The Bible and Hollywood

I firmly believe that the Bible was not intended to ‘entertain’ the Christian consumer, much less the lost millions who need a Savior from their sin. Nevertheless, Hollywood has discovered that there are untapped millions of dollars that are ripe for the taking from an all too willing ‘Christian’ audience eager and conditioned to think that God is all about satisfying our desires and temporal cravings.

There was probably a time when this was not the case, a time when going to church meant entering the house of a great big God who rightly deserves honor, worship, awe, respect, and fear. We sang God honoring hymns full of rich theology that spoke of what a mighty and merciful God had done on behalf of spiritually dead sinners. But I digress.

The change from humbly worshipping God in reverence and awe and listening to a precher actually exposit Scripture has been quite gradual. Over 100 years ago Charles Haddon preached a sermon titled “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats”. You can find it online. I’m not going to get into a long dissertation concerning the various stages of ‘The Downgrade’ (another Spurgeonism), but I challenge you to investigate the situation on yourmown.

Back to Hollywood and the Bible. What prompted this post was yet another ‘hotly anticipated’ Bible based movie; a Sundance production about Jesus and Satan in the desert.

We seem to have had a rash of Biblical epics of questionable Biblical accuracy in the last several years, interspersed with outright heresey (think tourist trips,to heaven).

Sadly (gross understatement), professing believers from all across the Christian spectrum flock to these movies, sometimes by the bus load, sponsored by their ‘churches’, whose ‘leaders’ have been the ones who ‘conditioned’ them to go ‘aflocking’.

Why balk at the idea of Hollywood entertaining usmwhen we have ditched sound doctrine and the reading and peaching of the Bible for the narcisistic eisegesis of todays ‘relevant’ faux pastor who mostly tells stories about himself (and ‘herself’ where Biblical roles for the life,ofmthemchurchmare,discarded)’ and twists/mangles the Holy Writ for his/(her) personal gain and sometimes great fame!

Of course the aforementioned narcigesis and scripture mangling really works well because it’s all designed to tickle itching ears and get folks lusting after their ‘dream destinies’. It used to be just about their ‘best lives now’, but catchy phrases wear out don’t ya know and periodically need to be kicked up a notch to keep the ‘tithes’ pouring in to pay for the big stage lighting, smoke machines, professional musicians, etc., ad nauseum needed to crank up the kids and get them ‘feeling’ really excited and ‘thinking’ The Glory of God is filling the place.

So why am I suprised that so much theologically vacuous supposedly ‘Christian’ entertainment is hitting the big screen? Well, I have news for you……I’m NOT surprised. I just figured it out with some degree of accuracy.

And BTW, I’m not preaching. Articulating my thoughts is quite helpful.

🙂

21 responses to “The Bible and Hollywood

  1. I have found many Christian movies that have challenged me. The sad fact is that many “biblically based” movies aren’t factually accurate. I love the reference to Spurgeon and how he addressed the desire for entertainment in his day. It has only intensified. God, help us to long for substance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matthew,

      You are quite right concerning some faith based movies. I recently subscribed to ‘Pureflix’, the service that offers faith based movies exclusively. They are ‘lower budget’ movies that display faith based values and are not produced with the same ‘entertainment/big bucks’ Hollywood ethic. I had in mind in this post the big box office attractions that seem to present Biblical history inaccurately and the ‘gospel’ theme of ‘changing the world’. In one Jesus even told Peter, when asked by Peter “What will we do?”, “Change the world!”.

      I hope that makes this post a bit clearer.

      Stay blessed, my friend. Am heading over to check out your site. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan,

    Sometimes I see you as being way too, how you say, “religious”. I guess we call that religiosity.

    Anyway, there was once a time that when we didn’t have the “evil Hollywood”, that many religiosity folks harp against. The Ten Commandments, for example, was not low budget, and it was educational, with accuracy of, shall I say, biblical proportions.

    You sound just way to cynical, sometimes.

    Ed

    Like

    • Well Ed, I’ve wondered about that myself – cynicism. And I’d really like to see a faith based movie that presents the Bible accurately and presents the gospel that Christ came to save his people from their sins, not to just change the world. It won’t come out of Hollywood.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Even the better ones seem to leave out the specific topic of ‘sin’ and leaving out means you certainly won’t hear anything about God’s worth against it. The gospel is there, but would might call ‘gospel lite’. So now we are faced with the question or whether or not the ‘lite’ version is really any gospel at all. And in my estimation it,all tracks back to the false notion that the natural man has the innate ability and desire to seek God. The prevailing idea is that Christ died to make men savable but we must take the first step to a Christ who is waiting for us. I heard those very words in the “Do You Believe?” movie.

