Christian MediaEngaging Culture

What Christians in the Spotlight Know That You Might Not

It seems like every time a well-known pastor does a major news interview, or other visible Christian discusses their faith, appears in the secular press, or releases a controversial book, the Internet lights up with critics from the Christian community. We’re remarkably quick to “defend the faith” and point out why other believers have got it wrong or don’t see things as well as we do. (I especially like the online critics who do it behind a fake name.) I’m all for in-house discussions and debates – and even calling each other to account – but thanks to the Internet, the volume has risen so high, it wouldn’t be surprising if the secular world assumed we were splintering and falling apart.  I honestly think our stand for Biblical truth would ring far louder if we showed more grace to those out there sharing their faith in difficult places.

Over the years, I’ve advised and counseled hundreds of Christian leaders who live and work in the public eye. Based on that experience, I’d encourage you to remember these important things the next time you feel like publicly correcting someone:

1. The media highly edits interviews.  A critic recently blasted another Christian who in a newspaper interview apparently left out a key section of a Bible passage related to salvation. But before we tear someone like that apart, know that all media interviews are highly edited. I did a 30 minute interview with “Inside Edition” recently and only a single line made it into the finished program. That happens all the time. So we don’t know exactly what anyone originally said when we see it played back on TV.

2. Controversy helps the media’s ratings.  While many media interviews are very cordial, ultimately they want to attract viewers or readers. So it’s not unusual for them to re-arrange clips, put scenes out of order, or literally make word-for-word edits to create controversy. Once again – we don’t know exactly what that Christian leader told the interviewer, so let’s show a little grace.

3. Often, Christians working in legal, political, entertainment, professional sports, or other high-profile places are making a difference in ways we never see.  It’s often a strategy of “win some, lose some,” but what we see in public may be the loss. Before we criticize, remember that these believers are also working behind the scenes, sometimes in hostile environments, sharing their faith in places we don’t know. Many times, that’s where the most progress for the Kingdom happens.

4. The highest level engagement is often private and discreet.  I know a highly respected Christian leader who has spent his career sharing the gospel with men and women at the highest levels of the entertainment and media industries. But if he went public with it, those doors would all close. He’s prayed with the top executives of media companies, and led major celebrities to Christ. He struggles to find financial support because to share these incredible stories – even with potential donors – would shut off that access for the gospel.

5. Finally – and perhaps most important – let’s not view the world only through our favorite Bible passage or subject.  I know well meaning Christians who see everything through the lens of Bible prophecy, and they gripe about everything else. Others view everything through the lens of apologetics and “Biblical Truth,” so they view everything skeptically if it’s not all about “defending the faith.” All Bible doctrines are important, but when we become obsessed by a single topic, it skews our thinking and our witness.

Theologian Abraham Kyuper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”  God is doing remarkable things through people we’d never expect and in places we can’t even imagine. God has allowed some Christians to be placed in the spotlight – not out of ego – but for the opportunity to share Christ to a non-believing (and sometimes hostile) culture. Before we go public to “remind” them of their shortcomings, doctrinal errors, or something else we disagree with, let’s pray for them. As Paul said, “…whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

Showing grace isn’t about compromising our faith, it’s about extending our faith, so that through love, the world will marvel at our unity and be compelled to respond to our message.

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40 Comments

  1. Thanks Phil. I’ve reminded people of the principles in your first two points before, but points 3 & 4 are great to know. I appreciate that insight from your unique vantage point.

    Point 5 is one I never even considered. You’re right that too narrow a lens can distort how we see things. Thanks for that reminder.

  2. I tire of reading or hearing of those critics who find fault with anything that is “not of their ilk.” Noah takes liberties. Son of God takes liberties. This version is not up to snuff because it doesn’t quite translate something exactly. You bring out some very important points Phil.Glad you are making a difference.

  3. I suppose that you’ve offered this on the heels of your urgent endorsement of the very, very bad film Noah. That effort, though certainly well intentioned, was a study in circular reasoning.

    Noah is a dreadful film … in every detail that matters. I would not only NOT recommend seeing the film … I will go out of my way in urging people not to view it.

    The box office receipts of religious films has not escaped the execs in Hollywood … they very much want a piece of that action. Christians should demand good films though, whose producers do not rip biblical stories from their their inspired and essential context in order to exploit them for their own God’s money to support such backwards effort.

