Month: July 2017

West Texas church”s summer lunch program serves kids in need

HAMLIN Each weekday since May, members of First Baptist Church Hamlin have arrived at the church at around 10 a.m. to prepare food, set tables and greet children as they file in, ready for a home-cooked meal. 

Most of these kids don’t attend FBC Hamlin, but they are welcomed in as part of the church’s communitywide summer lunch program. 

In December, the Hamlin Independent School District reached out to Brandon Carreon, a pastor at FBC Hamlin and member of the HISD Board of Trustees, to ask if the church would consider assisting with a pressing need among its student body.

According to Carreon, about three out of every four children in the school district qualify for free and reduced lunches, and many of these students go without adequate nutrition while school is out from May through August. To help fill in this gap, the district has historically provided free lunches during the summer, but due to budget restrictions, it was unable to do so this year. 

The members of FBC Hamlin agreed not only to assist with the program but also to assume full responsibility of the initiative. 

“As Jesus fed 5,000 people, he didn’t turn them away. He understood that he needed to feed their bellies before he had the opportunity to speak to their hearts. That’s my hope, that we would feed (the students), but that it would be much bigger than that, that folks would come to see Jesus Christ.” 

Brandon Carreon, a pastor at FBC Hamlin and member of the HISD Board of Trustees

“As Jesus fed 5,000 people, he didn’t turn them away.” Carreon said. “He understood that he needed to feed their bellies before he had the opportunity to speak to their hearts. That’s my hope, that we would feed (the students), but that it would be much bigger than that, that folks would come to see Jesus Christ.” 

On average, about 55 children participate in the program each day, as well as several parents.

In addition to leaving with full stomachs, these students are also being prayed for and showered with love and affirmation from the men and women who have volunteered their time each week to ensure the program is a success, said Cindy Reynolds, who coordinates the summer lunch program at FBC Hamlin.

“It’s reaching further than what we could imagine, and what it possibly could do in our church and in our community is just amazing,” Reynolds said. “I know God is doing a much greater work than just feeding children.” 

There are No Millennials in the Bible

One of the hottest topics in churches, conferences, blogs and books today is “How to reach Millennials.” Many of my friends, colleagues, and I are regularly invited to coach groups on this topic, and personally, I enjoy speaking on reaching the next generation. However, here recently I’ve been opening my talks and breakouts with this statement, “In the kingdom of God, there is no such thing as a Millennial. That is a man-made term with a made-man definition.”

So what is a Millennial? Well, there are no precise dates when this generation starts and ends, but most researchers and commentators refer to Millennials as those born between 1980 and the early 2000s. Generations that precede this generation are Generation X (1965–1980), Baby Boomers (1946–1964), The Silent Generation (1925–1945), The Greatest Generation (1901–1924), and so on. The generation that follows the Millennials is Generation Z (2001 – ?). 

However, like I said above, these are man-made names and descriptions. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that cultural shifts, advancements in technology and ever-changing family dynamics cause people to act, think and believe differently than their parents and grandparents. 

But I also believe that we all too often allow culture, generational names and definitions to define our actions in a negative light. For example, there was a “reality” TV show not too long ago that placed Millennials versus Generation X’ers in a survival competition. Several of the young Millennial girls who refused to work used the excuse, “You know how us Millennials are. We don’t like to work hard!” Well, who told them that? Who made them believe that there was a whole generation that didn’t like to work hard? Culture told them that. 

Think about what the media calls them today—“snowflakes” and “buttercups.” A whole generation is being told that they’re overly sensitive whiners and unprepared to respond when someone disagrees with them. However, I strongly believe that these misleading articles, interviews and definitions are causing this generation to surrender to how culture defines them rather than how God defines them. 

Plus, it’s a flat-out lie. I speak to tens of thousands of young adults and students every year; and for every one person out there that fits the generalizations seen on TV, I’ve met a hundred others that are hard workers, driven, ambitious and changing the world around them for the better.

It also doesn’t take long to realize that some of the characteristics attributed to Millennials today are the same characteristics applied to previous generations—“The now generation has now become the ME generation (New York Times, 1976, about Boomers).” “They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike in the Himalayas than climb a corporate ladder. They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial. They postpone marriage because they dread divorce (TIME Magazine, 1990, about Generation X).” 

