I shared with him the concerns I conveyed that morning to her, which he confirmed as accurate. Also, Dr. Scott informed me of David Powlison’s chapter-critique from his book, Seeing with New Eyes. Dr. Scott said, “It is basically all about conditional love. I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine. That is why even pagans love to read it.” It appeals to personal felt-needs, feelings, desires, must-haves, lusts of deceit. It fuels self-centered idolatry, not a servant’s heart.
David Powlison’s Review, Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently, reveals how Chapman’s book teaches a secular model on marriage that is rooted in conditional love ideology. As Dr. Scott referenced, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” says Powlison, is the gist of Chapman’s 5LL. In other words, “I’ll love you if you love me,” or “I’ll meet your needs if you meet mine.” That plays out to the 50%-50% mentality at the end of the day. Or 100%-100% could be deemed correct. After all, that sounds exactly like what the world’s psychologists refer to as a win-win situation, doesn’t it?
However, that is a far cry from the biblical model for God’s design for marriage which is all about sacrificial love, exemplified in Christ, selflessly serving and loving ones spouse, unconditionally. ”I’ll scratch your back even if you don’t scratch mine.” ”I’ll love you, even if you don’t love me in return.” ”I am here to serve you.” This looks like 100%-0%. And because of the hope that is promised to believers, which in Christ and is Christ, we are in a no-lose situation (no matter our circumstances, married or single).
Remember, in the Old Testament, Hosea and his harlot-wife? In this true story, we read the reflective depiction of the perfectly loving and faithful YWHW to His chosen, ever-wavering-from-covenant Israel. In the New Testament, the perfect model of love and obedience is Christ who came to serve not be served. His sacrificial atonement on the cross, the giving of Himself for His bride is God’s perfect love manifested in the Son.
We must understand it is the act of giving oneself, not ones feelings and/or emotions, that is primary in loving. Our giving and serving will be imperfect. We are, after all, still sinners by nature. But, nonetheless, saved by grace, we must strive after Christ! Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20). God so loved that He gave His one and only Son (Jn 3:16). He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10). We must seek to obey to love, serve and be merciful in Christian love without the expectation of a return (Lk 6:32-36).
Drawing nearer to this figure of 100%-0%, living life here in marriage, for regenerated sinners is biblical and speaks volumes of love languages while each spouse is being transformed into the image of their Savior, Christ the Lord, in whom all hope resides. By God’s unending grace, repentance for sin and faith in Christ, in obeying His commands in humble servanthood to please Him with all thankfulness, this is where sanctification happens for the married couple through the indwelling Holy Spirit by the Word (Jn 17:17; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Thess 4:2-8; 1 Thess 5:18).
Though Powlison recognizes some practical, helpful application by Chapman toward thoughtfulness, the argument continues that even pagans do that for the give-to-get conquest. And for us, from this former mindset we must flee!
Beloved, looking to Chapman and his book for advice, and all its spin off versions for children, teens and singles, is not wise. It will send you in the opposite direction of God’s Word, building a house on sand (Mt 7:26-27). As always, be alert and avoid any opposing or conflicting theologies toward God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-6). Refuse to receive vain, empty, ear-tickling philosophies which are assuredly found in psychology models and practices (Col 2:8).
If your marriage needs help, may you be encouraged here to seek biblical counseling through the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) or pastors, elders, teachers in like-mindedness honoring the doctrines of the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures for all matters of life, faith and heart/mind/soul/spirit.
1. The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) Conference, San Antonio, TX 2013, Dr. James Allen Fain III.
2. Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically, John MacArthur and The Master’s College Faculty, p. 120. (parenthesis mine)
A Christmas newsletter began going ga-ga over this book in that it “caused them to analyze, reassess and reaffirm their purpose in life” and “to develop a personal mission statement for the years to come.” After reading this positive recommendation for Buford, I was compelled to do some research. Just as we saw a raving promotion for this book in our personal mail, Dr. Gilley doesn’t miss to mention its numerous “great read” recommendations, in all its editions, for the believer in the Christian community.
Really? Can you imagine the backlash then if they were to remove all the false teaching on their shelves, too?
What this criticism is unraveling are the complaints from the liberal Christian sector, like this, who think they know best and speak for all Christian consumers, including the ones who do not want to be friends with this world (James 4:4) or promote false gospels (Gal 1:6-9).
