Last night I drove with friends to Mankato, MN (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) to see Monumental.
I drove that far on my night off because I love Kirk Cameron, I love his movies that have given thousands of people a clear Gospel message. I love his work on The Way of the Master, training thousands of people how to share their faith effectively and biblicaly. I have met him three times, twice at the Ambassadors Alliance and once at a Promise Banquet here in my town. He is genial to a fault, and seems like a very genuine believer in Jesus Christ because of the way he lives and the way he speaks to and treats people. He seems like the real deal, with no difference between the guy in front of the camera and the guy you meet in person. There is no question in my mind that he is a real Christian, that he loves Jesus Christ, his family, and other people.
I had high expectations for the movie, and maybe this is why I feel a strong sense of disappointment.
Maybe I had wrong expectations. Maybe I assumed since this movie was marketed in the way that it was that there would be a strong Gospel message to get back to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the teachings in the Bible, to the centrality and need of strong God-honoring marriages and family. You could draw that out, but as evidenced in my conversations with people following the movie, you could draw that out and apply that to the God of their own understanding.
I had planned to preach to the crowd in the theatre, but was unsure of the legality of doing that. So, I took Cameron’s request and videotaped people walking out of the movies and asked them what they thought-( I will post and comment on these later) The overwhelming response was that it was a great movie, well done, people had not known that history of the puritans, and individuals were determined to lay a better groundwork for the future and their families.
The videotaping turned into a great opportunity to witness to people. Some, who did not want to be on camera, asked what I thought. I shared my admiration for the quality of the movie (it was well done, pleasing to the eye, excellent history, etc.) but I was disappointed with it. When they asked me why, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with them because of their response. A kind baptist and his bride asked why I was disappointed, and I shared with him the lack of Gospel message in the body of the movie, the lack of setting apart Jesus Christ as the God that Cameron was speaking about. One gentleman, a Catholic, heard us talking, and asked if I had expected it to be a Christian movie. He said that this movie was not about religion, it was about History, and that we did not need to worry about anything else. He was, like others, saved because he had been baptized. I explained to him that this is the very problem with the movie- that people can walk away thinking that the god of Glenn Beck and David Barton is the same God of Kirk Cameron, that they all are brothers, and they all share the same goals.
And this is the problem the critics warned us about before the movie. This seems like a revival of the religion of America, manifest destiny, that we are somehow a Christian nation and that God will bless us because we are his chosen ones.
That may have been true, and certainly we know that our forefathers who came to this land to find freedom-the Puritans- they believed in the God of the Bible. They lived their lives under persecution and were desperate to be free to worship Jesus Christ, they were willing to die to see it happen- the land which they came to, the land which we now know as the United States of America, has fallen far from their ideal. We are no longer one nation under God.
- We murder babies at the rate of 3-4000 every day.
- We sanction and make holy the profane- like calling it marriage when two men or two women want their union blessed by the state and by god.
- We have removed God and the Ten Commandments from our state houses and our school houses.
- Separation of Church and State has become something the founders never approved of or envisioned.
And while we, as individual Christians can (and should) make changes so that we, our families, and our churches are worshiping and honoring the God of the Bible, our Lord Jesus Christ, this will not necessarily bring change to the nation.Getting back to the way the nation used to be (like Glen Beck promotes) will not change our nation. Unless Jesus Christ does the work in our hearts and changes the individuals in our nation by giving them new hearts, America has no hope.
The command we have from God is that of the Puritan call. We must be born again (John 3:3, 7). This is not a national call, or a church call. This is an individual call. We will not stand before God as Americans. We will not stand before God as Baptists, Lutherans, or Catholics. We will stand before God individually, and will be judged for what we (individually) have done(Hebrews 9:27).
On that day, all will be given justice or will be given mercy.
We will be given justice for our thought life, our motives, and our actions or lack of actions (Hebrews 4:13). Since there is no one righteous (Romans 3:10-18) the judgment of a Holy God will be Hell for all eternity (Revelation 21:8). We will receive the righteous wrath of God that we have stored up (Romans 2:5) through all of our wicked deeds.
Those who have trusted Christ will receive mercy. This is because though Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, He had no sin (Hebrews 4:15). God treated this perfect lamb as though He had sinned, even though He had not, so that we could be made God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). What is required is that we would repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation. If, by God’s grace you can receive this gift (John 1:12-13) you will receive new life in Christ.
There is no hope in History, or in a revival of the American way. The American way is corrupted beyond repair. But God can change your heart, He can and will save you if you will repent and trust in Christ alone.