Sunday, March 23, 2014


"This Jesus thing is a smash hit..."  The lyrics to All Star United's SMASH HIT song are sad but true.  I find it very ironic that society seems to be moving further and further from God as so called faith based films, books and other paraphernalia sell like wildfire.  Sadly, it seems that if you want to make some money, all one needs do is  slap a christian saying on some cheap coffee mug and charge double.  Unfortunately, we seem to be selling out the very one we are selling.  I have watched Christian fads come and go, The Prayer of Jabez made millions with books, CDs, and every imaginable item with the words Prayer of Jabez emblazoned on it.  The Purpose Driven movement also made millions as it continues into creative marketing designed to point dollars to pockets rather than people to Christ.  I am anticipating an onslaught of Son Of God and Noah garbage filling the shelves at Wal-Mart and a Christian bookstore near you.  Check out my review on Son of God to see just how far we have sunk and what we are willing to accept as believers.


Selling Jesus has become a billion dollar industry and has allowed people to load up on "christian" merchandise without actually building a relationship with the Savior.  I fear that we live in a cliff note society where films like Noah and Son of God will replace true Biblical education.  These films are to Bible study as as the Daily Show is to real news, a humorous look from a liberal slant disguised as truth.  I recently read an article in which Paramount solicited a slew of "christian leaders" to endorse the Noah film.  The reviews from students of the Bible have been dismal but there is always someone willing to sell an endorsement if the price is right, even if the ultimate price is one's soul.  Make no mistake, films like Noah and Son of God have one purpose, to make money for the people who create them.  The shoddy scholarship is testimony to this fact.

Rick Warren has jumped on the Son of God band wagon, naturally, as he has graciously created a Son of God Bible study as an companion to the Son of God movie. This is a blatant money grab as the Son Of God movie has major chronological discrepancies and makes a mockery of many of Christ's foundational teachings (please read my review if you have not)  I find it hard to believe that any Bible teacher with any modicum of a conscience would stoop so low as to create a Bible study from a movie that that so blatantly disregards truth.  Rick Warren is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, a so called Bible college that does not hold the Scripture to be literal or necessarily inspired.  No wonder Warren finds nothing wrong with the Son Of God Film.   How many millions will warren make from this study I wonder...

I am not against faith based films, music or books, just blatant attempts to make money off God without caring about truth or scholarship.  Believers need to be far more finicky when it comes to what we buy and endorse, not everything labeled "christian" is.  I am truly looking forward to God's Not Dead, a film made by evangelical Christians that deals with real life situations and points to the saving, life changing power of the Gospel.  I almost exclusively listen to faith based music and read all sorts of faith based books. These things are good.  My complaint is when some new craze comes along and suddenly we have Jesus Christ Bobble heads popping up or a heretic like Joel Osteen writes some psychobabble, calls it Christian and sells millions of copies to millions to people who are too lazy to read a Bible and  who would rather allow some clown who rejected Christ on Larry King tell them what the Bible says.

As I walk into the Christian book store, I look at all the overpriced knickknacks with a cross or a dove plastered on it and I cannot help but think of Christ overturning the tables in the Temple because they were robbing people by merchandising the sacrifice.  Are we not merchandising the sacrifice with cheap coffee mugs and key chains?  Are we not merchandising the sacrifice when a rip off film like Son Of God is endorsed by so called christian leaders so they can sell their Son Of God merchandise?  It is time for believers to study the Bible for themselves and not allow the millionaire God club to get richer selling us their version of the Gospel..

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Tonight, my wife and I went to see the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey presentation of Son Of God.  I was not expecting to be wowed by this film as it was made by the same guy who produced American Idol and Survivor.  I also did not expect to be completely disappointed and angry, which I was after viewing this jumbled mess.  This movie blew it at almost every opportunity.  Major events of Christ's life were presented out of order,  important teachings and words spoken by Christ were changed to the point of irrelevant nonsense, and Roman Catholic mythology was prominently depicted.  Being a student of the Word, I got the sense that the screenplay was written by someone who grew up hearing the Gospel account but never actually read it for themselves.  The only good thing I can say about this film is that it accurately depicted Christ as God the Son of God.  From this point on, this review will contain spoilers - unfortunately, 85% of this film was spoiled for me.  I was planning on  keeping count of inaccuracies, but by the first 30 minutes or so, I lost count.  Because the Jesus of this film and the real Jesus seem so different in many scenes, I will refer to the film Jesus as the Burnett/Downey Jesus.

