Do I Need a Strategy for Dining on Sweetbreads?

After having seen Inside Llewyn Davis for a second time — it is growing on the Harts — I am intrigued by the exchange between Trevin Wax and Alissa Wilkinson about Christians watching movies. Wilkinson advocates seeing movies, in part, as a way of knowing what our neighbors are talking about. This facility will allow us to love them better and perhaps even evangelize. Wax thinks the idea of watching The Wolf of Wall Street as either neighbor love or pre-evangelism is a stretch. In the narrow confines of this debate, Wax largely has a point, though his fears of “heading down a rocky terrain without any brake system working on our vehicle” is at odds with the no-brakes approach of the apostle Paul who said everything is lawful. (Paul’s brake was whether something was beneficial either for us or other believers — a pretty complicated question but not necessarily so if you’re not blogging about what movies you see.)

What is missing from this classic evangelical approach to culture — either it helps with evangelism or it needs to bolster our moral posture — is (all about) I. What if I watch a movie simply because I like it, that is, I enjoy certain actors (George Clooney) or directors (Joel Coen) or writers (Ethan Coen) and I go out of my way to follow what they do. It is like acquiring a taste for a kind of food that some people might find objectionable — like sweetbreads (the thymus and pancreas of calves or lambs). If it’s on the menu, I generally order it. And if the Coens come out with a movie I see it. Why? A theological explanation could be that this is how God has providentially overseen my life so that I am predisposed to sweetbreads and the Coens.

That is way more theology than I think is necessary to justify such mundane affairs as food and movies. I understand that simply “enjoying” something can be a route to escapism or obesity — that is, not critically reflecting on what we watch or eat. But I see no reason why we can’t have a fuller account of enjoyment as a sufficient reason for seeing a film. If all things are lawful, maybe they are also enjoyable.

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591 Comments

  1. Posted February 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Oops, my bad.
    Caleb got left out.
    And the truth be told, besides porn addict, he left out wife beater, child molester, heroin addict and bank robber. It all started when I turned three.
    But to my credit, I didn’t start torturing cats or eating chocolate covered bugs till I was 12.
    OK?

  2. Caleb
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Bob,

    I pretty clearly said that I was making no claim about your private habits.

  3. Posted February 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Fair enough Caleb, missed that in the beatdown.
    Let me try to catch up with this later.
    thanks

  4. Posted February 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Bob,

    As soon as you back off, I back off.

    You seem to be backing off, so I will too.

  5. Posted February 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Veith is on the faculty at Patrick Henry College, which seems to be a solid school, setting aside some concerns with the whole Christian Worldviewery endeavor.

    As part of their “Student Covenant” students affirm:

    “I will not judge others who believe differently from me, realizing that they have freedom in Christ in matters of conscience. (Romans 14:13; Colossians 2:16-17)”

    This is a mark that separates hardcore fundamentalists from thinking fundamentalists who are at least willing to have a discussion.

    http://www.phc.edu/student_1.php

  6. Posted February 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Hart quoting the question to Bob S: “What criteria do we use to determine what we should view for entertainment?”
    Dr. Hart then answers with:
    “How about one’s own calling — which includes a host of factors, from family relations, education, upbringing, church duties, personal taste, the list goes on.”
    Please keep in mind this list (which doesn’t directly include scripture or reformed orthodoxy, though they should be first) when reading the IMDB content report for THE WIRE, a television show regarding which I now quote Dr. Hart from this very site: ” nothing will ever reach the heights or plumb the depths of The Wire”
    Clicking on the link I have here provided will take one to a description of sexual debauchery on such a graphic and explicit level that were I to copy and paste it here, Dr. Hart would quite rightly remove the post, not wanting that kind of unspeakable immorality on his website.

    One is left then to wonder how Dr. Hart justifies the viewing of real, divine image bearing people performing it before his eyes? Does his wife watch it with him? One simply MUST see the content report of this show to actually grasp the level of explicit male and female nudity and full variety of degrading and debased sexual portrayal by these “artists” onscreen. I must now ask Dr. Hart how his “calling…family relations, education, upbringing, church duties, personal taste, etc. are served and defined by the true to life cinematic pornography on the other end of that link.

