Do You Have to Be "Of the World" to Reach the World
Shep Johnson
Sunday, May 14, 2017

   Christian movies have been in the news quite a bit in recent years.  Many like Fireproof and God’s Not Dead have become big box office hits.  But some influential leaders in the film industry want to do away with the term “faith-based film.”

  In an article by Blanche Johnson, film producer Mark Joseph claims that the term faith-based can turn off some movie goers.  Joseph has said, “The term scares away both the marginally religious and the irreligious, and it’s a signal to them that the story is going to be preachy and overbearing.”  Well, excuse me!  I think it’s high time we became more “preachy and overbearing.”  The mainstream media is certain “preachy and overbearing” with the leftist dribble that flows out of Hollywood and the press these days.

  Producer Thurman Mason, whose film “Generational Sins” comes out later this year, argued that it’s not [just] the label that hinders the performance of these films at the box office, but rather it’s the tone of the films.  He said, “The problem with faith-based [films] is not the name; it’s the content of these films.  The secular world cannot relate to on-screen faith-based characters who have been so sterilized that they never curse, make bad decisions, or engage in bad behavior like the majority of folks -- Christian or not -- in the real world.”

  Why are Christians constantly being asked to compromise their principles in order to appeal to a worldly audience?  Jesus instructed us to do just the opposite.  He said in Matthew 5:16 (NASB95) , “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus didn’t say for us to hide our light, obscure our light, or darken our light.  Jesus said for us to hold our light high and let it shine.

  Apparently many film producers want Christian films to be made more “world friendly.”  They seem to be saying we have to be “of the world” to reach the world.  Evidently they think characters in Christian movies need to use foul language, be more violent, and show more skin.  But how does blending in with the world and compromising our God given values make us more pleasing to the Lord?  How does it help us show the world there is a better way to live?  It just makes no sense.

  Does this mean a fitness instructor should be overweight and out of shape in order to draw more students into his or her class?  Does this mean that an English professor should endeavor to use bad grammar so his or her students will be more comfortable in the classroom.

  How does a “cussing, violent, and immoral ‘Christian’” help a movie to redemptively reach a broader audience?

  God has said that we are to be a “peculiar” people.  We read in Deuteronomy 14:7 (KJV),  “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”

  Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB95) tells us, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

  1 Peter 1:14-16 (NASB95) says,  “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’”

  It’s time for Christians to realize the world is not our friend.  We can’t be salt and light while simultaneously compromising our Christian faith.  Christians do best when they just let Jesus shine in their words and actions.  There will always be an audience for an authentic film with authentic characters which challenges us by the grace of God to be better. 

1http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/05/09/faith-based-film-label-needs-to-go-experts-say.html

2Ibid.

Bro. Shep