A "Christian" animation or a deceptive imitation?
by Berit Kjos - December 2006
Emphasis added in bold letters
 AFA Superstore
"Kids will love this animated action movie! Angel Wars is an animated DVD featuring an epic, supernatural adventure of angels battling fallen spirits."
"Angel Wars Guardian Force rocketed to success this fall as children in more than 2,000 American churches buckled up and strapped in to the high powered adventures of Michael, Swift, Kira and Ariana." Review by Joe Montague
"I made them for my boys who love Pokemon and Power Rangers,"Chris Waters, Angel Wars' creator
A spiritual war is raging, but help is near. Here come the angels!
But wait! These warriors look more like Power Rangers or Superman. Some soar the skies on skateboards; others fly spaceships that remind us of Star Wars battles. Like sorcerers and superheroes, they can invoke power and protection through magical objects, and even "good" angels have bad attitudes and act like rebellious teens. So who are these new masters of the universe? What do they teach our children? Surely not Christianity!
No, these angels are marketing a tempting counterfeit. According to hollywoodjesus.com, their "creator" Chris Waters (who "moonlights" as a youth pastor) did "extensive research on the 'tween market." He "believes the best way to reach today's 8-12 year-olds is through visual entertainment, and hopes Angel Wars will be a portal through which they will come to understand the nature of a complex spiritual world."[4
This "complex spiritual world" scorns God's order. "Rather than being overt with morality and Biblical teachings," explains Joe Montague in his review of this anime-like DVD series, "Waters relies on action-packed scenes, a high tempo musical score delivered by acclaimed veteran music producer Christopher Stevens and the strength of good character development to flesh out the message."
And what is that message?
"Drawing a similarity between his work and C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, [Chris Waters] says that both have hidden Christian meanings in them yet remain 'one step removed, so that someone who isn't a Christian can still appreciate the struggle and not feel like they are being preached to or being smacked over their head.'”
In other words, his message presents a mythical illusion designed to appeal to the world. Purged of any offensive reference to the gospel, it fits Time Magazine's 1993 observation: "For those who choke too easily on God and his rules... angels are the handy compromise."
Yes. And under the cloak of evangelism, Angel Wars now spreads the world's fast-paced, power-filled thrills to unsuspecting Christian families.
There's nothing really new or holy about today's "cool" angelic images. Awesome angels have been popular topics through the ages. Remember all the angel books back in the 90s. Fueled by the TV serial, "Touched by an Angel," that fad birthed a revolution in the public perception of supernatural forces. As truth merged with myth and fantasy, Biblical discernment plummeted, and fascination with "other gods" and popular supernaturals soared.
The Angel Wars illustrate the process. Each episode starts with the same introduction -- a strange blend of truth, myth and fantasy. In this context, Biblical words such as "redemption" are linked to angelic efforts, not to the crucified and resurrected Christ. Our sovereign, personal God is replaced with a remote creator-god who plays no further part in the action:
[6, see note]
"In the beginning there was One, the Great Maker King who called forth all that was. The first of the Maker King's creations was the glorious race of angels, with none so bright as the Daystar. But the crown of His creation was earth, where lived a race of mortal beings so like the king that it maddened the Daystar. Drawing to his side a legion of angels, the rebel sought to overthrow the Kingdom of heaven. His rebellion squashed by the righteous guardians, the rebel fled to earth where he found his opportunity for revenge. From that day to this, a war has raged for the hearts of mortals, one side bent on destruction, the other redemption."
How "righteous" are these angelic guardians? This letter from a concerned Christian illustrates the answer:
"It is hard to see these 'angels' as having anything to do with the Bible. Other than the reference to the "great maker king" at the beginning of episode 1 and the same thing in the middle of episode 2, I don't remember anything at all to do with Jesus, the Father or His Word.
"The angels travel around in a cool looking spaceship and form wings on their backs when flying out of it to go on their assignments..... except the young angels, Kira and Eli, who fly out on skateboards shaped like small wings. Eli cloned himself in his first fight scene when he was outnumbered by the enemy.
"One of the head angels, a woman, appeared to be killed near the end of episode 2. Another angel had a big ego and complained of the assignments he was given. Should we let children think that these characters, with their human-like flaws, attitudes and characteristics represent God's angels?
"The most disturbing thing for me, as far as the visual images went, was the faces of the evil characters, especially their eyes. I can still see the images in my mind. I would think this could cause some kids to have nightmares. I am at a total loss as to how this could be considered Christian entertainment. But I understand why they would love these angels, especially if they are fans of Power Rangers, robots and Transformers."
In spite of this mockery, both Family Christian Stores and LifeWay Christian Stores promote this DVD with the following message:
"Angel Wars: Guardian Force is an epic, animated, supernatural adventure of angels battling fallen spirits. Eli and Kira, two junior members of the Guardian Force must grow up in a hurry when their first mission to earth takes a detour, pitting them against Morg, a deadly but long forgotten foe. In a race against time, the Guardians must uncover the source of Morg's power, defeat his crafty minions, and stop the ruin of a mortal life, all while learning to work together."
But Biblical angels don't start out as immature teenagers who must grow up and "learn to work together." Instead, they obey God and continually carry out His will. His holy messengers, first introduced in the Bible as sword-bearing guardians of God's garden (Genesis 3), don't need high tech assistance to traverse God's infinite space. Nor must they, as the DVDs show, earn credits in order to get their wings. Such misleading suggestions distort God's heavenly realities, conforming them to man's vain imagination.
Undermining the Sovereignty of God
The American Family Resource Center shows the same disregard for Biblical integrity. Ponder its promotion of the second and third episodes, which it offers at a discount:
"[The evil] Morg moves quickly to his hideaway base where he prepares to unleash a devastating blow against humankind. Drawn together by providence, the Guardian Force must uncover the secrets of their old foe, and stop him before the earth is forever changed."
