03 February 2006

In case you've somehow missed this...

by Phil Johnson

High drama has broken out in one of the neighborhoods of the blogosphere where I often hang out. Even the New York Times has taken notice.

It started with the controversy over "The End of the Spear."

For those who may have slept through the past month, that's a movie about the five missionaries who were martyred in Ecuador in the 1950s. The film is based on a book by Steve Saint, whose father, Nate, was one of the martyrs. An avowedly evangelical production company named Every Tribe Entertainment (ETE), made the movie. But the lead role in the film was given to an outspoken homosexual-rights advocate.

I had very little to say about it when the controversy was raging, mainly because everything I would have said was already being said pretty well by others, anyway. (Not perfectly, as it turns out, but still far better than I could have said it).

Last week, Randy Alcorn stepped in to try "to find some common ground and reconciliation" between ETE and Jason Janz, who (because of the well-deserved popularity of his blog, SharperIron.org) has been targeted by the national news media as the leading critic of ETE.

Alcorn wrote an article attempting to dissect the controversy in an evenhanded but honest way. Still, his most severe indictment seemed to be aimed at Jason Janz, who (according to Alcorn) "believed and repeated, in his online publication, charges against these men without going to them personally. They were given no opportunity to respond to the accusations before they were published and widely circulated."

There's a valid point, no doubt, on the face of that statement—especially given the fact that apparently, some of the details circulated in published media reports and repeated at SharperIron.org turned out to be inaccurate. However:

  1. It should also be pointed out that the erroneous details were peripheral ones, and did not materially alter the vital points Mr. Janz was making about the inappropriateness of the casting decision and the inadequacy of the producers' response to their lead actor's gay-rights activism.
  2. It would be a serious mistake to imagine that a private meeting is always a mandatory prerequisite before any Christian can legitimately express public criticism of another believer's published work or public behavior. On the contrary, sometimes—especially when we're dealing with a public and scandalous transgression—open rebuke may be warranted as a first response (cf. Galatians 2:11-14). Matthew 18:15-17 outlines instructions for dealing with private sins and personal offenses. These are not guidelines for dealing with false teaching or public behavior that might cloud the truth of the gospel or besmirch the reputation of the whole church.
  3. Jason Janz's actual duty in this instance was to make sure the facts he reported were accurate. He might have done this through a private meeting with Saint and the ETE execs. On the other hand, he might conceivably have verified the facts in other ways.
  4. In any case, in these circumstances, a public response was ultimately necessary anyway.

Did SharperIron.org go too far, or not far enough?

Shortly after Janz's original article was posted, and before Alcorn published his debrief on the "reconciliation" effort, Dr. Kevin Bauder, president of Central Baptist Seminary, wrote a post at his blog, suggesting that perhaps Janz actually should have said more than he did. Janz had asked his readers to write letters of protest to the producers, meekly but firmly conveying a sense of "deep disappointment." Bauder (a conscientious separatist) said Janz's critique was great—"really great"—but his proposed remedy wasn't enough.

Dr. Bauder's whole post is thoughtful and well worth reading, and several points that he made resonated with me and elicited a hearty amen when I first read the post. He agreed, for example, that these circumstances made some kind of public censure absolutely unavoidable.

"This is not a private peccadillo. It is a very public scandal," Bauder said. "If this were a Matthew 18 situation, private pleading would be appropriate. It is not. If this were a Galatians 2:11 situation, we would withstand these debasers of the faith to their faces because they are to be blamed."

Bauder went on to say he is inclined to think casting an openly practicing homosexual and gay-rights activist in the role of a Christian hero causes the kind of confusion that utterly obscures or materially alters the content of the gospel itself. (For the record, I think he's absolutely right.) He also suggested that this was done "with malice aforethought." (In the sense I think he meant it, I believe he is right about that, too.) And then he added, "If so, then we know what is required of us."

Bauder's fundamentalist readers will understand instantly that he is arguing for formal separation—a purposeful withdrawal from any kind of fellowship or ministry participation with the film's producers. (He underscores this by wryly adding, "Where is Bob Jones, Jr., when you really need him?")

Now, here's where the drama gets really interesting.