    I can understand, however, that some leaders may have been consulted AFTER the film had been shot and edited, and those same leaders have offered their opinion … and now wish very much to show Hollywood that their opinions and influence are exceptional. Nevertheless … I will not go … and the opinions of those now urging me to view the film will be taken far less seriously than before.

    That’s a discussion I’m perfectly willing to have publicly by the way. If you wish to take Christians to task publicly by insinuating that their resistance to Noah is provincial … that they are hayseeds … well, be prepared for a public retort … not a private or discreet one.

    1. I think your point about not being afraid of a public forum is substantially weakened by your use of an online alias.
      Your comment if full of unsupportable accusations: how could you possibly know the motives of the leaders who commented on the film? And I’ve re-read Phil’s post several times now, and I can’t find a reference to “hayseeds”. (Since you mention circular logic, you might want to take a look at “straw man” and “argumentum ad hominem”.)
      Phil shares a sophisticated insight into the workings of media, and offers guidance, based on his professional experience, on how comments and opinions can be distorted. He then calls for Christian charity and grace when dealing with comments from Christian leaders, which may well have been edited.
      I can’t see anything wrong with that. These are core Christian values, are they not?
      I think ANY Bible story, told to a wide audience, can create a chance to discuss the Bible with people who may have never considered it, and that excoriating the creators of a Bible story because it isn’t perfect is a destructive strategy for two reasons: it discourages filmmakers from consulting the Christian community before making Bible based films, and it makes Christians look petty, mean and judgmental.
      While one might have a different perspective, and might therefore, respectfully disagree with me, my points are valid.
      You seem to assert that you are in the habit of taking the opinions of people who disagree with you “far less seriously than before”. Phil and I disagree all the time, but I love having my ideas challenged by an intelligent and sincere man: it sharpens my mind, and occasionally, and painfully, reminds me to be a bit more humble. Which is, in essence, one of the points makes in his post.
      It’s a good reminder.

    2. I prefer to ONLY respond to the subject of a story, not bring OTHER articles or discussions into a thread, and you know something? I don’t see the Noah movie mentioned ANYWHERE in this piece. Not once. Move on please.

    3. Good for Phil for taking “Christians to task publicly by insinuating that their resistance to Noah is provincial”. I’ll go a step further and not merely insinuate it but state it outright. The ignorant arguments perpetuated by many across the Bible Belt have staggered me on many, many occasions and I am heartily sick of it.

      I have no doubt Phil will experience a backlash, but that’s all to the good. If a few vocal God-botherers want to stop people from going, such efforts will have precisely the opposite effect on many. Its like when TV channels warn that “the following programme contains sex, violence, bad language” or suchlike, it turns off one audience but turns on another.

      I also find it bizarre that “nowis1234” wants a public debate but hides behind a pseudonym.

      I am also struggling to work out whether he (or she) has actually seen the film. If they have, they have almost certainly seen one of the unfinished studio cut test versions that were doing the rounds before Aronofsky got final cut.

      Assuming he/she has seen the film, and their opinion is that it is dreadful for aesthetic reasons (ie badly directed, acted, etc) then fair enough. But if he/she has seen it and are urging people not to go because of “theological innacuracy” then that is just the kind of stupidity I have come to expect from the “provincial” types he/she refers to.

      Or, worst case scenario (and I suspect this is the case), “nowis1234” HASN’T seen the film, but has HEARD it is theologically suspect, and is therefore urging people not to see it.

      One final point: “nowis1234” writes (very pompously) “I will not so poorly steward God’s money and my influence, by supporting such a backwards effort”. The price of a cinema ticket hardly warrants the condemnation of “poor stewardship”.

      Frankly, I’d have a lot more respect for “nowis1234” if he/she 1) used their real name and 2) simply said they didn’t like the film (or didn’t like the look of it – not their kind of thing, etc), instead of piling on pseudo-religious objections.

      1. Simon … that you should find it acceptable to discourage others form viewing a film over artistic concerns, but find it an act of “stupidity” to register concerns regarding troubling theological posits is most revealing.

        Apparently you cannot imagine any but rubes being troubled by Hollywood’s artistic license in presenting a Noah which exists as the antithesis of that biblical character who shares the same name.

        How oafish of me to imagine that such a powerful medium might cause justifiable confusion for those who’ve never cracked open the bible.

