News Release

Thousands seek refuge in Congo Salvation Army centres as violence erupts in Brazzaville

London, 5 April 2016/IHQ/ – GUN battles on the streets of Brazzaville – the capital city of the Republic of Congo – have forced residents to flee their homes to find emergency shelter. At one point on Tuesday morning, nearly 10,000 displaced Congolese people were seeking safe refuge at The Salvation Army’s corps (church) compound in the central Moungali area of the city.

Communications in the city have been disrupted, but the leader of The Salvation Army in Congo Brazzaville Territory, Commissioner Onal Castor, described the scenes as ‘unbelievable’. He is sheltering with fellow officers, cadets and 4,000 members of the public in the corps hall, and adjacent Salvation Army-run guest house and conference hall. ‘The situation is terrible,’he said as unconfirmed reports were received of many casualties amid heavy exchanges of gunfire between government forces and opposition militia groups.

A second Salvation Army refuge for a further 1,200 people was swiftly opened in the Loua area west of the capital, away from the fighting in the southern suburbs of Nzoko and Makelekele. Emergency funds for food, water and sanitary supplies are being made available from International Headquarters.

The Salvation Army’s international leader, General André Cox echoed Commissioner Castor’s concern as he called Salvationists and friends around the world to prayer. ‘We deplore such violence,’he said, ‘and our hearts are broken when we see the suffering that it brings. We are grateful that The Salvation Army has been seen as a safe haven, and call on Salvationists to pray for the Congolese people at this difficult time. We pray that the God of peace will be their comfort and refuge.’

The General reflected on Jesus’words recorded in John 14:27: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’

The Salvation Army has been at work in Brazzaville since 1937

____________________

Report by IHQ Communications

 

 

Under His Heel

There was never a place as beautiful as Eden; never was there a place more utterly defiled or more  representative of innocence lost, of heritage bartered away for nothing, of life exchanged for ashes. Here Adam and Eve bowed their heads in utter shame as they too late calculated the cost of disobedience and foolish pride.  Here Satan, housed in a serpent, squirmed at God’s bar  of judgment as he heard his sentence.

What was it? There would be open warfare between the woman and Satan.  Why the woman? Because the One who would ultimately defeat Satan would not come from  a sexual union between husband and wife but be born of a woman only—a virgin birth. Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, was the offspring who would defeat Satan.

The war would be costly. Satan would strike at His heel, and the wound would inflict excruciating pain with every step. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan attacked, attacked and attacked again. Cain killed Abel. The world became so wretched that only a flood could purge it of wickedness. Sinful pride built  a tower at Babel purported to reach God’s  throne itself. A multitude of races and languages splintered from the decaying building. Sin expressed itself on a grand scale, from the actions of nations to the daily lives of people repeating Adam and Eve’s foolish choices. One such nation, Egypt, boasted a grand civilization   built on the backs of slaves. Its pharaoh proclaimed himself a god, becoming the first in  a long line of rulers who sought to push aside  the Almighty for the glory they sought to maintain. Never mind that these rulers’ bodies  turned to dust, their names largely forgotten despite the engravings they left behind trumpeting their greatness.

Satan’s forces advanced relentlessly. Dark forces surrounded the tiny nation of Israel, formed after Moses, under God’s direction, led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. Internally, it wavered between faithfulness and apostasy as evil leapt over its walls and filled it neighborhoods. Finally, this sliver of God’s kingdom on earth fractured, with the northern kingdom abandoning its allegiance to God in favor of a multiple-choice religion. Judah now stood alone until its own sin rotted away its foundations and it collapsed before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Had Satan succeeded in extinguishing the light of God?

No. In this home and that the flame still flickered. Amid tremendous pressure to desert God, handfuls here and there remained faithful, denying Satan his anticipated victory. Those faithful formed an unbroken chain until finally that One, that Promised One, was born of a virgin. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, marched out from the obscurity of Nazareth, across the dusty roads and stony fields of Palestine. He fought back. He stole back the leper  and the demoniac. He threw down the angry waves of the sea and filled the empty bellies  with a boy’s afternoon snack. When forces began to marshal against Him, He countered with unarguable teaching from the Scriptures they claimed to revere. But, as in Eden, Satan would find a means to launch a devastating attack  with the objective of nothing less than the destruction of God Himself.

