Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Christian Movies: Are there any GOOD ones out there?

Recently I posted a two-part review of the new movie "War Room" starring Priscilla Shirer and TC Stallings. Included in the essays are links to other reviews and resources regarding prayer. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

My review regarding War Room was negative.

Christianity Today reviews War Room.

Other movies with Christian themes that I and others do not consider edifying:
Coming Soon:
A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called "The Shack."
Ever since Hollywood discovered that Christian people will attend a movie containing no profanity, no nudity, and including Christian themes, they have been pumping them out. For the most part, the movies have been atrocious. The worst of these movies distort the word of God by deleting foundational truths or adding extra things that hide or dilute the truth. They have been written by heretics or Non-Christians. They have insulted the holy name of Jesus. Or these alleged Christian movies have other issues that make them not worth watching.

Now I understand that there is some license taken with movies containing Christian themes. If it is to be called a Christian movie, the Gospel should hopefully be in the movie in some way. God should be honored and His character should rightly be portrayed in the people in the movie who claim Him as Father. Apart from that, we all understand that movies are movies, and it is not the movie's responsibility to replicate the Bible. Unless the miniseries indeed is attempting to replicate the Bible, as Roma Downey's series did, in which case, what is plainly in the Bible should not be changed for artistic purposes. So there is some license, or some latitude there when each person chooses their entertainment of a Christian fashion.

On the other hand, the Bible tells us to be involved in endeavors that glorify the Lord. We only have so much time here on earth, so why choose to go to a movie that will entertain you, but at the same time take liberties with the only thing worth anything on this earth, the Word of God? Is that entertaining? If you want to go to a movie, go to a movie where it doesn't monkey around with the things of a holy nature. It's no problem to want to relax. But choosing a movie that you know ahead of time distorts the word, but then pooh-pooh the effect its distortion has on the weaker brother, or yourself by claiming it's only a movie is disingenuous.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

If one wants simply to relax by watching a wholesome movie, I'd rather see the 1994 version of Lassie than War Room, because Lassie doesn't pretend to honor the word of God. It is what it is. When choosing entertainment, first and foremost, ask does it honor God? Colossians 3:17 speaks to that.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Another question is, does this self-styled Christian entertainment put you under the influence of non-believers? Watching The Bible Miniseries by Roma Downey certainly did. It was written by a pagan and the spiritual oversight was given by Modalist TD Jakes, Pragmatist Rick Warren, and Prosperity Gospelist Joel Osteen. Do not partner with darkness, lest you be influenced by it.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

Now that said, some people have read my review of War Room and complained that I am a negative Nellie, a Debbie Downer who never says anything good or positive. That I delight in stomping on flowers and snatching candy from babies. That my name is really Gru and I'm despicable. OK, maybe not the last two but certainly I can answer the query as to what movies I DO consider respectful to the faith.

There are a lot of Christian movies I've reviewed in a positive fashion on this site. Here are a few of them.

Finding Normal
The only thing standing between Dr. Lisa Leland (Candice Cameron Bure) and the wedding of her dreams in the Hamptons is a 2600-mile drive from Los Angeles to Long Island. However, a run in with the law in the country town of Normal, Louisiana leaves Dr. Leland with a choice--Jail or community service. Sentenced to serve three days as the town's doctor, Lisa has her world turned upside down by a man she would never expect. Quickly, Lisa finds that there's a lot more to Normal than she could have ever imagined.
     Common Sense Media review
     The End Time review here

Raising Izzy
The touching story of two orphaned sisters and the caring teacher who changes their lives forever.
     Christian Film Database review here
     The End Time review here

WWJDII The Woodcarver
A troubled youth vandalizes a church and winds up in a close association with the woodcarver whose work he destroyed.
     The End Time review here

Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
An wise old Christian man imparts Biblical truths to three boys during the summer of 1970.
     The Independent Critic- review of Sperry

Camp
This is a very good film. I just watched it last week and have not had a chance to review it yet. Here is Christian Movie Guide's summary: Strong Christian worldview as Eli attends a camp with Christian camp counselors that teach about the Bible, worship and pray to God, with strong moral elements as counselors speak to another counselor about showing forgiveness and compassion;

