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Exploring 'The God Who Speaks' with Q-and-A

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Thursday, March 17, 2022 @ 12:06 PM Exploring 'The God Who Speaks' with Q-and-A ATTENTION: Major social media outlets are finding ways to block the conservative/evangelical viewpoint. Click here for daily electronic delivery of The Stand's Daily Digest - the day's top blogs from AFA.

M.D. Perkins Research Fellow of Church and Culture MORE

The God Who Speaks traces the evidence of the Bible’s authority through interviews with some of the most respected apologists, scholars, and pastors in the evangelical world. This is an original, award-winning feature-length documentary from American Family Studios. There is a limited-time offer where you can register for free with a simple step to watch it on AFA's new streaming network (See HERE).

Those who waver on the basic points of doctrine and the knowledge of the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of the Bible risk be like the salt Jesus described in Matthew 5:13 (NIV):

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."

That 'saltiness' is also described by various translations and authors as purpose, taste, or flavor. M.D. Perkins, one of the producers, answers some questions to help us explore the thoughts and decisions that led to the final version of The God Who Speaks so we can all better experience Psalm 34:8 that says, "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"

Why can Christians trust that the Bible is God’s Word and not merely those of men?

The Bible’s reliability has been proven true by a host of proofs – apologetics, archeology, history, prophecy, theology, etc. – while the Bible’s authority is rooted in the fact that God is the author.

There are many things we could say here but I really like the way apologist Alex McFarland said it in the documentary, “The Bible is not a book that man could write if he would write, or would write if he could write.” In other words, the Bible is so startlingly honest in what it says about man and completely unique in what it says about God. It stands apart from the myths that mankind has written for generations.

Further, there is a power in the Bible in pinpointing our sin and error. As Hebrews 4:12 says, 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

For anyone who is honest with the Scripture, they know the Bible calls things sin that make us not just uncomfortable but guilty. If the Bible isn’t true then there is no reason for us to bear that guilt in our hearts and minds. Yet we do. Skeptics spend their lives trying to assuage that guilt.

Why is it important that God speaks?

It is important that God speak to us because there are so many things about Him that we would not know without His clear revelation. We don’t even know what we don’t know unless He reveals Himself.

Romans 1 tells us His invisible attributes are clearly seen in the things that are made, namely His eternal power and divine nature. Think of all world religions – however great or small and tribalistic – and there is some sense of the divine and some attempt to control or call upon eternal power.

Without the Scripture, we would be utterly lost to our own devices and thoughts and sin. God speaks to us and, suddenly, it clarifies thousands of things we thought we understood before.

What is the process of creating a film even before the camera is recording?

Making a documentary requires a great deal of research and preparation before you ever film a single shot. The God Who Speaks required researching the history and theology of the Bible as well as the skeptical objections that are often raised.

I wanted the film to deal with those objections – either directly or indirectly – so I had to know what people had been arguing about. I made an outline for the movie before we ever rolled the cameras.

Originally, I imagined The God Who Speaks as a 4-part miniseries covering over 4 hours of content but it was clear at a certain point that we needed something shorter and more focused. Each interview required its own research because I wanted each interview to be able to potentially contribute at multiple points on the outline and to play to each contributor’s strengths. That required a broader knowledge of the topics and speakers than simply having some stock questions about the Bible that everyone would answer.

Will this film grow a believer’s confidence and ability to speak on the validity of the Bible?

The goal was always that Christians would watch The God Who Speaks and find it helpful in their personal faith – bolstering their confidence in the Scripture and in their ability to speak about it with others.

We often feel insecure and inadequate to defend the Bible when we see it being derided or assaulted on social media or in personal interactions. We think we aren’t smart enough or need a lot of specialized knowledge in order to really make a difference. 

The God Who Speaks was designed to give you that crash course in apologetics, history, and theology to help you answer so many of those objections. Many have said they found the movie to help them in exactly that way.

I do want to add a statement of warning for some.

We have to remember that the point of our evangelistic interactions is to get someone closer to understanding and acknowledging the truth of God’s Word. It isn’t because we are the smartest or most clever people. God honors simple obedience. Often, our insecurity leads us to silence and disobedience because we are fearful – even though we may know the answer or be sensing the Holy Spirit prompting us to speak up. That temptation will not suddenly leave because you watch The God Who Speaks.