      I just signed up for a free 30 day trial of Pure Flix, and watching some of what they offer, while asking the question “Where’s the gospel?”

      Liked by 1 person

        • What? Christians are not allowed to have fun? No wonder we can’t get non-Christians to be Christians. God took the fun out of living. Thou Shalt Not smile, nor shall you laugh, or have any fun here. Parents, do not allow your children to play. Work them til their fingers bleed! For that is the will of God! God hates softball, baseball, and basketball, oh, and he hates roller skating, and bowling, too.

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          • Give folks an attractive Jesus they will love because he offers so much great ‘stuff’, and of course we’ll see a few folks decide they want to be ‘Christians’ . Entertain them and if they like the show, they might become ‘Christians’. Share with them that there is a huge problem we all have called sin – the gospel Paul preached – and tell them to ‘repent and believe’, not so much, unless God has pulled a ‘Lydia’ and opened a heart to receive the hard truth. You see Ed, unless we come to Christ having faced our sin head on and with a God opened heart, well…we will be found having ‘been weighed in the scales and found wanting’. Christ didn’t die for our ‘wonderful plan’ or ‘dream destiny’. He died for our sins.

            And I have nothing against entertainment. Assuming I am and arguing against that is an excellent example of a straw man, so thank you for the teaching point!

            I’m just saying that the God of heaven and earth, who sent his Son on a suicide mission deserves better.

            Have a great day, Ed!

            Liked by 1 person

      • Is that how Jesus conducted business with the woman caught in adultery? I believe those words in “Do you believe?” I’ve seen the Newsboys in concert, too. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen a great number of Christian contemporary groups in the last couple of years here in the Seattle area. Winter Jam, and there is another in the summer, too, that a whole bunch of groupls play at one concert. I even saw Mercy Me. But, you see, not all the groups are Calvinist, either. They believe in free will, that we must do something, for they know that faith is not a gift or a work. It’s an action. And, Pureflix has Christians in their movies…not “THE WORLD” actors, or producers.

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        • Ed,

          So you believe that fallen men must take the ‘first’ step? Jesus’ death was just to make men savable? God sent his son to die just to make something possible, that Jesus didn’t actually save anyone. I get that. You have a lot of company in that regard. Might as well just hit the streets with a sandwich board that says “Sinner save thyself! You can do it!” And this has nothing to do with Calvinsm.

          Liked by 1 person

          • God sent his son as a final sacrifice to take away sins. The Jews had sacrifices to cover sins. They also have the Day of Atonement once a year, etc. But before the law of Moses was in play, we had Abraham, to whom, without any conditions, made a promise to him, and he believed it. Faith. And, he lived what he believed (Faith without works is dead). You don’t just believe it…you put action behind that belief. Be reminded, this works is the book of James idea of work….not Romans 4, because Romans 4 is discussing works in regards to the law of Moses, for which Abraham did not have. Works, in Jame’s case is “live what you believe”.

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            • Another straw man? I wasn’t bashing the movie Ed, only a certain point made in it. Of course faith that doesn’t produce works was’t saving faith to begin with. Good point. Abraham’s faith was in the ‘promise’ of the Cross. Our faith looks back to the Cross and the work accomplished. The point in James was that saving faith always produces good works, not that our works prove our faith was real. Anybody can do good works, and many headed for Hell do great works. We just don’t need to help them along by leaving out the CORE issue that the gospel addresses, do we? Just to get a ‘decision’ for Jesus (language not found in scripture)?

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Wings of the Wind and commented:
    Dan has captured my thoughts with his words here, except that my thoughts wouldn’t be as well articulated. As Dan describes what church used to be, it is obvious that we are near the same age. He mentions the past 100 years but he and I have both seen drastic changes in worship in the past 45. He mentions my favorite preacher of all time, Mr. Spurgeon. In most cases, you would be better off spending a few on something by him than on Holywood. Please don’t support all of the “Christian” movies coming out because you think it will somehow send some sort of message to someone. Do a little research before you barter for two hours that gets you nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

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