Holy Ghost, A Christian Movie Review

Can the Holy Spirit direct a movie? Holy Ghost is a new documentary film by Darren Wilson, director of the popular films Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights.

Darren Wilson sets out to make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan, no script, no safety net–just go wherever he feels the Spirit leading him to try and discover the adventure God has for him. Whether it’s the riches of Monte Carlo, a heavy metal concert, or the oldest city in the world, the result is a film that not only challenges and excites, but also reveals a God who is far more alive and active than you ever imagined. (Holy Ghost IMDb Plot Summary)

holy ghost movieWhat a claim! For this reason any reviewer of the film Holy Ghost (2014) ought to be very cautious about their criticism because Jesus said, whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). Speaking against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin, so I want to be careful in judging this movie so as not to attribute any work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).

For example, exactly an hour and half into the movie an Indian man in Varanasi, India is supposedly healed after being prayed for by Evangelist Mark Marx. I’m not going to say this was a work of the devil. It looks like this man was really healed by Jesus (obviously I’m not a reviewing this film as a biased cessationist). I believe in divine healing, but I believe that such miracles are primarily, but not exclusively, administered to non-believers as a sign (See Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4). I see no reason why this Indian man would not be healed by Jesus as a sign to confirm the truth of the Gospel. But I cannot say that I would endorse any of these men or say that any of them are preaching the truth of the Gospel. Most of these “miracles” in the film seemed like cheap parlor tricks and cold reading techniques practiced by psychics. 

Let’s also keep in mind that signs and wonders are not necessarily a stamp of approval upon the messenger who preformed the sign. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-24) God may honor the name of His Son by performing a sign for an unbeliever through a worker of lawlessness in order to authenticate the truth of the Gospel and Lordship of Christ, but not necessarily that messenger through whom the sign was administered. 

Furthermore, Paul the Apostle said, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). And Jesus warned us, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). 

All of this is to say at the outset that we must not carelessly dismiss any and all signs in Jesus name as works of the devil (Matthew 12:24-32), even if they come from workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-24). Neither should we gullibly believe that all “signs” in Jesus’ name are authentic works of the Holy Ghost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; Matthew 24:24). Scripture gives us some guidelines with which to provide a Christian review of the movie Holy Ghost.

In the Beginning

The film begins with a quotation of Genesis 1:1-2: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” There is a major emphasis on the subjective in the film. The cast is often likening the Holy Ghost to feelings, feeling the Presence, tangibly feeling or experiencing the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is defined by some of the speakers as “God on the earth,” “God’s presence here on earth,” a “feeling,” or “presence,” that doesn’t compare to drugs. But never do Jesus or the Apostles refer to a feeling when talking about the Holy Spirit.One of the first people to speak in the film and offer these subjective definitions is Brian “Head” Welch, the former (and current) lead guitarist of the band Korn.

kravitzNext to appear in the film is Rockstar Lenny Kravitz. He says that the Holy Spirit “convicts us.” This is one Scriptural reference I was looking out for when watching the film. Jesus said, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-10). But this is not the Holy Ghost you see in the movie.

And Kravitz’s allusion to that verse is hardly sufficient and even confusing. This is coming from a rockstar who says he “doesn’t want to follow the world, but I’m in the world.” Kravitz is not only in the world, but he’s also of the world. I never would have known that the song  “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” is supposedly sung from the perspective of Jesus Christ, yet the music video features immodest women dancing together looking no different than the world. In the Lenny Kravitz – Liquid Jesus (Music Video), which is appalling to say the least, Kravitz calls Jesus his baby, his darling and his lover. Kravitz says that God has him in His place in the “world of music and Rock and Roll.”

Moreover, I could count on one hand how often sin is even mentioned in the film, let alone defined. Without clearly defining sin, there can be no conviction of sin or clear call to repentance. In fact, repent or repentance are not even mentioned. Rather, many people are given false assurances after inviting Jesus into their heart or “feeling Holy Spirit.” 

Holy Ghost in Salt Lake City?