While suggesting that Jason Janz hadn't called for a strong enough response, Bauder injected this droll hyperbole: "Granted, we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men’s houses. But what they have done is no mistake. It is a calculated strategy."

No one who bothered to read any three random blog entries by Kevin Bauder could possibly imagine that his remark about firebombing houses was anything but humor and hyperbole. Ironically, Bauder's remark was probably meant to lampoon the tendency of some folks who thoughtlessly and habitually overreact to issues like this with fleshly displays of anger.

Incidentally, Bauder is probably the smartest fundamentalist on the planet—certainly in the blogosphere—and you don't have to read more than a page or two of his work to realize that he is nothing like the stereotype usually associated with "fundamentalism."

But a reporter at the New York Times apparently didn't want to bother doing that much research. In an article published yesterday, the Times quoted the remark about firebombing houses as if it were a serious threat.

What's most bizarre about this latest turn of events, however, is this statement in the Times article: "Greg Clifford, chief operating officer of Every Tribe, said the company, based in Oklahoma, had alerted the F.B.I. there about the Web log."

Wait. Isn't this the same company that cried foul when Jason Janz blogged about them without contacting them privately first? I wonder if they got in touch with Kevin Bauder privately before filing a complaint against him with the FBI.

In the words of Rockford, IL pastor and blogger Bob Bixby, "Where is Randy Alcorn now?"

(By the way, Bixby himself has a couple of insightful posts on the New York Times article. And Bixby's remark quoted in the preceding paragraph comes in the comments section of a delightfully pithy post by Larry Rogier, in which Rogier shows the utter irrationality of those who have tried to portray Bauder's comment as a serious threat.)

Phil's signature

46 comments:

Cindy said...

My goodness...the drama does continue. I was disappointed in the casting of an outspoken gay activist in the movie, and I've been following the saga on Sharper Iron. I tempered my first knee-jerk reaction after reading the comments by Randy Alcorn and others who hope that God can use this movie despite the controversy.

I have to admit there's a certain satisfaction in knowing a movie with a definite Christian worldview is on the list of top 10 movies at the box office...especially in this day of "Brokeback Mountain."

Who knew it would take this turn? Amazing.

Cedric said...

You guys have a great blog....but enough already. I'm not defending the casting decisions of End of the Spear, but a powerful story is still a powerful story no matter who tells it. If only we gave half as much attention to the positive Christian messages in the movie as we give to the scandal (sigh).

Kim said...

Curious-er and curious-er.

Steve Sensenig said...

Wait. Isn't this the same company that cried foul when Jason Janz blogged about them without contacting them privately first?

Either I missed something, or this statement is quite misrepresentative. I saw nothing in any of the transcripts that have been floating around, including Alcorn's article and transcript, that indicated that ETE "cried foul". Maybe you can show me what I missed.

If we all stuck to the facts here (which is basically what Alcorn was trying to say) and not exaggerate what happened, this situation might be able to be talked about in a very different way.

As it is, this post seems to just add to the misinformation and confusion. "Malice aforethought"?? Wow. That's a hefty accusation about their motives.

steve :)

Carla said...

I read the NYTimes article last night, and thought "oh good grief". More fodder.

Then read this comment at my blog on one of my entries about this flick:

"Shame on us - for the gossiping, hateful, critical spirit that I see in too many believers. May we strive for unity, and a desire to demonstrate humility and love, in the midst of seeking the truth. And by the way, too many of us believe too much of what floats around on the internet - CHECK the FACTS, and check the source before you spread hurtful information like wildfire."

Sigh...

donsands said...

The Church has certainly been divided on this whole issue.

I support Pastor Jason Janz in all he did, for what it's worth. He was humble, honest, and shared his heart's concerns for the gospel, which I believe were warranted.

I will be glad when this whole thing goes away. But I'm praying our Lord will help us all to see His holiness, truth, and love in a little better light in the midst of this confict.
Everything hidden will be revealed. That's promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Speaking the truth in love, by His grace alone.

Darel said...

This has rather gotten out of control, hasn't it?

centuri0n said...

Steve S:

What was Randy Alcorn doing if ETE had not "cried foul"? What kind of reconciliation is necessary if ETE did not think they were an offended party?

