DoctrineWhy I don’t attend movies produced by the world on the subject of the bible by Scott Bushey
Why I don’t attend movies produced by the world on the subject of the bible.
Recently, I learned that 2 movies are on the horizon to be released to the public. ‘Noah’ and ‘The Son of God’. If you are like me, you like a good movie! I have seen movies of every genre-it would be hard to pin me down on a favorite type of movie as I have favorites along the lines of comedy, drama, science fiction and horror. I am not a great fan of gore, i.e. The Walking Dead or slasher flicks. In my opinion, these types of flicks are evil. Sure, most secular movies have a level of evil in them, i.e. bad language, infidelity, aberrant lifestyles, etc. However, slasher flicks take this evil to another level.
Psalm 101:3 3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
When it comes to God’s word, one would be hard pressed to find a movie that is accurate. One of the reasons that is, is because most of the funds provided that produce large movies are secular. The people behind the production of secular movies have the bottom dollar and profit in mind only. Sensationalism rules. Secondly, being that they are produced in the secular realm says much; how can we expect the unregenerate to understand the depth of spiritual things when we know that spiritual things are only discerned by the spiritual? How could the unregenerate man disseminate God’s word properly when they cannot understand it? As well, one cannot expect Hollywood to convey the main point of Gods word, that being the gospel. They do not make these movies with that idea in mind.
Well, you might say, ‘Scott, God can use a donkey to get His message of hope out there!’. This is correct; however, remember, there is only one truth! A half truth is a lie.
Psa. 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth,
John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Can we call what Hollywood produces as truth?
Are half truths a good thing-ever? I spoke this morning in my Sunday school class about a book entitled, ‘Jesus Calling’. This book was written by the wife of an Elder in the PCA. It is based on a woman who gets messages from Christ, outside of His word. At best it is silly. Theologically, it is found wanting. Everything that this woman says that Christ tells her can already be found in His word. In other words, it is redundant-we don’t need it.
Eccl. 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
2Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
There is nothing new under the sun! The canon is closed and complete. God’s word does not need any help. The point is, what this book brings to the table are ½ truths. They are lies. God no longer speaks to people on a one to one basis; He speaks through the Word:
Heb. 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
Fiction, truth and history
As previously mentioned, Hollywood is famous for fiction; that’s what they do best, they create fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with that per se. It is a release of sorts for us. There are some who believe that all fiction is a form of lying, but that is another paper. When Hollywood mixes fantasy with truth, it becomes a lie. There is no way to avoid this fact. A ½ truth is a lie.
When we consider history, some of what we know is not factual but based on opinion. We have a limited way of validating all the information; sure we have plenty of historic documents, pictures, photography, even some actual footage, but to say that all the information we have on the history of the world to be completely factual would be wrong. We know America was founded in 1776; we know geographically where it sits. We know who penned our declaration and constitution; but some of the details are at best sketchy, and if you have seen any movies on our history that have been produced over the ages by Hollywood, you can attest to the sensationalism that they use as filler. Any good historian will verify that much of what is used in these films is inaccurate.
When we consider the word of God, it is absolute truth. Yes, I know, unbelievers that are reading this paper will challenge the idea that God’s word is truth with all those obvious claims of inconsistency, contradictions etc. But those of us who believe, those of us who are regenerate, we understand that this mentality comes from the fact that one is unregenerate and unable to discern these facts.
Moving past that charge, I want to address what is at the crux of these types of movies. When one takes the word of God and embellishes that word, it changes it; God’s word is a constant and needs no change. As mentioned, it is absolute truth. When one changes the word, it is a lie. When one embellishes God’s word it is a direct attack on the infallibility of God’s word. In that, all believers should truly consider this idea in relation to advocating or watching these types of films. You might be thinking, ‘C’mon Scott! Eat the meat and spit out the bones! God has given His people wisdom to see through the lie; we know the truth. How would this be harmful to us?’ I would respond with, is a lie ever beneficial? Should believers ever have anything to do with darkness? Doesn’t advocating for films like these show a level of liberalism and hasn’t liberalism been one of the main issues we have with the continued reformation of God’s people?
