Taking Pride in Creation: Genesis: Paradise Lost | Movie Review

 

Genesis: Paradise Lost movie

Since the limited run  of  Genesis: Paradise Lost is almost over (there’s a final encore on December 11, 2017), you may be wondering why another review. We’ll get to that in a moment. But first let me note that a number of even handed reviews have already been written. Here are 3 of them: Continue Reading

Disney, Beauty and the Beast, and Boycotts

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

With Disney’s increasing support of the gay agenda (“Gay Days” at it’s theme parks, increasing exposure of gay scenes in its films aimed at kids) and now with a “gay moment” overshadowing Disney’s new live action version of its classic “Beauty and the Beauty” it has some wondering out loud, “Is it Time to Kiss Disney Goodbye.[1] Sadly, I have to say “yes” as I note in this tweet. And to further note my opposition to Disney’s move toward encouraging the gay agenda, I encouraged others to boycott Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast film: Continue Reading

“Silence” – A Review of Scorsese’s latest attack on the faith

A scene from Scorsese's

A scene from Scorsese’s “Silence”

Most Christians should skip Scorsese’s “Silence”

 

 

 

 

If you were expecting an uplifting  film for Christians from Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” you will be sorely disappointed. Because this film is neither made for Christians nor uplifting. To clarify my point, let me define my terms.

As a Christian, I expect a film made for Christians to:

  • Be supportive of the Christian faith
  • Proclaim the gospel; or at minimum Biblical principles
  • Show the benefits of faithfulness and the punishments or pains for  rebelliousness
  • Show the ultimate triumph of the gospel, Christ, and of the Christian living faithfully
  • Not recommend anti-Biblical actions
  • Not put anti-Biblical words in the mouth of  God the Father or Christ

Silence fails on all counts save for some small support of the first item by showing a number of poor Japanese peasants, who are believers and are martyred for their faith – preferring death over denying their Lord and God Jesus by “apostatizing” – a formal denial of their faith done in this case by trampling on a plaque with an raised relief image of Jesus. Continue Reading

Review: The Atheist Delusion

In his latest evangelistic movie “The Atheist Delusion – Why Millions Deny the Obvious” Ray Comfort is once again out among atheists in what I’d like to say is his inimitable style – but that would be a very inaccurate description. Because it is clear that Comfort has developed an easy to use approach that he’d like every Christian to use when confronted with atheist claims of “there’s no evidence of God”. Continue Reading

Review: “Audacity – Love can’t stay Silent”

Audacity Movie  “Audacity – Love can’t stay silent Ray Comfort delivers a winsome defense of traditional marriage while making a persuasive gospel presentation in his new movie “Audacity.”

“For some, the legalization of gay marriage is good news. While others find it difficult to grasp. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the issue, gay marriage has become a present day reality that is spreading across America. Soon, to one degree or another each of us will have to respond in our own way to this current cultural revolution.”

With these words, a newscaster frames a question for both the main character – Peter, a young man, young in the faith;  and the audience. The real question: how can a Christian lovingly and appropriately proclaim the truth of the faith while still witnessing with love?

That question is gently and deftly answered as the movie unfolds.  As expected,  “Audacity” author and evangelist Ray Comfort adapts and applies his “Way of the Master” evangelism questions and techniques to the timely topic of so called “gay  marriage.” At about 50 minutes, the movie is a bit of a “tweener”: quite a bit longer and more involved than a simple youtube type gospel presentation, yet quite a bit shorter than the average movie which typically runs 90 -120 minutes.

But Comfort manages to pack in everything that you would expect of a movie from a Christian evangelist: characters with struggles (both Christian and non-Christian),  a story with a plot line – complete with twists; a number of clear and persuasive presentations of the gospel, a refutation of negative Christian stereotypes,  identification of unfounded hostility toward Christians from those who are supposed to be enlightened and tolerate; and of course a clear unequivocal stand for traditional, one man one woman marriage and a re-enforcement of the Christian message that we can both stand for the truth of the Bible and present it in a clear, loving and winsome manner.

Comfort simultaneously defends two main themes through the use of plot devices that act as illustrations for his two main points: Continue Reading

AD Apologetics – Part 2: Jesus’ Triumphant Resurrection

A light shines during the resurrection of Jesus while Guards at the tomb are unaware.

