|Posted on January 23, 2017 at 1:45 PM|
First, what is Christian film-making? Before I give the definition, let me make something very clear: Not every movie called 'Christian', is really a Christian film. I would venture to say a good deal of them are not truly Christian films. So, when in this article, I refer to a Christian film, I am referring to a 'true' Christian film.
A 'true' Christian film is, quite simply, a film made by Christians, who use sound theology in their film, with the intent of glorifying God and changing lives. Even if the film-maker does not have the best quality equipment, he will strive to do the best that he can possibly do.
Is film-making something Christians should be involved in? Absolutely! For those who have doubts, remember, film-making itself, is a tool. It is like the radio, a newspaper, etc. It is a way to communicate the film-maker's worldview. "Consequently, the issue is not if film-making is legitimate, but how we should legitimately make films."(1)
On Magic and more
Really, most genres are usable for a Christian. Some are harder to use than others because of theological problems generally associated with the genre. One genre that comes to mind, that is almost completely unusable, would be the horror genre. A horror film, basically, creates an unnatural and unbiblical fear in the heart of the viewers. The only kind of fear a Christian should have is the reverent fear of the Lord.
A more difficult genre would be fantasy. While not all fantasy contains magic, it usually plays a large role in it. Let me make something very clear. Magic is not wrong to put in a book (or movie), if used properly. Black magic, witchcraft, is real. It is not something to use lightly, or deal with casually. Remember, a Christain can use any topic to teach about. The Bible takes on very evil and mature subjects, so a Chrisian, if he/she has an understanding of the subject, can use it. More notes on that later. Let me say something else. 'White' magic is not real and is wrong to include in a movie or book. Note the verse:"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil"(Isaiah 5:20). White magic is trying to make witchcraft, good. Maybe some people don't get this: Black magic (witchcraft, sorcery, etc.) is fellowship with Satan. It is Satan worship. Witches have admitted to fornicating with the devil, and flying on broomsticks. Just as a Christian's strength, peace, and power (sometimes the ability to perform miracles with God's power, as seen in the New Testement), come from the Lord God, black magic comes from Satan. Spells, and the like, although often misrepresented, are deadly real. This is not something that anyone, especially a Christian, should try to make 'white'. Remember, that to create your own world, where there is a set of laws and standards that contradict God's, is wrong. We will be held accountable for our vain imagination. Saying that, fantasy is not wrong, as long as it does not break God's laws. I strongly recommend reading the blog articles 'Conversatoins on Magic' on MatthewChristianHarding.com, for more information.
A note on Sci-fi and Romance
Concerning other genres, I will only write briefly. Sci-fi has some challenges, but remember, sci-fi does not require aliens, mystical powers, and the like. Romance is another genre that must be used carefully, but should not be avoided. "The Hollywood vision of Romance is explicitly at war with the biblical vision. The former is driven by lust, individualism, glorification of emotion over reason..."(2) Romance in movies and books is not wrong. God created love, but in our present culture, it is marred by the worldly image that Hollywood has propagated.
A Deadly Weapon
Film is one of the most powerful weapons in the world. When Marxism took over Hollywood, the whole of America was infiltrated by it. And now, Christians are using this powerful weapon, and their films (such as those by the Kendrick brothers) are making it into cinemas. They are waging war with the culture, rescuing lost souls, changing lives, inspiring Christians, and making an impact! You have a choice. You can hide from the world and let the pagans shape the culture or you can can stand up and start battling. Tear those pagan high places to the ground. Better than that, utterly destroy them, leave nothing. Show no mercy to Hollywood and the rebels of our age!
Please understand, I am in no way saying everyone should be a film-maker. In fact, I should say the opposite. Few should be film-makers. The Bible says that not many should become teachers (because they will receive the stricter judgment). If I have not already made this clear, let me say it now: Film-makers are teachers. It's that simple. But, let me make something else very clear. Christians must be, in some way, trying (with much prayer and studying the Word) to impact the culture around them. Whether you make movies, write books, talk on the radio, or interact with co-workers, you must try to glorify God and save souls. Please note, making films should never replace your personal evangelism.
A few closing notes (Or, more than a few)
I do hope this article has been most helpful to you. Let me say just a few more things.
One: Perhaps you still don't think Christians should make movies. Remember, a movie is at the simplest, a story. The Pilgrim's Progress is a fictional allegory. If you accept it, why wouldn't you accept a fictional movie with a powerful message?
Two: This is linked with note #1, just above. Whether you acknowledge the facts or not, literally millions of lives are being impacted and changed. You just can't deny it.
Three: Hollywood is dying.(3)
Four: To build upon #3, note the ever decreasing number of Hollywood films being made every year. Note the rise of independent films (Christian and non-Christian) being made every year, and how more are making it into the cinemas every year.
Five: To finish up the thoughts of #3 & 4. Please, fellow Christian, as stated in Outside Hollywood (see below), don't cry for Hollywood. Don't support them. (Not that it will ever completely die out. I'm guessing it will always make movies, but it is slowly taking a backseat). Remember dear Christian: No matter how epic LOTR, how excting the Avengers, and on and on, Hollywood is one of the tools Satan used to destroy our culture. The messages, no matter how bold, or subtle, are almost always destructive. Please, take a stand against it, because Hollywood takes a stand against Christianity, tradition, morals, and so many other things.
Six: I think I'm past the 'few closing notes' point.
Seven: Support 'True' Christian films. Watch them. Buy them. Always use discernment when deciding if you are going to watch a certain film.
Eight: Check back for more occasional blog articles. I am planning to write several, probably one on music, and one that has a lot of punch after that. (You'll just have to wait and see!)
Nine: I can't think of a ninth note.
Untill the next-
1- Isaac Botkin. From 'Outside Hollywood' p.12.
2- Issac Botkin. From 'Outside Hollywood' p.14.
3- This point is a little harder to prove, but, the evidence is for it. The MPAA rates very roughly 600 films a year, and roughly only half of them are Hollywood films. The studios are getting worried. Their films are making less, and the independent films are starting to make more. (Some indies are becoming #1s). Note that Hollywood is only the third largest film industry. The largest is in India. Hollywood has lost it's grip on the rest of the world. (Note, that the amount of films India makes dwarves the amount Hollywood makes. That would be a few hundred compared to a couple thousand ). Director Francis Ford Coppola said, "The cinema as we know it is falling apart."
Why did "Fireproof" become the #1 independent film of the year? How did "Courageous" outsell every Hollywood film realesed that year? Why did "War Room" become the #1 film in the nation? The answer is this: People are still hungry for truth. They aren't getting it from Hollywood's vulgar, lewd, immoral, and destructive films. Hollywood doesn't get this. Hollywood can not remain the film industry leader as long as it remains pagan. In the Bible, it is said more than once that the wicked shall pass away, but the righteous shall not. (Ps. 1:6, Prov. 2:22, Prov. 11:5, and many more in the Proverbs).
Here is a telling parable: No empire lasts forever. It's a fact. No matter what kind of empire it is, it will be destroyed. The Romans thought their empire would never fall. But it lost it's presence in distant lands first. Then it was destroyed. By whom? Not another great civilization, but several groups of 'independent' barbarians.