    I am also quite literally compelled to once again respectfully and calmly ask Dr. Hart to state plainly whether himself, his wife or his children would have God’s blessing in performing what one will find by clicking that link to a show that receives from him such high praise? On the actually mild side there is frequent mention of nudity in “strip clubs” in this show. Does this mean that Dr. Hart goes to strip clubs? What’s the difference between viewing a strip club and it’s activities onscreen and attending one? These are completely proper questions to be asked of a church elder, theologian and scholar. Not to mention simple man of God, husband and father. Does Dr. Hart actually maintain that it was not sinful to produce this entertainment media? Please sir. Are these not reasonable questions to ask? Were the divines pietists? What would they have said to a display like you have so highly praised in “The Wire”? Would they call it liberty and tell their people that ALL things being lawful includes this? It’s like eating sweetbread?

    I’m asking before Father, Son and Holy Ghost for you to tell us that you believe that.

  7. Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Erik says: “(9) A River Runs Through It (my favorite movie)”
    From IMDB for “A River Runs Through IT”.

    “Throughout the movie, frequent use of “J—s C—-t” and “G-d” being taken in vain, as well as”G-d d–m”

    The third commandment from the 20th of exodus verse 7 and the larger catechism:
    Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
    A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
    A. The third commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

    Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings,…”

    I once again ask my friend Erik to actually address an issue of substance and long reaching consequence like how he reconciles a film which even the unbelieving reviewer says frequently abuses the name of our God and his Christ, with the third commandment and the catechism? I would be honored if he would spare me the time to edify me in this regard. I am very concerned for my brother’s spiritual well being when he refers to the name of the LORD as “a canned list of bad words” .

    I am frankly stunned by the lack of reverence for and fear of the God who is a consuming fire and visited the most horrific judgments upon His own covenant people in the defense of His exalted name. 71 times in the book of Jeremiah He says after promising gruesome, blood curdling consequences for their sin: “THEN you will KNOW that I am the LORD”. “Then the nations will KNOW that I am the LORD”. “Then my people will remember that I am the LORD” and so on in various constructions. Over and over. EVERYbody is going to know that I am the LORD (tetragrammaton).

    Erik, you do NOT know that He is the LORD or there is NO way you could so flagrantly join his enemies in blaspheming and vainly taking His name in your “favorite” movie. He HAS promised though. He will NOT hold them guiltless who abuse his name and if not now? You WILL KNOW that He is the LORD. Oh yes you will. Or He is a liar. Guess who I believe?

    Look what decades of this carnality has done to you. Now you have a fully developed taste for it and you don’t even know the difference. You make me sad man. You really do.

  8. Posted February 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Erik quotes Patrick Henry College: “I will not judge others who believe differently from me, realizing that they have freedom in Christ in matters of conscience. (Romans 14:13; Colossians 2:16-17)”
    **************************************************************
    Romans 14,1st Corinthians 6:12ff, 9:19-23, 10:23-30 and Colossians 2:16-22 are the passages used by those who believe that the viewing and consumption of true to life cinematic nudity and sexual conduct by actual persons is sanctioned by the ancient Christian Scriptures and historic reformed orthodoxy. (along with blasphemous language it appears now too)

    I am asking Dr. Hart if he would be so kind as to point me to where he has demonstrated this principle from those passages and the standards of reformed orthodoxy since he makes use of them to support this article. I am compelled to honestly confess that I find this to be an alarming lack of discernment without the biblical or historical support that Dr. Hart claims. I am genuinely interested in the process of study and prayer by which these passages have been marshaled to the support of this view.

    Erik says “This is a mark that separates hardcore fundamentalists from thinking fundamentalists who are at least willing to have a discussion.”
    That’s what the serpent told Eve Erik. In the face of God’s established word. “Hath God said?” I don’t have discussions about the crystal clear truths of God as proclaimed in His Word and universally recognized as such by the towering giants of historic reformed orthodoxy. That is a wicked and beguiling trick of the enemy? There is nothing to discuss for those who take God at his word and actually believe the theological, moral and spiritual work that he did in the 16th and 17th centuries. A work that continued (ups and downs) until the 1960′s when the hippies started throwing off their clothes and Hollywood began wrenching itself free from a weakening ever more liberal church that was marrying the world. You are now that marriage. Repent and return to the faith of your fathers. You are a lover of the world and the things of the world and judging by your treatment of His holy name, the love of the Father is not in you.

  9. nocable
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Come on, Erik. In that very same Patrick Henry College student conduct page you link, the students are further expected to “shun sexually explicit material.” You knew that, right? Looks like somebody at that school is making judgments after all. Behavior in line with Christian norms is presumed.

