By James Brown Jr.
Much has been said and written about the movie Frozen. I will not bore you with another article retelling the story but I do want to wage into the debates for and against the movie. Therefore, this review does not include spoilers and will not be understood unless you have seen the movie.
When I first heard of the movie I did not pay it any mind. My children were all excited about it but animated Disney movies are not on my radar. Sorry, but they lost me with Bambi. This is not to say I am an activist against Disney. They have produced some movies I have enjoyed but most of the time it is not my cup of tea.
So, whatever Disney is doing or not doing does not generally come to my attention. That all changed when I was listening to the Generations with Vision radio program which aired on March 5th, 2014. The program was titled Should Our Kids be Watching Disney Flicks?
As I heard the allegations being presented by the host Kevin Swanson, I began to prepare for the worst concerning the movie Frozen.
Swanson was presenting a children’s movie so gay it would make Liberace look like John Wayne. My initial reaction was not shock since anything can be expected in this post-Christian culture. It is just a matter of time before Disney or any other company becomes a propaganda tool for the homosexual community.
I brought the subject up to my wife and she was shocked and mystified. She recounted all the positive reviews that she heard from credible sources. Due to Swanson’s tendency to paint pictures focusing on the negative, I proceeded with caution.
Before we continue, let me say this is not an attack on Kevin Swanson. I am in agreement with him on many issues both theologically and practically. We have benefited from his ministry and I expect that will continue into the future. But the fact remains there is a group among the Reformed who use the truth of God’s Law to impose their mystical interpretations to create their own amendments, just as the liberals use the truth of love and unity to make God’s Law void. This is a war going on inside all of us and too many times we are turned to the right hand or to the left.
While we were waiting for the DVD to hit the stores, I checked some other reviews both positive and negative; both Christian and secular. Sometimes it is difficult to get truthful reviews because liberals and conservatives alike are always trying to get the high ground from the other. I found reviews by liberals verifying Swanson’s claims; Christian reviews by trusted sources like Ted Baer’s Movieguide basking in the light of its warming virtue; and, even those who could not decide if it was homosexual propaganda, more feminist enlightenment or an inspiring message of love and family.
In spite of the large amount of discussion about the movie, I told the kids their mother and I would watch the movie first and not rely upon anyone else’s review. They were disappointed but understanding.
It is at this point my personal background comes into play. This first begins with my Christian background in Fundamentalism.
Coming from a Fundamentalist Baptist background has helped me in many ways to come to Reformed Theology. It has also hurt me in not coming to the truth sooner in life.
Fundamentalism is a fatalistic view of the world that can cause a lot of heartaches and headaches if you know what I mean. Falling out of Fundamentalism is a freefall into the humanistic black hole. There seems to be no bottom, just philosophical darkness and endless depths of amorality. Many times it seems that once you cease being a fundamentalist you become a hedonist.
Maybe this is why there are so many of my fundamentalist friends who refuse to admit the central errors of their system. They are afraid if they change any of their views they will end up like the endless examples of former fundamentalists in the gutter of depravity. Of course, this is really more of a fear of public depravity instead of the private depravity that is rampant in fundamentalism.
This is not to say there are not many good Christians within Fundamentalism. There are many who are saved but their worldview leaves them in a dark place. To leave feels like a rejection of the faith and to stay means they must pretend.
As bad as the freefall into hedonism is, pretending is the hardest of all the evils. But it is a continuous and lifelong cross to bear, at least to the fundamentalist mind. In other words, they are frozen.
Lest you think I am making a dichotomy of Christianity as opposed to Fundamentalism or Reformed Theology as opposed to Fundamentalism, let me be clear: I am not!
Christianity, yes, what I would call true Christianity is fundamental. Reformed Theology is actually a focus on the fundamental doctrines of Christianity long ago forsaken by Fundamentalism. So do not think I am only referring to Baptists of whom I was once associated. Reformed Churches are full of fundamentalists and in all branches be they Baptist, Presbyterian or any other sect.
When I say there are fundamental similarities, I am referring to the fundamentals of the Christian Faith. For instance, a fundamental belief of Christianity is Sola Scriptura or the belief that the Bible is the Word of God and our absolute authority for faith and practice.
What is not easily understood is the difference between fundamental and fundamentalism. In Christianity, to be fundamental is to believe in the essential doctrines of the faith. Today, Christian Fundamentalism is a construction of confessed Biblical literalism while practicing spiritual mysticism and cosmic existential nihilism.
As these ingredients continue to concoct this strange brew we are still unsure what the end of Fundamentalism will actually look like. We do know it will self-destruct if for no other reason than to fulfill its self-inflicted prophecy.
The reason this is important is because you will notice a trend. Those who have come to the Reformed Faith with other non-fundamentalist backgrounds do not have the Gnostic influence to contend with as those coming away from Fundamentalism. Therefore, they approach many topics differently. This is not to say that one background is better than the other. They all have their problems and cause blind spots in our vision.
Those influenced by Fundamentalism will be inclined to see evil in every material substance. Therefore, when anything is presented in allegorical prose their first interpretation is usually to the dark side. Why? According to the Fundamentalist mindset, all matter is evil and it is going to continue to get worse and worse until the world implodes.
What is most disturbing in our Reformed circles is that these same teachers will speak of theoretical eschatological victory but can never see it in operation. So instead of building upon advancements in the kingdom, they tear down any progress in fear of their nihilistic heart.
I know this seems like a mean assessment but it is important that we begin tackling the tough issues. To advance the kingdom of Christ requires Semper Reformanda. We must always be reforming, mortifying our flesh. We should always remember that the inner part of man is where evil comes from.
