Hollywood Heroes And Gospel Connections – With Apologist Dr. Frank Turek: We’ve all noticed the corruption of Hollywood productions since its Golden Age. But, what if you could use what they’re putting out to help others see evidence for Christianity and learn important life lessons? Do you want to know how to share the Gospel using modern movies? Tune in to hear Dr. Frank Turek discuss his new book and discover a fun way to share Biblical themes with your teens and others using today’s pop-culture movies!

Air Date: 06/21/2022

Guest: Frank Turek

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture


Welcome to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us at the intersection of faith and the culture. You can learn more about us at our website wallbuilderslive.com.

I’m Rick Green, a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach. And I’m here with David Barton and Tim Barton. Tim’s a national speaker and pastor, president of WallBuilders. And then David is America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. You can learn more about all three of us at that website.

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What we’re going to do today is same thing we do every day, we look at whatever the hot topics of the day are from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And we’re glad you’re along for the ride.

Alright, David, and Tim, later in the program, we’ve got Frank Turek with us. We’re going to be talking about a new book, he’s got out called Heroes, actually talking about a lot of the Hollywood movies and some of the themes and sort of the way stories are told. Hollywood is not necessarily something new to WallBuilders. 

The American Journey Experience

You guys actually have some really cool stuff in the museum at WallBuilders from not Hollywood of today. Well, you do have some of the recent stuff. But some of the really long time ago stuff even before Hollywood was big, like Ben-Hur stuff from the early 1900s.


Yeah, we do. We actually have a fairly large Ben-Hur collection. And really, there’s just such a powerful story going back with Lew Wallace and kind of his journey of faith and when he discovers faith, wanting to tell the story and kind of unapologetic for that. 

And so we have a lot of really cool stuff from Ben-Hur, many of it from the movie that Charlton Heston was in decades ago. But there were several Ben-Hur movies done early on, early 1900s, mid 1900s. And so we have things from multiple different Ben-Hur’s.

But in our collaborative effort with Glenn Beck over The American Journey experience, we have all kinds of modern pop culture stuff. We have stuff from Indiana Jones. We have stuff from the Wizard of Oz and Titanic and some of the Avengers, Captain America. We have stuff from the original Star Wars movie. So, all kinds of fun stuff. One of my favorites as a kid of the 80s, the Princess Bride original script, super fun. Willy Wonka…


Wait, you have the Princess Bride, or that’s like inconceivable. I had to. I had to. I couldn’t help it. I had to.


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.



All of our friends that grew up watching it a million times will know what we’re saying.


Absolutely. You know, as you wish, it’s no problem. But so many fun things. And part of the reason that we have some of the things in the collection, it really is the story narrative for some of the Hollywood pop culture like the Ben-Hur, we certainly can go back. And there’s an important historical story to tell with that, that is a lot of the Christian faith and heritage that we try to highlight along the way in The American Journey.

But there’s also some things that are much more modern current because it’s a draw for people that want to come see some of the original Star Wars stuff or some of the more modern recent… We actually have the first glove, Tony Stark from Iron Man one, we have Captain America Shield, Crew Seven Shield.

So, definitely some stuff that can draw people in. But the goal was once we draw them in, we want to help tell a lot of the story of America, the Christian heritage of America, who the Founding Fathers were, etc. But Hollywood is definitely a significant part of what we had.

Dad, I think we even have stuff old reels, right, from some old John Wayne movies. And what are all the reels we have? I  know there’s a lot of old reels from those movies as well.


Yeah, we do have a lot of original old reel so stuff for example, Maureen O’Hara and the roles that she played. We have her film of Quiet Man and also Real Bravo, which is the John Wayne movie, both of those John Wayne movies.


Well, I liked that you notice Maureen O’Hara. I was just tracking with John Wayne in those movies. But yes, I guess there was more than one character in those movies. So, yes.

