I watched the movie “Noah” this weekend with my wife. And I have to say in spite of some of the inaccuracies of the familiar Bible story; it was still a powerful film.

Some have criticized that Noah is portrayed as a dangerous religious-extremist who blames people for destroying creation and makes no mention of man’s sinfulness. I suggest that these people watch it again. Because in the very beginning of the film it gives a short synopsis of the story written on the screen and mentions that what happens is the direct result of sin.

I have absolutely no problem with a filmmaker taking a biblical story and adding or subtracting from it as a way to craft a compelling film. There are all kinds of artistic license that have been taken as far back as Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 masterpiece “The Ten Commandments”.

Critics complain that the Noah film portrays Noah as a schizophrenic who goes off the deep end in a fit of self-righteousness that ends with a promise to kill himself and his own family; including his newborn granddaughters. Although this is not mentioned in the Bible, is it possible that Noah had these suicidal thoughts? Would these critics conclude that Abraham was a self-righteous schizophrenic as well? Personally, I don’t know how I would react if I was stuck inside of an ark with a bunch of animals with no idea of when I would find solid ground. Throughout history, people have done terrible, terrible things believing that they were following God’s instructions. (The Crusades come to mind)

Many Christians I know would also have a problem with the “Rock Angels” portrayed in the Noah film. (Sorry for the spoiler) They are more comfortable with their own version of angels portrayed as these huge heavenly beings who fly around with the use of their great wings. Interestingly, whenever the Bible describes angelic visitations, there is no mention of them having wings.

I have no problem watching Bible-based movies produced by unbelievers for the sake of making money. And that’s all the Noah movie is. What I DO have a problem with is self-professed Christians who say they produce movies to show the truth of the Bible in a dramatic way, but have just as many, if not more, biblical inaccuracies as those done by Hollywood’s elite atheists.

When I was a kid all I had was a King James Bible with a small concordance in the back. But today my kids and grand-kids have a ton of resources to help them at learning some of the best stories in the Bible. (Including Hollywood movies) As a Christian, I find this to be truly amazing. If there are things that don’t line up in these Bible-based movies with your opinions on what happened, then you have a great chance to follow up at dinner with your family or friends or small groups and talk about it.

Talk about what you agree with and what you don’t. (Remember, you also have a ton of resources for Biblical truth) And then bring the conversation back to Jesus. As Christians, that’s supposed to be the point, isn’t it?
Imagine what would happen if, instead of a heated debate about the inaccuracies of the Noah movie, we just had people from all walks of the Christian faith share the great stories of faith from God’s Word. What if we embraced these movie versions and used them to point people to the Gospel? Wouldn’t that look a lot like Jesus?

The way you dress makes a statement about your character, your values and the level of purity in your heart. God’s Word tells us that all of our outward behavior is the result of the thoughts, desires, and motives of our hearts. — “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

As Christian girls and women, what message should our clothing communicate to others? We live in a sex-crazed culture that bombards our young people with a sensual message that is contrary to what the Lord desires and the carnal philosophies and practices of the world around us are dominated by the enemies of God. This culture teaches women to be aggressive, brazen and to display themselves and their bodies in ways that are designed to get sexual attention. It doesn’t teach women to be modest, and why should it? That’s not the way of the world.

God has called us to be different, to go against the flow. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s hard to be a godly man or woman in a pagan culture—how much harder for young people? But this is exactly what Christ calls us to do—it’s so important that we, as parents, need to teach our children to represent the heart and the spirit of Christ by the way that our lives are different from the culture, whenever the culture is contrary to the Word of God. “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

A middle school in Evanston, Ill., has issued a new dress code barring girls from wearing shorts, leggings and yoga pants to school, on the grounds that the leg-displaying garments are distracting to boys.
Google “yoga pants images” and you’ll see exactly what I mean —especially if you remember what it was like being a student in middle school through high school.

What’s really surprising to me is the reaction of some of the parents of the kids in that school. They think that the Haven dress code is sexist because it makes the girls stop wearing skin-clinging, butt-hugging outerwear instead of making the boys stop looking at and thinking about the girls wearing skin-clinging, butt-hugging outwear. Really?

One mother s’ email sent to Haven Principal Kathy Roberson states:
“We are frankly shocked at this antiquated and warped message that is being sent to the kids. Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boys’ bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men. It also sends the message to boys that their behaviors are excusable, or understandable given what the girls are wearing. And if the sight of a girl’s leg is too much for boys at Haven to handle, then your school has a much bigger problem to deal with.”

