Friday, January 22, 2010

Movies, the Southern Accent, and a SAU Teacher with Godly Authority

Last semester, I was rather shocked and disturbed at a few articles published in the Southern Accent that  promoted certain movies and even had the audacity to promote their "spiritual" qualities.  I seriously considered writing a response but it was right about the time of finals and it never happened.  So I was deeply appreciative when I saw an article in this week's Accent by Brian Dunn, an art professor here at Southern.  I've always wanted to take an art class from him; he reads the Bible and other spiritual books while the students work on their art.  How awesome is that!?  You need to read his response - it is applicable to  all of our lives in so many ways and hits the point right home.  Find it here or read on to see what he has to say:

I have been troubled to see how the enemy of souls finds such an easy target among our youth. And yet I am encouraged to know that Christ places His supreme regard over you. He will fight for you.

Over the past few years of teaching, I have noticed that whenever my classes have a moment of pause, when the teacher is not speaking, the conversation among our youth is all about the latest movie or the latest game. On one of these occasions I was reading the Scriptures. I paused for a moment, perhaps to help a student with a drawing, and again the conversation went back to the latest sensational release. When I picked up the text again, I read aloud the words in Galatians that followed: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Galatians 3:1. There was another momentary pause and the class then burst out laughing. We all knew that the text I had just read had broken the spell of a conversation out of harmony with the Spirit of God. But in my heart I felt sad.

I cannot help but ask why we are so fascinated by broken cisterns when our lives are being weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary and found wanting. Has Christ not given you the treasuries of heaven and poured out His soul these many centuries so that you might be equipped to stand in this time?

The media is full of fascinating stories and scenes designed to addict the fallen human mind to the indulgence of the creature senses and to a belief in itself and its own goodness. Intense levels of creativity, art, skill and human intellect are devoted to the altar of entertainment. For those who know to turn away from the viler and lower depictions, the enemy of souls has sought to find another entrance. He has learned that if many of his tales can be mixed with some sentimental aspect and woven with some depiction of good triumphing over evil, then the guard of many will be dropped. For the intellectual, Satan clothes his sophistries in philosophical works so that they feel they can indulge the darkness for the sake of honing their intellect. He has something for every human mind that is not weaned from dependence on human wisdom and the opinions of “the learned men.”

I have been troubled by several articles in the Accent where students try to explain how this or that blockbuster really aided them in understanding the gospel. Often these articles were written by theology majors. I understand that you are trying to do good and to connect with the culture, but the underlying flaw in the reasoning is that your supposed allegory now gives the struggling soul a feeling of religious endorsement in indulging in the works of unbelieving minds. They feel more and more emboldened, even justified, in denying the testimony of God’s Spirit to His church. Do not endeavor to use the methods of a harlot in order to reach a harlot or both may be lost. God loves you and approves of your intent, but you need to learn faith in His method and see through the shallowness of the fallen human wisdom that often advises you thus.

The Socratic Method, so treasured by academia, of seeking truth through unsanctified inquiry, is fundamentally flawed. It is not the wisdom of the Spirit, but the imagining of man that his reason may engage the wiles of the enemy and come out the better. We have no safety in engaging in conversation with the serpent. He is endeavoring to teach a gospel of creature virtue over vice without the element of crucifixion of the flesh. The command has been given, “come out from among them, and be ye separate,” 2 Cor. 6:17.

The servant of the Lord writes, “It is often urged that in order to win the youth from sensational or worthless literature, we should supply them with a better class of fiction. This is like trying to cure a drunkard by giving him, in the place of whisky or brandy, the milder intoxicants, such as wine, beer or cider. The use of these would continually foster the appetite for stronger stimulants. The widespread use of such books at this time is one of the cunning devices of Satan. He is seeking to divert the minds of old and young from the great work of character building.”  E. G. White, MH 446.2.

We must be careful not to walk “according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3. Let us rather create media and literature that will present the gospel uncontaminated with worship of the creature.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that. For another powerful perspective on the topic, listen to Mark Finley's "Strange Fire on Church Altars" at
The enemy does not have to invent new tricks when the old "Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" is still amazingly successful. And the fruit is just as deadly today.

Marty said...

That is really good, thanks for posting this!

Christen said...

That's beautiful! Thanks for sharing it. I don't usually read the Accent. I just flip through the pages and look for interesting titles, so I'm glad you posted this. Otherwise, I may not have been blessed by it. :D

Andrew Whtilow said...

This is exactly what I have been thinking about recently.

Kristin said...

I was glad to see that article in the Accent too. I remember Emily telling me that John Williams would read to his art students from the Bible while they worked and I thought that was so cool; I'm glad there are other art professors who do the same.

A pAnTeRa said...

vc √©´da onde do brasil???/ onde bota um comentario no meu blog ...

michael said...

I can't agree more with him. Everyone talks about movies and games. He's an amazing teacher too, I loved listening to him read the Bible while we all worked. I wish there were more people in the world like him.
Personally I don't even watch TV, much less movies or games. But I'm still not sure what to think about animations...

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