A Word of Caution: Ecumenical-Backed Movie, “Son of God,” May Send Subtle New Age/Roman Catholic Messages
“If everything begins with intention, our heart on ‘Son of God’ was to find the places that we could bring people together.”—Roma Downey, New York Times
On February 28th, 20th Century Fox will release the movie Son of God in theaters. The movie is produced by husband/wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (Downey plays Mary in the film). While the movie is about the life of Jesus, and if the movie trailer is any indication, it will be a very moving and emotional account, Lighthouse Trails wishes to issue a word of caution and warning to those who will be going to see it. Between Roma Downey’s affinity toward New Ageism and the highly ecumenical (evangelical, emerging, contemplative, Catholic, Mormon, etc) group of endorsers and advisers, there may be subtle messages in the movie that are contrary to the Word of God and its portrayal of Jesus Christ and truth. Thus, we encourage those who will be seeing the movie to watch it through the eyes of discernment and the filter of God’s Word.
We know the Bible tells us the day will come when the whole world will follow a false (anti) Christ and will worship him. And we can see how quickly an apostate ecumenical religious body is rising to the surface, leaving traditional, biblical Christianity behind. There have been films that have been produced over the years with the purpose of drawing people into an ecumenical religious movement. For instance, when Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ came out, evangelical Christians flocked to the movie in scores, and most major Christian leaders promoted it. But after the movie had come out, Mel Gibson admitted that the his reason for doing the movie was to draw people to the Eucharist, Mary, and the Catholic church. If you did not read Roger Oakland’s article, “What Lies Behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ by Roger Oakland,” we hope you will read it before attending Son of God. Roger received a lot of criticism from peers for his warnings about The Passion of the Christ. But in the end, it was Mel Gibson himself who set the record straight and confirmed what Roger was saying was true. And today, several years later, the evangelical/Protestant church is so much further down the contemplative/emerging, ecumenical road.
With Son of God, we can only hope that Roma Downey’s New Age/Catholic bent doesn’t surface. However, we are skeptical that it won’t. A February 27th New York Times article shows that the intention of filmmakers for Son of God is to reach past the differences of religious faiths and bring people into unity. The article states:
Downey’s husband, “The Voice” and “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett, said the Christian filmmaking team reached out specifically to other faiths to tell the story of the life of Jesus . . . without causing offense.
“It just took a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of listening over a number of years to see everybody’s point of view and how to not take the teeth out of the story — the dynamic drama from the story — but be sensitive across groups,” Burnett said. “Because there’s very different interpretations across the Catholic faith and the Protestant faith and the Jewish faith.”
In a July 2013 Lighthouse Trails article, we wrote the following statements, which reflect Roma Downey’s spiritual proclivities:
From our July 2013 article, “From the Frying Pan into the Fire: Women of Faith Partners with New Age Advocate Roma Downey” :
In an article we posted earlier this year, “Rick Warren Endorses 2013 Book, “Catholics Come Home” – Calls Catholic Evangelization “Critically Important,” we quoted [Roma] Downey as saying this about the Catholics Come Home book: “Catholics Come Home inspires each of us to share God’s love with others, in order to help change the world for the better, for eternity!” And, in a book titled Practical Praying: Using the Rosary to Enhance Your Life, there is a companion “Meditation” CD by Roma Downey that comes with the book.
But Roma Downey isn’t just a Catholic promoter. She is a New Age/New Spirituality promoter. Within the pages of a book titled Loyalty to Your Soul by Ron and Mary Hulnick (published in 2010 by the New Age publisher, Hay House), Downey endorses the book saying:
“As a USM [ University of Santa Monica - a New Age metaphysical school] graduate, I know firsthand the value I received from participating with Ron and Mary in the Master’s degree Program in Spiritual Psychology. I am so grateful to have Loyalty to Your Soul to sweetly remind me of all I have learned. Let’s just say that I went from playing an angel on TV to living more of an angelic life every day. The teachings in this beautiful book have sent me on a journey to the very center of my own being where, wrapped in the safe wings of Love, I feel as though I have come home.”
Downey’s endorsement in the Hulnick’s book is nestled in with full-blown New Agers like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Joan Borysenko, and Gay Hendricks (The Corporate Mystic). By the way, Neale Donald Walsch, the New Ager who said that Hitler did the Jews a favor by killing them,1 wrote the foreword to Loyalty to Your Soul.
Clearly, Downey read this book and resonates deeply with it to say what she did about it. To get an idea of this “journey” that Downey is on, listen to a few quotes from Loyalty to Your Soul:
“Center your awareness in your heart and consciously look for the Loving Essence in the person in your presence. By doing so, you’re signifying your respect for the Soul before you . . . Maintain awareness that you’re in conversation with another Divine Being who is engaged in having a human experience.” (p. 209)
“We ask for the presence, protection, guidance, and Love of the Divine Beings who work with each of us.” (from the “Invocation” – emphasis added)
“When people speak of spirituality, they simply mean awareness of the sacred reality of the Divine Essence within and beyond all creation.” (p. 8, quoting favorably a New Age “spiritual teacher”)
“For the awakening person, there is a growing yearning for time in the silence. There is a sense of needing time and space for contemplation, meditation, walking in nature, and just plain being alone. Attuning to the inner channel of Divine Love is supported by quiet moments.” (p. 27)
“You begin to recognize others as Divine Beings, and the situations and circumstances of your life as learning devices.” (p. 31)
Those familiar with New Age teachings will recognize such statements as being the core essence of the occult (that man is divine). Loyalty to Your Soul is a contemporary version of A Course in Miracles (the New Age book Warren B. Smith talks about in his biography, The Light That Was Dark).
In addition to endorsing Loyalty to Your Soul, Downey also endorsed a book called Angels in My Hair: the true story of a modern day Irish mystic by Lorna Bryne. The book is about spirit guides in people’s lives. We find it disconcerting to know that someone with Downey’s spiritual propensities, who attended a New Age university, helped to create a program on God’s Word.
If you watch the video clips of various Christian leaders who are promoting the Son of God movie (e.g., Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, etc), you will notice that many of these endorsers are praising Hollywood for coming out with films on Jesus and the Bible (soon a movie on Noah is going to be released). But if the Jesus that Hollywood is depicting is not the Jesus of the Bible but rather a why-can’t-we-all-get-along kind of Jesus and if the Word of God itself is being altered and revised, then how can we, as Christian believers, praise such work? Nevertheless, it will be praised by today’s popular religious leaders and most likely tens of millions will go to see the film. And the question that must be asked is, what will be the “fruit” of this and other such films?