What scriptures were used in the movie war room
Question: What do you think of the Christian movie war room?
Answer: My wife and I saw this recently released movie. later, I went back and watched it again, double checking a few things. here are some personal observations.
War Room provides an engaging and emotionally intense story about a husband and wife in serious conflict (a very common problem), and how God answered prayer and put them on the right path. great! Miss Clara’s desire to pass on what the Lord had taught her was also good, being an example of personal discipleship (cf. II Tim. 2:2).
However, there were a number of things that concerned me, so despite the positives, I personally wouldn’t recommend the film to others.
1) First, there is the “closet” problem: going into a closet of clothes to pray. apparently it is based on matthew 6:6, in the old king james version, “when you pray, go into your closet”. most modern translations simply have “room” or “private room”. In the context of Matthew’s text, the Lord is condemning the practice of the hypocritical Pharisees of offering their personal prayers in public, “so that men may see them” (vs. 5).
in the narration of what elizabeth is doing to her closet, miss clara acknowledges that the place is not the most important thing, but clara, elizabeth and the couple’s youngest daughter turn their clothes closets into prayer rooms . if that’s not an essential point, why not show alternatives by having one or two choose a different place? (And what have they done with their clothes and stuff? Closets are storage areas.)
Personal prayers are best offered in a quiet, private setting. I often pray in the living room, before my wife gets up, in the car on the way to town, and alone in the office while I work.
at the end of the movie, a pastor walks into Clara’s closet (now stripped of everything she had in there) and somehow senses that someone has been praying in the closet (“it’s almost like it’s baked”) . that looks downright creepy! and it’s nonsense.
2) elizabeth, in her “prayer closet”, cites james 4:7 multiple times, “submit yourselves to god, resist the devil”, which basically means we should say “yes” “to the word and will of God, and “no” to the temptations of the devil. (when we sin, we are doing the opposite).
but then, using an unbiblical technique popular in some “spiritual warfare” circles, she runs through the house, shouting insults and angry commands at satan. “I know you can hear me,” she says. really? how does she know that? the devil is neither omniscient nor omnipresent, but she “knows”.
“get out, in the name of jesus”, he shouts. that is not what the scriptures mean by resisting satan. nor is it proper for a Christian to do so. elizabeth needed to keep reading a little more in her bible. Jude tells us, “Michael the archangel, contending with the devil, when he was disputing over the body of Moses, did not dare to bring against him an abusive accusation, but said, ‘the Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 1 :9) .
leave satan to god. it is not up to us to scold him. Instead of taking a more biblical approach, praying for strength to “resist” the devil’s attacks, elizabeth went on to angrily revile and ridicule the devil’s person. and miss clara’s comment about “kicking the devil’s ass” was wrong, in poor taste, and totally unnecessary.
3) In the same tirade, Elizabeth yells, “Jesus is Lord of this house.” I wonder what he meant by that. sounded a bit like the notion of “territorial spirits”. cast out the devil, and let jesus in to rule over the building. however, I am not aware of any text that speaks in these terms. some might appeal to luke 11:24-26. but that is something like a parable. the “house” in that case is a figurative image of a “man” (v. 26), not a man-made structure.
Jesus Christ is Lord (Acts 10:36), and we must acknowledge His Lordship over us personally and individually. But it is said that the only houses that God specifically occupied were the tabernacle in the desert and, later, the temple in Jerusalem. they’re both gone, now.
and if, by “house,” elizabeth meant her family (as joshua probably did in joshua 24:15), rather than the building, it was still incorrect, since her husband, the head of the family, was away from god at that time.
4) I was taken aback by all the screaming in prayer, especially by Miss Clara. Is shouting our words supposed to make sentences more effective? God is not hard to hear! it was too much like the prophets of baal, “crying out loud and cutting themselves off” to get the attention of their god (1 kings 18:26, 28), and not enough like the reverent prayer of elias to which god answered with fire from heaven (vv. 36-37).
and more noise. three or four times in the film we were subjected to loud rock music. (I finally put my hands over my ears!) I know this is something that bothers me, and that I’m going against a modern trend, but so be it. he could not understand the words being sung, and simply injected the forms of the world into what was supposed to be a spiritually significant moment.