Academy Awards


Well, it’s because it was Maureen O’Hara copy of the John Wayne movies that she was in. So that’s why I know it from both sides. And it really is kind of fun to look back at Hollywood. A lot of folks today have not seen a lot of the old Hollywood movies. I mean, they’ve seen the new action movies, and we’re going to talk about that later with Frank Turek.

But even the old movies, you go back to the old Hollywood, there was a different climate in Hollywood from what we’re used to, and what were called the golden years in the 1930s to the 1950s, there’s two things that stood out in Hollywood, and that was God and country. 

And both of them are really, really strong. I just went through recently and made a list of the academy award winning actors that were active duty military veterans, many of whom saw service in World War II or in the Korean War. In the case of Walt Disney, who won nearly 70 Academy Awards, he was an ambulance driver in World War I.

But you know, some of these names people know and some they won’t. But Humphrey Bogart was in the Navy and Walter Brennan, I think, three Academy Awards, he was in the army. He was actually Purple Heart engine battle. Spencer Tracy was Navy, Ernest Borgnine, Neville Brown, all these guys that were so big. 

Even somebody like Charlton Heston in World War II, he had nuclear clearance in World War II with atomic secrets in World War II. And I mean, Ronald Reagan, I think, he rose to the rank of captain in the Army in World War II, so many of you guys saw active service. And so it’s not surprising that the movies they produced are really pro-American, and they love American, they’re not tearing her down.

The Golden Age

But the other thing that really stands out is faith. There were so many Academy Award winning movies that were built around faith. You know, Tim mentioned Ben-Hur, and you look at the Ben-Hur movie, and oh my goodness, out of 12 Academy Awards given, he got 11 Academy Awards, and it’s a story of Christ from a distance, a guy that keeps bumping into Christ eventually becomes a Christian at the end. 

But even the 10 Commandments movies, Cecil B. DeMille, I mean, that’s a largest set ever made for a movie. It was a blockbuster epic. The 10 Commandments movie, it was bigger than life. I mean, Cecil B. DeMille is called the “father of the biblical epic”. And that’s what he did.

Even in the days of silent movie, Cecil B. DeMille did a movie on the life of Christ, is called “King of kings”. And that Silent movie was seen by almost 1/4 of the world, there’s about 3 billion, people back then, 3.2, and 800,000,000 people saw the Silent movie King of kings. And he did that to tell the story of Jesus. And so there’s just so many movies back in those golden years that were God and country kind of movies.

And even the movie code they had back then, man, the movie code would not let you do anything to disrespect the flag or disrespect God or disrespect the church or disrespect cops. I mean, if you showed a bad cop, you always had to show him being punished. Nobody got away with doing something bad. So the whole code was so different. And it’s kind of like we’ve gotten away from him or knowledge to that today.

But when you look back at the old Hollywood it really was a God and America kind of theme and it was really wholesome type of movies and entertainment for America. It’s really something we could use today.

Welcome Frank Turek


Yeah. And one of the things too, that is worth noting, is Frank Turek as an apologist, he’s able to be a critical thinker and to look through things. And one of the things certainly as Christians we’re going to be able to do is tell the stories from the Bible, obviously, the story of Jesus, the story of the gospel.

And one of the things that I appreciate Frank actually has this new book out where he’s able to go through some of these movies and take pop culture movies, things that are current and relevant right now or at least in the last decade, and help people see the connection of how you actually can tell some of the Gospel through this. Whereas maybe dad, you’re missing some these old Hollywood movies, they were explicitly giving you the gospel and the Ben-Hur, and some of these 10 Commandments of these biblical epics, not all of them, certainly.

But there definitely were moments where there was a very explicit outward showing and telling of the gospel message. We don’t see that as visibly these days. We can talk about the TV show “Chosen”, which is great. Everybody listening, you need. 

Watch “Chosen” if you haven’t, it’s incredible. But one of the things that certainly is relevant with the modern culture between the Netflix and the Amazon Prime or the Disney plus or the HBO and Hulu and YouTube TV and all these streaming outlets, all these movies, we have a generation that’s being saturated, saturating themselves with so many TV shows and movies. 

