War Room: Buyer beware! Needs some discernment to watch

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In his commentary, Glenn E. Chatfield touches on some of War Room’s theological problems and also discusses what he feels are the movie’s positive aspects.  All in all what he has to say is fair and balanced.

In my view, the Kendrick brothers certainly have good intentions in making “Christian” films.  But what I find troubling is that much of their teaching on prayer is decidedly unbiblical.  This presents a problem in that many who see the film lack the discernment to know that what they’re learning about prayer doesn’t line up with Scripture.  This is why the movie’s critics say that those who were involved in it (producers/writers/directors/cast, etc.) have led the sheep down a very rocky path.

Now to Glenn’s excellent commentary on the movie…

Pictured are producers Alex and Stephen Kendrick. In their movie they use Beth Moore’s schtick of claiming revelations from God!

 

One of the problems with so many apologetics ministries is the propensity to nit-pick every little detail of someone’s teachings, or lifestyle, or productions.  I have been a wee bit guilty of this myself at times and when I notice it in my older articles I delete them for that cause — or at least clean out the nit-picking part.

There is no such thing as a perfect Bible teacher, be it a pastor or layperson; everyone — and that includes me — has made some type of error sometime in their teachings.  I know I have changed some of my beliefs over the years as I have done more studying of the Word or have received correction/counsel from godly men.  If we nit-pick people for every thing they do or say wrongly, then we will have no one who isn’t guilty!

This is true of movies.  There are no perfect movies; they all have some sort of problem, even if it is just a story line which doesn’t make sense or poor direction.  Some have technical errors, some have historical or social errors, and even some theological errors.  If we criticize movies for minor errors then we may as well not watch any of them!  I understand that we expect higher standards for Christian movies, but these producers are also sinful humans.

Now, I’ve read too many reviews of “War Room” and decided that if I watched the movie I would just be irritated the whole time.  I expected to see lots of Beth Moore, lots of contemplative prayer, lots of aberrant spiritual warfare, etc.  However, my wife decided she wanted to rent the movie so she could be able to discuss it with her Bible study group.  As “luck” would have it, we got called by Family Video a few days ago to tell us we won the drawing to get a new movie rent free and two weeks of 1/2 price movies (we have rented about a dozen movies there in the past 2-3 years), so we decided to get War Room and watched it last night (30 Jan).  It certainly wasn’t what I expected from all the nit-picking criticism I’ve read.

Before I give you my commentary (not a “review) on the movie, let me make a few general statements about the Kendrick Brothers’ movies:

  1. Every prayer is answered just as requested and in very short times (as in this movie Elizabeth prays for her husband to fail in his adultery attempt and he immediately gets sick).  Nothing ever goes wrong; no one ever gets a “no” answer to their prayers.  I understand this is movie-making and story-telling and that the idea is to promote the faith and not bring in any possible negatives, no downers to the story, etc, but it gets rather annoying to me to see all the perfect answers to prayer when in my own life we have been waiting for years for prayers to be answered in the affirmative, and we know many families with similar issues!  I think it is a wrong-headed teaching to say God answers every prayer the way we want it answered and He doesn’t take long with it!  (They almost make God into a personal genie!)
  2. Some important issues in their story lines are often left unaddressed (for example the emotional adultery and other disrespectful behavior of the wife in “Fireproof”) while they focus on the main topic.  This leaves some “unfinished business” which can be distracting from the point of the movie.
  3. In “Courageous” they began bringing in aberrant teachings when they promoted the patriarchy ideology.  While it was a very small part of the story, it opened up a problematic ideology for leading people astray.
  4. The marketing leads to items for sale promoting the various ideologies in the last three movies.  This strategy is just like Hollywood.

Okay, now for my commentary on the movie itself, starting with my negatives.

Right at the top of my list is their use of Beth Moore as an actress.  Beth Moore is a false teacher (much worse than Priscilla Shirer), and this movie gave her such a personal promotion (albeit in only two cameo scenes) that she is bound to gather more followers.

As with the other Kendrick movies, War Room had a very contrived story to make its point.  I think this movie was more contrived than the others, making it more difficult to accept as a real situation.  That’s just the way I saw it.

I think the idea of going to war with prayer is aberrant, and I believe it comes from the whole aberrant spiritual warfare ideology.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are warring with our prayers.  I would really like to know where the term “prayer warriors” began — it never is found in Scripture!

