Update November 26, 2008
November 22 -
Death of Discernment - How The Shack
Became the #1 Bestseller in Christianity"
27 - Ministry News
August 15 - "The Errors of the Emergent Church"
August 7 - "Evangelical Meltdown" Islam and Christianity at Yale
June 27 - "Oprah's New Age Religion" and "God, Give Us Godly Leaders"
out into the Son
Blockbuster books and hit movies confuse evil with good
By Eric Barger
By now most of you have heard about the bestselling Twilight
written by Stephenie Meyer. Thus far there are over 17 million books in
print from the series. However, if you've been hanging around in a cave somewhere
just waiting for a reason to flutter, let me sum up the storyline: Vampires
are cool. Some may be bad, but in general Vampires are cool and Edward Cullen
is the newest heart throb.
High school junior, Bella Swan, moves from Arizona to Forks on the
Washington coast (the setting for the majority of the movie) and falls in love with Edward Cullen, who, as it turns out,
is a member of a family of vampires who have learned to survive from the
blood of animals rather than that of humans.
Stewart as Bella Swan
and Robert Pattinson
as Edward Cullen
Meyer, a thirty-something Mormon mother of three from Arizona, is the author of
the four-book series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn), a novel called
The Host, and the controversial Midnight Sun which, unlike the
Twilight series, chronicles the saga from Edward's viewpoint rather
than Bella's. The release of Midnight Sun has been postponed
indefinitely because part of the unfinished manuscript was illegally leaked
on the Internet.
On Friday, November 21, 2008, the first movie,
Twilight, debuted in 3419
theaters nationwide. It came in #1 for the weekend, grossing $70 million and
crushing the nearest competitor by a three to one margin. The theater that
my wife Melanie and I saw it in was a complex of fourteen screens with three of
them playing Twilight.
Make no mistake, this is a major buzz among millions of teens right now. One fan
website sub-heading proudly proclaims it is "For the obsessed Twilight
There is a whole market industry based on the books. Twilight has
induced a multi-million dollar cottage industry spawning everything from
t-shirts and clothing to tattoos and pod casts. As we have noted with other
such phenomena, books are being written about the books! Four days after the
movie's release I went to a local Walmart to find the store sold out of
Twilight series books. Same with the Target across the street. It isn't
that they didn't plan; it's just that there is no way to keep up with the
Nikki Kinke of Deadline Hollywood Daily reported
(Nov 22, 2008):
"Exit polling showed audiences were 75%/25% female to male, and
55%/25% under or over the age of 25. Fangirls -- or should I say fang-girls
-- were buying 5 Twilight tickets per second as of early Friday morning,
making it online ticket-seller Fandango's fastest-selling film since The
Dark Knight last July. Then the tween and teen females in store bought or
homemade Twilight clothes (and even Twilight tattoos) flocked to the first
Big Screen version of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling series of Romeo &
Juliet-style vampire romance books. Yet the movie adaptation by Melissa
Rosenberg was made by start-up studio Summit for only $37M. This will be the
start of a big new franchise since a sequel is already in the works -- "New
Moon," based on Meyer's second book in the series. The first box office
records have already been broken by Twilight's girl power. This is the
biggest opening for a female director. Catherine Hardwicke is easily beating
Mimi Leder's $41.1M for 1998's Deep Impact. (But with an asterisk since
these figures aren't adjusted for inflation, ticket prices, etc.) Twilight
will have the 2nd best opening day for a November release behind Harry
Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, and the 11th best Friday opening of all time,
beating the first Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, and the 15th best
opening day ever. It also scored the 4th best November opening weekend of
all time, and the 4th best opening weekend of 2008. It's a defining moment
for Summit's start-up studio that had really struggled on its first few
releases. On Saturday morning, Summit officially announced the greenlight
for the New Moon sequel (I'm told to contain costs the studio is considering
making sequels #2 and #3 back to back like other successful franchises have
done), and Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan)
formally thanked fans for their support of what is now a movie franchise.
Speaking of Harry Potter, make no mistake: Twilight is
the next Harry Potter. In fact, many are saying, "Who's Harry Potter?" Many
of the same Potter fans are now loyal to Meyer's saga and it's a logical move
for a culture craving supernaturalism. From a school of witchcraft to a
clan of vampires, readers and movie goers are again proving how broad the
thirst is for mystical power whose source is decidedly not
Evil vs. Good or Evil vs. more Evil?
The storyline of Twilight is generally two-faceted. It is first
"boy vampire meets a mortal girl" and secondarily "'good' vampires fight
'bad' vampires." Then there are the werewolves introduced in the second
book, New Moon.