DJP said...

The New York Times got something wrong? In a way that made a Bible-believer look bad?? I'm shocked, I tell you, sho--

Okay, I can't even pretend surprise.

Well-said, Phil. And thanks very much for not letting the truth lose by default, and not leaving a brother to swing in the wind. Judging by the current top post at Kevin's blog --

http://nossobrii.blogspot.com/2006/02/reluctant-to-shut-down-comments.html

-- he's caught a lot of hostile, vicious flak for this. I can well imagine, due to some past experience. So it's just as predicted back on January 13, this foolish decision locked it in that the coverage would all be about this homosexual activist and "evangelical" reactions to him -- not about the movie itself, not about Nate Saint's mission and sacrifice, and certainly not about the Gospel he went there to preach.

You're probably like me, and just don't want to say any more about this. But this needed to be said.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

This almost seems like a set-up doesn’t it? Hey let’s put this actor in this role and we'll watch Christians tear each other apart. I can almost hear the laughter.

centuri0n said...

There are so many great comparisons to make right now that I can't type fast enough.

Let's start here: There are 9 cartoons in print right now in Europe in which Islam, anthropomorphically-represented by Mohammed, is depicted in a less-than-flattering way. Because of that, Islam is literally up in arms burning flags and causing armed conflict -- over cartoons.

On the other hand, Jason Janz has said that ETE has disgraced the faith by giving a gay activist a platform by which to preach a false gospel -- and has simply called attention to the problem. I have personally joined him in that, and Dr. Kevin Bauder has also joined in -- and none of us have called for violence against these men. Yet the statement "it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men’s houses" is somehow interpreted as "it would be proper to firebomb these men's houses".

How? In what universe? Dr. Bauder was clear that he was not calling for "jihad" but for boycott (as the secularist would call it) and separation from men who have done harm to the faith. And let's be clear that harm has been done to the faith through Chad Allen's testimony on Larry King vis a vis the definition of Christian faith.

And I'd like to add this: why are we poor Pyros almost the only ones talking about this? Where's Hugh Hewitt? Where's Malkin? I realize that the integrity of the Christian faith and message isn't as glamorous as watching Ted Kennedy act as if all law since the Magna Carta is on the line if we appoint Sam Alito to SCOTUS, but I suggest that it is actually more important than the Alito appointment.

If Jesus Christ is who He said he was, and if the Gospel means the kind of salvation is says it offers, then this is more important.

Cultural Savage said...

Personaly, I think the whole "up in arms" about an actor is silly. Here is a post that pots some good words around this whole hoopla.

Steve Sensenig said...

cent,

That was not the impression that I got from Alcorn's post. Like I said, I may very well be wrong. But I saw Alcorn as just trying to bring both parties together to discuss it. He saw that the situation was heading in a direction that was not profiting the Body of Christ (you may disagree, and that's fine) and sought to bring the two parties together.

May just be my perception. But what I see in Alcorn's article is that he took it upon himself to bring the parties together. I didn't see evidence (again, if I've overlooked it, please point me to it) that ETE came to him and "cried foul".

What concerns me is that the "malice aforethought" comment has now been repeated by Phil without any regard for what Alcorn wrote regarding the statements of Mart and Steve.

If you don't want to believe Mart and Steve, then you don't have to. But my question is, why assume they are lying? Why continue to accuse them of intentionally acting with malice? On what basis?

(I'll resist the urge to call for biblical exegesis here...lol...ok, not such a funny joke. Oh, well.)

steve :)

marc said...

And now the shoes on the other foot with this .

Paul said...

Steve,

What else besided foul are you crying when you contact the FBI?

Steve Sensenig said...

Paul, re-read Phil's comments carefully. The statement about "crying foul" had nothing to do with the call to the FBI. It was a statement with regard to whether or not ETE contacted Jason privately.

steve :)

critic said...

"Wait. Isn't this the same company that cried foul when Jason Janz blogged about them without contacting them privately first? I wonder if they got in touch with Kevin Bauder privately before filing a complaint against him with the FBI."

Appears to me that Phil does tie "cried foul" with "filing a complaint against him with the FBI." Direct quote of Phil's words...not rocket science here to divine Phil's clear point...lol

Tom said...