5) We get a lot of references to “jesus” in the movie, which annoys me a bit. jesus was the earthly name of the son of god. he is called jesus hundreds of times in the gospels. and yes, he is still a big name (Philippians 2:10). but he is seldom called “jesus” by himself, after his resurrection and ascension.
almost always, in the Acts and the Epistles, it is “the Lord Jesus” or “the Lord Jesus Christ” (for example, Acts 1:21; 4:33; 7:59; 9:29; 11:17, etc.). it is an acknowledgment that he is not only our savior, but our lord, now exalted in glory, and should be spoken of (and to) with submission and reverent respect.
6) when a robber confronts elizabeth and miss clara, asks for money and threatens them with a knife, miss clara boldly commands, “in the name of jesus, throw the knife!” and she does. this makes for exciting drama, but it is poor theology. it may be based on the misconception that everything that happened in the acts must necessarily be happening today.
that is not the case. We do not have God-given apostolic authority (Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:3-4). Nor do we have the right to order other people to do what we believe God wants them to do, assuming that, if necessary, he will supernaturally compel them to comply. this is also nonsense.
God has ever worked that way. I would hesitate to say that it never happens, but it is not the general rule for God’s people. it is not for all christians to go from here to there, ordering this and that, “in the name of jesus”. we can’t just assume we know god’s will in every situation.
We must be very cautious in making such grandiose assumptions (cf. the “but if not” of the three Hebrews, Dan. 3:15-18). we must pray to god the father, with the authority of the name of jesus and with the energy of the spirit of god, and in submission to his will (ef. 2:18; st. 4:15).
A lightning prayer to heaven from Miss Clara would have been appropriate (cf. Neh. 1:4-5). then, the two women should have treated the man with grace and gentleness, trusting that the lord would work in the situation, treating him according to his will.
7) The text of Second Chronicles 7:14 is shown at the end of the movie. I realize that this verse is dear to the hearts of those who teach a particular type of revival, but a closer look at the context needs to be considered. here’s the verse:
“if my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land .”
is a promise specifically to the nation of israel, whom the lord referred to as “my people” from earliest times (cf. exodus 3:7, 10; 5:1). Beginning with their ancestor Jacob (Gen. 32:28), they are the people called (by God himself) by his name.
the “el” in his name (a version of the Hebrew elohim) is the name of god. they are literally called by the name of god. The full name “Israel” has been interpreted in various ways, but it seems to mean that God fights, that God is the defender of the nation of Israel and their God-given land.
there is a special covenant relationship of that nation with the lord. God promised that obedience would bring blessing to the people in his land. (deut. 28:9-10), but that if they sinned, he would discipline them by destroying their crops (ii chron. 7:13), and banishing them from the land (vs. 20).
returning to the lord would bring restoration. “healing” the land means exactly that: driving out the locusts and bringing the rain to water the crops. The whole issue of the prosperity of the land of Israel linked to the obedience of the people is covered in detail in Leviticus 26:3-45 and Deuteronomy 28-30.
The Lord does not make such a promise to other countries; that, in fact, is something that makes israel unique above all the nations of the earth (cf. deuteronomy 7:6). Nor does his promise to “heal” the physical land of Israel apply to the spiritual healing of the people of Canada, the United States, or any other nation.
nor can we take material promises made to this earthly nation and apply them in some spiritual sense to the church of jesus christ. The church is a spiritual body of people made up of all nations. we cannot take verses out of context and apply them however we want.
8) In conclusion, the “rule of thumb” for God’s people today, which I mentioned earlier, is where the movie should have been headed. there are numerous general principles and caveats in the scriptures that give us a lot of trouble.
often expressed in exhortations to “one another”, of which there are dozens. for example, we are to love one another (John 13:34; 1 John 3:11), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32), comfort each other each other. (I Thess. 5:11), and pray for one another (James 5:16). see also: rom. 12:5, 10, 16; 15:7, 14; I ran 12:25; ef. 4:2, 25; column. 3:16; heb. 10:25; caress 4:9-10.
Without a doubt, the intention of the film is to educate and show us what we should all be doing. therefore, more care should have been taken to avoid the bug and the weird or extreme things mentioned above. they set a bad, and sometimes quite unbiblical, example.