Many of the characters in the novel possess supernatural abilities such as:
- Mind reading
- Lycanthropy (shape shifting)
- Pre-cognitive knowledge of future events - mediumship
- Super strength, hearing and speed
- They also don't eat, sleep or need to breathe
A quick reading of Deuteronomy 18:9-12 clearly outlines God's final word
on many of these vampire attributes. I covered these four verses for over
100 pages in my book
Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion.
Interestingly, Meyer begins Twilight
with the words of Genesis 2:17:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat
of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Even though Meyer says on her website that the cover of the book (the
apple) symbolizes "forbidden fruit" and that the Genesis scripture reference
is related to Bella's eventual understanding of the knowledge of good and
evil, the inference of this passage is much more. It is about the fall of
mankind and about eternal life (something vampires claim to have). Even
Mormon theology would be hard pressed to come up with less than this
The Cullen family is led by Edward's "father" (through vampirism) the
"best" vampire, Dr. Carlisle Cullen. The elder Cullen was raised centuries
ago by a father who, as an Anglican pastor, hunted witches and destroyed
werewolves - and vampires. (Speaking of this in the manuscript, Meyer throws
a direct barb toward supposedly intolerant, orthodox Christian ministers.)
Some believe that due to this background, Dr. Cullen's character seeks to
rise above the nature of a vampire, becoming a doctor in order to do good and
save people. However, what is actually evident here are two disturbing
First, Meyer has incorporated in Dr. Cullen's makeup the Mormon
edict that a person must accomplish their own good acts in order to be
redeemed. I commonly refer to this as "works salvation," which is a mainstay
taught in every Mormon seminary, church and home. In Mormonism, the
onus for salvation is all about what a person does for the Mormon Church -
instead of what Jesus completely finished for us. (Concerning this, it is
interesting that more than one Mormon blog entry has complained that Meyer
integrates far too much Mormon doctrine into her books.)
Second and most
disturbing is the notion that the Cullens seem to view their state as
generally hopeless. This shouts loudly against the omnipotent power of
Jehovah God to accomplish deliverance. In a subtle and unspoken manner, the
books assert that God is unable to rescue one from the incurable eternal ill
that vampirism is presented to be. Whether vampirism is but a mythical
malady or not, this thinking may translate to the reader that Jesus'
sacrifice was not sufficient or that it is only by one's own righteousness
that freedom (or eternal life) can be attained. The truth is that God is
indeed able to deliver anyone and everyone and such deliverance is only
available through the power of the Cross! One can argue that vampires either
do or do not exist. I know personally of one very credible person whose
testimony recounts actually participating in vampirism to gain supernatural
satanic power. However, the point here is that, no matter how deep the pit of
evil and sin one may be trapped in, Jesus' power is greater.
Praise the Lord!
The fact is that the entire Twilight series is glamorizing and
promoting vampirism. It is fueling the craving for eternal human
life and for dominating superhuman abilities and strength. In the book and
movie, Bella powerfully begs her vampire love interest to make her one of his
like (by biting her neck of course). Edward restrains himself but only for
the sake of drawing out the suspense, for she indeed does join him in
vampire status in later books (and in a future movie). Though Meyer is to be
commended that Bella's unwanted pregnancy later in the series does not end
in abortion, one has to wonder if the union of two vampires could produce a
God-created human in the first place.
Twilight has been defended as a positive book because it contains
no sex, seems to preach abstinence and includes only mild swearing. "Whose
version of morality is that?" I ask. This is simply a lesser-of-the-two-evils
approach and, while I readily admit that this romantic styled chick flick is
far less ominous than a large number of the books and movies out there
today, how can a biblically-minded Christian endorse it as acceptable for a
To revisit a theme I wrote and spoke of many times during the height of
the Harry Potter fad, the heroes of today are much like the villains I grew
up watching on TV. Gone are the likes of Roy Rogers, Ward Cleaver and Red
Skelton. The people whom we're asked to root for at the movies today act more
like the thugs portrayed in 1950's Hollywood entertainment. The marker of
truth and what is good and right has surely moved and it hasn't been pretty.
I will admit that, in comparison, the content of
Twilight seems lightweight in the overall scheme of today's motion
picture industry. The trailers previewing other forthcoming features that
were shown before the screening of Twilight were frankly shocking and full of occultism
and gut-wrenching violence. However, have we stooped so low as to say
Twilight, with its vampire heroes and PG-13 rating is somehow more
acceptable than the more gruesome R-rated jobs?" Is "not as bad as" somehow
a prerequisite, making something OK for our kids? Since when did "the
lesser-of-two-evils" become a biblical principle? One needs to be aware
that there are Satanists who in real life practice drinking the blood of
humans. To many occultists, vampirism is not just a fairy tale but something
coveted. No matter how dreamy Hollywood may present Edward Cullen to be or
how obsessed some junior higher may become with him, Twilight
is nothing short of Satan's cloak of evil appearing good. Remember, the
most deceptive evil is not the most obvious. It is the most subtle. It also
induces more people who may be repulsed by overt darkness to begin the
journey from right to wrong.
