Christian movies appear to be making a bigger splash at the box office. The message is stronger, the acting is better and the budgets have been more generous. Even unbelievers are viewing these films. Who would have guessed that God’s Not Dead (2014), which was produced with 2 million dollars, would gross over 62 million dollars worldwide?
Pure Flix Entertainment has recently released their follow-up to the aforementioned blockbuster. It is another faith-based movie entitled, Do You Believe. This week I took my youngest daughter to an evening showing.
Please keep in mind that I am not an avid moviegoer and my intentions in going were primarily for entertainment. I did not approach the picture with an overly critical mind. Yet when I arrived home, I thought it would be profitable to pass along my general thoughts for the consideration of others possibly interested.
- There was no doubt you were watching a Christian movie with a clear message intended to be conveyed. Nothing subliminal here. The writer’s goal was to present Christ in a way that would inspire the believer and evangelize the unbeliever. Though some of the theology was flavored with the common Arminian talking points, overall, the Bible was adhered to both in the teaching (doctrine) and the development of the particular scenes (the absence of foul language, excessive violence and immodesty).
- In my opinion, the acting was respectable. A number of big names (that is if you are over 45 years of age) were in that cast. Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man), Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting), Sean Astin (Rudy, Lord of the Rings), Ted McGinley (Happy Days) and Brian “The Boz” Bosworth (from college football lore). Unlike many Christian productions, I wasn’t embarrassed to have “Christ” attached to this movie.
- The theme was to focus on the cross and the responsibility of the Christian to truly live out the cross-centered life. Individual scenes that highlighted various lives conveyed the cost of discipleship. From sheltering the homeless, to standing for what is right, to boldly sharing Jesus, to crossing racial lines, to financial generosity, the message of the crucified life was clearly presented. The goal was to show that the cross is relevant for today in real life suffering and the message of the cross is one that demands sacrifice. There was even a nice pro-life theme running through the plot.
- If I were to find any room to critique the film, it would be along the following lines: as with most Christian movies, the “prosperity gospel,” whether intended or not, is the unmistakable outcome. It would be nice if the majority of those we witness to did embrace Jesus and barren women always received a child and the homeless people we help were a blessing to us in return, but more often than not, that is not the case. I know it’s the movies and we all enjoy a happy ending, but in life, even in the Christian life, God’s plan is not always the prosperous ending we superficially desire. God’s goals for our lives are often much different and more spiritual than our base cravings. Hardship in unmet personal expectations is inevitable. We should not see Jesus as a means to a greater end. Serving Jesus alone, regardless of the results, is our greatest end!
- Overall, the believer will be encouraged by this movie. It’s “red meat” for us, hearing what we want to hear and seeing what we want to see. The unbeliever will no doubt be much less impressed. They will most likely be offended by the glaring stereotypes of the film that portray non-Christians as arrogant, money-hungry and inconsiderate. I can’t agree with all of that, but I have to admit it was nice to watch a movie and see the Christians on the “winning team” for a change with unbelievers portrayed on the outside looking in.
I am glad I went to see this movie. The 25 dollars I invested to purchase two tickets and a bag of sour Skittles was well worth the edifying evening with my daughter. I was happy to support a Christian organization like Pure Flix in their effort to produce these films. I was thankful for my daughter to witness other believers using their gifts to reach the lost with the Gospel. I was blessed she was able to see through the actors, Christians living for their Savior even if they had to make the hard decisions in the process. The movie definitely gave us a lot to talk about on the way home.