Tommy Green, Jamie Galloway, and Will Hart go to Salt Lake City to witness and pray for people. The first man they encountered was a young man who said he was haunted by spirits ever since he slept in a graveyard. This young man is assured by Jamie Galloway that it is not his power, but the power of the Holy Spirit that was giving him chills, making his armpits cold and making his nipples hard. The team would say things like, “Do you feel that?” or “What does the feel like?” as they prayed for people in the streets. Then they would say, “More,” or “Double it!” It is utterly ridiculous and irreverent to reduce the Holy Spirit to this. 

Next, the team comes to the gates of a Mormon Temple where an evangelist is open-air preaching to Mormons. He is cast in the film as a cessationist fool because he doesn’t pray for people in the streets and has only saved 5 people in 30 years. Evangelist says, “Without His [Holy Spirit] power the word [Scripture] is dead.” I’m sure the filmmakers were thrilled that there opponent made this point. But it is false. Normally when Christians say something like this, they are referring to 2 Corinthians 3:6: “God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This verse has been twisted by charismatics who claim that the Scriptures are “dead letter.” They prefer to rely upon private interpretation and subjective “leadings of the Spirit.” But the letter which kills is referring to the Law of Moses, not the words of Christ. It is the letter of the Law, not the letter of Christ. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). The phrase “letter of the law” cannot be applied to Jesus words. The spirit of Jesus’ commandments will never contradict the letter of them because they are spirit and they are life unlike the Old Covenant Law which was not accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit. The word is not dead! The words of Jesus are spirit and life. For the word of God is living and powerful,” says Hebrews 4:12!

Then the team moves on to another young man wearing a backpack. Jamie Galloway says he hears the Holy Spirit tell him that this man has neck problems, and breathing problems. I wonder how many people the team talked to until their cold readings were correct. Even with what made the final cut, their accuracy is flawed. For example, the young man corrected Galloway by saying he had a mass on his right side but not a hernia as Galloway supposedly heard from the Holy Spirit. These cold reading techniques are similar to that of psychic John Edward who also asked vague questions in order to appear that he has supernatural powers. See also Debunking the Holy Ghost Movie by Chris Rosebrough.

Even their prayers are not always effectual. For example, Will Hart prays for healing mobility in the young man’s wrist. After prayer, the young man says, “It’s about the same.” After the second round of prayer for “total restoration,” the young man is asked if he has better mobility to which he replied, “I would say not really.” Will says he will pray one more time. Then the young man reported that it was better. Jamie tells the young man that this “healing” was because Jesus is “absolutely in love with you.” Who is to say this is authentic? Perhaps the young man felt pressured to deliver for the cameras. But they certainly didn’t tell him the Gospel. Neither did they share it later with a group of teenagers who they say, “accepted Jesus” because they “invited the Holy Spirit into their life.”

Apparently , these cold readings and ineffectual prayers are bound to happen when Christians “take risks” and “learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.” Will Hart says, “You have to fail,” and “miss it” in order to grow and learn when the Holy Spirit is actually speaking. Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson affirm this in the film. “I’m going to get it wrong,” Johnson says of the learning process. But this is totally unbiblical. When the Holy Spirit speaks in Acts, it was totally clear and those who heard never failed or missed it (See Acts 13:2; Acts 21:11). If the Holy Spirit were really speaking to Jamie Galloway and Will Hart, then why the vague cold reading questions?

The Bible says the exact opposite about what these false prophets are saying! “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). The cold reading psychic techniques of Jamie Galloway and Will Hart are debunked by Psychologist Michael Shermer who explains how psychic James Van Praagh appeared to talk to the dead by using such mentalism tricks as cold reading and hot reading.

Holy Ghost at Monaco?