  10. Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I mentioned-that we go out street witnessing in the city here. Our leader (whose name is also Greg) survived these streets with barely his life. He saw an updated list of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States in one of the national news magazines. The first three are in Detroit. They became our mission field. Last Saturday morning in 4 degree weather we took our tents and barbeque and music box and setup at the corner of Mack and Beewick. Deep east side war zone where there are children who will beat you to death with a piece of pipe because they’re bored.

    My turn to cook, though we all preach and minister. 5 men, 3 women. It does not matter how cold or how early it is when you set up next to a liquor store in east Detroit. The walking dead for 4 hours. I met a tiny little slip of a woman. She was between … say.. 40 and 60 (30 and 50?). You can’t really tell when they’ve been out here that long. Shriveled up black face, 2 teeth, an obviously once broken nose and scarred up face and lips. If she’s like most of them, raised her self, got in a gang and started turning tricks in her teens to pay the guys and get drugs. (this is how it usually goes)

    Now past her “prime” who knows what she’s doing, but the high east side mileage was all over her face and in her eyes.

    I said: “Are you hungry sweetie?”
    She nods shyly.
    “What’s yer name?”
    Sylvia
    “Do you live around here?”
    Kinda shrugs
    She was so pathetic and ruined and empty and dirty.
    “I’m gonna give ya sumthin to eat, but first I wanna pray for you. Can I do that?”
    I put out my arms to offer her a hug. She steps forward and puts hers around my waist and I hugged her across the back of her shoulders with my left arm. I raised my right and begged Jesus to do a work of mercy and might in delivering this woman from the bondage of sin and death. She clung to me and didn’t wanna let go. I laid the side of my face on top of her head with that ratty hat on it. Wondering when was the last time this pitiful creature had experienced any kind of love or affection from ANYbody.

    I couldn’t help thinking about you people believing that you’re imitating Jesus eating with sinners by watching them defile God, themselves and you on a movie screen for money. You really are sick. You WILL find that out one day.

  11. Muddy Gravel
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Mudster has a seen a movie that started off bad so he walked away. I walked away and came back, and the movie was still on only more interesting. But mostly more scary. Six, seven times go by. Every time I came back it’s still going on and scarier and I wondered if it would go on and on or maybe the scarey guy would come right through the computer while I’m typing in a combox. Did I say that? I meant to say through the tv. The TV, I meant.

  12. Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    nocable,

    I saw that. You reconcile the two for me. What are the “matters of conscience” they have in mind.

    Any evidence that someone watching an R rated movie would be punished by Patrick Henry College?

  13. Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    CBS Sunday Morning had two great stories this Sunday – An interview with Matthew McConaughey and a David Edelstein (always smart) monologue on Philp Seymour Hoffman. Not sure if they will be available online or not.

  14. Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  15. kent
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Mudster: Mudster has a seen a movie that started off bad so he walked away. I walked away and came back, and the movie was still on only more interesting. But mostly more scary. Six, seven times go by. Every time I came back it’s still going on and scarier and I wondered if it would go on and on or maybe the scarey guy would come right through the computer while I’m typing in a combox. Did I say that? I meant to say through the tv. The TV, I meant.

    You mean like sitting at a Pistons game and the next thing you know Artest is coming at you with full intent of tearing your head off?

  16. Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    On another string, someone commented on Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia”. One of the most ambitious films I’ve ever seen, and perhaps Philip Seymour Hoffman’s most winsome role. The Aimee Mann/Supertramp soundtrack for the film is amazing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWN-glGMDkc&list=PLmIAlAUKgy3XTBXwFUINmtlPKBLAO-hqz

  17. Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  18. Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    From THIS PAGE
    From IMDB for “Before Midnight”

    When a man and a woman first get into their hotel room, they kiss and the woman pulls down the top portion of her dress. We see the man licking her bare breasts and they kiss passionately with the woman straddling the man on a bed. They are interrupted by a phone call; the woman doesn’t put her top back on until about four minutes later, so her bare breasts are visible several times.