Gathering his allies, Satan leveraged the sinister heart rot of a hollow priesthood with the treachery of a close friend’s betrayal. That current of evil found another ally in an indifferent Roman Empire whose representative displayed a feeble attempt to stay the flow. The crowds that adored Him now turned violently against Him. The remaining 11 who fancied themselves government ministers in the kingdom they thought Christ was bringing pushed each other out of the way as they fled in unmasked panic when they saw their leader taken away in bonds. Satan used his forces to mock Him with a crown, not of gold but of thorns, and an elevated throne, not of ivory and jewels but of the splinters of a rough-hewn cross. The onslaught peaked with the humiliation  of a public crucifixion—the pure Son of God  hung between two criminals.

It seemed the battle was won; Satan finally could lay claim to all the  earth. But on Sunday morning, in a garden,  the ironclad shackles of death were pried apart. The darkness of a sealed tomb shone with the glory of God. Angels waited to tell the good  news: “He is not here. He is risen!”

In the Garden of Eden Satan had taken purity away. In a garden outside Jerusalem Jesus blasted the volley that signaled Satan’s end. Indeed, Satan had wounded Christ’s heel, but here Jesus had crushed Satan’s head. The wounds of Christ were painful, but not fatal. The wounds of Satan were lethal. Satan writhed like a dying snake, All the trouble in the world today is not caused by his growing strength but by the death throes of his certain end. Even now the Kingdom of God advances, taking back the ground where Satan set up his squatter shack.

Easter Sunday, that great day of resurrection, is the first day of victory that signals the war is in its final stages. The book of Revelation proclaims it: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). We hail Thee, conquering  Son of God!

By Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee, Editor–in–Chief and National Literary Secretary

Breaking the Power of Sin

Around the world on Easter morning, many Christians will gather for a 
sunrise service in which the proclamation will be made: “He is risen!”

What a glorious celebration Easter Sunday represents for each one of us! God, in raising Christ, has broken the power of sin and set us free. God, in raising Christ, has established a sure eternal future for each one of us.

The chorus to Robin and Bill Wolaver’s song “Make His Praise Glorious” says:

Shout with joy to God all the earth
Sing glory to His name
Tell aloud His marvelous worth
His righteousness proclaim
Glory and honor and blessing and power be unto the Lord
Come and let us make His praise glorious

As we celebrate the reality and the glory of the risen Christ, our hearts are filled with praise and worship aswe gain new insight and understanding of God’s eternal purposes and His plan of salvation for the world.

For many people religion is nothing more than an intellectual philosophy—something that we do only on special occasions or in a specific context which, sadly, has no bearing on the way that we live and act in our lives.

Sadly, too easily we can miss the point, for the whole message of Easter tells about life-changing power. It is not about philosophy or religion; it is about a personal relationship with God, made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross!

Paul, in writing to the Colossians, says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (3:1-3, NIV).

Our relationship with Christ and His life within us enables us to look at things from a different perspective. Christ has become the center of focus for our lives. It is far more than going through the motions, observing rituals and spiritual disciplines.

Things of this world are viewed with a different perspective, and this profoundly changes the way that we think and act. Here, Paul deals with the very practical matter of how men and women who have been reconciled with God should live.

It is as our spiritual eyes are opened that we gain ever more understanding of God’s eternal purposes and through faith we truly begin to experience triumph over darkness and despair.

Through the eyes of faith we have a greater understanding of God’s redemptive plan for the world as we find it in the gospel message: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).

Sadly, in this world we do experience times of sorrow, loss of faith and despair. That, however, 
should not be the Christian norm! Sometimes we, like Mary, can look in the wrong place: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

Do we, at times, seek the Lord in places where He 
is not? We have all known what it is like to be burdened, weighed down with worry and care, not always realizing that Jesus is actually with us!

We are, or should be, people with a resurrection gospel to proclaim. We are, ourselves, resurrection people; people who have experienced life-giving transformation in a personal encounter with the risen Christ. People experiencing the power and presence 
of the risen Christ in our lives! We are on the winning team. Do you believe it?

We are destined to be people of victory, not despair. Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection on that first Easter morning broke, once and for all, the power and domination of sin. Christ’s resurrection broke the chains of death and darkness. That remains true today, no matter what we may see and experience in this world.

We are called to experience for ourselves the power and victory of the resurrection in our everyday lives. Let us lift up our heads and live as people who daily experience the victory that was won for us at Calvary!

