Jesus Camp

22 Sep

** Update ** Please read the comments for further discussion of this post. -dip

I was a little disturbed when I saw a preview of a new documentary called “Jesus Camp”. I knew they weren’t talking about the type of Christianity that I know. The problem is that many people will look at this and conclude that all “Christians” are crazy. There’s a pretty good review of the documentary here. I pretty much agree with what he has to say. There will always be people trying to portray followers of Jesus in a bad light. Crazy people like this Becky Fischer don’t do much to help the cause. They miss the whole point of Jesus’ message:

We all have sinned. We will always sin. That sin seperates us from God. Since God is a just God, He demands a consequence for our sin. The consequence for sin (all sin) is eternal seperation from God – a spiritual death. But – and this is the good part – God is also a loving God. He wants a relationship with us and He knows that there isn’t anything thing that we can do on our own to reconcile ourselves to Him. So, he sent his son Jesus to this earth to be the one human on earth who was perfect. He was blame free. Then, in the ultimate act of love, Jesus allowed himself to die, to pay for the sins of every human being. He demonstrated the power he had over death by physically raising from the dead and after a few weeks, went physically into heaven.

What was Jesus’ message? To be saved from eternal seperation from God, we only have to admit that we are sinners, acknowledge that we are seperated from God, believe in what Jesus did for us. Our faith should be in the fact that Jesus’ sacrificial act is our path to salvation. As a result of placing our faith in Jesus, we now have the ability to have a personal, intentional relationship with God directly. We don’t have to go through anyone.

Do we become perfect? Of course not. We are all still sinners. But as we acknowledge our sin we also know that God is faithful and forgives our sin. Does that mean there are a bunch of rules to follow? Nope! Does it mean you become some crazed Jesus freak? Most likely not! But here is what it does mean. Jesus said the most important commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. The second most important commandment is similar – to love others like your love yourself.” If we strive to practice these two ideas – everything else will fall into place.

5 Replies to “Jesus Camp

  1. Dave,

    Thanks for linking to my guest commentary over at MinistryToday. I agree with you about the central teaching of the Gospel and the primacy of the great commandment. But I wouldn’t want to cast aspersions at Becky Fischer and claim that she’s “crazy people” or that she totally misses the point. For example, here’s an excerpt, shown in the film, where she talks about sin to the children:

    “See, we’re talking this week about how the devil uses tactics to destory our lives. The first tactic that he uses is to tempt you with sin. You see when you first start out as a kid–particularly, cause that’s when all this stuff starts (she holds up a small stuffed lion)–when you start out as a kid sin just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. It looks kind of fun in fact, warm and fuzzy. But sin is designed to destroy you. And you feed this baby long enough and he’s going to grow in your life until you got yourself a tiger by the tail … (now she swings a large stuffed lion by the tail) … and you don’t know which end is up and what used to seem very innocent now controls your life.”

    I frankly don’t have a problem with her description of the insidiousness of sin. And, hopefully, it drove a message home to the kids. I think she’s right.

    I also wouldn’t want to claim that Fischer and her staff are not teaching children to love God with all their heart and to love their fellows, too. I see absolutely no evidence of hatred on the part of Fischer or the children anywhere in this documentary. Indeed, the sole source of vitriol in the documentary comes from the Methodist commentator, Mike Papantonio, and his call-in guests.

    Now, I’m no apologist for Becky Fischer. I don’t align with her 100% theologically, and I have some concerns about some of her camp’s practices. But I think she loves Jesus, and she truly loves children. The film misrepresents her–as it does all Christians, really. She has her place in the Body and I welcome her. I think she is doing a service for the Church. After all, as Paul said, Christ is preached. And the children in her camp come face-to-face with that reality.



  2. Rich

    Re-reading my post, I guess I realized that I focused my anger and embarassment toward the wrong party. I was just about to write an update to my post when I received your comments. Thank you. I went to your website and read your long post. I need to apologize to Becky Fischer. My reaction shouldn’t have been directed toward her – it should have been toward those who made the documentary. I guess, in simplified terms, I am just tired of Christians being made fun of – and I’m tired of Christians putting themselves into a position to be made fun of.

  3. David,

    Thanks so much for your comment and the email you sent me personally to notify me. I think I would’ve found the comment eventually (I subscribe to all my own comments like the ego-surfing blogger I am via coComment), but I really appreciate the honesty and integrity you’ve demonstrated by taking the trouble to notify me personally, and for deciding to apologize to Becky Fischer.

    It is an amazingly rare thing to see mere words actually change a person’s opinion and it speaks highly of you that you considered what I wrote, took it at face-value, and decided to change your mind. I’m not sure I can take much credit for it, though, since I only reported what I saw in the film, but perhaps I was also responding to the Spirit’s nudging to check your link out and then to respond.

    Thank you, again, for taking the time to think and to respond.



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  5. I just finished watching, “Jesus Camp.” The movie encouraged me so much in my faith! I have a desire to encourage all my Christian friends to watch this. It doesn’t really matter to me the perspective that the directors of this film took. You see what God wants you to see. I see a woman, Becky Fisher, impassioned for the Lord and being obedient to her call. I see children that are hungry for the Lord. Having been saved only four years ago at the age of 28, I know well that the worlds way is empty. ‘Christians’ can be quick to cast down anything they are not comfortable with and they often presuppose that they ‘know the pure truth’ of their faith/their religion. If you know the word, then you know that Jesus said, in Matt 10:34-39 the following: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
    ” ‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
    “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
    As we mature and grow in our faith, we come not only to know the great love of God, but, also His wrath and His hatred of sin. Laying down our lives for another often means incurring rejection from the world such as Becky Fisher for the soul/life of another. What greater demonstration of love for another then risking rejection to share truth. This is the Truth that will save people from eternity apart from God! I’ve been apart from God. There is nothing worse. I often share and witness to others, not out of fear or indoctrination, but, out of LOVE! It is my love for others and my love for God that propels my ‘evangelistic’ heart as a Christian.

    The Bible says “though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand” (Luke 8:10) An unsaved person without Christ in them, would never understand the stories in this movie.
    If I watched this movie before I was saved, I would have had the world’s perspective and thought they were ‘crazy.’

    I want the faith of these children. The gifts of the spirit seem to divisive to some, but, why not pray for the gifts, seek for yourself, ask God to reveal the truth about them and let that stand?? This walk is amazing. I know the before and the after. Thank you, Jesus, for the after.

    P.S. Charles Spurgeon said that if you weren’t compelled for others to be saved, then he doubted you were saved at all. Those who are forgiven much… much. True Christians are humble in heart, full of live, full of grace and they walk in power (tongues and all…)

    Blessings in Christ our Lord!

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