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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

War Room

One of the problems with so many apologetics ministries is the propensity to nit-pick every little detail of someone’s teachings, or lifestyle, or productions.  I have been a wee bit guilty of this myself at times and when I notice it in my older articles I delete them for that cause — or at least clean out the nit-picking part.

There is no such thing as a perfect Bible teacher, be it a pastor or layperson; everyone — and that includes me — has made some type of error sometime in their teachings.  I know I have changed some of my beliefs over the years as I have done more studying of the Word or have received correction/counsel from godly men.  If we nit-pick people for every thing they do or say wrongly, then we will have no one who isn’t guilty!

This is true of movies.  There are no perfect movies; they all have some sort of problem, even if it is just a story line which doesn’t make sense or poor direction.  Some have technical errors, some have historical or social errors, and even some theological errors.  If we criticize movies for minor errors then we may as well not watch any of them!  I understand that we expect higher standards for Christian movies, but these producers are also sinful humans.

Now, I’ve read too many reviews of “War Room” and decided that if I watched the movie I would just be irritated the whole time.  I expected to see lots of Beth Moore, lots of contemplative prayer, lots of aberrant spiritual warfare, etc.  However, my wife decided she wanted to rent the movie so she could be able to discuss it with her Bible study group.  As “luck” would have it, we got called by Family Video a few days ago to tell us we won the drawing to get a new movie rent free and two weeks of 1/2 price movies (we have rented about a dozen movies there in the past 2-3 years), so we decided to get War Room and watched it last night (30 Jan).  It certainly wasn’t what I expected from all the nit-picking criticism I’ve read.

Before I give you my commentary (not a “review) on the movie, let me make a few general statements about the Kendrick Brothers’ movies:  

1.  Every prayer is answered just as requested and in very short times (as in this movie Elizabeth prays for her husband to fail in his adultery attempt and he immediately gets sick).  Nothing ever goes wrong; no one ever gets a “no” answer to their prayers.  I understand this is movie-making and story-telling and that the idea is to promote the faith and not bring in any possible negatives, no downers to the story, etc, but it gets rather annoying to me to see all the perfect answers to prayer when in my own life we have been waiting for years for prayers to be answered in the affirmative, and we know many families with similar issues!  I think it is a wrong-headed teaching to say God answers every prayer the way we want it answered and He doesn’t take long with it!  (They almost make God into a personal genie!)

2.  Some important issues in their story lines are often left unaddressed (for example the emotional adultery and other disrespectful behavior of the wife in “Fireproof”) while they focus on the main topic.  This leaves some “unfinished business” which can be distracting from the point of the movie.

3.  In “Courageous” they began bringing in aberrant teachings when they promoted the patriarchy ideology.  While it was a very small part of the story, it opened up a problematic ideology for leading people astray.

4.  The marketing leads to items for sale promoting the various ideologies in the last three movies.  This strategy is just like Hollywood.

Okay, now for my commentary on the movie itself, starting with my negatives.

Right at the top of my list is their use of Beth Moore as an actress.  Beth Moore is a false teacher (much worse than Priscilla Shirer), and this movie gave her such a personal promotion (albeit in only two cameo scenes) that she is bound to gather more followers.

As with the other Kendrick movies, War Room had a very contrived story to make its point.  I think this movie was more contrived than the others, making it more difficult to accept as a real situation.  That’s just the way I saw it.

I think the idea of going to war with prayer is aberrant, and I believe it comes from the whole aberrant spiritual warfare ideology.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are warring with our prayers.  I would really like to know where the term “prayer warriors” began — it never is found in Scripture!

The “prayer closet” teaching is really an abuse of Matthew 6:6.  Jesus was not saying we needed a private room; what he was teaching was that we are not to be out “on the street corners” so as to be seen as holy and righteous and “show-offy.”  Our private “inner room” could be in the middle of the house all alone, or it could be in an open field, or even in a bedroom while everyone else in the house is elsewhere.  The movie made the necessity of a private “prayer closet” (“war room”) virtually indispensable.

Toward the end of the movie, when a couple was looking at Clara’s house, the pastor could feel that Clara’s closet was a “prayer closet” — he said that the prayers were “baked in.”  This is superstitious nonsense; no one is able to discern where people were praying just by “feeling” something.

The continual joking about Elizabeth’s stinky feet was very, very irritating to me.  The movie’s “har har” about stinky feet was, to me, at the same level as Hollywood’s use of scatology.  There was absolutely no reason for that story line — or the scene with her having bad breath!  It was a juvenile attempt at humor.

Clara telling the crook to put his knife down “in the name of Jesus” is totally absurd.  Nowhere are we to find in the Bible that using Jesus’ name will force bad guys to be unable to harm us.  I think this was a very dangerous scene, as many non-discerning people may think they can just use “in the name of Jesus” if they are ever assaulted and the assault will not happen.  I think it was irresponsible for the writers to put in that scene.

