Hollywood is beginning to realize that there are incredible financial benefits for making Christian movies. It isn’t rocket science. A large part of our population at least identifies as Christian, and you know that when you produce a Christian movie, churches and youth groups everywhere will be renting out movie theaters to bring everyone to the show.
As a business, you have to like the concept. When you make a big financial investment, you want it to pay off.
However, here is my question. What happens when you have a movie like Noah? What happens when you have a movie that embellishes on the stories that we know? I wrote about this controversy a few months ago, but now there is some data to operate with.
According to a press release from the Christian News Service, a poll of 1200 viewers revealed that 79% of people say that when creating this kind of movie, historical and Biblical accuracy are important. I think that kind of goes without saying. If we don’t have Biblical accuracy in a movie about the Bible, you could end up with some heretical teaching.
However, here is my concern. It is a good thing to want the Bible to be fairly represented in films. I understand that, and I support that position. The problem is that these same people who want Biblical accuracy are becoming less and less Biblically literate.
There was an interesting survey article in Biola Magazine entitled “The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy & What We Can Do about It.” In this article, the author, Kenneth Berding, lays out the work of several Christian researchers who have emphasized are Christians are becoming less and less immersed in the Bible. There are perhaps many reasons for this, but it is hard to deny that we see this kind of evidence coming out.
This is an important spot for apologists to come to work. We have a group of people who believe that the Bible is important, but many might be lacking the background knowledge on the Book itself. If you think about it, it would kind of be like saying that your car is very important to you, but you can’t tell me the make, model or even color.
Apologetics is the field of equipping people to defend Christianity, but how can you defend what you know nothing about? Without basic Biblical literacy, you might be defending something, but who knows if it is Christianity?
If you have this basic knowledge and understanding of Christianity, you will then be able to do what people want to do. You will be able to understand whether or not a movie is indeed historically and Biblically accurate. That understanding is the end product, but you cannot have it without beginning with the fundamentals.
I hope that makes sense, and I hope that people don’t take this lightly. Because there is money to be made, I have no doubt that movies about the Bible are going to continue coming out. Even if the studios are not Christian, they rightfully understand that there is money to be made, and it would be surprising if they don’t go for it.
As Christians and apologists, we need to do what we can to help our fellow Christians gain a greater appreciation for the Bible and why it is everything we say it is. If we don’t do that, it might be hard for these people to discern what is actually Biblical and what is purely Hollywood.