Instead of a generation being characterized by certain generalities, maybe there is simply something to be said about being young. When you’re young, you act immaturely and make mistakes, stumbling through life as you attempt to figure out what God has called you to do. However, just like previous generations, prayerfully, youth turns into maturity with age and experience. Then, if history proves itself, that generation most likely will complain about the next. Believe me, Millennials will also grow old one day and will worry about the future of the world because of how 21-year-olds will look and act at that time.  

Thankfully, according to the Bible, there is no such thing as a Millennial or any other generational name! The Scriptures don’t recognize Boomers, Generation X, Millennials or Generation Z. The Word of God only speaks about people who are made in the image of God. Some of these people are older, and some are younger. 

People—not just Millennials, but all generations—need Jesus and are in desperate need of the gospel and discipleship. Whether you’re born in 1964, 1984 or 2004, you came into this world as a sinner who is going to make lots of mistakes, possibly be a little spoiled and certainly in desperate need of a Savior. And that is exactly what God offers to every generation—his own Son: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

Then, of course, this call to salvation will also propel people into sanctification through discipleship. What is discipleship?  Christian discipleship is the journey by which we grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus and his Word through the power of the Holy Spirit to live in this present world in a Christ-like way that will attract others to want know our heavenly Father. Thankfully, the model of discipleship has already been laid out in Titus 2, where older men are encouraged to teach the younger men and older women are encouraged to teach the younger women, all with the goal of helping them grow in wisdom.

The future generations are not projects that need more gimmicks from the church; they are people in desperate need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So maybe its time for us to stop falling into the generalizations of generations and start walking in the truths of how Scripture views all ages—as people in need of grace. Instead of complaining about the future generations, let’s do what the Bible commands us to do—love God, love people and make disciples. 

Multi-ethnic church grows out of engagement with international college students

ARLINGTON Typically, church goers walk into their churches’ front doors on a Sunday morning and see only one or two different ethnic groups within the congregation. As for the members of International Baptist Church of Arlington (IBCA), every Sunday is a chance to fellowship and worship with brothers and sisters from all over the globe.

IBCA is located near the University of Texas at Arlington and the congregation celebrated its fifth anniversary in April, continuing a vision to look for opportunities to reach out and evangelize the students on campus.

“We regularly go to the campus every Tuesday or Thursday to go out and meet students,” Pastor John Sun said. “We open up by introducing ourselves, then ask a little bit about them like where they are from or what they are studying, and from there we look for opportunities to share the gospel and invite them to our church.”

Steve Lee, professor of urban church planting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, told the TEXAN God gave him a specific purpose and vision to start a unique church.

“The vision is to continue to reach all people groups around us and to the ends of the Earth,” said Lee, who helped gather the core team and has served as a church planting mentor. “Wherever we go, we are going to continue to reach all people groups with the gospel of Christ then raise them up as leaders to send out as missionaries. We want to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Through outreaches such as ice cream socials and study break nights on campus and events within their church, IBCA works to welcome students to the community, drawing in many international students.

“They don’t know what it is like in America and to be a part of communities, so they are eager to come out to these events,” Sun said. “Having our international students as the center point also draws in others to see different cultures.”

Sun said a primary way the church reaches international students is through an on-campus organization called International Students Inc. (ISI).

“Every year when new students come to UTA, there is a good chance they will get to hear about IBCA through ISI as they provide a lot of services to new students that are coming to America for the first time,” he said.

Clarity Thoreson, who serves as the church’s administrator and communications director, said the church also focuses its outreach on one of the biggest events on campus called the “Big Howdy.” 

Every fall semester the Big Howdy organizes a DFW tour for UTA students, held on Labor Day, Thoreson said. Organizations and churches take students to places around downtown Fort Worth, such as the stock yards and water gardens, then end with a picnic in a park nearby.

“By building these relationships early in the semester, we can invite them to other things, whether it be UTA events or church events,” she said. “It really provides a starting point for these connections to start forming.”

The Big Howdy also organizes Wal-Mart rides throughout the semester along with a big party that allows students, organizations and churches an opportunity to meet and begin forming bonds.

“The administration at UTA is actually very favorable to Christian organizations so it is truly the favor of the Lord,” Thoreson said.

According to Sun, multiple community groups are scattered throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, including ones on campus.

“We know students are busy and that they need to be able to come and go freely,” he said. “We have communities hosted by our members to provide a warm atmosphere for students to walk in and be taken care of.”

Thoreson said that the Lord has also blessed the ministry by sending co-laborers with a heart for evangelism and discipleship to their church.

