ABC – that’s right – the same company as “family-friendly Disney” that has been marketing sexualized images of teen girls for going on 20 years, and oh yeah has been promoting occult/witchcraft/magic to mainstream audiences from the very beginning – has a (yawn) “controversial” new show called “Good Christian Belles” or GCB (not the original more controversial title from the book on which it was based). As the “talent” behind this production have also worked on such products as “Steel Magnolias”, “Glee”, “Desperate Housewives” etc. (what, no “Sex And The City” veterans available?) and depicts Texas Southern Baptists, one can guess the tone and subject matter. And, as one can also guess, various “watchdog groups” purporting to represent evangelical Christians have professed themselves to be shocked and outraged. However, the truth is that this reveals more about the lobbying groups and the Christians that they represent than it does the TV show and those responsible for its existence.
Why? Because “Good Christian Belles” and those responsible for it – quite simply – are the world, and the world hates Christians and Christianity. Always has, always will. There is no way to sugarcoat it or tapdance around it: it is a fact plainly revealed in the Bible. Search the scriptures. As recorded very early in Genesis, history of those declared righteous on earth begins with elect Abel being murdered by the non-elect Cain. What was Abel’s crime that provoked Abel’s wrath? Being righteous. Cain killed Abel because Abel was righteous; because Abel had the faith that Cain lacked, acted according to that faith, and was rewarded by God because of his faith in action. Now Genesis is the first book in the Bible. In Revelation, the last book in the Bible, we see of persecution afflicting several churches in Revelation 2 and 3, and future times of persecution for the church throughout history are prophesied, including a severe global one at the time of the anti-Christ. In between, we see the Gentile nations’ persecuting the nation of Israel and God having to come to their aid time and time again (though God finally used those nations to destroy Israel because of their sins) towards the end of the Old Testament, the New Testament begins with the backdrop of the persecution of Israel by the Roman Empire. And of course, the climax of the story of the persecution of the righteous is the murder of Jesus Christ at the hands of His own Israelite nation and people (along with the Roman accomplices).
In addition to this context and background, Jesus Christ specifically told us that we would be hated and rejected by the world, told us the reason for it – because of our identification with Him, the true object of their hatred – and told us not to be surprised by it. Moreover, we knew that the early church did not see this rejection and hatred by the world for the sake of Jesus Christ as an occasion for grief and concern requiring “fighting back”, but rather an occasion for joy resulting in praising Jesus Christ. So, with these facts clearly laid out in scripture, why do (American) Christians react so churlishly in response to the world hating and rejecting us the way that the Bible says that it would? The answer: unbelief. We do not believe the Bible.
Now we do believe the Bible when it tells us that we are righteous, holy, and children of God. That is not the issue. What we do not believe is that the world will reject us because of it. The reason, the real problem: we do not believe that the world is sinful, unholy. Why? Because we do not believe that God is holy. Or more to the point: we do not believe that God is holy when compared to us! We do not see God as being truly holy. Instead, we see God as being “a better us.” We see God as being like us, only better. So becoming more like God does not require a miraculous conversion; for God to transform us into being like Him; for God to perfect us and glorify us in His image. No, instead we only need to improve through things like religious observance, good works, adherence to some moral code, plus some mystical mysterious religious experiences where we “feel God’s presence” and “encounter God”, not to mention the emotive experience of “having a personal relationship with God.”
Why do we not do this? Because coming to grips with God’s holiness means acknowledging the world’s unholiness. And as we are most certainly part of this current kosmos – this worldly system and its ways – it means coming to grips with our own unholiness. By this, I do not mean in an individual sense per se, especially as it applies to legitimately born again Christians whose sins have been forgiven and who are made holy through our identification with Jesus Christ. Rather, when I say “our”, I mean what we are a part of. Our communities. Our institutions. Our values. Our very friends and neighbors! We do not want to acknowledge that all of that is Babylon, and as such is going to come under the terrible judgment of an angry God on the day of the Lord.
