Film

Christians and the Movies

This article first appeared at Proclaim & Defend, the blog of the Foundations Baptist Fellowship International. It is republished here with permission.

You can’t escape the media these days, which means almost everyone knows of their latest obsessions within a few hours of their formation. The last week or so, one story crowded out the regular obsessions. You can hardly go to a site on the web that isn’t offering some kind of opinion about Harvey Weinstein and the Hollywood scandal. I’ve read a few of these articles myself. Some of them offer some interesting and/or helpful insights. I’ll give some links throughout this post.

Two things interest me about the articles I’ve read. First, the voluminous secular reaction and (mostly) outrage. Second, the comparatively quiet Christian reaction, which fails to speak to what ought to concern Christians most about this scandal, at least in the articles I’ve been able to find.

Hypocrisy

Many writers focus on hypocrisy, both by the principals in the story and by the tongue-clucking observers in the pundit class. Jonah Goldberg skewers hypocrites on the left and the right with this:

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"I find it highly encouraging when Baptists and atheists speak out in support of one another."

"A campaign dedicated to eliminating discrimination against secular people has gained an unusual supporter. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president Danny Akin posted a 2-minute video for the site, which is dedicated to eliminating discrimination against atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists, and nonreligious people."   Baptist Seminary President Films Openly Secular Video

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“[A] new, groundbreaking documentary about the Holocaust can barely say the word ‘ Jew.’”

"HBO's documentary 'Night Will Fall' spoke of 'prisoners,' “inmates,' 'victims.' But who were they?

It takes an hour for 'Night Will Fall' to get around to uttering the word 'Jew' — and when it comes, it is from the lips of a Jewish survivor." Auschwitz was about the Jews

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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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