It is fashionable these days in the western and American gospel to dumb down and defang the Almighty of His powerful judgment attributes. The new and “safe” Trinity can be described as the soft and cuddly baby manger Jesus, the indulgent and materialistic “bless me, bless me” Santa Claus Holy Spirit, and the kill-our-enemies Rambo Father.
You have to look no farther than the average church gathering and just eavesdrop on just about any conversation for confirmation. Or…often we can look to Hollywood for more distortion in the true identity of God.
I was urged by a close family member who claims Christ and is a church elder that I needed to see Martin Scorsese’s film Silence. He said in all sobriety that it had made a tremendous impact and the suffering of the Japanese saints in the 1600’s was mind boggling.
Now a brief disclaimer: I love to watch movies on the big screen cinema, but seldom do since the content or themes are so ungodly. Often, they are downright evil. But I saw this movie on the recommendation of this brother in the Lord.
In the movie, Father Rodriques is played by Andrew Garfield, and Father Ferreira is played by Liam Neeson. Both apostate from the Christian faith due to the suffering of the saints, and that one may do so and still somehow honor Christ and inherit eternal life. Also, you must endure the whole catholic heresy of a human mediator in lieu of the Savior and Lord of the world. The visual suffering is difficult to watch to say the least.
But the worst thing is that the movie claims that Rodriques denied the Lord for years yet the final scene after he has died shows a cross in his hands as his body is cremated. The signal is clear: one may deny Christ to all men, even aiding and abetting His enemy Satan, all the while living silently as a Christian, i.e. in “silence.”
The Holy Scriptures tell a completely different story, don’t they? They are not vague in the least in this doctrine. Here is our Lord speaking. Please pay careful attention to the context.
Luke 12:4-9 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
“And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God…”
Notice this tough love message is proclaimed to His friends who are to fear the Father who casts people into hell. Those who confess Jesus Christ before men inherit eternal life and its vast rewards. Conversely, those who deny Him before men are denied eternal life.
Could it be any more clear?
I guess not since many Christians and institutions of learning are fawning all over this movie. Am I surprised? Yes and no. Yes, in that our Lord is commanding oral confession. No, since in my 30+ years as a serious believer I have seen so much bad teaching not much surprises me anymore. I am not alone in this.
Julie Roys of The Christian Post wrote a movie review on Silence. She rightly states that the scenes describing the faith unto death of the saints are moving. I was riveted as I viewed their courage. It confirmed and increased my faith since this sort of persecution is on its way to the west. It has been continuous in some cultures for thousands of years and is a way of life for millions of souls.
I was hoping the movie would end well. As already described, it did not with the leaders denying Christ before men.
Roys puts in this way.
I tend to agree with the historic church position that the sin of apostasy can be forgiven. But I am less willing to concede that someone who for decades suppressed his faith, and even colluded with persecutors of the church, would inherit the Kingdom of heaven.
She concludes with this.
To my eyes, though, all Silence portrays is weakness. There is no triumph because triumph comes in enduring to the end. Jesus would not have triumphed had he gotten off the cross, knowing that his death and resurrection would eventually lead to the brutal execution of all but one of his apostles…
I don’t think Silence presents a helpful spiritual message, but a potentially harmful one. Yes, it has redeeming qualities. And yes, the questions it raises are worth considering — but in the right context and among believers mature enough to handle its problematic themes. But as a feature film, it’s pretty depressing and potentially disillusioning. Rather than exaltation, it features capitulation. And rather than inspiring, it simply deflates and confuses.
I will be more blunt. The movie is heresy of the first order. I am deeply grieved that the close brother in the Lord who recommended it to me could not see this obvious and colossal blunder.
But alas. No.
This type of subtle compromise is a close cousin to another dumbed down Jesus heresy. And what is that?
That suicide – self murder – is just fine with the baby manger Jesus. Really?
Remember who said this?
Matthew 24:13 “But the one who endures (abides, remains, and perseveres under great pressure) to the end, he will be saved…”
Many many years ago I had a best friend in the faith in central Florida. He and I spoke every day for some years. He was a financial planner and consultant to Christians. He eventually began transferring large sums of money from his clients to another top Christian investment group in Atlanta.
So what’s wrong with that, you say. Trouble is he was skimming money off the top for years in order to live a more fancy life. It is called a Ponzi scheme and is a felony. Later I was to find he had already been arrested decades before for a similar but smaller crime, and was just given a slap on the wrist while avoiding prison time.
For over a year before the final phone call he refused to meet with me or return my calls. It was very strange and downright hurtful. I was confused and angry at times that this would happen – again – to me by a supposed close Christian friend.
I distinctly remember where I stood when I took the final call. Another close brother grimly said this man had committed suicide.
He left behind a devastated sexy second wife after his adulterous relationship with her ended his first marriage. Several grown children from the first marriage were shocked beyond description. I had come to know them all. He had visited the children the night before and left them notes. Then he drove to another Florida city to a prearranged hotel room where he emptied a bottle of sleeping pills and went to sleep. He did this to escape the local newspapers when they found his dead body the next day.
At his wake, his wife had placed on the dead man’s chest in the open casket a picture of Jesus hugging a man in heaven. The signal was obvious – they sought to proclaim the image he “made it.” I was sick to my stomach then, and all the way back home. Later I found out he had stolen a millions dollars from the unsuspecting saints. It was all gone.
My ex-best friend and ex-Christian brother was a thief. And a practicing liar to boot. I felt the agonizing pain of betrayal once again.
Remember who said this?
Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
At his funeral at the local Baptist mega church, all the speakers praised the “fact” that this man was in heaven. I was stunned. Not to be outdone, one brother who I also knew well and was a confidant of the dead man said from the stage that is was just fine to practice sin like this. He mentioned a perverted idea loosely based on the 1 Corinthians 3 apostle church planter purifying fire passage that you could be “singed but in.”
I was horrified.
We must be true to His holy Name. To proclaim the excellencies, His truth, at all times and at all costs. Nothing less will do for His true friends, His servants, His slaves.
Again, our Lord’s voice echoes now the canyons of time. It is not the voice of the baby manger Jesus, but the voice of the risen God that our brother the apostle John heard. Remember John’s reaction when he saw Him?
Revelation 1:17a When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man…”
Let us never be seduced by a movie heresy, or an ugly suicide. Or any other perversion of the heart of the Ancient of Days.
His voice still warns us. This is the face of real love. Calvary love…
Luke 21:34-36 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
“But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
Marc and Walk Worthy are supported in part by the body of Jesus Christ. Please consider donating on a regular basis:
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org