Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Church Divided

divide* /dɪˈvaɪ dɪd/  verb, -vid·ed, -vid·ing, noun; verb
- to separate into parts, groups, sections, etc.
- to separate or part from something else; sunder; cut off.
- to deal out in parts; distribute in shares; apportion.
- to cleave; part.
- to separate in opinion or feeling; cause to disagree.

A new movie is being released called Divided.  It's about the age segregation we find in our traditional churches across America and whether the format these churches operate on is benefiting the family and the faith or harming it.  It's tagline is 'Modern Youth Ministry is Contrary to Scripture'.  Ok, wow.  If that doesn't get your local youth pastor's goat, I don't know what will.  This film is so controversial, it was blacklisted by the D6 Conference and Christianity Today!  After viewing the film online (free for a limited time), I realize it's very countercultural and harshly questions the acceptable norm of how our churches carry out certain ministries these days.  The film has even been labeled as propaganda.  Doug Phillips writes about it on his blog:

Doug Phillips, founder of Vision Forum Ministries who briefly appears in Divided, commented on the backlash: “The film’s detractors have sent a clear message to the Church: they will accept virtually anything from evangelicalism, except the position that says that the discipleship of youth should be directed in a family-integrated context, and that the youth-driven “Youth Ministry” is toxic; this position will not be tolerated,” Phillips said.

Brown offered this: “While Divided has been well-received by thousands, the opposition it has garnered illustrates one of the film’s core messages: that the church today has drifted away from Scripture and toward modern culture for her answers.

After watching the film myself, I can understand the resistance from mainstream evangelicals and youth ministries.  Nobody likes to hear they may be going about something in the wrong way.  However resistance is one thing, but banning a film (and without even seeing it?!) is another.  Who are we as a Christian culture that we can't even entertain challenging viewpoints within our own faith?  And whether you agree with the message behind the film or not, it will raise questions, stir healthy debate and challenge the status quo.
“The crux of the matter is that progressively over the last 200 years, the church has set aside the sufficiency of Scripture for the discipleship of the next generation.  And what you’ve been seeing is the devastation that has resulted from that as the church has abandoned the principles for the training of the next generation.”1
Since I enjoy debate and am intrigued by countercultural philosophies within society and specifically within the church, this film is right up my alley in terms of watching and then discussing this topic within community.  I encourage you to sit down and watch the film which lasts just under an hour and then leave your comments here.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this film and on the theological philosophies presented therein.

The film can be seen here online for a limited time only and will not be available after September 2011.

* From
1. Quoted from an interview with Scott Brown who is also executive producer of Divided
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