    Would the men here be ok if this were their wife? How bout their wives attitude if you were the man? That wouldn’t be sin? I’m jist askin. We’re discussing right?
    Here is the profane and blasphemous language that also permeates this film.
    About 38 F-words and its derivatives, 26 scatological terms, 26 anatomical terms, and 14 religious exclamations.(read blasphemies)
    Please see my comment on WORDS . We’re saying then that the Lord would not consider it a violation of His standards of speech if we were to speak in this way? OR, again, it’s only sin for them, but not for me to pay them to do it? Blasphemous language? Speech that debases and pollutes his holy one flesh covenant of marriage. What would Machen say Dr. Hart?

    I DID NOT SEE ERIK’S RESPONSE IN THE FOLLOWING PART OF OUR EXCHANGE UNTIL LAST NIGHT
    It is on page 5 of these comments. If I tag too many links this comment will go into moderation. Just go to page 5 please.

    Erik, in discussing the above movie quotes me as asking:
    When you get to the part where he’s sucking on her nipples ask yourself if God would approve of YOUR wife being that woman OR you being that man.
    Erik then answers with the following UNbelievable statement:
    “I’ve forgiven my kids for what they did to them, so I could probably forgive Ethan.”

    No mention of God though.
    Erik says on that same page: “I’ve been married to the same woman for over 20 years and have been faithful. I can say with complete honesty that I have sinned far more against people as a result of playing basketball than watching movies.
    Erik I cannot help but say that from a biblical standpoint you have no idea what marriage, woman, faithfulness OR sin are. I wish you could know the heart rending grief I have for your wife and children. :( My God how you are going to pay. Does your covenant wife, whom you are commanded to love as Christ loves His church know that you would approve of a (married) Ethan Hawke “licking her bare breasts and kissing her passionately” in front of a film crew so God and the world can watch her? Does she know that Erik? Does your daughter know that her Daddy holds this kind of necrotic morality? Do your permissive views apply to her too? Would they be good for her as well? How would your wife and daughter feel about you “acting” Hawke’s part in that film with what’s her name? (I don’t know her name) Or the many other works of filth you have promoted here? Ask them how seriously they take you as an alleged man of God after you tell them that.

    Once again the Westminster Larger Catechism from the OPC website which your apparently short lived denomination says it affirms.
    Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
    A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
    A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

    Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.

    kent Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm
    He’s outnumbered 100 to 1 on here…

    No sir. YOU are outnumbered. God to none. I am standing FIRMLY on His revealed word AND the purest interpretation of that word that He has ever been so merciful as to oversee. Long before I was born the OPC was claiming the Westminster Standards as authoritative. My quotes from those works are from YOUR website. I am calling you all duplicitous liars and ongoing practitioners of the most overt and blatant moral degradation that has EVER been committed in the name of the Reformation. That is not anger. It is heartbroken gut wrenching fact.

    Dr. Hart, as both a prestigious and celebrated OPC elder and scholar as well as shepherd of this site, the blood of every one of these people that you have failed will be required at your hand (Ezekiel 3:18) According to YOUR catechism from YOUR website, YOUR people are practitioners of blasphemy and adultery. Not only do you NOT grieve and seek God for His wisdom and power in retrieving your erring brethren from their sin, you instead, by both word and example, lead them into it. I say yet again. You DO KNOW that that is what YOUR chosen tradition tells you. Don’t you? This isn’t some loud mouthed fundie jackass from them crackpot corners of the web D. Hart. No sir. This is YOUR people crying out from the grave against your corruption of their faithfulness.

    You do not know me. Make no mistake. I will be here 5 years hence doing just what I’m doing right now unless you ban me or stop my mouth with actual substantive engagement. That’s number one. Number 2? I do NOT want you or anyone else here as enemies. My goal is NOT to win a debate. I promise you. My goal is to be unwaveringly faithful to the word and the will of the holy God who dwells in unapproachable light. If along the way a man of your influence is returned to the narrow path that leads to the narrow gate, knowing that “everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure? (1 Jn 3:3) Then that would be a glorious and joyful bonus. If not then YOUR blood will NOT be required at my hand. Before you go off with yourself about how I have no authority over you, that’s’ true. But I have been incessantly presently you with the words of your own SELF PROFESSED authorities. Your defiance is of them. Not me.

