The Gospel of Inclusion
This American Life is debuting a movie on Netflix called Come Sunday, which covers the life of Pentecostal Carlton Pearson, his rise to fame, and sudden downfall.
In reruns of an older podcast called Heretics, Ira Glass describes Pearson as a “rising evangelical megastar” that “at the height of his popularity, became involved in a scandal: He didn’t have an affair, he didn’t embezzle money, he didn’t admit an addiction to prescription painkillers—no, no, none of that. He stopped believing in hell.”... Continue Reading
Heretic,’ and the Sad Stories of ‘Rebel’ Pastors
Two newly released films flip the usual script, pitching the “I was once a megachurch pastor” narrative as a renegade hero’s journey.
These films pitch their protagonists—Pearson and Bell—as brave rebels who challenged a rigid, bigoted, staid religious establishment in radical and costly ways. But if that’s the case, why are these films so tedious and flat? Perhaps it’s because the supposedly groundbreaking “rethinking” these men advocate is nothing new—just boring old heresy in modern new clothes.... Continue Reading
Rob Bell, Fundamentalist: 5 Ironies From The New Bell Film
It’s the strangest thing: the heretic is actually the fundamentalist.
The Heretic… is a film making a clear argument. It seeks to convince us that Bell is the heretic we need, and that Christianity should make more space for Bell’s brand of thought. But The Heretic actually ends up making, quite accidentally, the opposite point. It shows us a tragedy in the making, a man once known... Continue Reading
Film Review: Paul, Apostle Of Christ
Paul Apostle of Christ takes audiences back to the roots of the faith by focusing on its most prolific apostolic teacher and organizer, Saul/Paul of Tarsus.
At a time of profound persecution in Rome, the leader of the nascent Christian community sits in prison, falsely accused by Nero of burning down half of the city. His friend and biographer Luke arrives to see what he can do for Paul and for the Christians hiding for their lives in the city. The Christian... Continue Reading
A White Guy’s Reflections on Black Panther
Black Panther is a movie about a superhero, but not just any superhero — a black superhero
“A movie has no power to ultimately change people’s hearts. Only Jesus can do that. But I believe it can serve to help the progress we must make toward racial unity. It can encourage the black community and educate other communities.” To be honest, I can’t remember going to a movie quite like Black... Continue Reading
Winston Churchill’s Darkest Hour
Churchill’s “Darkest Hour” was, in truth, a series of dark hours that lasted two or three weeks in May 1940, when Western civilization hung in the balance.
But above all, the takeaway from this film—and from the Churchill experience—is an enduring historical-moral lesson: you cannot negotiate a just peace with a brutal aggressor. Savages are not appeased. This is poignantly captured when Churchill snaps at Viscount Halifax and Neville Chamberlain: “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in his... Continue Reading
Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview
I’ve found that while almost no one ends up believing that the particular aliens onscreen really exist, matters of worldview are much more subtly conveyed.
This is loaded with theology, most of it dead wrong. Where is God the Creator and Jesus the Redeemer in this worldview? Or when Yoda says of his coming death, “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have,” how does this stand up against the biblical worldview of Heaven and Hell? Where... Continue Reading
Eric Liddell in China: A Review of “On Wings of Eagles”
Powerful film takes up the Olympic champion's life in World War II China.
Starring Joseph Fiennes as Liddell, the new film is a fine tribute to Liddell’s life. After being captured by the Japanese, Liddell and his companions face the dual challenges of surviving and maintaining their faith and integrity. Liddell, specifically, has opportunities to leave China altogether and reunite with his family. He decides not to each... Continue Reading
The Transgender Matrix: It’s Time to Choose the Red Pill
In the 1999 sci-fi movie The Matrix, the hero, Neo, is given a choice of two colored pills: red or blue
“But a funny thing happened. After about eight years, I gradually awoke. I realized the simple biological truth: I was still a man, had always been a man, and always would be a man. In terms of The Matrix, I took the red pill.” In the 1999 sci-fi movie The Matrix, the hero, Neo, is... Continue Reading
Is Wonder Woman a Good Example of Biblical Womanhood?
With the arrival of this new movie, I have seen Wonder Woman heralded as the anecdote to everything that is wrong with the film industry, a shining example of biblical womanhood, and a stand-in for Jesus Christ Himself.
Why must we look to a comic book film for a positive model of Christian womanhood? Why is this story resonating with so many Christian ladies? Could it be that we are so starved for strong female role models within our own subculture that we have to go seeking them in the broader culture? Could... Continue Reading