The film opens with John the Apostle on the Island of Patmos where he was commissioned by God to write his Gospel account.  The film began on a very promising note as John narrates the first lines of his Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God...."  As I listened to this, I became very hopeful that this film would be an orthodox rendering of the ministry of Christ.  Then it happened, the birth of Christ is depicted and what do we get treated to... three kings/wisemen traveling alone across the desert to arrive at the manger.  I leaned over to  my wife and said two strikes.  The common misconception is that there were three Wisemen/Kings due to the fact that there were three gifts presented to Christ.  In reality, the Magi were a company of men who would be more aptly referred to as magistrates and they would certainly not have traveled across the desert with out an armed escort.  So three lone Kings traveling across the desert was strike one and the first depiction of Roman Catholic mythology.  Next, we see these Three kings arriving at the manger immediately after the birth of Christ.  Strike two - the Bible clearly states that the Magi came to the house that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living in.  Also, the narrative suggests that Jesus is somewhere between one and a half and two years old by the time the Magi arrive.

Next we cut to Burnett/Downey Jesus meeting Peter at the Sea of Galilee.  The dialogue is completely fabricated except when Burnett/Downey Jesus tells Peter He will make him a fisher of men.  Even the miraculous catch of fish is depicted wrong.  Instead of making one big catch that required help from other boats, as the Bible specifically states,  this film shows Peter pulling in net after net full of fish until he fills multiple baskets in his boat.  If you are going to reenact an event from the life of Christ, at least try to be true to the source material.  Later in the film we see Burnett/Downey Jesus walking across the water to a boat filled with the disciples.  As Burnett/Downey Jesus approaches the boat, he calls out to Peter and asks him to join him, hinting at the Roman Catholic mythology of Peter being Jesus' chosen successor and first Pope.
In the Biblical account, Peter requests that he join Jesus on the water.

From here, we see the Burnett/Downey Jesus roaming the country side as people follow him from place to place.  As he travels about, he spouts off partial lines from the real Jesus, except Burnett/Downey Jesus makes no point and has no good reason to say the things he says, reducing him to the role of an inane philosopher who just pops off with whatever happens to pop into his head at the moment.  In one scene, we see the Burnett/Downey Jesus walking along and then announcing to the crowd, "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."  Missing is the context in which this statement was made by the real Jesus and the event that led up to it.

Throughout the film, Pilate is depicted as a blood thirsty despot and we see scenes of Roman soldiers killing Jews for no apparent reason. This was historically inaccurate, as Rome's presence was meant to establish peace and order, not senseless chaos.  Without any historical foundation, we see the Jewish leaders turning against Burnett/Downey Jesus because they are afraid that Pilate will shut down the Temple.  This is completely fabricated for the movie.  The dialogue between Judas and the priests was also based on the vivid imagination of the screenwriter who I am sure never bothered to actually read the Gospel accounts for himself.

The feeding of the five thousand, which was a pivotal point in the ministry of Christ was depicted as a chaotic mob scene in which people just grabbed whatever food they could.  The Olivette discourse, in which two chapters are dedicated to Christ foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age,  is reduced to Burnett/Downey Jesus happily proclaiming to a little girl that not one brick of the temple would be left upon another.  The raising of Lazarus from the dead was not even close to the actual account.  In reality, Jesus calls Lazarus out of his burial cave and Lazarus comes out to an astonished crowd.  In Son Of God, Burnett/Downey Jesus goes into the tomb and kisses Lazarus on the head at which point Lazarus wakes up and exits the cave.  Why not just stick to what really happened?

As we come to the last supper, we find Burnett/Downey Jesus doing an ad hoc communion service completely missing the point of this being a Passover meal and this portion of the meal was actually part of the Passover tradition.  Also, for some uncanny reason, we see Judas present at the communion portion of the meal when scripture clearly states that Judas was sent out before Jesus broke the bread and passed out the wine.  In the film we see Burnett/Downey Jesus shoving the bread into Judas' mouth and then sending him out, only to see Judas coughing up the bread and spitting it out in the street.

Next we come to the Garden of Gethsemane, where the Bible tells us that Peter, James and John accompany Jesus to pray.  Not so for Burnett/Downey Jesus.  We see Burnett/Downey Jesus surrounded by all his friends, including Mary Magdalene, who becomes very vociferous when the crowd comes to arrest Jesus.  In the Son Of God, we see Peter getting roughed up by the mob and Burnett/Downey Jesus being led off with a hood over his head.