“Our members have such a heart for these students,” she said. “This is a time where we can build relationships and get to know them a little bit more just through friendship, maybe even have the opportunity to share the love of Christ.”

God provided IBCA a permanent facility near the campus and in the heart of Arlington about a year ago when a local church that had experienced decline was ready to close its doors.

“In light of what God was doing in our church, they had seen how we were bringing in young people and reaching out to the community,” Sun said. “We were one of the three options that they could pass the church on to, and the Lord moved in their hearts.”

Sun told the TEXAN that a deacon of the previous church felt God placing International Baptist Church of Arlington in his heart for weeks, and after sharing his story of God working through him, the church unanimously decided to pass the building on to IBCA.

“We have been honored to take the church facility and the building to continue the work the previous church had been doing for many years,” he said. “It was purely from God, with him moving us to be at the right places and doing the right ministry.”

As IBCA is growing in their ministry, Lee said that many of their members are already serving in Vancouver, Canada, as a part of the North American Mission Board’s GenSend program.

“We want our members to be more than just church goers,” Sun said. “But to be disciples and train them so that one day they will be the ones really living out missions in their communities.”

During these past five years, Lee said the church has sown the vision of their church planting values and discipleship but are looking forward to the second stage.

“We are praying about having a second service in the morning to reach out to families,” he said. “Over the years a lot of college students have come through, but now we are taking on more cross-generational values.”

IBCA was a church plant through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), and Lee said the convention has blessed IBCA through training, resources, conferences and guidance along with being a financial partner and encourager.

“When international students come to our church, we want them to be able to read in their native tongue,” Sun said. “The SBTC is the sole provider for all of our different types of Bibles, and we are thankful for the abundance of Bibles in every different language.”

For more information on SBTC Church Planting, visit  

Fuge camps at Louisiana College yield 35 decisions for Christ

PINEVILLE, La.—From seven states they came, 630 middle and high school students to Louisiana College for two Fuge camps, July 5-9 and 10-14.

When they left, 35 had professed faith in Christ for the first time; 27 of them were Fuge campers. The remaining eight were among those to whom Fuge campers ministered.

Using Louisiana College as a base, the students gathered for worship and Bible study every morning and then dispersed in small groups to neighborhoods, churches and other local ministries, where they held backyard Bible clubs, worked in a community vegetable garden, sorted donated clothing, served food to the homeless and more.

“We were pleased to partner with LifeWay Christian Resources in hosting the Fuge camps,” said LC President Rick Brewer. “This is the fruition of plans we initiated in 2015 and the efforts of LC Trustee Jason McGuffey, pastor of FBC Tallulah, whose leadership reinforced our efforts to connect with LifeWay as a host site for Fuge.”

Brewer said the response of hundreds of students attending the Fuge camps made him “confident of our plans to add more weeks of camps for next year and beyond.”

Ashton Durand, a member of Montpelier Baptist Church in Montpelier, La., emphasized the importance of sharing the gospel with the children at a local park.

“This might be the only time they ever actually hear the word of God,” she said. “It’s amazing knowing that I had a part in their lives, helping them grow, planting little seeds. They will grow in these little hearts. These kids are so willing and eager to hear what we have to say to them.”

Students also assisted Philadelphia Baptist Church Horseshoe Drive in Alexandria, La., by working in the church’s thrift shop and by adding fresh coats of paint throughout the church.

“It feels good to give back to the church,” said Christina Harrington of First Baptist Church in Yorktown, Texas, who explained her home church had helped her family when it fell on hard times. “I just want to learn more about Jesus, and Fuge camp helps me know Jesus loves me,” said the middle-schooler as she scraped old paint from a window.

Rosie Davila of Friendship Baptist church in Chesterfield, Virginia, helped lead a group of campers. “I’m having a blast,” she said, wiping sweat from her forehead. “To see the young people loving God and worshiping him and working for him and loving him gives me a new hope—hope for the next generation—hope that the gospel is going to keep spreading and keep reaching people for Christ and not stop with my generation. It’s moving on.”

Rick Gardner is director of maintenance for Philadelphia Baptist Church. He described the ministry of Fuge students as “revitalizing.” He said their efforts are “putting a new face, a fresh face on a church that was once powerful in this part of town. And God is bringing it back again.”

