Christian Films

Why Christian Movies Are So Terrible

Christian Movies - Ministry or Menace? (Part 2)

After reading part one of this two-part series, and seeing all the good things accomplished by Christian films, one might wonder if anything could or should be wrong with them or if any negative aspects could or should overshadow the positive ones.

It was evident in the “Who’s Who in Religious Films” article that Youth for Christ lauded the Christian film industry as beneficial for missions and evangelistic efforts. However, those familiar with A.W. Tozer know that he was unsympathetic to that viewpoint. Tozer’s seven arguments against Christian films were abridged in Youth for Christ Magazine along with Evon Hedley’s seven arguments in favor of Christian films in an article titled “Christian Movies? The Pro and Con of Religious Films.” The pro arguments of Hedley and con arguments of Tozer in that 1954 article are summarized below.

A church service using a Christian film “is geared to the drawing in of the net for people to seek Christ as Saviour or to offer their lives as missionary volunteers.” Even though the entertainment world shows religious films in the theatre, the best place for them is the church where the service is planned for evangelistic purposes.

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Christian Movies - Ministry or Menace? (Part 1)

In January 1954, Youth for Christ Magazine, in the article “Who’s Who in Religious Films,” spotlighted key people and organizations involved in Christian film production. Around this same time, A.W. Tozer wrote “The Menace of the Religious Movie” in which he opposed the use of Christian films to portray spiritual or biblical dramatic performances. Youth for Christ was in favor of Christian films because of the decisions for Christ that accompanied them. However, they also recognized that there was opposition and sought to quell it by highlighting the positive aspects they saw with Christian films.

Below is a summary of the “Who’s Who” article presenting the justifications and rationale of those involved in and supportive of Christian films at that time.

The Early Days

C.O. Baptista was credited with pioneering the Christian film idea in the late 1930s. Baptista said that while using an object lesson during Sunday school “he suddenly caught a vision of what that same object lesson could do if presented as a motion picture in churches.” Baptista produced dramatic films, sermon-type pictures, and animated films. Reportedly, “hundreds of professions of faith” resulted from the showing of just one of his dramatic films.

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