Example: I mentioned earlier that the wife of a PCA elder wrote a book called, ‘Jesus Calling’. Is this a book of reforming to God’s word or liberalism? It is highly unbiblical and f we do not nip this problem in the bud, liberalism will permeate our ranks to no avail. In 2 generations, we will be in the same place as the PCUSA with woman pastors and homosexuals in the pulpit.
What does this say about Sola Scriptura? It is a direct attack on the doctrine. Look what Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly says:
“Darren Aronofsky is not a theologian, nor does he claim to be. He is a filmmaker and a storyteller, and in Noah, he has told a compelling story. It is a creative interpretation of the scriptural account that allows us to imagine the deep struggles Noah may have wrestled with as he answered God’s call on his life. This cinematic vision of Noah’s story gives Christians a great opportunity to engage our culture with the biblical Noah, and to have conversations with friends and family about matters of eternal significance.”
The above photo depicts some of the errors in the ‘Noah’ film.
I can find redeeming value in almost anything. Thats the wrong motivation when we compare anything else to God’s word. Liberalism, when it comes to God’s word is a direct attack on it’s validity. If we accept compromise, our witness dies a slow death. You can be sure that later on, at some point, the world will take us to task on our compromises as that is what they do best to protect their sinful behavior. What Focus on the Family is essentially saying is that we can accept liberalism; we can accept a half truth for the sake of using all things to open doors to discuss God’s plan. When it comes to God’s word, first and foremost, we must stand on it’s infallibility first. The devil is tricky and we must be on-guard in these subtle attacks. Understand the differences between a discussion that doesn’t change the word of God and one that does.
Liberalism is insidious. It is crafty and the enemy uses it; Another example: Where did Lazarus go when he died? Don’t laugh. I am asking this question intentionally as it bears relevance to this discussion. Where did Lazarus go when He died? God’s word says, ‘to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord’, correct? Lazarus had been dead a good while. Scripture says that he began to ‘stink’. Was Lazarus in the presence of God prior to Christ raising him from the dead? One would have to believe so. Would one be brave enough to seriously consider this and all the dynamics of such a claim, it being that God’s word is silent on the issue? Yes, it would be embellishing. We don’t really know for sure, hence, saying anything about this event is skeptical at best. Sure we discuss things like this from a theological perspective and ponder it’s gravity, but to lean on it and bear witness is wrong and we should stick to the silence of scripture. Hence, making a movie about Christ and showing this miracle and embellishing upon it for the sake of sensationalism is sinful and should be avoided. In the movie ‘Son of God’, I am told that jesus actually walks into the tomb where Lazarus is laying; This is a fabrication and not in the word of God. Why would the producers of this movie feel the need to embellish upon the facts? Sensationalism. They do not believe God’s word is infallible and needs the help of their screenwriters to make it better and more appealing to the senses.
Having said that, most Hollywood movies about the bible embellish. In this, since it is sinful, we should not endorse them, no matter how much they resemble scripture.
Have you ever looked at the New World Translation of the bible? This is the translation that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use. There are very few differences from the documents that we use. Unless you know original languages and are familiar with God’s word, you will miss the errors:
“The New World Translation renders the Greek term wordstaurós(“cross”) as “torture stake” because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross. The New World Translation does not translate the Greek words sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus as “hell” because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in hell. The NWT gives the translation “presence” instead of “coming” for the Greek word parousia because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ has already returned in the early 1900s. In Colossians 1:16, the NWT inserts the word “other” despite its being completely absent from the original Greek text. It does this to give the view that “all other things” were created by Christ, instead of what the text says, “all things were created by Christ.” This is to go along with their belief that Christ is a created being, which they believe because they deny the Trinity.
The most well-known of all the New World Translation perversions is John 1:1. The original Greek text reads, “the Word was God.” The NWT renders it as “the word was a god.”