I say, “Yay to the Lord,” for Lifeway’s decision! ”It’s a good start! Now, let’s keep it comin’! There’s a lot more work to be done! ”
Christian bookstores, including Lifeway, are businesses filled with an inkling of inventory of sound teaching but loaded with idolatrous, blasphemous, counterfeit false gospels. You will find emergent, ecumenical, seeker-sensitive, liberal, humanistic, socialistic, prosperity, motivational, mystic, pagan, signs and wonders, new prophets with new revelation, AND MORE, in the forms of books, memorabilia, and yes, movies! But! I love to visit my local Christian bookstore and exercise the discernment the Lord is providing to me through His Word and Holy Spirit. So thankful that I no longer find myself in a sea of unknown when I walk in. Plus, I like to pick up a nice framed picture or trinket for the house, from time to time.
I have seen the DVD and was very disappointed after hearing what “a great, new Christian movie” The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock, was when it was first released. This from fellow believers. Then seeing its weak, watered-down, warm and fuzzy, you-can-be-a-success-in-life teaching about the gospel faith was a bummer, not to mention the blaspheming. If our family buys a DVD, like this one and there is blaspheming in it, in the garbage it goes with kids understanding why!
These kind of movies are packaged as a ‘Christian’ story. And when a Christian bookstore sells it, well, there ya go! Credibility and agreement of ‘Christian’ in an instant! These shows remind me of false teachers with their charismatic, show-business personalities and misguided Christian vocabulary and ideology promoting false teaching. Because that is what these kind of movies do. Made by either secular or Christian film producers, it doesn’t matter! They just add fuel to the false teaching fire as they are made to pander to as large an audience as possible, just like wolves in sheep’s clothing do.
The True Gospel was no where to be found in this movie. Misplaced Christian terminology is not Christianity, but is in fact down right dangerous! Be as discerning of movies that claim Christianity as much as of pastors, teachers, books, blogs, seminars, conferences, contemporary Christian music artists, Christian DJ’s, etc.
It seems as though our family has seen a run of new Christian movies that are selling this bill of goods that the gospel promises success, health and wealth and every other kind of personal agenda. It makes my skin crawl when I hear people misuse the verse, Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” as a motivational, postive-thinking, “I-can-have-all-my-dreams-come-true,” kind of Disney deception.
That is not the exegetical meaning of Paul’s message to the Philippians. Paul’s context is about suffering and withstanding all things, by God’s grace and strength in saving faith for the gospel. This would be true for all believers who are persevered for every good work for the gospel to the glory of the Lord (Eph 2:10). Paul did not write this to inspire us to win a football game, master other athletic goals, or whatever desire one has to achieve or accomplish for their own status, reputation, bank account, etc. It certainly is not at all what the Bible is about, but what this movie teaches. Le’t be careful to accurately handle the truth of God’s Word (2 Tim 2:15). Let’s not incorrectly attribute strength in Christ to God-given natural, human abilities. Now, if being a star athlete has something to do with a true believer’s work for the gospel, for every good work prepared for them, then yes.
I don’t know for sure, but it’s worth a consideration since the movie is based on a true life story. It may have been somewhat edited for Hollywood, as is almost always the case for box office interest, and so forth, by the money making entertainment industry of the world. So much so that it may have actually done the true story an injustice, tampering with the heart of the story of the Lord’s will in this family’s life. Hopefully, the True Gospel is living in this family’s life. However, I did not get that impression from the movie.
I do know that Christians want their entertainment. Just put it to the Phil 4:8-9 test to see if it passes for partaking. Or, if your a parent like I am, to examine whether it is suitable for including your children without putting them into a shark’s tank. To make sure we’re not setting them before a foolish, parental example to catch-learn from us what is or is not condoned. This would be the case if submitting to the authority, sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture were absent.
The Philippians 4:8-9 Guide:
“(8) Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (9) The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Now, the many other false teaching authors in Christian bookstores, including Lifeway, is a whole ‘nother topic and the more weightier issue for the church than fussing over this store’s decision about removing this movie. I think it is good that a Christian bookstore did remove it if they tether the right doctrine to why they did it! This lays the ground work for being faithfully consistent in potentially following through with the rest of the junk in there, leaving only the sound doctrine teaching. But will that ever happen? Not as long as the roaming lion of lies is unleashed and the love of money exists. Not as long as that is present and the Lord wants us to grow in all discernment in this time. And He does.
Keep on being a good Berean (Acts 17:11); growing in love, real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ (Phil 1:9-10); testing everything, holding onto that which is good and abstaining from every form of evil (1 Thess 5:21-22)… including movies you find in your local Christian bookstore.
Warning: This book contains blasphemous, explicit sexual language for the purpose of describing a believer’s relationship, “Holy Fulfilling” to the Almighty, Eternal, Holy and Righteous Triune God, which is one reason it is in this library. It is a twisted mockery and misinterpretation of The Holy Word of God and of great, past reformers and theologians, like Edwards and Spurgeon, who wrote with contemporary language of their day, not ours. Thus, the reviews do contain quotes from the book for biblical examination only. Fasten your seat belts and say a prayer to be able to ‘stomach it.’