And so, Frank, in this book, I think it’s him and his son that go through and they just highlight some of these really famous TV shows and movies that are out right now saying, hey, for people that know those, here’s a gospel connection you can show through these movies. So it’s a really interesting idea of being able to share the gospel looking at some of these modern movies.


Alright, Frank Turek, our special guests, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.


Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton, I am interrupting the normal broadcast to bring you something pretty special. This summer, we are doing a special program for college aged students 18-25 year olds. And it’s something that is becoming more and more special based on where the climate is.

In the middle of a crazy culture, in the middle of a nation going in crazy directions and right now we’re seeing in academia where even Christian universities are promoting critical race theory, teaching the 1619 project, we want to do something to help equip young people the next generation, to know the truth, the truth of the Word of God, the truth of America, the truth of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the free market, we want to get into a lot of this. 

And this is something that if you are an 18-25 year old, or if you are a parent or grandparent, if you have an 18 or 25 year old, if you’re in church 18-25 year olds, this program is something that can be life-changing for them, you want them to be a part. Go to wallbuilders.com and look for the summer institute to be part of this program.


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. So great to have Frank Turek back with us. Check out crossexamined.org, crossexamined, wait is it.com or.org, Frank, as I was saying it, it was coming out of my mouth, it was.org? I always get confused on that part. Frank, thanks for coming on, bro.


With a D on the end of it, crossexamined.org.


Crossexamined.org, and wealth of information. Frank, thanks for what you do to just help get us wisdom and how to articulate wisdom in the culture. You’re so good at that. But God bless you, brother. Thanks for coming back on.


Thanks for having me on, Rick.

How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God


Hey, fun new book you’ve got out, enjoyed listening to you on Cooper stuff with John Cooper, you and your son both. And how cool is it to get to work with your son and do a book with your son. Let’s just start there. That’s got to be awesome.


Yeah, that was great. My son now is 34-years-old. He’s actually an Intel officer in the military. But he’s already been through seminary. He’s been to our seminary, Southern Evangelical Seminary, so he has his master’s degree. And he and I, about five years ago, were sitting around thinking about movies because he’s such a movie buff. 

And I said to him, Zack, there’s so many parallels in the movies, particularly superhero and fantasy movies to the greatest story ever told and the heroes in these movies are all pointing to the ultimate hero Jesus of Nazareth. So he wrote this book called “Hollywood Heroes: How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God”.


Love it. Love it. “Hollywood Heroes: How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God”. Now these are stories that, frankly, I mean most people have seen Captain America, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, I mean now we do think of Tolkien, right? Well, I will say yeah, Lord of the Rings, but we don’t think of these other stories like that?


Well, some of them, Rick, are not written by Christians, but they can’t help putting sacrifice into their stories because sacrifice, the greatest form of love as Jesus put it resonates with people. Like can I give you an example of that?





One of the storylines we cover movie franchises we cover is Iron Man plus all the Avenger movies. And as you know, Tony Stark who plays Iron Man is a billionaire playboy, amoral arms dealer when he starts out. But he goes on this long character arc, Rick, to by the time he gets to endgame, he is the hero who spoiler alert is going to sacrifice himself to save the world from the evil fan…


Oh, no. So those three people that haven’t seen the movie now know… No, go ahead. I’m sorry.


Alright, so he goes on this long character arc, which involves guarding his heart, which I think is the most important Bible verse in the Bible today other than the gospel, it’s Proverbs 4:23, which says, above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it.

You know, Rick, our culture today says “Follow your heart.” That’s not the right advice. Guard your heart. See, Tony Stark is following his heart as a Playboy and he’s miserable. He’s got everything to live with and nothing to live for. 

Tony Stark

He’s got no good direction, no purpose. It’s only when he guards his heart and this device installed in his chest is a beautiful visual representation of that, the device is guarding his heart from encroaching shrapnel. If it fails, he dies.

