American Gospel: Christ Alone (not rated)
American Gospel: Christ Alone, available on Amazon and iTunes), looks at the biblical Gospel, and contrasts it with the so-called prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6,7). Unfortunately, America has exported the prosperity (health and wealth) gospel to other nations, which has caused significant problems for missionaries who go to those countries to teach the true Gospel. Through interviews, excellent graphics by Jason Jean and Les Lanphere (Calvinist) which include numerous bible passages, film clips of actual prosperity teachers/faith healers, the film, written and directed by Brandon Kimber, shows in a straight-forward manner that the Gospel is not Jesus plus anything else (works, tradition, healing, wealth). But using the actual words of the prosperity teachers and faith healers, the prosperity gospel is shown to be the evil that it is. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13 that such men (and women) are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. He gives a chilling warning in v. 15 that their end will correspond to their deeds.The film begins by telling us what the biblical Gospel is, by using video clips from well-known church pastors and leaders such as Bryan Chapell, Steven Lawson, Mark Dever, Michael Horton, Matt Chandler, Jackie Hill Perry, Trevin Wax, Paul Washer, Phil Johnson and others, along with many that I was not familiar with.
What is the biblical Gospel? Is it being a “good person”, not lying, keeping the Ten Commandments? Here, Kimber uses helpful video clips from the television program The View and President Donald Trump, along with interviews with a few college age men. The film states clearly that the biblical Gospel is Christ’s finished work plus nothing, rather than Christ plus something (works, tradition, healing, wealth, etc.). Our works are the fruit of our salvation; they don’t earn salvation. This section builds a firm foundation for the rest of the film, showing that the biblical gospel can be summarized by the 5 Solas:
- Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone
- Sola Fide – Faith alone
- Sola Gratia – Grace alone
- Solus Christus – Christ alone
- Soli Deo Gloria – To the glory of God alone
The film focuses primarily on Solus Christus, by Christ alone. The film is the first in a series, so perhaps other films will focus more on the other Solas.
The film then looks at the Word of Faith Movement, which it traces back to E.W. Kenyon and then Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and to current day false teachers such as Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Crefflo Dollar, Bethel Church pastor Bill Johnson and Todd White. Among other false doctrines, the Word of Faith movement teaches a false view of God, man, faith, health and prosperity. The actual video clips from these false teachers contrasted with scripture is very effective.
Particularly helpful here is the input of Costi Hinn, the nephew of Benny Hinn. Costi had served as a part of his uncle’s ministry, but has now come to understand and embrace the true biblical gospel. I look forward to Costi’s upcoming book God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, scheduled for release July 9.
The film also includes helpful interviews with those (particularly Sean Demars, Katherine Berger and Constance Troutman), who were following prosperity gospel preachers, and are now set free by the biblical gospel.
After detailing the false teaching of the prosperity gospel and the faith healers, the film ends with a summary of what the biblical gospel is.
American Gospel: Christ Alone is a well-made documentary contrasting the Biblical Gospel with the so-called prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all. This would be a good film to watch with others (small group, youth group, neighbors, friends, family) and discuss afterwards.