Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
People of faith and values are concerned about the collapse of culture. Recent polls from Cornell University and Barna Research note that only 1 out of 10 children keep the faith and values of their parents. Further studies have shown that is because parents are not engaged in teaching their children cultural wisdom.
The mass media, however, is advertently or inadvertently teaching children their values, and even when these values are not inflaming lust, greed, violence, ambivalence, and envy, they are all too often undermining the sure salvation that is available only through Jesus Christ. And, all too often, caught up in the publicity machine of the Entertainment Industry, the church and its associates such as Christian magazines, radio and television are promoting the movies and entertainment that undermine its future and true faith and values.
Much has been said about post-Christian culture. Europe is a sad example. There are more Muslims in Europe than there are Protestant Christians. Why does this matter? Because eternal life in the Kingdom of God is only available through Jesus Christ, and if we truly love our neighbor, then we do not want him or her lost forever. According to surveys, fewer and fewer children understand this.
Although we don’t want to be hard on the film characters Bruce and Evan, it is clear that the view of salvation and the view of God presented in the movies featuring “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty” does not adhere with the truth. Salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. When God became one of us, it is only as Jesus Christ. When God appears to Moses or anyone else it is as Jesus Christ. He is the Truth. And the Hebrew word for Truth means, “to reveal.” Jesus reveals completely and totally who the almighty God is.
These winsome movies and many others scrupulously avoid this Truth, who is Jesus Christ. They present God as a clown of a thousand faces or as just one of us in a manner that is reminiscent of Henotheism at best and Buddhism and Hinduism at worst.
The writer and director of Evan Almighty acknowledge their Catholic Christian background, but they don’t adhere in these movies to the Christian doctrine that Pope Benedict so faithfully defends. In fact, they graciously give warm kudos to other religions, and the watered down view they present of God contains more non-theistic religion than the clear representation of the Truth.
That said, people who know the Truth will not be hurt by this, but children of all ages may buy the lie that God is just a sweet old man. Witnessing to them may not get at the root confusion, and therefore too many of them will fall into the 90 percent of children who drift away from the Truth that can save their eternal souls.
It is interesting that movies don’t mind using the word “God,” “Buddha,” “Mohammed,” or the names of the saints, but they carefully and politically correctly avoid the positive mention of Jesus, unless, of course, they are taking his name in vain, even though they would never take the name of Buddha, Mohammed, or others in vain. What significance does this have? It shows the almighty power of the name of Jesus because it is only in the name of Jesus, through his death and resurrection, that anyone and everyone can be saved.
Therefore, while we appreciate allegory, incarnational theology, Jesus types and Christ types, the true story that the church should shout from the housetops and proclaim in every media is “Jesus Almighty.”
After all, there is no other God and no other name through which we can be saved.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. …
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”
– John 1:14,18