Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, Tom wraps-up a two-part series with guests Carl and Carl Jr. Kerby. Here’s TBC Executive Director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Our guests today are Carl Kerby, Sr., [and] Carl [Dennis] Kerby, Jr.
Carl, Sr. is the…well, his ministry is Reasons for Hope; and Carl, Jr. - Dennis, as we’re calling him to keep me straight and keep our listeners from being confused - is Apolomedia. He’s the cofounder of that ministry, and both these guys are - I mean, their heart is for youth, for training up youth in the Word of God, for encouraging them, for giving them answers for things that they’re struggling with. And I know Carl covers a whole range of things from creation to just issues that come into the church. And Dennis, he’s dealing with something that’s really wonderfully - well, I don’t know if “wonderfully” is the right word in every case, but certainly it’s exciting for young people, and that’s video games. Dennis takes an approach that some people may not agree with, but he’s out there doing it, and he’s doing it for the glory of God and for the edification, for the instruction, and even for the correction of young people.
So, guys, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Carl: You’ve blessed us, Tom. Thank you.
Dennis: Thank you!
Tom: You know, last week we were talking about [how] you guys had the opportunity to…right now you’re in the office of the principal at a Christian school. How long are you guys going to be ministering to the young people there?
Carl: Well, we finish up about eight or nine…probably about nine o’clock tonight, so we have two more sessions, one for each of us. And then we’ve got to get on the road and drive home, get home about two in the morning, because there’s a…Dennis has got to be at work tomorrow at the bank in the morning, man, so he’s kicking. And then I fly out for Washington. I’m going to be at a homeschool conference out in Washington.
Tom: Yeah, well, you guys can do that. You’re young, virile - you get after it. But, you know, when we go out together, Carl, you have to drag me around, you know what I mean?
Carl: Brother, I’m getting old, Tom. I am definitely feeling things catching up to me. But, you know, God gives us the stamina, and I praise God that we’re allowed to serve.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, folks, if you missed last week, I encourage you to go back and listen to part one. But we’ve been dealing with media primarily, and media in terms of how it affects young people. But we talked a little bit about that last week. Certainly you guys dealt with “biblical production” - you know, again, the Bible according to Hollywood - and its impact on young people, and how to go through it: maybe sit down with their parents. And if they’re interested in these things, how to discern…really teaching them to be Bereans, to search the Scriptures with regard to what they’re watching.
But I want to talk about the NBC production… By the time this airs, by the time we put this on our website, I’m sure the series will be gone, but I’m referring to NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues. And last week, the issue is: “Can entertainment bring people back to the Word of God?” And we mentioned that, “Wait a minute, you don’t want to be dead-out boring in terms of…” Because the Bible’s the most exciting - it’s the most exciting book in the world! I mean, it’s God’s book; it’s the Manufacturer’s Handbook.
However, men don’t want to take their hands off things, and they think whether it be a marketing department or just people who think they have a better idea, you know - twice in Proverbs: “There’s a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of destruction.” Why is that? Because it’s not God’s way, it’s man’s way.
Now, in A.D., NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues, I want to quote - give you a quote from the producer Mark Burnett. He says that this series, in promoting it: “It’s Game of Thrones meets the Bible.” Now, many of our folks probably don’t have a clue as to Game of Thrones, but it’s HBO’s series that’s been on for a couple of years. It’s pornographic, it’s violent, it’s probably the worst of the worst. But the point with Mark Burnett is he’s trying to introduce drama and excitement into the Bible, because for Hollywood - I don’t care whether it’s TV or features - what matters is success, box office success, the viewers. And movies cost a lot of money to make.
Now, my question to you guys: Do you see Hollywood’s visual translation of the Bible as detrimental to the spread of God’s truth?
Carl: Boy, I think you can do some serious damage, because it almost becomes an idol. It’s a distortion of the truth. And, you know, I think…you had me on, Tom, when we talked about Noah - you know, Russell Crowe’s Noah. And the challenge is that because we live in such a biblically illiterate culture that these visual translations that people are seeing, that becomes their Bible, and it almost becomes more difficult to reach them, because…“Well, that’s not what I know. That’s not what I heard,” when you start introducing the truth. “Well, no, no, no, that’s not right.”
