Why We Take Bible-based Movies So Seriously

Why do Christians take Bible-based movies so seriously?

I feel like the answer is obvious and deserves a big “duh…,” but this question came up a lot in 2014.

In a lot of ways, 2014 was the year of “Bible movies.” We had Son of God, Heaven is for Real, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Son_of_God_film_poster

While Son of God didn’t generate too much criticism, the others did to varying degrees.

Heaven-is-for-Real

Heaven is for Real generated a lot of talk around theology, revelation (as in getting God’s Word, not “the book of”), and, of course, heaven. I did not see it so I cannot speak intelligently about it. I just know that most people that I respect and follow online did not care for it.

I did see Noah. Oh boy… Noah… I don’t think any other Bible movie has caused this much of a stink since the Last Temptation of Christ (1988). In my opinion, Noah was more divisive in Christian circles than any other Bible movie. Most Christians I follow online said, “avoid it like the plague!” They labeled it heresy, a work of the Devil, New Age, etc. Others that I respect, however, that said go see it! While they admitted that it wasn’t an accurate or “true” retelling of the Biblical story, they suggested that it was not that bad. Instead of avoiding it, they argued, we should embrace it and then use it to engage our world with the true story of Noah.

sharing god's story with Exodus: Gods and Kings

I also saw Exodus: Gods and Kings. While not as bad a Noah, it was not nearly as good – or as faithful to the Old Testament – as it should have been. What was with the Lake Placid giant crocs?

So why do we tend to get so bent out of shape when a Bible-based movies miss the mark?

Here is my answer in this open letter to filmmakers.

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Dear Filmmakers,

With very few exceptions, most Christians see the same movies that our non-Christian friends see. We geek out with Star Wars and the Avengers. We like to use movie clips as sermon and Bible study illustrations.

We appreciate when you try, when you throw us a bone. We loved when Captain America said, “Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” We dig it.

What we don’t dig, however, is when you screw up a Bible story. Yes, we take the Bible pretty seriously. Here’s why.

We Believe the Bible is God’s Story

Those of us who believe the Bible don’t just like the Bible.

We don’t even just love the Bible.

We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

We believe that the Bible is God’s direct revelation to us.

It isn’t just a book – or even a religious book – but it is actually the Word of God.

So why do we take Bible-based movies so seriously? We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

So, why go messing with God’s Word?

We Believe the Bible is a True Story

We also believe it to be a true story.

Yes, there are poems and parables and metaphors, but we believe that the overall story of the Bible is a true story.

Sure, we don’t always agree on how it is true – think Creation and the Book of Revelation – but we believe that it is more than just a bunch of make-believe stories that teach a good moral lesson.

Simply put, we believe the Bible is true.

We Believe the Bible is a Good Story

Not only is the Bible God’s Word and true, it is also a good story!

The Bible has everything you could want in a good story!

Its got passion, suspense, intrigue, romance (and a fair amount of sex!), fighting, heroes, chases, etc.

You name it, chances are the Bible has it.

So what?

We get it. We know that the Bible can’t really be turned into a movie that would do it justice. It is too vast, too big, too grand.

And, if we are honest, we wouldn’t want to see all of it on the big screen. So much violence and sex – we couldn’t go see it just on principle!

But we do want you to try.

We will forgive some artistic license and creative embellishments. Remember, we already know that you can’t do it justice. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t at least try to do it justice.

Think about, why would you make a Bible-based movie and then stray so far from the Bible? Why alienate the very audience that is likely to go see the movie?

Sincerely,

Simon L Smith (www.reelparables.com)

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Be sure to check out Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen – a new movie based Bible study. While not a quite a Bible-based movie, Frozen does tell a *very* biblical story! Check it out!

Win a Free Doctor Who Devotional!

Bow Ties are Cool.

Bow Ties are Cool.

Yea, bow ties are cool.  Know what else is cool? Finding Faith in the Big Blue Box, a Doctor Who-based personal Bible study.

Churchmag Press, the same publisher who published Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen, is currently giving away a free copy of Finding Faith in the Big Blue Box.

