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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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UPDATED September 28, 2003
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|ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.|
(2003), PG -- "...teachings of the Lord without the Lord of the teachings."
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Christiano Film Group
Distribution (US): 8X Entertainment Inc., Christiano Film Group, Five & Two Pictures
Director(s): Rich Christiano
Producer(s): Rich Christiano, Paul Crouch, Bobby Downes, Kevin Downes, Geoff Ludlow
Written by/Screenplay: Rich Christiano
Cinematography/Camera: Philip Hurn
Music: Jasper Randall
Film Editing: Jeffrey Lee Hollis
Production Design: Laird Pulver
Art Direction: Niko Vilaivongs
Viewed At: On DVD
This is a long one... The topic deserves extra attention.
The story opens in 1890 with young Thomas and Henry Matthews playing marbles while same-aged Roger (Evan Ellingson) looked on intently from behind a bush. When Mrs. Matthews (Crystan Robbins) called the boys into their house they left the marbles in the front yard. Roger grabbed a handful of them and darted off. Mrs. Matthews shouted at Roger to return the marbles but Roger wouldn't stop. In about 20 feet Roger physically ran into Dr. Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin), a Bible professor with the Grace Bible College and a member of its Board of Directors.
Roger explained he just wanted something to play with. Dr. Carlisle explained to Roger it is wrong to steal and that he must not only return the marbles, which Roger did, he must also apologize to the boys and Mrs. Matthews for stealing the marbles. With that, Roger darted off again, this time to the land of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences.
Of significant note is that Dr. Carlisle told Roger that it was immoral to steal but gave no authority behind the moral standard. No connection with the Author of the standard. No connection with the Lord who made stealing a sin. Capturing the concept of teaching the Lord's standards without the Lord forms the foundation for this innovative show.
Next we see Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin MacLeod), also a professor with the Grace Bible College and member of its Board asleep in his den recovering from an illness. Dr. Anderson had in his lap a copy of a manuscript of Dr. Carlisle's book, "The Changing Times." Dr. Carlisle was seeking approval of his manuscript from the Grace Bible College Board of Directors, hoping for their valuable endorsement. Awakened by his wife (MacCleod's true wife, Patty MacLeod), Dr. Anderson was shocked into realizing that he was running late for a Board meeting at Grace Bible College to vote on approval and endorsement of Dr. Carlisle's book.
At Grace Bible College, the Dean (Hal Linden) opened the Board meeting and solicited comments about the manuscript from the Board members. Each member offered glowing recommendations for Dr. Carlisle's book, surely to lead to a full endorsement of his book by the Grace Bible College -- a truly beneficial matter.
During Board meeting the Dean excused Dr. Anderson's vote since he had been ill for about a week and, at last notice, Dr. Anderson had not been able to read the manuscript. But much to their surprise Dr. Anderson appeared and asked to speak in private with Dr. Carlisle about the book, withholding his crucial vote until Carlisle and Anderson could resolve differences about it. But Dr. Carlisle insisted, repeatedly, that Dr. Anderson share his thoughts openly with the others as well.
Dr. Anderson reluctantly spoke to one of the themes in Carlisle's book, on page 67, that encourages the moral standards taught by Jesus to all people even if it is done apart from His name: that more people would embrace Christ's teachings if more people were given His teachings without the intimidation of His name. Dr. Anderson felt that to teach the Lord's standards without His name attached to them; to put forth the standards of Christ apart from His name would be deadly to the spiritual health of the people. Dr. Anderson protested that "Without the authority of Christ, mankind is merely left to compare ideas. Morality becomes a matter of opinion." Dr. Carlisle was steadfast in his position that more people would benefit to learn of Jesus' teachings without using His name which would drive some away, especially those of other religions. Dr. Anderson was just as steadfast in his position that such politics are precisely why the world morality was degrading.
Adamant in his position that Jesus' teachings must be connected to His name, Dr. Anderson invited Dr. Carlisle to his home for proof of his position. Carlisle continued with "But we cannot always mention the name of Jesus. It may not be received especially by those already offended by the church..." Now there is an example of political correctness, of kicking Jesus out of our daily lives. Heaven forbid we offend anyone with Jesus' name! Heaven forbid someone should walk away because we mention His name, as if to say "Let us avoid offending man and offend only Jesus." Something rather final about Jesus many of us do not seem to understand is that all the rejection of Him, all the ignoring His Word or all the disbelief in Him in the world will not make Him go away ... or His Word. Ever. In the end, for those of us who think He is not who He says He is will be the ones who will "go away." Whether we believe it or not. Indeed, if we kick Him out of our life, He will kick us out of His. Eternally.
