We seem to be living in an age of
distrust. Although this is a consequence of the
breakdown of morality, it exhibits some wisdom since
God’s Word tells us to trust no man and trust only in
the Lord. Of course, then the question is, do we trust
in the Lord?
The other day I was surprised when
someone asked how "conservative" MOVIEGUIDE® is. I
responded that I always thought we were more
conservative than other Christian review services.
However, by more conservative, I mean
that we analyze movies from a biblical Christian
perspective. Some family review services give their seal
of approval to any movie that does not have sex,
violence, nudity, or profanity. These are good criteria,
and this approach seems like a logical thing to do, but,
over the years, we have seen that the majority of these
G-rated and PG-rated movies contain other, less obvious,
but no less problematic, offensive elements. By this I
mean such things as New Age elements or spiritism, which
are not only antithetical to God’s Word written, but
corrosive to the spiritual and moral development of our
youth. In fact, quite often we have given these G-rated
movies a "minus 4" or "evil" acceptability rating
because we find them to be abhorrent to a Christian
worldview. For instance, the Dove Foundation gave their
Dove Seal to the Walt Disney movie MULAN, to which we
gave a "minus 4" for spiritism, occultism and other
biblically objectionable content.
At the same time, another group of
so-called family review services appear to read moral
messages into movies that are full of sex, violence,
nudity, and profanity. We believe quite strongly that we
should not rationalize our desire for entertainment by
reading messages into a movie, but rather that we should
interpret the movie according to Christian, biblical
principles. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® reviewers ask: Who is the
hero? Is he a redemptive hero? What is the story’s
premise? How does it compare with a biblical premise?
Who is the villain? And so forth, for the 24 specific
criteria that we use to examine entertainment.
Perhaps the word "conservative" is the
problem. We are certainly both Christian and
conservative, in a very old fashioned sense.
I sit on the Steering Committee of the
Theological Summit Conference, where we debate theology
and uphold the creedal Christian faith. After one of our
debates, a well-known theologian said that I should be
doing theology full time. I said that I am–I am doing
theology for teenagers and parents in MOVIEGUIDE®.
Furthermore, in a real sense,
Christianity is not only conservative, it is liberal,
liberating, compassionate, and loving–and Christians are
called to conserve that very truth. Today, the word
"liberal" usually stands for "big government," which is
a code word for National Socialism, an ideology that
Americans repudiated in Germany, Italy and Spain during
World War II.
Traditionally, however, liberalism means
freedom–freedom to own property, freedom to move and
travel without restrictions and freedom to realize that
the government is subject to the will of the people,
under the ultimate authority of God, not the people
subject to the will of the government. Traditionally,
also, the word "conservative" means preserving the
constitutional government that allows us to live in a
liberal society. Today, regrettably, conservative often
is a synonym for moralism, Victorianism and legalism.
Thus, the words liberal and conservative
have been corrupted. In their corrupt form, neither
applies to what we do, because first and foremost we at
MOVIEGUIDE® are Christians involved in cultural
apologetics seeking to equip other Christians so that
they can take every thought captive for Jesus Christ in
a culture that is becoming increasingly fragmented,
polarized and sinful.
Perhaps we, as Christians, should be
proud, satisfied and challenged enough just to call
ourselves mere Christians in a world overcome by
confusing labels and anti-Christian bigotry. Nothing is
more inspiring than putting Jesus Christ at the head of
all our efforts. For He is the cornerstone of our faith,
the Word incarnate who enlightens every man.