No Compromise or No Standards?

Twenty years ago, President Clinton was accused of engaging in…uh…not your normal sex acts with a young intern, in the Oval Office. One of the defenses presented for him was “He’s the president, not a pastor.” The thought here seemed to be that he shouldn’t be held to the same standard as a pastor or other person who “does” religion for a living.

Fast forward twenty years and the sitting president makes it clear that he endorses legal liaisons (I refuse to call them marriages) between same-sex individuals. The defense? He’s the president, not the nation’s pastor. While I disagree with the sentiment, I can at least see how the supposed differences can be justified. But you folks are going to have to help me out here. I obviously don’t understand the idea of holiness and uncompromising service to our Lord and Savior by those who profess to follow Jesus Christ as Lord.

We don’t expect the unsaved to live up to our standards. But apparently we give those who ARE pastors the same pass. Again, I probably just don’t understand. After all, I teach in a church that has fewer than twenty families as members. We don’t have a choir to die for, and we rent space from the Lutheran church. And it must be that I’m just too focused to have realistic expectations.

I would expect Jerry Bruckheimer to produce, direct, and otherwise create some movies and television shows that are, at times, vulgar and, shall we call it immodest. And you’d expect Christopher Nolan to direct movies with a fairly worldly point of view. But would you expect the same behavior from a man who insists he is the highly anointed pastor of a church and is the “covering” (whatever that is) for hundreds of other churches?

Several weeks ago, I took the wife to see “Sparkle.” Though going to movies isn’t the easiest thing in the world for us, I figured it would be good for us to get out and see a movie. She wanted to see “Sparkle” so I worked it out for us. It was a mistake.

After watching the previews for coming attractions, I settled down into my stadium seating chair with a big bucket of popcorn (no butter), set to watch the movie. And it opened with that foul-mouthed performer Cee Lo Green. While he was relatively clean in the movie, I wouldn’t have picked him as the first thing the audience sees. And I certainly would have looked for a less foul-mouthed performer to put on the pay roll.

The movie has four-lettered expletives sprinkled throughout. And I’m not just talking about theological terms like “hell.” I’m talking about scatological ones.

The only thing some of the shots of the performers were missing was a little bump-and-grind music (I would direct to some sites that explain that reference, but the sites’ contents were worse than the movie I’m complaining about).

The clothing was way past suggestive. While I don’t want to be a prude, I did have to look away several times. Here’s one of the milder wardrobe choices made by the director. I felt somewhat obliged to do a little editing on this very mild example.

So, any guesses as to who produced the movie? Bruckheimer? No. Nolan? No. Or maybe the Broccoli brothers? Okay, okay! The Broccoli brothers are dead, but you get the idea.

No, “Sparkle” was produced by none other than (drum roll), T. Dexter Jakes.

What’s my point in all of this? Simple. Is T. Dexter a Christian and a church leader, or is he an entrepreneur willing to do whatever it takes to make a profit?

I’m becoming more and more certain of the latter, with respect to both theology and economy.

Make no mistake about it: I think it is outstanding for Christians to be involved in the arts, to mirror creation, and to be creative in giving glory to God. I don’t have a problem with Christians writing books (heck, I’m trying to sell one right now), with Christians painting, or with Christians’ involvement in any and all of the arts. Why leave that area of culture to the unsaved? All they will generally do with it is corrupt it through the glorification of man or the promotion of rebellion against God.

Does a movie have to have an explicitly Christian theme? Certainly not. Should a movie producer, one who professes not just to be a Christian, but a leader, produce a work that glorifies ungodly behavior? Certainly not.

Of course, I don’t limit this to “Christian Leaders.” It’s applicable to all Christians. Paul told us in 1 Cor 10:31 to do whatever we do to the glory of God. Granted, he was speaking primarily about the observation of the Law and its strictures on what a person could eat or drink. But I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to follow this out to the arts. Do you really think a Hip Hop artist is “giving glory to God” when they receive some award wearing pasties?

When God told the artisans to embroider the hems of the robes with pomegranates (Exodus 28:33, 34) do you think He wanted it to look just any kind of way? No. It’s a pretty safe bet he wanted them to look like the fruit. And while I’m sure God had a reason for a pomegranate and not a kumquat, the point is, this artistic representation of the physical world seemed not only alright with God, but it was approved.

Then there’s music. DO you really think music has to be explicitly tied to God to be acceptable to Him? I suggest not. But I would also say the music should not promote ungodliness. The list of songs that are in rebellion to God are the norm rather than the exception. Theater and cinema are the same way. I would even go so far as to say literature is the very same way. The books need not be explicitly Christian, but they should reflect a Christian world view rather than a secular world view.

T. Dexter failed in all of this in the production of “Sparkle.” But then, should we expect anything different? He also produced “Jumping the Broom.” The actors were quite skilled. And the story line was substantial, more substantial than most of his movies and most of the modern, less violent and sex soaked Blaxploitation movies. But again we come back to why he would produce a movie with some very questionable scenes (the opening scene for starters). And why would he include at least one character who seemed to go out of its way to make Christianity look like an exercise in self-righteousness.