"With his angel hostage in tow, the archangel Michael on his tail, and a symbiotic stone taking control of his body, the demon Morg flees to the underworld where he quickly establishes a new base of operations. Feeding off the demon’s pride, the symbiotic stone slowly transforms Morg into an all-consuming beast with the power to threaten both Heaven and Earth."
Who is considered sovereign in this story -- our God, the evil Morg, or the angelic "Guardian Force"? In contrast, what does God's Word tell us about His sovereignty, secret things, and the destruction of the earth? Compare His all-knowing ways with man's arrogant speculations:
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God...." Deuteronomy 29:29
"I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying,
‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’" Isaiah 46:8-10
Young fans may never forget these counterfeit angels that corrupt the Biblical worldview. As brain research has repeatedly shown us, such thrill-driven stimuli will more effectively change beliefs and values than real (but less thrill-driven) facts, truth and logic. [See The Power of Suggestion and Movie Magic and Unconscious Learning]
But that's not all! These unbiblical images and suggestions can now be reinforced through an additional DVD! Called "Drawing With Dan," it will help children learn "to draw angels like the pros.... They'll even show you how to draw an action shot of Michael, fearless leader of the Seven... setting them on a course to artistic glory unrivalled in all of history."
In other words, children not only learn to blend truth with myth (DIALECTIC thinking), they also practice what they learn (PRAXIS) by reproducing the images. Through this praxis, these practiced fantasies become part of a child's new understanding of heavenly realities.
Christian children, whose home-taught beliefs are "challenged" by these mystical alternatives, are likely to experience "cognitive dissonance" -- a mental and emotional confusion caused by the clash of opposing beliefs and values. When trying to resolve this confusion, today's children tend to side with their peers and pursue the new thrills.[See Brainwashing and how to resist it]
Changing God's Word
In his review of "Angel Wars," Joe Montague sheds more light on the aim and origin of this series:
"Springing from the imagination of Sydney-born creator Chris Waters, Angel Wars Guardian Force is quickly becoming regarded as one of the best and most ambitious animation projects to ever bear a Christian message.... Waters thinks that the allegorical writings of Lewis and Tolkien have much in common with the way Jesus taught. 'If you look at the way Jesus spoke, he spoke in parables. He didn't do that just to be clever. He did that so they could understand.'"
That's not true. When His disciples asked Jesus, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given." Jesus intentionally hid the real meaning. (Matthew 13:10-17) It wasn't meant for everyone! In contrast, Waters' message fits the world and is aimed at everyone:
"Other influences that came to bear on the creation of Angel Wars Guardian Force included Waters' childhood interest in comic book superheroes such as X-Men and Spiderman as well as the discovery of a very old copy of Milton's Paradise Lost.... 'In this book... there were these incredible illustrations of battles between angels and demons,' he says. 'When I read this book and saw the illustrations, it struck me that something from the Bible could be that epic, fantastic and heroic (instead of being dry)."
John Milton re-imagined Genesis 3. In the process, he mythologized the characters and added symbols that have prompted Freemasons to claim him as one of their own.
The nature of good and evil
The "Rotten Tomatoes" website tells us that "ANGEL WARS is designed to appeal to young teens while teaching them lessons about the nature of good and evil." It continues with this imagined scenario: "When a fallen angel named Morg finally obtains the power he needs to conquer Earth, a group of angels called the Guardian Force set out to defeat him...."
The animation suggests that Morg has power to conquer the earth. But only God has such authority! Unlike the remote Deist-like deity of Angel Wars, the true God never abdicated His role as Lord and Master. He continues to wield and delegate power according to His will and plan! Though He warns us repeatedly not to add to His Word or delete from it, these animations add unforgettable impressions that stretch and transform God's own revelations about Himself into a mystical fable.
Our Lord has no appreciation for clever marketing strategies that appeal to human nature. He despises our foolish attempts to hide the victory of the cross and the power of Christ's redemption behind enticing lies. Instead He seeks faithful followers who will teach truth to children and trust His Spirit to make it alive in their hearts.
In conclusion, those who have -- by God's grace alone -- been "raised up with Christ" (Ephesians 2:6) have the privilege to view reality from God's heavenly perspective. That worldview will enable us to --
1. Love and worship God, not angels or any other spiritual forces.
2. Build our understanding of God on His word, not on popular entertainment.
3. See God's angels as ministering servants of God, holy messengers doing His will.
4. Use Biblical words correctly.
5. Reject marketing that appeals to the flesh and stirs cravings that clash with the Spirit. "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish...." Galatians 5:17
"For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God...." 2 Corinthians 2:17
"...we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully...." 2 Corinthians 4:1
"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:9-10
See comments on this article atReligions
2. Joe Montague, "Angel Wars Guardian Force," www.tollbooth.org/2006/features/angel.html
3. Joe Montague, "Angel Wars: Animating Biblical Truths in an Epic Struggle of Good Versus Evil," November 28, 2005. www.sightmagazine.com.au/stories/Features/angelwars28.11.05.php or
5. Nancy Gibbs, "Angels Among Us," Time (December 27, 1993); 56.
6. www.hollywoodjesus.com/sites/angel_wars_clips.htm. The main problem is that unchanging Biblical truth has been converted to an evolving myth. In spite of it similarities to God's revelation, it's still a myth -- disconnected from actual Truth. Tolkien and Lewis did the same with their fantasies. See Christian Romanticism, the Inklings, and the Elevation of Mythology at www.crossroad.to/articles2/006/nathan/romanticism.htm
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