And it is not merely that acknowledging that we and all that we know and love are part and parcel of a wicked worldly system is an affront to our human self-esteem, though it is most certainly the case. It also means accepting how truly isolated we are in a natural sense. It means accepting that we are not of this world, but merely pilgrims in it. It means accepting that we are indeed set apart from all else; that we are, well, peculiar. It means accepting being a Jesus freak, a holy roller, a religious fanatic, a fundamentalist, a cult member, a close-minded bigot, and all of those other perjoratives that you have heard directed towards Christians and probably used yourself. It means having to interpret and apply Luke 14:26 (“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple“) to your own life literally instead of making it into a metaphor or symbolism (or just ignoring and dismissing it and pretending that it isn’t there; that it is just pious Bible religion talk that HAS no REAL concrete meaning other than some general “ok you go love and follow Jesus now!” like that “cutting off your hand and poking out your eye if it offends you” stuff).
So, we don’t want to believe that God is holy because it means that accepting that the world that we love is unholy. So, instead of using “Good Christian Belles” as an impetus to sanctify ourselves, we feign outrage in an attempt to sanctify the world. Shock! Anger! Dismay! Why can’t we get positive depictions of Christians in the media? Liberalism! Political correctness! They wouldn’t dare depict Muslims in this way! How do we know this? Why? Because the orchestrated, well-funded religious right political machine tells us so. You know, the ones to tell us how to shoehorn Christianity into the world, so we won’t feel like such an outsider. The ones who tell us that Christianity is “family-oriented” and “family-friendly.” Everyone likes families, right? And when you are with your family, your spouse and kids and grandparents and relatives, you don’t feel isolated or alone right? Well, Christians who have no family … well hey life’s tough kid, but I have mine! And Christians who had to leave everything behind – including their family – for the faith … well that is a mighty fine testimony that I will read in Christianity Today or World Magazine or listen to on my Christian/gospel etc. radio station, but it has nothing to do with my life! And the fact that most of my family doesn’t go to church … who cares … my fellowship and companionship is based on my family and my values, not identification with Jesus Christ, and that is a good thing! Or so they tell us.
They also tell us about “values.” We can accept intellectually that most people may not be born again Christians in our beloved nation because of those inconvenient words of Jesus Christ about the “narrow road” and things like that. But you don’t have to be a born-again Christians to have “Christian values”, “family values”, “moral values” etc. Those shared moral values, based on a Judeo-Christian foundation (never mind that Judaism and Christianity are completely at odds with each other because the former hates Christ and the latter worships Him exclusively) can be embraced by “whosoever will” regardless of belief – or unbelief – and it makes us a good, moral nation … sanctified in a secular sense, right? And the reason why things like “Good Christian Belles” are being made today is because we have gotten away from our traditional moral values! Back in the day, when this country still respected moral values, Hollywood produced decent entertainment that respected Christianity!
Excellent theory. Except that it isn’t true. The Christian movie “The Timechanger” does an excellent job of debunking this myth by pointing out that from the very beginning, Hollywood was not only secular but subversively so … seeking to exchange Christianity with secular ethics and values. The best example of this are “Christmas movies” which make fleeting references to Jesus Christ, none of actual Christianity, and instead promote secular humanist – and situational – morality. How does the idea that Hollywood ever respected and embraced Christianity coexist with the reality that Hollywood took the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and transformed it into a vehicle to promote anti-Christ humanistic religion? Simple: by watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle On 34th Street” or the innumerable “Santa Claus” movies (and it was Hollywood – and big business – that turned Santa Claus from being a little known figure to being the most recognized figure in the world, known of by more people than Jesus Christ!) and being entertained by them.
The same with other “classic” films and TV shows. Sure, some of them might have depicted a few characters as pious, moral and religious, but even that is a long way from Biblical Christianity. Christians who saw those characters often projected their own beliefs – or more likely themselves – onto them and identified with them. But the idea that Hollywood regularly depicted characters who attested to such doctrines as sola scriptura, sola fide, substitutionary atonement is simply false. The problem is that Christians were willing to accept so little from the “Christian” characters that Hollywood presented that these characters were readily taken for Christians despite the lack of it.