You know this is typical of conservative Chritians. A pastor a while back told me that Christians are the worst critics of their fellow Christians. I truly believe this to be a fact. We take our own personal, non-salvific, views and force them on other Christians as if their soul depended on it.

I think that in what well meaning Christians have been doing in their blogs and all around the internet has allowed satan to creep in. We are now attacking one another and showing the world that conservative Christianity is like a snake eating itself.

Chris Freeland said...

"This is not a private peccadillo. It is a very public scandal,"

How did Peccadillo get thrown into this? Sure he made fun of a lady's ugly dog, but that's hardly worth being called a scandal.

Phil Johnson said...

Steve S: "I didn't see evidence (again, if I've overlooked it, please point me to it) that ETE came to him and "cried foul."

Whether ETE "came to him" (Alcorn) or vice versa wasn't really germane to my point. Company execs clearly believed Janz had wronged them, because according to Alcorn, all parties spent hours talking on the phone, seeking "reconciliation." If they weren't in any sense crying foul, it seems to me that the conference call could have easily been cut short by at least 118 minutes.

In any case, while you're busy nitpicking the expression "cried foul," don't lose sight of the actual point, which is really pretty simple: if it was wrong for Janz to publish criticism of ETE on his blog without verifying every detail of every published account he cited, it was certainly wrong of ETE to file a complaint with the FBI against a seminary president without making some reasonable good-faith effort to understand what he was actually saying.

And who brought these facts to the New York Times' attention, anyway?

Regarding the "malice aforethought" comment, notice my qualifying words: "In the sense I think he meant it, I believe he is right." I would simply urge you to re-read Bauder's original argument thoughtfully and try to understand what he meant by "malice aforethought." If after that you still don't get it, I'll try to elaborate on the point some more this evening.

Right now, though, I have to get ready for work, or I'm going to be late.

Bohemian Baptist said...

I think Phil makes a very valid point concerning the appearance of hypocrisy in calling in the FBI.

Alcorn's article DID address the issue of Matthew 18, which was the crux of ETE's problem with Jason. According to Alcorn, both Green and Saint accepted Jason's apology for not coming to them first, AND YET, they wished that "Jason would go deeper and wider in his expressions of repentance."

Furthermore Alcorn wrote: "The failure to go to Mart Green and Steve Saint—though I do not believe it was done with malicious intent—resulted in false accusations being widely disseminated through Jason's blog article."

So Phil is accurate. Indeed Alcorn and ETE DID "cry foul", or at least they did expressed the opinion that Jason had violated Matt. 18. For this reason, it does call into question why their response to Bauder's hyperbole was so over-the-top.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Phil,

A brilliant post today. Your logic is fair and in my estimation, consistant. Shame on Randy Alcorn.

Screaming Pirate said...

I must say i saw the movie. I am very sorry I did. Not only is it a travesty that they cast a homosexual activist, but they distorted the message of the martyrs. The Gospel was distorted at times beyond recognition in the movie. Instead of a men dieing for Christ it was men dieing so that they could pacify and westernize a tribe so that they would not be taken out by the government. If you ask me the greatest tragedy is that this company dishonored these men’s story by marginalizing the Gospel. I may post more about the problems with the acutual movie at my blog latter(fingers crossed)if i can get the time to or it may be next week before i can get it out.

Jim Crigler said...

Forgive me for changing the subject, but is End of the Spear any good? Is the Gospel clearly seen at any kind of cognitive level? Or has the real story been cheapened to the point that the men killed could have been mere relief workers?

This movie was released 2 weeks ago today, and it is down to 4 shows a day at the 16 screen theater nearest me. That's less than The Chronicles of Narnia showing at the 24 screen just a mile farther down the road (7 shows a day) even though the latter was released 6 weeks earlier. Does this say something about whether I should spend $6.50-$8.50 to see it?

Jim Crigler said...

Aside from the issue of casting and the quality of the movie, I found the following comment in the Reformation 21 review of End of the Spear by John Ferguson. It says something I wanted to say so well that I quote it here.

