War Room: A Review of the Movie and the Industry Surrounding It

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

War Room is the latest offering from fraternal film makers Alex and Stephen Kendrick.  As is the case with their previous films, War Room is marketed to a Christian audience and written from an evangelical worldview.  The movie stars Priscilla Shirer and T.C. Stallings as Elizabeth and Tony Jordan, a married couple with one young daughter named Danielle.  Though the Jordans are materially prosperous (Tony is a pharmaceutical salesman and Elizabeth is a Real Estate Agent), their marriage is very unhealthy.  The couple argues over money, family relations, has an inactive sex life, and pays so little attention to Danielle that the young girl feels isolated and unloved. To make matters worse, Elizabeth has foul-smelling feet (which are used as a comedic device throughout the film)

The Plot

An old black woman, played by Karen Abercrombie, named Clara Williams befriends Elizabeth.  The Clara character is a stereotypical older evangelical black woman with a notably active prayer life.  Clara meets Elizabeth in the context hiring Elizabeth to sell her house.  The audience (and Elizabeth) later learn that Clara had been praying for God to send her someone to disciple and feels like Elizabeth is the answer to that prayer.  Clara learns from Elizabeth that her family only occasionally attends church.  Elizabeth rarely prays or reads the Bible; her Christian walk is lukewarm at best and she harbors animosity towards her husband and is constantly fighting him.  All the while Tony, who travels often for his high-pressure sales job, is tempted to stray into adultery by a flirtatious and beautiful business associate.  Tony’s Christian walk is apparently worse than his wife’s.  He is doing nothing to shepherd and lead his family as the man of the household.

Elizabeth accepts Clara’s offer for discipleship and they began meeting together.  Over time they develop a strong friendship.  Clara shows Elizabeth her “War Room” and advises her to stop trying to fight her own battles with her husband but rather let God do it.  Clara’s “War Room” is a literal prayer closet in her house.  She has several written prayers in the closet and spends regular time in it praying over them as well as reading scripture.  Elizabeth creates a prayer closet of her own (cathartically removing her many material possessions from it) and adopts Clara’s practice.  As her prayer life becomes more active, she is faced with (unseen) spiritual warfare from the demonic realm and faces an increasingly challenging marriage.  Elizabeth faces the challenges, in the mode of a submissive and prayerful wife, and (SPOLIER ALERT!!!) her family gets a happy ending.

Overall the movie is well-done, entertaining, and carries a positive and useful message.  It is a somewhat better-acted than earlier Kendrick Brothers films which often used church members of Sherwood Baptist rather than professional actors.  There is a good mix of humor and drama in the film.  In contrast to other Chrisitan movies which are hokey and unrealistic, the plot of War Room is very believable.  Many moviegoers will likely identify with the characters given that the temptations and situations they face are common to families and professionals.  Although the movie is as good as or better than other Kendrick Brothers films, those who have already seen the movie Fireproof may be a little disappointed in War Room.  The plots of these two movies are very similar.  In Fireproof, Kirk Cameron plays a man who puts his fate in God’s hands to save his troubled marriage.  Shirer essentially plays that same role from a female position in War Room.

Further disappointed will be ladies who buy a ticket hoping to see a lot of Beth Moore.  Although Beth Moore is listed as a featured star on the movie poster, her character is very minor.  Moore plays a woman named Mandy who works at Elizabeth’s real estate firm.  Moore has (what seemed to me like) less than two minutes of screen time over two scenes.  She has a few short lines about maritial relations and is shown only one time afterwards in a very brief cut scene.  Moore’s casting in this small role was obviously a ploy to sell tickets to Moore’s thousands of faithful followers and readers.

