Getting Spiritual at the Movies

The growth of the Christian Movie genre is apparent to all.  It is not surprising when we hear through the grapevine, on christian radio, or while chatting in a small group bible study, that there is a new faith-based film out or coming soon.  Churches may offer showings.  Parents may encourage a family night.  But what impact do these films have on the general public as well as the evangelical niche?

The Barna Research group graphic below is part of a larger article titled: Sequels, Selfies and Space: 2013 at the Movies.

Asking specifically, “In the past two years, has a movie made me think seriously about religion or change my views about Christianity?”  Here are the statistics broken down by 4 categories: All Americans, Evangelicals, Practicing Protestants, Other Faiths.

I thought the findings are interesting.  The big screen can sure get us thinking, but does it really change anything?



CNN posts about MTD

Crazy.  CNN has even picked up on the MTD (moralistic therapeutic deism) terminology when most people in our churches are unfamiliar with this phenomenon.  Check out the CNN article for yourself.

I will say this about the article. It clearly shows the infiltration of MTD into todays youth culture and contrasts that with  a “committed” faith.  So on that part I am thankful that even CNN recognizes the inadequacy of MTD as sincere faith.  Unfortunately this picture of the truly committed Christian does not include Jesus Christ.

No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

In this article you will find a level playing field for varieties of “christian faith”, Catholic and Protestant.  I believe if you hone in on the evangelical, Gospel-centered denominations you will find more resistance to the infiltration of MTD.  Yet the problem is present in all faith traditions.  Even in the best churches you will find members, and particularly teenagers, who cannot speak accurately about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and what that means for us today.

“If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation,” wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Not only parents, but churches receive the brunt of blame for this weak understand of christianity among teenagers.

Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy as well, says Corrie, the Emory professor. She says pastors often preach a safe message that can bring in the largest number of congregants. The result: more people and yawning in the pews.

Read the article and see what you think.  It is from a secular perspective but has a fair treatment of MTD.  It is my prayer that more youth leaders and parents will understand the reasons teens drift toward this watered down version of the Gospel, and then fight against it!  We must teach and live the truthfulness of the whole counsel of God. We must understand it is not about us but about the Glory of God!

Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam

Seeking a Generation

In Psalms 24 David asserts question.


“Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place?” Or in other words, who can be in God’s presence. What qualifies us to see and know God? This moves beyond the surface level of just knowing about God, but to really KNOW God. To have a relationship with Him. To commune with Him.

David goes on to answer that question. “The one with clean hands and a pure heart”. Speaking of this one, John Calvin describes the connection between hands and heart in his commentary of Psalms 24.  He writes, “Under the purity of the hands and of the heart, and the reverence of God’s name, he comprehends all religion, and denotes a well ordered life. True purity, no doubt, has its seat in the heart, but it manifests its fruits in the works of the hands. The Psalmist, therefore, very properly joins to a pure heart the purity of the whole life.”

But the question still remains.  If this is what it takes to enter into the presence of God, how can a person really have clean hands and a pure heart!

Our hope rests solely in the shed blood of Jesus Christ!  Just as David and all of the Old Testament was looking forward to a coming Messiah, we look back on the finished work of that Messiah!

2 Cor. 5:21 says,  “He [God the Father] made the One who did not know sin [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Thank you Father for making a way for us to have clean hands and a pure heart, even when we were filthy dirty!  Thank you Father for substitutionary work of Jesus on my behalf.  Because of Him I have a righteousness not of my own, but of His.

“Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.”  Through the work of Jesus on the cross we can be part a generation that seeks Him.  Being part of this group is not through genetic heritage as the Israelites thought, but it is through spiritual heritage.

Rise up O generation!  You who have been purchased by the blood of Jesus, You who have been given clean hands and a pure heart, Rise Up!

I am seeking a generation who will be intentional with the hope we have been given.  That we would live it and share it.  That our churches and youth ministries would exemplify what it means to be a generation that seeks His face!


Your fellow worker in the field, Adam