Having some apologetics and theology in your back pocket can give you some added confidence in the interaction but if you aren’t willing to engage in the conversation, you can watch The God Who Speaks a hundred times to no avail. As James 1:22 says, we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

What do you believe sets this film apart from other documentaries about the Bible?

Most of the documentaries about the Bible are secular attempts to disprove the Bible’s authenticity. There are lots of attacks on the creation account in Genesis. There are attempts to show that the archeology of the Bible proves certain events could never have happened or that Jesus was a lot different than what is taught in the four Gospels. That is NOT what The God Who Speaks is about.

There are a few documentaries, like the Patterns of Evidence movies, that are evangelical and deal honestly with the research, but they are also dealing with a very particular piece of biblical authenticity.

What we wanted to do with The God Who Speaks was to deal with the theological, apologetic, and practical questions of the Bible’s reliability and authority. We wanted Christians to have a well-rounded, full-spectrum understanding of the Bible’s authenticity.

Could you elaborate on those three questions? Begin with theology – what is an example of a theological question the movie answers.

The theological questions are ones that deal with definitions and terms that help Christians speak clearly and carefully about God and the Bible. For instance, the word inspiration has a popular meaning in our language that basically means something is well-made. People typically speak of a poem or a piece of music as being “inspired.” It is used as a compliment of artistic merit.

But in theology, inspiration means something very different. Theologically speaking, inspiration means that the writers of the biblical texts were carried along by the Holy Spirit, so that as they wrote their own words in their own style and in their particular context, it was, nevertheless, God’s very Word – free from error or mere opinion and universally binding for all people. This is the language of 2 Peter 1:21 which says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

We could also take 2 Timothy 3:16, which speaks of the Scripture as “God-breathed.” That is how the English Standard Version (ESV) translates it. The ESV takes the Greek word theopneustos and translates it literally: God-breathed. The King James Version translated it as “given by inspiration of God,” which gives us the theological word and category of inspiration. Both are fine translations, so long as we recognize what inspiration is intended to communicate biblically.

What about apologetics? What apologetic questions does The God Who Speaks answer?

Apologetics is giving a defense of the faith and many of the theological questions are immediately connected to apologetic questions. Have the scriptures been changed over time to where we lost the original meaning? Was there a secret committee that decided what books would be included and excluded? What do we do with other books like the Gospel of Thomas that sound like it could have been part of our Bible? These are common questions – often presented as objections by skeptics. It is faith-strengthening to know there are good and reasonable answers to these questions.

Sometimes these answers can seem complicated because of the detail and history involved – but the answers are there. As the scholar, Dan Wallace says in the film, “Our faith is rooted in history. And, consequently, we need to use the evidence and never be afraid of it.” The God Who Speaks deals with a number of those common objections and gives the reasoning for why the Bible is trustworthy.

What about the practical questions of The God Who Speaks?

The Bible is the revelation of God. That is the purpose of it. God wants us to know Him. In light of this, we have to consider our personal response to the truth of Scripture. When we read it:

~  Are we stirred by it?
~  Does it convict us of sin?
~  Does it give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness?
~  Does it encourage our hearts when we are dismayed?
~  Does it provide guidance when we are struggling to obey the Lord in a particular situation?
~  Does it shape how we discern truth from error in the world around us?

There are so many practical questions that are immediately upon us when we come to realize that the scriptures are true.

Frank Turek tells the story of a skeptic who was asked the question, “If you knew without any doubt that the Bible was true, would you believe?” And the skeptic said, “No.” Turek comments that the problem was not a “head problem” but a “heart problem” – the man doesn’t want to believe. There may be some skeptics who watch this movie who are already committed to rejecting it.

Sadly, there may be some people who claim to be Christians who only watch the movie to help them win apologetic arguments but have no real love of the truth. It was for this reason that we wanted to be sure that The God Who Speaks stirred viewers to seek God in the Scripture. It’s one thing to know by hearsay, it’s another thing to know from experience. As righteous Job says near the end of his tremendous trial:

 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).

That is my hope for anyone who takes the time to watch The God Who Speaks and consider the message conveyed in the film. It is an incredible treasure that God has spoken to us – He is worthy of a humble, contrite response from all who hear Him.

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