It’s getting ridiculous. Mel Gibson’s Roman Catholic splatter-movie, The Passion of the Christ, set the ball rolling in recent times, and now we are seeing one movie after another being churned out with a supposedly “Christian” theme, or at the very least supposedly “Christian” undertones. The latest to hit the screens – believe it or not! – is Rocky Balboa, described as “the final round in the award-winning Rocky franchise.”
Yes, you read right: Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone created the character of “Rocky”, a heavyweight boxer, decades ago, in a movie of the same name; and the first one was followed by a string of sequels. And now he has made, and acted in, what he says will be the last Rocky movie. Except that this one is being touted as a movie to build one up in one’s “Christian” faith!
Incredible? Astounding? Read on, gentle reader. But prepare to be shocked to the core as you realise the depths to which those claiming to be “Christians” have sunk, when they can praise this boxing movie as containing a “Christian” message that should be studied, discussed, promoted, and even used as an evangelistic outreach tool!
What is the movie all about? Here is the overview taken from a website called RockyResources.com, with my comments inserted at appropriate points:
“Rocky Balboa is an inspirational story that depicts a man who honorably answers the call in his life. With the odds stacked against him Rocky finds something left to give [what “call”? – the “call” to punch up another man for fame or money? Has the so-called “Church” reached the stage where the gory sport of boxing is now to be viewed as a call, if a man is “good” at it? Apparently yes].
“The greatest underdog story of our time is back for one final round of the Academy Award-winning Rocky franchise, former heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa steps out of retirement and back into the ring, pitting himself against a new rival in a dramatically different era.
“After a virtual boxing match declares Rocky Balboa the victor over current champion Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon, the legendary fighter’s passion and spirit are reignited. But when his desire to fight in small, regional competitions is trumped by promoters calling for a re-match of the cyber-fight, Balboa must weigh the mental and physical risks of a high profile exhibition match against his need to be in the ring [his need to be in the ring? Do certain men actually have a need to be boxers? A “need” used to mean food, clothing, shelter. Other things were “wants”. But apparently the fictional character of Rocky has a “need” to be a boxer. Would someone else then have a “need” to be a knife-fighter, perhaps? After all, if a man has a “need” to be a boxer, then really anything is possible. And more importantly, do some Christians have this “need”? Apparently yes, if the fanfare about this movie is to be believed – which it will be, by many].
“Rocky Balboa motivates us to face our own challenges with perseverance, community support, and prayer [prayer? I shudder to even imagine how this plays out in the movie. Does Rocky pray for victory in the ring? Do others pray for him to win? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s enough for me that anyone could even think a movie about a boxing champion could ever possibly motivate anyone to face one’s challenges with prayer. What has modern-day “Christianity” become?].
“The story presents a dynamic opportunity for insightful discussions about where we find our courage, how we overcome losses and remain faithful, and what we define as victory” [excuse me, but I thought that Christians knew where to go for the answers to these things. I didn’t think any discussion was needed. The Bible answers all these matters perfectly. True courage comes from the Lord; believers remain faithful to the Lord by His grace, for He enables each one of His elect to persevere to the end; and as for overcoming and the true definition of victory, the Bible says: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 Jn. 5:4). But apparently now we need to hold discussions about these things, being guided by this movie about a boxing champion! Not even a movie about the life of Paul, or Peter, or David, or Moses – a movie about some fictional boxer called Rocky! “The Lord is my Shepherd,” wrote David in Psa. 23:1, and the Holy Spirit guides into all truth, Jn. 16:13. But Rocky is going to be the shepherd of vast numbers of blind moviegoers, who will, they believe, guide them, if not into all truth, then at least into a whole lot. Instead of turning to Christ, multitudes of “churchgoers” now turn to the cinema, and to celluloid superstars for answers to life’s problems. And the most tragic thing of all is, vast numbers don’t even see anything wrong with this. Their lives are so dominated and controlled by Hollywood, that they don’t even perceive the problem!].
And what of the man who created and plays the part of “Rocky”? According to Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink.com, Sylvester Stallone considers himself “reborn.” He said this during a teleconference with pastors and religious leaders, as reported on RockyResourcnes.com. But let us delve a bit deeper. Focus on the Family is so ecumenical that it wouldn’t bother to make this distinction, but we must: Stallone is apparently a Roman Catholic. At least he was, by his own admission, and we have seen nothing to indicate that this has changed (and if he isn’t a Papist, then whatever he now is, he is certainly not a true Christian, for if he was he wouldn’t have made this movie). So when he speaks of being “reborn”, we have to bear in mind that he evidently means this in the Roman Catholic sense. And what is that? According to Canon 208 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, one’s “rebirth” is when one is baptised! And Canon 849 says that by Roman Catholic baptism, “people… are born again as children of God”. Thus a Roman Catholic means something radically different from a true Christian, when he speaks of being “reborn”!