One senses a strong hope in recent times within evangelical Christianity for a movie that we can walk into with a pagan and walk out of with a convert. Perhaps, as much as anything, we desire it in order to cover up our own inadequacies. But we should be wary of any such hope, for the wisdom that brings salvation is to be found—not in movie theaters— but in the Scriptures. Any claim that a movie can substitute for God’s Word is not only erroneous but will prove itself futile.

Jim said...

Jonathan said,

This almost seems like a set-up doesn’t it? Hey let’s put this actor in this role and we'll watch Christians tear each other apart. I can almost hear the laughter.

Excellent point Jonathan, we must be careful we don't bite and devour one another. Of course, the shameless promotion of the sacrificial death of these men for financial gain is truly sordid.

Cent said,

And I'd like to add this: why are we poor Pyros almost the only ones talking about this? Where's Hugh Hewitt? Where's Malkin? I realize that the integrity of the Christian faith and message isn't as glamorous as watching Ted Kennedy act as if all law since the Magna Carta is on the line if we appoint Sam Alito to SCOTUS, but I suggest that it is actually more important than the Alito appointment.

If Jesus Christ is who He said he was, and if the Gospel means the kind of salvation is says it offers, then this is more important.


That brings it back to the main point doesn't it. Jesus Christ is the message, when he is obscured the message is obscured.

Excellent comments guys!

Steve Sensenig said...

Phil wrote:

Regarding the "malice aforethought" comment, notice my qualifying words: "In the sense I think he meant it, I believe he is right." I would simply urge you to re-read Bauder's original argument thoughtfully and try to understand what he meant by "malice aforethought." If after that you still don't get it, I'll try to elaborate on the point some more this evening.

I guess I still don't get it, Phil. I read Bauder's post, and to me, "malice aforethought" could only mean one possible thing. ETE maliciously endeavored to cause dissension and division by casting Chad Allen.

I'm sorry that my sincere questions have been misunderstood here. I just don't see how "malice aforethought" could mean anything else.

I look forward to your elaboration later today.

steve :)

John Rush said...

I have been dozing somewhat the last month--not completely out like a light..

I knew of the controversy over the casting of the movie, but had not followed it in the blogs.

Based on what I've read in this post, I find the involvement of the FBI to be a sad turn of events.

Was the inclusion of Oklahoma's base for the company the author's attempt to remind us the bombing in OKC and tie in the whole mess with some subtle guilt-by-association...

Will wake up and watch more closely,

JRush

TGreeley said...

Why do so many think this issue should be dropped and we should move on? Many hearts are being revealed and there is opportunity to discuss what a Christian's obedience will look like. God has sent this our way and we should be seeking to know what He wants us to learn from it.
If the NY Times accurately quoted the ETE COO, it should be crystal clear that his heart shows no conciliatory emphasis at all.
This whole issue is so typical of today's discernment.
An avowed Christian company chooses to use an enemy of God in the lead role of a "Christian" movie, uses Christian networking to promote the film (without divulging that the lead actor is a homosexual activist), then receives criticism for that choice. And, of course, the one to criticize this idiocy, along with others known for their knowledge of God, are the ones under attack.
I would like to offer an analogy of what ETE did:
Someone contacts an auto repair shop to have some work done. They make an appointment for a week later. The day before the appointment the person hears the owner of the shop declare that his policy is to overcharge since the shop makes mistakes, but he does not think he should pay for them. Now, the customer needs to decide if they should cancel their appointment. It is too late for the owner to schedule someone into that slot so he will lose the earnings the customer's work would have provided. The next question is should that customer recommend that shop to his friends (without telling them of the owner's philosophy regarding his charges?)

Cindy said...

"And now the shoes on the other foot with this"--Marc

Marc, I LOVED that post!!!

DJP said...

So marc, when the inevitable Lifetime movie is made about this controversy, do you think a straight, Christian actor will play the homosexual, non-Christian actor playing the straight, Christian missionary?

And who will play Phil?

Screaming Pirate said...

Who could play Phil? humm... Danny DiVito. Just give him some hair and a gotee and he would be set.

Sam H. said...

Phil,
righteous post dude! Or do you Cali guys still talk that way?

And as Joker might say "where does he get those wonderful graphics?"