A light shines during the resurrection of Jesus while Guards at the tomb are unaware. (AD The Bible Continues)

The series “AD – The Bible Continues” presents a strong case for the resurrection of Jesus.

In  part 1, Jesus’ death and the empty Tomb, the uniqueness of Christianity was examined through  a consideration of the following questions:

Why believe in Christianity?
What makes Christianity different from any other religion?
Why not believe in other religions?
What makes Jesus different from the founder of other religions?
How do you know Christianity is true?
Why should I believe in Jesus?

The answer to all those questions is resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – it is the answer to each question, and what makes Christianity unique. Furthermore, Christianity is the only religion which provides hope for us mortal men and women through a savior who has demonstrated mastery over death by himself rising from the dead. And that savior offers the same resurrection to all who believe in him.

That claim – resurrection from the dead –  is so startling, so bold, so beyond common experience that some people refuse to even consider it as a possibility. Such doubt has been expressed by the well known liberal scholar,  the late Rudolph Bultmann who in his disbelief writes,

Continue Reading

AD Apologetics – Part 1: Jesus’ death and the Empty Tomb

Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb

Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb (John 20.1) in “AD – The Bible Continues” episode 2 “The Body is Gone”

The series “AD – The Bible Continues” presents many strong evidences of why the resurrection of Jesus is true.

Why believe in Christianity?
What makes Christianity different from any other religion?
Why not believe in other religions?
What makes Jesus different from the founder of other religions?
How do you know Christianity is true?
Why should I believe in Jesus?


The answer to these an many other question about the authenticity of the Christian faith is the same.  That which:

 – distinguishes Jesus and Christianity from any other religion,
– validates that Christianity is true, and
– proves that Jesus is the son of God

 is the same fact: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus is the most important doctrine of the Christian faith

No other religion has a founder who has proved he is the Lord of Life by showing mastery over death by being raised from the dead. This is precisely the point scripture makes when it proclaims:

…who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 1.4)

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important doctrine of the Christian faith, because without the resurrection there is no point to the Christian faith, and indeed no  faith at all. Or as the apostle Paul put it:

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Cor 15.14, 17

It is no wonder then that of all the doctrines that critics, liberal scholars and those who wish to destroy Christianity could take aim at,  the one they choose to attack early, often and most viciously is the teaching that Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead, after having being put to death on a Roman cross and entombed. Continue Reading

“Killing Jesus” – a review

Jesus overturns the tables of the temple money changers in National Geographic's/Bill O'Reilly's

Jesus overturns the tables of the temple money changers in National Geographic’s/Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus”

“Killing Jesus” presents a Jesus declared to be the son of God by his disciples, instead of the eternal God  made flesh that is presented in scripture.

What can you expect from Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus? Let me borrow a scene from the Bible to explain:

After John the Baptizer1 is  put in prison by Herod Antipas (called Herod the Tetrarch) for preaching against Herod’s immoral, adulterous affair with the wife of his brother Philip, the Bible records John while in prison sends some of his disciples to Jesus to affirm that Jesus is in fact the messiah that John had announced to the world that he was when Jesus came to him to be baptized by John in the Jordan. In answer to John’s question – are you the one – Jesus provides John’s disciples evidence that he is in fact the messiah by performing messianic miracles (Is 35.5) in the sight of John’s disciples, and sends them back with the message that he is doing the works of the messiah as prophesied by scripture; and also sends a word of encouragement to John. (Luke 7.21-23)

Jesus then turns to the crowd and affirms John and his ministry by asking the people a series of questions that hones in on the expectations the people had about John: Continue Reading

“Finding Jesus” – the Shroud of Turin – A Review

The first episode of the new CNN Series “Finding Jesus – Faith Fact Forgery” uses selective evidence to support the unwarranted conclusion that the Shroud of Turin is a forgery.