____________________

By General André Cox
General Cox is the international leader of The Salvation Army since 2013, directs the Army’s work in 127 countries.

Interrogated by Jesus

If you have ever watched a film noir detective movie, you’re familiar with the scene in which the police officers bring in a suspect and put him under a gooseneck lamp. They begin to bombard him with questions, such as “Where were you on the night of June 14?” and “Where’d you get this $500 in your bank account last week?” and “What’s your affiliation with Louie ‘the Lip’ Giovanni?”

It’s an interrogation technique called “the third degree,” and it’s meant to make suspects reveal information they normally wouldn’t. Jesus never gave anyone the third degree, but He did ask a lot of very poignant questions.

These queries frequently put people on the spot. How well do you think you would do if interrogated by Jesus?

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Matthew 16:13


For centuries, many non-Christian religions have contended that Jesus was a genuine prophet, a superb teacher and a mighty healer, but none have ever professed He actually was a member of the Godhead. Yet, it was Jesus, Himself, who said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

“But what about you? … Who do you say I am?”
Matthew 16:15, NIV

This is the most important of all questions Jesus asked, and the only proper answer came from the Apostle Peter, who replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus emphasized on numerous occasions that He was the only way to Heaven, and unless His followers confessed Him before men, He would not confess them before His Father in Heaven.

“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
Luke 17:17, NIV

Unfortunately, many people attend church at Easter and Christmas but otherwise avoid the biblical mandates of assembling together, paying tithes and offerings, helping the poor and witnessing for Christ. The Lord is pleased with the faithful who follow His teachings and His commissions, but He is not fooled by those who are playacting at being religious. One day He will tell them, “I don’t know you.”

“What do you want Me to do for you?”
Mark 10:51

Jesus asked a variation of this question of many people who approached Him for healing, for prestigious seats in Heaven or for spiritual guidance. Jesus was most pleased by those who asked for something of Him with conviction, believing that He would grant their request. 

From the blind man who sought sight, to the centurion who asked for healing of his servant, to the woman who sought to be cured of her blood condition, Christ’s response was that they would be granted their requests because their faith was so strong. It’s a valid lesson yet today that anyone who seeks the Lord’s blessing must first approach Him confidently, believing that He is capable, ready and willing to meet all needs.

“Has no one condemned you?”
John 8:10, NIV

This is an interesting question. It provides relief and absolution to those who realize that Christ can forgive the repentant sinner. If humankind is capable of offering forgiveness, how much greater is the range of forgiveness the Lord can offer? However, this question can also serve as an admonition. Christ warned that those who choose to follow Him would be criticized, ostracized, maligned and sometimes even injured or killed. Knowing this, Christians of today who are never badgered, argued with or labeled “a peculiar people” should question their boldness for Christ. Not to be condemned is perhaps evidence of not taking a solid stance for Christian values.

“Do you love Me?”
John 21:16

When Jesus asked this question He was seeking more than a verbal response. He 
wanted to hear that the responder was declaring a love for Christ through outreach work. Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs, meaning that Peter was to serve the poor, to care for the widows and orphans and to proclaim the gospel at every opportunity. Love can be shown to the Savior in many ways, like praying, preaching, teaching, tithing and studying the Word of God. But first and foremost is the effort to proclaim the salvation message to the world.

“How many loaves do you have?”
Matthew 15:34, NIV

Jesus was forever teaching His disciples new forms of math. Seeing the thousands who had come to hear Him preach and who were growing hungry, He asked His disciples a simple question concerning how many loaves they had. They replied that they had seven loaves and a few small fish. It was wrong. The correct answer would have been, “We have seven loaves and two small fish, plus the abundant power of Jesus Christ. We have more than is needed to handle this crowd, Lord.” Today, when Christ calls His followers to serve Him in challenging ventures, He asks them to assess what they have and then to trust that He will multiply their resources abundantly. Christ builds upon whatever is offered to Him.

Indeed, Jesus used questions to probe, to teach, to challenge, to surprise and to verify. Using the questions posed by Jesus as a form of self-analysis works well for Christians who seek to stay in line with the teachings of the Messiah. It’s not the third degree; it’s merely a helpful talk with the Master.

