Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

A new documentary, “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers”” opens in theaters today. Gail and I recently watched a prerelease version of the movie. We both loved it. I highly recommend that you see it.

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We actually published the book [affiliate link] by the same title, written by Dan Merchant. From the moment I heard the title, the message resonated with me. Like many people, I love God. But I sometimes get irritated—and embarrassed—by his followers.

The movie is a documentary. Dan, author of the book and star of the movie, travels across the country wearing a bumper-sticker-clad jumpsuit. He wants to know why people are so deeply divided on the subject of religion and what ordinary people really think about Christianity.

The movie is a provocative, funny, and redemptive. USA Today described it this way: “Michael Moore meets Monty Python. A humorous and heartfelt examination of the culture wars.” My reaction? I laughed and I cried. I can’t remember the last time I was so moved by a movie. More importantly, Gail and I were still talking about it long after it was over.

If the movie is showing in your area tonight, I would encourage you to grab a few friends and go see it. You’ll thank me later. If you lead a small group, take your entire group. If you are a pastor, please see it, then recommend it to your congregation.

“Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” is exactly the kind of discussion we need to be having in the church.

Note: this is a sponsored post. In accordance with the new FTC guidelines, you can read my Disclosure of Material Connection here.

Question: What do your friends, neighbors, and co-workers really think about Christians? What do they think about the church?
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  • http://www.RonEdmondson.com Ron Edmondson

    I did not know this was coming out as a movie. I look forward to seeing it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Thank you for this post and trailer. This movie's been needed to be made a long time. I love that the subject's tackled with humor and grace. Can't wait for it to come to Dallas.

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  • http://www.praytel.net/blog The Prayer Coach

    This is a very interesting idea. I will pray it does well and help spread the word. Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.FlamingPen.blogspot.com Scott Appleton

    I've never heard of this or the book, but both approach a pivotal subject. We are to be followers of Christ who "came not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." Condemn the sin but reach the sinners around you through love, letting our actions speak louder than our words. Great subject because we need to be living as Christ did instead of going on the defensive to the world around us.

  • http://www.tabithas-team.com Kelly Harbaugh

    Woul this movie be okay for a 10 year old girl? That is my youngest, and I'm trying to determine if the whole family can go.

    • Carmen

      We saw it the other night. It is a great movie that I wish everyone could see…especially Christians! It makes us aware what others really think of Christians because of those who aren't Christ-like. It also displayed how a real follower of Jesus can make in impact by being loving and kind. Non-believers would really enjoy it too. The subject matter is probably over a 10 year old's head. If you are ready for your child to view men dressed in drag, one dressed in a dragon suit, and gay pride retorts against Christian gatherings. There was no nudity. Heavy cuss words were bleeped out. It was fast moving, very imaginative, and highly entertaining. It depends on what your child is accustomed to watching at home.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/tommylane tommylane

    I will see this movie. Thanks for making me aware of it.

  • http://twitter.com/itskimical @itskimical

    Thank you for informing me of this movie. My husband and I belong to a small group at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta,GA and are going to try to get our small group to go see this. I had a huge issue with the hate that I saw coming from Christians before I became a Christian myself and realized that the followers can sometimes get in the way of the following.

  • http://www.trishperry.com Trish Perry

    Wow. Just watching the trailer made me cry. I'm so eager to see this movie and to take my teenaged son with me. Before he heads off to college, I want him properly equipped to truly represent Christ's love.

    Thanks for bringing the film to our attention, Michael.

  • http://www.janegmeyer.com jane g meyer

    Can't WAIT to see this movie. This conversation is an important one…

  • Wayne Zeitner

    I too have seen a "screener" of this movie and am interested in the response of any conservative Christian who watches this film.

  • Amy

    Jason and I saw this movie at our church a few months ago (we are in Portland OR) and thought the same thing – very thought provoking and well made. It wasn't just a movie about Christians or non-Christians – a nice blend of what is going on in our society. It definitely makes you stop and think!!

  • Tim Abare

    Thanks so much for the post Mike. Like you, this movie has impacted me in profound ways. Opening weekend is so critical to a movie's ultimate reach. Thanks for using your influence to give this great film a voice to your readers.

  • http://www.youthmaster.blogspot.com Marvin Nelson

    Mike,

    I loved this book a whole lot! I read it in concert with UnChristian and began to re-shape my worldview on how we as Christians must be in the world today! Wish it were in Pittsburgh.

  • http://www.readyaimlife.com tim

    I like that idea.. that is one of my biggest critiques of the church.. Christians are tough to be around sometimes.. I will see the film.. I am in the restaurant business and our toughest crowd to serve is the Sunday Morning Crowd.. hard to convince a server that church people are a group to hang out with when they get beat up and stiffed by the Sunday school teacher.. enjoy the site!

