Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

March 2018 – Heroes are human new film reveals
The troubled life and ironic, tragic triumph of Samson – flawed human, epic hero, strong man, and weak-willed – exploded on the big screen February 16. The movie Samson does justice to the biblical account of the last of Israel’s judges. It offers a graphic and stunning – and likely realistic – context that illuminates the tumult of the 1170 BC setting, the conflict between Israel and the Philistines.

Best remembered for losing his God-given strength by falling to the temptations of Delilah, Samson emerges in the film as a man of intense inner turmoil.

In addition to the biblical outline of Samson’s life, the film adds fictional characters, places, and daily life events to achieve a cohesive storyline. Fortunately, none of them lead viewers away from the Samson portrayed in God’s Word.

Samson is rated PG-13 for a few kisses and many violent scenes, mostly hand-to-hand combat, but some of it is quite graphic. Production qualities are superb. Among producers is David A.R. White, long trusted as both actor and producer in Christian films, including the God’s Not Dead series. Learn more at

Randall Murphree

undefinedOne Way Only
Homeschool mother of three and grandmother of seven, author Kathie Foreman has written One Way Only, a children’s allegory of forgiveness and sanctification. Kids will enjoy and understand her simple, truth-filled tale.

Foreman introduces readers to the fictional Burt Leever and family, who live in a friendly town that is quickly becoming a dark, evil place. Calling out to God in prayer, B. Leever begins his journey from sin to salvation.

Teaching children to keep their eyes on Jesus, Foreman emphasizes that Christianity will require choosing the narrow, hard road. For in the end, there is One Way Only to reach our heavenly home.

Available at online booksellers or from

Joy Lucius

undefinedUnder God
In Under God, their latest CD release, the Joyful Noise quartet sings through a century with a few of southern gospel’s best. From “Farther Along” (1911) to “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored” (2010), they demonstrate the depth and strength and staying power of the genre that still holds the hearts of generations.

This inspiring CD points worshipers to major themes of Christian faith through the ages – a challenge to faithfulness (“Wasted Years”), praise (“He is Here”), assurance (“Saved by Grace”), and encouragement (“Farther Along”).

It ends with a couple of patriotic hymns that focus on the sovereignty of God, as evidenced in this line from the title song: “Our only hope and prayer is under God.”

AFA executive vice president Buddy Smith sings baritone with Joyful Noise. The project was produced and engineered at AFA’s American Family Studios. Proceeds from purchases through AFA will be donated to AFA – or 877-927-4917.

Randall Murphree

undefinedNew titles feature biblical women of strong faith
What was the significance of the Syrophoenician woman’s encounter with Jesus? What was the contribution of Lois and Eunice to the early church? What can we learn from the character of the woman of Shunem? Do we even know who all of these people are?

Aaron and Elaina Sharp give short, sharp vignettes of these noteworthy women and more in their book, The Most Important Women of the Bible. Along with well-known names - Elizabeth, Esther, Eve – and famous but unnamed ladies such as the woman at the well, the widow with two mites, and the bleeding woman, they bring attention to people who are typically overlooked – but still vastly important in God’s great scheme of redemption.

One great feature of the Sharps’ book is its precise brevity. Each woman’s story is told in just a few pages, yet includes a brief but thorough character study, a discussion of her actions and influence, and an analysis of how she fits into the overall story of the Bible. Without departing from straightforward facts, The Most Important Women of the Bible does a great job of painting a unique timeline of Bible history, capturing a good understanding of theology, and bringing even lesser known characters to life without muddying actual Bible content with a lot of undue speculation. Available at online and retail booksellers.

More about Bible women
For those who enjoy creative narrative, Courageous Women of the Bible, by LaTan Roland Murphy, makes an interesting accompaniment to a study of Bible characters.

The stories of eleven Bible women are visualized and fleshed out in detail, but the book’s strongest point is in making real and raw connections to struggles the author has faced and which readers today might also face, thus revealing how they can draw strength and inspiration from those brave biblical women. Released in bookstores February 2018.

Stacy Singh

undefinedWhat You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy
Spike Psarris hosts this incisive and insightful series of three videos that explore how true science weighs in on the creation-evolution debate. Psarris was an engineer in the U.S. military space program which he entered as an atheist and evolutionist. When he left the program, he was a Christian creationist.

In What You Aren’t Being Told, he reveals point by point how evolutionist theories are dispelled by the laws of science. Volume 1 (110 minutes) is on the solar system, Volume 2 (63 minutes) focuses on the stars and galaxies, and Volume 3 (108 minutes) is on the created universe.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has said, “These exciting and well-researched DVDs are perfect for the whole family.” Learn more and order at

Randall Murphree

undefinedI Lived on Parker Avenue
I Lived on Parker Avenue is a heartwarming film on adoption and choosing life over abortion. Chronicling 19-year-old David Scotton’s journey to meet his birth parents, this 30-minute documentary depicts the impact of one pro-life decision.

The reality of how close David’s birth mother came to having an abortion demonstrates the value of life from a unique perspective. It also emphasizes how one pro-life voice at the abortion clinic on Parker Avenue in 1993 made the difference in David’s existence.

David not only meets and thanks his birth parents, but his adoptive family gracefully accepts them. Together, David’s family exemplifies what adoption is – a real-life portrayal of God’s love and mercy.

The abortion clinic scenes and conversations about unplanned pregnancy might disturb younger viewers. Also, David’s journey is extremely emotional, especially for the young sister he discovers in his quest.

Despite such cautions, I Lived on Parker Avenue has the potential to change hearts and save lives again and again, as it proves adoption is always the perfect alternative to abortion. (See feature story on here.)

Joy Lucius

undefinedTorchlighters series
In today’s media-driven culture war, Christian parents and educators struggle finding historically accurate, biblically based resources to counter the morally bankrupt messages constantly inundating children.

Look no further. The Torchlighters series from Voice of the Martyrs and Christian History Institute delivers. For children ages 8 through 12, these animated DVDs chronicle one true-life Christian hero in each episode, demonstrating how an ordinary person became a torchlighter – one committed to serving God and passing on the light of the gospel even when the going gets tough.

Jim Elliot’s exploits in the jungles of Ecuador and Corrie ten Boom’s trials in a Nazi concentration camp are two of the featured Christian heroes in Torchlighters. With 16 episodes total, children take a colorful, engaging trip through history, learning what past Christians sacrificed and endured.

Go to to examine this award-winning resource, with all 16 episodes and a new 144-page activity book packaged in a single, easy-to-carry case.

Joy Lucius

undefinedThe Character Trait Journal
To put it bluntly, The Character Trait Journal: Character Makes a Winner is imposing because of its sheer size (500+ pages) and weight. But it is a treasure chest of practical and potent principles. In the introduction, author Winston Menzies suggests a steady, long-term approach to using the book as a realistic tool to help a man build his own character as well as the character of his
family members.

He suggests the most effective way to build character and make it a lasting part of one’s life is to study and practice one character trait at a time – for three weeks. No, his book is not a quick read, but building character is not a quick fix. Menzies challenges fathers, declaring that character, not education, will be the main component in determining what their sons and daughters become in life. “Character makes the difference,” he writes.

“There are things [such as character] that can be acquired with study, focus, and application,” Menzies asserts. He defines character as “one’s inner sense to know right from wrong, but, of the accompanying conviction to do what is right regardless.”

Author Winston Menzies is well credentialed to write on the virtue of character. The son of a USAF colonel, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and volunteered twice to lead rifle companies in Vietnam. Resigning his commission to begin a business career, he later left the business world and founded Creative Ministries. His ministry years have included pastoring a church.

Randall Murphree