Positive Morals of the Story

The movie teaches several possible lessons.  The Jordans’ obsession with money and career was destroying the quality of their family life and making their daughter feel almost unwanted.  They had a bigger house and more possessions than they really needed but the people in it were neglecting each other.  Like many families, they did not spend enough time praying together and studying God’s word; this is remedied. Furthermore, Tony confesses and deals with his sins in a very head-on and penitent manner, seeking reconciliation with those whom he has wronged.  He also shows mercy to an enemy who has treated him harshly and becomes the kind of spiritual leader that his household needs.  Both Tony and Elizabeth are supported, throughout their trials, by Christian friends who seek to hold them accountable and positively influence their lives for Christ.  The movie reminds Christians of who they need to be: people who pray, care for others, and disciple others.  It also contains a clear gospel presentation.  (I was personally convicted while watching the movie in that I sometimes do not pray enough about the things that concern me.)

Concerning Elements

There are several concerning elements of the film that one may or may not notice if he is watching he movie uncritically:

  • In one scene a man attempts to mug Clara and Elizabeth at knifepoint. Clara rebukes the man “in the name of Jesus”.  This kind of word of faith proclamation may work in the movies (and sometimes even in real life depending on a mugger’s background or God’s provision), however, a young person emboldened by the prayer theme of the movie may very well end up being stabbed if she imitates Clara’s example in real life.  This type of subtle word faith proclamation may be lost on conservative Southern Baptist audiences but it will certainly be noticed by Pentecostals who go to see the movie.
  • In another scene, Elizabeth is praying over the scriptures while Tony is on a business trip and out to dinner with a temptress. Elizabeth prays from the scriptures the phrase “resist the devil and he will flee”.  She repeats this line of scripture a few times.  In real life, Shirer is a proponent of contemplative prayer, a practice in which the prayer focuses on clearing her mind a repeating a specific phrase (similar to a mantra).  Those who are not aware of the practice of contemplative prayer will probably not notice that this scene touches the borderline of that practice.
  • Liz later leaves her closet and loudly proclaims Jesus to be the Lord of her house. She rebukes the devil and claims that her joy comes from Jesus.  It is certainly true that the devil steals joy and joy should be sought from God and not worldly things.  However, this scene is also strongly reminiscent of word of faith proclamation and excitability.
  • During her proclamation of Christ’s Lordship over her home, Elizabeth tells the devil to “go back to Hell.” While it’s certainly reasonable to believe that this biblically illiterate character believes that the devil comes from or lives in Hell, this is not the case in truth.  It is not biblical to assert that the devil comes from Hell.  The notion that he does is a popular misconception and husbands should be sure to make sure that their wives and children are not confused by Elizabeth’s misstatement.
  • After Elizabeth is mugged, Tony acts ambivalent. Later he has something of a dream or vision in which he sees his wife being mugged.  As he walks closer to the mugging, he sees that the mugger looks just like him.  This vision leads him to find Elizabeth’s prayer closet and start towards the path of becoming a better husband and father.  Although symbolism is common in cinematic art, some people may be uncomfortable with the portrayal of this kind of charismatic activity as a plot point.
  • A retired pastor buys Clara’s house towards the end of the film. He somehow senses that her “War Room” has been used as a prayer closet and decides then and there to purchase the home.  It is not biblical to imply that certain rooms in a house are imbued with special prayer powers.  Prayer closets can be ideal because of the isolation that they provide the prayer, preventing outside distraction.  However, closets are not especially anointed places.  (I predict that there will be a movement in many churches after the movie is watched to create prayer closets, prayer journals, and other things featured in the movie.  I further predict that the paraphernalia to create these things will be offered for sale at LifeWay which is actively pushing the movie to local baptist associations.)

The Media Business

Unlike the Kendrick Brothers’ previous films, War Room was not produced by Sherwood Films.  Sherwood Films is a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia at which the Kendrick Brothers have been employed as associate pastors for the past few years.  Although the Kendrick Brothers are still active members of that church, they are not listed among its pastoral staff.   The Kendrick Brothers recently founded their own film company, Faithstep Films, which produced War Room.  Given that the Kendrick Brothers are now working for their own company, no longer producing movies while in the employ of Sherwood Baptist, they will likely be entitled to a greater share of the revenue from the films which they write and in which they act.