~Taken from GotQuestions.org
We would never advocate for this translation would we? Well, it’s the same thing with Hollywood movies; They are ½ truths. Would you buy this translation for someone you loved? Someone you wanted to bring truth to? I mean, the gospel account in the NWT is accurate when you read them; Imbedded in the writings of this book are fatal theological flaws. Evil flaws that take Christ’s deity away, etc. This is the same thing that Hollywood does when it makes unbiblical movies, yet we embrace them, and to our shame.
I recall years ago, the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ was released; it was produced by one of my favorite directors, Mel Gibson. Two films I loved that Gibson has produced were Braveheart and Apocalypto. However, when it came to the Passion, I passed. Why did I decide to pass on that film? Because of the 2nd commandment. Let’s look at what God’s word says:
Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
R. C. Sproul writes:
“Paul in Romans 1:18–32 tells us that fallen humanity’s tendency is not toward atheism but rather to idolatry. Having rejected the God who does exist, sinners are prone not to abandon worship altogether; rather, we make up all manner of other gods to “take the place” of the Creator of heaven and earth. Apart from grace, we remain in Adam, hating the One who has revealed Himself in nature and in the Bible, and we fashion other deities in our own image. Some people make statues to represent these gods — consider the many deities of Hinduism, for example. Others create mental ideas about the god they want to worship — “my God would certainly never condemn anyone to hell.” The fallen human heart, John Calvin reminds us, is an idol factory that is ever coming up with new ways to image false gods. This is the context in which we should consider the second commandment, which prohibits the fashioning of idols (Ex. 20:4–6). Due to our proclivity toward idolatry, we are to shun any attempt to imagine God apart from His revealed Word. The Lord has the absolute right to reveal Himself as He chooses, and He has chosen not to reveal His Spirit in visible form (Deut. 4:15–31). To attempt to depict the divine apart from Jesus the Christ, however well-intentioned, is to craft an idol and violate God’s prerogative to reveal Himself in whatever manner He so chooses. It also undermines His commands as to how He will be worshiped.”
What RC is saying is that we are prone to idol worship and should avoid those things which will facilitate the error. It is prudent for us to avoid these things.
The Westminster Larger Catechism says:
Q109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment, are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using and anyways approving any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all, or of any of the three Persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly, in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever, all worshiping of it, or God in it, or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; simony, sacrilege, all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
*Notice how the divines go to the extent of saying that if you even think about an image of Christ, you are sinning: “the making any representation of God, of all, or of any of the three Persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly, in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever”.
The Westminster Smaller catechism states:
Quest. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Ans. 51. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images,(1) or any other way not appointed in his word.(2)
The Heidelberg Catechism states:
What is idolatry?
Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. (Ephesians 5:5; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Philippians 3:19; Galatians 4:8;Ephesians 2:12; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; John 5:23)
What does God require in the second commandment?
That we in no wise represent God by images, (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Isaiah 40:18-25; Romans 1:23,24; Acts 17:29) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. ( 15:23; Deuteronomy 12:30-32; Matthew 15:9)
Are images then not at all to be made?
God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: (Isaiah 40:25) but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. ( 23:24,25; 34:13,14,17; Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; Deuteronomy 16:21;18:3,4)
But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?
No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dumb images, (Jeremiah 10:8; Habakkuk 2:18,19) but by the lively preaching of his word. (Romans 10:14,15,17; 2 Peter 1:19; 2 Timothy 3:16,17)
Look at what the producer, Darren Aronofsky, says of his new Film ‘Noah’:
“I don’t think it’s a very religious story. I think it’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film.”
“I think religion is often very different than spirituality. Religion is often about rules and people trying to control our lives who are actually very unspiritual. Another message of the film is that God can be found anywhere, and, in fact, everywhere. And so you don’t necessarily need a religious dogma to get you to spirituality.”