Next, Director Darren Wilson is guided to Monaco with Todd White, former drug addict and atheist for 22 years. On a dock, White leads a woman in prayer to “tangibly feel” the Holy Spirit come and make His home in her. There is talk of belief and forgiveness of sins but no repentance! He then asks the Holy Spirit to fill her. Afterwards, he says, “Did you feel that? This is awesome… This is what the Bible calls being born again.” Really? The Apostle Peter says we are born again by His Word: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). And Jesus said that the Holy Spirit dwelling in us was dependent upon and inseparable from keeping His commandments: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 15:15-17) Likewise Peter said, ““And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Are we to believe that this woman, who claimed to already believe in Christ, all of sudden became born again and received the Holy Spirit apart from any instruction in the Word of God, especially repentance and obedience? The new birth is not only of the Spirit, but also the Word. 

But White assures her that she has been born again and that the Holy Spirit has come in and made His home inside of her. “He’s just come and made His home inside of you and He will never ever leave you,” says White. If that is the case, why does King David say to God in Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me”? The writer of Hebrews warned: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). But White gives the woman a false assurance saying, “This is the real Holy Spirit. He will never leave you. Ever!”

Holy Ghost at Korn Concert?

Artist Gary Wilson introduces this segment on Brian “Head” Welch and Fieldy of Korn when he says, “One thing that the Western Church lacks is courage. And then you got those people out there on the edges [like Brian “Head Welch and Fieldy].” He says, “Many Christians would say you shouldn’t be involved in that, you know, that Heavy Metal or whatever the thing is.” Korn is referred to as “art that has the presence of God in it.” This is not courage, this is wickedness and worldliness.

Welch shares how he has become “addicted to the Holy Spirit’s presence” after he stopped doing Crystal Meth. These false prophets often refer to the Holy Spirit like a drug or alcohol. For example, see this blasphemous communion service with Brian “Head” Welch and John Crowder or “Brian Head Welch – God is Love and I am Love Drunk.”

This movie review would not provide the time and space to go into the depths of darkness associated with Brian “Head” Welch. Even after allegedly becoming a Christian and saying he would never ever go back to playing in the band Korn, he returned to the satanic rock band. If you can stomach it, there is a documentary on Brian “Head” Welch here which clearly exposes the hellish depravity of Welch and Korn, much of which is documented after his “conversion” (be warned that it does contain graphic imagery and bad language). You will know them by their fruit.

Fieldy, the bassist for Korn says, “Ever since I asked Jesus into my heart, I’ve never been the same.” Brian Welch later tells a Korn fan, “Just pray. Ask Him in real quick.” Nothing about repentance, counting the cost, taking up the cross or anything. Just ask Him in real quick, “Come into my heart, come into my life.” This idea about saying a prayer to asks Jesus into your heart is heretical. Jesus and the apostles never taught this. On the day of Pentecost, it says that men were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter did not say, “Just say this prayer with me to ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit into your heart. No. Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

welchBut these Rock-n-Roll stars like Kravitz, Welch, and Fieldy have not repented of their worldly lifestyles. Even non-Christians quit doing hard drugs and fornicating, but God calls us to be separate from the world (See John 15:19; 17:14-16) and abstain from the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The world would hate them if they came out of the world and testified that their deeds were evil (See John 7:7; 15:19; 17:14). 

But the world loves to attend their concerts because their deeds are done in darkness. In the movie, Fieldy gets a new tattoo of a crucifix on his face. This a lawless “Christianity” which is syncretistic with worldly culture. Many of the stars in the film are covered in Jesus tattoos and dreadlocks. But a Christian should not get a tattoo on the very basis of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) Concerning men with dreadlocks, Paul the Apostle said, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14) On this note, many of the tattooed men in the film also pray with their hoods or hats on when Paul said: “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.” (1 Corinthians 11:4) Holiness is lacking from Holy Ghost the movie. This is not the Holy Spirit.

Todd White, Brian “Head” Welch and Fieldy team up to pray for the Korn fans entering into the concert. One woman in a Batman t-shirt said she needed prayer for her kidney, but White asks for a “brand new liver” by mistake. She then hugs the rock stars and says, “Thank you.” Did she get a brand new liver for her kidney problem?