The “prayer closet” teaching is really an abuse of Matthew 6:6.  Jesus was not saying we needed a private room; what he was teaching was that we are not to be out “on the street corners” so as to be seen as holy and righteous and “show-offy.”  Our private “inner room” could be in the middle of the house all alone, or it could be in an open field, or even in a bedroom while everyone else in the house is elsewhere.  The movie made the necessity of a private “prayer closet” (“war room”) virtually indispensable.

Toward the end of the movie, when a couple was looking at Clara’s house, the pastor could feel that Clara’s closet was a “prayer closet” — he said that the prayers were “baked in.”  This is superstitious nonsense; no one is able to discern where people were praying just by “feeling” something.  Continue reading

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11 Responses to War Room: Buyer beware! Needs some discernment to watch

  1. Jared Myers February 1, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    “Some important issues in their story lines are often left unaddressed (for example the emotional adultery and other disrespectful behavior of the wife in “Fireproof”) while they focus on the main topic. This leaves some “unfinished business” which can be distracting from the point of the movie.”

    Thank you — I had been wondering if I was the only one who caught that from Fireproof…..

  2. Aldo Lombardi February 2, 2016 at 2:32 am #

    I agree with most what you said here although in an hour and 20 minutes one couldn’t make a life time waiting for an answered prayer, but something you said that stroke me when you said “As “luck” would have it,” why would anyone believing in God say something like that? I as a Christian do not believe things happen by coincidence “luck” but by the hand of God, don;t you agree?

  3. Glenn E. Chatfield February 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

    Aldo, that’s why I put “luck” with the quotations. I was making that point that what some would just say was a coincidence could very well have had the Lord behind it. I’ve had too many “coincidences” which led me to the apologetics ministry, as well as happening to bring about the right circumstances, to ever suggest it is just luck which goes beyond all odds.

  4. Darrel February 2, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Why, let’s just slap a “Christian” sticker on this movie and that makes it a-ok to view, believe, and imitate. After all, it’s not nice to tell the whole truth about someone else’s lies, we have to find SOME good in it somewhere. Since when did Hollywood EVER produce a Biblically based, accurate to the finest point, with no director generated embellishments to make the ‘story’ more appealing and no deviation from the Scriptures EVER? The correct answer is NEVER, but somehow this movie is granted a pass because the producers “had good intentions”. With all the “aberrant doctrine” that this movie contained with special guest star Beth Moore appearing is there anything good that can come from this? Really?

    Discernment is about knowing the truth and being able to tell the true from the false. It has nothing to do with being “gracious” or “kind” or giving a pass to a movie that is so ‘off-the-wall’ that it does not deserve one’s time or money. To list the evils of this Hollywood garbage and then find something to praise it’s producers, writers, etc. about is not discernment, but capitulation out of fear of being called unloving, divisive, judgmental, or just plain mean. It serves no purpose other than to deflect the criticism others may level at you for actually standing against the evil and showing from God’s Word what Christians should believe and do.

    Glenn, you did a fine job of exposing this evil waste of time and a fine job of smoothing over it all over so as not to offend anyone, which in the end negates all that you said. It’s called capitulation, compromise, and unfaithful to the Lord and His Word. Stop calling “evil” “good” (which is what you did when you found something positive to say about this junk) and call evil EVIL and let it go at that.

    • Glenn E. Chatfield February 3, 2016 at 10:39 am #

      Darrel,

      I didn’t do anything to soothe over anything. I was being objective, which is something you are not being.

      The movie was not made in or by Hollywood, by the way.

  5. Darrel February 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Silly me! I knew I was missing something! Objectivity! Who knew?????

    I wonder what the Scriptures have to say about being objective when it comes to the activities of the wicked one (by your own “review” the wicked one showed himself repeatedly in this movie). Genesis 3 gives us the account of the fall of man, but in your version of “objectivity” we would be required to cut the serpent some slack, give him a pass ’cause he can’t help himself, he was just being his own charming, wicked, deceitful self. The world’s version of “objectivity” requires compromise, it does not allow for the Scriptures or anything else to be the final authority on any subject. It requires detachment from truth to the point that there is no absolute truth about anything. It is the common complaint of worldlings to say that Christians are not ‘objective’ and they are correct. Why should we be objective as required by the lost world? There are a few places where “objectivity” (the real, Godly kind) is found in Scripture: Rom. 2:11 “For there is no partiality with God”; Gal. 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will reap also: and Col. 3:25 “But he who has done wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” This is ‘objectivity’ Bible style.