War Room stands to be one of the Kendrick Brothers’ most lucrative films.  Both ticket sales and movie-related book sales should be substantial.  The film is getting a heavy push from LifeWay Christian Resources. In association with the release of their movie, Fireproof, the Kendrick Brothers authored the best-selling book, The Love Dare.  In association with the release of their movie, Courageous, the Kendrick Brothers authored the best-selling book, The Resolution for Men.  It would be very surprising if individual Christians were not encouraged to set up their own “war room” prayer closets in their homes in the same way they were encouraged to take the “Love Dare” with their spouses and sign the “Resolution for Men” in front of their churches.  A companion book, probably about the power of prayer, will almost certainly be published by LifeWay, released in association with War Room, and marketed as Sunday School material for the vast network of Southern Baptist and Evangelical Churches to whom this movie is marketed.

With popular Christian media personalities Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore attached to the War Room project, Kendrick Brother book sales may reach an all time high.  Shirer and Moore are well-known advocates of the controversial pseudo new-age practice of contemplative prayer.  This is disturbing in and of itself given that Shirer and Moore are popular bible teachers.  It is even more disturbing that these women are appearing as characters in a movie about the power of prayer.  Shirer has already written a popular book on prayer entitled He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God for which Beth Moore wrote the foreword.

It’s important to consider that War Room is not about Priscilla Shirer but rather the character she plays, Elizabeth Jordan.  It might not be prudent to avoid a movie simply because an actor who plays one of the characters has questionable religious beliefs.  For example, it’s not incumbent upon a Christian to avoid watching Top Gun or Mission Impossible because Tom Cruise is a Scientologist.  However, it would be prudent to avoid watching a movie in which Tom Cruise plays a Scientologist whose life is bettered by the practice of Scientology.  Shirer, who heretofore was not a professional actor, was almost certainly selected for the role of Elizabeth Jordan because of her popularity as a Christian author who writes and teaches on the subject of prayer.  Although the fictional Elizabeth Jordan does not advocate for contemplative prayer in War Room, the very real Priscilla Shirer does so in real life.

In addition to Moore and Shirer, Alex Kendrick has been keeping very suspicious company since he left the staff of Sherwood Baptist.   In March of 2015, Alex Kendrick was a featured speaker at the “Missions and Marketplace Conference” in Chicago, Illinois.  Among the featured speakers at the conference was well-known Word of Faith Oneness Pentecostal pastor and author, T.D. Jakes. Jakes produced the film version of the controversial heaven tourism book Heaven is for Real.  This book was notably derided as “fanciful” by International Mission Board President Dr. David Platt during one of his “Secret Church” events and eventually banned for sale by LifeWay Christian Resources.   T.D. Jakes is not only in the movie business himself but is well-connected with film magnate Tyler Perry.  Perry recently came to Jakes’ church, donated $1,000,000 and slayed Jakes in the Spirit.  Jakes may be a great connection for someone, like Alex Kendrick, in the movie industry, but his worldview is dangerous and unbiblical and he makes a lucrative living propagating it.

kendrick jakes

The Missions and Marketplace Conference  at which Kendrick and Jakes spoke was hosted by Dr. Bill Winston at the church he pastors, Living Word Christian Center.  Living Word Christian Center proudly proclaims on its website that it is a “Word of Faith, non-denominational, full gospel church.”  Alex Kendrick, who was formerly employed as a Southern Baptist Minister at a very conservative church somehow made his way to speak at a, primarily African-American, Christian business conference hosted in Chicago by a charismatic Word of Faith preacher that featured other prosperity gospel speakers.  Kendrick did so in the same year that he planned to release a move starring Priscilla Shirer, the daughter of African American megachurch pastor, Tony Evans.  Kendrick is apparently seeking to increase his ticket and book sales in the African American Christian market as the overall Christian market shrinks amidst growing American secularism.  To do so, he has made some very dangerous and even heretical associations.

The Kendrick Brothers have made very fine Christian movies in the past.  However, having stepped away from the ministry of Sherwood Films, the Kendricks have made a movie with very suspicious circumstances surrounding it.  Christian men would do well to make sure their families do not fall under the influence of the teachers with whom the Kendricks have associated themselves.  Avoiding War Room altogether would be a prudent action.  So, too, would carefully contrasting the positive parts of the movie’s message against the concerning ones to his family if one chooses to let them see it.

