American Gospel: Christ Crucified

American Gospel: Christ Crucified
Directed by Brandon Kimber
Transition Studios, 2019, 176 minutes

5 Stars

In his previous documentary, “American Gospel: Christ Alone” (2018), Brandon Kimber confronted the false prosperity gospel. See my review here. In this latest film, Kimber turns his attention to the “emerging church movement” (ECM).

The leaders of ECM adopted a post-modern, relativistic approach to the Bible, insisting that God is strictly a God of love and acceptance and dismissing those passages in God’s Word that proclaim God’s wrath against sinners, His judgement, and the eternal damnation of unbelievers in hell. ECMers are especially roiled by the doctrine of the “penal substitutionary atonement” of Jesus Christ; that God the Son voluntarily bore the wrath of God the Father and the penalty for sin in the place of sinful mankind, and that only those who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus as Savior by faith alone are redeemed and born-again as God’s children.

What ECMers teach is an updated form of Universalism; that most/all people are destined for Heaven/Nirvana/paradisaical bliss. Some of the most prominent proponents of the ECM false gospel are featured in this documentary, including Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, and Catholic Franciscan friar, Richard Rohr. Opinionated atheist, Bart Campolo, is prominently featured as an example of how ECM is a foundationless, slippery slope and naturally progresses into outright atheism.

Counterposing the ECMers are defenders of God’s Word and the genuine Gospel, including Voddie Bauchman, Alistair Begg, Ray Comfort, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Justin Peters, and Paul Washer. The spine of the documentary is the journey of believer, Alisa Childers, who was being misled by a crypto-ECM pastor, but by God’s grace became an outspoken critic of the ECM heresy.

Observations and comments

I enjoyed this documentary quite a bit. Several of the ECMers come across as quite “snarky,” especially Tony Jones, Rob Bell, and the two young, know-it-all brats manning the Deconstructionist Podcast (Adam Narloch and John Williamson). In all fairness, believers can be arrogantly “snarky” as well. I was glad to see Kimber include William Paul Young, the author of “The Shack,” as one of the ECMers. Unwitting evangelicals eagerly consumed Young’s Universalist kool-aid. Kimber and company did an excellent job of breaking down the all-important doctrine of “penal substitutionary atonement,” a theological term that sounds dauntingly complicated, but is at the heart of the Good News. The documentary begins by rapidly juxtaposing interview segments with ECMers and orthodox believers, which can be confusing for viewers who don’t know who’s who. I had to stop the documentary and explain to my wife what was going on. After an interval, the viewer is be able to differentiate between the “bad guys” and the “good guys,” but it’s confusing at first. As with the previous documentary, the title, “American Gospel: Christ Crucified,” is regrettably incongruent; a subtitle normally complements the main title rather than contradicts it.

Kimber included Stephen J. Nichols as one of the defenders of the genuine Gospel, which leads me to my closing thought. Kimber has now examined two heretical movements; the prosperity gospel and the emerging church. I wish that his next documentary would examine the growing ecumenism with Roman Catholicism within evangelicalism. Stephen J. Nichols wrote a children’s book, which included Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuits, as a “hero of the faith.” There’s A LOT of that kind of ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel floating around within evangelicalism these days.

“American Gospel: Christ Crucified” is available via Amazon video streaming as a 48-hour rental for $4.99.

48 thoughts on “American Gospel: Christ Crucified

  1. I am going to watch this with my husband! Thanks for this, brother!
    “ I wish that his next documentary would examine the growing ecumenism with Roman Catholicism within evangelicalism. ” Maybe you could email him or something and suggest this?!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth. I hope you both enjoy it. I would be interested in your thoughts after you see it.
      RE: emailing Kimber
      Thanks for the exhortation! I’m going to see if I can find an email addy for Kimber.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. While both docs are excellent, you needn’t see the first one to get a better understanding of the second because each one examines a distinct heretical movement.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I changed the wording in my post to reduce confusion. I initially wrote “American Gospel: Christ Crucified” was a “follow up,” but I changed that to “latest film.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom, thank you for reviewing the second installment of the “American Gospel.” It is very interesting documentary by viewing the trailer only. Now, with your guide on who’s who we can easily know who is talking; the “bad guy” or the “good guy.” Looking forward for them to produce a third one. GOD bless you and your wife, Tom! I still owe you two comments on Mary; doing it in due time, hopefully.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Tom, this is a GREAT review! I personally thought the second was better than the first. I am similar in age to the (De)Constructionist and my thought was you will not be this arrogant before the Throne. I was really saddened by Bart Campollo’s story. People like Bart are the reason why election (spiritual, not political just thought I should clarify!) debates get so heated. I will say at least he was honest with his stance rather than muddying the waters like the Emergents. I was taken aback by Rohr. I don’t understand why/how he has not been denounced even by the Catholic Church. God’s wisdom truly is foolish in the eyes of man. I think it would be fascinating if they did a documentary on the RCC. I look forward to hearing what you learn! Are y’all painting today?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mandy! I appreciate the kind words! Yup, the arrogance of the DeC guys was thicker than mud. Prideful intellectualism,
      RE: Bart Campollo
      Corinne and I had a short conversation about Bart after the film. Definitely a tare. Never genuinely born-again. At least that is how we would view him.
      RE: Rohr
      He’s such an amazing example of the range of belief within the RCC. The pope and progressives teach that every works religion and even moral atheism are legitimate pathways to salvation, while traditionalists believe only Catholic baptism and the RCC’s sacraments lead to salvation. Many traditionalist Catholics believe Francis and especially someone like Rohr are heretics.

      Yup, that would be so great if Kimber did a documentary on ecumenism with Rome. Such a “hot potato” these days.

      Currently sunny and 73F in Rochester. I’m going to eat a quick lunch and then finally get outside and start painting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Mandy! Our house is a ranch, so while there are a few peaks that require an extension ladder, I can handle most of it with a step ladder and standing on the ground. Enjoy your nice weather!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi brother! Hope you’re having a good day! I got a late start with painting, started at 2:30 and finished for the day at 5:30. The big surfaces are done, just caulking and little details the rest of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, but I think I’m just selectively nerdy. Ask me anything about the RCC, Poland, Elia Kazan, the LSH, the Am Rev War or the Byrds and I’m good, but there’s a steep drop off beyond those. 🤓

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Further comment: I am glad the documentaries have taken on prosperity gospel and the Emergent Movement. Of the two I can’t stand ECM more, the smug and pseudo intellectual and arrogance of some of their proponents and followers turns me off. It would be good if part 3 they look at Romanism and even ECT types

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: ECM and their smug and pseudo intellectual and arrogance

      LOL! Sorry, I’m not laughing at you, but I think you REALLY need to see this 2nd AG documentary! The smugness, arrogance, snarkiness, and pomposity of the ECM interviewees is thicker than peanut butter! The two snarky guys who podcast under the [De]Constructionists moniker need to be taken to the woodshed by Van Til.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A few years ago, I saw one of the pastors from Rob Bell’s church (Mars Hill) bragging on twitter about inviting a Muslim woman to partake in communion with them, knowing full well that the woman was Muslim.

        The sad part is the Muslim woman had more spiritual integrity than that pastor, and declined.

        Liked by 1 person

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