I love the Erwin Brothers. They're immensely talented filmmakers. But their films are part of a new emergent Christianity where it's become a rock-star religion - the most popular speakers, the most popular bands, the most popular churches, the most popular everything. And the Lord Jesus Christ is always given a supporting role.
Why does the sincerity of 'I Still Believe' feel like 'let's do another successful Christian music movie and get all the Christians to come out' roundtable strategy? Where is the true Christ in these films? Sin? Repentance?
If you carefully watch their previous film 'I Can Only Imagine', the Erwin Brothers spend more time on Amy Grant than Jesus Christ. In fact, Christ is completely MIA in that film. It's like he's a cool Cross symbol hanging on the neck of Madonna.
American Christianity has become a corporation.
It's filled with Christian publicists trying to get the Erwin Brothers on Fox Morning News. They try to find some 'angle' that will make people go and see their movie. Again, it's not about Jesus at all. It's about galvanizing millions of these Christian music fans to watch the film and bring in millions of dollars in revenue. Like with "I Can Only Imagine" - a film that to this day I have no clue where the true Christ is.
Put another way, would an elderly 80-year old woman who was a missionary to PNG her whole life be advertised at Harvest Crusade, the National Religious Broadcaster's (NRB) conference, Joel Osteen's church, etc?
Of course not. It's always the most popular speakers, the most popular bands, the most popular authors, etc. It's worse. Really it is.
American Christianity has become a popularity contest.
Can you see Jesus or His disciples doing this? Do you see them selling tickets to hear Jesus speak? Telling their listeners to buy their books, movies, CD's?
"Come hear Jesus speak! We also have Jeremy Camp, Mercy Me, Amy Grant singing! And popular speakers Greg Laurie and Joel Osteen also talking before Jesus! Get your tickets now!"
It's all about being hip and cool. This 'emergent' new American Christianity that started in 1982.
In the meantime, this army of luke-warm Believers continue to buy t-shirts, pay for concerts, attend conferences - and help perpetuate this incredibly dangerous mindset that Christ has a price tag. A monetary value. A box office gross.
American Christianity has become an embarrassment.
It's an embarrassment to all the persecuted Christians in the world.
The emergent Christian filmmakers would never make a movie about persecuted Christians. Why? Because no one would go. It's all about making money and being popular with them. They will deny this, of course.
American Christianity - and there's no other way to put this - has become a false religion.
This is why poll after poll shows there's no difference between American Christians and the secular heathen. Divorce rates, depression rates, suicidal thoughts, etc - all the same.
A false religion? That's too strong, right? Only if you believe a luke-warm Christian is not an oxymoron. You will not see a luke-warm Christian in heaven. Just read Matthew 7:21-23: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me..."
You can tell a luke-warm Christian a mile away because of these 5 words: "That. Doesn't. Apply. To. Me."
So this Scripture doesn't apply to them: "You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God." James 4:4
It's all about pursuing holiness. Not pursuing fame, riches, popularity. Instead of supporting this American Christian 'industry' - jump on a plane and help bring Bibles to Afghanistan. Oh wait - that would be outside your comfort zone as an American Christian. My pastor at my popular church said I don't have to preach the Gospel. I can work at my 9-5 job and be fine with that! I'll save that good thought though. In the meantime, any more music concerts I can go to?