The teaching of Clara was that Satan is directly responsible for all the sins and all the problems between Elizabeth and her husband.  The first problem with this is that Satan is not omni-present!  Oh, Satan is responsible for sin coming into the world by his temptation of Eve, and he certainly puts temptations in front of humans with the help of the demonic realm, but he isn’t the cause of our sins.  James 1:14-15 says that we are tempted by our own evil desires, dragged away and enticed by them, and the desires once conceived give birth to sin.

One of the worst scenes in the movie was Elizabeth’s railing against Satan, commanding him to leave her house and yard:  “I don’t know where you are devil, but I know you can hear me!”  Oh, really?  Satan is now omniscient?  What if he was bothering someone in China at the time?  Elizabeth continued, “You are done…Go back to hell where you belong!”  Satan will never be “done” tempting man until he is thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).  And he doesn’t live in hell! The point is that we are nowhere told to rail at Satan, and Jude 9-10 even teaches against it.

Clara has a similar scene where she says, “Devil, you just got your butt kicked.”  I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but Satan got his “butt kicked” by Jesus when He rose from the dead and paid for our sins.

While the movie has Clara being super-spiritual in her prayer life, I didn’t see any hint of contemplative prayer as claimed by some of the reviews, but they did make her knowledge of things to border on the mystical.

Clara had a framed document showing all the answered prayers she’s had; and it appeared that all her prayers are answered.  My question was what the purpose was for that document;  was it an award to God? was it for bragging?  I thought it was something silly, but sure to show up in the “Christian” book stores.

There were many other more minor issues I found irritating, but not important enough to detail.

The end of the movie had a real smell of New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism to it, especially when 2 Chron. 7:14 flashed on the screen.  It really irritates me when Christians take this passage out of context (I addressed this abuse in an article), but it is even more irritating when it is taught in a movie reaching millions of people!!!

Okay, now for the positive.  Overall, I think the movie did a good job pointing to the necessity of Bible study and prayer in the lives of Christians.  It also showed the necessity for parents to be available for their children and to know what is going on in their children’s lives (it would have been better if they showed Elizabeth give up her job so as to raise her child, and give up their huge mansion!).  It also taught that God is active in our lives.

The best review I read about War Room is the one by Fred Butler.  He isn’t as nit-picky as others and still remains quite objective with his criticism and praise, and he points out problems I agree with but don't feel like writing about -- especially about Clara!

As with Courageous, I would not recommend this movie to anyone who has little discernment skills; they could easily pick up the wrong ideologies.

As a “P.S.”, the last issue I have with the movie is the DVD version’s “special features.”  There were some unbiblical statements made, as well as some Scripture twisting.  I expect better than this from a group of pastors.  Here are the major problems:  

All through the specials there is lots of talk about “soaking” things in prayer and having issues “saturated” with prayer.  These are very common charismatic phrases which really need to be put into the ash can.  We don’t “soak” or “saturate” anything with prayer, and I think it is a trite analogy.

From “
The Heart of War Room”:
Priscella Shirer said, of prayer, “It’s what opens up the flood gates for God to come down and be involved in our every day circumstances.”  Really? Without prayer God can’t be involved in our lives?  What happened to His sovereignty?  And didn’t he already “come down” as Jesus?

Beth Moore said, “He has us fight, not human flesh and blood, but fight the war that is in the heavenlies.  That can only happen on our knees.”  Um, I don’t see from scripture where we are to fight a war in the “heavenlies.”  And prayer can be done standing, sitting, laying or in any configuration.

From “The Making of War Room”:
We had no idea that the Mitchell home [Elizabeth’s house in the movie] and everything they went through would really need somebody to pray over that home and rebuke the devil in that scene.”  Oh, so a pretend rebuke of the devil in the movie scene acted as a real rebuke of the devil?  Again, where are we told in Scripture to rebuke the devil?

From “From Auditioning to Acting”:
Alex Kendrick:  “The Lord first gave us the plot in the summer of 2012 and I was on a speaking trip with T.C. Stallings.”  Isn’t this a claim to special revelation?  Couldn’t this just be from their own imaginations?
T.C. Stallings continued the discussion: “And he says, ‘And for the character, Tony Jordan, T.C., I have you in mind.  That’s what… The Lord has put you on my heart.”  How can Alex know that dogmatically?  Alex had apparently known about T.C. and his talents which fit into the story, so why couldn’t Alex have just came up with the idea?

It’s no wonder the Kendricks like Beth Moore — they use her schtick of claiming revelations from God!

“The Church On Its Knees”:
They claimed they could feel the Holy Spirit come into the room where they were holding prayer sessions.  Just what does this feel like, and how do you know it’s the Holy Spirit?
They pray over doors, seats, entrances, exits, the sanctuary, choir loft, church sections, etc.  Where is the biblical warrant for this, and what do they think they are accomplishing praying over these objects?
There are some things that are not going to happen apart from prayer.  It’s not that God can’t, it’s that God has sovereignly chosen to say, ‘If you don’t pray, I’m not going to do it.’”  Where do we find this in Scripture?  How can he speak for God when Scripture doesn’t say this?

