There is a new film out now in theaters entitled War Room, produced by the Kendrick Brothers Films. It has made millions of dollars and is currently outproducing many worldly Hollywood films. The really neat thing about this is that War Room is a Christian drama that explores the power that a simple prayer to Jesus can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.
It is my understanding that some Mega Churches in the U.S. have even showed it to their entire congregations. Christians all across the U.S. are watching this movie, and the box office reports that it has taken in over $50 Million in just the few weeks since its August 28th launch.
I was recently sent a message by a member of our congregation that many in our church were planning on seeing this movie. Immediately, my defenses went up and I decided not to take a position on this matter, but just remain silent on the subject. My silence was motivated by my past religious upbringing. Even though I was raised a Southern Baptist, we were allowed to go to the movie theater. Then later in life, I became a Pentecostal, and many Pentecostal groups teach that it is morally wrong to enter into a movie theater.
I have been taught for years not to go into a movie theater, because they were places of worldly amusement, and we were to keep separated from the World. It has even been taught that if you are in a movie theater when the Rapture takes place that you will miss the Rapture. There is a modest segment of the Pentecostal Church world that teaches this rule.
This was a rule that seemed like a good rule to me. I reasoned within my own mind that, obviously, Hollywood is full of evil people, and that during the past 50 years of American culture we have seen sex, violence, greed, and all other forms of Satanic persuasion enter into the minds and hearts of our young people as a direct result from the vast majority of Americans watching movies produced by non-believers promoting their own humanistic agendas through these films.
Satan has been trying to push God out of our Country, out of our communities, out of our schools, out of our courthouses, out of our families, and out of our minds and hearts. He has been doing a pretty good job of this as we can all see how drastically the moral fiber of the United States has decayed substantially and significantly over the past 50 years.
But to have a rule that you "cannot enter into a movie theater" is missing the entire point. It is not the theater that gets you into trouble, it is the films that you watch in the theater. This would be like having a rule saying that you cannot go into a Walmart store because they have alcohol and tobacco inside those stores. Or you can’t go into a gas station/convenience store because they too sell alcohol, tobacco, and even pornography. It is not entering into the store that gets you into trouble, it is buying the things that you have no business buying that might get you into trouble.
Now to the issue at hand. When I was confronted with this issue of members of Return Ministries going to the theaters to see this Christian movie, I was going to stay netural and say nothing about it. But the Holy Spirit started convicting me, and He told me to be bold and to do the right thing. One thing I have learned in life is that you can never go wrong by doing right.
I had heard so many testimonies from solid Christian people that highly recommended this movie, people that I trust and respect. So Liz and I went to a theater, bought a big bag of popcorn, and sat down to see what this movie War Room was all about. One side of me felt like that I was breaking the rules, but I kept praying, and the LORD said, "These are man's rules, not mine." I believe this is the primary measure on which we must gauge our standards of behavior. Are your standards from God or from man? Does God’s Word teach us not to enter into any place of public entertainment? Or does God’s Word tell us to be in the world, but not of the world?
It didn’t take long into the movie until tears started flowing down the cheeks of both of us. Wow, this movie was captivating as it clearly showed how the power of prayer and faith in Jesus Christ can impact and change someone's life, marriage, family, career, and community. The drama was so well done using great actors, great music, but more importantly a great script where the words about Jesus, Grace, Faith, Forgiveness, and more were strong, very impactful, and powerfully life changing.
We cried all the way through this movie as the drama taught us many things that we simply would not be able to learn any better way. I believe the Kendrick Brothers are highly anointed to make Christian films that will greatly help and encourage Christians in their walk of Faith with Jesus.
When exiting the theater, our hearts were motivated to pray in a way that we have never prayed before. We can’t wait to go home and rearrange our prayer closet. Liz and I are going to change the walls to include, as the movie suggests, specific prayer requests and specific promises in God’s Word. As we pray, we should be reminded of the great promises God makes to His children, and we should pray for specific things in our lives. God is wanting to change people, to change circumstances, and to do great things in the lives of His children, but He waits upon us to pray and cry out to Him.
