Seven Mountain Philosophy: The Church is beginning to take notice of the different areas of the culture and how to take a that Biblical approach to each and every area of life to bring Kingdom principles to the world. Every person, no matter their gifting is called to use that talent to glorify God. Dallas Jenkins is a producer who is influencing the entertainment mountain and has a new movie coming out this weekend, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.
Air Date: 01/18/2017
Guests: Dallas Jenkins, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. 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 because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture! This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re discussing today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and culture all from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
That means we’re applying that perspective. What does the Bible say about it? What can we learn from history? What does our Constitution say? We’re applying that perspective to every single area of the culture.
We’re here with David Barton. He’s America’s premiere historian and our founder and president here at WallBuilders. Also bestselling author and one of TIME magazine’s top 25 most influential American evangelicals. Also here with Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor. And my name is Rick Green, former Texas state representative. You can find out more about our organization at our websites WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.
So guys, when we talk about that intersection of faith in the culture it’s not just. In fact, we used to say on the radio program all the time, “faith and politics.” But it’s so much more than just politics. It really is faith and the culture. Meaning every area of the culture whether it’s business, politics, education, science, the pulpit, or whatever it might be. That’s why our show often covers a broad range of topics and applying that Biblical historical and constitutional perspective.
Well, it goes from the premise that we believe the Bible applies to every aspect of life. And anywhere you apply Biblical principles we think it will make that life good and enjoyable and wholesome and fun to live in. It will also benefit the society not just the individuals that use that those principles.
The Seven Mountain Philosophy
And so back when I was in college, the college I went to had this –really this mantra that was so strange for back in that day. But it’s now become what the Christian world kind of focuses on.
They used to tell us, “You need to go into every man’s world. As Christians we want to have the best athletes. We want to have the best entertainment media. We want to have the best business leaders. We want to have the best nurses and doctors. Christians should be the best in everything.” So with that philosophy that’s how we were trained. “Hey, we all have callings in different aspects of life. You don’t just go into the pulpit or ministry. I mean ministry is a whole lot bigger than that. Just take his principles wherever you go.”
Well now they kind of call that the seven mountain philosophy. Now it’s kind of accepted across Christendom. And it’s the belief that there are certain areas that shape a culture. And a nation is defined by its culture. Whether you want to take the Greeks, the Romans, the Spartans, or whatever civilization you want to take. You look at the seven things that built civilization and you will find that it’s their religion. It’s their media. It’s their government. It’s their family. It’s education. It’s their business. And it’s their arts and entertainment. Those are the seven areas that will always shape a culture.
So within that framework we believe that we need people in every one of those areas and God’s already got them there. We’ve got Christian businessmen. We’ve got Biblical educators. We’ve got Biblical folks in government, and media and elsewhere. So we should be the best we can possibly be which means knowing God’s principles and taking God’s principles into every one of those areas. It will make the nation better. It will make the community better. It will make the state better if we do that.
Any Area Of Culture Can Be Ministry
So that means that regardless of what your profession is you take that attitude applying from the Bible to what you do on a daily basis. And also how we raise our kids. I remember, David, you talking about one time you were talking to a kid that was saying, “I love designing video games. It’s a multi-multibillion dollar industry. How can I do that to honor the Lord? Nobody else wants me to do it.”
So you pointed out, “You can go make good games.” I mean, Tim you train young people at High Point, at Patriot Academy on on how to take their giftings because you know everyone has a certain desire in their heart to serve. But it may not be what we typically think of as say full time ministry because any area of culture can be ministry.
Sure! It’s one of the things that Paul wrote in Colossians chapter 3. Where he said, “Whatever you do, word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord.” Sometimes we fixate on what ministry means or what it means to really serve the Lord. So often we think of church or teaching Sunday school or are doing something that’s really confining and in a box. And we forget that God gave you giftings for a reason. God gave you talents and abilities for a reason. And quite possibly and logically, it’s so that you would use those things he gave you to give him glory in whatever area he’s gifted you whatever area your abilities are.