        Forgive me also, the provencial boobery of demanding from Hollywood a “biblical” film which, rather than remaining true to the simple text, instead elects to exploit it in an effort to promote a quack political agenda which places at the top of man’s grievous sins (remember, the world was, after all, destroyed) environmental destruction (though, at that time, mankind was engaged in an agrarian lifestyle … no matter, historical revisionism and theological revisionism go hand in hand).

        Funny thing though, I can imagine a chap like you raging against a producer who dared to wander afield of the text in something like, oh say … Lord of the Rings” … but think nothing of this “artistic” effort which brutalizes the text.

        Yes, how unsophisticated indeed! I can imagine you holding audience at a mixer now … “well, yes … I’m a Christian BUT … not one of THOSE Christians!

        Why do you find it odd that a chap who has realized that more than a few crazies occupy the internet and so has employed a moniker other than his name (as I once did, before realizing the foolishness of that act).

        A public debate is a debate which occurs publicly … names not withstanding.

        What you haughtily (dare I say stupidly) regard as “pseudo-religous objections” … those ideas many regard as essential truths … are treated so recklessly, so dismissively by a filmmaker, we find it prudent and wise to send a clear message to would be filmmakers (by boycotting such rubbish) namely, don’t take such absurd license with biblical themes … well, that is if you wish to cash in on them.

        BTW, have you checked your missive for pomposity … I’m sure I noted it at several junctures.

        1. Dear “nowis1234”,

          Personally, I thought the liberties Peter Jackson took with The Lord of the Rings were a sterling example of how to adapt a text – ie keep the essence and ditch the bits that wouldn’t work on a big screen.

          Adapting the Bible is no different. The Biblical account suggests Noah was a deeply flawed individual, and there are areas where it is entirely legitimate to expound or speculate on that do not contradict the essence of the story. Obviously, I haven’t seen the film yet, but I look forward to doing so.

          Have you seen it, by the way? You didn’t answer that question.

          I am excited about the Noah film, precisely because I believe it WILL encourage non-believers to pick up a Bible, regardless of any inaccuracies/liberties taken. Even if the Noah were profoundly anti-Christian, I still think it would drive people to pick up a Bible and check out the story for themselves. As a Christian, I would be offended by the film perhaps, but I’d rather be offended than bored.

          You also seem to be upset at what you perceive as an environmentalist agenda. From what I understand, the First Age of the Earth culminated in unmitigated misery and chaos. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest there may have been environmental catastrophes too?

          Finally, as an Oxbridge accented Brit, I accept that I cannot be absolved of blame on the pomposity front, but at least I try to be pompous in an amusing, tongue in cheek manner…

          1. If you found Jackson’s efforts commendable (I did) then it is puzzling indeed that you find Aronofsky’s so laudable.

            Having read the Trilogy I found Jackson’s effort a study in fine storytelling. Conversely, having also read the biblical narrative … I find Aronofsky’s effort wholly at odds with the text … in a recklessly damning fashion.

            To lift out of context a plot, character and storyline as egregiously as Noah does, isn’t merely artistic license … its artistic fecklessness.

            No, I haven’t seen the film (I would’ve thought my post made that rather plain) … but I get it. You attempt to undermine my opinion’s credibility by simply noting that I haven’t seen the film.

            Sadly, among some, such a straw man may serve there purpose. I prefer to address an argument more substantially though.

            I have relied on the opinions of others in forming my own regarding the film. Namely (and ironically) Jerry Johnson.

            Your logic regarding the notion that people will rush out to read the biblical account, despite the films gross errors suggests more than naivete … it’s just plain wrongheaded.

            How you could possibly imagine that a productive conversation can be jump started by presenting a Noah, wholly at odds with the biblical character … that those unfamiliar with the biblical account will at once reject Crowe’s rendition because a Christian has pointed to the biblical narrative … is simply wishful thinking.

            Paramount’s Noah will now become gospel to millions who simply have no inclination to think otherwise. At best, that’s unhelpful … at worst, destructive.

            And yes, if logic remains central to our discussion, it is not merely a stretch to imagine environmental catastrophe … it is the abandonment of reason (much as the embrace of “climate change” demands of its acolytes today).

            Man’s gross immorality … his wickedness lay behind God’s judgement. Not his treatment of the environment (especially given God’s command to subdue the earth). In short, they were farmers … low tech farmers. Just not much potential for environmental destruction there.

            Perhaps you should better inform your understanding.