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

47 thoughts on “War Room: A Review of the Movie and the Industry Surrounding It

  1. modres

    This is a very well thought out, reasoned critique of the movie and the potential issues surrounding it. Thanks very much for taking the time to write this out. I really appreciate it.

  2. lastdazeman

    My spouse and I started reading two books on prayer after my spouse stumbled across information about the movie *The War Room*. We are looking forward to improving our prayer lives.

    I searched for discussions about either of the books or the movie and found this review.

    I was astounded by the phrase “controversial pseudo new-age practice of contemplative prayer”. How can a prayer practice that has been around for centuries be a “pseudo new age practice”? St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross did not follow “pseudo new-age practices”.

    It turns out this review does not focus on how this movie may promote prayer but on aspects of an implied conspiracy theory. The author seems to fancy himself a monitor of his type of orthodoxy and anyone remotely connected with this movie is judge to be bordering on heresy.

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      I understand that you, as a Roman Catholic, have great reverence for Teresa of Avilan and John of the Cross.

      You should understand, though, that the primary audience for which I write staunchly opposes Roman Catholicism. The people in this audience reject the notion that anyone is saved through the RCC and not through God’s grace alone (no works).

      So, when evangelicals like Shirer and Moore embrace contemplative prayer, it is troubling to this audience . When evangelicals like the Kendricks promote Shirer and Moore, it is troubling to this audience.

      Now that you, a Roman Catholic, have expressed your staunch support for contemplative prayer, I can look at audience members on the fence and say, “See, look at that Catholic. I told you so.”

      I pray you find salvation in Christ alone.

      1. sethdunn88 Post author

        Reading your story makes me feel like you and your wife have been blown about by every wind of doctrine.

        It doesn’t seem like you can commit to a single church body and it doesn’t seem like you hold fast to a particular confession.

        It seems to me that a few years you could write a new blog about how you have found yet another new church.

        When I see you speak favorably about Mike Bickle, it just reinforces the concern I have for you.

        You’re drifting and currently you’ve drifted into a very bad place.

    2. modres

      Contemplative prayer IS heresy. Under a variety of names, it has been part of eastern mysticism and used by adepts and New Age mystics for eons.

      It found its way into Christendom in earnest in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Prayer is extremely important, clearly, but following New Age practices to draw near to God is simply wrong any way you look at it.

  3. mipwin

    Hi, I greatly appreciate the balanced, discerning views you express about this movie. I do have a question/concern, though: in a couple of places, you seem to say that men must teach their families to understand the problematic elements of this movie, and some of the public figures involved with it.

    I (hopefully wrongly) inferred that women would not be capable of coming to such conclusions on our own, so we must depend on a man to lead us there.

    Please don’t misunderstand: I am very much a believer in biblical womanhood and if I ever marry, I intend to submit to my husband’s leadership – through God’s enabling of me to do so.

    So, I’m not saying this to say that husbands should not lead and instruct wives. But as I read your comments, I got the impression that a woman could not discern these things on her own, if her husband does not tell her. As I said, I hope you’ll tell me that I misunderstood. 🙂

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      Of course a woman could figure out these issues on her own. Unfortunately, many don’t.

      Shirer is getting a big push from LifeWay. Moore, of course, has had one for years.

      Lots of churches are buying blocks of tickets to this movie. Imagine gaggles of ladies Bible study groups flocking to this film (or any film LifeWay pushes).

      Some husbands would just think “Oh, great,” but not really pay attention to what their wife went to watch. Then, Beth Moore books are in his house and in his church.

      Husbands should pay better attention to what their wives study and lead them away from bad stuff. Too many dads farm out their leadership responsibilities to Beth Moore or some pizza party youth minister.

      Certainly ladies and teens can discern this stuff on thier own. I’m blessed to know some who have.

      1. mipwin

        Thank you for the clarification. 🙂 Honestly, although I try to stay away from Beth Moore, etc., I’m not great at directly warning friends yet. That’s mainly because the times that I have done so, I usually get blown off.