KTB is indeed a calvinist, fundamentalist juggernaut, and one of the best Christian minds to boot. You've understood him spot on.

(Enjoyed your state last week-- Yosemite, Sequoia--God is mighty in His works!) He will be shown as mighty even in this EOTS matter.

For His Cause and Glory
Pas. Sam Hendrickson

centuri0n said...

Daniel:

They say that Jack Black will play me. I find that somewhat insulting, but they still say it. He's much fatter than I am.

DJP said...

Well... um... yeah! I was going to say that.

Plus, I can't picture you being protrayed with the slackjawed stare that Black affects through most of King Kong.

Not that I ever go to movies.

Libbie said...

Cent,

Jack Black isne the only actor with a groovy eyebrow thing going on.. how about Jack Nicholson?

todd wood said...

Phil. Cent.

Highly recommend Steve Saint's book. You can find my book review on Sharperiron. Really quite ironic for the evangelical community to find things written by us mean-spirited fundamentalists that like to just pick fights with other Christians.

Anybody that picks up Steve's book will see a nice endorsement in the opening pages by Randy Alcorn. Hey, when one reads the story, how can one not love Steve Saint?

But to say that the actions of Bearing Fruit Communications can be dismissed by Romans 14? Come on. If Alcorn wants to really, honestly make it a Romans 14 issue (I mean good grief, we are not talking about whether it is alright for ETE to pull out the steak sauce or pop the cork of the wine bottle after their film extravaganza),I wonder what he thinks bout the four imperatives that confront our hearts in the second half of the chapter.

Christian fundamentalists are often accused as the knuckleheads with no integrity.

But I am looking at this roundtable discussion between Jason Janz and Mike Sproul on one side and Randy Alcorn and ETE on the other side. And I am scratching my head. Which side is showing integrity?

Oh wait a minute! It can't be the fundamentalist in Denver. What kind of message would that communicate to the broader evangelical community in America?

Anyways, enjoyed reading both your articles. The comic has me rolling in my chair.

Jeri said...

The only thing that really bothers me about the whole mess is that Janz decided to appropriate the member list of the Sharper Iron forum as a personal e-mail list so that he could annoy, I mean, write to, everybody over the issue. But he did assure that nobody couldl write back to him (as I tried to do, to ask him not to spam me with his opinions on anything). That's what I carried away from this whole fiasco of C hristians once again expecting the world to behave right: Jason Janz is a pest.

The claim of any group to be Christian in the sense that the New Testament uses the word always has to be taken with a grain of salt. The movie itself reflects a philosophical respect for the Evangelical theology and concern for others that was a part of the lives of the families who went to the Auca. It is not profoundly Christian in content except to show that these men lived what they believed and died accordingly.

Ever since THE PASSION raked in unexpected millions, critics and experts alike have agreed that anybody who can capture the right wing Christian market will score another big financial coup. So a production company formed that designed itself with every external jot and tittle in place. And a lot of Christians fell for the PR campaign. But lo and behold, they have turned out to be a company lookng at their bottom line.

Janz has gotten it wrong in assuming that a movie company can be governed as a church would be governed and will behave itself with the purity of a New Testament Christian church. Wrong on both counts, and a baseless assumption. (And quite ironic, considering Janz is a spokesman, at least in the minds of some, for a system of churches that has no means of maintainig church purity).

ETE is a for-profit company that created an exceptionally good marketing front to sell their product to Christians, who are too-often looking for the next big public forum or media success that is going to lend them credibility.

Yes the movie shows Christians in a very positive light. Yes it includes a person in the leading role living in open defiance of God's laws. If it can be used to open discussion of the Gospel, great. But don't be silly enough to expect or believe that a movie production company is a church, no matter how much it claimns to be Christian. That's just PR.

Movie companies try to sell movies. That's what they do. In light of this movie's success and the success of its predecessor, THE PASSION, Christians should be ready for even more "Christian" production companies to form to sell them what they want to buy.

Terry Lange said...

This is unbelievable, people are going crazy about what Jason Janz said, what Kevin Bauder said, etc.

The whole point is missed. Since when did we expect Hollywood to ever get anything accurate or correct when it comes to theology or the Bible. Look at the 10 commandments with Charlton Heston, look at the Passion, etc.

