In the last 10 years, Christians across the U.S. have generally been excited about the upsurge in Christian-themed movies being produced. It seems like “Facing the Giants” was the impetus, followed by one of the highest-netting movies of all time, “The Passion of the Christ.” After that, Hollywood saw a cash cow bursting with milk, and they jumped on, producing Disney movies like “The Prince of Egypt” and others such as “Noah.” A movie about Paul, directed by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, is currently in the works.
There exists a huge difference, however, between Hollywood-produced Bible movies (like “Noah”) and Christian-produced movies (like “The Bible” or “The Passion of the Christ”). Huge.
One is for the glory of God, and the other is an effort to cash in on what Hollywood now realizes is a large market. The latter generally strays wide of Scripture, and the producers leave out or alter important details because they lack understanding of the spiritual meaning behind the details.
Take “Noah,” for instance. The story of the flood is a good story, but it’s not just that. It’s a picture of salvation from judgment. As such, it’s extremely important that there is only one door on the ark, or that God Himself shuts the door and not Noah, or that no one could get on the ark once the flood began. To allow people on the boat after the flood began is akin to saying that people can be saved after death. Each detail carries immense import, as each has a parallel in the story of salvation.
The producers of these movies, who are generally not Christians, lack any understanding of the true value and symbolic meaning of the story and, to them, it is unimportant that the ark, for example, has one door. That’s a minor detail, and it’s just a story, and if it makes the story better, it should be changed, because it’s all about entertainment and not about God.
To the Christian who understands the meaning of the story, however, these changes are infuriating and even heretical.
I think (and hope) that the following will happen: movies produced by Christians to glorify God will continue to do well. Movies produced by Hollywood will falter, because Christians will realize the wide gulf between treasure and trash (which, in my opinion, “Noah” et al are), and non-Christians will not care anything about a Bible story anyway and will not attend. And Hollywood will be left scratching its collective head, wondering what the difference is between the two and why they can’t seem to capitalize on such a wide-open market.
Truly, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” I Corinthians 2:14
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.