  • http://Building-His-Body.blogspot.com Anne Lang Bundy

    A most effective way of communicating with people is to listen before talking.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this, and learning how to be a more effective ambassador for Christ. I'm glad to see Thomas Nelson's name on the project.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260484565 Donald James Parker

    Hmmm. I have mixed reactions about this material. Jesus said he came with a sword to divide. So though He spoke of unity, He meant unity with Him as He and His father were one. He never asked that his followers be at unity with the world – in fact just the opposite. He said that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Jesus said that the world hated Him before it hated us – and it will hate us if we love him. To compromise our ardor for Christ in the name of not offending those who refuse to embrace Jesus and his love is betrayal of a high magnitude. Should we care what atheists think of us or the church? I think we should be more concerned with what God thinks about us and the church. The words great apostasy, lukewarm and spew might have some significance here. The one thing this film might convey that is necessary – as we fight the good fight against unbelief and sin we need to do it in love – but never forgetting that real love means telling the truth even if people don't want to hear it. We Christians can refrain from name calling as some in the limelight pundits have done to augment their audiences without giving up the mission that God gave us to let our light shine and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The real issue is not why there is division between Christians and the world. Anyone who has ever cracked their Bible open, even if there are traces of dust on it, understands that. The plaguing question is why is the body of Christ divided. One of the reasons is because some want to sell out to the culture around them and blend in. Seems like God's chosen people tried that back in the Old Testament with disastrous results. .
    Donald James Parker
    Author of All the Voices of the Wind

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don't think it is either/or. The Apostle Paul said we are to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) I think both of these are possible. We don't have to sacrifice one for the other. However, we can only do both as we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Thanks.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Florin Florin

      Let's not forget Don, that the world we are to be at odds with is not people ("non-Christians"), but a particular system of thinking and values. That, Don, finds its way in all of us and so we need to watch out before we point fingers.

      Let's not forget also Don, that Jesus was loved and constantly surrounded by sinners (and of the worst kind). If we are to be like Jesus, we have to have the same effect, if not (and that's what Dan Merchant is pointing out, that Christians in US don't have that reputation) we should seriously reconsider our ways.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260484565 Donald James Parker

        Your agreeing with me on that point. I'm not disputing that Christians need to love. The issue at stake here is how we define love. My point is that we don't dismiss sin as being of no consequence because our neighbors don't think it is cool. And we don't abandon our principles of standing up for life, marriage, and freedom from a religion of demons which the world gravitates to. The slogan – love the sinner hate the sin is a skillful combination of words to convey exactly what we should be about.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

          Do you think that Dan does that in the movie—dismisses sin as being of no consequence? I don't think that he does, but if you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260484565 Donald James Parker

            I have never seen the movie itself. I live in a sparsely populated area that does not show movies of this type. That is why I used the word IF in my original post. I know there are people in the world who feel we need to compromise in order to love people. Into the kingdom. I'll be pleased as punch if Dan pulled off a miraculous feat of touching the hearts of non Christians and making them realize that Christians do not take a stand because we want to be contrary and a stumbling block to the world – but rather because we honor the God who loves us and whom we love. Some of the most loving people on earth have been condemned as hateful because they resist the homosexual agenda. Those people who call evil good and good evil and love hate are the real hate mongers. They are either guilty of a psychological phenomenon known as projection or they are simply destructively deceptive.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

          I think we need to remember that the only "sin" God asks us to be concerned about is our own. We need the power to overcome the loss, death, and destruction that the enemy (the thief) brings to each of us (John 10:10). As we seek God for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom and as we determine to love our neighbors as ourselves, we will begin to make a real difference in the world. And, just a note, sin is unbelief–the instant we turn to God through Christ, we begin to overcome the power of unbelief in our lives. When we cleave to God–when we become one with Him–then He promises that life and blessings will follow (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

  • Jeff

    Jude 1:22-24 (New International Version)

    22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

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  • http://www.godmessedmeup.blogspot.com Pam Hogeweide

    I'm from Portland where the author is from. Last year I attended a showing of the film, before I read the book. I really liked it. I blogged a short review which your readers can check out if they like. I give the film a Thumbs Up!

    http://godmessedmeup.blogspot.com/2008/07/lord-sa

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Thanks for that, Pam.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bucketree bucketree

    we serve, we love, we serve, we love, we serve, we love….they sometimes listen…but we serve, and we love, because He serves and he loves unconditionally….while we were yet sinners, Chris died for US all of US…no exceptions. Thanks Michael, leaders who serve deserve to be listened to.

  • Jennifer Butenschoen

    Saw the movie earlier this year and liked it so much, bought a personal copy from the website. Wholeheartedly agree that every Christian should watch it.

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  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    Having walked with the Lord since the mid-sixties, I have been involved with many different churches and other groups of believers. I have come to the conclusion that I much prefer dealing with Christians as individuals than as groups. Christian groups are not above peer pressure, and just as teens are led into destructive behaviors by their peers, so are believers.

    One of the greatest "deceptions" that I see in the church is the belief that we have the right to judge others. I believe Christ knew that the push to judge was going to get stronger for believers, so he spoke over and over, "Do not judge!" And, the very scripture passage–Romans 1–that many believers use to justify their "righteous" judgments continues in Romans 2:1 with these words, "Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself…" When we put everything together in these verses, can we understand that God is telling us that yes, the world is a mess, but don't get caught in the trap of judging others? We should listen to Him.

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  • http://meghanfife.wordpress.com Meghan Fife

    I do not know much about this movie but I agree that there are definitely some "followers" who misrepresent Jesus Christ. I believe our correct response would be to pray for them and to pray for ourselves that we may not misrepresent Him.

    And of course, as we stand in love toward all those who do not yet follow Him we also stand in love toward those who DO follow Him, even if they are making mistakes.

  • http://comingblackswan.blogspot.com/ Dave Schneider

    Perhaps this issue could be analyzed more effectively by going a step deeper and seeing it as an identity conflict instead of as a "culture war." That might allow us to treat our enemies with the respect they deserve as image bearers while at the same time recognizing the genuine (and growing) conflict in our society.