    At this point I would respectfully ask that you allow Erik at least to answer me. I have made some gravely serious charges and while playing QB with no opposing defense is a luxury that I’ve enjoyed, it is only fair that he be allowed to respond in my view. (of course your view is the one that matters. I’m only asking) As always I would consider it a high honor to have an actual dialog with you especially Dr. Hart. No yelling, no more snark (well, maybe just a little), but a substantive exchange. Convince me you’re right. Better yet, convince YOU you’re right. If you could do that I would throw my humble gifts and callings in with you and tell the world and the church I was wrong. How bout you? Take your time. A few minutes a day. It could be an actual post here. Everybody raise their hand who would like to see Dr. Hart open the scriptures and the OPC standards to refute the points I’ve been making in this discussion thread. LOOK at all those hands.

    Prayer continues.

  19. Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Caleb,
    Been busy, not just writing this.
    Which means I backed off.

    According to the same who proved by insinuation and smear that anybody who disagrees with them or questions the protected status of the Sacred Cow of Entertainment Art watches so much porn/Dave Chappelle that they don’t have time for the commercials.
    (Never mind Darryl’s all time fav, Sound of the Muses booing Music.)

    So QED, to ask what i watch is redundant reformed.

    We protest too much?
    Forgot. Not down with Michelle O’s Moral Obesity program.
    Eating sweetmeats all the time is verboten.
    Some x-rated morsels seasoning the art house flick washed down in communion with the wine and cheese critic set is cool.

    But the highly nuanced not discussion of liberty, license, legalism, antinomianism, art, amusement, entertainment and recreation as well the Christian’s calling vis a vis has been eye opening.

    Oh yeah. A heads up. The self administered lie detector test will be coming via email soon so that we know you, Chort, Muddy, sean et al are not anonymous NSA puppets trolling for transformational terrurists.

    Be swell, don’t lie and return promptly to our self appointed you know who.

    But hey, gotta run. The usual suspects are rounding up a posse for the next self criticism lynch mob.
    Just like in the movies.
    Only this time it’s for real
    ciao.

  20. Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    strikerBob S, remind me to figure out how to message you, or drop a line on my blog or something.

    I appreciate your handiwork, a missive would be most welcome.

    Cheers

  21. Posted February 13, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Lets’ try THIS

  22. Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm – Page 5
    Erik quotes me as saying:
    “I have a sort of research accountability partner whose been watching all day”
    and then responds with”
    Erik – What do you need an accountability partner for? What sins are you prone to?
    And then there’s SEAN
    sean
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:25 am on page 5:
    “I’m pretty sure I’m more at ease about the guy who talks about getting ‘baked’ and watching porn, than the guy who wants to be part of a men’s accountability group…”

    A drug fueled porn addict would be more your bird of a feather Sean than someone who seeks to obey numerous scriptural injunctions such as:
    —————————————————————–
    Proverbs 27:17
    Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
    or
    James 5:16 and 19-20
    16-Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. …19-My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20-let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
    or
    Hebrews 3:12-13
    12-Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13-But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
    —————————————————————-
    Men of God committing to one another in the Lord to uphold these principles puts you ill at ease while a dope smoking pornographer does not Sean? You people really should hear yourselves.
    From my looking around it appears that the devil has figured out that at least for now he isn’t going to tempt conservative Presbyterians with bad theology. Instead, he’s quite wisely turning great theology into an idol of pride and crippling the purest and greatest work of the Lord since Orange with tragic hardening by the deceitfulness of sin. The flagrant in your face abandonment and denial of centuries old reformed moral sensibilities is at least as dangerous as the Arminian, KJV only, dispensational, fundamentalist Baptists or barking, jabbering charismatic nutcases of the world.
    He is getting very good at his game. One group looks at the other as a theologically weak and limping shell of the gospel at very best and they are right. The other group looks at them as worldly, snooty, nostril flared, dead hearted theologs with no actually Christian moral compass and they’re right too. Oh my glorious Lord, please do raise up that holy remnant that is seen as your invisible church from Genesis to Revelation. Your winnowing fork is coming to the western world. Prepare your 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal I pray.

    My research/accountability partner helps me keep my arrogant easily over sarcastic heart in check. NOTHING whatsoever to do with porn or sex. I live for (under Jesus) and would kill or die for my wife.I would cheerfully submit to being slowly boiled in oil before I would pimp her or my children out to Hollywood whoremongers like some of you have said you were willing to do :( I almost can’t even type that. August will be thirty years since I received Christ. Even in my short time I could NOT have seen this coming.

  23. Posted February 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Last night we watched “A Thief in the Night” (1972). I had purchased it on VHS awhile back. At the end they had previews of all kinds of Christian films from the 70s & 80s. It must have been a regular occasion in certain churches back in the day to show 16mm films as special events. I saw “Thief” in around 6th grade in the Methodist Church.