You following this; look at the crux of what the producer believes about God’s word. He calls it a fable! This should not surprise us as Aronofsky has written a few other films that are of New Age philosophies, i.e. The Life Of PI and The Fountain;
My good friend Pastor Phillip Way writes:
“In light of the new Noah movie and the depiction it gives of a hapless helpless unholy god who must act in anger in order to erase his many errors made throughout his act of creating all that is….
The flood was not Plan B. It was not God’s way to reset a creation run amok. The flood was not meant to correct a mistake.
Furthermore, God did not tell the wicked world He was about to destroy that He would stay His hand if they would repent of their sin and return to Him. We know that Noah preached the whole time he was building the ark. He wasn’t giving altar calls! He was by faith and with godly fear proclaiming the righteous wrath of God that was about to be poured out on the wicked.
Hebrews 11:7 tells us that Noah preached in order to condemn the world and that God instructed him to build the ark for the saving of only his family. Noah was not recruiting. He was announcing the all consuming wrath of God.
Yes, the world was wicked. Yes, the flood narrative is full of the shadows and types of Christ coming as the Messiah, the ark in which we are saved from the flood of God’s wrath. Yes, God tells us He was grieved because of the depth of man’s depravity. God was sorry He had made mankind. Genesis 6:6-7
But let us not believe for a moment that this means God failed. This does not mean that His creation was anything but very good at completion. It was not God who ruined the world. It was fallen, sinful men who brought the curse upon creation. And the wages of sin has been death from the very first prohibition about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To sin is to die.
And yet in judgment we find reason to hope! We read in Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Within the curse for sin we first hear the glorious good news of the gospel. Genesis 3:14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
There is the wonder of it all – Noah found grace in God’s eyes! Genesis 6:8
We see then that while the sin and wickedness of men grieved God, it is not an indication that God needed to reset the world. The flood was not a reset. It was not an angry reaction. It was predestined as part of God’s plan all along because it was an act of preservation. In the flood we find salvation.
In order for Christ to be born (which was the plan all along even before the beginning) then humanity had to be preserved. Noah found grace because if he had not, none of us could have. No Noah, no Jesus.
The flood as recorded in Scripture is not a mere foreshadowing – it is a willful and deliberate act by God to hold the door open for His grace to flow “as far as the curse is found.”
And that, as they say, will preach!”
Elaboration is a lie-it is half truths.
What does God’s word say about His bible?
Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and fable to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Heb. 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
1Pet. 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
God’s word is not a fable; it is absolute truth; it is infallible; it is God breathing out and man breathing in.
He goes on to redefine religion. God’s word tells us that religion is:
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
The verse in 1 Peter shows us that religion is in fact ‘spiritual’. The unregenerate cannot understand this as we know, religion of this nature is discerned only by the spiritual and only the spiritual are able to act on this religion. Sure, there are many people of the world who do these works; however, it is not ‘pure and undefiled’ as everything the unregenerate do is as dirty rags before a Holy God.
The producer then goes on to say that religion is about people trying to ‘control our lives’. He misses the trees for the forest. He adds; ‘God can be found everywhere’. The scripture says that there is a path and that this path is narrow and few are they that find it. Jesus Himself said:
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
God is omnipresent, sure; but he cannot be found outside of Christ’s mediation. To be outside of Christ is to be outside of God.
Should we look to God’s word for entertainment? One needs to see the difference between being exhorted, biblical entertainment and secular entertainment. The people of God are exhorted; We are told to ‘entertain’ angels. This is akin to servant hood. It is our calling. To serve. Secular entertainment is different; when I go to Disney World, my family and I are entertained. It is external. The saints serve and this entertainment is internal. Big difference.