T. Dexter not only is too dishonest to openly admit that he is a Oneness proponent, or to stop promoting Word of Faith doctrine even while he preaches it, but he is willing to create and profit from blatantly ungodly movies. And unfortunately a lot of you professing Christians line up and give him your money to he can put ungodly philosophies and images into your heads.

So, am I missing something here?



22 Responses to “No Compromise or No Standards?”

  1. TONEE Says:

    You are right on point! We as Christians are to be a light in the world but far too often our light has been compromised or gone out in society. Preaching has become mere entertainment and prosperty messages to keep the pews filled. As for anyone in the government, we must render unto ceasar the things that are ceasar’s and the the things that are God’s to God. There has alway been a separation between church and state. So politics tend to play in both camps (moral and law/legal). TD Jakes is popular and sometimes he projects the images of the world (realistic) in his movies and entertainment. He knows the church will be alright with it as they are with everything else that crawls into its doors.

  2. TONEE Says:

    Have you been to church lately? Should we be censoring what women wear to church,or censoring the Gay choir Directors,the adultress affairs of members and the list goes on. The Church looks more reflective of our society than the society would ever look like the church( No light here!).

  3. cushie Says:


    Not sure if you were aware that Mr Jakes was involved in this film prior to your viewing…but for me, his name would be sufficient to keep me well away…

  4. Deacon Chip Says:

    Don’t look like you missed much. Anything, in fact. Seems to me a Oneness guy ought to err even more than one’s average Protestant in modesty toward the body. Pastor Jakes doth speaketh from both sided of of his Mouth.

  5. 501Ken Says:

    I have never understood how a “pastor” who has a such a large congregation ever finds the time to pursue all of these so called “revenue streams.” Not to mention the fact that his theology is heretical to begin with. This is just cynicism gone to seed because he knows the sheeple will line up and buy the tickets because his name is attached to this mess. With all of his influence and acclaim he chooses these kinds of movies instead of something uplifting like “Fireproof” or “Facing the Giants.”
    The challenge is no longer keeping the world out of the church, the challenge is keeping the church out of the world.

    • jcart91 Says:

      501Ken….you made a good point. I watched movies such as “Fireproof” and “Courageous” and never once did I see anything near the garbage I see in Jake’s movies. It a disgrace to everything that is right.

    • strawgert Says:

      Greedy people will always find the time.

  6. Cop Says:

    Sherwood pictures created the movies Fireproof, Courageous, Facing the Giants & their first film Flywheel.

    Their movies are great examples of how a “CHRISTIAN” director/producer should make a movie.

    Sadly, T.D. Jakes (and I will throw in Tyler Perry) have been built up as CHURCH FRIENDLY movie makers. They add a church scene or 2 and have someone mention a scripture and the sheeple love it.

    “What a Gawdly movie!!!”

    Jakes & Perry have no idea how to make a worthwhile Christian movie without comprising to the masses.

    I guess when your main concern is money and not the progression of the faith you get movies like, Mr Deeds, Meadea goes to jail & Sparkle.

  7. tina Says:

    T. D. Jake’s changed the story line for the moving showing what happens behind the scenes. Sister in the original movie was very rebellious and lost she died in the end. He made it show that sister was hurting she revealed her pain and went away to regroup all the while reconciling with her mother causing true conviction so that Sparkle would have some support. He tried to show that life doesn’t always have to end with people continuing to be ignorant and unforgiving.

    (MN: And he had to use cleavage, legs, and language to do it? I think not. The man, as far as I can tell, is taking advantage of people’s lack of understanding and desire to be entertained instead of edified. I’ll give you this much – SParkle didn’t sleep with anyone. )

  8. Alicia Says:

    Jakes is a charlatan at best; nothing he does surprises me. He’s been cheapening his version of “the gospel” for the sake of the thrill factor for a long time. It’s gotten to the place that the mere sound of his voice sickens me. What scares me is how many folks still herald him as such a wonderful, prolific “mand of gawd”.

    • strawgert Says:

      Ms Alicia, he makes me sick, too. I have never liked his mess, and get tired of all the church folk who’re deceived by him, who rail against the ones of us who aren’t beguiled by him, nor uphold him in his off-the-wall, unorthodox teachings and his insatiable greed.

  9. Stacy Says:

    I thank God that I keep my money in my pocket and not endorse this movie. This is the age of vigilance where the saying of Jesus becomes real each day- “be harmless as doves but wise as serpents ” and “behold, I sent you out as sheep among wolves”. Not everyone that says Lord Lord is of Jesus Christ.

  10. Lady D~ Says:

    I was visiting a local church with a relative, wonderful sermon on the returning of Christ. At the end of the announcements, the Pastor said that the youth group would meet at the church at 4 to go see Sparkle. I went into shock!! What does Sparkle have to do with Jesus?? After the service, I saw the Pastor and told him that I enjoyed the sermon, but what does Sparkle have to do with Jesus? His answer, Whitney is in it and T.D. Jakes produced it. I then asked, what do these people have to do with Jesus? I never got an answer. Needless to say, I will not visit again.