And those were just the characters that were overtly taken to be practicing Christians. Make no mistake: the overwhelming majority of the characters in movies and TV shows even in Hollywood’s so-called “golden”, “classic” or “moral” era were not. And though censorship boards and cultural sensitivies (i.e. market pressure) kept them from making the equivalent of R-rated movies today, the characters not only led amoral and immoral lives, but glamorized it. It was often in a subversive fashion: the movie would depict someone given to swearing, adultery/fornication (even if it was not allowed to be consummated), drug use, lying/deception, violence etc. as the hero or sympathetic character. Realize that Hollywood movies were promoting infidelity and divorce as early as the 1930s, such as in this Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie! (The Family Values Coalition and similar would have you believe that the culture wars began with the likes of Barbra Streisand and Cher, not Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!)
Bottom line: Hollywood has never liked Christianity. It has never supported Christianity. It has never respected or feared Christianity. Instead, it has been a force acting against Christianity from the beginning. That fact causes us to stumble because we want to believe that Hollywood was once moral and good but lost its way when it was perverted by the socially liberal movements, i.e. the 60s and 70s. Why? Because Hollywood has always been extremely popular and influential in America. Accepting that Hollywood has always opposed legitimate Christianity would mean accepting the “America was once good and virtuous because its mainstream respected Christian values before its institutions were hi-jacked” notion. We are told that demonic “Avatar” became the top box office grossing film in history because the culture no longer respects God. But the box office champion for most of Hollywood’s history (when adjusted for inflation and number of tickets sold): Gone With The Wind! With Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler and many other clearly immoral characters! (For example: when Scarlett declares “As God as my witness I will never go hungry again”, it was not a prayer or even a vow, but a blasphemous oath of the sort made by wicked people in the Old Testament!) That movie came out in 1939. During the Great Depression and World War II: “the greatest generation.”
This is not to say that things have not gotten worse. Clearly they have. But merely because things were better back then does not mean that they were good. To put it another way: just because Hollywood – and the mainstream American culture that it represents (the idea that Hollywood are these “cultural elites” that are disconnected from and do not reflect “the real America” is a right wing political device no different from the plot devices that screenwriter hacks contrive to keep stories moving along) – was less overtly antagonistic towards Christianity in the past doesn’t mean that they ever supported or respected Christianity. Today, “Good Christian Belles” depicts western Christians as liars, cheats, adulterers and schemers. 50 years ago, movies set in the “old west” commonly depicted preachers as being particularly fond of whiskey, gambling, swearing, violence or other vices. The difference is only a matter of degree.
The solution to the problem posed by such things as “Good Christian Belles”, then, is not to manufacture offense or outrage. It is certainly not to choose to believe a lie by pretending as if “the good ole days” actually were good. (Note that the Bible never instructs us to indulge in nostalgia, but instead to seek the holy God who never changes instead of preserving in memory the fallen culture that does change, and usually so for the worse.) Instead, it is to believe what the Bible says, and to embrace it. God is holy. God’s people are holy because God makes them holy. The world is wicked. Because of this, God, His people and the world are going to be at emnity (God and His people on one side, the world and the other) until the last day, when time shall be no more. Instead of pretending as if the world was never evil, or America was not originally part of the evil world because of its “values”, of its being a “Christian nation” or “founded on Christian principles”, or mourning over the time when America was “less evil”, we should look forward to the day of the Lord when all evil, all that opposes Jesus Christ and His church, are destroyed forever.
Remember the warning of Luke 9:62: “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Join that with Luke 17:32’s “Remember Lot’s wife.” Instead of being deceived by false teachers into loving this worldly system, we should endeavor to separate from it, be holy and embrace the world to come, which is New Jerusalem where we will be with Jesus Christ – and separated from those who hate Him and us because we are in Him – forever.
If you have not separated from the world and its wickedness, I urge you to do so immediately. Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe that He died for sins, that He was worthy to do so in the place of sinners because of His being the Son of God, and that He rose again from the dead. If you need more information on how to accomplish this, please click on the link below.