"Soul Surfer: Beaches, Bikinis... and Bibles?"

http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2011/04/soul-surfer-beaches-bikinis-an... Here is a review of the movie Soul Surfer at Stacy McDonald's blog Your Sacred Calling. I think it brings up some really good questions, not only about this movie in particular, but about movies as evangelistic tools.

Quote:
In the case of Soul Surfer, all they needed were two verses, a female youth pastor, a worship song, and the flash of a Bible. Throw in a deeply moving (true) story about a sweet Christian girl who pulls herself up by her bootstraps (or bikini straps) and we’re hooked....Lifeway Christian Stores is now selling “Soul Surfer Church Kits," complete with ready-made sermons and Powerpoint presentations.

1738 reads
Darren Mc's picture

We watched Soul Surfer a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty predictable as an overcoming-incredible-odds-to-become-a-champion sports movie, but it was well-done. I thought it was very good at honestly portraying the role that this family's faith played in their lives. It's rare to see a Hollywood movie show people that honest in their Christian faith. It's not a faith I can identify with, being a nominal fundamentalist and being raised fundamentalist. I can imagine if this were shown in a youth group, there would be lots of snickers at all the teens in bathing suits and such.

No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Do you think the movie portrayed a family of strong Christian faith? The reviewer wrote:

Quote:
I saw only brief nods to Christianity, even during deeply emotional scenes. Except for Bethany’s faint cry for help from Jesus as she is losing blood and being raced to the hospital, no one ever prays or speaks of Christ. The only other prayer that takes place in the movie is when the Hamilton family says grace before a meal (at Bethany’s prompting).

At the end of the movie, when asked by a reporter if she wished now that she had never gone surfing that day, ... what Bethany said could have been said by a girl of any religion, “I can embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.”

Bethany also says, “If you have faith, anything is possible.” Most religions would agree with this as well. Some will ponder the object of her faith; but, how many will miss it all together?


Some 'Christian' movies, IMO, simply portray good, moral, and religious families, but what is necessary for a movie to give a message of a strong, distinctly Christian faith?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

One would think it would need to be Christ-like in its character portrayal.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Lee's picture

Haven't seen it; probably never will. My cynical nature looks on it like any number of "Christian lite" movies--marketed to a specific demographic ensuring their profitability. To reach the widest possible audience it will, of necessity, be light on the Gospel.

Movies, by and large, are a pathetic evangelistic tool. Among other reasons a major one has to be that Scripture never intended the Gospel to be communicated through imagery. I will toss movies a carrot, however: they can actually employ a Biblical method ("...call for Simon...who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved...[Acts 11:13-14 ]"), and some do more than others.

What we'll see is a plethora of churches theming Soul Searcher this, that, or the other. And, thanks to a merciful, good God, there will be some that actually respond to the little bit of Gospel that will be included in some of these endeavors, and I will rejoice with the angels in Heaven for every one of them. But what we'll have to suffer through is that there will be enough "success" stories that these feel good, Christian-lite movies, etc., will never go away. Nothing is harder to get rid of than a bad idea that enjoys a modicum of success.

Lee

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Lee wrote:
And, thanks to a merciful, good God, there will be some that actually respond to the little bit of Gospel that will be included in some of these endeavors, and I will rejoice with the angels in Heaven for every one of them. But what we'll have to suffer through is that there will be enough "success" stories that these feel good, Christian-lite movies, etc., will never go away. Nothing is harder to get rid of than a bad idea that enjoys a modicum of success.

I mostly agree with you, though I don't think I would fight to have less of them any more than I would to have more of them. I can just be thankful (like Paul was for the preachers who preached Christ of contention) that God can use them. I agree they are not a great tool, but their existence can be of at least some benefit. At the time the "Passion of the Christ" came out, I was able to speak to two of my unsaved friends who had seen it about things like Christ's sacrifice, why he came, etc., that had not been open to that discussion before. Neither of them accepted Christ as a result, but it gave me an opportunity I would not have otherwise had, because they listened rather than turning the conversation to something else, because they were now interested in the topic.

I haven't seen "Soul Surfer," and I wouldn't organize a viewing with a bunch of unsaved people hoping that movie would turn them to Christ, but if some see it and ended up asking me more about my faith because of what they saw, I can still both be thankful for that and use the opportunity. I can't honestly say I would want *less* of that to happen.

Dave Barnhart

Lee's picture

dcbii wrote:
...I mostly agree with you, though I don't think I would fight to have less of them any more than I would to have more of them. I can just be thankful (like Paul was for the preachers who preached Christ of contention) that God can use them. I agree they are not a great tool...

Interesting perspective. Would a consistent application of that outlook be that Paul would not "fight to have less" contention since the Gospel can be preached out of contention?

dcbii wrote:
I haven't seen "Soul Surfer," and I wouldn't organize a viewing with a bunch of unsaved people hoping that movie would turn them to Christ, but if some see it and ended up asking me more about my faith because of what they saw, I can still both be thankful for that and use the opportunity. I can't honestly say I would want *less* of that to happen.

If I got my information correct, this is a movie from a traditional Hollywood studio and not from a source such as made Fireproof, Facing the Giants, etc. It doesn't take much convincing to establish that the Hollywood film industry is at the core of the pagan practices of modern American society. Certainly they have been leaders in the ever-expanding immorality, the celebrity idolatry, the growing acceptance of all kinds of perversion, the callousness towards things holy, the growing antagonism towards Christ and His Gospel, and the promotion of the paranormal spirit world in our culture. Before I would agree with you I would have to seriously contemplate the implications of passages like Mark 1:21 FF; Mark 5:7 FF; and Acts 16:16 FF, where the true statements about Christ and His servants from the mouths of demons or those controlled by demons was completely unacceptable, as they relate to the apparent influences that drive Hollywood film-making.

Lee