    (MN: A wise choice. The pastor certainly demonstrated on of two things:

    1. He has no discernment whatsoever.
    2. He is more interested in being viewed as “hip” than as godly and holy.

    Either way, he is likely leading the congregation down a rat hole. )

  11. prevailing word ministries Says:

    Speaking of Tyler Perry. Would anyone take seriously a man wearing a dress in violation of Deuteronomy 22:5? So why should we take seriously a man who claims to be of God and show the church the way the world does movies?


    TANAEBROWNE Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    June 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    Just read this and you are 100% correct. Movies like Fireproof, Left Behind, Courageous are truly what Christian productions should be about. We know the world is full of women that prefer to dress like dime store trollups [my grandmothers’ phrase – skanks, we now call them] and $2 harlots. Men that cannot decide to be male, female or “what-the-wh-aa-at!” And all and everything in between. Preachers that rather lust laciviously and salivate at hoochie-ville skanks traspsing down the aisles on Sunday wearing booty-stank skirts and no panties [who wants to sit behind this vulgar-diseased trash?], dresses and blouses cut to the naval, nipples blaring out of see-thru halter tops and worse–daisy dukes and low-riding capris on some 360 lb. buffalo butt sinner woman wearing a thong dillusional enough to think she is Halle Berry, Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez. ALL CHURCHES SHOULD RAISE A CLARION CALL FOR MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS!!! Some of these lunatics will never become saved until their minds are set free from false doctrine and corrupt thinking. Black people, in particular, used th truly reference the church. We really grasped the concept that the pulpit and the church grounds are CONSECRATED! Even little children understood the concept–they didn’t eat in church, put their feet on the pews, talk while the ministers were praying and reading scriptures, etc. If they did, they would’ve been shut down by an usher, motherboard member, deacon and better yet–the Pastor. Now, the jokesters are so desperate for a dollar that they allow anything to go in their sanctuaries so as not to sacrifice a few tithes each week. It hasn’t occurred to the idolators that people that violate the temple are not the ones supporting it in the first place. They come to glean, corrupt and pollute. When they leave [they always migrate to some other feeble ‘unsaved’ environment], they carry the same toxic energy/spirit-forms to the next church and douze it… Until Christians stop behaving like a bunch of lilly-livered baffoons themselves and go up in their churches and demand their pastors take authority [like Jesus did in the Temple when He went there and found it being used for everything – “tax collecting, selling merchandise, etc”] and turn out the thieves, taxcollectors and disobedient gender confused lunatics…we all will continue to endure this disrespectful atmosphere within the Body of Christ. The Bible instructs us that “it rains on the just and the unjust”. We have to become like Joshua and decide “this day whom we will serve” [the gods on the other side of the River where Abraham was told to abandon or the God who lovingly chose us as His people to serve Him and only Him]. He said,”I AM the Lord your God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.” World will soon self-destruct, unfortunately if will drag most of the church with it – albeit, kicking and screaming to a God who has already warned us when this happens His response will be “…I KNOW YOU NOT!!!

  13. Rhonda Says:

    I don’t even know if this reply will be posted, since it’s not in the same vein of “preaching to the choir” as the rest of the responses. As a christian who was taught not to judge others, and who believes, through years of personal experience, that the most pious among us are generally the ones with the most to hide, I find the reasoning presented here to be the main problem with the church today. The church is NOT for the saved to sit around patting each other on the back, reassuring each other of how much better they are than everyone else and demonizing the people in “the world”, our job is to reach out to those people and show them how GOD’S LOVE can change even the worst heart, mind and life. As much as some of us may want to live in a world apart, WE DON’T. Why do you think Jesus’s ministry was targeted to the poor, the sick, the outcasts, the criminals, the prostitutes? We live right here with the REST of the sinners, and ignoring the things going on around us neither changes them or makes them go away. How many non-christians have seen the direct-to-dvd “Fireproof”? How many “worldly” people took the messages in the more mainstream movies to heart and changed their lives? None of us knows the answer to either of these questions, but I can guanantee that more people have seen the movies by T.D. Jakes & Tyler Perry. The truth is that non-christians are NOT seeking out “Christian” entertainment, and if you believe in the Bible’s mandate that we bring souls to Christ, you understand that we have to meet them where they are. Most people can relate to the characters in the movies that you are so sanctimoniously critizing. Either they, or someone they know and love, speaks that way, dresses that way, etc… So if the people you heap such derision upon bring “worldly” movie-going audience relatable, true-to-life characters who eventually come to realize that God’s way is not just the right way, but the ONLY way, why are you so critical? I dare say that all of you have engaged in behavior that is NOT pleasing to GOD. Like right here. Judge not lest ye be judged. He who is without sin cast the first stone. Just my humble opinion.

    • Stacy Says:

      You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

      (MN: And your point is what, exactly? Are you saying that the pimps have lost their saltiness and should be discarded? Are you saying that those who sit and do nothing about the pimps have lost their saltiness and should be poured out? Quoting a verse doesn’t tell me anything all by itself. Please expound on your quote. )

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