Time Changer: Don’t Separate the Authority of Jesus

John FarrellBy John FarrellMay 25, 20226 Minutes

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed from Jesus” (Romans 13:1).

Imagine being thrust into a situation or environment you know very little about. It can be scary … and shocking.

What if you are transported through time to a year more than a century in the future where nothing is familiar and many of the values you hold dear are no longer held in the same esteem? And you find yourself among foreign surroundings where the morality you’re accustomed to is absent.

This is just the predicament that Bible professor Dr. Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin) finds himself facing in the 2002 film Time Changer, which can be watched any time on Inspiration TV on Demand.

Time Travel for the Sake of Saving Morality

Of course, time travel isn’t in the Bible. Nor has it ever been successfully attempted (although some physicists claim it is possible). Yet traveling through time plays a major role in Time Changer.

The movie begins in 1890 and Carlisle has just written a book on morality. At his publisher’s request, he is trying to get the board at the seminary where he teaches to endorse the book. All the members present approve the manuscript believing that it would be beneficial to the school.

The one member of the seminary’s governing body not present has been ill and is excused from voting. However, after the four present members have given their endorsement, Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin McLeod), the absent member, shows up unexpectedly wishing to speak to Carlisle privately about a grave concern he has with the manuscript.

After Carlisle convinces Anderson that whatever issues he has with the content can be discussed in front of everyone there, Anderson speaks hesitantly: “One of the themes in Dr. Carlisle’s book is the encouragement to proclaim the moral standards taught by Jesus to all people.”

Carlisle: “And what is wrong with this premise?”

Anderson: “And I am quoting from page 67, ‘even if it is apart from His name and if people are rejecting the authority of Jesus Christ in their lives we must still teach the ways of Christ for the better interest of society. The Lord’s teachings are best for all.”

Carlisle: “The Lord’s teaching are best for all.”

Dr. Wiseman (Richard Riehle): “You cannot be disagreeing with this statement, Norris.”

Anderson: “No. What Dr. Carlisle is implying is that we can put forth the standards of Christ apart from His name. And I think this is deadly.”

Shortly after the meeting, Anderson stops by Carlisle’s classroom to invite him to his house later that night because there is something he must show him. Still bitter at Anderson’s refusal to endorse the book, Carlisle has no interest in going to Anderson’s house, bringing up something Anderson said during the meeting: “to tell a boy not to steal is wrong if apart from the name of the Lord.”

Anderson replies, “Russell, there must be a connection between the Lord and His teachings. We can never separate the two.”

Days later and still seeking Anderson’s approval, Carlisle finally visits Anderson at his home where he is led to a barn. Inside the barn is a fully functional singularity chrono displacement device … more commonly known as a time machine.

But Anderson has one more surprise for Carlisle. He’s prepared a journey for Carlisle into the future – the 21st Century to be exact.

“Russell, you must see where the teaching of good morals alone will lead,” Anderson states. “You must see for yourself what happens when we remove the authority of Christ out of life.”

A Journey into the Future

The following night, Carlisle returns to Anderson’s house ready, but hesitant, for his trip to the present day. Upon being transported to an alley, he finds a newspaper that confirms he is in the future.

When Carlisle starts exploring this foreign world, certain aspects confuse and surprise him. The most shocking thing to him though is that it is exactly as Anderson told him would be – a fallen society where the authority of Jesus is absent and where morals have been replaced by sin.

Whether it’s the vulgar language in a movie, teenagers talking about getting drunk, the divorce rate, or church members’ apparent boredom during a church worship service, Carlisle is appalled by what the future holds for a society that makes decisions without keeping the Lord at the forefront.

Once Carlisle returns to the 1890s, will he be able to rework his manuscript and provide more biblically sound guidance to his contemporaries based on what he learned during his trip … and perhaps save the future of society?

Watch Time Changer anytime on Inspiration TV on Demand.