So I think it can be very detrimental, and we have to be careful with it, because it gives a false expectation and it gives a false picture of what the Scripture is all about, and we can never do the Scripture justice. We can never reproduce what takes place in there accurately and completely. So I think we just have to be careful with it.
Dennis: I remember when I was in high school, I was put in an advanced English class where I had to read a bunch of books for English class during the summer. Well, I didn’t really feel like reading during the summer break, and I wanted to play basketball and all that. So I decided instead of reading these books, “I’m going to go buy the movies, and then I’ll be just fine. I’ll know everything I need to know.” Well, I remember the first day of class the teacher started asking about the books, and I started giving my answers, and I was way off-base because the movies could never do the book justice, and you see that in Hollywood today. They can’t do the Bible justice. There’s just no way to make it right. Is media a powerful tool that can be used for the glory of God? Yes it is, but especially with the biblical Hollywood movies you will never do it justice.
Carl: Tom, I’ve got to admit here, I didn’t know that story. I just found out that I paid for my son to go to college, and he’s watching movies and…you caused a family rift here today, Tom.
Tom: Yeah. Well, I’m sure you were never guilty of that, Carl, knowing your background, okay? No, guys, look: the Scripture says you’re not to add to God’s Word, you’re not to subtract from it. This is God’s perfect - okay? - inerrant…it’s our authority, it’s sufficient, and it’s God’s Word. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God,” it says in Luke:4:4. So that’s what they’re messing with.
Now, but I hear the statement being made: “Well, it’s a conversation starter.” What kind of conversation are you going to have with a non-believer when he saw - whether it be Noah, whether it be A.D., and all these things that he’s seen on the screen, and you say, “Wait a minute, time out: that wasn’t there. No, no, that wasn’t there. No, that’s not in the Bible.”
Carl, do you remember the statement by Russell Crowe when we had our interview? Russell Crowe said, “If you are going to make a theatrical feature film from the Bible, you’ve got to fill in the gaps.” Not enough dialogue, not enough production value, certainly no…I mean, going back to A.D. The Bible Continues, you remember all the lines that Mary the mother of Jesus has in the Book of Acts? Well, she has a lot in the movie, but she doesn’t have any in Scripture!
Well, what about the wife of the high priest? The two of them spent time bickering back and forth. I didn’t even know the high priest was married, okay? I mean, that’s not in the Bible. You go on and on and on, and all of a sudden…you see, that’s why my concern is that - well, people who look at this, first of all my hope would be they’d throw their hands up and shut the thing off, because they’re getting imagery. You guys know it, being media guys: you go see a movie, sometimes it’s almost…well, it’s incredibly difficult to get that image out of your head. And so it’s a problem, but the sad part is it takes - be they young people, older people, people of my generation - it takes us away from the written Word of God.
Dennis:You see, so many people get angry over Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and the movie adaptations when they get little parts wrong. But you don’t hear a lot of times from the Christian community the same outrage when they intentionally - these movies being made by atheists attack the Word of God in such a blatant manner, and yet we don’t speak out sometimes against it. And that does concern me that we’re going to get mad by little changes in Harry Potter and Hunger Games, but when they come out with a movie on the Bible and totally change it…“Well, it can still be used.” You know what, we should be outspoken against the stuff that they do get wrong.
Tom: You know, Dennis, as you mentioned earlier, we have similar backgrounds. And you know that I was a screenwriter in Hollywood for a number of years, and…you know, before I was a believer, and I know the mentality. I know what Hollywood’s about, I know what they’re trying to do, and the sad part is they make their movies to entertain, okay? So it doesn’t make any difference to them what they add, what they leave out. If anybody saw Exodus: Gods and Kings, that was Batman playing Moses, right? You know?
So my point is that now Christians, sadly, they get excited because it looks like Hollywood is throwing them a bone when actually Hollywood is going to them as a well of money. In other words, box office, box office. That’s what drives Hollywood, and sadly, Christians are not seeing that. And therefore, you know, Dennis, to answer your question, they’re saying, “Well, it was close enough.” Wait a minute, close enough? The Word of God? It doesn’t fly. It’s really a sad deal.