Sunday night CNN launched a new documentary series on the Christian faith titled “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery”.  The first episode, “The Shroud of Turin” was, as the title implies, a re-examination of the highly venerated, highly questioned burial cloth of Jesus. The question is, of course, is the cloth authentic? Is it really the cloth of which the gospel writer Mark records:

“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
Mark 15.46

… or is it a forgery? Based on the title, the producers want to draw a sharp line of demarcation between what is faith (that which science can neither affirm nor deny); what is fact, and what is unwarranted faith (that which science can attempt to either affirm or deny and if denied, declare a “forgery” or false). Based on the first episode, the producers want to remove any scientific basis for faith – even when such evidence is overwhelming. This is clearly the case because of the wealth of evidence that exists concerning the authenticity of the well studied, well researched Shroud that the producers chose to ignore. I say chose to ignore, because as producers of a documentary on the well known relic, they are responsible for being aware of such public domain information and should surely  know about these evidences which contradict their theories. And if they don’t know, they are not qualified to be doing a documentary on it. This first episode (and thus presumably the rest of the series) is clearly biased against evidence that confirms the veracity of Christian claims.

In an apparent effort to cover their bias, the documentary is overall respectful of the faith – providing a traditional retelling of the events leading up to the burial of Jesus.  In my previous article Physical Evidence Jesus Existed I list 6 evidences of authenticity for the Shroud; 3 of which are not mentioned in the documentary, the others are either ignored or outright denied. Below is further exposition and clarification on some of those evidences, and the addition of new evidence from an effort to date the Shroud apart from Carbon dating. Obviously a documentary cannot be expected to present every piece of evidence, but certainly some of the well established evidences – especially those which contradicts your proposed theory – should be presented – if the goal is to present a fair and balanced piece of journalism. Of course if you’re not interested in fair and balanced reporting, then liberal usage of the fallacy of suppressed evidence is a viable course, and the route which they have obviously chosen for this episode, and presumably the series. 

So what is the theory that they resort to suppressing evidence to protect? Continue Reading

“Exodus – Gods and Kings”: a biblically based review

  Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.
Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus Gods and Kings

There is no question that Hollywood knows how to make big, beautiful, epic, blockbuster movies with wide appeal. In that regard they are second to none. With the release of the recent Biblical themed movies – the latest of which is Exodus – Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott, the question for Christians is has Hollywood learned, or more appropriately, recalled how to do Biblical themed movies that Christians will both enjoy and approve of? I say ‘recalled’ because of course Hollywood used to know how to make such movies. Anyone who has seen  Cecille B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments understands why it is regarded as the standard against which every other Biblical epic is judged.

To answer the question:  no, Hollywood has not learned or has chosen not to recall how to make movies Christians can both enjoy and approve of.  If Exodus – Gods and Kings is the gauge, then it’s clear Hollywood remains clueless in this regard – or perhaps more appropriately – remains willfully antagonistic toward the Christian messages inherent in Biblical themed movies.

This assessment stands in stark contrast to the article in Christianity Today
from which the caption (Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.) is derived. In that article, Brett McCracken wants to give you “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.”  Here’s my assessment in a nutshell:

For Ridley Scott, director of films such as Gladiator (2000),  Hannibal (2001) and American Gangster (2007) the account of the exodus is just another story. He could not possibly care less if it is a Biblical story that has theological meanings, symbolism and message. He doesn’t care if it is cherished by Jews and Christians the world over. He’s a story teller, and he’s going to do it his way. And do it his way he did.

After viewing the movie I sat down and wrote over 3 dozen inaccuracies and problems (from a Christian perspective) in the film without having to look hard or dig for them. What follows are what I consider to be 10 of the most egregious.  After that I’ve included commentary on the ten reasons that Brett McCracken thinks it’s okay to see the film.

Here are links to the two sections:
Spoiler Warning: – Many parts of the film are discussed – but if you’re familiar with the Exodus account, not much should be a surprise – other than the many changes Scott made.

 

Part I.  Ten Reasons to be Hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

 

Part II.  Brett McCracken’s  “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic” – in italics, followed by my comments.



Part I:
Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

1. No concern for Biblical authority
Right off the bat you know that there will be little regard for Biblical authority when the first thing you see is the time period: 1300 BCE. That date – known as the “late date” for the exodus is used because many scholars date the exodus to 1270 BC during the reign of Ramses II.  (In passing, BCE – Before the Common Era – is used by those who don’t want to acknowledge the Christ in BC – Before Christ.) Scholars who affirm the 13th century date do so disregarding recent archeological evidence1, and more importantly the testimony of scripture which says:

Continue Reading