  4. flamingsword60

    I have never read the book neither do I want to see the movie. I see red flags that concern me.
    One which stands out more blaringly than most is when the older lady prays for God to raise up an army, that automatically puts me in the mind of the dominionist movement.

    1. modres

      I agree, flamingsword60. It IS dominionism.

      Interestingly enough, our church booked a specific theater day and time for a showing, sold out tickets, and is using the War Room book for adult Sunday school classes.

      I’m frustrated that only a few of us in the church see the problem.

      The problem pervades the southern Bible belt. Here, going to church is simply part of the culture and people who attend church in the south are almost always considered to be Christians.

      Sunday morning is going to church, eating out at Waffle House, then going to Walmart. There appears to be a very serious lack of discernment here in general.

      1. sethdunn88 Post author

        Lifeway came to my county and gave a free showing for “key leaders” in the church and now our Director of Missions is encouraging churches to rent out the theatre.

        People are being told to write in and say how much they like the movie after they see it!

        If a movie is good, can’t people just buy tickets on their own?

      2. modres

        That would be a fair assumption. Then again we are talking about the same Lifeway that continued to sell that book about the kid who allegedly went to heaven and back for two years even after the kid recanted.

        It seems to be all about the money.

  5. Lori Baldwin

    Great review! Thank you! (You might want to fix a typo in the first bullet point under “Concerning Elements.” You meant to say, “This type of subtle word [not world] faith…”)

  6. Friend

    Thank you for this review. I hope to share it with others. Some women I know went to see it today. They saw nothing wrong…said it was filled with truth. My words back to them will be: it should matter greatly WHO brings us that truth. If all is correct about PS and BM (based on all the reading I’ve done indicates they are to avoided), then they are not people whose teachings I would sit under, sit in front of, sit next to…. whether live or as a character in a movie. I have to remember to prayer for PS, BM, and kendrick bros.. By the way… a good read is ‘The Menace of the Religious Movie’ by AW Tozer ( I think he is okay … some thought him to be contemplative, but he argued he was not).

  7. Gloriously Irrelevant

    I’m new to your site, Seth, so if you’ve done this before, please pardon me. But this is a nicely formatted review and could serve well in providing future reviews (judging from the box office response, more review opportunities will come).

    It seems to me that these movies are their own worst enemy. We shouldn’t need War Room if what the previous films and materials did what they said they would do. Fireproof and the Love Dare was supposed to fix marriage. Courageous was supposed to flood churches with resolved manhood. Churches (and people) who purchased all the promises of the previous materials should get a refund if they’re still dealing with desperate marriages and cowardly husbands. Apparently, Fireproof and Courageous didn’t do the trick. And a trick it is.

      1. modres

        Yeah, but these are faith-based movies. They portend to use Scripture to actually solve at least some problems. “Courageous,” and “Fireproof” are examples of this. They are not for “entertainment” as much as they allegedly attempt to provide instruction, encouragement, and answers to life’s problems from a biblical perspective.

        Viewing these movies is not intended to be like viewing “Despicable Me,” which endeavors to simply be entertaining for a few hours.

        With all the hoopla for “War Room” created by the Kendrick brothers, it is clear that they certainly want to make an impact for the church-goer by dealing with an issue that should be important to all of us – prayer.

        Whether or not they hit or missed the mark is up to each individual to ultimately decide.

  8. Skip Welles

    There are, and unfortunately will be, some really bad movies that claim to be Biblical, but the Kendricks’ movies are not among them. If contemplative practices are so important to Beth and Patricia, then why didn’t Warroom even remotely portray them? Beth’s part was microscopic, and I feel that Patricia’s acting was absolutely superb! This movie is going to have an enormous effect on countless marriages, and by association a lot of kids’ lives, not to even mention future generations. I never heard of Seth Dunn before, but I will say that he ought to be piping up about the devastating effects on the church by the “emerging church”. He also ought to be piping up about the Christian themed movies that are actually bad.

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      Why does it matter if you’ve “heard of me”. Do I have to be famous (or infamous) to contribute valid points to a discussion?