To impress a potential client, financial advisor Ken Matthews signs up to be a counselor at a camp for kids in the foster system. He is paired with Eli, a 10 year-old determined to hate camp. However, when Ken discovers Eli's dark past, his apathy turns to compassion. But is he to late to help the scared boy nobody wants? Inspired by true stories of ordinary people providing extraordinary help for abused and neglected kids, CAMP is a tale of hope shining in the dark places for forgotten children. For his performance in the role of Eli, actor Miles Elliot won BEST PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURE FILM by a Leading Young Actor at the 35th annual Young Artist Awards. The camp mentioned is in reality Royal Family Kids' Camps.
     MovieGuide Christian reviews

No Greater Love
Jeff and Heather Baker were life long sweethearts and happily married... for a time. But at her greatest moment of weakness, Heather abandons Jeff, forcing Jeff to raise their young son alone. Ten years later, through a God ordained encounter, Jeff and Heather meet again. They must wrestle with forgiveness, reconciliation and the pressing of the Savior on their hearts.
     Michelle Lesley reviews No Greater Love

What If...
15 years ago, Ben Walker left his girlfriend and his ministry calling for a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying career and a trophy fiancé, he is visited by an angel, who gives him a glimpse into what his life would look like had he followed his calling.
     MovieGuide Christian Reviews
     The End Time movie review of What If...

These next few are Apocalyptic movies, not necessarily Christian. I include these because they graphically depict in realistic fashion nuclear war and its effects, or germ warfare and its effect. In my opinion, the value of these movies is to show the to Christian what life will realistically be like after the rapture during the Tribulation. And even then, as horrific as these movies are (and The War Game was banned in Britain for 30 years before the BBC would allow its release, it is THAT realistic) seeing the reality of the Tribulation-like conditions should spur us to fervency in witnessing the Gospel. If you dare, watch these films to see what our non-believing friends and family will endure.

The War Game
The War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city. Although it won an Oscar for Best Documentary, it is fiction. It was intended as an hour-long program to air on BBC 1, but it was deemed too intense and violent to broadcast. It went to theatrical distribution as a feature film instead. Low-budget and shot on location, it strives for and achieves convincing and unflinching realism.
     Roger Ebert Movie Review
     The End Time Movie review

It's a Disaster
Four couples meet for Sunday brunch only to discover they are stuck in a house together as the world may be about to end.
     Common Sense Media review
     The End Time movie review

Threads
Documentary-style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England, and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.
Where The War Game focused on the day of and week after, Threads shows the day of and the generation after. This is the title I gave to my review:
The most unrelentingly horrific and unsettling apocalyptic movie you will ever watch that comes the closest to what the Tribulation will be like: "Threads".
     At-A-Glance Film reviews
     The End Time movie review

As for other movies that are wholesome and clean with a more subdued spirituality, there are plenty to watch. I enjoyed The Next Voice You Hear...,  Brownstones to Red Dirt, Lassie (1994), Owd Bob, Becoming Santa, Honor Flight, and many others.

Let's make our entertainment choices wisely and enjoy your relaxation time with a clear conscience and no stumbling blocks in sight :)

Here is one movie poster depicting an event I know we are all looking forward to:




3 comments :

  1. This must have taken hours in a stretch to write.

    Could you write less excellently? I'm breaking open my first "new computer" since I started college the first time around, and at the rate of things right now, it looks like my favorites folder is going to need a subfolder for your blog (actually that's a great idea that I should anticipate). :)

    Your history as a journalist is a poignant example of how God prepares us for the role He intends us to play in the Kingdom. Thanks for your dedication and contribution.

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    Replies
    1. thank you! Good luck with your studies.

      The Lord is gracious and kind and perfect as He molds His people even before we are called. I'm so grateful to Him

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  2. Thank God there are people making movies about, y'know, God and things! I mean what would we do without them? Read the bible, probably.

    ReplyDelete