Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flyby Review: Holy Ghost DVD

I believe this is the first product sent to me by Flyby Promotions to not receive a positive review, and I have been trying to decide how to go about it.  I could probably speak for the length of the documentary myself about why I agree and disagree with various parts of the film, but since this is a blogpost and not a novel, I think it best to give you a quick synopsis of what the producers say about the film and of my own thoughts and leave it at that.

Here is what Wanderlust Productions says about Holy Ghost:

Can the Holy Spirit Direct a Movie?
In this fast-paced documentary from the director of the popular films Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights, Darren Wilson sets out to make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan, no script, no safety net — just go wherever he feels the Spirit leading him to try and discover the adventure God has for him. Whether it’s the riches of Monte Carlo, a heavy metal concert, or the oldest city in world, the result is a film that not only challenges and excites, but also reveals a God who is far more alive and active than you ever imagined.
So, how do I put what I believe about the Holy Spirit in a nutshell?  Here are a few truths I know:

1)  The Holy Spirit is alive and well and is active in the lives of Christians all over the world.  God can and does use any power and any Spiritual Gift that He chooses at any time to accomplish His purposes, to reach people for Him, and to bring Him glory.

2)  Many people who profess to have and use "special" Spiritual Gifts, unfortunately, simply do not.  Much harm can be done by people who try to manipulate the Spirit of God or to manipulate the emotions of people in His name.  Some of these people, I'm sure, have good intentions.  Some are misled, some are outright lying, and some are blinded by emotion.

So, if someone claims to be able to speak in tongues, heal, or have some other Spiritual Gift, how can we know if they are legitimate?  Sometimes it is difficult.  The Bible says we will know people by their fruits, or the results they produce.  Matthew 7:15-20 says:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
If anyone claims to have special Spiritual Gifts but uses them to glorify themselves or to "wow" an audience, I am very skeptical.  If someone has a very winning personality but seems to be led mainly by emotion ("Do you feel the Spirit moving?  How does that feel?") and does not teach using Scripture, I am also very skeptical.  Yes, we often do feel very good when the Holy Spirit is working, but feelings are short-lived.  There must be meat to the teaching in order to make real changes in lives.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one God, and God will not change or contradict Himself.  He has left us His Word, the Bible, and if any teaching contradicts what is in the Bible, it is false teaching and certainly not from the Holy Spirit.

Which brings me to another point, one which was refuted in the film, and the producers of the film would call me a Cessationist.  I do not consider myself a Cessationist.  Let me explain what that means.

I Corinthians 13:8-10 says:
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 
The Greek words used here indicate that prophecies and tongues and special knowledge of God's Will would die out like the embers of a fire when they were no longer needed.  Many Christians believe that "when completeness comes" refers to the canonization of the Scriptures.  In other words, the early Christians needed to know whom they could believe.  So God gave the Apostles and some other Christians special, miraculous gifts to let people know that they were speaking for God, much like He gave the Prophets in the Old Testament.  Once the New Testament was made available, everyone could read the Word of God, so these gifts were no longer necessary and they died out or faded away.

Historically, people on the extreme ends of the discussion have believed that either the gifts completely died when the Apostles died (cessationism), or that everyone should have the special gifts, to the point that they do not believe you are a Christian if you cannot prophesy or speak in tongues.  As with any discussion, these are the extremes, and the correct answer lies somewhere in between.

For the most part, I do believe that the special gifts of the Spirit (specifically prophecy, speaking in tongues, and special knowledge of the things of God - those specified in I Corinthians 13) have died out.  There are many other Spiritual Gifts which people have now as well as they did in the early Church:  teaching, preaching, encouragement, music, etc., etc.  There are innumerable Spiritual Gifts, and the Holy Spirit is very active in the lives of Christians today, bestowing these gifts and counseling and advising us as Jesus promised.  Does this mean those three "special" Spiritual Gifts are completely gone from the world today?  Of course not.  God has limitless power and can use any gift any time He wants to.  The most credible instances I have heard in which these gifts seemed to be legitimately used happened in places where there were no written Scriptures yet, and/or where people such as shamans and witch doctors held a great deal of power.  As in Bible times, God may still use these Gifts to show people who is speaking for Him.

In areas where we do have written Scriptures, I simply have not seen anyone who has convinced me that they actually have one of these three Spiritual Gifts.  Someone I knew once went to a church where people were claiming to speak in tongues, and he quoted the Lord's Prayer in Greek.  Someone said they had received a translation from the Spirit, and proceeded to give an explanation that had nothing to do with the Lord's Prayer.  I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit recognized the Lord's Prayer in Greek, as it was written in the New Testament.  In another church, we were told that the church's "prophets" only had to be correct 40% of the time to be considered to have the gift of prophecy.  Well, I'd have a 50/50 chance of being right with no help at all, so I don't think 40% accuracy shows a gift of the Holy Spirit.  My God is right 100% of the time!

I could go on and on, but this blog post is already getting pretty long.  If you are interested in studying the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend The Power of the Holy Spirit by Don DeWelt.  You may download all four volumes free at

I was partially interested in the movie Holy Ghost because it boasted many popular names, including Michael W Smith and Phil Vischer, two people I like and respect a great deal.  Both had very small parts in which they basically said they wanted to be used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes on earth.  I agree whole-heartedly!

The film Holy Ghost, in my opinion, did look like a lot of parlor tricks, and I would have appreciated more Gospel teaching that directly quoted the Scriptures.  Mark 9:38-40 tells us:

38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
I appreciate the fact that Darren Wilson and Wanderlust Productions tried to produce a movie directed by the Holy Spirit.  Whatever good they do for God, I appreciate.  I cannot, however, recommend this film, and I will not be giving away a free copy on the blog.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

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