But let me move on with this: Dennis, you and your ministry Apolomedia with Drew Thorwall, you address mainly video games. Now, what are the issues that you’re most concerned about related to video games, and do you have an exhortation or even a correction that you would give to video gamers?
Dennis: Definitely check out our website, and would love if I had the time to go over my whole story - biography on why I like to talk about this subject, but I’ll try to break down the story as short as I can: I was someone who was addicted to games. I really was. I put games higher than God in my priority in life. I started looking at my life and how much time was I giving God versus how much time I was giving the world, and the world was getting all my time. So my challenge to everyone is this: (it doesn’t have to be video games) what are we spending our time in?
In the banking world, there’s a saying that goes around: “Show me your checkbook, what you spend your money on, and I’ll tell you what’s important in your life.” And the same thing goes with our time. Show me what you spend your time doing every day, and I’ll tell you what’s important in your life. And are you giving your time to God, or are you giving time to the world?
Now, I’m not saying to get rid of everything in the world, because you just can’t avoid it. If you’re driving down the street, you’re going to see a billboard, okay? You’re going to see something, but we have to learn that how we - how to budget our time just like we budget a checkbook. And it is my goal now to give God priority in all that I do, and so that I show God that He is my priority, He is bigger than everything, including games.
Tom: Carl, I remember asking you in one of our previous interviews how you went about helping to develop media discernment in your children, and I want you to tell us about that. And I’m sure Dennis, as your son and therefore one of the recipients of your insights - I’m sure he has some stories that he can add.
Carl: Well, we just decided that what we need to do is teach them to critically evaluate, and this can be sensitive, because some people will say that “you’re attacking us,” or whatever. I’m not attacking anybody, I’m just going to put it out - this is what we decided to do: my wife and I made a decision we wanted to teach them how to apply their faith when it came to these things. So we would watch television shows or movies with them after we did research to see if we thought that we could get something out of it.
Now, I have to be in full disclosure with you, I made mistakes. I absolutely did. But we would watch a movie under the condition that when we were done watching, we would talk. And when we were done watching, we’d talk about those things. It was interesting, because, you know, you could get the conversation going. And I was encouraged, because it took probably about - oh, 4-6 months, but all of a sudden these guys were catching things that I wasn’t catching, and we were having these conversations and applying our faith into it. And that’s what we just tried to do is… You know, Dennis talked about driving down the road and you see a billboard: “Hey, did you catch the message on that billboard?”
I remember one - it showed the evolution of the phone, and it showed like the old phone from Thomas Edison all the way up to the new cellphone, and it had a couple things in between. Evolution of the phone - really? Does that just happen - naturalistic processes? So we’ve got a phone…and by the way, how’d you get the first phone anyway? Something just came together? So, you know, we use those pictures, those images, those videos, we use them as springboards to teaching and applying the Word of God to those issues.
Tom: So what do you say, Dennis? How’d it work?
Dennis: You know, it was very…you’ve asked me before, you know, “Well, what about entertainment?” And that question was hard for me to answer, because my definition of entertainment is probably different than the rest of the world. It was entertaining for me to have a father to spend time with me - if we were watching movies, to care enough to pause the television, turn it off, and sit down and have a meaningful conversation with me. And so that was entertainment to me. So we’re thinking, “Oh, we need entertainment.” Well, yeah, but we need to redefine what entertainment is in a lot of cases. Spending time with your father, your mother, having good conversations with them, that defines [to] me entertainment, so I had a father who did that, who cared enough to want to teach me.
Tom: Mm-hmm. As I mentioned last week, my generation sort of dropped the ball. We turned our kids - not everybody, but for the most part, the generation turned its children over to the church to be entertained: “Youth pastors, let them handle it,” and so on. And I think many of us dropped the ball at home, and we’re reaping the consequences of something like that.
But, Dennis, you mentioned you have two young people. How old are your children?
Dennis: Five and three.
Tom: Five and three. Well, the five-year-old…I mean, you’ve probably already started with some things in terms of not only trying to train him and them up in the ways of the Lord, but also pointing out some issues. Is that the case?
