We seem to be in that season of new films coming out under different genres … with many offerings in an emerging category which could be termed “Christian Interest”. These are films that have some reference to the Bible in a primary form such as in title or in main characters and which hope to attract some fervent Christians and more especially the teeming curious segment barely familiar with scriptural truths.
Many argue that Hollywood and her cousins are less likely to be the media through which deep convicting thoughts will be seeded … claiming that the commercial objective of the average filmmaker will conflict with the potential offense likely to be associated with depth of Bible exposition and resolution of accuracy versus cultural correctness.
Indeed the early Christians were given that name in a derogatory scenario …they were poor people, who around the year 30 AD, formed communities which emerged to be contesters with the prevailing culture and often triggering violent persecution. Things have changed and today persecution is much more subtle. A good Christian film should accomplish all of three broad objectives – apart from being a good film in terms of technical and performance quality.
- Presents Holy Scripture in a way that defeats demonic and anti-Christian themes and tears down worldly thought fortifications to prepare hearts to repent of sin and come to Christ and be indwelled by His Spirit.
- Provokes a conviction to love God and seek Him above the throes of religious observation and struggle with rules.
- Prepares Christians for the coming of Christ and eternity by encouraging a life of obedience and consecration which helps viewers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling
Gal_5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Many say light will always win over darkness and thus recommend a little peek in the shadows is safe. The Bible however warns that a little leaven has the force of cataclysmic destruction. An anti-Christian showing may embrace many Christian values but only needs to toss in a few creative other toxic additives to shipwreck precious faith. Anti-Christian film will be leavened with thoughts and imaginations to whet lust, greed and worldly deviance from Christian ethics and will be deliberately light on detailed dialogue that accurately quotes scripture. The worse ones will invent new sizzling parables, metaphors and plots which borrow little from actual Bible scenes. The best Christian films will emerge from stories in which the Bible and time-tested commentators have already provided enough detail and context to avoid creative writers filling in the blanks.
I will not trust leaning on the commentaries and would rather let the Spirit of God lead you on what to see in a culture where many Christians surprisingly defend the C.S. Lewis - Narnia series as harmless moral tales and even Harry Potter as innocent child fantasy.
Since it will be far too late to unwatch what you have already watched … and telling others not to see what you have already seen will only whet their curiosity … you must therefore exercise the due diligence commanded by the Bible to Pro_4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
It is not exaggeration to warn that you can undo several years of exercise unto godliness by brief minutes of providing unguarded access to mind toxins. If you are curious on what the Bible says do go and get a copy and read. At the very least, you will do well to read the plot of the film and compare with what you know of the Bible and also recommend waiting till you can browse at least one positive and one negative review. Do not stampede the theatre like a wide-eyed teenager …you are in a culture war seeking prisoners.
Many films will be deliberately written with severely twisted supposed bible plots. The objective is to use the controversy generated to spike up the box-office takings. These will tend to be the most commercially successful films. Many film makers sense that sacrificing the true revelation of Christ is the cost of seeking correctness and will gladly pay that cost.
I sincerely pray that God will raise more faithful Christian film makers. Amen