Please do yourself a favor and go see the movie War Room. It will do you more good than listening to any of the sermons that I preach. And I say this sincerely, because this movie is two hours of drawing the viewer into the lives of a family that is experiencing what Grace, Faith, and Forgiveness is all about through Jesus Christ.
Of course this blog, which is simply trying to encourage you to go see a great movie that will inspire you, will be met with legalistic criticism. My enemies will say, “See, I told you he was the Devil; now he is telling his parishioners to go to the movie theaters. And we all know that is wrong and against the rules."
Again, it’s not the building, the screen, the popcorn, nor the seats of the theater that is wrong. Instead, it is the content that is either good or evil. I would not recommend that you see over 90% of all movies that Hollywood produces because, as a pastor, the last thing I want to see is you allowing the Devil to plant his weeds in your spiritual garden. But when a great Christian film is out in the theaters, then do not stumble over a dumb rule. Instead, go and be blessed by a great work that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an awesome way.
Yes, we are to be a separated people, a peculiar people, a holy people as we yearn and long for a deeper and greater relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, I want more and more of Jesus, more of His Word, more of His Spirit, more of His Nature, more of His Glory, more of His Faith, and on and on. Yes, I preach holiness, and Elizabeth and I live holiness. In fact, our holiness is not our works, but it is found in the Grace of God through Jesus. Jesus is my righteousness; He is my holiness. But with that said, I am encouraging you to go to the movie theater and watch this awesome Christian movie called War Room. I say this because I know the impact it had upon both of us, and I believe it will impact your life for Christ Jesus.
Some might say, "Well, we will watch it when it comes out on DVD. This way no one will know that we watched a movie." I plead with you to break the chains of the non-Biblical religious rules. There is nothing in the Bible that suggests that you shouldn’t walk into a movie theater. But there is plenty in the Bible that suggests that you shouldn’t watch dirty, nasty, wicked movies. War Room is not one of those movies. Instead, it is a great testimony of Christianity penetrating into the lives of many people who in no other way would ever experience something of this spiritual magnitude.
If you are going to watch this movie, would it be better for you to do it in secret and not tell anyone, or to be open and honest about it? Which way does the LORD get more glory? Is it better to break the old rule and go and be blessed by this movie, or to be held under the bondage of a rule that you may have kept for 30, 40, or 50 years?
I always like this saying: “A man's character is defined by what he does in secret." Hypocrisy is pretending to do something or be something that you are not. I would rather get it all out in the open, and let us behave in public as we do in private.
One closing thought: a TV is not a wicked thing. It has been used for the promotion of wickedness, but it is the content that is wicked, not the TV. A TV can be used as a monitor to play Christian sermons or Christian movies. I know of a religion that had a rule that if you owned a TV that you could not hold a minister's license. This rule is still in effect today as far as I know. So ministers still pride themselves on not owning a TV, and the leader is still a big proponent of this rule. But the bizarre thing about this rule is that it is OK to have a computer, or an iPad, or an iPhone. So any of the content that you could once only receive on a TV you can now receive over these new modern devices - and they are even worse because the world of pornography is so easily accessible through a computer, tablet, or smart phone!
This religion has never changed the rule. So many, if not all, of its ministers do not own TVs, and most are happy with this rule. Yet most all of them own computers or smart phones. What does this rule say about the religion? If we are really going to completely separate from the world by not owning a TV, then we should live like the Amish and not have a computer or a smart phone either.
I would rather trust in the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to help me overcome the temptation to look at anything wrong on my phone or computer, than to throw them away and not communicate with the people with whom these devices help me communicate. My job as a pastor is all about communication, and I need the tools to do a good job.
I would also rather go see an inspiring Christian movie in the theater, and not hide the fact, but make it public, than to hold on to an old, non-Biblical based rule that some religions impose upon their members.
Go see War Room. It will get you on your knees and in your prayer closet.
To learn more about the movie War Room and see where it may be playing nearest you, visit WarRoomTheMovie.com.