Entertainment, Marriage, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ “No Greater Love”– Movie Review

Originally published March 21, 2011

I stumbled across this movie at my local library a few days ago, and, boy am I glad I did.

Jeff and Heather were the “lucky ones”.  Best friends from childhood, high school sweethearts, and married by 22, they were inseperable soul mates.

After the birth of her first and only child, Heather Baker (Danielle Bisutti) fell into a deep depression.  Hopelessly lost, she did the unthinkable– she abandoned her husband and her infant son –and vanished.  Jeff Baker (Anthony Tyler Quinn) was forced to raise their son Ethan as a single father.

Ten years after his wife’s disapperance, Jeff is finally ready to move on and is on the verge of marrying his new girlfriend.  His world, however, is dramatically rocked when Heather shockingly reappears in the most unusual place.
(From the “No Greater Love” web site.)

If you liked the movie Fireproof, you’ll almost certainly like No Greater Love.  The acting is much better, and so is the production quality.  Of course, that’s to be expected when a movie is made by a professional studio hiring professional actors rather than by a church using mostly church members as actors.  (That’s certainly not a dig at Sherwood Baptist Church.  They did a fantastic and admirable job with both Fireproof and Facing the Giants –both of which you should see, if you haven’t already –it’s just that professional studios and production companies have the resources and budget to put together a more polished product.)

The storyline of No Greater Love is unique and endearing, but believable.  The only thing I found to be a bit of a stretch was, well, how do I say this without giving too much away?  Let’s just put it like this: It can take a long time and a lot of difficult, painful emotional work for the most Godly among Christians to forgive someone who has wounded them unfathomably.  Generally speaking, one would expect that, for a similarly wounded unsaved person, forgiveness would probably come much more slowly and with even greater difficulty.  But I suppose there are exceptions to the rule.

Theologically, this movie is right on target.  Director, Brad Silverman, says in his commentary on the movie that his goal was to be as theologically correct as possible, and I think he nailed it.  To be honest, one of the reasons I picked up this movie was to see if there were any false doctrine or theology in it, so I was on the lookout for Biblical error.  None to be found as far as I could tell.

Does No Greater Love overtly share the Gospel, spelling it out step by step?  No.  That’s your job and mine, not the job of a movie.  I think, primarily, this is an entertaining movie which reinforces Biblical truth that Christian viewers (should) already know.  But it would also be a great movie to share with unsaved friends as a conversation starter for sharing the Gospel in detail.

For more information on No Greater Love, visit the web site and “like” the Facebook page.

No Greater Love is available for purchase at:
Lionsgate Studios
ChristianBook.com
Amazon.com

Entertainment, Movies

50 Alternatives to “Fifty Shades” ~ at Satisfaction Through Christ

50shadesAs you’ve probably heard, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is opening in theaters tomorrow. It’s not a movie we at Satisfaction Through Christ recommend you see, so we thought we’d provide you with some ideas of things you and your husband, kids, friends, or church family can do together instead.

Here are 50 alternatives to seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. Have fun!

Ladies, smut does not a happy Valentine’s Day make. Try one of these fun alternatives from my new article over at Satisfaction Through Christ instead!

What are your plans for this weekend?

Discernment, Entertainment, Evangelism, Gospel, Movies

Should Christians Boycott “Son of God”? Three Things to Consider ~ UPDATED

thWith the movie Son of God releasing in theaters on February 28, for the next three Thursdays I’ll be rerunning a three part series I wrote on last year’s History Channel miniseries, The Bible. Son of God is Roma Downey’s and Mark Burnett’s movie about Jesus that is drawn from The Bible’s scenes pertaining to His life and ministry, as well as deleted scenes that did not make it into the miniseries.

UPDATE: Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, of my article “Six Thoughts on History’s ‘The Bible'”.

During and after The Bible’s run last year, Downey and 0bc90ac98e8e3d20a24be1f335b5966aBurnett received quite a bit of criticism for the show’s inaccuracies and copious amounts of artistic license taken. It would give me great joy to discover that they took those critical reviews to heart and fixed in Son of God the rampant errors and faulty theology of The Bible, but since they are using scenes and deleted scenes pulled directly from the miniseries, it doesn’t sound like they’ve re-shot and corrected anything.

