We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, September 30, 2011

“Courageous” - The Movie

I took my wife to see the move Courageous this afternoon. I was looking forward to this movie because the other ones by Sherwood Baptist have been very good.

As expected, the story was good, with an excellent message, but it certainly earned its PG-13 rating; it was not a movie I suggest taking grade-school kids to, and there were quite a few there this afternoon. The subject matter was sometimes intense, and sometimes a bit mature for youngsters.

There were a few things about the movie that bothered me a bit. First, I thought it was a much slower-moving story than the previous movies, but that was okay. But from a technical standpoint, the camera work was quite bothersome; too many in-your-face close-ups and the camera jumped around a lot. But these are minor points overall.

I found two issues disturbing. One was the whole idea of a formal ceremony for signing a resolution to be a better father and husband - as if one can‘t resolve to do so without the formalities. The other was the issue of the father with the teenage girl giving her a ring and requesting her to give him her heart for protection until she is married - again, the idea of a father having a protective role is good, but the ideology behind this belief in having the daughter give her heart to her father is aberrant. These ideas reeked of “patriarchy” and other like movements (Gothardism, Quiverfull, Vision Forum, et al) with their legalistic and aberrant teachings, including “courtship”. And at the end of the movie they thanked Jim & Michelle Duggar and their 19 kids.

Of course I know the “Christian” book stores will be selling those resolution forms by the thousands to all those who want to be just like the movie with a formal ceremony. (It reminds me of the formal certificates with ceremony Gothardites do with circumcision!) And little heart rings will sell like popcorn!

What worries me is that too many people, lacking discernment, could be easily led into these aberrational movements because of the popularity of the movie and the desire to be better fathers. This is something those watching this move should be alert for.


Edensfam said...

Yes, thanks for the review. My wife and I attended a marriage conference awhile back and there was a public affirmation of commitment to one another at the end of it all. Almost like a renewing of vows. Looking back I believe we were emotionalized prior to this "exercise" and what you describe kinda sounds the same to me. Is my assumption correct or am I off base? Really enjoy reading your blog the last few years. Blessings, Cliff in Colorado.

Diane said...

Thanks Glen,

I guess some of the members of the Duggars were extras in the movie. Thought that was interesting. Here is the link. I find the Quiverfull movement very troubling.


ali said...

We were making plans to see the movie next week. The others were so good, but this one..??..

Your concerns are well founded. This is sad considering there are so few movies a TRUE believer can attend, or perhaps should attend.

We will pray before purchasing our tickets.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Go ahead and buy the tickets - I recommend the movie. My only point is that there are two scenes which require discernment - and that there may very well be some of the "patriarchy" ideology behind the church making the movie. But it is worthwhile to watch as long as you understand the problem with those two scenes.

Anonymous said...

Gathardites make a big deal out of circumcision...somehow I am not surprised given their legalistic tendencies...

Anna said...

Could you give me more information on your concerns with the Quiverfull, Vision Forum "movements"?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anna,

My concerns?

Legalism, legalism, legalism. Vision Forum is also part of the Reconstructionist movement. There are plenty of sites on the 'net which describe these movements, and for the "Quiverfull" movement there are sites by those who've escaped. You might want to search out some of those. I don't have any in my favorites list (although I should have), but I have been linked to them by people many times.

Anna said...

Hi Glenn, I'm sorry to bother you, but I really think I'd like your insight on this. I don't know a lot of theology, and trying hard to learn. Could you explain what the Reconstructionist movement is? And why is it wrong? Also, I briefly looked up some of the escapees of the quiverfull movement, they seemed to have turned to a very liberal way of viewing things now. Can you please tell me... what is wrong with letting God decide on the size of your family, submitting to the headship of your husband and everything else that seems to go along with that movement? Thank you for your time, I sincerely would like your opinon.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Reconstructionist theology teaches that the nation - as well as the world - should be “Christianized” (not necessarily evangelized) by bringing Old Testament law into our legal system, by making the world more moral, etc so that Christ can come back. It’s primarily from the Reformed churches, and It’s similar in many respects to the Dominionist theology of the charismatic churches (especially Word of Faith). Here is an article for some good information: http://apprising.org/2011/09/11/who-invented-dominionism/

As for Quiverful, as with other cultic movements - as well as cults - when people leave them they often turn away from God or get into other aberrant movements. Going somewhat liberal would be part of that as they have to relearn what Scripture teaches. There is nothing wrong with “letting God decide the size of your family” except that it is an extra-biblical idea. There is no place in Scripture which says we can’t plan our families. This movement has taken one passage of Scripture and turned it into a doctrine which they use to determine holiness. Submitting to the husband’s headship is biblical, but not in the way this movement has turned it into an authoritarian, dictatorial position. Again, it is abusing what the Scripture says so as to make the husband a virtual Adolf Hitler in his home.