____________________

By Dennis E. Hensley, Ph.D.
Dr. Hensley is the author of 60 books, including Jesus in the 9 to 5. He is also chairman of the Department of Professional Writing at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

 

Lost Mom Finds Her Way on ‘Pathway of Hope’

Two years ago, Dawn Lasserre and her daughter Rachel moved to Hibbing, Minnesota, looking for a fresh start. They had left a small town in Wisconsin, where Dawn worked as a certified nursing assistant. Their lives had become too turbulent there, and a fresh start was needed.

In Hibbing, Dawn knew somebody she and Rachel could live with while they found their footing. Unfortunately, Dawn couldn’t find a job.

“I couldn’t even get a gas station to hire me – nobody in town knew me,” says Dawn, who has a good work history.

That was April 2013. She finally landed a job that September, working in special education at a local school. But by then, the financial damage had been done.

“For six months, no bills were being paid and no money was coming in,” she says.

She had never experienced that type of financial crisis. To stay afloat, she started getting food at the Salvation Army corps in Hibbing. There she met caseworker Nancy Massich, who told her about a new Salvation Army initiative that could help: “Pathway of Hope.”

Pathway of Hope is a national initiative that provides longterm, one-on-one support for struggling families that want to start thriving. Each family meets with a Salvation Army caseworker at least once a week to formulate a game plan, set goals and track progress.

Dawn signed up during spring 2014.

“You have no idea how desperate I was,” Dawn explains. “When somebody extends a branch of hope, you grab it.”

 Starting small

Families in crisis often stay there because their challenges seem too daunting to overcome.

That’s where Pathway of Hope comes in. The initiative meets families where they’re at and provides a clear and realistic path to self-sufficiency.

“Together, Dawn and I set goals,” Nancy explains. “These are small goals, because I did not want to overwhelm her.”

When Nancy says “small,” she means it. “Even if I got the dishes done, I was one step ahead of where I was before,” Dawn says. “It was as simple as keeping my focus up instead of down.”

Gradually, Nancy offered bigger responsibilities and loftier short-term goals. When obstacles arose, Nancy had Dawn’s back.

“Sometimes I would just cry,” Dawn admits. “I never knew what was going to drop from one day to the next. But I had Nancy pushing me, standing by me, holding me accountable.”

Nancy also kept her eye out for other programs that could help Dawn and Rachel.

“Nancy got us bikes through a local bike program,” Dawn continues. “And when back-to-school started, she got Rachel supplies through The Salvation Army.”

Dreaming big

Nancy and Dawn also set long-term goals, such as having Dawn find a summer job.

“Nancy put a bug in my ear about what I was going to do without an income all summer.”

Ironically, Dawn got a job at a gas station after all. She started working there at the end of the 2014 school year and hasn’t stopped. Now, nine months of the year, she works at both the school and the gas station.

The extra income has helped Dawn chip away at another big goal: paying off debt.

“When I started Pathway of Hope, I had six big debts to pay off – now I only have three; if everything goes perfect, I’ll have everything paid off in a year.”

Through it all, Nancy has been impressed by Dawn’s resolve.

“Dawn is a wonderful person,” Nancy says. “She wanted to provide a better life for her daughter and was determined. She just needed a little guidance.”

That guidance has led to Dawn being a stronger and more confident version of herself.

“I’m much more stable – mentally, physically and financially,” Dawn declares. “This program is not for people looking for a handout. It’s set up to give you a hand up to a better life. It teaches you to be proud of yourself and say, ‘Hey, I can do it.’ The scary parts in life aren’t quite as scary anymore.”

Growing initiative

As of September 2015, Pathway of Hope is offered at all 30 Salvation Army Worship and Service Centers in Minnesota and North Dakota. It began in August 2013 at just a handful of the centers.

Through Pathway of Hope, dozens of families have achieved these and other goals:

  • Buying a home or finding stable housing
  • Obtaining full-time employment
  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Improving their credit
  • Starting college and/or obtaining GED
  • Receiving mental health treatment or other medical care

“The power of this initiative lies in the weekly meetings with Pathway of Hope case managers,” reports Sherrie Trucker, Pathway of Hope director the Northern Division (Minnesota and North Dakota). “This keeps goals on the forefront and makes people feel accountable. Goals are broken down into small action-steps so that people can experience the satisfaction that comes with achievement.”

Pathway of Hope is designed to impact generational poverty by targeting families with children.

The initiative is just one example of how The Salvation Army uses donations to develop programs that transform lives and produce lasting change.