      Your phrasing seems somewhat dismmissive.

      In any case, I have piped up about bad Christian movies (see my post on God’s Not Dead). I haven’t written anything on the emerging church movement but I agree that’s it’s bad. I have written quite a few critical pieces at The Pulpit & Pen of various things.

      If I’d never written anything about anything else, I still wrote this objective movie review. I hope it helps some people.

      I take issue with a couple of things you say:

      Shirer and Moore are actors in the film, not producers, writers, or directors. They would not have the creative control to add more contemplative prayer themes to the movie. They also stand to sell books from just being featured. I’m sure they are happy just to be in the film.

      Without some kind of empirical evidence, how do you know what effect this movie will have on families? How many people “Fireproofed” their marriage and still got divorced? Who knows.

      By now, Kendrick customers have Fireproofed and signed a dad contract at church. Shouldn’t they have pretty good marriages already?

      1. Skip Welles

        Of course your movie review is not objective, nor is any movie review. The fact that you even call a movie review “objective”, and the fact that you consider the movie “God’s Not Dead” to be a bad movie, places you, in my view, into a questionable category. You are not being a good influence on people. God is able to turn you around, and I am certainly praying that He will do that. I can see that we are not going to be able to really communicate together.

    2. steven marandola

      the movie was fantastic…and people in real life have rebuked robbers at gunpoint and have had them fled…you know not of what you speak

    3. amanda60

      Dear Skip,
      I have heard of Seth Dunn, though that to me seems utterly irrelevant. I only mention it because you seem to think having heard of someone adds credibility to their comments. I believe that Seth went to length to point out that this was a relatively well-made movie with some good morals and some good performances so I’m not sure why you are so upset.

      I am very grateful that Seth has taken the time to write an intelligent, well-structured and comprehensive review of this movie. I also appreciated that his review was free from personal attacks or ad hominen arguments.

      Your claim that “this is going to have an enormous effect on countless marriages” is extremely bold, but may be true. I know of one instance where it has done so. A women whose family have a DVO out against her for abuse, has sent them copies with a message that she has begun a war room to get her estranged family back. You see, movies like this support her worldview, and the worldview of others who are looking for solutions other than those that are right in front of them.

      I believe in God . I believe in prayer. I believe in miracles. I believe in people. I believe that rooms, journals and methodology exists, but I do not place my belief or trust in them. The sub-text of this movie is that there is power in places, things and methodology, now if you’re okay with that, then you’ll be okay with this movie. If you’re not, then you will have a problem with it.

    1. modres

      Movies ALWAYS have a message. While we’re free to enjoy movies, the message should never be missed.

      Prayer is extremely important, but parts of War Room are more like a Dominionist call to arms to take America back for God as if America began as a theocracy.

      Seth, I appreciated your review. I thought it was very fair and balanced. People who are nearly vitriol in their disagreement with you have an ax to grind.

      When Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew 4, he spoke truth when he quoted Scripture. Unfortunately, because he twisted Scripture to mean something it did not, he ultimately lied because of the way he used God’S truth in an attempt to create his own truth.

      People who like War Room do so because they are drawn to Beth and Priscilla or because the movie speaks to them on an emotional level. Certainly charismatics and Pentecostals will approve it. There’s nothing you can do about that because too many have trained themselves to go by how they feel today.

      What I find just as interesting is how people attempt to engage you for no other reason than to tell you you’re wrong.

      I believe there are clear problems with War Room including theological issues that are unfortunately sweeping the visible church. It will only get worse as people continue to set the Word aside, replacing it with emotional virtue.

    2. sethdunn88 Post author

      I watched a movie and write a fair review, Judy.

      I didn’t tell anyone whether she should like it or not. I told what happened in the movie.

      I don’t see any reason for you to use sarcasm with me and say “Get it?”. Hundreds of movie reviews are written every year and a few people have written movie reviews about this. It doesn’t mean we don’t “get it”.

      Speaking of getting things. LifeWay is about to get thousands and thousands of dollars selling War Room merchandise.

