Reviews of Netflix Documentary The Family: Required Reading

I planned to write a review/reflection on the Netflix documentary The Family by today. However, it didn’t happen. Others were more diligent than me and so I will close the work week with links to three reviews and two articles.

Religion News Service – Veteran religion writer Bob Smietana interviewed author Jeff Sharlet and producer Jesse Moss. This is a good inside look at their thinking on some key questions.

Washington Post – Friend and Messiah College historian John Fea reviews and recommends (with some reservations) the documentary. Read his reasons, pros and cons.

Christian Post – Reporter Michael Gryboski cites me in a balanced report about the documentary and provides a statement from the Fellowship Foundation which I haven’t seen anywhere else. I will have more to say about some of the criticisms leveled in this report next week.

The Atlantic – Is the group as powerful as Sharlet and Moss make it out to be? This reviewer wonders if it matters.

Political Research Associates – This is a favorable review from a social justice oriented group.

Annotated Twitter Thread by Jeff Sharlet – Jeff makes notes on the series.

See other reviews or articles about the series? Leave links in the comments.

For trailers and promotional information, go to the Netflix page for the series.

12 thoughts on “Reviews of Netflix Documentary The Family: Required Reading”

  1. The political gospel, with a transparent lust for power in the worlds systems, is effectively putting an axe to the pure testimony of Jesus. By the false church marked by spiritual delusion. And severely tarnishing Gods gospel of grace in Christ for generations to come. The blowback of the resulting latent consequences will be severe. And result in authentic persecution. Which is exactly what the Church needs as judgment begins with Gods house.

  2. Dr. Throckmorton, thank you for agreeing to participate in this fascinating and frightening documentary series. This certainly deserves some nominations and awards. Thanks also for the links and especially for sharing Jeff Sharlet’s twitter thread on the series. I look forward to your own forthcoming review as well as any additional updates you can share about conversations and reactions from others in your social circles, from others involved in the documentary, and any additional relevant data you are able to offer. Periodic updates, as new information comes to your attention, would be much appreciated.

    None of this will please those running the show over at Patheos Evangelical. I wonder if your agreement to be interviewed might have motivated their shameful efforts to censor you.

    1. Pretty sure is was all the never Trump stuff but I could be wrong, I don’t think they ever gave him a valid reason.

    2. Pretty sure is was all the never Trump stuff but I could be wrong, I don’t think they ever gave him a valid reason.

  3. What is mindboggling to me about the series is the milquetoast attitude toward the grotesque, long and deep violation of separations of state and religion. NONE of these religious extremists has any regard for the constitution and those who might are doing ZERO to uphold it. Scary to the nth degree. Those who know better are aiding and abetting the way to the theocracy that these freaks are creaming all in their collective pants about, by doing nothing. Truely disgusting in this day and age.

    1. The documentary did an exceptional job of revealing the self-serving nature of The Family, as we learn from the “members” themselves–from their very own words on camera–that they have no problem with lies, deceit, and no concern for transparency or accountability. Their own self-serving self entitlement, which is necessarily White Nationalist, is their theological foundation. Their “Jesus + Nothing,” an empty and cheap talisman, is steeped in White Nationalist Patriarchy with an eye toward fascism.

  4. I am reading the articles you linked to and wondered if women were part of the “club.” Then I read the Atlantic article (written by a woman) and she answered my question: “while the young men were being groomed for future authority, the women were being ‘mentored in service’ . . .”

    I wonder what the educated, accomplished women-folk will think of this. Especially the Family’s “embrace of Trump as a “wolf-king.”

  5. From the Christian Post: Denny Burk, president of the Commission on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, labeled the series “one of the most outrageous pieces of anti-Christian propaganda that I have ever seen.”

    “There will be millions of viewers whose opinion of evangelicals will be distorted by this film. It catechizes viewers to be suspicious of Christians and to regard us as a clear and present danger to democracy,” he said.

    I dare say that the near 70-80% support of Trump among Evangelicals has already ‘distorted’ a fair amount of Americans’ opinions concerning them.

    1. Yeah, I will have more to say about his criticism in a future post. If this doc is outrageous, his outrageousometer is broken.

    2. Few circumstances are better summed up by the quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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