That’s a beautiful picture of Proverbs 4:23, above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it. It’s not until he begins to guard his heart and focus us on what’s really important can he sacrifice himself to save the world.

Now think about this, Rick. Suppose at the end of endgame, Tony Stark, Iron Man said to his Avenger buddies, as they’re about to take on Thanos, suppose he said, you know, guys, I’m just not feeling it today. I don’t think I’m going to take on Thanos. 

I think I need to get back to following my heart and taken care of just me. I’m out. And then the movie ended, right? Would anybody be enchanted with that? Would anybody be inspired with that? No, everybody would go the guy went down, he didn’t do what was right.

You see, what resonates with us is exactly what the Bible says happened to Jesus, that he sacrificed himself to save the world and that by trusting in him you can be saved too. Well, that’s basically the message is so many of these movies. These superhero movies, they take us from evil pain and suffering to a place of bliss through sacrifice. And so that’s what we point out in the book Hollywood Heroes:…


And I love this because like you said, even these writers or producers or whoever, even if they weren’t thinking that, what you’ve done is you’ve given us as parents as well an incredible tool to be able to take these things that are happening in culture and then most kids are seeing anyway that are fun and entertaining and they’ll be able to transfer that into a great story and segue to, as you say, the greatest story ever told. I mean, it’s a fantastic tool for being able to teach biblical principles, to take these things that are popular in culture and use them as tools to teach biblical principles.

Hollywood Heroes


Biblical principles, biblical life lessons, we got apologetics weaved throughout the book as well. So they’re going to get a lot of evidence for the faith in the book, Hollywood Heroes. So look, it’s much more exciting for your teenagers when you say, hey, kids, let’s have movie night rather than kids, let’s have another lecture.


It’s so true. I mean and this is what we got to do. Because let’s face it, we’re losing the culture. The American culture is crumbling. The Christian, the kids are walking away from the faith in huge numbers.

We’ve got to have better tools and not be these boring, dull you know, boy, look at all your friends having a great time over there and all we’re going to do is sit over here in our bonnets and sock and drink milk out of a chair. And we got to stop that nonsense and we got to start showing people that the…


I just doing a little research yesterday on fatherlessness: check this out. The average school age boy spends only about 30 minutes per week in one-on-one conversations with his father. For comparison, the same boy on average will spend about 44 hours per week watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet.


There’s no chance.

Jesus’ Parables


Yeah, when there’s no chance. So you need a tool to help young people actually learn the truth about Christianity, learn the truth about biblical life lessons, learn the truth about guarding your heart, not following your heart. And that’s what we try and do in Hollywood Heroes. At least you can have some fun with them doing it.


Yeah. This is the way to fight right here, man. And frankly, this is what Jesus did with his parables. He took what people knew and was going on in the culture and he used it to teach them. That’s essentially what you’re doing here.


Yeah, in fact, the stories that Jesus told the parables, they weren’t true stories. They were invented stories. They’re fictional. But they’re there to create a moral or theological point. Like if you went back in the first century, you said to Jesus, hey, I want to meet the Good Samaritan, he go, what? This is a story I’m using to illustrate a point. I’m not saying there was a real guy that did this. You’re not going to meet the guy. I’m making up these stories that have truth in them, but they’re fictional stories. Well, that’s what movies are.


I love this. Frank, you are such a good teacher, man. I’m telling you, God has gifted you with a way to take these concepts that sometimes are difficult to teach or boring to teach to be frank, yeah, you aren’t going to be frank, to be able to do this in a fun, entertaining way. What a gift you are giving to us as families.

Where can we get the book? And by the way, let me do say, crossexamined.org. You can also listen to Frank’s podcast going further into the book. But when’s the book actually going to be out? And where can we get it?