    The founder of Mark IV films was from Central Iowa & died last year. I posted on him on my blog.

    http://literatecomments.com/?s=russell+doughten&submit=Search

    Another company whose films were previewed was called “Heartland Films” or something like that. Some of their films actually included some semi-stars like Grant Goodeve (“David” on “Eight is Enough”), Dee Wallace (“E.T.”), and Peter Scolari (“Newhart”).

    These are all pretty low-budget & cheesy, but it would be fun to go back and watch some of them. Most are probably not on DVD, though.

  24. Posted February 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  25. Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Watched the sequel to “A Thief in the Night”, “A Distant Thunder” tonight. It’s on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XMpTMTSSgw

    Now get this: The church that they show the exterior of at the beginning, and later at the end when people are waiting to be martyred, is the church building that my church meets in! The movie was made there about 40 years ago. Darryl spoke in the same sanctuary a few months ago.

    As my 13-year-old son said tonight, how surreal.

    Note that none of what I am writing is advocacy of dispensational premillennialism. As my pastor said, amillennialism would make a really boring movie.

  26. Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    We’ll be in the same parking lot in 12 hours that they had a (fake) guillotine set up in back in 1977.

    I would love to meet the actresses today who were in the movie. I wonder if they (still) live in Iowa?

    Russell Doughton, Jr. (the producer and actor who plays the liberal minister who sees the error of his ways) was born and died in Carlisle, Iowa, about 10 minutes from Des Moines.

  27. Posted February 18, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    This is from a new discussion of the Disney Movie “Frozen” that has also broken out on Trevin Wax’s site. Ironically, I may actually be closer to Dr, Hart’s view when it comes to movies like this than Trevin’s. (maybe)

    Rachael Starke says: it gets the gospel so right.
    Without Jesus. We have a Gospel that’s “so right” without Jesus now? Can somebody please demonstrate from the bible, either by precept or example, where God tells his people to learn lessons in “redemption” minus His son from unbelievers? I’ve been a Christian for almost 30 years and must humbly assert that I find it tough to believe that in all the time I’ve spent in the scriptures that I missed that. Maybe I did though. I’m honestly asking somebody to show me.

    God teaches His church His theological or moral truths through unbelievers. Where? Just one example that’s not a bad one will do. There’s plenty of bad sinful examples in the bible that God teaches us through, but where do we find what is being espoused in this article and in these comments? Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.

    In the meantime, why can’t we just enjoy a clean fun movie full of unchristian supernatural elements and redemption without Jesus? That may sound sarcastic, but I’m being serious. I can think of a half dozen excellent lessons off the top of my head for children taken from how very wrong this movie is.

    Not the least of which would be that a person even sacrificing their very life for another, has performed an unrighteous work of condemnation unto themselves be it not in conscious worship to the glory of the only true and living God in Christ.
    =====================================================
    See now THAT would be a biblical lesson:

    Did ya have fun kiddies?
    Yeah, yay, yippee wadda blast!!!
    See how that girl gave her life to save her sister? Isn’t that wonderful?
    Yes, Daddy, how nice of her.
    =======================================================
    Out comes Romans 3 for instance and a powerful lesson on no matter how touched or moved we were in there, or how great it made us feel, there is NO sacrifice of any kind we can do ourselves that pleases the Lord without Jesus. The people who made that movie are enemies of our God according to His word and they would trick us into believing that God is happy with people because of what they do. This is a lie of the devil who constantly seeks to turn us away from the only sacrifice that matters to God which is when He sacrificed His own Son to save us from our sin which the movie told us nothing about.

    What would you think if you sacrificed YOUR son for somebody and they said “no thank you I’ll do my own sacrifice”. That’s what God thinks. “I send my only Son and these sinful people are trying to tell you that this ice girl, who doesn’t really exist and has no sin that we’re told about, has done the same thing Jesus did. I’m glad the movie was fun. There’s a great lesson to be learned. That’s how God’s enemies fool us into believing their lies. If it was no fun we wouldn’t pay any attention.

    That’s just one. I can think of several more.

    Trevin says “the gospel parallels are incredible.”
    There’s no such thing as “gospel parallels” Trevin. There’s THE gospel and lies. Can you show me in the Word where we find a precedent for these “gospel parallels” from God’s enemies?

