About Jonathan Dorst

Jonathan Dorst was born in Pittsburgh, PA and has lived a number of places on the East Coast and in the Southwest. He went to seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary- Charlotte. After seminary, Jonathan was an Assistant Pastor at two churches in South Carolina and Virginia. In 2003, he moved to Stillwater, OK to plant Grace Church Stillwater (PCA) and lived there for 11 years. In June of 2014, they moved to Tulsa, OK for Jonathan to work at RiverOaks.

How Should We Raise Smart Kids? A Review of Gifted

The new film Gifted (2017) plays up our love for, and fascination with, brilliant, sassy kids, as well as our disdain for overbearing parents. It is, at core, a moral exploration of the challenges of parenting, namely, what should a parent want for a child? Complicating the situation is that the usual decision-makers for the child, her biological parents, are either dead or completely out of the picture, and there are two adults competing to answer that question with, or maybe for, her. [Read more…]

Must I Avoid the Appearance of Evil?

If we’re to avoid not just evil, but the appearance of evil, where do we draw the line? And how do we know what appears evil to other people? [Read more…]

Why is an Evangelical Pastor Excited About Moonlight Winning Best Picture?

I am an Evangelical pastor who is conservative theologically, believing the historic orthodox doctrines of Christianity, including the inerrancy of Scripture, the unique sufficiency of Christ, and the establishment of marriage as between one man and one woman. And I’m also excited that Moonlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards just a few weeks ago. [Read more…]

Jesus: The Comforting and Threatening Light

Jesus is like fire, both a comforting and threatening light. He’s comforting to those who are tired of the darkness and want to see; to those who are willing to come into the light and to be known. But He’s threatening to those who don’t want to be known. He is a threat to those who are building their own kingdoms in the dark, and who are making money off of other people being in the dark [Read more…]

Martin Scorsese’s Silence: Is Some Soil too Rocky for Jesus?

In the song “The Silence of God,” Andrew Peterson sings: It’s enough to drive a man crazy, it’ll break a man’s faith It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s ever been sane When… Heaven’s only answer is the silence of God It’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart When he has [Read More…]

Drowning in His Own Private Ocean: Denzel Washington’s Fences

My father grew up in a poor neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA called Hazelwood in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. He used to play basketball with a kid from the neighborhood named Freddie Kittell. All the kids thought Freddie was pretty strange because he almost never talked and would often play ball barefoot, even in the winter. [Read More…]

Jesus Is For Losers (Did You Know That, Mary?)

Mary was the perfect mother for Jesus. Because she was poor and lowly, and willing to be used of God. She was a loser in what most people think is important in life. But, God loved her and blessed her. She would lose everything through this experience, but she would gain everything through God’s plan. [Read more…]

Friendship With God

There’s a story in the Bible about a guy who lost all of his friends midway through his life. In the book of Exodus, we read about Moses, who grew up in Egypt in a palace as the son of the king’s daughter. As part of the royal family of the most powerful nation on earth, he got the best education and training available. But when he grew up, he realized that he wasn’t an Egyptian by birth. He was a Hebrew, whose mother had given him up for adoption to avoid his being killed. [Read more…]

Hacksaw Ridge: Pacifism or Just War Theory?

Say what you want about him, but Mel Gibson does not go halfway. The 60-year old director, who has one more Best Directing Oscar than Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Robert Altman, and Spike Lee, has shown in films like The Passion of the Christ (2004), Braveheart (1995), and Apocalypto (2006) that he has the courage of his convictions and vision. Such intentional conviction makes the end of Hacksaw Ridge (2016) a bit of a headscratcher when the vision goes from courageous defense to inspirational slaughter. [Read more…]

An Unholy Alliance: Christianity and Slavery In Birth of a Nation (2016)

In the new film Birth of a Nation, based on the real life story of Nat Turner, we see both sides of the coin. In the film, starring, produced, and directed by Nate Parker, we see young Nat being taught to read by his master’s daughter. He grows up to be a preacher, which is good when he is able to minister to his people, but is damaging when he is made to preach obedience to other slaves by his master and a conniving white preacher. [Read more…]