            “I’d rather be offended than bored” … that is postmodernism in the nutshell isn’t it? Nothing so offensive as tediousness, eh?

            Forgive me, but I’ve searched for the humor in your pomposity (I’m fond of Father Ted) … but have come up empty-handed. Perhaps you’ll point out the tongue in cheek cues I’ve so clearly missed?

            BTW, I’m still waiting for you to unpack that phrase “pseudo-religious objections”. I’m sure it must have sounded clever as you typed it out … but, please, enlighten me as to its exact meaning.

            Simon, you address this issue from the other side of the pond, from within a post-christian culture.

            We would like to avoid that same fate here for as long as possible. So please be patient with us bumpkins.

          2. Dear “nowis1234”,

            Greetings from the land of godless heathens (here be dragons)…

            I don’t think we can continue this discussion rationally, as it is about a film that neither of us have seen. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that ought to be a foundational point for a debate like this. Let’s both go and see it, and then we can discuss whether or not it is offensive to Christians.

            Also, at no point did I suggest that environmental damage was the exclusive reason for the flood. I suspect the film doesn’t do that either. However, if “environmental damage” is another reason God destroys the world in this film, I can’t say I’m going to get too hot under the dog-collar about it. Who knows? I don’t necessarily agree that the First Age of the Earth was technologically inferior. All kinds of stuff could have been going on. Indeed, there are hints in the Bible of genetic engineering, DNA manipulation and so forth taking place at that time.

            By “pseudo-religious objections”, I simply meant that your objections seem to be based on a misreading of what the Bible actually tells us about Noah. In spite of what is widely taught and accepted in churches, the Biblical text makes it clear that Noah was not a perfect man. He and his family were chosen to survive because his DNA was pure and uncorrupted by the Nephilim (“perfect in his generations” is how that verse is often mistranslated). We also know he got drunk afterwards and lay naked in a state of inebriation.

            Anyway, I maintain that the film can’t help but generate interest and discussion in the Biblical account. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

          3. Though you claim that churches widely teach and accept the perfection of Moses (somehow this has escaped me … both in my theological training and my nearly thirty years in active ministry) I know of no intelligent discussion of which has ever suggested anything of the sort. At all. In any regard.

            I have heard of such notions only among very, VERY fringe elements. Hardly the stuff of any mainstream, or “widely” held beliefs.

            Somehow “hints” of “genetic engineering and DNA manipulation” have also eluded me. We are talking about Christianity, yes? I’ve not stumbled into a Dianetics discussion group have I?

            I did not anywhere suggest that that you implied environmental damage was first among man’s sins (come now Simon, that strikes me as a bit of rhetorical slight of hand). I remarked that it is absurd to list such a charge against them at all.

            Not only is the original text absent any suggestion (even the remotest) of such a sin, simple reason (oh, for such a virtue today) itself disqualifies the argument entirely. Man simply did not have the means for achieving that effort.

            This is merely another effort of the Left in their tireless efforts in indoctrination. The stupefying of a generation if you will. As an aside, you may wish, as an Englishman, to peruse the musings of George Orwell … he had more than a little to say about such matters.

            So, here we are, at the end of our “discussion” … not much of one, I think.

          4. First regarding Noah, I perhaps didn’t express myself clearly. I wasn’t suggesting the church teaches he was perfect (though I appreciate I may have implied that), I meant the church generally goes on at great length about him being righteous. He was, but that didn’t mean he was unflawed. It would seem that many sections of the American Bible Belt do not want to confront the rougher edges of his character, in spite of the fact that they are discussed in the Bible.

            My general point was not to create a theology, rather to keep an open mind on matters where the Bible is silent.

            The whole Nephilim thing (angels breeding with humans) is clearly laid out in Genesis 6. To me, it isn’t too much of a stretch to suggest that is such a world, technology might have been superior to what came later. Hence my comments about genetic engineering, etc, etc. I’m not saying that was what did happen, I’m saying I have an open mind and therefore quite happy for the likes of Darren Aronofsky to speculate about it (including possible side effects such as environmental damage).

            As for your comments about indocrination by “the Left”, I for one will wait until I see the film before I dismiss it as environmentalist propoganda. Not all environmentalism is bad either (contrary to what some Christians seem to think). I don’t like environmentalist attitudes that refuse to see mankind as a part of the natural world, but equally there is nothing bad about being a good steward of the planet, minimising pollution, recycling, not hunting animals to extinction, not fishing beyond our needs and depleting cod stocks, not cutting down rainforests to increase corporate profits, etc, etc.