Using The Gifts God Has Given You
Unfortunately, we really do tend to think, and I say “we” meaning culture. So often in cultural Christianity we’ve put the box over the last several decades. It could be longer than that, but I can at least speak for the last several decades. We’ve put a box over, “This is what it means to really serve the Lord.” And so we haven’t seen the growth of people getting involved in medicine, in business, in media, and seeing it as a ministry. Because we think, “Well, that’s that’s a profession but that’s not really a ministry.” And we’ve missed this concept of of what it really means to use the gifting God’s given you.
By the way, while we have specialists in all of these areas. You have specialists among medicine, specialists in government. It nearly always works out that you’ll be involved usually in several arenas. There’s a lot of folks who are involved in religion that are also involved in family, in government, and in education. You may have a pastor with a Christian school at his church and and great family ministries. And he also he may be running for city council and that’s fine.
So don’t get into this thing of, “I’m only in this area.” Because you’ll find that you cross-pollinate in lots of other areas. And so that that comprehensive world view of “The Bible applies to everything. And you know what, I may be a specialist in one area but I also have interests in all these others. And I need to make sure that I’m equipped and that I understand a Biblical worldview and those areas as well.”
What If I’m Not An Expert
A great example of that, we get people who respond sometimes to some of the things that we offer. And people out there that may say, “Well I’m not an expert in the law necessarily. But I need to know certain things about the Constitution and our freedom and the origins of law so that I know what makes a good nation and who to vote for and all those good things.”
In fact, you guys remember when we did the show with Colonel John Eidsmoe with his new Foundations of Law that incredible three volume set? We’ve now got available the historical and theological foundations. Well, we got a great call in just the other day from someone that had gotten it and said man they’re so excited about the things that they’re learning. They started going through that. It’s not their normal area but man they’re they’re getting a foundation in this. It all applies!
So people that think, “Well, I’m not an expert in that particular area.” You still have an opportunity to be able to apply God’s word in those areas that everyone of us is in.
I mean you’re involved in the pulpit. You’re involved in the law. You’re involved in education. You’re involved. There’s not one of those seven mountains that you mention that is not in some way touching your life.
That’s exactly right. That Foundation of Law series by Colonel John Eidsmoe is so great because it helps you understand how we got to where we are. And every one of us are stewards of our government. We are all citizen legislators, if you will. And because of that it’s really cool to know how the law came and really how God’s word influences that law and how pagans influenced that law as well.
Foundation Of Law
So it is a great series. You can get that on the website at WallBuilders.com. It’s a three volume series on the Foundations of American Law. Really good stuff. But that is one of the areas that everybody should know something about. You may not be a legislator. You may not be an attorney. But it’s still good to know the foundations.
It certainly affects you and has an impact on you. Another mountain is arts and entertainment. We’re going have a guest later in the program and that’s his expertise and area. He’s a producer and director and does movies and has a great new movie coming out. But there again it affects every one of us. So we want to do it the best way we can Biblically in choosing that entertainment and in supporting entertainment out there that’s helping the culture.
We’ve got to take a quick break, though. We’ll be right back. David and Tim Barton with us here on WallBuilders Live.
Pastors Only Briefing Trip
Hi this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
The Producer Of Hallmark Movies
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! We’re talking about those different areas of the culture and how to take that that Biblical approach to each and every area of the culture. Later in the program we have Dallas Jenkins with us. He’s a producer who has put several movies out: Hallmark movies, Pure Flix movies. He’s got one coming this weekend that is going to be released in theaters all over the country, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.
But here’s another example. He’s actually made this movie with the help of his church where they’re saying, “We’re not going to shy away from media and the arts in entertainment. We’re actually going to march towards that battle and have a positive influence on it.”
Not only are they marching toward the battle they’re doing so at a very high quality of film. I remember you know 15 -20 years ago when you talked about Christian film. “Oh, please don’t make me watch a Christian film. I pull my fingernails out or scrape on a blackboard or something. But don’t make me watch that.” And now it really is different. The quality of films coming out by Christian producers, starting to be some top notch films!
It is remarkable too, that you have churches supporting this. You know you get the Kendrick brothers who have done some really phenomenal movies like Facing the Giants, Fire Proof, Courageous, and the newest one War Room. Some really quality things!
