ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

The Gathering (1998), NR
CAP Score: 90
CAP Influence Density: 0.19

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE GATHERING (NR) -- I just saw an advertisement a couple days ago about the "SmartCard" with a chip in it.

A timeless piece of work about the Rapture: the gathering of the Bride. Many of the arguments against faith in His Salvation are presented quite realistically but with a constant awareness by the knowledgeable of the consequences of rejecting His Gift. In my opinion too little was done to refute the arguments, but as Kirk Cameron said at the beginning of Left Behind: The Movie, "What does it matter what we think we know. In the end there's no denying the Truth." This Truth was the theme of The Gathering, the Truth from which we cannot escape no matter what the arguments against faith might present, no matter how slick or smooth the arguments might be [Rom. 16:17-18, Ps. 55:21]. All the arguments in and of the world will not be heard as we each stand before Jesus on Judgment Day. To them who say to Him, "Only the closed minded and ignorant..." or "But I thought..." or "But so-n-so said..." or "Interpreted that means..." He will not bat an eye as He tells them "I never knew you. Next." And the screams and gnashing of teeth as the unbeliever plummets into the lake of fire will not change His Mind.

Lisa (Lori Staley) is confronted with a vision she does not understand. One morning at the park, as she and Amy (Kera O'Bryon) enjoy watching the kids play Lisa is given a vision, a vision not shared with Amy. Her vision is of an opening in the sky with a beautiful sounding of a horn, then the kids disappear into the opened in the sky. Startled back to mortal awareness by Amy, Lisa guards what she has seen. This is not the only time Lisa is given a vision.

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Lisa's Husband, Michael (Dan Kruse) experiences the same vision, but his co-worker with him does not. Michael is seen as a risk for his company since he has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. His spoutings of God's unconditional love for us all are offensive to the company for which Michael works. The company will manufacture and distribute the new plastic card which can save lives and stop theft by holding all your personal information. This innovative new card can also locate you if you get lost or hurt. The card is the predecessor to the microchip implant. By the way, I just saw an advertisement a couple days ago about the "SmartCard" with a chip in it. And the microchip implant is already being used in animals. God meant what He said about the mark of the beast [Rev. 14:11].

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Lisa's mother, Dr. Alexis Matthews (Julie Jenny) is a staunch die-hard promoter of nonChristianity by presenting Christians as incapable of free though and free will: that these personal traits are undesirable to the Christian. I find that argumentation a vain attempt at superiority since it takes free thought and free will to be open minded enough to open one's heart to Jesus in the first place. This is where a lot of the argumentation against faith and obedience to our Lord is presented. Following are some examples:
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  • From a student to Dr. Matthews: "Before I took your class I could not have turned in one of these outsiders, one of those followers of Jesus ... Now I see the greater good for them." "For the first time in my life I'm truly free. Free to think. Free to choose. Free to be me."
  • From Dr. Matthews to an 18 year old student: "I'm here to shatter 18 years worth of lies, misconceptions..." "This [class] is the hunt for the truth in reality. It's not for the weak and simple..." "Well, faith, my dear, is nothing more than a refuge for the weak and simple..." "You believe a man who may have lived 2000 years ago is God?" "Have you ever seen any miracles?" "And yet you are ready to base your entire belief system on what a bunch of ignorant peasants and fishermen have to say about this man who performed miracles?" "I want my students to think for themselves, make their own decisions."

    And when a group of lawyers from a Christian advocacy group spoke out against Matthews' style,

  • Dr. Matthews: "In the name of religious freedom, I'm about to be crucified. You know what happens if I go down? It's the first step in burning books. The gulags won't be far behind."
    A coworker of Michael's had this to say to him for trying to share the Gospel with other coworkers:
  • "I'm sorry to come down so hard on you about this Christianity thing. I'm just scared you may lose your job. Your beliefs may be a conflict of interest around here."

    I bring up all these argumentative points to alert those of us who have not yet had to respond to such misguided logic to prepare you for being ready to stand in the gap. If you have not heard these and similar arguments, you will. Be ready.

    While a film with a true message, there is some programming in The Gathering which may be of concern for mom/dad. In addition to the many smooth and slick arguments not suitable for the young who are not yet capable of battling such evil, there was an electrocution murder of a believer [Matt. 5:10-11], murdered for his faith in Jesus, and firearm threats with gunfire to kill. Though these matters are indeed present, this movie would likely have been rated G.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Rom. 16:17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. Rom. 16:18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
  • Ps. 55:21 His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
  • Rev. 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
  • Matt. 5:10-11 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: The Gathering (1998) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • firearm threats
  • gunfire to kill
  • firearms to control

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • marital argumentation

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • much argumentation and talk of belittling and persecuting believers and our faith

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • electrocution murder

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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