Now that I've brought that up, let me speak to eternity for a moment before proceeding with the Summary/Commentary of Time Changer. Can any of us truly fathom eternity? Not one. To give a feeble persepctive of how long eternity is, imagine it takes 100,000,000,000 centuries to count one grain of sand on the Sahara desert. When you have finished counting every single grain of sand, your time in eternity will just be getting started. As the hymn says, when we've been in Heaven 10,000 years we will have no less time there than when we first begin. But there is a flip side to that, when we have been in Hell 10,000 years we will have no less time there than when we first begin. And we will each live forever. In Heaven. Or in Hell. It is our choice where we spend our eternity. And Jesus is the only Way. His words, not mine. No exceptions. No debate.
I once heard a fellow worker named David F. say he read somewhere that if we mention God in conversation we will likely get as many comments as there are people hearing us speak God's name. But if we mention the name of Jesus people start scattering, looking at their watches and remembering previous engagements. But is that not an example of the result of "Without the authority of Christ, mankind is merely left to compare ideas. Morality becomes a matter of opinion?" Is that not an example of leaving Jesus' name out of our lives because to mention His name reminds us we are all sinners? Is that not an example of avoiding His name to avoid offending cultural tolerances lest we drive people away from Christ? I would like to invite our readers to offer comment on something I wrote to address that very idea of driving people away from Christ. Please visit our You Make All Christians Look Bad page at and let me know what you think.
Dr. Anderson finally persuaded Dr. Carlisle to come to his home. Dr. Anderson sent Dr. Carlisle on a journey far into the future, 110 years into the future, to the year 2000 to witness first-hand the fulfillment or the beginnings of fulfillment of prophecy in 2 Tim. 3:1-5. Dr. Carlisle begins his journey far into ... the present ... where he sees first-hand the fruit of the "teachings of the Lord without the Lord of the teachings." Dr. Anderson shouted to Dr. Carlisle "You must see for yourself what happens in the future!" ... "See with your own eyes where teaching morals alone will lead!" See for YOURself what Dr. Carlisle finds. It is "the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded."
I won't discuss Dr. Carlisle's journey into the future to avoid spoiling the rest of the movie. But I will say Time Changer is not a typical end-times, doom-saying apocalyptic rant so typical of much of what Hollywood generates. It is, rather, a well thought-out, intelligent, open minded discussion of the consequences of trying to practice the goodness of Jesus' teachings while keeping Jesus out of the picture. And I will offer that Time Changer seamlessly weaves the matter of God being kicked out of our daily lives into the very fabric of modern life in an inescapable way. Indelicate in some ways by man's standards and always Rock-solid in its inventive presentation of the Truth, Time Changer is a good evangelical tool using the uncompromised Truth that should be loved, not feared; embraced. not shunned; understood, not counterfeited into comfort-zone feeding pabulum.
Support cast are perfectly selected to meet the need. Paul Rodriguez plays Eddie Martinez, a laundromat attendant who is satisfied with going to church on Christmas and Easter whose life begins to change as the result of Dr. Carlisle's visit. Jennifer O'Neil plays Michelle Bain, a present day university librarian who is Christian advisor for Dr. Carlisle during his stay in the future. Brad Heller from other of Christiano's pictures appears as a boutique manager to whom Carlisle tried to explain the offensiveness of the mannequins in underwear in the store window. Even David White of Christiano films has a cameo appearance.
It is clear that Rich Christiano, the writer/director was serving an audience of One with this film. I will break my own policy and recommend that everyone take a leap of faith and watch Time Changer at your earliest convenience. When you do, do it with the courage of an open mind and leave any preconceived notions about how His Word is optional or malleable in the commode.
Behavior/imagery moments likely of noteworthiness to mom/dad include the stealing of the marbles and a later stealing of food by a young girl. She did not steal because she was hungry, she stole to be stealing, excusing it with "Its no big deal" saying, when confronted with stealing being sinful, "Who sez?" And that point is about as pointed of a point as a point can get. In this day and age of exponentially increasing rejection of God from our schools, workplaces, laws and lives in general; of exponentially fulfilling 2 Tim 1 - 5, it is likely going to sound more "natural" to say "the law" to the question "Who sez?" But doesn't that make a point, too? From where do you think the law got the idea stealing was wrong? Every civilized culture on the planet has a system of morals based in one way or another on the Word of God. No exceptions. No debate.
Other moments of behavior/imagery parents may wish to know about before watching this film with impressionable children might include plot-building necessities such as speaking of good works being enough to enter into Heaven [John 14:6, Eph. 2:8 - 9] and examples of excusing an ignoble path with a noble destination. A security guard chatting with Dr. Carlisle told Dr. Carlisle that he wished his wife was dead so the alimony would stop -- "...lovers of their own selves...?" A couple examples of family battle were noted. [Col. 3:20, Eph. 6:4] The listing in the Findings/Scoring section, though rather short, will provide all that was noted.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|