But it’s been remarkable that churches have begun understand that, “We want to have a voice in culture.” So they’re getting behind this idea that we can do some great media, great messages, and great content.
Quality Christian Movies
Here is yet another case as you were talking about with with Dallas and his church getting behind him. They’ve done a pretty remarkable job with a really fun movie.
It is! They sent us a screener so we could watch it before interviewing him. And even now with like you said the Kendrick brothers and a lot of these other examples out there. Even now when we get movies we’re all a little bit hesitant, right? Because we’re still not sure.
There are still some that come out that embarrass you a little bit, it’s the kind that you might watch but it’s like, “I don’t really want to tell my friend I watched it” or, “I’m not going to invite my friend over.”
It’s the kind where you feel embarrassed for them because they don’t know enough to be embarrassed for themselves. And I don’t mean that as a majority. Because you get good by not being good all the time. You have to make some flops along the way and say, “You know that one didn’t do well. My next one is better.” And so for part of the folks this is really kind of growing pains and that’s all right.
And we would not discourage someone. You’ve got this gift. And you have to develop it just like anything else. As an athlete you have to work to develop their skill and ability. So we don’t criticize t-ballers for not being able to be a professional, major league player. But certainly sometimes if there’s an expectation of something more it is a little difficult sometimes. But this is not one of those, which makes it even better. I mean really it’s a fun script, fun acting, high quality. It really was a fun movie.
Support Christian Films On Opening Weekend
And who knows. You know maybe maybe Dallas had those kind of movies when he was first starting out. I don’t know. I didn’t see some of his early stuff. But certainly this one, we’ve seen it and it was fantastic. The messages is great.
And we’re we’re thrilled to have him with us! He’s going to be with us when we return from the break to talk about his new movie coming out this weekend! You want to go opening weekend. It really helps to encourage the studios to continue to put out more movies like this with good values. It’s called The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Dallas Jenkins will be with us when we return here on WallBuilders Live.
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Great Message With A Humorous Plot
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Our guest today, director and producer, Dallas Jenkins. His new movie coming out this weekend the Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Dallas, thanks for your time today, man.
I appreciate you having me on.
I’m look forward to the opening this weekend of the movie. Great movie! I got a chance to preview it last weekend with my family. And we’re just thrilled with what you guys are doing! How’s the weekend looking?
It’s looking pretty good. I mean you never know until people actually buy tickets if it was worth all the time and effort you put into it in terms of box office. But already the screenings that we’ve had, the responses that we’ve gotten from people like yourself, there’s just been honestly an overwhelming feedback. And that alone has been exciting for us.
And multiple people saying that this is a movie that makes them want to go back to church, which is my passion. We’ve been saying that a lot of faith based movies asked churchgoers to come to the theater on Friday night.
We believe this movie can get moviegoers to come to church on Sunday morning. So we’re already hearing early reports of that. And hopefully this weekend will continue that even more.
Yeah. I love that approach in the movie as well. I mean I thought you guys did a great balance of great message, but it was done and in a funny way. I loved even the poking fun at ourselves a little bit in the Christian community with some of our more hilarious things. But you get some– you get some star power in this thing as well! D.B. Sweeney, Brett Dalton, Anjelah Johnson, I mean this is a good cast.
Christians And Non Christians Will Enjoy the Movie
Yeah. We we had a really fortunate time when we were casting! Brett Dalton who plays the lead in the film is popular from Agents of Shield. Ironically enough, a church outsider similar to Gavin Stone is the character he plays.
But absolutely loved the script. And what was interesting was we heard that from a lot of people. Anjelah Johnson who plays the pastor’s daughter is a popular stand up comic known for her character Bon Qui Qui. She’s pretty famous.
And then of course, Shawn Michaels was one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. I wasn’t a big fan of wrestling growing up. I didn’t know much about it but he was huge apparently. And has a very strong testimony.
All of these actors were so drawn to, like you mentioned, the humor of the script. And then of course, the fact that even though this is a movie about church, there’s tons of prayer and talk about the gospel. You know the church is putting on a passion play about the life of Christ. But because the main character is an outsider, the movie can appeal to church outsiders as well because they can see the movie through his eyes. See the church experience through his eyes. And then of course have lives impacted in the same way that his is.
