April 2, 2014

So much heresy, so little time (The Noah Movie's Kaballah Gnosticism among a host of other things)

The amount of nonsense going on in evangelicalism in just the last few months has been overwhelming.  Some of the things on my mind:
  1. Mark Driscoll in an ethical death spiral but refusing to admit it.  ("It's just a flesh wound!")
  2. The "debate" (with no cross-examination???) between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, which had many supposedly-Christian talking heads making fools of themselves by telling Ken Ham to quit making a fool of himself.
  3. Michael Brown playing footsy with the snake Benny Hinn then digging in and superbly fortifying his position with straw.
  4. Ergun Caner insisting the liars are those who would expose his lies and protect the sheep from him.
  5. Chris Pinto and Brannon Howse and their crazy attacks on solid Christians who are not moved by Pinto's fearful, conspiracy-minded propaganda films, sometimes including goofy frauds like William Schnoebelen.
  6. Steven Furtick's Napoleon complex and suddenly becoming "pastoral" when Charlotte Mayor was arrested.
There are probably a lot of other issues that are escaping my mind or being blocked out at the moment. I am just so tired of the chaos and confusion in the church. So, last but not least:
  1. Gullible Christians (especially Christian media folks) speaking positively of  "Biblical" movies coming out, when the movies are in fact terribly unbiblical.
I listened to Steve Deace (who I normally enjoy) spend 10-15 minutes harshly chastising those being critical of the new Noah film before it came out, because he could find both positive and negative reviews of pre-screenings and because of Ted Baehr's obviously myopic and ignorant review of the final cut.  Then he went to see it and proceeded to completely torch it.  To which I say good for him, better late than never.  But they already have his money, so they got what they wanted out of him at least.

(Sorry that they're all in one place. I just don't have the energy to link them to the specific sentences in my text.)

Remember, the movie would not have been as "Biblical" as what was finally released if people at pre-screenings had not been vocal in their objections, thereby inspiring their readers and listeners to object.  Those pre-screening reviews are the very things he complained about us listening to, agreeing with, and trusting.  So now, after having chastised us for listening to what others said, he's giving us his own opinion.  Why?  Ostensibly, so we won't waste our money or promote such blasphemy.  But based on his own logic, why can we trust a review of something we haven't seen ourselves?  #irony

He's better than that. Yet after that segment, he went on to talk about how the most ridiculous emails he receives are from evangelical Christians, saying those writers are an embarrassment, and if we want to be taken seriously, we shouldn't embarrass ourselves in this way. But since he didn't tell us specifically what he classifies as weird junk, we are left to our own imaginations.  That's a problem; unless he is clear about what he's criticizing, then everyone can agree with him, including the very people he's upset with, because all of us have run into someone who claims to be a Christian yet believes something we find outlandish.

His blanket accusations didn't help anything but only poured fuel on the fire. Each listener gets to decide who was being shamed or encouraged based on what they THINK he is talking about. I see this so often.  Pastors, bloggers, and other Christians who find themselves speaking to an audience: be specific or don't bother.  Name names of leaders in error and put your money where your mouth is. Don't just nebulously shame and blast everyone who has strong concerns about the unbiblical nature of this movie (mostly because they have better discernment than you) and lump them in with kooks who think you're going to hell if you don't use the 1611 KJV.  It does not help.

In any case, regarding the Noah movie, I was reminded by Denise from Surph's Side that this December 2013 article by Brett McCracken posted at TGC was extolling this movie even before the "fixing" Paramount did due to complaints.  I'm not sure if McCracken is a TGC member or what.  They make it very confusing because it looks like he posted it, but I have seen other similar posts by people I know are not members.  If McCracken himself didn't post it then who at TGC thought this was good enough to post??  Why is that not indicated?

Here's a troublesome excerpt that brightly highlights his complete lack of Biblical discernment:
For many Christians who watch films based on Bible stories, the most pressing question is, What'd they get wrong? It's the same phenomenon for hardcore fans of comic books or fantasy novels when those are made into movies. Doubtless the new Hobbit movie will incur the wrath of a million blog rants spelling out each and every thing missed, distorted, or changed from the original.

I'd like to suggest that, whether it's Tolkien or the Old Testament, the more important questions are: Is it a good movie? Does it convey beauty, truth, goodness? Is the filmmaker's vision clear, focused, compelling?
No, that's not the more important question. This is jaw-droppingly bad reasoning. The equivocation between Scripture and Tolkien's (or any other author's) writing is, frankly, a violation of what TGC stands for.  What a straw-man argument: "Because unbelievers and believers might be annoyed that Lord of the Rings movies don't follow the books exactly, then hey, we should shrug when concerns are brought by believers upset that Bible-based movies depart from the truth of Scripture."  Apples and oranges.  The violation of Lord of the Rings, even if the films completely change the story, is at most fuel for a lawsuit.  But if Noah corrupts the message of the Bible, that is blasphemous and damning.

Let's say you release The Princess Bride but you call it Esther and say it's based on the Biblical book of Esther.  It's entertaining, quirky, and funny... but... is it a good movie?

No.  Because it CLAIMS to be Biblically-based, in which case The Princess Bride (aka Esther) becomes a blasphemous steaming pile of skubalon.  That little detail should trump everything for anyone who claims fidelity to Scripture. Apparently Mr. McCracken missed that.

So can someone tell me what the Gospel Coalition is about again? I forget. Is there a board who is supposed to police their membership and posts in SOME fashion?  Any fashion at all?  If they are too busy to make the organization worthwhile, then the organization should just disband, because this frankly makes all the board members look ignorant and negligent, compromising their fidelity to the very Word of God that brings us salvation.

Granted this article was from 2013 so I thought maybe he'd have changed his tune.  But no...

And then I thought, well it is April 1... just maybe... but no... he posted these before April 1.

He's looking forward to the Nick Cage Left Behind series too.  *nod*  Oh yeah that's a shocker there.

For some ACTUAL GOOD reviews, see:
Oh, and for good measure, *cough* a rather lame response to the Gnostic claims from Peter T. Chattaway. Priceless line of irony in paragraph 3:"First, like a lot of successfully misleading claims, Mattson’s has a fair bit of truth."

Yeah, go figure!!  Funny how that works.  See how Chattaway just essentially tore down the credibility of the whole Noah movie in one sentence that was actually written to defend it?

Interview: ‘Noah’ Writer-Director Darren Aronofsky and Co-Writer Ari Handel
(where they explain how they did actually consult all kinds of Jewish mythology.)

Further discussion with Dr. Brian Mattson and Brian Godawa, who wrote one of the original bad reviews of the pre screenings:

Godawa's original article
Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko

For the rest of Godawa's smack down of this movie see this Noah tag feed from his blog
Godawa's Noah Movie articles