Category Archives: Movies
Good morning friends! I’ve got a list of things I need to write on and figured these would be best expressed in some miscellaneous notes.
Resources for children
First off this Monday morning I want to recommend some excellent resources for children. My wife and I made a commitment last year to package our television away. We had grown lazy and began extending our time in front of the tube so we decided to wrap it up and put it out of sight. Now we spend a lot more time together reading, listening to music, and watching DVD movies on our computer (we’re much less prone to laziness with a computer and limited DVDs). Much of what we’ve read, listened to and watched we do not recommend. But here are three resources we’ve tested and found to be excellent.
Reading. Communicating the substitutionary atonement of Christ to appease the wrath of a holy God is a concept parents must work at communicating to little souls. Yet, many resources for children fail to communicate this theme. C.S. Lewis’, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe presents the work of Aslan (Christ) as the appeasement the White Witch (Satan) sounding more like Origen’s “Ransom to Satan Theory” than the Biblical Gospel. I think this shows just how tough it really is to present to children the substitution of Christ as the appeasement of God’s justice (even the literary genius struggles here). This is why Caleb’s Lamb by Helen Santos remains one of our family-favorite books. Santos succeeds at clarifying the atonement for children and keeping it within the context of the holiness of God. In the beginning a young boy rescues a spotless lamb and in the end the spotless lamb rescues the boy. It’s set in the historical time of the Exodus. We reviewed this book in months past but a book I recommend time and time again.
Listening. Our family has enjoyed Hide the Word CDs by Mark Altrogge that take biblical passages and set them to music. We just came across a new series of CDs written with the same purpose called Seeds Family Worship. After listening to two albums (Seeds of Courage and Seeds of Purpose) we are very impressed with the quality of this project. The Seeds series music was recorded with a full band and is of the same musical quality as the best contemporary recordings. It would, however, be nice to hear more songs centered on the Gospel, so I’ll continue highly recommending the Hide the Word series where children are constantly pointed back to the Cross. Nevertheless, I would put the Seeds CDs on a wishlish. You can listen to excerpts and get more information here.
Watching. As much as my children love vegetables, I try to expose them also to biographical videos. The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith series does this very well. These are animated movies of about 30 minutes each. They contain very accurate historical details that you may not catch until you compare these movies with books. The William Tyndale Story and the John Bunyan Story are our favorites. Tyndale worked on (and died for) translating the Bible into English. The video portrays his struggles, successes and eventual martyrdom. Because I love Bunyan, The John Bunyan Story was my personal favorite. It revealed a gentle man driven out of a love for souls and firmly committed to preaching the Word of God to that end. My son loved the fight with the dragon in the Pilgrim’s Progress flashback scenes. These are children’s movies with plenty of action but also loaded with historical content and come with study guides for further use in homeschooling or Sunday school classes. In passing, I would recommend two documentary DVDs for adults. First was the interview with Dr. David Daniell titled William Tyndale: Man with a Mission. Daniell is a top Tyndale scholar and filled with interesting historical details of Tyndale’s life. The John Bunyan: The Journey of a Pilgrim DVD was an interesting tour of the life of Bunyan by John Prestell who works at the Bunyan Museum in Bedford, England. My wife and I enjoyed watching the animations with the kids and then the documentaries after the kids were in bed. Date nights the Calvinist way.
Ever headed over to desiringGod.com and found the Piper sermon you were looking for? It’s a breeze because of the diligent work of website manger Joshua Sowin. When he’s not indexing and making accessible the life works of John Piper he directs the Fire and Knowledge blog/website. Today at his site he posted an interview with myself. We talked about life, books and reading. You can read the interview here.
Today over at TakeUpAndRead.com I published John Tweeddale’s review of Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics by Richard Muller. I would recommend you check it out. I asked John to write a review focused on how educated laypersons and pastors could effectively use this excellent work and he did not disappoint! Read the review here. Note that Monergism has dropped the price of this set down to just $79.00!
As many of you know, my favorite author is Octavius Winslow (1808-1878). I like to track when his books are printed. The latest is Our God a study of the communicable attributes of God. Chapters include topics of God’s love, hope, patience, comfort, grace, holiness, peace and light. You can read many of Winslow’s books online for free here but I always recommend the dead tree version as best for posterity and reflection.
Well, I think that’s it for now. Have a great Monday in Christ! Tony
Reformation day idea:
Martin Luther, DVD 
How will you be celebrating Reformation Day (Oct. 31st)? A game of pin the 95 theses on the door? Munching on gummy worms (aka Diet of Worms)? Grilling hamburgers (aka a Papal Bull BBQ)? Well this year my family and I will celebrate the day with a movie night.
Although there is a more recent movie on the great reformer, in my opinion nothing beats the movie Martin Luther. Released in 1953, Martin Luther is a black-and-white classic, unsurpassed in depicting both the boldness of Luther and the doctrinal divisions at stake. It depicts Luther wrestling with Paul and the ever-important phrase, “the just shall live by faith.”
One of my favorite scenes is from the debate at Leipzig where Luther says,
“I have the right to believe freely, to be a slave to no man’s authority, to confess what appears to be true whether it is proved or disproved, whether it is spoken by Catholic or by heretic… In matters of faith I think that neither counsel nor Pope nor any man has the power over my conscience. And where they disagree with Scripture, I deny Pope and council and all. A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest Pope without it.”
Luther was bold and strong. The writing of this movie and the acting of Niall MacGinnis bring these characteristics out clearly.
Though it is an older movie, technological upgrades have been introduced to the DVD version. Especially helpful are the subtitles (as the audio can be a bit unclear at times) and the photographic tour of locations and characters. Before watching the movie (especially with kids) it’s great to become familiar with the characters and locations. The DVD also includes a documentary on the making of the film and actor/actress biographies.
So to go along with the Papal Bull BBQ and a Diet of Worms, consider sanctifying October 31st with the classic movie, Martin Luther.
The following quotes from Ed Stetzer come from the third session of The Resurgence conference titled Breaking the Missional Code. He mentioned the first two passages and concepts to set the stage for the following:
1. Contending for the faith (Jude 3)
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
2. Contextualizing culture (1 Cor. 9:22-23)
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
This is what he said about them together:
“If we are going to be biblical churches we’ve got to contend and contextualize at the same time and know that both deeply matter … Many churches contend, contend, contend but they never get to contextualization. And I caution for many of us – particularly predominate among those of us who are church planters – we want to contextualize, contextualize, contextualize and we forget to contend. We’ve got to contend and contextualize if biblical churches are to be birthed and grown in culture.”
Then an example of contextualizing with the DaVinci Code:
“Here is the question we asked 1,200 Americans: After reading or hearing about the DaVinci Code are you more or less likely to seek the truth by studying the Bible? Forty-four percent (44%) said they are more likely to seek the truth through studying the Bible. Do I want this false heretical expression? Of course I don’t. But do I recognize that God is already at work and what we need to do is acknowledge the positive – and yes, rebuke the negative – but at the same time see that God is already at work and join Him there by asking people to join in studying the Bible together to see what it says? Instead of picketing and protesting [the movie] many are seeing this as an opportunity to engage in missional ministry in context.”