          5. “Environmentalism” is now a desperately corrupted (and wholly co-opted) word.

            Conservationism was/is a laudable and important effort … one most support.

            Environmentalism, on the other hand, is a pseudo-science/political cudgel employed to bludgeon society at large by the Left in their unrelenting efforts in tyranny.

            It is the pseudo-science and anti-capitalist propaganda effort of the pseudo-intellectual Left.

            It is a study in myth-making for politcal ends. It is the very sort of thing which Orwell denounced as doublespeak, and further, found him opining that “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

            There is a world of difference between wise stewardship and an unthinking ” obeisance to another liberal shibboleth.

            One protects the world from ecological ruin, the other sends the world hurtling toward despotic ruin.

            I fully embrace prudent conservationism … I utterly abhor the trojan horse of environmentalism.

          6. Fair enough, but I’ll wait to see the film before deciding whether it contains a message that fits your definition of “environmentalism”.

          7. My last comment didn’t seem to post for some reason… Anyway, thank you for clarifying your definition of “environmentalism”. I will go and see the film to see whether or not it contains any messages that fit your description of the term.

          8. Phil, thanks. I’d love to be wrong about the film … and I may well be.

            I don’t find many of the arguments here terribly persuasive though … more spin than not (to me).

            I’ve simply grown weary of the 24/7 siege against truth that seems to rage around us at present.

            Given the essential nature of context to meaning and conclusions, I remain skeptical and guarded about the film, Noah.

            “Redemption”, “forgiveness”, “evil” and “judgement” is rather seductive language when laboring to appeal to a Christian audience … I’m just not persuaded that the meanings offered by the film are either consistent with those of scripture or genuinely helpful in kick starting a useful dialogue.

            BUT … I am going to rethink my arguments for a bit now, review the available footage and perhaps arrive at a different conclusion.

            Thank you for adding more food for thought.

    4. Hi Nowis. I respect anyone’s choice to see or not see a film, given the data that we each have, we need to be wise stewards of not just our money, but our time, and with what we choose to fill our head space.

      On one point of yours I wanted to offer that a Biblical Adviser (myself) was actively involved in the creative film making process going back to the early months of pre-production all the way through post-production. This is not a case of Hollywood checking in after the fact with a few Christians who can “yes-and” them.

      I am personally moved by the film, and believe that even if it’s not the precise way each of us would tell the Noah story, it’s a moving exploration of justice, mercy, sin, miracles, and most importantly salvation by grace. I loved realizing that hundreds of secular crew members from bottom to top were waking up each morning thinking about such themes, and was glad to be a part of it.

      1. Your close involvement was, doubtless, encouraging. It might also prove unhelpful in providing an unbiased opinion. After all, as an adviser your efforts are also reflected in the final cut.

        There are simply too many reports of Aronofsky’s unhappiness with Paramount’s efforts to alter his story. It remained a point of contention from beginning to end.

        Additionally, neither he, nor Crow enjoyed a remotely orthodox perspective of the biblical narrative.

        Indeed, Aronofsky reportedly (and bluntly) stated that Noah is “about environmental apocalypse… Noah was the
        first environmentalist.”

        Underscoring his fanatical interest in portraying the flood as the consequence of environmental catastrophe was
        the illness of the film’s leading actress, Emma Watson.

        Aronofsky, in order to reflect the films environmental concerns, actually banned plastic water bottles from the set.

        Consequently, Watson, who often found herself dehydrated on the set, drank stagnate water, resulting in her illness.

        The original script (which remained largely unchanged) reflected Aronofsky’s dedication to a retelling of Noah which both veered dramatically and irreparably from the biblical text … and his commitment to fashioning the story of an environmental apocalypse … as
        an allegorical warning to this generation.

        This generation is deeply in need of an accurate telling of the story of Noah … not one which suggests that our salvation lies in recycling.

        The NRB’s Jerry Johnson, who actually encourages Christians to view the film, offered an overview of the film’s content which offers more than enough
        reason to not only ignore it at the box office, but to explain why we
        are doing so.

        Hollywood should not be mistaken in our message. If you wish to so pervert biblical characters and narratives, do not expect support for your efforts from the Christian community.

        We will not foot the bill for efforts which are not simply misguided … but misleading to those whose search for truth might well endure difficulties as a consequence of viewing such fare.

