This is the first part of an article I wrote on the “Satisfaction Through Christ” blog on October 12, 2016. I am sharing these articles here on my blog. To finish reading the article, click on the link at the bottom of this post.
Last week, I watched the movie War Room with our small group at church. I had read beaming reviews and I had also read warnings about it promoting contemplative prayer. So I decided to guardedly watch it. I braced myself for viewing an hour of Priscilla Shirer sitting in a closet meditating and chanting. The story line was more involved. However, aside from the somewhat predictable plot and cheesy acting, I was left with not one, but three problematic portrayals in this movie.
Unfortunately, I know this movie reflects Priscilla’s theology and doctrine, so I don’t recommend her books and teachings. There were probably a couple of good points in the script, but this flick is one that shouldn’t be sought after.
Here are the three problematic points, which were all central to the movie:
- Lack of Biblical modesty
- Contemplative prayer
- Rebuking the devil
Let’s look at each of these and what Scripture says.
First, we usually think of modesty as not dressing too provocatively. While that’s true, I’m referring to another side of modesty. In the movie, Priscilla’s family lives in a huge house, driving very nice vehicles, and they are all dressed to the “nines.” At church, everyone is looking at everyone else with that judging look. The women comparing themselves and the husband looking too long at another woman. By the end, they’ve all gotten “closer” to God and the man has put an end to his wandering gazes. However, the other things about their life haven’t changed.
It’s okay if we have wealth. But to flaunt it, brag about it, parade it in people’s faces, that’s not okay. We will all be judged by how we steward God’s gifts to us.
“…likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV
Respectable apparel and modesty would indicate not dressing provocatively. The braided hair, gold, pearls or costly attire would indicate what the upper class women would have worn to show off their wealth. (Braided hair listed here isn’t forbidding braiding your hair, it simply meant back then, that women with braided hair were well enough off to have servants who braided their hair for them.)
How many times do we dress to impress other women? Or, how many times have we coveted what someone else has? It all takes our eyes off God, the Gospel, and good works. This is an issue of the heart and motives.
In today’s language, this verse could say, “…not with Michael Kors handbags, Gucci sunglasses, 2-karat (each) diamond studs and a GMC Yukon Denali…” That stuff isn’t bad in and of themselves. But when we’re focused on them, our appearance, flashing them around, posting pics of them on Facebook, and even making it seem like we’re “more spiritual” because “look what God has blessed me with!” we’ve gone wrong.
I love that self-control is thrown in this verse. Use it to repent and refocus. Aside from the rottenness of causing someone to stumble in envy, who cares about the handbag… when there’s a new mom in your church who could use a meal for her family? What about the elderly lady who lives down the street and needs a ride or her sidewalk shoveled? What about volunteering in the nursery? What about the Gospel message that can be shared?
Anyway, the movie showed this family with wealth that likely few of us “regular people” could relate to and it wasn’t reigned in, even when the husband lost his job. Even setting aside the material possessions, the movie was self-centered, using God like a genie to get blessings they wanted. There was no portrayal of good works or spreading the Gospel.
Keep reading your Bible!