Ben Clark, youth minister at Koran Baptist Church in Haughton, La., said the week was eye-opening for him and his students: “We came with the intention of what could we bring back home with us, and I was shown that we can do things like a backyard Bible club back in our community,” Clark said. “There were so many smiles on the faces of the students and the kids we interacted with. You could tell the joy of Christ was evident.”

San West, pastor of Main Street Mission in Pineville, La., was reminded just how impactful students can be in reaching a community for Christ. During their time at the mission of First Baptist Church in Pineville, students cleaned the building, sorted through clothes and went door-to-door to invite others to a basketball tournament at a nearby park.

“Fuge has been good for this community,” West said. “The best part is seeing these young people put God above themselves. I hope it instills in them a love for missions they will carry with them back home.”

The Dog Days of Adversity

We are in the “dog days of summer,” an ancient expression that was based on an astrological movement of stars and represented the hottest period of the year. The span of time varies in different cultures but basically begins sometime in July and ends in late August or September. I was in Phoenix for a week at the Southern Baptist Convention. I think they got a jump on the dog days of summer.

Dog days give me the connotation of being uncomfortable. There are a lot of things in life that make us uncomfortable. Recently I was interviewed for a video by “For the Church” from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. One of the questions was “what difficult thing in your life has taught you the most?” In answering that question I realized it was one challenge that has played out in numerous seasons of my life. Constant adversity has been my companion throughout my ministry.

Shortly after I was saved, I answered God’s call to preach. I went to a Baptist college, where I was confronted with theological liberalism for the first time. Some professors denied the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection and the exclusivity of salvation in Christ. More than once I contested with them about their positions. It did not end well for me; I was asked to leave the school. At that moment I had to decide whether I was going to believe the Bible to be inerrant. In the crucible of adversity, my life’s ministry was shaped.

God blessed the second church where I pastored. We saw people come to Christ, and the church grew. Those who were in the power structure resented losing their place to the new people. I was voted out as pastor. I think some Methodists cast ballots. But I could not quit. God had called me to preach, and there are too many street corners in America for me not to preach even if a church wouldn’t have me.

When the Conservative Resurgence got in motion, I was already on the train. Actively working to see change in my state convention, I was attacked by denominational leadership. A preacher delivering the convention sermon brought a message that alluded to me and my efforts to bring change. I love being a “convention Baptist,” but if I had to lose my future involvement because of my stand for the Word of God, so be it. By God’s grace, the convention returned to its biblical roots.

Then in 1998 I was called to serve the churches of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. There were a number of untrue statements made about me and the convention by outside critics. One state paper editor wrote an article calling me “a liar, a hypocrite and a horse thief.” He said I was “stealing” churches and institutions. I admit I have lied in my life. I admit I have been hypocritical in my life. But I have never been a horse thief. You know what they do to horse thieves in Texas. Being visionary and missionary had to continue to be my focus.

We all want to be loved and accepted. We should never give people a reason to fault our spirit. Even when we stand for truth in a Christ-like way we will be criticized. God showed His faithfulness to see me through many challenges. I’m here to testify of his grace.

The dog days of summer may be uncomfortable, but fall is on its way. Relief will be here soon. When you go through adversity, remember God’s Spirit will see you through. Jesus is there all along the way. 

EQUIP sessions to address multigenerational men”s ministry, victory over sexual sins

HOUSTON—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s EQUIP Conference on August 12 at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston will feature 60 speakers offering 240 sessions geared to train lay leaders, church volunteers and staffs in a variety of ministry areas, including men’s ministry.

EQUIP is the convention’s annual major training event for churches, said Lance Crowell, SBTC church ministries associate.

Three speakers—Josh Proctor, Denny Autry, and Eric Reed—will address issues relevant to men’s ministry through breakout sessions that include engaging multigenerational groups of men, reaching men in today’s culture, building a men’s ministry and helping men overcome the loss of spiritual passion. Three sessions will address pornography and sexual addiction and include an overview of CRAVE, the SBTC’s new online 30-day program for helping men gain victory over sexual sin.

“CRAVE is a 30-day spiritual detox for men caught in pornography,” Crowell said, adding that the resource is scheduled to go online in August. For additional information on CRAVE, see

The EQUIP conference runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration before Aug. 7 is $10 and includes lunch. Registration after Aug. 7 is $15, with lunch based on availability depending upon the number of walk-up registrations.