Now it is true that the evil in man’s heart does not simply reside there but is manifested physically and materially. So, men with evil hearts use cameras to make movies to glorify and promote man’s rebellion against God. We must be on guard and oppose these things. Nevertheless, because the camera is not intrinsically evil, it can also be used to promote righteousness and influence society for good.
The problem, and here lies the reason we must address these things, is that we waste so much time attacking things that are either indifferent or have a level of good we can build upon. It should also be noted that when we attack something that does rise to a level of goodness to influence society, both theologically and practically, we are actually tearing down kingdom progress.
This has been a long learning process for me and believe me, I am still light years away from where I should be. But as I came to Reformed Theology, I began to understand my work is not limited to myself but is actually preparing the ground for my children and grandchildren.
So, my critique and hard comments about Fundamentalism includes me. Like I said, I was raised within Fundamentalism, fell out of Fundamentalism into the abyss but by God’s grace was rescued.
Nevertheless, my rescue has not been written in storybook fashion. As I fled from Fundamentalism I fell into moral nihilism and the painful removal of the dross of religious and moral nihilism. One or the other is bad enough but both can seem like eternal torture. But God has graciously justified and is continually sanctifying me through His Word by the power of His Spirit.
Not only has God graciously called me unto His grace through Jesus Christ, but has given me a wonderful wife and family to endure the sometimes rough road that started deep in the abyss of nihilistic worldviews. Yet, God is progressively sanctifying His elect and will continue to perform the work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).
What does all this have to do with the movie Frozen? Well, actually it has everything to do with it.
When the movie recently came out on DVD my wife rented it the first night. She was ready to find out for herself and put this controversy to rest. So, we sat down to watch the movie as I was preparing to give my family the bad news.
You see, I had heard the compelling case against the movie and had even looked up the cited evidence. However, as the movie continued to unfold I began noticing all the “sinister places” in the movie were exaggerated, mischaracterized or taken out of context. Where have I seen this before?
As I watched it, I noticed the storyline was not heading in the right direction for a homosexual propaganda film. The evidence was simply isolated segments of the film that could be interpreted anyway one wished if removed from the story context. Being isolated the meaning of the movie was completely lost.
This is especially true if the movie, book or song contains allegorical storylines, metaphoric statements or symbolic representations.
Frozen is filled with such imagery both cinematically and linguistically. For instance, in researching the claims of those opposed to the film, the first clip I viewed was Elsa singing the song Let It Be.
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen.A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen.The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.Couldn't keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.Don't let them in, don't let them see.Be the good girl you always have to be.Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know.Well, now they know!Let it go, let it go!Can't hold it back any more.Let it go, let it go!Turn away and slam the door.I don't care what they're going to say.Let the storm rage on.The cold never bothered me anyway.It's funny how some distance, makes everything seem small.And the fears that once controlled me, can't get to me at allIt's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through.No right, no wrong, no rules for me.I'm free!Let it go, let it go.I am one with the wind and sky.Let it go, let it go.You'll never see me cry.Here I'll stand, and here I'll stay.Let the storm rage on.My power flurries through the air into the ground.My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all aroundAnd one thought crystallizes like an icy blastI'm never going back; the past is in the past!Let it go, let it go.And I'll rise like the break of dawn.Let it go, let it goThat perfect girl is goneHere I stand, in the light of day.Let the storm rage on!The cold never bothered me anyway...
This song presents some problems to our Biblical worldview or so it seems. But this is why there is a context. The song is representative of a dark period in her life when Elsa is forsaking her responsibilities both to family and kingdom. It is not a song about coming out of the closet but suppressing sacrificial love to family and society. She is headed the way of Cain who rejected the Biblical kind of love that makes you your brother’s keeper.
The closed doors represent Elsa’s frozen heart in suppressing true love which is loving your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31), forgiving love (Proverbs 10:12) and sacrificial love (John 15:13).
The movie shows that love is not some secret inner feeling or a selfish manipulation to make your dreams come true, which is characteristic of many Disney films. If someone wants to get on their soapbox, there have been plenty of Disney movies that have presented a romanticized view of love.
However, this is not the case with Frozen. When it comes to the topic of love and its true nature, this is the best Disney film I have ever seen.
When you watch the movie, let the context interpret the symbolism found in the movie. It is wrong to take Elsa’s words “No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I'm free” and apply them to whatever context you wish to dream up. Elsa’s statement of autonomous liberty was shown in the film to be her prison that was turning her into a monster.
The frozen nature of Elsa, the frozen heart of Anna and the frozen condition of society are all cured through the kind of love that surpasses faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13). In the end it was only love that remained.
Obviously, the movie does not present the whole Biblical view of love. But it does a very good job of presenting the second greatest commandment in the context of family and society.
After having seen the movie, it is impossible to understand how anyone could misrepresent a movie so inaccurately. Maybe it is because we have allowed our hearts to be frozen by self-righteousness, mystical delusions and hopeless nihilism.
It is time to break free of this bondage of libertarian isolationism and learn the true meaning of sacrificial love. Until we do, not only will our hearts remain frozen but also our families and the whole kingdom.
This is not a call to chill out but to thaw out. May we never lose our passion for Christ and His righteousness. At the same time, we must learn and then teach our children that true love for God is to give of ourselves sacrificially (Romans 12:1) for His glory and purpose and also to sacrificially lay down our lives for the Church so we might shine the light of Christ to all men (John 13:35).
This cannot be accomplished in the frozen prison of Gnosticism and nihilism.