        To blandly suggest that the Noah film may not be the “precise way each of us would tell the Noah story” is an understatement indeed.

        We would only choose to tell this important story in this fashion if we believed that man’s greatest evil exists in the form of pollution. Which is to say,
        we would only tell the Noah story in this fashion if found in it a
        convenient prop for our favorite cause.

        Which of course leaves me wondering, just what lessons the crew members actually took away from the effort?

      2. While your close involvement was, doubtless, encouraging, it might also prove unhelpful in providing an unbiased opinion. After all, as an adviser your efforts are also reflected in the final cut.

        With the many reports of Aronofsky’s unhappiness with
        Paramount’s efforts to alter his story (it remained a point of contention from beginning to end) it has been apparent from the scripts first rendering, to the
        changes made during filming, that the movie would veer wildly away from the biblical text.

        Largely stripped of context, laden with quack theological theories, and overburdened by an environmental extremist’s worldview, the movie shares little
        in common with the actual biblical narrative.

        The tut-tutting we’re now being treated to by some in the Christian community who insist that we see the film, lest we discourage such efforts in
        the future (yes, please) relies on a strange blend of circular reasoning, non-sequiturs and arguments from authority (with a nice dollop of finder wagging guilt on the side). I’m not buying.

        Neither Aronofsky or Crowe enjoy a remotely orthodox perspective of the biblical narrative … nor was that requisite to the films intent. It seems clear that Aronofsky never intended to tell the biblical version, but chose to employ it as a vehicle for his environmental cause. Indeed, Aronofsky
        reportedly (and bluntly) stated that Noah is “about environmental apocalypse… Noah was the first environmentalist.”

        Underscoring his fanatical interest in portraying the flood as the consequence of environmental catastrophe was the illness of the
        film’s leading actress, Emma Watson.

        Aronofsky, in order to reflect the films environmental concerns, actually banned plastic water bottles from the set.

        Consequently, Watson, who often found herself dehydrated
        on the set, drank stagnate water, resulting in her illness.

        The original script (which remained largely unchanged)
        reflected Aronofsky’s dedication to a retelling of Noah which both veered dramatically and irreparably from the biblical text … and his commitment to fashioning the story of an environmental apocalypse … as an allegorical
        warning to this generation.

        This generation is deeply in need of an accurate telling of the story of Noah … not one which suggests that our salvation lies in
        recycling.

        The NRB’s Jerry Johnson, who actually encourages Christians to view the film, offered an overview of the film’s content which offers more than enough reason to not only ignore it at the box office, but to explain why we are doing so.

        Hollywood should not be mistaken in our message. If you wish to so pervert biblical characters and narratives, do not expect support for your efforts from the Christian
        community.

        We will not foot the bill for efforts which are not simply misguided … but misleading to those whose search for truth might well endure difficulties as a consequence of viewing such fare.

        To blandly suggest that the Noah film may not be the “precise way each of us would tell the Noah story” is an understatement indeed.

        We would only choose to tell this important story in this fashion if we believed that man’s greatest evil exists in the form of
        pollution. Which is to say, we would only tell the Noah story in this fashion if we found in it a convenient prop for our favorite cause.

        Which of course leaves me wondering, just what lessons the crew members actually took away from the effort?

          1. Phil, I’ve appreciated your work for some time … I heartily disagree with you here though 😉

            I think we may even enjoy a certain 6 degrees of separation … I had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful friendship with Dr. Ben Armstrong for a number of years (until his passing), as well as a fellow ORU alumnus Billy Joe Daugherty (and Tom Newman with whom I hung out one afternoon) and Ted Baher who I met at a party in Beverly Hills … surely we’ve just missed bumping into each other by inches!

            Perhaps one day we’ll exchange greetings face to face.

          2. Hi “nowis1234” – Namedropping Ted Baehr perhaps offers a hint as to some of your political views. I personally think that whilst Baehr has some good points to make, he is undone by a right-wing stance that at times borders on McCarthyist lunacy. I will be intrigued to see Baehr’s take on the film, and whether he will concur with your view on the “environmentalist” elements.

            It also staggers me that despite everything you are prepared to judge Noah without seeing it for yourself. If you don’t want to, that’s fine, but then why not just at least admit that much – and also admit that therefore you cannot accurately judge the film?