I was actually pleased with the depiction of the trials and crucifixion scenes.  This was the only part of the film that even came close to moving me.  While the flogging and actual crucifixion did not come close to the brutality shown in Mel Gibson's The Passion, it did evoke some emotion from me as I took the opportunity to thank God for loving me enough to endure such punishment on my behalf.  I did find the actual death scene to be anti climatic.  While Burnett/Downey Jesus died on the cross, we are shown the temple being rocked by an earthquake.  The Gospel account tells us that the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom.  This is a very thick drape, according to the instructions God gave Moses concerning the curtain.  In Son Of God, the curtain looks like a little shower curtain that simply falls to the ground during the shaking rather than the actual tearing from top to bottom.

The Roman Catholic mythology kicks into full swing after the resurrection of Burnett/Downey Jesus.  First we see Mary Magdalene running to tell the disciples that Christ had risen.  She focuses on Peter primarily, trying to convince him that Christ rose again.  In reality, Mary tells the disciples and John and Peter take off running to the tomb together.   Next we see Peter, back at the house where he is heading up a communion service, only to have Burnett/Downey Jesus show up and give his endorsement of Peter's new role as leader.  This event is made up out of whole cloth to push the Peter as first Pope lie of the Roman church.

Mercifully, this film finally ends with John on the Island of Patmos giving an epilogue.  As the movie ends, John finishes his narrative by stating Burnett/Downey Jesus left them to carry on his work with Peter as their leader.  The book of Acts states that James the brother of Jesus was he head of the church in Jerusalem.  Of course, this film could not include this fact because another bit of Roman Catholic mythology is that Mary was a virgin all of her life and never had any other children.

I would say that of all the movies depicting the life of Christ, this one is probably in the bottom three.  Only the Last Temptation Of Christ and Monty Python's Life Of Brian are worse.  This movie was void of any feeling or desire for historical accuracy.  It had the feel of something that was slapped together by people who had a vague idea of who Christ was, but did not have any real relationship with Him.  In my opinion, Burnett/Downey were more interested in selling movie tickets than presenting something of real spiritual value.  This movie was a waste of time, if you want to see a decent portrayal of the life of Christ, I suggest you watch the Jesus film that came out in the 1980's.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Once upon a time, the church had moral standing in America. Most people had a basic understanding of and belief in God, recognizing His moral requirements and judgements.  Today, society has forsaken any semblance of a fear of God and has embraced sin and evil, just as the Jesus  told us would happen in the last days.  Unfortunately, the church has accepted and participated in so much sin,, our message is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the lost.  Matthew records for us the teachings of Jesus concerning the future in Chapters 24 and 25.  See if this quote from Christ does not describe much of the world we live in today: 

Mat_24:12  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

We cannot deny that lawlessness has become the de facto law of the land.  If you happened to turn on the Grammy awards this year, you would have seen, very clearly, how far our society has devolved.  The opening number was performed by Beyonce Knowles - who has openly admitted to being possessed by a spirit that empowers her to perform on stage. (she has even identified this spirit with a name)  The entire performance was dark and sensual - appealing to man's basic desire to please the flesh.  The performance of Katy Perry was unashamedly evil, representing demonic forces, blatant sex/magic depictions,and undisguised witchcraft.  Perry who at the age of 15 released a gospel album with the intention of following in the steps of Amy Grant has, on numerous occasions admitted to selling her soul for fame and fortune.  Many of the themes of her popular songs are demonic in nature.  Possibly the most blasphemous performance of all was the pro homosexual  rap performed by Macklemore.  The pro homosexual theme of the song is problematic enough from a Biblical standpoint, but add to that the fact that the performance was done in the setting of a church complete with a choir is a direct attack on God and his moral Law.  Things sink even further into depravity as numerous couples, both gay and straight take to the stage for a marriage ceremony performed by pop musician Queen Latifah.  At the close of the ceremony, occultist icon Madonna emerges on stage to sing "Open Your Heart".  Everything about this performance defies God and His order of things.  The book of Revelation tells us that Christ stands at the door and knocks, a clear reference to the door of our hearts.  Somehow I doubt Madonna is calling for us to open our hearts to the Lord.  What are we being told to open our hearts to?  It is the blasphemous religion of "tolerance" that endorses everything unholy and condemns all that is pure. (see my previous blog "what does the liberal say part 2).  