Story and Photos By Craig Dirkes

 

More Faith; Less Insecurity

Tracy Gantner at the National Seminar on Evangelism

Tracy Gantner enjoys fellowship with other believers at the National Seminar on Evangelism in Glen Eyrie, CO last year.

Tracy Gantner is a confident, successful woman. But she experienced an initial insecurity when she agreed to co-lead a Bible study group in her corps in Oakbrook Terrace, just outside of Chicago.

“Insecurity is something I was accustomed to,” Tracy says. “For a while I really struggled, but my faith grew as I learned to lean more and more on Jesus.”

Tracy was converted about 11 years ago, and she began attending church regularly and volunteered at the corps often. In those first years as a Christian, she developed a wonderful circle of friends who were fellow believers.

“I have a loving family, a good job and many Christian friends. I was content in the life I had made for myself,” she says.

However, a few years later Tracy admits she began to feel the Lord’s urging that being “content” in her own plan was not necessarily His plan for her.

“I needed to put my full faith in Jesus,” she explains. “I came to realize that I wanted His plan; not my content plan.”

All of this came about when Major Mary Hoskin, the leader of a women’s Bible study class at Oakbrook Terrace Corps, asked Tracy to consider co-leading the class with her.

Tracy had been a faithful member of the group for several years, and fully participated in the discussions. Suddenly she found herself facing the prospect of taking a step of faith. The comfort zone she felt quickly evaporated at the thought of leadership.

Tracy and Mary agreed to be in prayer while Tracy considered her decision.

“As I prayed, I couldn’t imagine anyone less qualified or inadequate than me to lead this class,” Tracy says. “I felt that anyone would have been a better choice.”

Insecurity set in and “insecurity wasn’t something I was used to.”

She continued to pray for guidance in her decision. The more she prayed, the more Jesus eliminated every excuse.

“Jesus provided Mary, not only as a friend, but as a kind and patient mentor. Her love for the Lord and His Word is so strong, I had to say yes.”

That first year as co-leader, Tracy recalls that she really struggled.

“I felt I needed to understand everything, know everything and have an answer for everything. Only then I would be worthy to co-lead the class.”

As Tracy struggled, she worked harder. She found herself more committed to prayer and Bible study, adding both to her daily schedule.

“I would often need to prepare my lessons weeks in advance to meet my job’s travel demands and personal responsibilities,” she says.

“I wanted to please God and not let Mary or the class down.”

God answered her pleas in a most profound way.

“Leading the class was not about me,” she realized, “it’s all about Him and His Kingdom. I came to see that my insecurity was getting in His way. I needed to be the instrument, the tool.

“All I really needed was to obedient and, yes, that includes prayer, study, and preparation. But I needed to allow Him to go before me and allow Him to work through me!”

Tracy admits there are times when she still feels inadequate, but when that happens, she just leans more on the Lord.

“I’m confident in my purpose and my purpose is to honor Him—which requires less of me (much less of me) and more (much more) of Him!”

Furthermore, Tracy considers herself “a work in progress.”  

“God loved me just the way I was, but He loves me too much to leave me that way. I choose to live obediently and courageously for Him.”

Even when it’s uncomfortable, she adds.

____________________
By Major Frank Duracher
Assistant Editor-in-Chief

The Young Messiah – Movie Review

As far as becoming an entertaining, if not imaginative, movie about the life of Jesus as a child, The Young Messiah meets that expectation. As far as an authoritative account straight from the Bible, there is simply no way to achieve this—despite the initial disclaimer that the movie derives much of the material from scriptural documents and oral tradition.

That’s because there is no way of knowing what transpired between what we know for sure: that Joseph scurried Mary and the baby to Egypt, and that 12 years later, after returning to Nazareth, Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover and an astounding confab with rabbis in the Temple (unbeknownst to Mary and Joseph, who search frantically for Him).

There are several legends of the child Jesus found in non-canonical gospels. But these are at best unreliable, and at worst bordering on heresy. The fear of this reviewer was that scriptwriters would not be able to resist falling back on these legends.

I admit, they didn’t; but they came mighty close.

There are several holes in the plot. For instance, the entire family seems to know that Jesus is the Promised Messiah. Even the young cousins know. Everyone knows, except Jesus.

Another problem: Satan (who looks like Captain Jack Sparrow meets Robert Downey, Jr) seems to be on Jesus’ heels while the family is in Egypt, and the devil relentlessly plots to derail the Son of God, continuing even in Nazareth and at the Temple in Jerusalem. And yet, Satan asks of Jesus (who is on a sickbed), “Who are you?”

