England; and the eventual long term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

I was a young adult in the 1980s and I vividly remember the nuclear fears. The aggressive USSR, President Reagan, the Iron Curtain, Strategic Defense Initiative (the space defense program dubbed ‘star wars’ by the populace). I thought positively that nuclear war was going to break out with the USSR and that was how I was going to die. It’s why the movies The Day After and Testament were so powerful. They fed exactly into the national psychosis about nukes. It was all the talk then.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Iron Curtain fell, the world drew a collective sigh of relief throughout the 1990s. Nuclear fears receded and after a short while seemed so distant and even silly. The stockpiles of nukes were forgotten as new fears arose: suitcase bombs and terrorists, and dirty bombs and pandemics.

I watched Threads last night. Before I watch any movie, I usually read up on the reviews. The reviews I could find were uniformly of the same opinion: it is the most accurate depiction of a nuclear war there has ever been put to screen. The external reviews and the internal user reviews (all 21 pages of them) uniformly said that the images stick with you and will give you nightmares. That the graphic nature of the life during and after nukes fall on Sheffield, Britain, are images that will stay with you forever. I thought I’d watch it anyway. Testament and The Day After had been manageable after all, and I was 30 years older than that now, to boot.

The film was done on a low budget but that just gives it a real feel. A young couple become engaged. She’s pregnant, and they buy a flat and begin planning their life together. Amid the backdrop of families meeting and wedding planning, pub visiting and family discussions ensuing, are newspaper, radio and television reports of a confrontation between the US and the USSR over Iran. The city is Sheffield, a target due to heavy industry located there at the time and a nearby military base.

The buildup to the moment the bombs drop was intense. In one scene, a low flying bomber almost buzzes the young man and his father who is outside gardening.

I needed a break and I decided to pause for a moment and see what the headlines were on Drudge. Imagine my shock when I saw this:

RUSSIAN BOMBERS, FIGHTER JETS ‘SEEN OVER CRIMEA’
From the May 04, 2014 edition of the Drudge Report.

Russia then. Russia now. We had a brief respite in the 90s, but Russia is back and the headlines we are reading about Russia and the Ukraine, the Jews evacuating, and the Crimea, are eerily similar to the ramp-up in Threads the days before the bombs fell. Both were about tensions in the Middle East and/or the Baltics, Iran v. Ukraine. Thirty years apart and nothing has changed- just as prophesied, Gog will instill in Rosh an evil thought and the Bear will rise to begin a holocaust war (Ezekiel 38-39).

In the movie, as each tv talking head, radio announcer, or print headline is shown, one action leads to a reaction, eventually the bombs fly one fine spring day and the world is never the same. Devastation occurs and millions die in the first salvos. The film starts a month before the bombs fly and ends 13 years later with the first after-nuclear war generation coming into their teenage years.

Here is the TV Tropes’ summary of the cycle that led to the all-out nuclear war:

The escalation scenario that leads to Armageddon in the first place. After a coup in Iran, the Soviet Union invades to gain a toehold in the Middle East. The Americans send in paratroopers and set a deadline for withdrawal, and when the Soviets don’t back down they send bombers after their main staging base in Iran. The Soviets destroy most of the aircraft with a nuclear-tipped air defense missile. The Americans then destroy the base with a single battlefield nuke. In return the Soviets nuke the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, the Americans blockade Cuba, and after that it gets kind of hazy…

Threads is without a doubt the most relentlessly hopeless, harrowing, ghastly movie of the genre. It spared no scene, it was accurate and unrelenting. As the website TV Tropes says, “To any would-be viewers: if you’re looking for a story with a happy or hopeful ending this movie is not the way to go, and a strong stomach is pretty much mandatory. There are no jump scares, the Body Horror is tame by the standards of modern SFX, and there is little Gore despite the ample opportunities the setting presents. And yet it is one of the scariest films of the 20th century…

Death on an incomprehensible scale, and dark hopelessness was prevalent. Think: TRIBULATION. In the movie, millions upon millions were killed outright and in the first few months, millions more died of radiation sickness. Millions more after that of starvation and/or disease. Just like the Tribulation.

I could not help but think of the verses in the bible saying that they will be building and marrying eating and drinking when sudden wrath comes upon them. How one day people are at the pedestrian mall pushing babies in strollers and window shopping or ordering ale at the pub, and the next, the world turns upside down.

Though there are humans in the movie after the bombs fall there is no humanity. After, any vestige of cooperation, community or even love becomes a hindrance to the simple act of survival. The movie showed this as a realistic reaction to the loss of food, shelter, clothing, and normal life. By a decade later, even language had been reduced to grunts and monosyllabic words, because of the energy it takes simply to talk. And, what is there to say? It is a world devoid of love. As Lamentations reminds us, the ones who die right away are the lucky ones.

Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
by lack of the fruits of the field. 
 (Lamentations 4:9)

THIS is as close to visualizing the Tribulation as one can come, and even this movie, bleak as it was, doesn’t show it all. The movie depicted “only” one issue, nuclear war and its effects and not the host of items the Tribulation will bring, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, fires, water as blood, etc, but… it shows enough. Nuclear war brings nuclear winter, famine, plague, societal collapse, and agricultural devastation. For two gripping and depressing hours, one can easily see the truth of Jesus’ words, “unless the days were cut short, no flesh would survive.” (Matthew 24:22). This is wrath. This is puny life, snuffed out under the mighty hand of God, who demands that sin be reckoned. As one film reviewer said, it is not a movie to be enjoyed, it is a movie to be endured. However, it is a necessary movie to watch.

I didn’t have nightmares but the movie did keep me up all night. The images and overall atmosphere in my heart kept me tossing and turning. Even today, a day later, I can see that it’s going to take a long time to forget the scenes. The woman at the pedestrian mall seeing the mushroom cloud and peeing herself, the husband in despair because he squandered the last bit of water, the foolishness of people protesting nuclear bombs when the war machine grinds on no matter what the populace says. The middle management local emergency guys with ties and clipboards buried under four stories of rubble, still trying to sort it all out. They died, entombed in their bunker, never having made one whit of difference. Desperation of the nurses at the hospital. The last scene.

Watch Threads, I dare you. It takes courage to stick with it. None of the people reviewing the film exaggerated. I’m not exaggerating. If you want to see what the people left behind will endure, this is as close as we can come cinematically to see the truth of God’s horrific wrath upon humanity’s sin and earth’s devastation as a result.

Sin is a terrible, terrible thing. God’s holiness and justice demands a response to it. We know that God is long-suffering and patient with His creation. One day, however, He will end His patience and determine that it is time to deal with sin on earth. He will rapture His bride first, but then, oh woes upon woes, He will unleash a holocaust that movies like Threads can only truly hint at. And the movie was bad enough. Praise our God for His patience and long-suffering. Praise Him that he brought you into the kingdom. Pray fervently for the lost and witness to them about the terrible effects of sin and the greatness of His forgiveness. Mercy and grace abounds in this present Messianic age. But it is ending, and fast. Please, please, consider these things.

The movie Threads is was on youtube.

Threads full movie

This link brings you to one of 12 parts of the movie Threads.