Why should I care what goes on at the Grammy awards?  These anti-God artists are selling millions of records to people who claim to follow Christ.  If you are a parent, how well do you police the entertainment your child buys and enjoys?  How can the church be holy as Christ is holy if we are continually filling ourselves with blatant celebrations of sin and evil.  Years ago, the messages from the entertainment industry were much subtler, but today, occultism and sin are right in our faces, unmasked and unapologetic.  

In the book of Acts, we see a town that was steeped in witchcraft come to Christ.  The people realized that the articles of witchcraft were not compatible with their new found Christian faith.  The people gathered and burned all the items that were in opposition to God and His Word.  I am not calling for book burning at the public library, or attacking record and video stores, what I am calling for is believers to cull through your CD collections, your books, your  DVD and VHS cabinets and see how much is displeasing to God and get rid of it.  Check your kids IPods and internet history.  Be involved in what you allow into your house and the things that may be influencing your children against God.

The Bible clearly states that this current world is under the dominion of Satan.  Satan's goal is and always has been, to be worshiped by God's creation.  The more we are influenced by his brand of entertainment, the more we slip into complacency.  If we truly believe the Bible, we cannot sit idly by while popular culture robs our blessings and poisons our children against God and His truth.  As those who claim to follow Christ continue to allow the influence of sin through our entertainment, we will allow more and more sin to remain unchecked in our congregations, and our message of transformation and salvation through Christ will become increasingly irrelevant to the very society we are called to evangelize and disciple.

Monday, March 17, 2014


  The word of God is alive and sharper than any two edged sword!  Everything we do as believers should be based on the truth of God's word.  In fact, the apostle John tells us in his Gospel account that Jesus, Himself, is the WORD made flesh.   We should never neglect the transforming power of the word of God.  No great revival has ever started without the direct teachings of scripture.  So powerful is God's word, all the world regards the time when the word of God was kept from the common man as the Dark Ages.  It was not until the word of God was made available to people in their own language that the world transformed and innovation and invention increased exponentially.

Interestingly, recently, Bill Nye, (the science guy) claimed that America would be negatively impacted by faith in God and the Bible in the arena of innovation and ideas.  History proves the opposite to be true.  Unfortunately, many churches and so called spiritual movements have traded the foundational teaching of God's word for a gospel of positive thinking and worldly values.  The Emerging Church, the Purpose Driven model and the Power of Speech nonsense of Joel Osteen have robbed the church of truth and created a scenario in which it is hard, if not impossible, to distinguish between the believer and the unbeliever in American society.  Holiness has fled the American church because Pastors are afraid to apply Biblical standards to their congregations.

Nehemiah chapters 8 and 9 give, what I believe to be, the perfect model for how we should do church.  Most of the American church is doing only half of what God modeled for us in His word.  In Nehemiah, we find the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi back in the land after having spent 70 years in captivity in the land of Babylon.  In the 8th and 9th chapters we find that the Temple has been rebuilt under the leadership of Ezra the priest and Zerubabel the governor, and the wals have been rebuilt under the guidance of Nehemiah the Governor.  After the building has been complete, the people assembled before Ezra the priest and called out for the teaching of God's law.  A platform was erected and Ezra spent half the day reading the Word of God to the people.  After the Word was read, the people bowed in worship.  After a period of worship, Ezra and other of the Levites began to teach people based on the word that was read to them.  For the most part, this model is how we do modern church, we read the word, we worship and we have a time of teaching.

 According to Nehemiah, this is only half the formula for a healthy spiritual community.  On the first day, everyone assembled and worshiped together but on the second day, the men who were leaders gathered together to STUDY the Word together.  This is the element that is missing from the modern church.  Those who serve and minister need a time to grow and be instructed on a deeper level than the rest of the congregation.

Study of the word is not the ultimate goal, but the transformation that comes from the study of the Word.  As the people assembled to hear the teaching of the law, an amazing thing happened, the people became convicted of sin and began to mourn and cry over their rebellion against God. The people confessed their sin and national revival broke out.  The following day, as the leaders studied the Word together, they realized that the community had not been obedient to God for hundreds of years, regarding a certain matter.  The leaders immediately began correcting the wrong.  Until believers learn and apply God's word to daily life, we will never experience true victorious Christian living. Until church leaders begin to take the Word seriously and use it to confront sin in the church, the church will have no moral authority in the community.

Israel was transformed by the study and application of God's word and so can America be if we who claim to live by the word actually did.