Seriously, the pages I read at Amazon and the excerpts in reviews, was enough to discern its sensuality and paganism. It’s as if this is a romance novel for bored Christian women… with the subject eventually being the L**d. I can’t… No. I won’t even type it here. The first sentences of Chapter 1, right off, made me feel like, “Eeeks, should I be reading this!? This is supposed to be Christian, biblical, and yet this can’t be leading to anything of spiritual value. Quite the opposite is true. It is appealing to the flesh! This isn’t biblical!” Is describing one’s birth in such a manner really appropriate for a Christian book? It is unnecessarily descriptive for shock value to immediately draw the reader in… in a barbaric, primeval, seductive, sensual way. In Mk 7:21-23, Rom 13:13 and Eph 4:19, sensuality is to be put off along with the “old man.” Further, the tool of sensuality is something that Peter describes false teachers using, in 2 Pt 2:2. We see this specifically with the profuse practice of new spirituality infesting the church with mystical techniques such as contemplative prayer, repeated prayers, lectio divina, yoga, labyrinths, prayer candles and the like. She seems to have an infatuation for the word “blood,” as well. Her sensual descriptions of stroking her dad’s hair and that of her brother-in-law’s visit at the back door are just the beginning of sensuality unraveling out of control in this book. As I mentioned, at the end of the spool of thread, it poisonously affects one’s image of a redeemed relationship with the L**d. Offering such words to a reader that conjure up revolting, sexual imagery with our Holy God is a far cry from “a holy experience,” the name of Ann’s blog. Rather, it is a sinfully disturbing one.
In addition, I noted: 1) a statement “after baptism…” her journey began. Something to that affect. As if that is the moment of salvation as the Church of Christ denomination wrongly believes; But in this case, it was an infant “christening.” So, nothing mattered before the christening? The value of life itself as given by the Creator? And salvation does not occur at infant baptism which is, according to the Scriptures, for believers only; 2) a tribute to a Catholic writer, Chesterton; 3) a claim that the author hears/heard God audibly, like Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, which always undermines the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture, while pointing to Gnosticism. What’s with the female gnosticism in Christianity? Allow me to inform you. It’s another false movement in and of itself, which is contributed to and published by Lifeway Christian Stores!
Overall, with such sexual writings of these ‘encounters’ of “Holy Fillings,” finding herself with God, “in Paris,” the romance capital of the world for lovers, I am lead to believe this author has one seriously tainted imagination, is experimenting with contemplative prayer (demonic influence falsely interpreted as divine during mystic, transcendental meditation) or both. Needless to say, beware, my sisters (and brothers) in the Lord.
To confirm that, her blog, a holy experience, does reveal the evidence of involvement with and promotion of transcendental meditation! Several pictures of prayer candles, in the form of a labyrinth, are present as well as the false teachings of pagan mystics like Phyllis Tickle, Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Henry Nouwen, etc., in authors/books being recommended.
I am so thankful for Mike Gendron, former Catholic, and his ministry to reach Catholics and others with the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, I am glad he addressed, specifically, The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Droves of people, including myself, watched this film and many endorsed it when it was first released, in 2004, including some big name evangelicals as seen on Wiki , who are incorrectly described there as “conservative.” I’ll provide the list here: Billy Graham, James Dobson, Mission America Coalition, Salvation Army, Promise Keepers, National Association of Evangelicals, Campus Crusade for Christ, Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Rick Warren, Southern Baptist Convention, Jerry Falwell, Max Lucado, Young Life, Tim LaHaye, Chuck Colson, Lee Strobel, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) and the United Methodist Church. But in the paragraphs that follow, you’ll see there are major problems with it. Namely, it promotes the Catholic religion and ecumenism.
The author of the Wiki entry records that Gibson uses a verse like this from the New Testament. It is stated as such in Wiki, “Behold Mother, I make all things new,” is taken from the Book of Revelation,” being used as such in the screenplay. That verse would be found in an extra-biblical Catholic bible. Further down in the Wiki entry is written “Virgin Mary” instead of “a virgin, Mary.” These are mariology titles of the false, man-made, pagan, legalistic Catholic religion which wrongly teaches that Mary is co-redemtrix and co-mediatrix. According to the Scriptures, these are lies. Only the Lord Jesus is Redeemer (Acts 4:12; Col 2:13-14; 1 Pt 1:3,19-21; 3:18) and only He is the mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5).
Icing on the cake for Gibson would have been an official declaration of endorsement by the pope, which they feverishly tried to get, but supposedly the Vatican makes it a point to “not comment on any artistic works.” You can see this documented in the Wiki resource, also.