Scripture abuse other than the 2 Chron. passage:
The final frame in “The Church On Its Knees” showed Mark 11:17, And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?”  This passage is about the TEMPLE, not about buildings where Christians assemble. 

At the end of “Molly Bruno: Modern Day Miss Clara,” Revelation 3:20 was displayed. This is a commonly abused passage.   “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  I have previously addressed the abuse of this passage.

Well, there you have it.  I think the movie was worthwhile as a reminder to where our priorities should be, but needs some discernment to watch, even though it wasn’t as bad as I was led to believe.


Alec said...


I so appreciate both the tone of your post, and your opening reminder. It's true we all see through a glass darkly (1 Cor 13.12).

What made me smile was the content. I kept waiting for something - anything - which would redeem this movie. Even the positives sounded like watching the movie would make me want to jump out of my skin!

In general, I tend to distrust all movies these days, but for different reasons. The "Christian" movies are laced with strychnine. And the mainstream ones are filled with social conditioning. Anyone ever wonder how homosexuality became so widely accepted? Just watch TV and movies from the last few decades. Want some idea of what the future will hold? Just watch for common themes in the current releases.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I wouldn't purchase this movie because I didn't find it worthwhile to watch more than once. The other four Kendrick movies I enjoyed - and own - although there were some minor issues --except for "Courageous," which had the one major issue which I wrote about

"Fireproof" is still my favorite. All of them have the perfect prayer answers, but that's just for story-telling and I can deal with it. There's one other favorite "Christian" movie, shockingly put out by TBN ("shocking" because it has the real gospel message which you don't hear on TBN). It's "Time Changer." It's quite humorous, and, yes, it still has some minor issues.

Alec said...

I liked Time Changer a lot! Don't remember seeing the others you've mentioned. I guess I just find watching newer movies and TV a lot of work.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The other four movies by the Kendrick brothers are
Facing the Giants (football theme)

I recommend them. Good stories, good messages.

We watch very few new movies; I have to see good reviews before trying them. We went to five movies last year:
Into the Woods -- fair, but wouldn't recommend it.

The Imitation Game -- went on recommendation from a friend. While the main story was good, the homosexual agenda was promoted.

Cinderella -- wonderful!! Live action version of the old Disney story.

Inside Out -- again on recommendation from a friend, but didn't care for it.

Peanuts Movie -- Loved it!

We have quite a collection of old movies which we will select from to watch once or twice a week. TV is virtually worthless in our house because we have only rabbit ears for reception, and there's little worth watching anyway.

Anonymous said...


Also appreciate your opening to this post.

As for movies - Christian or not - all movies have a worldview, and are made by sinful people. So for better or for worse, there are going to be things wrong in any movie, even in a Christian movie made with the best intentions. That's why I don't draw my theology from a cinema.

Even documentaries have "agendas". You are hard pressed to watch anything "scientific" that isn't teaching evolution, for example.

My husband and I have a humorous solution: we give out loud raspberries to anything wrong we hear in a movie or show. (Hence we do not go to actual movie theatres, I am sure we'd be shown the door!)

Of the Kendrick movies, only saw the first three. Favorite: Flywheel. Like the story, and love that Triumph!


Sola Scriptura said...

Excellent work my brother. I look forward to reading through some of your other posts. Naming names and pointing out error with the precision of a lawyer is a critical task for the true Berean. Below is a little article I put together on false prophets and teachers...and there are many!

br bo said...

There is a movie that I have that is very good. It wasn't Christian, but very historical. While watching the movie and reflecting afterwards, it causes me to think of what Christians have been through, are going through, and will go through until our LORD returns. It is Sophie Scholl.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Sola Scriptura,

Thanks for that link -- well done!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

br bro,

I've seen reviews of that movie and it is on my list of those to rent.

Alec said...

br bo,

Yes, that is an important film.


br bo said...


Did you ever see Sophie Scholl?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

br bo,

Not yet. The local video stores don't have it. It looks like I may have to buy it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Br bo,

Alec gave me a link to the movie on Youtube and I watched it this morning. I'd say it is an omen of what is to come in the USA.

Thanks for suggesting it!

Prayer warrior said...

I think it was an awesome movie!!! I thank God for giving me the gift of being a prayer warrior. With prayer,comes worship and with worship the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I don't feel that the "baked in" comment was "superstitious nonsense." People who don't see the meaning of this movie, obviously haven't experienced spiritual warfare. War room is an awesome movie!!!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Prayer Warrior,

You just made assertions with your next-to-last statement. I demonstrated biblically what was wrong with the movie. Spiritual warfare is not like what was in the movie. I'm well aware of the meaning of the movie - aberrant beliefs. You only demonstrate your lack of discernment.