Charity and I went to see the film God Is Not Dead.
My mindset, that of a Christian Pastor/Teacher, has been for 49 years. My father was a preacher and he was a great preacher and father and husband and friend. I learned a lot from him. What I learned from him was as a father, I don’t remember a lot about his preaching. I learned what he believed by what he would want us to live.
Dad was not into movies or films or television. Looking back to the 60’’s there was not much on TV that was so harmful. And going to the movies was not something that we did either. I do remember the first movie I saw at the movie place was “Gone With The Wind>” To this day I still like that movie. Jerry Lewis was on at the movies too, but we just didn’t go a lot. Maybe when we went to visit our Grandparents Greene in North Carolina, we would go see a Jerry Lewis movie with our cousins.
Going to movies was something that we related to as SIN. Hollywood and the like. When I first started out preaching and teaching, this was the one topic that you just had to address. You couldn’t preach without mentioning something that was sinful: movies, dancing, playing cards, drinking beer, having long hair, tattoos, you know the list. It was not preaching if you did not address all these things that you did not do. Those were the days.
Well, finally in 1982 when I was at First Baptist Church, Altoona, Kansas after two years of preaching Jack Hyles type of preaching I went to the Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church, where Dr. John MacArthur pastors, and learned what real preaching was. That was a shock.
I finally learned what the onus or responsibility of the pastor was. I began teaching verse by verse the book of Matthew. I learned that my onus was to teach the Word of God, to teach from the Bible, and from the book of Matthew to teach what the chapter was saying.
What I discovered was the first chapter of Matthew did not say one thing about dancing, and going to movies, I was shocked, So the sermon I was told had to give understanding of the scripture that was before me when I preached. So how am I going to get in the sins I wanted to address, after all I wanted people to live right.
God’s goal is to conform His people into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I was told that the means whereby we do this is to use the ancient text called the Word of God. I was to give understanding of what Matthew had written down in the Gospel of Matthew. That was a shock.
If I was going to help the people learn how to live the Christian life, and become believers that loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, soul and mind, then I had to present to them the Word of God as was written in the book of Matthew, Romans, I Corinthians, Acts, etc.
I learned that preaching all starts with a text. and scripture was to be the predominant medium of divine communication to people who were under our care as a Shepherd/Pastor/Teacher.
I was told (John MacArthur and the staff) that as a preacher I had this one responsibility and that was to teach the text that was before me each week.
So from October 1982 when I begin to teach expositionally, that is verse by verse. I made myself say only what the text was saying.
So from Jack Hyles type of preaching to John MacArthur type of teaching I began this journey that has lasted now for thirty-two years.
Our assistant pastor at FBC was telling the people that I had quit preaching and went to teaching, that I had quit preaching on sin. And I had another preacher friend say, “Charles if you would quit spending so much time studying and start preaching you would have a bigger church.”
I had learned that if the Scripture didn’t say it I was not to preach it. If the scripture that I was to teach didn’t say anything about a specific sin I was not to bring it up.
Now this was for me a new special hermeneutics, the science of interpretation of Scripture. Not only how to preach but how to understand the Word of God. Learning to say what the author said, rather than what I want to say.
I had always believed that preaching the Word of God was preaching on SIN, and getting people saved, and living right, and going out soul winning, and dressing right. Which is still our goal, but now there is a new way of accomplishing that. Preach the Scriptures verse by verse.
I learned that as preachers we were to preach the Word and then allow the Holy Spirit to do the work in the lives of those who heard the Word.
Charity you can stop proof reading now. And thanks, and have I been truthful about what I have said?
I just read the review from http://www.avclub.com/review/gods-not-dead-mess-even-christian-film-standards-202571 and which said in the open paragrapha
Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, God’s Not Dead is a disaster. It’s an uninspired amble past a variety of Christian-email-forward boogeymen that feels far too long at just 113 minutes. Resembling a megachurch more than a movie, it’s been designed not to convey any particular message, but to reinforce the stereotypes its chosen audience already holds. It weirdly fetishizes persecution, and many of its story decisions—like randomly tossing in Duck Dynasty stars Willie and Korie Robertson or concluding on an endless concert from popular Christian rock group Newsboys—seem designed to simply get butts in seats. To say God’s Not Dead preaches to the choir would be an understatement. It’s the pastor, staring in a mirror, preaching to himself.
“Friendly Atheist” blogger Hemant Mehta called the film ”one of those movies ripped right from the pages of Snopes.” And Libby Anne of the “Love, Joy, Feminism” blog said its premise is “so unrealistic as to be ludicrous.”
While Wolfe acknowledged that the film is essentially preaching to the choir because it helps “people know more of why they believe what they believe,” he also said that there is potential for “God’s Not Dead” to reach nonbelievers, too.
There is a video of an interview of Kevin Sorbo, lead actor in the God’s Not Dead movie http://godsnotdead.org/
PERSONALLY CHARITY AND CHARLES WHISNANT, LIKED THE FILM.