Dennis: Oh, definitely. One challenge for me that I shared today with the teenagers is the older my son gets, the more I realize that I can’t have an attitude of, “Oh, Trey, you’ve got a question. Go ask Grandpa, or go ask the pastor, or go ask someone else.” The more I realize that I need to be in the Word more, because I need to have those conversations with him like I had. And so it’s a challenge for every young parent out there that they become a leader to point people to Christ in the way they live, and the way you teach, and so you have to be in the Word so you can give those answers.
Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, both of you, as I said - Carl, Jr., Dennis - you’ve been at our conference, and as I mentioned, I spent time with your dad, and I’ve seen how able you guys are to motivate young people. But, you know, one of the problems: you’re there, and then you’re gone. It is…does it bother you, or do you have a way of continuing to have some kind of followup? Carl, last week you gave a wonderful example of a young lady that got back to you, but how do you handle that?
Carl: You know, that’s my heartbreak, to be real honest with you, Tom, because I know that I’m not doing enough of the actual discipleship. And I’ve been praying and asking the Lord how that’s going to take place. I’ve had the privilege of taking like 3-4 young men on the road with me and pouring into them like that - one for a week, one for a month, one for a year; and then my son, my own son, a year and a half was with me, and that was a privilege. And the only way that I’ve found to make myself available to do followup is I make myself available on Facebook so that they can get a hold of me, and that’s where this younger generation has been getting in touch with me is mainly through Facebook and email. Our app…you know, we put our app out there, and, I mean, I try to put as much as possible. I mean, anything and everything I can I try to put on that app to continue to put something in their hands. But I - my heart breaks that I don’t have an ability right now at this moment to sit down and do more knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye impact on the younger generation. I mean, it does break my heart. I’m trying to find a way to do it, but right now I’ve got to be on the road to survive, and so…help me with that one, man! Pray for me.
Dennis: And that’s really where we need parents, because people ask me all the time, “Oh, you speak on video games? Here, you need to talk to my son, and you need to tell him.” And having one conversation with their child is not going to make an impact. I would rather talk to the parent, get them fired up, so then when I talk to the youth, they can go and follow back through with them, and continue to see that growth and that conversation continue on. So it’s so key that we get not only the youth motivated, and that’s a big passion of our ministry, but more importantly the parents, because they’re going to be the ones that are going to see their children every day.
Carl: I’ll give you a story, Tom. I was in Tanzania, spoke to leaders over there. And after five days I gave them all my DVDs, all my books, gave them my phone number, gave them my Facebook, all that stuff, and one of the leaders came up to me and said, “You’ve got to come back this summer. We’ve got 2,000 kids that’ll be in this camp. You need to talk to them.”
And I said, “No, sir,” and I touched him. I said, “In America, we play a game called ‘tag,’ and when I tag you, that means you’re it.” I said, “You don’t need some white guy coming over here talking to your kids working through a Swahili translator. I’ve given you everything I’ve got. You have everything. You need to go talk to those children now.”
And the guy looked at me, and he shook his head. He said, “You know, we get a lot of white missionaries over here, and they always talk nice to us because they want us to like them. You talk straight.”
And I told him - I said, “Eugene, I want you to like me, as well. But the bottom line is what is going to work the best to the glory of God? And it’s not me coming over and talking with your youth, it’s you. You’ve got to pour into them. I will be there. You contact me, I’ll do whatever I can, but we’ve got to pass on to the parents specifically the encouragement, the boldness, the ability to pour into their younger generation.” And I sure want to know how to do that better. I’m still trying to figure it out.
Tom: Yeah. Well, some of this is seemingly impossible, but with God, all things are possible. You know, you can’t be everywhere, Carl, and I really appreciate your wisdom, you know, for this pastor over in…did you say Tanzania?
Tom: But the thing is we do have, and you do have - and you guys do this incredibly well: coming up with apps, coming up with ways for the young people to keep in contact with you. But when I go out and speak, and I have the opportunity to speak to men’s retreats, man, I take them to task: they are the spiritual leaders of their household. You know, you guys talk about parents, but my concern is for men, making sure that they step up, you know, and be God’s man in their homes.