What about the made for television film, ‘Man of God’? This was a television miniseries on the History Channel that found blockbuster success. 2oth Century Fox purchased the right to the series and is re-releasing it as a two hour movie. 13 Million viewers tuned into the finale. I am sure that many who watched were professing believers that found nothing wrong with watching. I am told that Columbia has a project pending for release in 2014, on Easter day entitled, ‘Heaven is for Real’. This film will be produced by T.D. Jakes and Joe Roth. T.D. Jakes is a heretic! He is a Modalist. If you hold to Modalism, you deny the Trinity. Thats damning. Modalism teaches that there are 3 Gods, with different manifestations. Thats a far cry from orthodoxy:
WCF ch 2
I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
You might ask: “Can God use this film to draw men to Himself?” Well yes. God can use all things, as long as there is truth there.
Does God save men outside of the formal preaching of the word?
Yes. God sometimes uses ‘non-normative’ means to bring the elect to faith.
Should God’s people use non-normative means in the corporate setting?
No, that would be a break in the Regulative Principle of Worship.
Can God’s people use ‘non-normative’ means, i.e. music, outreach, puppet shows, Cowboy rodeo’s etc. to reach the unchurched?
Yes and No.
God’s typical way of reaching the unchurched is through the local church, the official preaching of the word; however, God can and does use these other things at times to bring the elect to faith. Men should not see these things as equal with official preaching in the local church and should not endeavor to replace that preaching with these ‘non-normative’ ideas. ‘Non-normative means should be an act of circumstance and not a means to the end.
You might ask, “But Scott, Why would it be wrong to use these ‘non-normative’ means if we know that these things draw men to be under the gospel where they would not be so inclined otherwise, i.e. attending church on the Lord’s day?”
It is God who uses means; men have been given directions via the word of God in how to reach the lost. It are these things which we should stick to. Just because the Lord can use all things should not be misunderstood that that is what God wants from His people. We should avoid these things as they border on breaking the RPW. For instance, when the local church is reaching the lost via the Great Commission, it is the church and it’s leadership that should be piloting these things through the ordinary means of preaching. The preacher should be the primary means; He should be present in the garage sale, the Cowboy Rodeo and puppet shows.
For instance, the elect are being regenerated under the reading of the gospel in aberrant settings. Rome preaches a false Gospel. Men are being saved when the priest reads from the bible; it is the actual words that he reads that God uses to convert. The elect leave aberrant settings eventually as God’s word leads into ‘all truth’. Can one be saved under a false gospel? No. Can one be saved in light of lies? No! If these movies are lies, they are not of God. If the gospel message is distorted, it is weak to save. If the world makes movies of God’s word, is the motivation to save men there? Who is the father of them who lie? the devil? Yes, the devil:
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
The devil is behind these films. It cannot be seen in any other fashion; you can dress it up in any way you like, but if it is not truth, it is a lie and from the father of lies.
2Cor. 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
One must make the distinction between fantasy, entertainment and truth. God’s word is not meant to be entertaining, thats exactly why Hollywood et. al. elaborate. A half truth is a lie. Example: Would any of us believers comfortably give away a New World Translation to someone we love? Absolutely not! Even though it is very close to our translations, it is just off enough to contain heresy. In the same way, why would we either suggest viewing an elaboration on God’s word or even indulging it by giving money to someone who is not spiritually discerning to begin with? How can the unspiritual translate God’s word into film? They can’t and thats exactly why they elaborate. They don’t believe God’s word is absolute truth and hence, they think it needs their help in ‘entertaining’.
Advocating for these films, attending them, suggesting them, contributing for them financially is akin to giving the devil God’s money. It is an attack on the infallibility of scripture and God’s people should stamp their feet in protest. If it cannot be done accurately, it should not be done, period.
Having said all of this, you will need to make the decision in regards to seeing such movies. Yes, God has placed us in the world, yet we are to be separate from the world. We should not elbow up to the ideas of the world in how they understand spirituality as it is aberrant. We should not embrace their redefining of God and His bible as in the long run, we will be taken to task on our liberalism by the world. We will be seen as hypocrites and unable to defend the faith adequately because of it. Let us never sacrifice our testimony in light of a good laugh and fitting in. Let us stand for the truth. Off to watch the Movie, ‘Thor’ with my wife. 😉
Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.