    If you can you will have made a convert to your view. If not then you have some prayer and thinking to do. SOME kind of answer would be greatly appreciated. I love ya brother. I do. But you just will NOT give me answers when I ask absolutely legitimate substantive questions like this. You are gonna get this. I just have to believe that you ARE gonna get this. Silence is not helping you.

  28. kent
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Erik, that sermon by the liberal cleric was epic in ATITN

  29. Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Kent,

    He was played by Russell Doughten himself.

    I’m on a quest to meet the actors and actresses from these classic Christian B-movies in real life. If only I had had the chance to talk with Doughten before he died.

    One guy I might look up is Don Thompson, the director. He may still be in Des Moines. Van Harden, the programming director of WHO Radio might know where I can find him.

    I want to see more of the Mark IV stuff before I try to contact him, though.

    There’s a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written on all this.

  30. Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    kent, nothing like a good acronym to make me feel flummoxed.

    for that’s why i hang out in seedy bars like OL.

    ha

    But I think I get your riff here. maybe..

    first golf game of the year for me comes tomorrow, yo. i know you all wanted to know :-)

    peace

  31. Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Andrew,

    “A Thief in the Night”

  32. Posted February 25, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    February 19, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Kira says: “I think it is important to point out that Frozen is in fact NOT a Pixar film. It is Disney Animated Studios. I’d just like credit to be given where credit is due. This is not another example of “Pixar breaking Disney’s story mold” but instead, Disney itself taking a new direction.”
    OK. I tried. I really did try to shut up now, but I am simply unable to just let this sit there.

    Why in the name of all that’s holy should Christian’s be rejoicing that “Disney itself taking a new direction”? ANY new direction? IS Disney the salt and light of the world now? What if EVERY citizen of the United States joined them this very minute in their “new direction? Would there be even one more Christian than yesterday? Would the great and mighty name of the King of Glory be ANY more exalted? Or less, because multitudes now see themselves as “good” people with no need of a savior becasue Elsa and Anna have shown them the secret which has nothing to do with death in sin and resurrection in the promised redeemer of Genesis 3:15?

    Greg, in all the gentleness and sincere good will there is. After reading your other VERY long piece on the Lego Movie and this one, I just cannot keep myself from asking.

    WHO CARES?!?!?!?

    Honest brother.
    On and on and on about which pagan pedo propaganda piece makes people FEEL better than the other about not needing Jesus. This is where the tagline of my so called “blog” comes from.

    “What IN THE WORLD has happened to Christ’s church?”

    The WORLD has happened to Christ’s church. That’s what. Is what I’m saying really carrying no weight with you at all? I am simply echoing historic reformed orthodoxy. Previous generations would never have gone skinny dipping with the world like this. Read the Westminster Larger Catechism for instance. Starting at question 99 which prefaces itself with:

    HAVING SEEN WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PRINCIPALLY TEACH US TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD, IT FOLLOWS TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY REQUIRE AS THE DUTY OF MAN (Caps are theirs)

    You will be left with your jaw hanging open in the realization of how tragically far the modern church has fallen from that holy biblical standard set by those giants of the faith 350 years ago. Make no mistake. Oh yes they do address exactly what we are taking about here and would have been aghast at the notion of God’s people inflicting their children with these movies for any other purpose than exposing the devils lies. In fact they most likely wouldn’t even have gone for THAT. You’ll forgive me please if I put far more weight behind what they thought than what this marauding leviathan of a modern entertainment industry thinks. It’s a long story, not for here, but this has become a passion of mine. I did NOT realize until last summer how deeply set the devil had gotten his bridle in the mouth of the church using what the saints of old called “worldly amusements”.

    I promise you, my only motivation is to see His name and reputation protected. Especially in the eyes of our young, who can name EVERY movie and tv character, but don’t know if the book of Ecclesiastes is in the old or new testament. If they’re even heard of it at all. In Wax’s thread there’s’ a woman rejoicing that her daughter loves to sing the empowering message in “Let It Go”. I wonder if she knows the words to “Amazing Grace”. Or even “Victory in Jesus”. I can’t help but doubt it.

  33. Posted February 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Erik. Another movie I will see whether I am able to stay awake while watching (insert sticky out tongue emoticon..)

  34. Posted February 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Andrew,

    It’s pure kitsch and each episode in the quadrilogy gets progressively worse. My son & I watched “Image of the Beast” (1980) on Saturday night and it is nearly unwatchable. All four appear to be available on You Tube.