Two Scriptures immediately come to mind here.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness
for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their
own sight! - Isaiah 5:20-21
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of
light. - II Corinthians 11:14
Four Life Principles
A friend of mine, Lia Carlile, who teaches at a solid Christian school in
Washington State addressed this very issue last Friday. She knew, as I did,
that, even in this good and godly environment, that the crazed idolatry
brought on by the Twilight series and movie was thriving. My two
oldest granddaughters heard Lia speak warning them and their classmates and
for good reason. Several of my 12-year-old granddaughters friends had been
trying to convince her to both read these 500+ page books and go to
the movie with them. Thankfully, both my kiddos have voluntarily rejected
Meyer's books and shunned the movie without parental intervention.
I want to share with you a few of the points Lia brought up to the
students. They are reminiscent of things I have said over the last
two+ decades concerning to what and whom we give our time, mind, money, and
emotions. Moreover, the following points speak as a checklist to see if
we have fallen into making something besides Jehovah our "god" or if we are
on the road toward full blown idol worship.
Question 1 - Me and God
How is this thing building my relationship with the Lord?
How does my interest in this area compare with my time invested in my
relationship with the Lord?
Question 2 - Me and the People Around Me
Is this creating conflict in my family or with others?
Does it offend other believers or is it confusing them in their faith?
What am I saying to my non-Christian friends or what example am I setting
Question 3 - The Bible
What does the Bible have to say about this? Who does it glorify-God or
Satan? Jesus or the things of the World?
Question 4 - Me and Twilight (or whatever applies)
How is this affecting what I think about; my attitude, heart, and mind?
Does it help me to do what is right according to God? Or, does it promote
things of the World?
Does it distract me from the Lord and my relationships with others? Serving,
praying, reading Bible, ministry, etc.
Does it cause me to say, think, or do things that are contrary to Jesus and
Lia outlined many Scriptures in her notes. One passage that I have pointed
out often is Colossians 2:8 which warns us to guard against being taken
captive by the deceptiveness of the world. This is up to us to do or not do.
What will your decision be?
(To view all of Lia's notes on Twilight
Leviticus 17 tells us that life is in the blood. This Old Testament
teaching from The Law finds unfathomable depths of meaning when one thinks
of what Christ's blood represents for all who will believe.
Satan is very interested in the mockery of God's Word, His name and His
Cross. Lucifer, as with vampires, is bloodthirsty. He would love nothing
more than to deceive young, impressionable people - whom God loves and Jesus
died for - into somehow believing that eternal life can be attained some
other way than through Jesus and His once-for-all sacrifice on Calvary.
Until the final battle has been fought and the Lord has come with His
everlasting and perfect peace, Satan will attempt to prevail through
manipulating those whom he may. Stephenie Meyer is just one in a long line of
those to whom, without their understanding it, the Evil One has paid big
money for their services. Twilight is more than mere entertainment. To
some it has become every bit as important and as captivating as a religion.
The most famous line from the book and movie is Edward Cullen's statement
to Bella, "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb." This is Meyer's
crafty, yet sick, play upon biblical words. The truth is that when Satan is
vanquished and evil is defeated, then and only then will the lion and the
lamb live in harmony - not as a hundred-year-old vampire and his wannabe
girlfriend. While Meyer's character Bella so flippantly decides that nothing
is more important than spending eternity with Edward, regardless of the
consequences, shouldn't we be focused on our future eternity with God and on
introducing as many as we can to Him before it is too late?
powerful DVD message illustrates the desperate need for clear and decisive
biblical apologetics in the Church today. Find out why author and Christian
apologist, Eric Barger, believes that the popularity of William "Paul"
Young's emotionally charged story, The Shack,
signals an unprecedented lack of discernment from within Christianity.
the unbiblical, unorthodox theology contained in this runaway bestseller and
soon-to-be-released motion picture and how it threatens to deceive untold
numbers of both Christians and seekers in our midst.
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Universalism has become the "politically correct" religion of choice of many
in public life today. Through the misguided ministries of Carlton Pearson,
Mike Williams and others, a form of Universalism known as "Universal
Reconciliation" has made inroads into modern Christianity as well. In this
DVD presentation, Eric Barger defines and illustrates Universalism and
compares it to biblical Christianity.
Above all, this message clearly illustrates the biblical truths of salvation
through Jesus Christ alone, the absolute need for a regenerating, "born
again" experience and the fact that eternal and unending separation from God
awaits all who reject salvation through Jesus sacrificial death.
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