    Was Christ “objective” (worldly style) in His dealings with the religious elites of His day? Hardly. There were only two recorded instances of Jesus NOT using harsh and cutting language to the Pharisees, scribes, lawyers, etc. and they are found in John 3 (Nicodemus) and Luke 8 (Jarius). There are at least 40 such encounters recorded in Matt., 24 in Mark, 31 in Luke, and 19 in John and nowhere to be found in any of them is the obligatory worldly version of ‘objectivity’ to be found.

    With warnings against false prophets in nearly every Book in the NT we find no admonition to be “objective” as we expose the deceit and outright lies of the “angels of light”. Quite the opposite. As you went through this movie exposing it’s false teachings why would you even want to say “Okay, now for the positive”? What obligation does the born again believer have to find anything good in the works of the wicked one? Surely you understand that in doing so you (hopefully unwittingly) have become a party to their evil deeds (2 John 7-11). Not only that but it is a backdoor attempt to strike an agreement with the wicked one (2 Cor. 6:14-16) by finding anything “good” in the works of Christ’s enemy (again, done unwittingly, I hope). These men, no matter how ‘well intentioned’ they may be have fallen prey to doctrines of demons, do you want to join them by finding “good” in their work or alert the Church to the dangers these men put forth as truth? Many will stand before God on the last day and be judged by Him and many will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, despite all their life-long claims of being a “Christian” (Matt. 7:21-23). Slapping a “Christian” sticker on a work of the devil is dangerous in that it insults the Spirit of Grace by saying that He (the Holy Spirit) will bless something that did not originate with Him. Simply put, it’s called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the eternally unforgivable sin.

    These words are spoken with Gal. 6:1 and James 5:19 & 20 in mind.

    • Glenn E. Chatfield February 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

      Darrel,

      You’re being obnoxious. I pointed out problems and I pointed out the good. This is what objectivity is about – just examining the facts. And yes, Jesus was objective in all of his teachings. (Do you understand the meaning of the word?)

      I stated I could not recommend the movie except to discerning people.

      There is no blasphemy in the film, nor in my commentary.

      The rest of your rambling doesn’t deserve response. You are exactly the type of person I was talking about in the opening paragraphs of my commentary.

  6. Darrel February 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Since I’m the only one to provide a definition to “objectivity” the ball is your court to define it to suit your own purpose. Obviously my comments struck a nerve and deeply at that, since there is no cause for you to use the language you used in the above response. If there was “no blasphemy in the film” why did you find anything wrong with it? Do you know the definition of “blasphemy”? Obviously not. Let’s start with speaking, teaching, living in opposition to the Lord and His Word-that’s just a start. So does the fact that you find no blasphemy in this movie mean that you really didn’t mean all the things you said that cast this movie in a bad light? Have you changed your mind? BTW, a real person of discernment would find every reason to not waste his time/money of this trash movie.

    “You are exactly the type of person I was talking about in the opening paragraphs of my commentary” Thank you for the coveted Chatfield Badge of Disapproval (a meaningless gesture). Please continue to expose yourself as one who makes deal with the devil by finding good in the works of evil.

    • Glenn E. Chatfield February 3, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

      Darrel,

      First, have you even seen the movie?? If not, how can you possibly make any determinations about whether or not there was anything good presented in it?

      How about you demonstrate from Scripture where there are errors in my analysis of what was good about the movie – don’t just shotgun verses, cite the problem and a passage which actually addresses the issue in context. Oh, and be sure to tell me what exactly is unbilbical about what I said was good in the movie – you know, THIS single paragraph:

      Overall, I think the movie did a good job pointing to the necessity of Bible study and prayer in the lives of Christians. It also showed the necessity for parents to be available for their children and to know what is going on in their children’s lives (it would have been better if they showed Elizabeth give up her job so as to raise her child, and give up their huge mansion!). It also taught that God is active in our lives..

      Do you think it is unbiblical and blasphemous to say a movie did a good job in these areas?

      How about you demonstrate from Scripture what was blasphemous about the movie. What exactly, biblically, do you find wrong with my criticisms of the movie?

      By the way, being objective means to examine based on facts rather than person emotions — something you have proven your inability to do, or even understand. You provided no definition of the word, rather you just kept ranting against it.

