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Jesus Camp follows several young children as they prepare to attend a summer camp where the kids will get their daily dose of evangelical Christianity. Becky Fischer works at the camp, which is named Kids on Fire. Through interviews with Fischer, the children, and others, Jesus Camp illustrates the unswerving belief of the faithful. A housewife and homeschooling mother tells her son that creationism has all the answers. Footage from inside the camp shows young children weeping and wailing as they promise to stop their sinning. Child after child is driven to tears. Juxtapose these scenes with clips from a more moderate Christian radio host (who is appalled by such tactics), and Jesus Camp seems to pose a clear question: are these children being brainwashed? Written by
Ken Miller <email@example.com>
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Was further proof how far off base militant evangelicalism has become
I give this a qualified 7. I give it for the quality of the work in creating this documentary. If I was to rate it because of its subject, I would be dealing with negative numbers! I used to be an ordained minister, a Pentecostal one. This film was very painful for me, for it addressed all the things about modern evangelicalism that is wrong and gave further proof of why hundreds of thousands of evangelicals are leaving organized religion, and are embracing a simpler form of Christianity, one that is relational and community focused, and one that is not political, seeking to see the arm of government Christianized, but rather one has a powerful social element, seeking social change through loving and helping people in our society.
My wife has home-schooled our two daughters all the way through high school. I thank God they are not like these kids. In fact when my kids watched the film they were equally concerned about kids being conditioned and brainwashed! I agreed with them. God has not called children into the work of evangelism, or to be warriors as portrayed in this film. Evangelism is the work of those who are adults and young adults. Children are never shown to be workers in God's Kingdom in the New Testament. We ought to follow that model, rather than brainwashing and abusing children! I am sickened by this film.
Theologically I am equally disturbed by this film. It portrays that evangelicals have held certain beliefs "forever" which is far from the truth. Foundational to the premise of modern evangelicalism is the "teaching" concerning the pre-tribulational rapture of the church. This doctrine is one of the newest, and it was created by and espoused by people who at one time were heretics, and yet is has become the vehicle that drives this engine to have an "end time revival" where these kids will help usher in the Kingdom of God.
My parents were missionaries, as were my in-laws. They gave their adult lives to the cause of Christ (between 45-47 years of ministry). They believed the same doctrine. Jesus was coming at any time. "Don't lay a nest egg for your grandkids!" "Don't conserve the environment, because as soon as Jesus comes, we are out of here!" "Don't save your money, go ahead use credit, for when you are in the rapture, you won't have to pay the bank!" My parents became disappointed when disease came to the door, and illness overtook them, and when death took home the husbands! There was despair, because Jesus did not come to rescue them.
This is the same kind of despair that will overcome these kids who have been brainwashed and abused by these whacko charismatics. I was one. I know how people condition you to respond a certain way.
There is NOTHING remotely like New Testament Christianity in this film. When the pastor compares what she is doing, to what fundamentalist Islam is doing in brainwashing Muslim children, she was correct. These poor kids of evangelical parents are being manipulated and brainwashed, and are as whacko as those who exploit Muslim children. Two wrongs don't make a right.
This film reveals the whacky morality and bad theological world view that exists not only in America, but in Evangelicalism in Canada, and the UK as well. It is a theology that on one hands believes that our countries can be saved by using our children in the propagation of the gospel, through revival and advancing the Kingdom of God. This is not the work of children, and this makes all of this so immoral. Also, it crosses the line where Christians think, falsely, that if they gain political power, that somehow they will be able to Christianize their nations. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Should this ever happen in my country (Canada - I am a Brit who came to Canada with missionary parents, to plant churches in Canada), I would be the first to oppose it, for it would become tyranny and oppression. The ways of the world, including the use of government, is not the way God advances His Kingdom.
God is not in the oppression business, but the liberation business, and more than anything, our kids need to be liberated from this kind of brainwashing! I am ashamed of having been a Pentecostal Evangelical! This film should be used by libertarians and true democrats, be they Christian, secular, or of another faith community, to reveal how dangerous a political Evangelical movement can be, and how dangerous it is to the very idea of a free and open society. Be forewarned this film will disturb you.
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