Yeah, the book just came out May 3rd. So it’s been out about a month anywhere you get books. You can get it from our website, Amazon. In fact, there’s a website for the book. It’s called Hollywoodheroesbook.com, Hollywoodheroesbook.com. There’s a little video trailer up there. And it tells you what’s actually in the book, and where you can get it. So check out Hollywoodheroesbook.com.


Love it. Man, God bless you for doing this. This is such a great tool. And this is just an example, folks. If you go to crossexamined.org, by the way, get on his email list as well. Love getting your emails and the information that you send out. They got it all kinds of online courses. How do you deal with tough issues?

How do you respond to what’s going on out there in the world, not only with your own kids, but in social media and the conversations that you have? Frank will get you equipped to be someone that can persuade, someone that can help win over the culture.

We need to be force multipliers. And these are the kinds of things and the kind of tools that helped make that happen. You’re a blessing, brother. God bless you. Thanks for coming on today.


Thanks, brother. I love the work you’re doing as well. And I hope to see it via Zoom, at least, hopefully, in the Texas capitol in August.

Patriot Academy


That’s right, man. I’m looking forward to all of our students that are coming, our constitution coaches, the military veterans, everybody’s going to be there. You’ll get to hear from Frank this year at Patriot Academy. He’s been man, four or five years since we had you. It’s been a while. So, looking forward to having you back. And please tell your son thank you as well for the book, for the work you guys are doing together, and of course, for his service to our country.


Thanks, brother. God bless.


Back with David and Tim. And David, of course, Tim talked about a lot of the more recent shows he even mentioned Iron Man having some of the Iron Man paraphernalia from the original movie in the library. But I never thought about being able to use these modern movies as a tool to say okay, well if you’re familiar with that movie, think about this theme that flowed through that movie and then taking that and telling the story of Christ. That’s pretty cool.


It is. And one of I think it’s worth noting, certainly for everybody listening in the audience, we have people coming from all different directions and people with different convictions. And the Bible even talks about that every individual must prove out their own salvation with fear and trembling for the Lord. And we can have different convictions, 1 Corinthians 8, people have different consciences.

What’s Their Media Appetite?

And so with that being said, I think it’s important to note that probably there are some things that Frank would get into and some movies he would talk about that there might be some parents and homeschool parents, Christian school parents, whatever it is, public school parents, I don’t know, but who listened to go, I would never allow my kids to watch that movie. You know, whatever the case might be.

I mean, I remember growing up that when the Little Mermaid came out, I was not allowed to watch the Little Mermaid because Ursula, you know, this octopus or whatever. Like by the time I was old enough to watch it, I felt like I was too cool to watch it. And I think it was in my 20s before I’d seen the Little Mermaid and then I was like, this girl is so rebellious, like she definitely needed spanking.

With all that being said, some of the movies that Frank highlights in this book, I don’t think that he’s suggesting, hey, this is something like all the family should take your kids and go see these movies. I think it’s more strategic to recognize that in culture there’s a lot of these movies that are very popular with young people. And I think for a lot of parents, a lot of grandparents, honestly, I think a lot of leaders would be shocked at what some young people are saturating themselves with, the things that are part of their media diet and their media appetite.

And so what Frank is doing is saying, hey, guys, even for some of these things here are connections we can make tell people see the gospel message. And certainly, with Iron Man as was mentioned in the interview is a great example where absolutely you see a transformation, you see sacrifice, there do seem to be some ways to make a good connection to help communicate the gospel message.

Old Messaged Applied in New Packages

Again, with that being said, certainly we’re not suggesting that all the movies they probably review in the book are things you’re like, man, we need to take all our kids to go see this right now. But for some individuals, right, if there’s kids or cousins or grandkids or even Sunday school, whatever it is, if there’s young people who have seen these or familiar with these and maybe not just young people, these messages and themes can be applied in lots of ways. And we would obviously recognize for parents, for grandparents, if you want your kids to really know the gospel, know Jesus, well, the Bible is a really great toy. That’s where we probably want to start.

