Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

War Room Critique - Could This Be The Reason The World Points Fingers At Christianity?

I don't know what to call this blog article, but I will come up with a name. The purpose of this article is not to divide the body of Christ, but to point out where and why divisions are taking place in the church, where we should be working together for the cause of Christ.

I am going to take an article found at http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-i-do-not-recommend-kendrick.html  and edit it. I want to show the fallacies of this kind of thinking. It is not a matter of whether or not you agree or even like Beth Moore (many people do not even know who she is) or Priscilla Shirrer, but whether an article like this one even makes any sense.

There are a lot of blogs out there and a lot of differing opinions. When it comes to those who are born again and are part of the body of Christ, we are to grow together in love, even though there will be disagreements among us.

Basically, this was a concern I had when the 'Strange Fire' conference took place last year. I saw a group of people now calling Christians who believed in the spiritual gifts for today, as heretics and false believers. They point to those on television who are using the gifts in much the same way that the Corinthians did in the early church days. They claim that the spiritual gifts have ceased and now we have the word of God and don't need such gifts.

This article does not primarily have to do with the spiritual gifts or if you believe they are for today or not, but it has to do with taking a movie, criticizing it, disagreeing doctrinally with it, and condemning it. The authors of articles such as the one posted above, position themselves as critics and I have seen many times, where they are followers of John McArthur, as well as his teachings on 'Strange Fire', which include believing that the spiritual gifts do not operate any more. So, the movie is out because it supposedly is 'adding to Scripture' because the people in the movie supposedly hear God's voice. (In case you haven't figured this out yet, some Reformed Bible teachers believe that God does not speak to our hearts today. We only hear His voice through Scripture). So, if I understand this correctly, I guess God cannot reveal Himself to me because that would mean that I am receiving extra Biblical revelation. If I understand what these people are saying, this is what it sounds like to me.

Let's go on and edit this blog. My comments are in blue italics.

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 (This is a false belief about Shirer. This belief of extra-biblical personal revelation comes from a belief system that says the spiritual gifts have ceased and we do not need to hear God's voice today because we have His word instead.)

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.
(Again, we have a belief system here that believes that God is not a personal God. We cannot hear His voice because we have His word instead. Not sure what they believe the role of the Holy Spirit is in our lives today, but He must not have much to do with us since we have the canon of Scriptures available to us).

Shirer believes in and teaches an experiential faith (When we come to Christ, do we experience anything concerning a relationship with God, or is it just a mental acknowledgment that He died for our sins?)

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) (Really?? Are you for real? This has nothing to do with receiving 'extra Biblical' revelation equal to the Scriptures. You are making a very big stretch on this one). 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. (This verse has nothing to do with going beyond Scriptures as is stated here)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. (So, I guess again that our relationship with God is just mental, not experiential? Can we experience a deepening relationship with God or is that just 'pie in the sky?') 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. (No, you are putting words into her mouth. The spiritual gifts need to be tested. Any good church will tell you that. Everything that is done by means of a spiritual gift has to be weighed and tested.)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. (No, the spiritual gifts are for today and they are for edifying the body of Christ. They are tools we have to serve one another with and glorify God with).

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." (yes, they have. Revelatory does not equal the canon of Scriptures). 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. (The spiritual gifts have not ceased and using the verse that says, "When the perfect is come.." is taking the verse out of context to mean what you want it to, not what the intention of the Scriptures is).

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. (I would agree with CARM on this. Beth Moore and Pricilla Shirer are not practicing occultic mystic praying. When it comes to meditation, we are told from Scriptures in many places to meditate upon the word).

Learn more herehere, 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 Christian 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. (Not true. Look up Beth Moore's ministry and find out for yourselves if she is really doing these things. This is a form of bearing false witness against your neighbor, in other words, lying about someone, or in another term, 'slandering').

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.

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. (Did you actually see the movie? What parts were 'unbiblical'?) 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 fromJeffrey 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! (Is it wrong to make Bible reading and prayer aids and sell them? Would it be better to sell something else, even if it is good? The author is judging the motives of the movie makers and comparing them with those who sold doves, pigeons, etc. in the house of God which Jesus overturned.)

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? (Hmm. Why do you buy books that you don't plan on reading?)

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
(But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. What a stretch!)

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

(I get the drift of this comment although it may not be the best choice of words used to express this concept).

Let's all remodel our closets!

(There is nothing wrong with these comments. They are spot on and Biblical).

This woman remodeled already ! Because it's the room that does it!
(I watched the movie twice and didn't see any evidence of the actresses saying that it is 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. (Really?? Do you know her motives when she prays and what faith level God has given her to pray with?)

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.  (Not so. The room is just a vehicle. There is nothing in the movie that gives power to the room. The concept in the movie was taken from the Scriptures where Jesus tells us to go into our closets and pray. The Scripture taken in context has to do with not parading our prayer life before others to be seen by them. In the movie, it has a connotation that this is where I am going to take time to meet with God. Any 'war rooms' that we create can be anywhere. It doesn't have to be a closet and the movie doesn't say that it has to be a closet, but  closet is a good idea if it works out and aids the person in praying and listening (doing devotions, as we would say.))
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. (The author assumes here that he knows the motive of those who did this movie. He is assuming that they are using God's word in order to make money rather than to communicate an important message from the word. I think this is called, 'judging'.). 
'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]  (Again, this is an issue for this author because he does not believe people can personally hear from God.)
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.

(This article is a perfect example of someone who believes they have all their theological ducks in a row, but are missing the point of the Gospel message. Yes, we do want to be theologically astute. It is important to understand what the Scriptures say. But what we don't want to do is to take a concept, and find Scriptures to match our concept. Many of the verses used in this article are taken out of context. They have lost their original meaning in order to fit the presuppositions of the author as he appears to want to attack people and use Scripture against them. The man who wrote this article is using speculation and coming to conclusions. He is judging the hearts of those who made the movie. Really, only God knows the hearts of those who make movies and do other things. The author does not understand about Biblical ministry and God's call to the church to serve one another in love. One of the commandments says that we are not to bear false witness against our neighbor. From what little I know about Beth Moore and Pricilla Shirer, and the others who produced this movie, we can easily see that this author is bearing false witness against them. He is judging their hearts and motives and assuming his judgment is correct. 
It is not wise to assume things we hear about people as being true, necessarily. We need to check things out for ourselves and find out what the issues are really all about. I am not a fan of Beth Moore, but, I have heard her speak and I find nothing wrong with what she says. I doubt that she has people emptying their minds and then replacing the empty mind with lies of the devil. She is very big on using Scripture and has a very strong prayer ministry. But I would encourage all my readers to find for themselves what is true, but not by listening to what so and so says about people. Go directly to the source to find out. Never make a stretch by putting some assumed information together and coming up with a desired conclusion. Even going to the movie itself could be a good idea and then you will be able to see for yourself if this movie is really as harmful as the accusers are saying that it is. Does this author not realize that we are in a spiritual battle, or has he missed all the passages in Scripture that explain the battle we are in and the weapon of prayer that God gives us to use?)

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