"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
When the movie Courageous first hit theaters last October, I got what we call The Wartburg Tingle. It was a nagging feeling that there is more going on with this movie than meets the eye. I did some cursory research at the time and didn’t find anything alarming. That has since changed…
Father’s Day is quickly approaching, and before you rush out to buy the Courageous DVD and the accompanying paraphernalia — the books (yes, there are several), the Courageous Bible study, the cap, the tee shirts (several styles including some for women), the desk calendar, etc. — to honor dad, you might want to consider the contents of this post. Yes, it’s the Disney marketing phenomenon Christian-Style. That was the first red flag.
Before launching into our investigation of Courageous, I want to emphasize the fact that my family has “supported” the Kendrick Brothers / Sherwood Productions by purchasing their DVDs, namely: Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. I have watched them ALL. As our readers know, I am all for family values. I have tremendous love and respect for my husband, and I am overjoyed that my daughters are pursuing their faith into their adulthood.
Here is the pressing question regarding Courageous:
Is this simply a reminder that husbands and fathers need to step up to the plate for the spiritual well-being of their wives and children (which is true) or is this an AGENDA that goes far beyond what appears at face value?
For those who haven’t seen the movie, it is about four law enforcement officers who are at various stages in their lives and faith. There’s a lot of action, and it culminates with a public ceremony involving these men who resolve to be the godly husbands and fathers (more on that in an upcoming post).
Take a look at the Courageous movie trailer.
In the wonderful age of the internet, you can probably imagine the plethora of information available regarding Courageous, much of it extremely positive. As I sifted through it, I found a review over at The White Horse Inn that reflects my sentiments. It begins with this:
“Courageous rejects nuance and the cross-bearing pilgrimage of the Christian life for artificially neat resolutions to the prayers of its one-dimensional characters. Sherwood continues to make films with God functioning primarily as a tool for our lives—whether he’s helping us win football games, repair our struggling marriages, or helping us find a job within seconds of a cry to the heavens. Brief, passing references to the gospel are only seen useful to convert a skeptic, who in a few tearful seconds somehow embraces the faith. Despite all the sermonizing dialogue—the story’s form and emphatic message has all of its focus on us and our accomplishments, not Christ and his work for us. In what could be page out of a John Eldridge book, the “manly” vocation of police officer is used as the icon of fatherhood. Violent shootouts and car chase stunts ensure being a godly dad also looks as glorious as possible. Even the poster image calls to mind the slow-motion hero shot popularized by Michael Bay. As for the women, they are given little to do than look on approvingly.
The result is that Christians and their “good works” become the message, overshadowing Christ and the gospel…While surely produced with good intentions, Courageous is likely to further entrench the misguided culture wars and bring harm to the Christian witness in the world…
Thankfully, the church has good news that far outpaces the takeaway of this story: an announcement that God has reconciled sinners to himself through Jesus Christ. The gospel pulls us out of our fragile self-worth built on performance and centers our identity on God’s love for us in Christ… Christ was courageous for us when we were not. This is the good news that changes everything.”
Several months AFTER Courageous was released to an unsuspecting public, a huge RED FLAG appeared. Take a look.
Move Over Oscars: San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival Announces 2012 Jubilee Winner and Gives America’s Largest Cash Prize to ‘Courageous’
“The ‘Best of Festival’ Jubilee Award — with its $101,000 cash prize — went to Courageous, the fourth feature film produced by Sherwood Pictures and the Kendrick Brothers. This cash prize is the largest to be given to an individual filmmaker at an independent film festival in America.
“Courageous is arguably the most successful independent Christian film with a distinctively Evangelical worldview in the history of the cinema,” said Doug Phillips, president and founder of the SAICFF. “With the DVD hitting #1 in sales its first week of release, more than 34 million in box office receipts, and wildly enthusiastic audiences, the Kendrick Brothers have made their mark in history and proven to the world that Christian filmmaking has come of age.”
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF). It was launched in 2004 by Doug Phillips / Vision Forum. If you are have never heard of Phillips (son of Howard Phillips) and his “business”, please search our website for more information. I heard Doug Phillips speak at the NCHE Conference in Winston-Salem in 1998 (when I was a homeschooling mom), and that was the year he began Vision Forum. I had no idea what was coming at the time… Doug Phillips and his ilk are radicals in their Christian ideology, and it is my deep conviction that they are causing tremendous harm in Christendom.
Getting back to the SAICFF (hosted by Phillips & Co.), the Jubilee Award has been awarded annually. For example, the 2007 winners were the Gunn brothers who hail from Scotland and produced The Monstrous Regiment of Women. If the Gunns sound familiar to you, perhaps it is because they recently produced the movie Indoctrination which we discussed here at TWW in a post entitled: Indoctrination and the Blame Game.
Just how entrenched are the Kendricks with the Doug Phillips / Vision Forum crowd? Well, several months ago Stephen Kendrick spoke at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool conference, along with other notable speakers including: Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, and Ken Ham. I don’t know about you, but that speaks volumes to me!
I wondered how long the Kendrick brothers had known Doug Phillips, and I didn’t have to look hard to find an answer. According to the SAICFF website:
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — September 26, 2008 — Fireproof co-producer Stephen Kendrick has agreed to rejoin the Christian Filmmakers Academy (CFA) for their fourth annual filmmakers bootcamp which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 5-7, 2009. Kendrick — who last year gave Academy students a behind-the-scenes sneak-preview of Fireproof, the Kendrick ’s feature film which hits 850 theaters nationwide today — will share with students at the 2009 Academy in-depth production insights as well as other lessons learned in making a successful independent Christian film.
“We are pleased to have Stephen Kendrick join us once again for our Christian Filmmakers Academy,” stated Doug Phillips, founder of San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and the Christian Filmmakers Academy.
Two years earlier (when Facing the Giants was released) they addressed the Christian Filmmakers Academy at its bootcamp.
Also, you might be interested to know that the Duggars were involved in the running scene toward the end of the movie.
Getting back to the title of the post – Is Courageous (the movie) profitable for Christians?
You be the judge. We will be discussing this Courageous phenomenon next week, so stay tuned…
Lydia’s Corner: Daniel 6:1-28 2 Peter 3:1-18 Psalm 119:129-152 Proverbs 28:21-22