The story I tell is - it’s made up, but it’s true: I know men that wouldn’t have a problem if somebody broke into their house to pick up a baseball bat and defend their wife and their children. But sadly, few of them will pick up the sword of the Spirit to instruct and to encourage, and so on. So we lay some things out. God has made things available. There are opportunities, but bottom line is it’s got to go back, as you said, [to] parents, but my concern is fathers, the spiritual head of the household, to do what God has called them to do to fulfill that ministry.
Carl: Amen, amen. One of the talks that I’m doing in Washington is to the men; they have a men’s breakfast, and I’m speaking at that, and then another session specifically for the men. And it’s funny, the last time I did that session in a homeschool group in Cincinnati, a lady came out to the booth, our table, and she told the lady that was working there, “He’s sexist.”
And she’s like, “What?”
“Well, he just talked to the men.”
I’m like, “Ma’am, I should be like your best friend, because I’m challenging the husbands to stand up and be the man that God has called them to be, to be the spiritual heads, to bend their knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be that godly example to their children.” And it’s kind of an interesting thing: there’s a battle even in the church when you challenge men to step up and be men, because, “Oh, somehow you’re demeaning somebody else.” No way! Men have got to do what they’re called to do if we really want to have an impact.
Tom: Well, Carl, we just have about four minutes, but tell the story about this…you know, you were in one of the museums. You were throwing questions out, and the girls kept answering the questions. Tell them about that.
Carl: Oh, my heart breaks! I took 160 junior high kids to the Smithsonian, and we’re standing in front of the Lucy exhibit showing her walking upright with human hands and human feet. They had given me three-and-a-half hours of their life, and I went through all of the evolutionary ancestors; and Lucy - we went through Lucy deeply. So we’re standing there, and a docent came over, and he saw us there, and he was excited to have a group to talk to, so he pulled the picture off the top and said, “Isn’t this amazing? Look at Lucy! She had human hands and human feet just like us!” And I had taught the young people what the actual evidence was, and that doesn’t support it. And one young lady raised her hand, and she said, “But sir, we just listened to a speaker and heard that they didn’t find any hand or foot bones for Lucy.”
“That’s right, but they found some from her relatives.”
Another young lady raised her hand: “But sir, he told us that the hand and foot bones from the relatives were actually more curved than a chimpanzee.”
Never heard that. “By the way, look at the hips! Oh, she walked just like us; she had hips just like humans!”
And another young lady raised her hand, and that’s when my heart broke, because the guys are standing around like a bunch of posers! And so I got on them, and I - you know, after the guy left and everything - but it was like, “Gentlemen, we need to stand up and be the spiritual heads! We need to be the ones taking the shots for the Lord Jesus Christ.” I’m not diminishing ladies in any way, shape, or form, but where are we? Where are we standing up and being men? And we need to quit being weenies, and that’s just to me the bottom line.
Tom: Yeah. Now, guys, about a minute and a half left. You asked for prayer, Carl, and certainly Dennis, as well. But here’s a prayer that…I know it’s on your hearts, and on my heart: what we’re trying to do, folks, is get young people excited, interested, motivated to read the written Word of God, and the dilemma here is - well, yes, we attract them with visuals. We use powerpoint, we use keynote, we use these kinds of things, but the objective is the written Word of God. It’s the most objective presentation of God’s Word that there is. That’s why He gave…you know, when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai, He didn’t give him a picture book. God didn’t give him a picture book, it’s the written Word of God, and that’s where the truth is. That’s the objective Word of God. So it seems impossible, doesn’t it, guys, in this media generation? But that’s our hope and prayer, isn’t it?
Dennis: Amen, and that is our heart, and that’s what we’re always pointing people to in our ministry.
Tom: Yeah. My guests have been Carl Kerby, Sr., Carl Kerby, Jr. (Dennis), and guys, thanks so much. Hopefully we covered some ground that will encourage our listeners, young and old alike. So, guys, thanks for being with me on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Carl: You’ve blessed us, Tom. Thank you, sir.
Dennis: Thank you!
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could be here and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.