I was thinking that same thing when I was watching. I was it, “If I’ve grown up in church and been around and I’m going to get a lot of these references and things that that you guys are pointing to. But if I haven’t I’m really going to follow his character. Because he’s looking from the outside and finally starting to understand why the church is what it is and what it’s really all about.”
But also, I don’t want to spoil any of the movie at all. But man the way you guys bring it all together at the end is is actually really powerful. A lot of “Christian films” try to do things and make that powerful statement at the end. But it comes across cheesy. You guys somehow managed not to do that. That must be you as the director but somehow at the end, and my whole family agreed, I mean that was just really well done.
We Can All Relate To Being An Outsider
Well and that was intentional. I think that everyone can identify with being a fish out of water regardless of where they’re coming from. And regardless of what setting a movie is set in. So for example, the movie Sister Act set in a Catholic nunnery. Well, I’m not a Catholic but I still identify with Whoopi Goldberg as an outsider.
I think even within the Christian community, evangelical community, we’ve gone into different churches that were different denominations whether it be charismatic, pentecostal. You go into a Baptist church and you start to stand up, raise your hand. And you realize you’re the only one or vice versa.
So I think that everyone can identify with that. But I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that. Of course, Gavin Stone’s life is impacted greatly by playing the part of Jesus in the Passion Play. One of the themes of the movies is when you learn more about Jesus you can’t help but be impacted by him. I think because his character is experiencing life change as the movie progresses because he’s becoming more and more part of the church community. Even though on the surface he’s pretending to be a Christian, he’s pretending to be part of it. But he can’t help but be impacted.
I think that that journey feels organic to the story and not, like you said. And that sometimes we fall victim to this, is he doing it in kind of a cheesy way. I think one of the reasons why it feels cheesy sometimes is because it comes on almost crowbarred into the movie at an odd time as opposed to being a natural organic process.
Great point! Great point! It’s called The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. It’s going to be open this weekend. Website or best place for folks to go find out which theaters?
What Theater To See The Movie
http://resurrectionofgavinstonemovie.com/ is where they can go. It’s going to be in most of the big theatres around town. Unless it is a small theater or one that doesn’t normally get lots of movies But it should be in any theatre.
We’re looking forward to hearing a great success story! And for whatever your next project is as well! In fact, before I let you go Dallas, a couple of quick questions on what you’re doing now. You’re with a church in Chicago and I assume the church was involved in the production some?
Oh absolutely! I was living in Los Angeles for 10 years making movies doing fine. I did a movie called What If back in 2010.
Kevin Sorbo, right?
Yeah! Of course. Yeah. And that did well. So I was fine. But one of my heart cries was that, because I grew up in the church, was that the church and popular culture would find a way to be engaged. I wanted the church to be contributing to the pop culture conversation with stories of Christianity in movies. It just didn’t seem to be the desire of the church to do that when I was growing up. But in 2010 Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, Pastor James MacDonald called me and said, “Why don’t you move back (because that’s where I’d grown up) and work at the church and make movies with the church.”
God’s Favor On This Movie
At first I laughed. But then a couple of hours later my wife and I thought “This makes a lot of sense. Because it combines your two passions, which is the church and then of course, making movies.” We were planning to make a movie on our own. We were going to finance it ourselves with a pretty big church, with some resources and a relatively low budget, of course. But we were planning to do that.
And then I made a short film for church’s Christmas Eve service. And long story short it got in the hands of one of the biggest production companies in Hollywood. They absolutely loved it. They said, “Look, we want to do what you guys are doing. We want to be partners with you. And we can provide the financing at twice the budget that you were planning on doing.”
And we said, “Well, that’s all sounds good. But we can’t change the message of anything that we do.”
And of course, they said. “Why would we want to change the message. You guys are the experts.”
So it’s been a fantastic partnership. But yeah, the film was shot at our church. It was made by our church. I’m on staff at our church full time now. And so that ensured that this was legitimate and that the story of our church was authentic because it was made by church people.
