Thursday, August 25, 2011

Divided: The Movie

What follows is my review of the new controversial film "Divided" which asks and attempts to answer whether modern youth ministry is multiplying or dividing the church. The film is available for free viewing online until September 2011.

The primary thing I'm pondering after viewing the film is this: Is the prevalence of age segregation/modern youth ministry in the local church (and its associated dismal track record) the problem or only a symptom of the problem and will the takeaway for the average viewer be the former or the latter?

By way of an answer to that, if I had any objections to this documentary I think they would boil down to these:

  1. As one comment I saw somewhere put it, was this a film about the pitfalls of modern youth ministry or an infomercial for the FIC movement? 
  3. Right doctrine will necessitate right practice, but the reverse is not true. So if the indicators tell us that what we're doing is not working what then is the obvious root problem? For the record I don't think the filmmaker's intent was to get this wrong, but the lines seem more than a little blurred. Perhaps the documentary format plays into the loss of distinction here. Will the average viewer make this connection?

I do think the FIC model has many good merits and I can also sympathize with the viewpoints expressed by the makers of this video. We do have crisis in the church. We do have crisis in families. (We obviously also have crisis in government, but that wasn't covered in the film.) Worldliness, carnality, post modern thinking, belief in evolution, churches not preaching the truth of the word, and fathers not discipling their children, etc. are all huge problems. But isn't the primary root of all of these problems in the church at large a pernicious and growing theological liberalism wrapped up in a tidy Christian veneer to placate the undiscerning?

Or as J. Gresham Machen succinctly puts it:
It is a great mistake to suppose that liberalism is merely a heresy—merely a divergence at isolated points from true Christian teaching. On the contrary it proceeds from a totally different root. It differs from Christianity in its view of God, of man, of the seat of authority, of Christ, and of the way of salvation. Christianity is being attacked from within by a movement which is anti-Christian to the core.

Spurgeon fought the downgrade. Machen wrestled against liberalism. We're facing the same enemy today, just in more sophisticated clothing. Let us not fail to don the full armor and stand firm. Eph 6.10-20