      Movies are written to sell tickets and merchandise. That’s really what they are meant to do. To be successful they need to be enjoyable.

      1. modres

        Regarding Lifeway, it seems to be about the money. Let’s not forget that Lifeway continued selling that book about a kid going to heaven and returning for months even after the kid (young man) completed recanted.

        It’s sad.

  9. Sunny Shell

    Thank you for taking the time to write this review Seth. I appreciate your work and love for our Lord Jesus, His Gospel and those He came to save. As Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” Sadly, there are too many things in this film that are “almost right” and that’s why it’s dangerous.

    As a woman who was raised in a Korean-Buddhist household, I know personally, the deep struggle and pain of fighting the desire to usurp my husband’s headship as well as the pride in me that wants to believe that I have the power to tell Satan what to do. There are too many snarky remarks in this movie to encourage women to do the right thing…the wrong way; like Beth Moore’s character telling Priscilla Shirer’s character, “Sometimes submission to your husband looks like ducking so the Lord’s punch hits him instead”, rather than telling her something like this, “Let the love of Christ lead you in submitting to your husband for his good and not your own. Remember what the Lord had written in 1 Peter 3:7, that your husband’s prayers are hindered when he forgets to love you as Christ commanded.” Saying this, leads a woman to desire her husband’s best, out of love, not out of spite and hopes that he gets punched by God…too many of us gals already want that, “Let him have a taste of his own medicine” and other attitudes that sound and look more like we want revenge rather than good for our husbands who mistreat us.

    God bless you brother. And again, thank you. I’m adding a link to your review in my commentary about this movie.

    1. Bas

      Dear Sunny Shell
      I have watched this film and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I took from it was a need to take my problems to God in prayer and that my battle is not physical but spiritual. However, I am particularly thankful for your comments about the lines of Beth Moore’s character on submission. What you suggest about using the pure word of God is so powerful. Yes it may not have provided the film with the humour (that admittedly I found hilarious) but I believe would have been enlightening to both men and women who may watch the film. I also your Spurgeon’s quote about Discernment. Thank you.

  10. Anonymous

    OK, too many red flags in what I’ve read from critiques like yours.

    Jordan learns to be the spiritual leader of his home? Not biblical. Both parents are called to lead, we are all called the priesthood of believers.

    Is the movie trying to encourage Christians to pray? Most Christians who love this movie already pray, that’s why they love the movie. Those who don’t pray must be neglecting prayer for a reason. This movie doesn’t address it – it just assumes the worst in the motives of believers who don’t pray. And even prayer alone doesn’t change things – Christians must use their God-given resources to enact changes. If the husband decided to change but didn’t make amends or behave different, nothing would have changed.

    Another important thing that this movie doesn’t convey is that the message that prayer will save marriages cannot be generalized to all families. Some marriages need to be torn down. I know of couples that my church used to pray for, and nothing would change. When we stepped up our prayer efforts, things began to change, and the marriages broke down, which was such a blessing because the victimized parties and the children were delivered from evil, and could begin their recovery from evil. Post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be treated when danger still abounds, and living with abusive people prevents people from achieving healing/wholeness. The institution of marriage cannot be prioritized over the salvation of souls.

    1. Peace through Divorce

      I agree. Thank you for standing for truth & righteousness. This movie made me sick .
      I spent over 10 years and an abusive marriage. I prayed, fasted, and stood for my husband to be born again. He is a narcissistic psychopath, who used the name of religion ( “pseudo Christianity”) to emotionally, physically, and spiritually abuse me. My church supported him, my family supported him, my friends said that I should stay in the marriage. Thank God that he alone is true. I am now divorced, and my children are in a much safer environment. We are healing. I am much better able to discern, then when I just simply agreed with whatever my husband said and did as he wished. I praise God for the freedom and peace God gave me through divorce.

      1. sethdunn88 Post author

        The Bible says that God hates divorce.

        Despite your hard experience, I hope you’ll reconsider identifying through your divorce experience.

        The Tony character in this movie wasn’t supported by a church nor was he physically abusive to his wife.

