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Christian Movies

In our Christian Ethics Class, we were asked to write our opinion about Christian Movies. Here is a copy of the paper that I handed into Mr. Tim Boyd.

Christian Movies and Ethics

by Jason Wiser

If the question presented asks, “Are Christian films a good thing?” Of course! If this assignment is to assess the potential impact that Christian films can have on society, then the answer is obvious, lots. If to ask, “should Christians be in Hollywood?” Absolutely! Truthfully this topic was not initially inspiring because, well, this is a “no-brainer”. I mean, what’s not to like about Christian films aside from some of the low budget productions often times with poor actors and weak scripts. Morally speaking I think it’s imperative that Christians employ mass media to reach the people. We need to take the Gospel to the people and meet them where they are. This revelation is the backbone of the Teen Mania / Battle Cry organization under the direction of popular evangelist Ron Luce. His story and the story of this ministry is an amazing testimony to the power of utilizing mass media and pop culture to spread the gospel. Of course there are many who criticize the validity of some of the Christian bands these days; Pillar, Skillet, and Cutlass just to name a few. These hard driving, fast beat, screaming guitar sound overlaid with angry sounding lyrics that more closely resemble growling than singing are hotly contested as a vehicle for the gospel message of love and salvation. Yet, they have and incredible following and thousands of teens flock to these mega concerts to hear the music. While there the teens hear from many national evangelists preaching the gospel boldly and in a language that this generation can understand. This event culminates with waves of youth responding to the alter call often embracing, weeping, and repenting. Many nonbelievers come to see a concert and hang out with friends. While there, they are gripped with an encounter by the Holy Spirit so genuine and profound their lives are eternally transformed.

…they are gripped with an encounter by the Holy Spirit so genuine and profound their lives are eternally transformed.

But this paper is supposed to be about Christian films, not concerts. True, but I use this to illustrate the power and influence that mass media has. Christians need to claim ground in the movie and film industry. We must seek to inject biblical influence into society by being a part of it. We are told that we are in this world, but not of this world.

More and more Christian films are reaching broader audiences, increasing budgets, and demanding that production standards are lifted. Thanks largely in part to companies like Sherwood Pictures, the Christian film industry is deservedly acknowledged as being a unique movie genre unto it self. Now as this genre escalates in credibility, it is becoming more influential on societal awareness in its ability to present biblical values and ethics. Look at the numbers surrounding the Fireproof movie. It was 122 on the top grossing films of 2008 at 33.5 million where the Dark Knight was #1 at 1 billion. That means that there a lot of people seeing a man leaning on the cross weeping and asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness for his sins, after which he is reunited with his wife with whom he was considering divorce. The number of online testimonies about how this film transformed peoples lives if prolific. Thousand testify that this film introduced them to the gospel, and it is the reason they dared to venture into the church.

There is of course one more topic here in terms of ethics, and that is the tension between Christian ethics, business ethics, and the influence that pop culture will have on this genre. Big films, big budgets, big profits all are potential stumbling blocks and will be the enemy’s weapon to bring down and infect this movement. I pray these producers and industry personnel pay close attention to the 10th and 11th Chapters of 1st Kings.

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