We Need to Be In Every Arena
Well man I’m hoping that there will be more and more like this. Maybe you’re seeing friends from Hollywood that are wanting to do the same kind of things, seeing and more and more of that happen. I mean obviously seeing the Kendrick brothers having success with their church and others.
So you know maybe the church in a bigger way is starting to figure out that hey, entertainment media is not some box that God doesn’t have anything to do with. It’s just like any other area the culture. The Bible applies and it’s an outlet. We need to be in that arena.
Absolutely! And a phrase that I said, started saying about five years ago that has resonated with me and others is, “The most important message in the world deserves the most influential medium in the world.” Media, film, and television is America’s biggest export. It’s one of the most influential mediums of all time. And there’s no reason why we should give that over to the world. There’s every reason that we should take advantage of an opportunity and tell stories in the same way Jesus did.
I’m glad you guys are doing it. There’s a great one in movie theaters this weekend folks. Go check it out. The resurrection of Gavin stone, Dallas Jenkins the director. Dallas, appreciate your time. And thanks for coming on!
Thanks for having me! Hopefully, Monday morning some churches will have some stories of moviegoers who showed up at their church looking for a place like the one in the movie.
Amen. Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
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The Importance of Opening Night
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Thanks to Dallas Jenkins for being with us here!
It is out this week! We’re right before the opening. So go check it out. It’s called The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. And again, important to go on opening weekend. I helps them with their numbers. And I guess — back with David and Tim, by the way, one of the reasons that helps is because they end up multiplying the theaters whenever they have a good showing the first couple of days or first weekend? Or they lose theaters if not not very many people go?
That’s right. Theaters are checking the polls. If there seems to be a good interest they might put it on more screens and more theaters will picking up. And I’ll tell you, I watched today. One of the fun things that we have the opportunity to do is, especially if we’re doing a radio program around a movie they’re going to send us a screener. So we do get to see several of these movies before they hit theaters. Sometimes they don’t hit theaters. But we get to watch the movies.
But this is one that I’ve seen and I’m going to take my wife. And we’re gonna invite our friends. And we’re going to go see this. Not just because we support a good movie. But because it was a good movie. And we want to go watch it. It really was a fun thing. So I would encourage people go see this movie. You will be entertained. You will laugh, great sense of humor.
The Humor Is Like The Series Psych
Oh yeah. And it was it was a great look in the mirror because so many think, “To whoever wrote this really knows church people.” Because it was making fun of us in the right way. It was just hilarious! I was telling Tim, he didn’t quite see it this way, but when the series Psych came out several years ago, the first couple of years, just really great! It was really funny. And I laughed at those guys. This guy really reminded me of the Psych series when it came out. That kind of a dry humor and a little quippy stuff and and kind of an arrogant attitude and working in a church ministry. It was just hilarious and so much of the interactions. It was a great movie.
And as you mentioned I mean certainly, someone who knows church people because every–it’s the view — and actually Dallas mentioned it. It’s kind of an outsider’s view looking at the church and what it’s like and the transformation happens in this character Gavin Stone’s life. But from the outside every stereotypical thing that kind of happens at church happens. But as you see it, it’s kind of awkward. But it’s awkward because you’re like that really does happen.
“I was there when that happened. I remember that. I know him!”
“I know that person. They said that to me.” It really is. There’s a lot of fun, laugh out loud moments. They did a really good job with it. In addition to wanting to support Christian media and really help send a message to Hollywood that we want this kind of entertainment. It really is great entertainment. It’s something that you can enjoy as a family and I know my wife and I we’re going to see it this weekend.
Big Hollywood Names
Well, it’s got some you know some big names in it as well. Brett Dalton from Agents of Shield, D.B. Sweeney, Neil Flynn, and several others. Go check it out. This weekend, opening weekend. It’s called The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Powerful movie. You’ll enjoy it. And it’s a way of voting with your dollar. So it’ll produce more good entertainment to come our way as a result. So in every area let’s have influence. Let’s have good, positive, Biblical influence, in every area of the culture. We appreciate you joining us today here on WallBuilders Live!