Founders Ministries dropped a trailer for a documentary they’re making addressing the social justice movement in the SBC. It’s been the center of quite a bit of controversy online over the past couple days (some of it merited, much of it overblown) but I’m excited for the full thing to come out.
It sure did make folk screech. Some interesting screechers too.
I’d say it hit a nerve…
What did you think was merited as far as the blow up?
Who is doing the screeching? Can you post some links?
Here’s a start on the screeching:
Apparently the presidents of the 4 biggest SBC seminaries, all is whom were interviewed for this project, are now disavowing their involvement.
What is most interesting is the speed with which this happened. All within a matter of a couple hours of the trailer being released.
Just to be clear, insofar as the blow up was a blow up, none of it was merited. But there are a couple points of criticism that are valid as long as they aren’t overblown:
The original cut of the trailer (which has since been replaced by the version in the link above) had a blurred image of Rachel Denhollander, a reformed Baptist woman who was the first woman to publicly come forward against Larry Nassar. Much hay was made that her image (again, blurred and unrecognizable to anyone not holding the unedited image side-by-side) was shown during the portion of the trailer where Owen Strachan was talking about “powers and principalities.” I don’t think Founders was intentionally trying to make an association. I think they wanted to break up that weird shot of the back of Owen’s head and that clip was most convenient, so they blurred it so that no one would recognize her. I can understand why people who did recognized her (I didn’t) would be salty about her appearing in the trailer, even blurred. But people are arguing that this poisons the whole project which is just insane.
The Matt Chandler clip toward the beginning seems a little out of place. Though they label where the clip is from in the bottom of the screen, its not overly clear what his comments are in reference to on first viewing, or how exactly it ties in. After watching the trailer three times I think I understand the tie in. I’d count this as something of a creative failure, since the connection should be obvious on the first viewing.
There’s been some criticism on the general aesthetic of the trailer being a little over-the-top, kinda having an info-wars sort of feel. The aesthetic isn’t my favorite, but YMMV.
I haven’t heard anyone else make this criticism, but it seems like there are other clips of Chandler, et. al. that make the issues way more clear. I don’t understand why those clips weren’t used.
To be honest, a trailer or preview is by design supposed to get attention and to stimulate questions and curiosity. But I think most of the criticisms make no sense when aimed at a trailer…and the functional criticisms seem somewhat laughable considering how immediate and loud the responses have been. In my opinion, the trail did everything it was designed to do, we’ll have to see if the documentary delivers the goods.
I agree with Ken Lamb above completely. You can’t tell from a trailer. 1998 Godzilla looked ok on the trailer… But I digress.
It sounds like they did the interviews under false pretenses. Which I think is wrong. Maybe it’s justified based on the overall picture though. Elijah was a troubler of Israel after all. And maybe it wasn’t false pretenses. I’m not sure.
The last thing I say is that I always hate documentaries. I prefer a book. I like to see it written. Black and White. On the record. Should have references but if not, you can still investigating facts. It’s much harder to “foot-note” and reference a film. You can creatively edit and skew an argument. Hopefully they will release a book with the film, but I haven’t seen that referenced in their web page.
The other last thing (for real this time) is that I was ignorant that Founders Ministry existed a week ago. For whatever that’s worth…
EDIT: Late edit here. I just wanted to say that with Ascols recent press release - or whatever you call it - it sounds like there were no false pretenses. I don’t want to smear the man.
I agree with this 100%. My points above are really more quibbles than anything else. I’m trying to be fair with the criticisms out there even though I know that most aren’t being fair in making them.
To me it kinda depends on what exactly “false pretenses” entails. If the Founders guys lied to the men they interviewed, that definitely seems wrong. But if they withheld information, knowing that these men would never agree to bring their openly stated theological convictions to bear regarding other SBC leaders, yes it’s kinda sneaky, but I don’t think it’s wrong, necessarily. I think we’ll get an answer to that when the full doc comes out.
Here’s my thought about the questions about representation. There is a debate occurring, and it seems to me that one side of that debate is not under any obligation to tell their opposition where they are going with the interrogatory. This isn’t misrepresentation, this is establishing facts and baselines. Now it’s certainly true that video and audio editing can be used deceptively to make it appear someone is saying something that they aren’t, but narrative being put forth or even refuted can’t be fully determined based on the trailer. This why I think, these men are not responding to the trailer but to the line of argumentation that will no doubt hold them accountable to what they’ve said. They have no reason to believe based on the trailer that they will be misrepresented, but that’s what they are claiming. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”
What I find discouraging, rather than interesting, is that no one has forced the SBC celebrities to respond to the book-length printed and cited exposure of their failure in “The Grace of Shame.” These guys act as if the book doesn’t exist, and no one other than Jacob Gonzales is holding them accountable to our arguments. Anyone who can be helpful out there?
It’s the same with the PCA and our Revoice pieces. Everyone reads them. We have much more than one-third of the PCA’s membership in page views (well over 110,000) but no one publicly calling PCA officers to answer our many hundreds of hours of arguments published on Warhorn. Again, anyone who can be helpful out there?
We get many private thank yous, but if our readers don’t force these men to answer our arguments, they remain guilty private pleasures. Of the weak?
Please do not be ashamed of us and our work. Support it in every way you can if you think it’s helpful to the church. Same with our new book, “Church Reformed.” Please help. Please.
Personally I’m very grateful for you and the work of Warhorn. I’m not afraid to say so and have seen fruit from subsequent discussions I’ve had with men I’m discipling/Counseling at work and through our homeschool group. Granted, I’m pretty much a nobody, but I’m grateful nonetheless, and by the way I did manage to get our congregation to sing Your Holy Hill after reading Psalm 15 today at our worship service. Dropping not so subtle hints to folks on staff
Praying for faithful men within the reformed circles to show themselves men and address these issues head-on.
By the way, my wife wants me to ask you all for a job.
BTW, great trailer. Crackers unapologetic for their whiteness, speaking truth. Love,
It is interesting that they can ignore a book but—apparently—can’t ignore a movie trailer. I wonder if they think the movie will be seen by more folks than would read a book?
I listened to an interview with Tom Ascol (Director of Founders) on a YouTube show called Theology Nights basically the day of or the day after the trailer dropped. They bring up the idea of some folks saying they were interviewed under false pretenses and Ascol said he was saddened to hear people say that because they interviewed people under no false pretenses and that the video recorded bears that out. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4QH19g-7EE ) I wish I could give you the time when he said it but I’m at work and can’t view the video at the moment.
When I tried to watch it, it said the live stream was offline.
Here’s another link. I haven’t listed to it yet, but it seems the relevant portion starts around 8 minutes in. https://youtu.be/rcKK9g3t_no?t=488
Ok, yeah at the 20 minute mark he denies anyone was misled and claims to have the footage to prove it.
Pretty much confirms it about Al Mohler. And by it, I mean that he is not safe, by any means.