April 2014

It seems that we are in a very busy season for ‘Christian’ movies. Son of God came out a few weeks ago. God’s not Dead is currently playing. Noah comes out soon (at the time of printing this it will have already come out). And lastly, Heaven is for Real comes out near Easter. I can’t remember a time when so many ‘Christian’ films or films about Christian topics have ever come out. Is there a Renaissance happening in Hollywood? What should we think/do about it?

First, Hollywood has been for years and will continue to be, against any sort of positive Christian message. Just watch films and see how Christians are portrayed. They are seen as wacko, religious nutcases who really have no redeeming feature whatsoever. An example of this is the remake of the movie Carrie where the mom is a Christian and a complete crazy lady who cuts herself and locks her daughter in closet to “pray for forgiveness.” Even the movie The Passion of the Christ had trouble getting a studio to fund it, and Mel Gibson had to invest his own money into making it. This is a bizarre stance from Hollywood because Christian movies really do make a lot of money. The Passion of the Christ went on to become one of the top 10 grossing movies of all time! One would think that making more Christian movies or portraying Christians in a positive light would be a good business decision by Hollywood since Christians have such a big movie-going presence.

Second, don’t be fooled by the ‘Christian’ stories of some of these movies. For example, the movie Noah was directed by an avowed atheist who bragged in an interview that Noah was going to be the “least Biblical Bible movie ever.” Just because the story is about Noah’s Ark doesn’t mean the message is Biblical or Christian. In fact, the moviemakers made it a specific point to never mention the word “God” in the entire movie. Should I take our youth group to see this movie? I don’t think so. Another example is Heaven is for Real about a young boy who visits heaven while he is clinically dead in a hospital. Even though this boy’s descriptions of heaven are completely different from anything the Bible says, Christians are going to flock to see this movie. And, it is not an accident that the studio decided to release this film during Easter week. Is this a movie that I would recommend Christians to see? Not at all. Do I sound like the ‘Grumpy Gus’ who takes everything so seriously? If we are talking about the integrity of the Word of God, then absolutely. Know the details of the movies before you go.

Third, the real issue here is a lack of discernment amongst Christians. Just because something is labeled ‘Christian’ doesn’t mean the message is faithful to the text of Scripture. I guarantee you that there will be copies of Noah and Heaven is for Real being sold at Berean and Christians without any discernment will pick them up and their confidence in the Bible will be shaken because what they see on screen is not what they read in the Word. We have to remember that Hollywood is in the business of fantasy, not Biblical accuracy. If you can watch these movies with solid discernment then do it, but I’m afraid many will not.

Now, the movies Son of God and God’s Not Dead are pretty solid in their message and they were made by Christians. Also, believers who have seen them have made many positive comments about the nature of the films and the gospel message therein. I do find it a positive thing that the gospel was communicated to millions through the medium of film. I also don’t have a problem with people making Christian films. I do think we need to approach all Christian movies with a bit of skepticism because it does run through so many Hollywood channels, which are primarily anti-Christian. Also, I think the best way for Christians to impact Hollywood is not to go see all the Christian movies, but to make it a point to NOT see movies that glorify and celebrate the things that God says are wrong. The Christian public can make a big statement to Hollywood if they refuse to spend their God-given money on films that rejoice in homosexuality, revenge, violence, filthiness, etc. I fear however, that this is actually more of a challenge to us than to support the Christian films.