Anna said...

Thank you for your reply. I've just recently been introduced to the Vision Forum minitries and the Quiverfull movement. Honestly, I haven't seen the negative aspects to it as you have discovered. I will watch out for those ideas in the future, particularly the dominionist idea, because that doesn't seem right at all.

I do have another question about the quiverfull movement. Does the Bible say anywhere at all that we *should* or do have the right to plan the size of our families? You call it cultic, and I don't fully understand the implications of that. Could the movement to have surgeries to prevent conceiving be called cultic? Why is it one way and not the other?

Could you give me some examples of a way that a man could be the "Adolf Hitler" of their home? Where is the line between healthy and unhealthy "leadership"? Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Let me suggest a warning bell about any movement which associates Christianity with patriotism, which Vision Forum does (I used to get their catalogues). My recommendation for further information would be to review the Midwest Christian Outreach Journal found here:
And a followup article here:

Does the Bible say anywhere at all that we *should not* or do not have the right to plan the size of our families? You see, it isn’t proper to make a doctrine or practice from where the Bible is silent. This is what makes the teaching cultic, as well as the condemnation of those who choose to plan their family by timing or size.

I am unaware of a movement which leads people to have sterilization surgeries, and if there was such a movement claiming scriptural support then that would also be cultic.

How can a man be a dictator; what makes leadership healthy or unhealthy? When no one’s opinion but the husband’s/father’s is considered valid, that can be very unhealthy. When the husband decides that a woman has no right to work outside the home (every hear of Prov. 31?) or that only certain attire is acceptable, when he chooses who she can associate with without input, etc, that is dictatorial. And I have seen it. I have seen the marriage of close friends destroyed by an abusive husband who demanded his wife submit to everything he wanted. A leader guides and counsels rather than coerces. A leader is someone people look up to but a dictator is someone people fear. I know too many families where fear of the father/husband is what guides them.

A husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church will treat his wife with respect at the same time he protects her physically, emotionally and spiritually. There will be times when he MUST exercise his authority over her, but that shouldn’t be often if the two have good communication between them.

Does this help?

Anna said...

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it because, thus far, I have not seen these errors myself when looking at these movements. I will keep an eye out without discarding the good principles they do offer.

Stan said...

I'm not too concerned about the formal signing ceremony. Certainly unnecessary, I figured it was just for the movie. If I thought of making the same commitment, I wouldn't feel any need to either sign the form or have the ceremony.

On the other hand, the idea of a public notification of such a commitment and calling on others to hold you accountable are, in my view, outstanding ideas. Even biblical.

I'm not sure about your concern about the patriarchy movement (since I don't know what it is), but the Bible endorses a patriarchal hierarchy big time. Of course, courtship in Scripture is right out the window. Marriages in the Bible were arranged. ;)

Thanks for the additional perspectives on the movie.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The patriarchy movement is like Gothardism on steroids. Yes, the Scripture does make family patriarchal, but the movement makes it a dictatorial system which says wives cannot work outside the home, that homeschool is mandatory, courtship (their version) is mandatory, that the daughter is a virtual wife to the father until marriage, etc. There are variations as to how strict groups go, but there is some real legalistic and bizarre stuff. A lot of it is connected to the Reconstructionist movement.

Virginia Knowles said...

A very helpful site written by those who grew up in (and were negatively affected by) Gothard's ATI/IBLP programs is www.recoveringgrace.org.

I think many people coming out of authoritarian religious movements take a wide pendulum swing in the other direction, and sometimes reject God based on the horrid examples set forth by rigid, legalistic, and even abusive "Christians." Though this grieves me, I am not at all surprised.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Virginia,

Yes, that is a great site. I subscribe to it.