I've been thinking about this movie just released called "Son of God." By the same folks who made the miniseries for television "The Bible", this movie theater film has been edited down from the ten hours of The Bible's miniseries and re-used for the big screen.
It is a film that is in wide release, rare for a Christian film. It's been ten years since the last wide release of a Christian film, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ". The movie is being promoted heavily by such well known false pastors as Joel Osteen and Rick Warren, and even false Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church Offers Free Pre-Screening of 'Son of God' Movie. So with all the Christian promotion, social media hubbub, and Hollywood attention, am I going to go see the movie?
First, I agree with Pastor Tim Challies about this particular topic. He said, "I believe this is one of those areas in which Christians need to acknowledge that some will believe the very opposite of what they themselves believe. Convictions will vary, even among Christians of the same theological stripe, which makes it an ideal time to obey Romans 14 and to refuse to pass judgment on one another."
I have read two excellent essays this week which crystallize two of my many concerns with the movie. First, Pastor and aspiring church planter Michael L. Johnson in Minneapolis quoted Exodus 20:4-6
and then said in his essay, The Movie “Son of God” and the Second Commandment that JI Packer advised what it means to adhere to the second commandment in contemporary society. He wrote,
…as soon as the images [of Jesus] are treated as representational rather than symbolic, they begin to corrupt the devotion they trigger. Since it is hard for us humans to avoid this pitfall, wisdom counsels once more that the better, safer way is to learn to do without them. Some risks aren’t worth taking” (p. 56).
Annnnd, this is why we should not put face and form to Jesus. It took exactly two days for the world to fall into the fleshly pitfall of seeing Jesus as a sexy man rather than who He is: God.
CNN’s Carol Costello thought Diogo Morgado’s bod was a bit too bodacious for Jesus Christ in the new film “Son of God.” On Thursday, she grilled Catholic priest Rev. James Martin about the historical accuracy of the savior’s pulchritude.“’Son of God’ is generating a lot of heat because Jesus is, um, so sexy!” Costello exclaimed. “He looks like Brad Pitt… The question for me became must Jesus be sexy too?” Costello was so skeezed by this depiction of the lord, she also penned an op-ed for CNN.com: I’m not the only one gawking at Morgado‘s Jesus. He inspired the hashtag, “#HotJesus.”
Secondly, Pastor Tim Challies posted a good essay on the mystery of the cross vs. the method of execution, the crucifixion. Pastor Challies said,
A film cannot adequately capture the reality of what transpired between the Father and the Son while the Son hung upon the cross. ... At the cross we encounter something no picture can tell. Its reality
cannot be displayed. Even the eyewitnesses of the cross, those who saw
it all unfold, walked away ignorant that day, needing words to explain
what had happened there.
Challies goes on with a sensitive and thought-provoking essay about the difference between crucifixion as a method of execution, versus the mystery of the eternal holy wrathful exchange. The film can only show the cruel death of a man, even the Son of God, and not the real meaning of the cross. Watching something that is as profound as that, yet missing the mark because it is too profound to be contained on celluloid, diminishes the mystery and depth of the tremendous sacrifice our Trinitarian God made on behalf of humanity.
Of course, there are also theological concerns, as I had stated before when the mini-series initially came out. Therefore, for all those reasons, I will not go see the movie. I hope you will take time to prayerfully consider all the implications, concerns, and biblical stances, and prayerfully weigh the the bible as you decide.
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