Hollywood does not care about accuracy or theology. They care about $$$ and nothing else.

My question is, Why are so many Christians caught up in this controversy with ETE and expecting them to be theologically and biblically accurate?

I do not agree with their casting of Chad Allen, but then again it goes back to the issue of accuracy and expectations.

My expectations of Hollywood and those in the film industry are very low because they do not have a commitment to the truth. So for this to have taken place (casting of Allen) does not surprise me in the least, disappointing, yes, but I am not surprised!

Time to move on to something more important, the horse is dead, quit beating it!

DJP said...

Terry, I can only give one man's response. One of the biggest reason I keep writing anything on this issue is because people keep saying things like you just said -- "Since when did we expect Hollywood to ever get anything accurate or correct when it comes to theology or the Bible," and "...Why are so many Christians caught up in this controversy with ETE and expecting them to be theologically and biblically accurate?"

Who ever criticized this casting decision along those lines? Certainly not Jason Janz. Certainly not Phil. Certainly not me. Is what we're saying really that opaque?

When we have tried to state our concerns clearly, even really briefly, and yet good folks keep misrepresenting those concerns... it feels like maybe we should try just one more time.

Screaming Pirate said...

My own review of the problems with this movie are up. Great it isn't(my blog that is). But let me know your thoughts, feed back is welcome.

todd wood said...

Pest? Pest?! Jeri, if you think that associate Baptist pastor, Jason Janz, is a pest, I wonder how you would evaluate the historical, fundamental, reformed Baptist forefather--Charles Spurgeon. You need to educate yourself on a little more Baptist church history. During the Downgrade Controversy, Spurgeon put in public print, for the world to see, a lot of what he thought about Christans and the use theatre. (Laughing) Come to think of it, Spurgeon's stance on drama makes Janz's stance on movies appear to be the "mutterings of a post-modern liberal."

I had a dream last night. I kid you not! :) I was dreaming of Spurgeon entering this debate on the End of the Spear film. But then I woke up at 1:33 a.m. Rats! It was just before the firestorm of blazing pyromania erupted! He was about to speak to Randy Alcron on the other end of the phone.

But, Jeri, you would have it all wrong if you thought that Spurgeon just merrily reveled in Christian controversy. With the same token, you are projecting a conception of Jason Janz that leaves me scratching my head in puzzlement.

In America's culture of evangelical downgrade, Spurgeon's weblog would be considered royal, royal, royal pestering. Could America's Christians stomach him? Or would he be kicked out of here as he was among the "acceptable Christianity" in England? Jeri, I would ask that you wake up to the sincere, biblical concerns and dialogue of your fundamental Christian brethren.

We are making statements for American church history in our blogging posts (far from infallibility). But how are we paving the way for the next hundred years in this dear country of passionate Christian devotion to the glory of God? Isn't this the chief end of man?

Thinking of heart issues . . .

Catez said...

I'm fine with reading Spurgeon on a blog. But I don't want spam email from him.

BTW - Dr. Bauder has posted his statement on the firebombing thingy here on his blog.

Unlike Phil's take, No one who bothered to read any three random blog entries by Kevin Bauder could possibly imagine that his remark about firebombing houses was anything but humor and hyperbole. - Dr. Bauder says:
It was not meant as a joke or an attempt to be cute, but neither was it intended in any way as an endorsement of violence.

todd wood said...

bro, we are on different wavelengths. I wish it were possible. I would love for American Christians to receive spam email, if it came directly from Spurgeon.

Catez said...

Hi Todd,
No offence taken on this point but I will let you know I'm not a bro. I'm a sis.

And to clarify - I don't consider Janz's writing anywhere near the calibre of Spurgeon's, and I don't want spam email from either of them.

todd wood said...

Sorry sis, you caught me there. I don't think any of us would put ourselves on the same calibre with Spurgeon, that is why I would be so excited to get email from him. :)

A brilliant man, I wonder if this is one of the reasons why he was so cavalier with some of his responses to others. I can think right now of some of his witty statements.

I am not downplaying Bauder's sincere apology to where he has felt his choice of words would have hurt others. But this seems to be hardly the main issues of frustration.