But knowing what pop culture is, it is fun to see individuals like Frank be able to go through and break down some of these movies to help see where you can make gospel connections to help young people or again, maybe all people in general, but to help people see the parallels between some of these parts and moments in movies in some of the gospel message.


You know, I think one of the things that is a good bridge or kind of crossover is the concept. Like Frank was talking about parables, you know, Jesus gave parables, he talked about parables. And the first trip I made to Israel was with Governor Mike Huckabee. And I was really impressed as we were standing in Capernaum there on the Sea of Galilee, he said, you know, what really stood out to him was you stand at the place where we know Jesus gave certain teachings in certain locations, he said, and it was right here that he was talking about if you offend one of these little ones, it’d be better for you to put a millstone around your neck and be thrown in the depths of the sea.

He said, well, here we are on the shores of the sea and right over here are the millstones that they were using at that time for grinding grain. And so Jesus is like, he just points that and say see that millstone, you might as well hang it around your neck and be thrown out in the sea right here beside us. And he just went through and pointed out how so many of the parables Jesus told he related to things that were right around him.

Sharing Gospel Connections

And I think in some ways that’s kind of what Frank’s doing. He’s taken things that are around people right now and said, well, here’s a good way if somebody has seen these particular movies, you can make this gospel connection help them understand what the gospel is. And Tim’s like you’re saying, it’s not that we’re saying, hey, go see these movies because they’re gospel filled, is that you can take these and make the connections.

When Paul was on Mars hill, he looked around at all the idol, he said, well, I see here an idol to the unknown God, let me kind of tell you about that unknown God. I mean, he took what was around him and made a connection so that people could connect with what they were seeing to the message he wanted him to hear. And I think that that’s part of what Frank has in that book.

So if you’re dealing with people who know the culture well and seeing these movies, this is a great way to transition and kind of move them from what they don’t know to what you want them to know, which is a good way to share the gospel.


Yeah. I was thinking the exact same thing, David, the whole idea of how Paul looked around, how Jesus looked around, whatever was in the culture, whatever was around them, they could take it and use it to teach. Because so often when you’re teaching the gospel, or even when we teach principles of liberty, sometimes you’re teaching a concept that someone’s never thought about before.

And just the way our brains work and the way God created us, you need to connect something that they do know to this thing that they don’t know and it makes it so much easier to understand. And I think that’s exactly what Frank’s doing with the story. So really cool way to learn. And I think you’re right, it follows that biblical way of teaching that we see in the New Testament.

Hollywood Heroes And Gospel Connections – With Apologist Dr. Frank Turek

Alright, friends, we’re out of time for today Special thanks to Frank Turek for joining us. And what a cool new book that he’s got; again, a great tool to be able to show the themes of these famous movies that everybody’s going to see, but then use that to talk to them about the gospel and to show them the theme and the stories and the biblical storyline that actually leads to Christ. So it’s just a neat way to do that. And we’re thankful for Frank joining us today.

You can learn more about our program. If it’s your first time to listen to WallBuilders Live, you can learn more at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. You can learn more about us myself, Rick Green, and also David Barton and Tim Burton there at that website as well. And then the action step I would encourage, as always, everyone to take is to do your part, to be the catalyst for a restoration of biblical values and constitutional principles there in your neighborhood, in your community, at your church. However you want to do it, we’ve got lots of tools and lots of ways for you to do that.

Of course, the easiest is to plug into our Constitution Coach program, very simple way for you to take a biblical citizenship class and share it with your friends and family. The videos will do all the hard work. You just have to get people in the room, hit play, and let the videos do the teaching, and then open up the conversation. You don’t have to have answers to any of the questions about the Constitution or history or any of those things.

You’re just the lead learner so anyone and everyone can do it. Hope you’ll consider doing that today. Easiest place to sign up for that is biblicalcitizens.com, that’s biblicalcitizens.com. We sure appreciate you listening today. Thanks for joining us here on WallBuilders Live.