Parents need to remember that adolescent heterosexual boys think about girls almost all the time. They have a radar-like capacity for spotting and looking at attractive females. Adolescent heterosexual girls, for their part, are just about as boy crazy as the boys are girl crazy, and they have a desire to show off as much of themselves to the opposite sex as they can get away with. Add to that runaway hormones and extreme immaturity of early adolescence, and you have a school scene that is more about who wants to “hook up” with who, than it is about studying and getting good grades.

Of course schools should insist that boys be severely punished for harassment of girls. But there’s nothing wrong with telling girls to tone it down for their part. Picking up my granddaughters from their high school, I have seen girls who are dressed in a way that leaves very little to the imagination.

School is supposed to be a serious environment. Shorts and yoga pants are perfectly fine in some recreational settings, but most people would agree that they are inappropriate to wear in most offices or medical settings. Therefore, we should deem them inappropriate for school as well.

One thing that I can’t understand about these “progressive” parents is that so many of them want their daughters to become scientists, doctors and lawyers, but they don’t want them to dress or act appropriately in the educational settings that will prepare them for those professions. They don’t want boys treating their daughters like sex objects, but they don’t mind their daughters dressing themselves like sex objects.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Today, Christianity is under attack more than ever. Christians with a biblical worldview seem to be targets for ridicule and other forms of bullying in the public schools, universities, culture, and in the media. So when a film affirms a Christian worldview in any sense, it’s hard not to be excited.

The production quality of God’s Not Dead was good for a Christian themed movie, and I highly recommend this film. When we viewed the movie with our two granddaughters, we hoped that it would be an example to them of how to argue for one’s faith in public school, as the stats show that this is one area where young Christians struggle and even lose their faith.

There are multiple subplots in the movie which are all introduced in its first few minutes, but although they are not developed immediately, they become fairly predictable. However, the main story is that Josh, a college freshman, is taking an Introduction to Philosophy class from an atheistic professor, Dr. Radisson. (Played by Kevin Sorbo who is known for his many roles on TV shows)

On the very first day of class, the professor stands up and gives a short discourse about the virtues and intellectual superiority of atheism. He then gives the class their first assignment. He passes out blank papers, and demands that each student write “God is dead” and sign their names in order to get a passing grade. Josh refuses, so the professor forces him to take an alternate assignment: Josh will be given time in the next three lectures to prove the existence of God. If the students in his class are convinced, he passes the assignment. If not, he fails the semester, and thus jeopardizes his chances of attaining a law degree.

Although Dr. Radisson’s blatant requirement to reject one’s faith in writing seems hard to believe in even today’s culture, but the reality is that many Christian students are facing similar experiences to the one Josh faces in this film. Many high school biology teachers demonstrate their own bigotry in classrooms by teaching students that evolution is a fact rather than one of many theories of how our world came to be. So if so few believers are equipped with and boldly share a viable defense for the biblical worldview, is it any wonder that people might ultimately conclude that science has proven that the Bible is just a bunch of stories, and thus, “God is dead”?

Interestingly, the film’s harshest critics have been from other Christians. Many of them complain that the movie mistakenly stereotypes Christians as shallow and unrealistic and that atheists were portrayed as evil God haters. They also claim that the characters did a bad job of defending their faith, which could be dangerous for new believers who use the same arguments when confronted with the same challenge.

Although there was some stereotyping throughout the movie, overall we enjoyed the film and it gave us a great opportunity to have a serious discussion about standing up for our faith with our granddaughters.

When your faith is tested, can you explain what you believe?
The Apostle Peter commands all believers to, “…always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you …” (1 Peter 3:15)

Fulfilling the role of a ‘defender of the faith’ requires us to make an effort to study– Studying God’s Holy Word as well as studying the atheist’s views.
So take action today and equip yourself and your family with the readily available resources that will make a difference not only for you, but also for your children, and in their ability to confidently and boldly defend their faith and share the Gospel.

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of then, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:13-17)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 –
Anti-Christian-Symbol
What is it about the symbol of the cross that offends certain people?
The American Humanist Association has once again filed a lawsuit calling for the tearing down of a memorial cross. This time it’s the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a 40-foot-tall World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Md. The cross honors the memory of 49 Prince George’s County residents who died serving the country. The monument was dedicated in 1925 and stands in a median at the busy intersection between Baltimore Avenue and Annapolis Road.
The humanist group says it has no problem with memorializing America’s fallen soldiers, but the presence of a Christian religious symbol on public property violates the First Amendment clause prohibiting the government from establishing a religion.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/humanists-suing-tear-cross-shaped-world-war-memorial-article-1.1707263#ixzz2vCqXeEX3

Atheists are also tried to oust the “Miracle Cross” from the 9/11 museum arguing that its inclusion would violate the Constitution’s separation of church and state. The World Trade Center Cross, formed when 2 beams of metal girding melted into what appeared to be a cross. Many of the workers of various faiths—including Christian, Jewish, and even non-religious people—were encouraged and given hope as they encountered the sight of the beams. But American Atheists say the cross is a part of religious history and challenged its inclusion in the new National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum which opens in May. Fortunately a New York judge has thrown out the lawsuit.