For more information on EQUIP, see

The Wide Gate and the Easy Path

It’s always happened. An international or local Christian celebrity will build a following based on talent, communication skills or even biblical exposition; and then he or she evolves into something less biblical. Those keeping track choose sides—“So and so is a heretic,” or “So and so is brave.” In our day, we’re blessed with more celebrities than ever before and more access to an international following. We’re also encumbered with a trending cause that pulls the sentimental among us across the line from biblical orthodoxy. That process was played out over a couple of days in July when author and retired pastor Eugene Peterson affirmed same-sex marriage in an interview and then later reaffirmed the biblical view of “everything.” This is the closest thing to a real recantation of a pro-LGBT statement I remember seeing.

But what do we do when one of our favorite singers or teachers or authors finally gets in touch with his inner LGBT-affirming Christian influencer? Part of me wants to discard the CDs or the books that I liked pretty well a month earlier. Another part acknowledges that insight or talent is not less useful than it was last month; although I’d not likely make any new purchases or recommend these works to others—assuming that whatever new insight this celebrity can offer will have a strange agenda.

How is that different than my acceptance of Presbyterian theologians (infant baptism), Anglican C.S. Lewis, Roman Catholic G.K. Chesterton or any number of my favorite Pentecostal Jesus Music performers from the 1970s? Is it just a matter of accepting what I like without any judgment and rejecting for convictional reasons those things that I won’t miss having around? Back when it was popular for churches to ask teenagers to bring their “secular” albums or CDs to church for a bonfire, I remember one long-haired kid being interviewed by a TV station about the event. The kid proudly displayed his mother’s Englebert Humperdink and Perry Como records he had brought to burn. I assume he left his own Led Zeppelin records at home. But there doesn’t have to be any hypocrisy in us if we discourage our people from reading Jen Hatmaker or Rob Bell but continue to quote Martin Luther from the pulpit. It’s a question of direction or trend.

When I read Lewis or Luther I see redeemed men who were moving in their theology, and their sanctification, toward the teachings of Christ as recorded in Scripture. Their evolution was spiritual and their submission was to the things of God. The fact that they did not arrive at what I consider to be a thoroughly New Testament understanding of theology does not mean that they were farther from that ideal at the end of their lives than they were earlier. They were closer. It’s biblical to trust people who are growing toward Christ, even if they haven’t arrived yet.

But we can’t so easily trust someone whose trend is on another path. It is a rare person, one I’ve never met, who willfully disagrees with the Bible on only one or two things. Some of those disagreements they haven’t yet named are revealed over time. We choose a destination, whether we know it or not, when we choose a path.

There is also a sense of betrayal or deception in these “wandering stars” (Jude 13). Bookstores still sell the books or recordings they made when they purported to be orthodox. They still receive royalties from those works, even though they no longer believe what they wrote or sang. Some people don’t get the word and are led astray; most readers don’t practice much discernment. Most believers don’t have time to keep up with everything that changes in a day. There are some books I don’t mind having in my library that I wouldn’t give to most of my friends or family. So yes, I’d pull copies of those books and CDs and DVDs out of my church library and my bookstore. They are no longer trustworthy resources because their authors are no longer trustworthy leaders.

Contrary to some things I’ve read from writers and entertainers who bemoan the fact that they now have fewer customers, this discernment is not hateful or unfair. No one has an absolute right to our ears, eyes or money. It makes me chuckle when someone is praised for “courageously” doing what most of our culture says he should do. It’s ridiculous when he complains that there is a price for adopting a new constituency, which values vague Christianity even less than they do orthodoxy.  

The culture of celebrity is inherently dangerous, and there will always be things we don’t know about those we follow from a distance. But when we know that what they believe is willfully unbiblical and headed farther away from the teachings of Christ, we need to stop following them or letting them teach us. We’re inevitably on the wrong path if our teachers are on the wrong path.  

REVIEW: “Dunkirk” inspiring, powerful & one of the cleanest war movies you”ll ever see

We Americans tend to have a U.S.-centric view of history. Consider World War II, for example. We know all about Pearl Harbor and D-Day and Hiroshima—the three most critical days of that bloody conflict. Well, at least from our perspective.      

D-Day certainly was a turning point in Europe and Hiroshima definitely did quicken the end of the war in the Pacific, but World War II started a full two years before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

And, if not for heroics by British citizens at Dunkirk, France, in May and June of 1940, Hitler’s Army may have conquered all of Europe before the United States even got a chance to fight.  

