Most of the movie trailers we see are not worth watching. Yes, there are “clean” movies that come out every so often. But, even among children’s films there can be found objectionable material. (For instance, Little Mermaid encourages children to disobey their parents, “sell their soul” for whatever they want, and when things get out of hand, just wait for good old dad to clean up your mess and still let you have your way. Not to mention that Ariel swims around through half the movie in a seashell bikini). So, when a movie begins to be advertised that deals with bible stories, morality, etc Christians often get real excited. We quickly convince ourselves that there is finally a movie worth watching on coming out soon. We convince ourselves that this is a movie I want my kids to see. Over the course of the next couple of months there will actually be several bible based movies coming out. The one getting the most attention right now is the one based upon the story of Noah. It easily has the biggest named cast as Russell Crowe plays Noah and the director is also known highly successful films like the Black Swan, which was critically acclaimed. Then there is the follow up to the Bible miniseries the History Channel did last year. This film is set to be released in February and is based upon the story of Jesus. It is entitled the Son of God. (Unlike the others mentioned in this bulletin, this movie has no big name actors/actresses associated with it). Then there are two other religious movies based upon extra biblical books. The Left Behind series, whose original films starred Kirk Cameron, are getting a big budget reboot with Nicolas Cage starring. The other is the movie based upon the best selling book “Heaven is for Real.” Again, while it is exciting that Hollywood is producing films with a spiritual message I would urge us to be leery of what is actually be released. Let us look at what is being said about these 4 films.
Noah. I was initially super excited about this project. I have always loved the story of Noah, even as a child, and I thought that sharing this story with the masses would be really neat. I was interested in seeing if they portrayed this as a local flood (as many liberal scholars try to do) or if the director would take to the global scale (which seemed likely since “disaster” movies seem to be popular these days). However, after several religious institutions were permitted to do some early screening the prognosis is not good. Noah is not being portrayed as the savior of his family or even as a righteous man in the sight of God. It is said that Noah believes that man is the blight of the world. He believes that God is destroying all of man and that God had no intentions of allowing mankind to be saved. The animals on the ark were be saved and Noah was God’s vessel for saving the animals. Once the flood was over Noah and his family would be permitted to live out their lives in a renewed garden, but after they died there would be no more man. The director even stated that he wanted to do this movie because he believed Noah was the world’s first conservationist. If this is all true, while it might make for good cinema, I wouldn’t encourage you or your children to watch it because it is a bible based movie.
Left Behind. There is no doubt this movie will have spiritual overtones. Even the synopsis provided on imdb.com implies that the plot of the original movies is being kept in this reboot. This however does not make this a bible based movie. The Left Behind books and movies are based upon the false doctrine of Dispensational Premillennialism. This doctrine teaches that the church was mistake, that Jesus was never supposed to die upon the cross and that an anti-Christ will rise up killing God’s righteous. Spiritual overtones sure. But there is no way I would ever encourage someone to watch these films.
Heaven is for Real. Let me first say that anything that gets people to think and believe in heaven cannot be a bad thing. We live in a world where too many people could careless about spiritual things. Heaven is for Real has people talking. Did this kid really see family members that died before he was born? Did this kid really talk to Jesus? Was he really in heaven? Did he see his parents crying as he lay dying? To deny that something didn’t happen would be foolish. Was it a hoax? Did his father put him up to it? Was it a true vision that came from the wrong source? Consider some of the things mentioned in the book. The young boy, Colton, said that everyone in heaven carries a sword just in case Satan tries to enter heaven. This is should be alarming. Satan cannot enter heaven. He was cast out not by some great war, but by the Lord rebuking him (Jude 9; Rev. 12:7-9). Colton saw many of the dead in heaven. And yet, no one is said to be in Heaven until after the day of judgment (Rev. 19-20). Colton says that everyone is young in heaven. While the bible does not mention age in heaven, the Quran does. Not to mention that this book and movie is being haled as God’s message to 21st century Christians. And yet, Heb. 1 states that today he speaks to us through His Son, not through some preacher in Nebraska’s son.
The Son of God. Of the four movies this one seems to have the most “hope” for worthwhile watching. While I did not watch the entire Bible miniseries I did catch a couple of episodes. Most of the time it stayed true to the bible. However, there were clear breaks from the text (the story of Abraham comes to mind). Like Ten Commandments it was a good watch but you would want to inform your children where Hollywood changed the truth. If the producers and directors stick to the format that used in the miniseries this movie might be worth watching. But then again, I’d be certain you cross checked your bibles to be sure they haven’t exchanged the truth for a lie. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
A Changing of the Guard?
Volume 5 Issue 8