      The movie is a movie, not a theological treatise. And your ilk who attack such things as if they are theological treatises have nothing to be proud about, rather you just demonstrate foolish legalism. The people who made this movie did not make a “work of evil” nor were there any “evil deeds.” These are godly people who are a bit deceived on certain issues, none of which is blasphemous. These people are not a Hollywood group looking to control the culture by presenting evil ideologies as good. This is not a work of the devil, as you claim, rather it is a work of sinful men who have some discernment issues. But you seem to paint all movie-makers with the same broad brush.

      You said, BTW, a real person of discernment would find every reason to not waste his time/money of this trash movie. Really? Isn’t that very judgmental of you? I watch a lot of movies of this type strictly for apologetics reasons; to examine them and report on them so as to warn what’s in them. I also read books by the cults. My ministry is in Christian apologetics which means I examine a lot of movies, books, etc for teaching purposes.

      Are there truly “evil” movies by so-called Christian people? Yes, and in my book “The Passion of Christ” is one because it is nothing but a catechism of Roman Catholic teaching, and done so intentionally by testimony of the director. I watched that one also for apologetic reasons.

      The only “nerve” you struck was my “foolishness alarm” going off as I was reading your comments.

  7. Darrel February 3, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    There is no Biblical support from you for anything you’ve said, either in your negative critique or when you found there to be some good in the evil movie you had just seconds before found great fault with. Where’s the Scripture, Glenn? Your whole “review” was of the shotgun variety, you provide no definitions of the terms you use (objectivity, discernment, and blasphemy, and defer to the dictionary, Biblical definitions only) so everyone is just supposed to know as you know. If your “ministry” is really in “apologetics” it would be nice of you to define “apologetics” so all will know from which school you hail. Right now all we get is a load of confusion on all fronts, excessive defensive and unwarranted attacks and a refusal to answer any of my questions and yet you have the gall to demand answers to yours. Do you seriously expect me and everyone else to accept what you said just because Mr. Apologetics Glenn E. Chatfield has spoken it? You’ve made some serious blunders and yes I’m calling you out on them. It’s time to correct them and repent. Is this where you try to convince me that you really a nice person? Your claim to be able to “discern” is bogus to the core. You find fault with a movie (isn’t that JUDGMENTAL on your part?) and in the next breath praise the same movie for the “good” that you found in it. If you could discern anything, you would know that that is calling evil good, and good evil (Isa. 5:20, another requested Scripture that you will no doubt ignore as you have all the others posted previously). Ever heard of the saying:” A little leaven leavens the whole lump? I’d site the verse but why bother, you’ve not paid any attention to the Bible heretofore. Can you give us a BIBLICAL definition of discernment? All of what you’ve said so far indicates that you are clueless. Go ahead, get mad, ignore this question also as you all the others. And no, I will answer none of your questions until you answer mine FIRST. I will not play in your kindergarten sand box any longer. Either get serious with you responses or forget it. It’s bad enough that find ways to defend an indefensible movie and now you’ve taken to defending yourself. Think your arguments will get a pass from the Judge?

    • Glenn E. Chatfield February 4, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Darrel,

      All you make are assertions, all based on your subjective opinions. The Bible does not give definitions for the words you seek definitions for; I assume you know how to use a dictionary. The definition I gave for “objective” is correct, and you don’t understand the word.

      The movie was not “evil” nor were the men who made it. YOU are judging the hearts of these men, which is what Christ says you are not to do.

      I did not write a “review” — I specifically stated it was a commentary, and I made comments on issues which were aberrant and unbiblical, but nothing in the movie was “evil.” I also made comments about the good points in the movie. So to accuse me of having a “shotgun” review only demonstrates your lack of reading comprehension.

      I responded to all your questions by demanding YOUR authority for your claims. You had no authoritative Scriptural backing and you didn’t even see the movie yourself, yet you have made yourself an authority to criticize my commentary.

      I have made no “blunders” and have nothing for which to repent.

      Finding fault with a movie is indeed “judgmental,” yet it is biblical judgment – righteous judgment. I am judging behaviors and teachings rather than people’s motives.

      Again, my commentary did not call evil good nor did it call good evil. Again, you are treating a movie as a biblical treatise, which is totally unwarranted, since the movie itself does not claim to be such.

      Yes, my arguments will pass the Judge. But for now I am finished with your foolishness and will no longer answer a fool according to his folly.

      Good day.