The highly anticipated Dunkirk (PG-13) opens this weekend in a retelling of one of the largest evacuations in human history. With German forces surrounding British, French and Belgian troops at the beaches of Dunkirk, approximately 330,000 troops were evacuated to safety, dodging bombs and bullets from German fighter planes thanks to hundreds of British private boats that crossed the English Channel.

Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan and stars a cast that is largely unknown to most U.S. moviegoers, minus a few exceptions (Tom Hardy plays a pilot named Farrier, singer Harry Styles plays a private named Alex, while Mark Rylance of Bridge of Spies and The BFG plays a British yacht owner named Mr. Dawson).

The movie rotates between three scenes: the land, the sea and the air, spotlighting specific characters as they try to push back against Hitler’s advance. On the land, we follow two privates as they try and escape the beach. On the sea, the movie trails Mr. Dawson and two companions as they cross the English Channel to rescue the trapped men. And in the air, it’s a handful of British pilots who desperately are trying to destroy German planes before the evacuees are bombed.     

Dunkirk is one of the more “minimalistic” mainstream movies of the modern era, meaning there’s little dialogue. There’s subtlety within the musical score. This simplicity even is seen in the opening title sequence, in which we’re told the soldiers are “hoping for a miracle.” Then the movie begins with one word on a quiet, black screen: “Dunkirk.”

The minimalism, though, works wonderfully, allowing the viewer to get lost in the story. The action carries the movie. It’s surely as close to being there without being there. The only downside: You end the film unsure of character names. But that’s worth the tradeoff.

Dunkirk is one of the more “clean” war movies you’ll ever see, even if it does feature some war violence and a bit of language. Let’s examine the details …

Warning: minor spoilers!

Violence/Disturbing Images

Moderate/Extreme. For a war movie, the violence is restrained. Bombs explode and people are shot and killed, but we don’t witness the hard-core stuff that other war films feature (think: decapitations and amputations). There’s not a lot of blood and guts. Still, it is a war movie, and the content can be quite disturbing. We watch as two troops try to bury a dead companion in the sand. We see a man pointing a gun at someone, threatening to kill him. Men get trapped in water-filled rooms in sinking ships, trying to avoid drowning. Bombs drop and bodies fly.



Coarse Language

Minimal. I counted eight coarse words: misuse of “Christ” (2), h-ll (2), misuse of “God” (1), f-word (2), s–t (1). There also are a couple of uses of the British slang “bloody.”

Christian Images/Dialogue

We hear a Winston Churchill speech that references God.

Life Lessons

Where do you start? Although there are no explicit Christian elements, the movie is one big sermon on adversity, sacrifice, courage and hope. There’s a heroic moment every five minutes. Think about it: More than 300,000 Allied troops were surrounded by German forces. The Germans even were dropping leaflets proclaiming: “We Surround You. Surrender & Survive.” Then hundreds of people volunteered their boats to help rescue the men. As Mr. Dawson says to someone who urges him to turn his boat around and go home: “There won’t be any home” left if those troops aren’t rescued. When German planes fire at his ship, he keeps going.


War is ugly, but sometimes in a fallen world, it’s necessary (Ecclesiastes 3:8). We know about the atrocities that Hitler committed, and with that backdrop, it’s difficult not to be repulsed at the actions of the Germans in Dunkirk. We watch German planes drop bombs on thousands of helpless Allied troops and then on Allied ships. The British general understands the significance of a German defeat of France: “Britain’s next, and then the rest of the world.” Jesus once said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). We see that in Dunkirk.


This one has too much violence and too many disturbing elements for little ones. But for teenagers, it’s family-friendly. 

What I Liked

Too often, directors of war movies get caught up in realism, wanting to depict events exactly as they happened. Perhaps there’s a place for that, but often the heroism and bravery are overshadowed by a blood-splattered mess. It’s nice, for once, to have a PG-13 war movie that many families will be comfortable watching.

What I Didn’t Like

There was no Christian dialogue. Then again, there weren’t many coarse words, either (at least, for a war movie).

Thumbs Up … Or Down?

Dunkirk might be my new favorite war movie of all time. Thumbs up.  

Discussion Questions

1. What can we learn from the heroes of Dunkirk? Do you think you would have done what Mr. Dawson did?

2. What was your favorite heroic moment? Your favorite character?

3. Some observers call the World War II generation the “greatest generation.” Do you agree with that description?

4. What was your reaction when troops were turned away from the row boats? Should the troops have been allowed on the boats?

Dunkirk is rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language.

Entertainment rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.