The cross: Not just a Christian symbol
The cross is one of many ancient human symbols, and for ages it has been used by many religions besides Christianity. It is not known when the first cross image was made, but many cross-shaped incisions in European cult caves have been discovered dating back to the earliest stages of the Stone Age. Like other symbols from this period, their use continued in the Celtic and Germanic cultures in Europe.

The Celtic cross

The Bladensburg Peace Cross

The Bladensburg Peace Cross

It appears to me that the cross used at the Bladensburg Peace Cross is actually a Celtic cross
Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

and not necessarily Christian in origin. It is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. In ages past it was used for a memorial for the dead and is still in use in parts of Ireland. It has often been claimed that Saint Patrick combined the symbol of Christianity with the sun-cross in order to give pagan followers an idea of importance. So in reality, this memorial cross is more pagan in origin than Christian.
There are many ancient symbols that are used today that don’t have the same meaning that they originally did. (Read: http://www.fogs.com/articles/10-more-or-less-known-religious-symbols-1378)

THE RED CROSS
The Red Cross symbol is most commonly associated with aid and protection that transcends national borders and religious differences. According to the Red Cross, there is no intent to confer religious significance to its organization. It’s interesting to note that there is no record of anyone being offended by the Red Cross symbol or anyone ever filing a lawsuit against them. (Not yet anyway)

Atheist groups claim that they are offended every time they are forced to witness a religious symbol. So it seems that the message of the cross really is foolishness to those who are perishing.

I have witnessed many things that personally offend me. I simply refuse to focus on them. I suggest that if viewing a symbol (that a few people relate to a cross) bothers people, maybe they should take a different route.

Ken Ham of “Answers in Genesis” recently wrote a scathing review of the upcoming “Noah” movie, starring Russell Crow.

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/11/19/dont-be-taken-in-by-the-noah-movies-promotion/

Personally I don’t see what’s got him so upset about this movie; especially when you compare it to the History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible”.

There were many inaccuracies portrayed in the miniseries but a few that stood out for me was in the episode about the angels visiting Lot in Sodom. The angels are portrayed as vengeful warriors killing many of the men in Sodom. But Genesis 19 never mentions the angels doing anything to the men of Sodom except striking the men with blindness. (And not swords)

During the story of Jesus’ birth, a common mistake is made by having the Magi visit at the same time as the shepherds. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi arrived much later- possibly years later. (Matthew 2:1-12) Although the Bible does not give us the number of wise men, Matthew wrote the following concerning the magi’s visit: ‘After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.’ (Matthew 2:1-3)

Would King Herod and many in Jerusalem be upset because of only the claim of two or three men? Probably not, but if there were many Magi on the same mission to find and worship a new King of the Jews; that would have been cause for great concern for a sitting king of that time. It is possible that they were religious or scholarly envoys of royalty in a distant land. These magi did not arrive until possibly almost two years after Christ’s birth-certainly sometime after his presentation in the Temple. (Luke 2:22-39) Immediately after their visit the magi were warned in a dream not to return to King Herod and left the region.

Considering their target audience, the producers of the History Channel’s miniseries could have easily been much more faithful to what the Bible says in many instances without losing cinematic appeal. I see little to no value in most of the “artistic license” the producers took in these episodes. And yet there was no outcry from the Christian community about the blatant inaccuracies.

Look, movies are produced for entertainment and to make money, not for accuracy. Movies based on the Bible are no different than other movies “based on a true story”. If nothing else, these Bible movies may encourage people to actually study the Bible themselves. After all, the Bible has plenty of excitement all on its own.

Prominent Republicans are calling for Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a controversial bill that would allow businesses to deny service over religious beliefs.

