"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 November 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Sinners in the Hands
of a Fickle Market



Then Jesus entered the temple,
and drove out all who were
selling in the temple, and he
overturned the tables of the
money changers and the seats
of those who sold doves. He
said to them, "It is written,
my house shall be called a
house of prayer; but you have
made it a den of robbers."

— Noted spoilsport Jesus, in
Matthew 21:12-13 (New
Oxford Annotated Bible

Friends, Romans, countrymen,
lend me your ... money.

— Michael York's much
wittier Antichrist, in The
Omega Code.


Brothers and sisters, church

deacons and initiates; friends

new to the mystery of Christ our

Lord and those born to faith:

Today I am called to speak to

you of a new age of

sophistication, of

participation, and of

sanctification — a new day

of bearing witness of the gospel

in places heretofore unknown to

the church.


But first, the box office



The Omega Code, the new motion

picture from our brothers at

Trinity Broadcasting's

Providence Films, continues to

gain converts. Released during

what I am told is the busiest

time for American movies —

mid-October — The Omega

Code shocked the world, or at

least that part of the world

obsessed with domestic box

office results, which I am told

is approximately half.


For in that glorious weekend,

The Omega Code was the No. 1

movie in America, casting out

Harrison Ford, driving off Bruce

Willis, and stoning Ashley Judd.

I say No. 1 not in terms of

overall revenue, the secular

manner of determining the top

movie. For truly Jesus said, "By

their per-screen average, you

shall know them." And The Omega

Code took in approximately

US$7,700 per screen. Even given

the unfair advantages secular

films have, The Omega Code's 300

theaters made it the No. 10

movie for the weekend! Praise

the Lord!


The liberal press, usually

reluctant to report on the

entertainment business, took

notice. Oncoming apocalypse

aside, it was a good week to be

a Christian: The New York

Times, USA Today, the Atlanta

Journal-Constitution, all of

them covered the "hit nobody saw

coming." Unsaved readers and

former churchgoers conditioned

to read about the continued box

office decline of Kevin Costner

were forced to grapple with the

sight of preachers renting out

entire theaters for their

congregations, Christian

employers doing the same for

employees, and publicity done

where it belongs: in the pulpit.

This also may be — and

brothers and sisters correct me

if I'm wrong — the first

time this new Internet

phenomenon was featured in a box

office analysis, particularly

The Omega Code Web site and

"exploding" chat rooms. And

TBN's role in promoting it on

the air, via "take a friend"

campaigns, was also duly

celebrated. Blessings all.



Yet that was then. Today, I

stand before you a humble man of

God asking you to keep the

faith. For the enemies of The

Omega Code are many, and have

conspired to spin the news of

its continued box office success

into vicious attacks concerning

its decline, attacks born of

jealousy against all things

Christ-like and holy.


You may hear, brothers and

sisters, that The Omega Code

began to diminish in its second

week at the box office. I tell

you it only slipped to No. 2,

according to the important

per-screen average. But it

should be noted that new films

opened that week, unfairly

skewing the results.


You may hear that producer

Matthew Crouch prophesied a 50

percent increase in number of

screens on which The Omega Code

is shown, while the number of

screens have actually dropped

since this statement was made,

before rising slightly. I say

that Crouch is waiting for the

Christmas season, when the

dearth of new films will

certainly lead to more screens

being available to small,

independent distributors with

mediocre-grossing movies in long



You may hear that a 32 percent

fall in cumulative box office is

more than the traditional 25

percent fall for a successful

film. I would remind Hollywood

that arranging buses takes time,

and that many ungodly films

— the new Star Wars,

everything ever done by Spike

Lee — sometimes fall even

further past their opening

stays. Let us, as Christians,

have a Star Wars or a Girl 6 of

our very own.



You may hear that the quality of

the film is not up to the

standards of a secular Hollywood

movie. I would say, rather, that

all $7 million is right up there

on the screen. (And can that be

said of a Carman video?) The

strength of The Omega Code is in

its cast, selected to withstand

the worst criticisms secular

America can offer. A critic

writing that The Omega Code is

the worst film of Michael York's

career simply does not remember

the musical version of Lost

Horizon. One who pens that

Casper Van Dien lacks the moral

authority to play a scriptural

hero forgets the powerful moral

lessons learned by his Johnny

Rico in Starship Troopers: that

war is bad and sex with a woman

who enjoys it leads to that

woman's death. And who could

dare write that The Omega Code

is an embarrassment to Catherine

Oxenberg, who was once stalked on

the set of Dynasty by J. D. Salinger?

Like Job, the careers of The

Omega Code cast may be covered

with sores, but they never lose

faith. One of Casper Van Dien's

Web sites has even been smart

enough to take The Omega Code

out of his list of completed

films, a definite strike against

anti-religious zealots!


Finally, you may hear that the

film has even been attacked by

Christians upset at its dubious

biblical accuracy. Such

"believers" lament the lack of

small details like the number

666, the gathering into heaven

of saved souls, and the

persecution of Christians. They

also bemoan the use of the

widely debunked Bible Code as a

key plot element. I would remind

the faithful that the film's

prophetic accuracy has been

guaranteed by best-selling

author Hal Lindsey, who,

speaking on Christian television

shows, has confirmed it in his

roles both as a reliable,

independent source and as a paid

consultant of the movie. No

expert who has sold as many

books as Hal Lindsey has

disputed its accuracy.



Friends and fellow believers, in

the coming weeks, the conspiracy

to silence The Omega Code will

reach startling proportions, as

the secular media chooses to

speak about films that are newer

and have made more money or are

more significant artistically.

Don't let them discourage you!

And if our enemies win the day,

don't forget that we, like the

apostles, can be victorious in

the ancillary markets: DVD,

video, and television. And the

future — barring some

version of the events depicted

in The Omega Code — is wide

open. Let The Omega Code serve

as a steppingstone, as the books

of Frank Peretti (our Stephen

King) and the music of Steven

Curtis Chapman (our Stephen King

of pop music) were before it,

and let the weekend of 15

October 1999 become as important

as that first Easter Sunday. For

the next film could open wider,

and the film after that may open

even wider. A new generation of

Christian filmmakers is coming,

and these filmmakers know how to

beat the secular media at its

own game. Take Jerry Jenkins,

the creator behind perhaps the

next big Christian film, based

on the Left Behind series. His

Web site says that he's the

"most famous writer no one's

ever heard of." There's not a

Christian element in that

sentence to be attacked!



The Omega Code may be a victory

for Christ, but let us not

forget the true objective. As

brother Paul Crouch, the top

dog at Trinity Broadcasting,

puts it: "The good news for all

Christians is that they have

spoken! Our box office returns

are unbelievable! We at TBN are

going to invade Hollywood and

raise the standard for Christian

films done now and in the



Can I hear an amen?

courtesy of 40th Street Black