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 ↑
Heath Ledger’s untimely, tragic death is off the front and back pages of newspapers, but Ledger is just one of the many young people who come from the hinterlands to make their fame and fortune in Hollywood. Many of these men and women contact us along the way, and many of them grew up in the Christian church. Often, they are the children of evangelical pastors. When they get smitten by the culture and Hollywood’s idolatry, they tell us they still believe in God but the church is just a broken, confused place, insular and isolated, and they are glad to leave it behind, even though God calls us into the church, His hospice for those who need Him to rescue them from themselves so He can heal their souls.
Some of these young people, like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, become big stars; some die tragically like Heath Ledger, and some self-destruct in other ways, like Britney Spears. They buy the lie of the adversary and his evil minions that the things of this world are more valuable than the things of God.
One recently wrote to us that he wanted to spend the rest of his life watching movies, acting in movies and learning about movies, most of which are the nightmares of people who need to be rescued from the lust of the eyes, the flesh and the pride of life.
Thus, we are told by USA Today, Lifeway and Cornell University that American teenagers are leaving the church in droves, and not coming back. This has already happened in other places around the world. For example, when you travel to countries that were once bastions of Christendom, like Holland, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany and Australia, you find that the Christian population has dwindled to an insignificant, impotent minority while the People of the Lie have become the standard bearers of the culture and the average citizen goes along to get along. For instance, now in Germany, there are fewer Protestants than Muslims, and one leader in Berlin commented that it would be better for Germany to be taken over by the Muslims than Christianity to return. Aside from arguing with this ignorant person that everywhere Islam has advanced has turned into a vast wasteland, his cultural self-hate and rejection of the Christian faith of his forefathers and his disdain for the future of his descendants is just an example of a problem that is occurring throughout Western Civilization.
Why has this happened?
Without taking the time to revisit the great historians, the pattern is simple ? faith and morals help a society to succeed, whether that society is Ancient Rome or England, but that success often breeds rebellion, selfishness, greed, envy and lust. The key to stopping this is to get the people of faith and moral values not only to stand against the darkness but also to march on the gates of sin and cultural collapse, because the gates of hell will not stand against the people of God.
Many people of faith are afraid to do this, because they are just going along to get along. However, the teenagers leaving the church are crying out for their guidance. USA Today said that many of the teenagers claiming they are leaving because the church does not call them to a rigorous, disciplined, stimulating faith-filled life but to a movie night and a pizza. And, the movies the church shows during the movie night don’t change the youths spiritually, or lead them out of the darkness and ignorance but actually sell them on more sin and more ignorance. In fact, some of the worst elements of the Christian community actually commend the most heinous movies and entertainment to seduce the youths of America.
This is why we have written “The Culture-wise Family” with Pat Boone and why we write MOVIEGUIDE? ? to give people of faith and values, especially parents and pastors, the tools to refute the bad and help their children choose the good while helping their children to be stronger and discipled in the overcoming more than conquering faith of Jesus Christ. Children brought up in this manner, according to many testimonials we receive, excel and do not fall pray to the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh.
Therefore, there is an antidote to the poison consuming the culture and its children, but the pastors and parents have to be honest enough to recognize the problem before they will ask for the antidote. Although most cultures die from the collapse of character, some cultures are revived. William Wilberforce and his friends in the Clapham Sect brought faith and values back to England in the early 1800s. They did so by sounding the trumpet and conducting one of the most effective communications campaigns ever, yet there were only a handful of them. You too can be part of the solution.
Revival, reformation and renewal can come to America. The kids can be brought back to the church. To do so, we need cultural reformation, and that is why MOVIEGUIDE? is here. As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”