      2. amanda60

        Malachi 2:16 is where people get the proof text “God hates divorce” which of course no-one will argue with as divorce is terrible, but divorce is terrible because of the breakdown of relationships that leads to it, not by itself. In these verses in Michah God explains that he will not answer the prayers of a partner who is breaking that marriage relationship. He is talking about relationship, not divorce. I do not know your circumstances, but I know of Christian marriages where the marriage contract has taken precedent to the contract before God to love and respect one another. To use marriage as a covering for sin is untenable!

        After witnessing the terrible demise of the marriages of people that I loved, I came to see that marriage contracts before God did not permit for the presence of danger or abuse. I know of others who have seen this movie as a way to get back someone they have abused. I am glad for you and for your children and I pray that you will continue to stay close to Jesus. The anti-thesis of marriage is a relationship in which you are not safe.

  11. Marlene E. Rivas

    When I went to the movie War Room. I did not know anything about it. I went to see a movie and I was blessed and got such a renewal that I wasn’t praying enough or in the right way. I opened my bible and began to see things because of this movie. Yes it is a movie but more…I saw myself in this movie and knew that I should pray each and every day not only for my immediate family but for those who are in bad situations. My prayer room is wherever I am and whatever I am doing, there is no certain place for me because I can do that so quickly without anyone knowing that I am praying. I started praying for people early as a young christian as a young girl. I see people who don’t pray and get in dire straights but there is a solution: “the power of prayer.” The movie said that and more. God blessings on all who see the movie and to those who acted in the movie. I was inspired and blessed and for that I thank you.

  12. Scott

    I don’t plan to see the movie. I hate Christian fads. I am probably too negative. As a baptist, I would like to know more about the merchandise that Lifeway is selling related to this movie.

  13. jael

    Excellent review !! As Bible says we need to be good Bereans. Huge red flag over the war room scene where lady calls for prayer army … New Apostolic Reformation people promote this and put emphasis on what WE will do to bring about Gods Kingdom here on earth. I personally saw much damage in friends (nar influenced) as they took people who prayed or read Bible and said we can make you an apostle or prophet. They taught them formulas and wierd strategic warfare. It appeals to pride to be somebody,
    and know eXtra Biblical stuff the ordinary Christian doesnt know. #2 God said I will build my church not man. #3. JESUS said HE will set up His Kingdom (when he returns to the Mt. Of Olives) and not until then. #4. the 7 pillars of nar can lead people to accept the antichrist..check it out!! Revelations Thanks again..you are right on.
    ABOUT CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER! ! Yes it’s bad!! Unbiblical as Sara Youngs devotions. Our Jesus is in heaven. Her spirit Jesus talks daily to her and doesn’t agree with Bible. Please check out the foundations of everything. (If you have sound doctrine, the Bible says.. you can get saved and others too. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

  14. Joseph Varner

    What was disturbing to me is that christians don’t want to actually put the film to the test of Scriptures. They would rather let their emotions get the best of them and somehow these emotions have to be from the Spirit.

    Another issue is that even though we can’t base a movie on the actors in this case it is not a coincidence that the directors used Shirer as the main character. This was a dangerous move since Shirer teachings on prayer are not biblical and is mystical in nature.

    And the rebuking of Satan and binding him tell Hell is not biblical at all and is pushed by the word faith movement.

    Currently the women in the church are doing a Bible study on the War Room. As the spiritual leader in the home I had to let my wife know that she would not be able to attend the Bible study. It saddened me that my wife would not be able to surround herself with other godly women. The women love the Lord but women are also easier led into wrong teaching than men. This isn’t saying men are better than women it just how God created us.

  15. Anon

    About the prayer closet. The pastor knew because the aura was different from the other places in the house. It is like when you enter a church and you are immediately at peace. If you are a person of prayer you know when you are in a place of prayer. Because the essence of God remains. Kinda like the opposite of a haunted house

    1. Temi

      War room, in my opinion was not just a movie made for money or fame. It was made out of a burden to inspire people to pray and pray through. I have seen the movie. If we can’t celebrate this over FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and other sensual and suggestive movies, then where are we headed for exactly?


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