There are a lot of movies coming out that are based on the Bible. Some are very closely based, and some are VERY loosely based. I went to see two movies recently that are quite different. One was “Son of God” and the other was “God’s Not Dead.”
“Son of God” was more high profile, being produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. They made this movie on faith that a distributor would pick it up. They discussed that many young people have not been taught the Gospel. And they are media oriented. So Roma and Mark set about, after their TV mini series was so successful. to make a movie about the important aspects of Jesus’s life. They strived to make the movie as accurate as possible. They did streamline it so it would flow better for dramatic effect.
Most Christians embraced their efforts to tell the world about Jesus in an easy to understand manner. But, of course, there were some who nitpicked about the wise men at the stable. Others groused about Mary Magdalene being so prominent, forgetting she was one of the financial supporters of the ministry and the first one to see the risen Christ. And, yet others, criticized Hollywood in general. My feelings on this matter is that they did not change the content of the Gospels. They took major financial as well as career risks out of a sincere desire to bring the Gospel to the world.
I feel that we Christians should support their efforts by our prayers and by our dollars. One thing the powers that be understand in Hollywood is money. If a Christian movie makes money they will make more Christian movies. God has placed a remnant of Christians in the media for His glory. Rather than throwing stones, we should applaud and support them.
I also went to see “God’s Not Dead” last Friday. It was about a young college student defending God’s existence in his philosophy class. There were other side stories about people’s struggles with their faith and relationships. I was so moved I cried. The student’s case for God was inspiring, challenging the most supposedly intellectual atheist. His Power Point presentations should be required viewing in every church.
On the other hand, I have heard many negative things about the upcoming “Noah.” I have read that the director even admitted he changed the story around and didn’t care if it was Biblically accurate. The reviewer also said that God is portrayed as cruel and unmerciful. Noah is portrayed as a baby killer and mean and cruel as well. I reserve judgement, since I haven’t seen it and no one I know has seen it.
I do wonder why some movie makers feel the need to change up Bible stories supposedly for dramatic effects. The Bible has enough drama already. Look at the stories. There are murders, intrigue, love stories, betrayal, mysteries. The story of Noah talks about a man who does what’s right even when no one else around him does. He obeys God by building an ark while enduring ridicule from his neighbors. Then, after a hundred years, he gathers up animals and they ride out the flood together. The true story is so interesting, I don’t know why anyone would feel the need to change it.
So, is Hollywood friend or foe to the Gospel and Christians? My answer is: yes. Both. Many are hostile to our beliefs and standards. But there are a few Christians strategically placed by God who have the means and influence to affect millions. When Mel Gibson’s “Passion” came out there were those who falsely called it anti-Semitic and tried to destroy it. But, millions of people were impacted by it and it also made an amazing profit. God was able to work through this movie in a miraculous manner. So, rather than railing about how godless Hollywood is we should do what we can to support those film makers who strive to light a candle in the darkness in Hollywood.