Monday, February 19, 2018

Finger of God: a Review of Darren Wilson's Documentary

Dear Pastor Hughes

I would like to ask you a few questions regarding this film [Finger of God]. I read your blog, but I cannot find any new information. The Church I attend is planning to show this film. Would you recommend we do? If not, why?. Any updated information will help me.

Thanks, Mario

Thank you for your e-mail, Mario. In short, no, I would not recommend that your church show this film. The creator of Finger of God, Darren Wilson, is the same creative mind behind Holy Ghost, a documentary film I reviewed here. Holy Ghost is a charismatic propaganda film completely devoid of biblically orthodox Christianity. Before Holy Ghost, he made Finger of God, and it's just as absurd.

Finger of God begins attempting to qualify some of the more ridiculous "miracles" said to be happening in charismaticism: gold dust falling on worshipers and preachers, perfect and pure gems appearing out of no where, Bibles spontaneously filled with manna (yes, the bread from heaven that fed Israel in the wilderness), and people receiving gold teeth. Wilson even interviews his aunt and uncle who claim God gave them gold teeth during church. Because it happened to someone he knows, it must be true!

None of these tricks have ever been verified as miraculous. In fact, undercover reporters have exposed them as lies. The cut gemstones supposedly showing up at these meetings have even been tested, and they're nothing but worthless cubic zirconia. The gold dust has likewise been examined and revealed to be gold glitter that you can buy in the craft section at Walmart.

The teachers doing these things are deliberately lying to people. But people want them to be true, so they allow themselves to be duped by such obvious gags. Either Darren Wilson is in on these tricks, or he wants so much to believe that the con is real, he forgets his role as an investigative documentarian.

Regarding the whole gag with the gem stones, Wilson says they're not cubic zirconia, but he doesn't take them to a jeweler to confirm that for his viewing audience. Wouldn't it be pretty incredible to get an expert on camera saying, "I've never seen a gem so pure"? No, we just have to take Wilson's word for it that these fake-looking gems (seriously, they don't even look real) are perfect and other-worldly.

The False Gospel of Fake Healing

If you're asking yourself, "Wait, where in the Bible does it say that God will make gems appear or He'll cover people in gold dust or He will turn their teeth into gold?" then you're asking the right questions. The Bible doesn't say that anywhere. In fact, I have to wonder why God would fill a person's tooth with gold rather than giving them a brand new tooth. That would be an actual miraculous healing.

Finger of God is mostly a bunch of stories from people who claimed to do miracles, but none of those stories are ever verified. It's the same nonsense I detailed in my review of Holy Ghost -- laying hands on people in public, and those people claim they feel something, but that's it. That's not miraculous. Every single "miracle" in the documentary can easily be dismissed as either a con, an unsubstantiated anecdote, or the power of suggestion.

I remember laughing at the footage of a guy on crutches being "healed" of his sprained knee. A faith-healer walked up to him, prayed twice that his knee would be healed, and then told him to take his crutches away. The guy started limping down the sidewalk, saying, "I feel better!" Limping. Exactly the kind of gait you'd expect from someone with a sprained knee. The faith-healer probably hindered the guy's healing by telling him to stop using his crutches.

Just like Holy Ghost, Finger of God feels like a promotional film for Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. Johnson is a false teacher who claims that when Jesus was on earth, He was not God. Jesus was entirely human, and He modeled the perfection that any one of us are capable of achieving, Johnson says. That same false teaching is shared in Finger of God. But the gospel message about Jesus being the atoning sacrifice for our sins is never shared.

In the documentary, Johnson shares a story of Heidi Baker (who might be crazy) healing someone in Mozambique, and an entire village believed the gospel. Wilson goes to Africa and films her doing this, but we never see her preaching the gospel. How can someone believe in what they aren't told? The fact is, Johnson and Baker don't preach the gospel. To them the gospel is believing in miraculous signs and wonders. All you have to do is a "miracle" and people will believe in miracles, which is the gospel. No, it's not.

The True Gospel of Spiritual Healing

Miracles, as they were performed in the Bible, affirmed that the word preached by one of God's messengers was truly from the Lord. A miracle by itself is nothing. The word of God is everything. The Apostle Peter said, "And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place" (2 Peter 1:19-21). God's word, the Bible, has been spoken and verified. People hear it preached, they are convicted of sin, and they believe in Jesus. We no longer need miraculous signs to verify it.

Christian words like "gospel" and "miracles" in the name of "Jesus" appear in Darren Wilson's film. But it's a different gospel, different miracles, and a different Jesus. Even if one of the charismatics in this film did a true miracle -- like if I gave Heidi Baker the benefit of the doubt and she actually did restore hearing to a deaf person -- they don't preach the true gospel. Indeed, Jesus Himself warned that some will perform false signs in His name, but He either didn't know them (Matthew 7:21-23), or they did such signs to lead people away from the truth (Matthew 24:24-25).

The true gospel is this: "God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:5). That's the story of every follower of Jesus -- we were dead in our sins, but we've been raised to life by the One who raises the dead. We've been transferred from the kingdom of darkness that is under the wrath of God to the kingdom of light that is filled with His never-ending love.

That is the most incredible life-saving miracle anyone could ever experience. By faith in Jesus, His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, you were made from dead to alive. Your life has been transformed from following the prince of the power of the air to serving the King of kings and Lord of lords! You no longer chase after sinful passions of the flesh, but you pursue His righteousness of His Spirit. That is the miraculous power of God.

But that's not the miracle Darren Wilson and company cares about. He likes parlor tricks and silly stories, not the truth of the gospel of Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, regenerates the hardened heart to believe, and permanently seals believers for the Day of Redemption. Wilson thinks the Holy Spirit is manifested in Walmart glitter.

Better Alternatives

Rather than Finger of God, perhaps you could encourage your church to go through Clouds Without Water II by Justin Peters. Talk to someone in your church, and if they're interested in doing it, I will personally buy you a copy and send it to you. Also, consider any number of sermon series online. G3 will soon be adding all the sermons from this year's conference free (all of the sermons from previous conferences are already there).

I would also encourage you to check out the new book Defining Deception by Costi Hinn and Anthony Wood. The book exposes many of the lies that have come out of Bethel Church, a center of attraction in Darren Wilson's documentaries. Thank you for your question, Mario. And I hope I've been able to provide you with a helpful response.

The whole collection of Darren Wilson films is to be avoided.