WND movie reviewer Drew Zahn has this to say about The Young Messiah:
“The movie’s production values and entertainment value are exemplary, a story filled with distinct and well-blended characters, believable acting, and a script well balanced with mystery and humor. This is no “Christian movie,” but a first-rate, Hollywood production. Jesus’ “uncle,” Cleopas, is a particularly endearing character, and the elderly Sarah, who hides the Holy Family, is a true delight. The entire film is an intriguing exercise in speculation about both the boy Jesus and his earthly father, Joseph, whom Scripture is also largely silent about … so long as we all realize this is merely speculation. It’s not meant to be an addition to the biblical canon.”
This one statement speaks volumes:
“This is no “Christian movie,” but a first-rate, Hollywood production.”
I have absolutely no idea how it rates as a Hollywood production, but I definitely and wholeheartedly agree that it is NOT a “Christian movie.”
In his review, Zahn also rightly states:
“The Young Messiah,” however, is not a catechism, not doctrine, not the biblical story. It’s an exercise, a poem or a song about Jesus in movie form, and an entertaining one at that.” (emphasis mine).
And here are three of my ‘issues’:
1. It’s out of Hollywood and by nature is designed to take in money, from anyone and everyone who chooses to shell out twenty bucks (movie and popcorn/snacks).
2. Since it’s out of Hollywood and designed to make money, the message of the gospel that calls sinners to repentance or face judgment probably won’t be there. It will follow in the footsteps of previous recent films that also missed the true gospel.
3. Zahn was right in saying that the movie is ‘entertaining’. Does the Son of God, who came to save his people from their sins, deserve to be served up as ‘entertainment’ (the great American idol), even if it’s fiction?
There are of course other issues, like the matter of the source material for the movie, which most of the thousands of people and many ‘Christian’ organizations promoting it seem to be ignoring. I choose to think they are ignoring that little tidbit because the alternative of knowing the ‘rest of the story’ (Jesus killing his playmates) and promoting it anyway is beyond the pale.
Anyway, that’s Dan’s 2 cents. . .
Excellent points, Dan.
You may get a chance to read about other “Christian Themed” movies that have come out recently where Christians have expressed concerns.
An example are those make by the Kindrick (sp?) brothers. I’ve read reviews on the theology of the movie “War Room.” At least I think that’s what the movie was called. Many Christians feel that the movie is “Word of Faith” in theology. I haven’t seen the movie but it was recommended to me by students who might not pick up on the subtleties in the movie.
You are probably already aware of these. Just thought I’d leave a note just in case.
Btw…I’m adding you to my blogroll. Lots of good stuff here.
When I get a chance this weekend maybe I’ll put up links to the blog posts I’ve done on some of the others. I think I’ve talked about all of them. Or you can enter ‘The War Room’, ‘The Bible movie, ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ and ‘Son of God movie’ in the blog search box. I did a play by play for each episode of some of them.
I’ll do a blog search.
“2. Since it’s out of Hollywood and designed to make money, the message of the gospel that calls sinners to repentance or face judgment probably won’t be there. It will follow in the footsteps of previous recent films that also missed the true gospel. ”
Dan, this is the greatest point to me. Also, it may be righteous of me, but I do not believe that churches should be taking groups to see movies as such that take away from or eliminate facts about the gospel. Spreading the gospel is definitely not about making money. Some of these shepherds and sheep need to stop “fronting”. I for one don’t want my grandchildren to be fooled by such make believe mess about Jesus’ childhood that we know little of for a reason.
Thank you for posting this. Go Dan!
I agree with you that churches shouldn’t be sponsoring trips to see spiritual junk food!
There’s a good review of the movie and source material done by a Lutheran Pastor here: http://issuesetc.org/2016/03/17/1-the-movie-the-young-messiah-pr-ted-giese-31716/
Well folks, I’ve found a site where I can get multiple movie clips & a discussion guide to use for sermons, Bible study, and discussion! WOW!!!!!
Sadly, I also fund an article from The Christian Examiner that talks about how the movie unites leaders from all sorts of Christian organizations, denominations & churches, complete with really grand and positive quotes (almost 4 pages worth) about what is pure fiction!
“‘The Young Messiah’ is incredibly entertaining but just as much, it is spiritually inspiring and stimulating as we contemplate what the early years of Jesus’ life entailed. You MUST see it.”
– Johnny M. Hunt, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., former president of Southern Baptist Convention
“I just loved ‘The Young Messiah.’ We work with over 2 million kids and I’d love to see the students we work with have an opportunity to see this film.” – Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life
“I was very moved by The Young Messiah and found it to be one of the best biblically-inspired films I have ever seen.” – Kevin Palau, President, Luis Palau Association
“The setting, music, acting, and storyline all came together in a powerful and poetic manner.” -Dr. John Stumbo, President, The Christian and Missionary Alliance
“The tears around me in the theater spoke clearly. This is the ultimate example of childlike faith, and it will also help kids seek goodness and kindness.” – Anthony Begonia, Salvation Army
“It’s a remarkable movie that is tightly paced, excellently scripted and well-filmed.” – Steve Issac and Bob Waliszewski, Focus on the Family/Plugged In
You can’t make this stuff up.