  35. Luther Perez
    Posted March 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    This thread is wild.

  36. Posted March 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi.

  37. Greg - Tiribulus
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    From that pathetic Gospel Coalition site:
    Stupendous Man says: “I have yet to be convinced that God cannot work through the arts – an arena that he created (and that man, in many cases, has defiled)”.
    The arts are from God, and man as bearer of His image and likeness is naturally inclined to creativity. God is blessed and glorified when we take after Him in this regard. I often say that “race” and ethnicity is God’s beautiful artwork for instance. My problem is with the grotesque elevation of the “arts” to a level of prominence in the modern church that is utterly unheard of in the scriptures. Artistic evangelism, or art for arts sake in general is a human contrivance until you or somebody else can show me either one in the bible, which will never happen.

    Stupendous Man says: “A quick word to your first point, and then I will finish: do not the heavens declare the glory of God? And does the Psalmist not routinely praise Him through music and song?”
    ABSOLUTELY!!! Now you’re talkin. That is one of the actually scriptural and hence righteous uses of art that God both PREcribes and DEscribes in His word. The explicit and direct praise and worship of Himself. There’s one and only one more.

    Stupendous Man says: “Again, I appreciate your convictions…”
    They’re not my convictions. They are the Word of almighty God and binding on every conscience for all time and eternity. This would not have sounded the least bit arrogant before the disastrous dialectic 20th century. It’s only a severely broken notion of “liberty” that has brought the church to a place where biblical certainty is now seen as arrogance.

    Stupendous Man says: “As someone who has seen lives changed…”
    God also uses all manner of horrific sin and evil to bring home His elect. That does not mean that the church is at liberty to promote and practice murder, rape and pillage in the name of the ends justifying the means. I also know of a woman who was saved reading the book of Mormon because there is an actually sound passage that describes true conversion which she took seriously and was genuinely born again. (God is SO good) Within a year she had broken her engagement to an LDS man and had left that church for a true one. God’s sovereign prerogative does not translate into the Book of Mormon being a legitimate evangelism tool. Only those means and methods He commands in His word are legitimate tools for the preaching of salvation to the lost. “Many will say to me on that day Lord Lord, did we not…”

    Stupendous Man says: “As someone who has seen lives…brought closer to Christ through the arts,”
    And THERE is the other biblical and therefore legitimate use of the arts. The explicit and direct edification of God’s covenant people. We have example and precept of both of these throughout both testaments. Excellent sir!! You got em both in one comment. The explicit and direct praise and worship of God.. by name (705 times in the book of Psalms), and The explicit and direct edification of God’s covenant people. Those two and only those two have a basis in the scriptures. What we do NOT find ANYWHERE in God’s Word is His people making art either for the world or it’s own sake. Ever. Even once.

    Stupendous Man says: “I must ignore the cries of “libertine!” shouted by individuals such as yourself.”
    You’ll do what you want of course, but as I say, mine is the biblical view. It has nothing to do with me as an individual. Every man is not free to do what is right in his own eyes.

  38. Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Freddie,

    Call Greg.

  39. Posted October 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Who’s Freddie Erik? I’m honestly not getting your, what I’m gathering are supposed to be somewhat sarcastic statements. Seriously. I am not myself being sarcastic.

  40. Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Must have been some spam that was deleted.

    I’m sure my comment would be hilarious if we had context.

  41. Tiribulus
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I wanted a couple clarifications on what you said in the other thread Erik. I wasn’t sure who was speaking or being quoted a couple times for instance, but I’m not going to have time at the moment. I have asked Dr. Hart that he allow you to address me. I will watch my manner. He doesn’t answer me so I don’t know if he will or not.

    In the meantime I also don’t understand how deleted “spam”could give contextual hilarious meaning to your comment. I’m always up for some righteous hilarity. Could I prevail upon you to simply tell me what it means? :)

    The bottom line in all this is that you have taken me a bit off guard with your concession to at least one major component of my campaign here from February. As the Lord lives brother, I take no smug self satisfaction in that fact. I am without means by which to prove that to you in a word, but may it done to me and much more if I lie. This was NEVER about ME being right or having some perverse legalistic obsession like I was repeatedly accused. Never.

    Not that I expect anybody to celebrate, but you have shot way up on my respectometer. Truly.

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