Since I have not seen Son of God, I’m not comfortable suggesting Christians boycott it, but I would like to throw a few things out there for your consideration as you make your decision about whether or not to see this movie:

1. Do you boycott products, organizations, restaurants, stores, actors, or political candidates who support abortion, the homosexual agenda, or any other sin?

Well, taking God’s name in vain, the third Commandment, is still a sin. A big one. And it’s not limited to saying “OMG” or boycottusing God’s name in an expletive. Far worse than those is attributing to God things that He has not said or that are not true of His nature and character. This happened a myriad of times in The Bible, and, unfortunately, I anticipate that the same will be true of Son of God.

Are you being consistent if you boycott Girl Scout cookies and Starbucks yet give your money to people who claim to be presenting the Jesus of Scripture but put words into His mouth that He did not say and philosophies into His teachings that He did not espouse and which conflict with God’s word?

2. If you do choose to see Son of God, or if you have friends stock-footage-african-american-friends-having-conversation-at-caf-x-ewho see the movie, make the most of the opportunity to start conversations for sharing the gospel and pointing people to the true Jesus of Scripture. God can use anything to draw people to Himself, but they can only be genuinely born again if someone tells them the truth of the gospel and they put their faith in the Jesus of the Bible.

3. Do your homework. If you choose to see the movie, read one or more of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) before and afterwards. Did Jesus really say to Peter, “We’re going to bible-studychange the world,” as He does in the movie? If so, which verse says that? If not, what did Jesus actually say, and why? If you choose to see the movie, don’t just take for granted that what you see on the screen is true. Get your Bible out, dig through it, and sharpen your discernment skills. Be one of those Bereans Luke praised so much for comparing what Paul preached to what Scripture said.

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UPDATE: After the original publication of this article, Downey and Burnett announced that they would be removing all of the scenes from Son of God that contained the actor portraying Satan due to last year’s controversy over his striking resemblance to President Obama. 

A reader asked for my reaction to this announcement. My remarks to him were as follows:

Since I haven’t seen the movie, it’s hard for me to give a really fair comment on this, but I’ll take a stab at it. I am much more concerned about the theology of leaving out Satan than I am about the politics. 

When I read a statement like this (and granted, these are the reporter’s words, not Roma Downey’s words): 

Eager to avoid rehashing the drama, producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett decided to leave the character out of their film…” 

it tells me they are more concerned with political fallout and controversy than they are with adhering to Scripture. (In my opinion, the bulk of The Bible miniseries bears out that they were not overly interested in adhering as strictly as possible to Scripture.)

When I read a quote like this from Roma Downey: 

“‘It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor,’ …’This is now a movie about Jesus, the son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time.” and, “For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus. I want his name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out.”

it tells me that she and Mark Burnett don’t have a full understanding of the meaning and implications of Christ’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The story of Jesus goes much deeper than just words on a page. Everything He said and did had eternal, omnipotent, prophetic, God-magnifying, salvific, miraculous foundations, impact, and effects. We’re not talking about an entertaining little story like The Three Bears or Gone With the Wind, here. The story of Jesus turns the universe inside out for every atom of everything that’s ever existed, including every single human being who has ever walked the planet. You can’t just cut a little here and cut a little there and sew the edges back together without the crippling the impact of the gospel.

To say that now that they have cut out the scene with Jesus being tempted in the wilderness (I’m assuming this is the main scene they’re referring to. I can’t remember which other scenes may have had Satan in them.), NOW this movie is all about Jesus just further demonstrates their lack of biblical understanding. Are they saying the wilderness temptation was not “about Jesus”?

That incident was not about Satan. It was about Jesus. It is one of the major incidents in which we see that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. It also encapsulates the main point of the entire Old Testament sacrificial system– that Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God without blemish or spot, the only sacrifice that could permanently take away our sin. He could not have been our sacrifice for sin had He given in to Satan’s temptations even once. Finally, it is a demonstration to us that Jesus understands the struggle with sin that we go through because He went through it Himself, personally (Hebrews 4:15).

To sum up, I think leaving Satan out has worse theological consequences than the political fallout for leaving him in.

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Should you see (and financially support) this movie? That’s between you and God. But whether or not you choose to see it, as with anything else in life, use it as a springboard for sharing the gospel and studying God’s word more deeply.

What do you think? Should Christians boycott Son of God?