Have you ever thought that perhaps you should avoid certain films because they were made by a particular denomination whose beliefs differ from yours? It is certainly a legitimate question. And there are a number of cookie cutter answers, but I would like to think that a good Christian movie should be able to stand on its own merits. However there is a much more concrete and objective way to answer this.
What Do You Mean By Religious Movies?
Before we really dig into this topic, let’s start with the hairsplitting. What is the difference between a religious movie and a Christian movie? As far as I am using them here, the words mean almost the same thing. The reason I use the term religious movie is simply because that phrase resonates more readily with some people and Christian movie is a bit of a newer term. So just know from the beginning that I am not referring to other non-Christian religious films.
The More Excellent Way To Judge Religious Films
In cutting to the chase, If a very liberal denomination produces a strongly theological film, should very conservative Christian churches support that movie? It is easy to answer that question with a yes or a no based on your traditional view point, but let’s examine this a little bit further. What should determine what types of religious movies we watch? Should it be doctrine? Traditional church relationships? What should be the deciding factor here? After all, some have gone to the point of calling other denomination’s films outright propaganda.
I submit to you a more excellent way to make these decisions. Truth.
A deeply theological religious film that is intended to win people over to a particular denomination is by definition propaganda. BUT if the heart of a movie is to express the truth of something that happened, of something that God did, then doctrine melts into the background, and the reality of God’s handiwork takes center stage. When we make Christian movies for the purpose of expressing reality, as it happened, as God did it, then the theology of producers is no longer the story, it’s just back lighting.
I know what you may be thinking “Well, I don’t believe the same things that they do.” But if God did it, if the almighty stepped in and made something happen, then there is something in this story that all Christians can relate to and embrace. I’m not advocating that anyone give up their beliefs, but simply to realize the God works through all those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, regardless of denomination.
Evangelical Movies Vs. Catholic Movies
I’ll go ahead and put my cards down on the table. I am a nondenominational evangelical Christian, and my taste in Christian movies fits the stereotype fairly well. But I have come to greatly appreciate and respect many Catholic movies, traditional denominationally produced films, and even some works of cinema made by groups that some would consider “on the fringe”. Why you ask? Because the truth of God’s action is the same in a Catholic movie as it is in a protestant movie. If it really happened then it really happened. If God did it, then who is anyone to tell Him that He should have used a different group?
You see, when it is a True Story Christian Movie, then the truth is the most important element. And that should be something that all Christians can rally around. Whether it is a traditional Catholic film or a contemporary protestant religious movie, if the truth is in it then we should want it. Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Finding The Good In Christian Movies
We still need to be responsible and not accept everything in a movie just because it is based on a true story. But we need to test it, and determine what is good.
Test all things; hold fast what is good
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21
And then once we have found the good parts we are supposed to hold on to them tightly. I like to point out what the Bible mentions about the parts that we find in the testing process that are not good. It does not mention anything at all! There is no mention of rebuking, making a scene, protesting, or even complaining.
So why don’t we resolve to examine these movies, find the good, treasure it, and then simply let the rest go and be happy about the good things that we found.
In His Service
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