War Room Movie Review: A Closer Look At Prayer, Sin, & Satan

I liked War Room a lot. The characters were engaging, the emotion was moving, and the story of redemption was beautiful. However, I had three main issues with the theology (or theology that could have been implied or misconstrued): 

1) Nobody screams and cries their prayers like that, at least, not on a regular basis. Maybe, when confronted with a really tough situation you will. But if you expect yourself to become that emotional every time you pray, you’ll fall into the trap of thinking you’re not spiritual enough, or that your faith is weak. No one can maintain that pitch of fervor, and God doesn’t expect you to. He loves you when you’re calm and quiet too.

2) Your prayers won’t always get answered. It has nothing to do with the strength of your faith, your personal righteousness, or the wording or passion of your prayers. Sometimes, God says “No.” Just because you pray for your spouse sincerely and adamantly, that doesn’t mean they’ll change. Don’t fault the quality of your faith if they don’t.

3) Satan didn’t make them do it, or you do it. Sometimes the Devil or demons do work in the hearts of people, but most of the time, man’s evil is 100% his own creation. You can shout at the Devil all you want, but while he may tempt and exacerbate our sinful natures, he isn’t the author of our sin. Most of the time, when we sin, we do it all on our own.

On a side note (and I didn’t count this as an issue simply because it’s a topic that the film didn’t explore), if ever you know someone who is adulterous, a thief, a con artist, etc., recognize that they’re not going to change overnight. Sins this deep are premeditated and carefully planned. They start as a tiny seed and grow into crime over years and years of nurturing and festering. Even when suddenly chopped down, such as by conversion or genuine repentance, they leave behind deep roots.

Prayer alone, and salvation alone, does not cure sin. Redemption and sanctification are a process. Sometimes, they’re a very, very long and painful process. Anyone dealing with serious deep sins like these will need ongoing counseling, prayer, and someone to watch them carefully to protect them from relapse. That is not something to be ashamed of. Rather, I would say that if someone has a sin problem, but they seek and desire accountability, that in and of itself is a marvelous sign of the work of the Spirit in their heart.

All this being said, I think it was a wonderful film. There were some spots that felt a bit forced, and a few theological implicatins I wasn’t quite comfortable with, but by and large it was moving and uplifting. I would definitely recommend it, particularly as a doctrinal discussion starter, because it raises some challenging and interesting points.

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