In responding to criticisms of biblical and historical accuracy, as seen at Wiki, Gibson has responded like this, ”I think that my first duty is to be as faithful as possible in telling the story so that it doesn’t contradict the Scriptures. Now, so long as it didn’t do that, I felt that I had a pretty wide berth for artistic interpretation, and to fill in some of the spaces with logic, with imagination, with various other readings.”
Did anyone just catch that!? Again, he said, “I felt that I had a pretty wide berth for artistic interpretation, and to fill in some of the spaces with logic, with imagination, with various other readings.” That dear friends would be called eisegeting Scripture, which comes from the spirit of error. It means to put into Scripture what you want in order to make it say what you want. Exegeting Scripture is to correctly study what the Scripture says pulling out of the text its true interpretation, content and meaning for proper application, without adding to or changing or taking anything away from the text. There is a warning in Revelation 22:18 for anyone who does the former, eisegetes Scripture.
I would like to continue to draw serious attention to the phrase “other readings,” as well. As noted on Wiki, Gibson’s resources for the making of the fillm included mystic Catholic devotional writings on the crucifixion from two nuns. Firstly, María de Ágreda who wrote The Mystical City of God. And secondly, Anne Catherine Emmerich who wrote The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Both of these were cited as being influential in such scenes as Christ suspending from a bridge after His arrest in the Temple and demons who came to attack Judas after he sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver. A couple more scenes described in Wiki are as follows: ”Other scenes unique to The Passion of the Christ include the one in which the crucified thief who taunted Jesus has his eye pecked out by a crow, and the flashback of the carpenter Jesus building an elevated, four-legged table for a Roman. The scene of Satan carrying a demonic baby during Christ’s flogging has been construed as an imitation of traditional depictions of the Madonna and Child.” More Catholic resources for Gibson included two priests, William J. Fulco and Jonathan Morris, who were part of his consultation team for theological and/or language subjects.
Theses details provide a vivid enough picture, without completing exhausting everything that could be noted of the film. Suffice it to say, I think we can deduct that Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is more about Mel’s passion for the pope and promoting paganism. I heard it said recently that to re-inact the crucifixion is blasphemous and draws away from the sufficiency of the Scriptures alone. I agree. We are called to “remember,” the Lord’s death by the Scripture, with the Lord’s Table and everyday in our hearts filled and overflowing with thanksgiving! We are never called to reproduce it. “It is finished!” If anyone of us were supposed to see it, be an eyewitness, then we would have been there. This film, in doing so with a $30 million budget, grossed over $611 million dollars, all for the name and glory of the Catholic religion.
During this season of remembering and honoring Christ’s sacrifice, with Resurrection Sunday just around the corner, the sales continue to climb in the Christian bookstores, etc. Resist the urge to jump on the band wagon! May we be blessed in truly remembering what the Lord has done in a God-pleasing way without this film or re-inacting the crucifixion. Open your Bibles, be at Church for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday for the Good News! The tomb is empty! He has Risen! Hallelujah!!!
article excerpt: “Smalley, Gary >> Gary Smalley > NavPress author, focuses on counseling, most writings exclude the use of Scripture and focus on humanist psychology and often contrary to Scripture ideas to deal with relationships. Smalley conducts family seminars through his Today’s Family. Smalley has been a leading proponent of right-brain/left-brain pseudoscience aka myth, which claimed to describe personality types by brain hemisphere dominance. Disproved by neuroscientists as well as zero scriptural basis, it claimed to give insights to male/female communication effectiveness.
The popularization of this ‘stuff’ was due to The Language of Love, co-authored by Gary Smalley and fellow psychologist, John Trent and which was published and promoted by Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Publishing. Smalley and Trent have been frequent guests on Dobson’s radio program. In Winning the War Within, Smalley and Trent endorsed an even more widely accepted myth, that of low self-esteem as being the cause of most of our problems. Apparently “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” is not really the issue to be concerned with. Gary Smalley has been a frequent speaker, promoter and writer for Promise Keepers.”
UPDATE (04-24-11): Mart De Haan of the RBC Ministries Network, Including the Long-Standing and Popular Our Daily Bread, Has Referred to Rob Bell as a “Brother” and Considers Bell to be Quite Possibly RIGHT as Seen Here
News Media Commentator, Martin Brashir, Examines Bell’s Teachings, with a ‘Berean Book Review’ in hand… and hits the nail on the head! ☛ “You’re amending the Gospel, the Christian message, so that it’s palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of heaven and hell very hard to swallow.”
Brilliant Parody of Rob Bell’s Teachings in Love Wins