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The Forerunner

Dick Tracy

By Editorial Staff
Published August 1, 1990

What is Behind the Popularity of this Summer’s Hottest Blockbuster?

By Robert Nolte

ORLANDO, FL – Not since Chariots of Fire rumbled out of Hollywood have we seen such blatant heroism as Dick Tracy shows us in Disney’s recent hit movie.

Tracy is so heroic that an obviously impressed audience rose to its feet and gave the movie a standing ovation last month in Orlando, Florida, during a world premiere screening. I haven’t seen such obvious affection for a movie in years.

Why? Has Tracy touched a deep chord in us that strums when men act with integrity instead of compromise?

Having mused over the Tracy epic for several days, I have come to some conclusions:

Should we really analyze a movie that probably was designed just to entertain us? Does a comic book character have anything to say to such a distinguished generation as ours?

I don’t know, but if you study an audience as they watch Dick Tracy, you will probably get some insights into what people long for: simpler times, honest cops, good triumphing over evil and men of character who can overcome temptation.

There was a hunger in that theater audience to see a man of virtue, troubled yet triumphant over life issues that all of us face. Tracy was tempted by the lustful beauty of Madonna but he had his eyes on a higher prize than momentary gratification.

Movie goers that sat around me were stunned when Tracy spurned the bold advances of a scantily-clad Madonna playing Breathless Mahoney. Such purity in men is seldom seen on the silver screen.

When Tracy asks Mahoney whose side she is on, the temptress replies, “The side I am always on. Mine.” As the plot unravels, a scriptural principle unfolds that not even the most obtuse movie fans can miss. In trying to save her life, Mahoney (Madonna) loses it when she is shot to death at the end of the drama.

Tess Trueheart, on the other hand, is willing to give up Tracy whom she has loved for years. She leaves town thinking she will start a new life without Tracy but through a series of plot twists, is reunited with Tracy. Willing to lose her own life, she embodies one of Jesus’ most dramatic teachings: “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.”

Aside from the moral messages and possible Christian extrapolations, there is something much more powerful going on in Dick Tracy that should encourage every Christian. The movie offers hope and a possibility that external evil can be conquered as well as the beast who lives within every man.

Movies these days are looking for messiahs and Dick Tracy is no exception. “Only Dick Tracy can save us,” is a stanza from one of the musical numbers. Tracy, in fact, does save the city from a powerful crime syndicate and in that, I suppose, he represents a type of messiah-figure.

And, oh, how the movie theater audience I was sitting with wanted a savior! For those few, brief movie moments, a wave of desire for salvation swept across the auditorium. Normally tough urban citizens became vulnerable and dared to believe that men could live virtuous lives.

In that pristine moment, I longed to roll another film that told of Jesus and the redemption He offered all men.

But it was not to be. Theater patrons filed out of AMC 6 smiling, clapping and talking about the Great Tracy. I wanted to preach but took solace in the fact that this crowd was ripe for revival. These people were looking for a hope they had only caught a glimpse of in the life of a big city detective.

They had seen a man who lived with a clear conscience and now they were ready to meet the God who cleanses every man’s conscience. A God who can even use a Disney picture.

Robert Nolte is a former pastor, television newsman and newspaper reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He is presently managing editor for the Orlando Sun newspaper group, a company that publishes 18 newspapers serving over 500,000 readers in Central Florida.


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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.

Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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