The Arizona Legislature passed a bill last week allowing businesses whose owners cite sincerely held religious beliefs to deny service to gays. It allows any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination. This legislation has caused a national uproar and voices of opposition have grown each day, with the business community and both Republican U.S. senators calling for a veto.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted July 2, 1964 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public. (Also known as “public accommodations”)The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 at the White House.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits public businesses from refusing service to patrons on the basis of race, color, religion, or natural origin. In addition, most courts don’t allow businesses to refuse service to patrons based on the owner’s personal convictions. For example, a man can’t legally be refused service because they enter a business dressed in drag. At the same time, an atheist business owner cannot refuse service to a patron entering the business carrying a Bible.

There a number of legitimate reasons for a business to refuse service, some of which include:
• Patrons who are unreasonably rowdy or causing trouble
• Patrons that may overfill capacity if let in
• Patrons who come in just before closing time or when the kitchen is closed
• Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to sit in
• Patrons lacking adequate hygiene (e.g. excess dirt, extreme body odor, etc.)

In most cases, refusal of service is warranted where a customer’s presence detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons and/or the business itself; such as businesses that do not allow guns to be brought onto its premises.

I believe that far too often within the Christian community, we (the Church) have become instrumental in causing disunity where none need to exist. The Bible teaches that we need to show love and unity to a lost and hurting world. In our world of so much intolerance, it is even more important to study the Scripture and seek diligently for what it says. However, we also need to be humble when we are faced with decisions that will affect others around us and to err on the side of love and unity whenever possible without disregarding the clear teaching of God’s word.

Consider the following verses:
Colossians 4:5-6 “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
Romans 14:4 “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. “
Ephesians 4:2 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
John 8:7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
1 Peter 3:8-11 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”

We do not win people to the Lord by condemning them and calling them names or refusing to serve them at our public businesses. This is why God says to speak with wisdom, grace, and love. Instead, we need to let the love of God flow through us so that the world can see what true love is and turn to God instead of fighting against Him.

…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself… Do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:25-28

I don’t want you to misunderstand the meaning of this article. I am not trying to put forth a debate for or against the Trinity, but I have heard many times over the years, (from pastors as well as laypeople) that one has to believe in the Trinity in order to be fully saved. According to orthodox Trinitarian doctrine, if a person claims to be a Christian but does not believe in the Trinity, he is not saved. Is that really the truth? Not from the evidence I have found in the Bible. In fact, the evidence in Scripture is that a person can be saved without even knowing about the Trinity. In Acts 10:1-4 we read: ‘While Apollos was at Corinth; Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.’

In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” As a result of the jailor’s conversion, his entire family also believed and was saved! In both cases people were saved solely on the result of believing on the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus and NOT on their belief in the Trinity!

The doctrine of the Trinity is that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and together these “three Persons” make one God; and these three are co-equal and co-eternal, the Son having been “eternally begotten” of the Father, and Jesus being simultaneously 100% God and 100% man. This goes against the Jewish belief that God is one, based on Deuteronomy 6:4.

For two millennia, Jews and Judaism has been subjected to contempt because of supersessionism theology. (Also called fulfillment theology or replacement theology) Loosely, this means that whatever God once had promised to the Jews was no longer relevant and that the Jews had been replaced by the New Israel. (i.e.; Christians) Many still believe that by rejecting Jesus (and the belief in the Holy Trinity) God’s promises to the Jews were transferred to the New Testament Christians.

After Auschwitz, Catholics undid supersessionism with Vatican II and Nostra Aetate that says in part: “The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles. Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles making both one in Himself.”

Although protestant denominations have never completely disavowed replacement theology, it was effectively shelved in the wake of the Holocaust and led some to a new era of understanding and mutual respect of the Jewish people. Calling Jews Christ killers or rejected of God means that the leaders of that church respect nothing about Jewish striving, and have not changed their attitudes toward Jews a bit since their founder, Martin Luther, called for the burning of synagogues.

Years ago I enjoyed being involved in a Bible study until a woman, after a short discussion with one of the people there, found out that they didn’t believe in the Trinity. She then shouted out, “Who doesn’t believe in the Trinity?” After an uncomfortable pause a few hands slowly went up. “The Trinity is the foundation of our faith!” She exclaimed. I then replied, “I thought that believing that Jesus is the son of God, who was crucified for our sins, was resurrected from the dead and sits at the right hand of God and will one day return and rule over the earth was the foundation of our faith.” Sadly, that Bible study group ended soon after.

In discussing God’s wonderful plan of salvation in Ephesians 2:8-10, the apostle Paul sums it up in three verses, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

We need to get back to the basics of God’s Word. We need to teach others to simply just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith and God will work out all the other things for each individual. Simply believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works and no Church Doctrine can save you. Remember, God does the saving… All of it!