In this Doctor Who devotional, Phil Schneider does a great job of looking at all the wibbily-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff and then pointing you back to God and His Story. So, go here and enter to win a free copy of Finding Faith in the Big Blue Box.

Big-Blue-Box-Giveaway-750x420

Seriously, you should enter to win a free copy (and, to be honest, you should consider buying one if you don’t win).

The Prodigal __________.

Sometimes, the simplest stories are the most powerful.

adam-eve-garden-of-eden

After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, why was He looking for them in the garden?

In Jesus’ “lost” parables in Luke 15, why was the woman searching for the coin? Why was the shepherd out looking for the one lost sheep? Why did the father run out to welcome his prodigal son home?

Because even though they had sinned, God still loved Adam and Eve.

Because the coin was valuable to the woman.

Because the sheep was important to the shepherd.

Because even though he ran away, the father still loved his son.

This story – God’s story – is a power story that has been told many, many times.

Wreck-it-Ralph

In Wreck it Ralph, why did Ralph decide to save Vanellope?

In Disney’s Frozen, why did Anna chase after Elsa when she ran away?

In Finding Nemo, Why did Marlin go searching for Nemo after he was caught because he disobeyed his father?

In Saving Private Ryan, why did Tom Hank’s character’ risk his own life to save Private Ryan’s life?

In Schindler’s List, why did Oskar Schindler sacrifice so much to save the Jews in his factory?

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

While some are cute and others serious, all of these movies tell a powerful story because all of these movies tell God’s story.

God wants to save you the way Ralph saved Vanellope. God is chasing after you the way Anna chased after Elsa. God is searching for you the way Marlin searched for Nemo. God sacrificed for you the way Tom Hank’s character sacrificed for Private Ryan and the way Oskar Schindler sacrificed for his factory workers.

Yes, God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God demonstrated his own love for you, in that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you. And God demonstrated his own love for your kids, in that while they were still sinners, Christ died for them.

Be Your Kid’s Spiritual Hero

Every story has a hero.

The Matrix has Neo. Lord of the Rings has Frodo. Star Wars has Luke Skywalker. Frozen has, well, no spoilers… yet. Your kids have you.

Frodo-Ring

Every hero has a goal.

As parents, our goal is to see our kids grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

We want to teach our kids about God and His Word.

We want to help our kids understand God’s Story and we want to help our kids understand their place in God’s Story.

Simply put, we want to disciple our kids.

Every hero has a struggle.

The goal is easy enough – disciple our kids. So what’s the problem?

Sometimes this is easier said than done.

Sometimes our kids would rather watch TV or a movie.

Sometimes our kids are more interested in entertainment than they are education.

Sometimes they simply check out at the mention of a well-known Bible story.

Sometimes they just want to watch Frozen for the 100th time.

Sometimes they want to build a snowman!

Every hero has a mentor.

let-me-be-your-obi-wan

Neo has Morpheus. Frodo has Gandalf. Luke Skywalker has Obi-Wan. You have me.

Let me help you share God’s Story with your kids! Let me be your Morpheus. Let me be your Gandalf. Let me be your Obi-Wan.

Every hero takes action!

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Like Jesus often did, I will show you how to share God’s Word with a story.

Like Paul, we can use our culture to share God’s Story. (Acts 17:16-34)

Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen is a movie-based Bible study that uses a movie your kids already love to teach them about the most important story, God’s Story.

Why? Because Frozen tells a very biblical story.

Arendelle is under a curse because of one person’s actions.

Only an act of true love can lift the curse.

In Frozen, this act of true love ends up being sacrificial love.

The story ends with a sacrificial death and a resurrection!

Yes, Disney’s Frozen can teach us God’s Story!

Pick up your copy of Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen today!

Together we can share God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen.

You – and your kids – will not be disappointed.

Free-Frozen-Infographic

FREE Infographic Download!

In case you missed it, Church Mag has a FREE Sharing God’s Stor with Disney’s Frozen Infographic available to for download.

This infographic will show you how to use Disney’s Frozen to tell God’s story.

Yes, you can use Disney’s Frozen to present the Gospel!

Go Deeper!

If you like the infographic then be sure to check out the Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen devotional.