White prays for an atheist with back problems (White’s first guess was a shoulder ailment). White tells him, “You don’t even have to believe. You can unbelieve as much as you want.” But we never see Jesus or the apostles praying for somebody who doesn’t believe. The New Testament writers go to great lengths throughout the Gospels and Epistles to make this point clear. It is those who had faith who were healed by God. After praying for the man’s leg to grow (by the way, Darren Brown – Miracles for Sale debunks the leg-healing faith healer trick), White tells him, “I’m not here to say you need to…. No, God loves you. No pressure.” No pressure or need to do anything? I would have told the man that “God now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). 

Holy Ghost at Varanasi?

Director Darren Wilson then travels to Varanasi where God has called him to “worship Jesus at a Hindu Temple” and pray for people. He likens this to a risky suicide mission because of the militant Hindu and Buddhist presence. Singer/Songwriter Jake Hamilton and Evangelist Mark Marx of Northern Ireland make up Darren’s new missionary team in India.

Jake Hamilton begins to play his music, but never once sung the name of Jesus. It appears that the crowds were drawn by the spectacle of American music rather than the Holy Spirit. One of Hamilton’s songs is Amazing Grace with a “Freedom” riff which sounds like it was borrowed from Aretha Franklin’s song “Think.” Another sounds like the Beatles song, “All you Need is Love.” Another song is about love coming to town, but never is Jesus mentioned. Perhaps this is the reason why they were not persecuted.

Did they preach the Gospel? Absolutely not, unless it was edited out. They had a perfect opportunity when a large crowd gathered around in a park to hear the music. Hamilton stopped playing his guitar and spoke to the crowd with an interpreter. This would have been the moment to declare the good news of the Kingdom of God, repentance and remission of sins in Jesus Christ alone. What did Jake say? Did he preach the Gospel? No, he said, “I want to tell you I’m only singing in the streets because I came to India for one reason: to tell you that no matter where you’re at, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how rich or how poor, you are loved. You are loved. You are loved.” Loved by who? How are they loved? Once again, no Jesus!

Marx confronts two Indians listening to the music and said he “saw the Holy Spirit on them.” He says to them, “Do you like this [the music].” The men say that the music gets their heartbeat going fast and uncontrollable. Marx responds, “We would call that the Holy Spirit is touching your heart.” Marx asks, “Would you like to feel more of this? Can I pray you feel more?” What? An emotional response to the fast-paced music is the Holy Spirit touching your heart? Marx says it again to another Indian man: “Do you like it when he sings? We call that the presence of the Holy Spirit.” A person likening Aretha Franklin’s Freedom song and feeling something inside is not the presence of the Holy Spirit!

Conclusion

holy ghost movieDo they get to worship Jesus at a Hindu Temple as God called them? No. They got into a Hindu Temple with a high priest at their side. They filmed in the temple but didn’t preach. Neither did they worship in the temple. I guess this isn’t God’s movie after all. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). But Christ was not declared and glorified.

But Darren Wilson says, “We openly proclaimed Jesus as Lord in the heart of this, the oldest city in the world.” No, not really. Nothing was proclaimed about the lordship of Jesus, or even Jesus for that matter. Hamilton said, “We’re not trying to sit here and convert thousands of people. . . . We know where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom from what? This is avoiding the Christian responsibility of preaching the Gospel by suggesting that the Holy Spirit’s presence can somehow show up without proclaiming Jesus Christ or trying to convert people!

Singer/Songwriter Meredith Andrews concludes the film saying, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.” This is a quotation of 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” But this is a limited negative. In other words, the kingdom of God is not in word only, but also power. But she says it as if talk is not part of the kingdom. Paul clarifies any confusion: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). But a major theme of the Holy Ghost movie is feeling and experience rather than preaching words of sound doctrine. Lenny Kravits says we “talk, talk, talk about all this religious stuff, but it’s really about a connection.” William P. Young, author of The Shack, emphasizes this point when he disparages “certainty,” “intellectuality,” “rationalism, doctrine and theology,” in comparison to “the risk and mystery that’s involved in relationship.”

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 2:2-4) Holy Ghost the movie is not led by the Holy Ghost. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), but Darren Wilson’s film is missing the truth.

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