In the past, we’ve discussed issues of violence, non-violence, just war, and radical Islam.  There’s a documentary, Holy Wars, that is starting to make the film festival/Oscar circuit that may be adding an interesting voice to the conversation.  Even if I may not agree with all of its conclusions – or those of its key figures – from what I’ve read this past week, it may actually be a demagoguery-free picture of what following Christ might look like, when confronting other religions and their followers.

I have not seen the film (since I live nowhere close to LA or NYC), but it’s something I’ll probably check out if it makes it to Indianapolis.

Basically, the filmmaker wanted to follow some adherents of Christianity and Islam for 18 months, exploring their views on the End of Days, and how it impacts and/or drives their faith.  During this time, he centered on two key figures – a Christian Missionary and an Irish convert to Islam – and how they sought to engage their opposing religion.  At the end of the 18 months, he arranged a meeting between the two men, the results of which were surprising to him and had an impact on at least one of the subjects of the film.  As a result, the director filmed for two more years.  The end product, which unexpectedly shed a positive light on Christianity, was rejected by a number of distributors, but is now gleaning a number of positive reviews and some Oscar buzz for best documentary.

http://www.vimeo.com/13422152

You can read more about the director and his vision, the Christian missionary closely followed in the film, his book about the experience, and a couple of reviews from the LA showing of the film last week.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 at 4:40 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Music and Art, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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16 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

The apocalyptic issue has always been debatable, especially the when and where and even how. But reading the reviews I saw that the Muslim man laid out the ground rules and captured the issue. Like Goliath of old, who plastered his own terms on Israel and they felt obligated by them, the Christian missionary left the gospel and began examining the historical facts as the Muslim man saw them.

He failed to realize that the “west” is not the church and the oppression of Muslims is not directed by Jesus and His message. Far from it. All nations and all people, especially when motivated by views that are constricted and corporately reinforced, tend to dominate and even operate by violence stimulated by fear. And when the battle lines are drawn by religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and a number of other classifications, then the wrong battle and the wrong weapons come into play.

The issue must always be redemption through Jesus Christ. And the inconsistencies of professing believers notwithstanding, the gospel is the only interrogative which must be addressed. “Who do you say that I am?”

Is Jesus THE I AM or not. Of course we can dialogue with others about all the tributaries and pet issues they have loaded into their canon, but we can never lose sight of who we are and what Jesus commanded us to do before He left.

The Muslims are no different in God’s sight than the unsaved Baptist who goes to church, loves America, but has never been born again. Muslims are not the enemy; Satan and our own flesh and self righteousness are.

(PS – The “Holy War” was won on a battlefield made of two Roman planks. Subsequently we are now the holy peacemakers.)

2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Like Goliath of old, who plastered his own terms on Israel and they felt obligated by them, the Christian missionary left the gospel and began examining the historical facts as the Muslim man saw them.

That’s not how I read it (and will wait till I see the movie). It also doesn’t seem to be the case from reading his blog, either.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I read his blog. It is confusing to me. I agree with his observation about politics driving theology, but I cannot see a clear gospel message.

I abhor walls and divisions that seperate sinners from the Savior. The church has become very adept at constructing stumbling blocks to the gospel. And the western church has constructed an array of enemies that are most unfortunate to the cause of Christ.

One of the missionaries we support has lived in Morocco for a decade. He tells us, similar to Neil’s story, that when Moroccans watch American Christian television and hear them say that America is the greatest nation on earth and that God desires our brand of democracy for all nations, the enemy uses those words as a stumbling block.

I will watch the documentary, however I am not fond of the title. We are in love with the word war and love to couple it with the word “win”. We hate the words “die to self”.

(I appreciate you bringing the documentary to our attention.)

4   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I will watch the documentary, however I am not fond of the title. We are in love with the word war and love to couple it with the word “win”. We hate the words “die to self”.

I’d note that the title was chosen by the director & producers (who have not identified themselves as adhering to any particular religion)…

5   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Acknowledged. Speaking of politics driving theology, a judge overturned the California ban on gay marriage. Does our redemptive theology include making it illegal for lost sinners to morally sin?

Let the fallen government do what seems right to them. I reject the authority of the government to “approve” marriage of any stripe. Once we acquiesce to the government’s rulings on moral issues then we must live with their rulings when they are not what we desired.

The government deals in a horizontal kingdom while we live in a vertical one. But watch the “conservative Christian” blogs have a field day with this; the same ones that make Muslims the enemy.

6   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2010 at 10:12 am

I’m going to be honest here and say that I do not believe I could watch this film. I think it would cause an unnatural and unhealthy spike in my blood pressure. The trailer alone is enough to incite all sorts of feelings of anger.

I’m just being honest.

7   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2010 at 11:16 am

I actually think the movie looks pretty interesting… I’d definitely get it from Netflix.

One thing I noticed is the Christian guy talking about “all of history coming to a point where all the forces of good and evil clash” or something like that. Well what does he think the Cross was? The Cross was exactly that. Paul makes it quite clear that Christ defeated all the powers that would set themselves up against Christ when He died and rose again. The main eschatological/apocalyptic event of history has happened. The Cross was the climax of history. It was when the old creation was put to death and the new started breaking in.

I often wonder if one of the biggest failures of many American Christians is to not see the Cross in it’s proper perspective.

8   John Hughes    
August 5th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

#5 – Does our redemptive theology include making it illegal for lost sinners to morally sin?

1 Tim 1:9-11 – realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

Rick, our “redemptive” theology does not, but the outworking of this theology certainly does.

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 5th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

The trailer alone is enough to incite all sorts of feelings of anger.

I’m just being honest.

Jerry – that’s where I was initially, when I watched this on iTunes last week. However, when I checked out Aaron’s book, blog and some of the behind-the-scenes comments, I’m wondering if the trailer isn’t hiding the actual trajectory of the film’s message…

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

#8 – Does that mean you are in favor of making adultery, divorce, lying, and homosexuality illegal? The law to which Paul refers to is the law of Moses unless you are in favor of legislation concerning moral issues.

11   John Hughes    
August 5th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

#10 – These are all currently or one time or another have been “against the law”. I realize that Paul is speaking of the Mosaic Law the majority of which have been the foundational bedrock of Western law. All secular laws are based on some preceived moral standards.

12   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
August 11th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Islam is for the most part a murderous religion loved by the world because it stands in opposition to the light found in Jesus Christ. However, I love those who are caught in the chains of religion, so I share the good news anytime that I can with them.

13   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 11th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Islam is loved by the world? Tell that to the next Muslim you see waiting to get on a plane in an airport. I’m sure they’re feelin’ the love…

14   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 11th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Well, Phil, I think what John is saying is that Islam is loved in such a way that no one really wants to saying anything one way or another about it. It’s a sort of love/fear thing.

15   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 11th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I know what he’s saying. There is some truth in the fact that the mass media is reluctant to say anything negative about Islam. They certainly seem more willing to say negative things about Christians than they do Muslims, and I’d say that’s probably a lot out of fear.

But I don’t take the media’s reaction to Muslims to be representative of the general populace. I’ve been around plenty of average people who certainly have no love for Islam.

16   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 11th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Ok. Sorry.