          3. One more thought on this whole “environmentalism” thing: is it not conceivable that sin itself causes environmental damage? I have heard stories of how witchcraft in Africa has been spiritually responsible for regions drying up, and how when revival has broken out in said regions, witchcraft repented of, etc said regions have begun to grow crops again. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest a ravaged Earth before Noah’s flood could somehow be attributed to the tremendous sin of that age? Obviously I haven’t seen the film, but its an interesting idea.

          4. I met Ted at a party … I didn’t become his disciple. Larry King was also at the party … does that also make you keen to my political pov?

            I should think that my political views might be understood by (hang on … this is going to be novel) reading my comments. I don’t think my views were anything approaching obscure.

            Simon … as to the balance of your remarks … they’re fairly odd. I’m a great fan of great movies. I’m a great advocate for making Christ known through every means possible.

            Noah provides yet another opportunity for Russel Crowe to shine, the CGI looks remarkable, yet not overdone, the cinematography (from what I’ve seen) appears equally spectacular.

            Nevertheless, the film isn’t a biblical epic … the biblical character and story have become props … a vehicle for communicating another message … and in so doing becomes bad.

            Very, very bad. If your still trying to ferret out my motives … may I recommend rereading my comments … my opinion is rather plainly stated there … no special decoder is required to unlock their meaning.

  4. An article decrying the taking to task of Christians publicly, taking Christians to task publicly. Go figure!

    1. What a disgusting response. He isn’t taking anyone to task, He’s simply outlining some great truths that we should keep in mind. Please adjust your attitude.

      1. I’m sorry, I guess, I hit a nerve? I admit to being sarcastic, but What was DISGUSTING about what I said?

        I was pointing out the irony of the article saying “Before we go public to “remind” them (Christians in the ‘spotlight’) of their shortcomings, doctrinal errors, or something else we disagree with, let’s pray for them.”
        Maybe it is just me, and my ‘attitude’, but I find it curious for the writer of the article to disagree with other Christians ‘publicly’ at the same time he is ‘admonishing’ or ‘cautioning’ others about doing so?

        For the record I found his points valid and insightful. But his conclusion was overly broad, and contradictory to what he was saying and doing. Hence my comment.

        We (Christians) should be able to disagree with each other privately or publicly. And we ought to be able to do so without being disagreeable.

  5. Important considerations, yet there are those who in unedited ways misinterpret scripture gravely. And I’m not talking about debatable misinterpretations, I mean obvious logical fallacies etc. What if the internet is the only way one could respond and in any given moment one feels strongly about responding. And yes, I know that is the exception and not necessarily what was addressed above, so the above article is valid as a general response to Christians about ‘having grace’ for fellow Christians in the media. A necessary reminder to consider the greater context.

    1. I have the same advice I use when I’m emotionally replying in an email. Give it a day. Sit on it. Never unleash an email, blog, or other response in the heat of the moment. It never ends well… 🙂
      Thanks for posting Servaas!

  6. I used to be judgmental until I became a sinner, lol, and I used to be totally dogmatic, until I started to feel Heaven nearing. But it’s funny, when I made a website to help moms see through the hype associated with spiritual warfare, and to encourage prayer and fasting, I’ve moved so much more beyond my LCMS roots, lol, WAY farther than I would ever admit to my Lutheran friends 🙂 But lately, as I imagine all of us up there together, we won’t be arguing dogma at the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb! I’ll just be eating all the filet mignon and cookie dough ice cream I can! – Kristen Collier 🙂

      1. I’m not kidding about NOT telling my Lutheran fam and friends, lol! They already think I’ve gone off the deep end with all my spiritual warfare talk, lol! And even though I have some academic LCMS resources listed on my site, one being the work of a sem prof that wrote his PhD. thesis on the Malagasy Lutheran Church in Madagascar, my LCMS brethren aren’t too open to that kinda’ stuff, lol. I think what it comes down to is that they of course BELIEVE in spiritual warfare, since it’s in the Bible, but that’s the kinda’ stuff that happens to big name believers, not them. At least that’s what they think. But Dr. Bennett’s book is starting to get around, so peoples’ eyes are being opened. Crazily, he wrote an article about the real life boy from “The Exorcist,” who was Lutheran, LIVING IN ST. LOUIS, the heart of American Lutheranism, and none of the pastors, even at the sem!, could help, so the family had to go to the RC church!! It’s a far cry from Luther – he was KNOWN in his day as an exorcist!

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