C’mon now, after all that plotting, doesn’t the devil know? I mean, he’s otherwise been wasting a lot of time on this young lad.

And another thing, we’re not told how or why Jesus got sick in the first place.

To the movie’s credit, the more discriminating viewers may notice a series of incidents that “foreshadow” events that we know for sure happen later in Jesus’ actual ministry as recorded by the bona fide Gospels:

  • A dead child brought back to life;
  • A blind rabbi receives his sight;
  • A crucifixion witnessed by Jesus.

The bottom line is that this fanciful story of the seven year-old Jesus actually could have happened—but probably didn’t. Still, it’s an interesting 111-minute excursion to the curious mind—as long as you don’t take in all you’ll see as gospel.

The Young Messiah opened nationwide on March 11, 2016.

—Major Frank Duracher

The Young Messiah

The General Calls for Prayer After Brussels Attacks

London, 22 March 2016, IHQ – GENERAL André Cox has called for prayers for the unfolding situation in Brussels, Belgium, where terrorist attacks at the airport and Maelbeek Metro Station have led to at least 34 fatalities, with many more people injured. The General asks Salvationists and friends to pray for victims of the attacks, the emergency services, politicians and the perpetrators.

Colonel Daniel Naud (Territorial Commander, France and Belgium Territory) is at The Salvation Army’s Belgium Regional Headquarters in Brussels, having travelled there by train from Paris this morning before the attacks took place. He reports: ‘It is extremely difficult to move within the capital city at the moment. We hear constantly police cars moving at very high speed … It is difficult to know precisely what is going on.’

The Salvation Army’s annual general meeting which was due to be held in Brussels has been postponed. Colonel Naud says the Brussels authorities have been contacted and offered whatever help, such as food or shelter, the Army can provide.

Majors Mike and Ruth Stannett are regional leaders for Belgium and also The Salvation Army’s Officers for EU Affairs. Major Mike says he is grateful for the thoughts and prayers being offered across the world. He explains: ‘As the day unfolds and security is either tightened or lifted in due course, we will then have a better idea how this may affect our daily running. The main issue for Salvation Army staff will be how they get home and how to collect children from school.’ All public transport has been stopped, and people are being advised not to travel.

Report by IHQ Communications
International Headquarters
http://salar.my/GOPzhC

 

Bible Idiots – Movie Review

Bible Idiots is a documentary that seeks to answer the question, “Are we idiots for believing the Bible?” While we may not be idiots for believing the Bible, we may very well be for enduring this interminable movie.

The movie is an apologetic for the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. It does so by jumping back and forth among a number of Christian luminaries including Abdu Murray (Embrace the Truth International), Alan Robertson (Duck Commander), Dr. Michael Brown (Radio host, Line of Fire), Alex McFarland (North Greenville University), Jim Daly (President, Focus on the Family), Dr. Joni Eareckson Tada (Author/Speaker, Joni and Friends), Dr. Frank Turek (Cross Examiner), June Hunt (Hope for the Heart) and Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer (Moody Church).

Covering a wide variety of subjects related to the reliability of the Bible, it often provides very good information while answering a host of questions raised by those who question the Scriptures. Most, not all, of these answers are well thought out and provide solid information for those who may be in a place to defend their faith.

So what’s wrong with this movie? Somehow someone got the bright idea that interjecting the comedy of Jacob, Emilee and Chris Danielson would make this movie better. Boy, were they wrong. This family no doubt has a vibrant ministry using comedy as their medium but it does not translate well on the screen. Most of the jokes and monologues are lame at best. When we were viewing the film it was remarkable to note that among the crowd there was almost no laughing at what were meant to be punch lines. The only thing worse than the monologues is the camera rolling as the family interacts with each other behind the scenes. It was embarrassing.

As for the apologetics, it was difficult to follow how they decided to unfold the commentary or where exactly it was going. Again, a lot of good information was shared but the chopped up and random presentation detracted.

While we commend the producers and the participants of Bible Idiots for their intent, the end product is very disappointing. The only mercy is that this was not released to theaters to reinforce the opinion of critics’ who pan Christian films.

Review by Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

CE Productions and Bib Media Group

Available in CD/Streaming at https://bibleidiots.com/