Avengers: Endgame is a movie based on the epic battle between good versus evil. In every story, there is a reflection of God’s eternal story. We are in a spiritual battle. Many times it seems like evil is winning, but the good news is: our God is greater! As Christ-followers, we are called to engage in the battle. Sharing Jesus and loving and serving others makes an eternal impact. We must live every day and every moment for the glory of God and do “whatever it takes” to further God’s Kingdom. At the end of all time, God wins! We are on the winning side, so let’s engage today.
Do Church and Movies Mix?
When you think of a church, do you think of going to the movies? Unless you attended Rolling Hills years ago when we met in a movie theater, your answer is probably no. In fact, your answer might even be not at all!
There’s valid reasons for the confusion or discomfort you might feel at first at the idea of discussing secular movies in a Christian church. After all, many of us have likely felt convicted on a Sunday morning about the movie we watched on a Saturday night.
We can also imagine some ways that a church’s handling of a discussion about secular culture could go off the rails:
- Discussing one movie could wrongly be construed as endorsing its every frame (or worse, all movies in general).
- We may forget that as Christians we are called to be set apart, and how that includes curating the media we consume.
- The focus could be too heavily placed on the movie itself, distracting from the message.
All Movies Are Not Created Equal
So, let’s be clear about some things. Y’all, there are lots of messed-up, dark, even antichristian movies out there. There’s more content promoting sin and acts of the flesh than you could fit in the mountain under the Hollywood sign. As a Christian we are called to set our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, and admirable (Phillipians 4:8). If we’re watching something that is not all of these things, we need to seriously evaluate whether that can continue as part of our lifestyle if we’re pursuing Jesus with all of our heart.
We are so familiar with the idea of protecting our children from inappropriate movies, but do we realize that the movie doesn’t become any more appropriate once we turn 18? Our children watch what we do, and they notice when we don’t follow the same rules we insist are for their good.
Let this sink in: the world rates many of our most popular movies as R. If the world gives us a content warning, should we as Christians not take that seriously? We are called to be set apart! When we select the content we watch or listen to, we can always be confident in our choice if we ask ourselves, would I watch this if Jesus were on the couch next to me?
Why We Engage Culture
So, it’s with this understanding of the Christian’s proper boundaries and standards with movies that we move forward into this series. But why? Well, not all movies are inherently detrimental to the Christian walk! In fact, good movies are built on stories, and God’s great story for humanity was the first and greatest. We can learn a lot when we compare the fictional stories of man to His perfect and true story.
We can also talk about the broader themes of a movie without getting bogged down by the details. In a spiritual conversation, we’ll spare you the commentary on that one actor’s performance or whether the movie was better than the book. That’s a conversation better suited for after the service!
Instead, we can consider what’s really important: what does this movie communicate about meaning, purpose, love, and God? And if we compare that message against the Word of God, we will keep our minds set on the truth while beginning to understand the worldview of many whom we hope to bring to Christ.
Those who are still lost are crying out for meaning, purpose, and true love. They just don’t know yet where to find it. If we can meet them where they are in culture, we can start a spiritual conversation from a natural starting point.
It’s harder to ask a nonbeliever to read a chapter of the Bible than it is to ask them to watch a movie with you. But if you watch an appropriate movie together, you will have a chance to ask them about the deeper themes of the story you just witnessed. As the conversation progresses, you can trust that the Spirit will guide you in sharing bits of the truth of God with your friend.
We are in the world, but we are not of it (John 17:14). Secular culture is all around us, and we have two options for how to address it: we can cut ourselves off completely from this world, or we can wisely and lovingly engage it. You may sense that the first option isn’t really feasible, and that’s the point. If we’re called to bring the Gospel to all the nations, we couldn’t all choose to bury our heads in the sand and hope to find success. So, the other option is to accept that this secular culture may not always be friendly to us, but know that we have the responsibility to shine the light of Christ into that darkness.
Indeed, the movies might not come to mind when you think of Jesus. But we pray that you and the unbelievers in your life will begin having Jesus come to mind when you think of the movies.
Media // Resources // RightNow Media
Daniel: Living an Uncompromised Life // The Difficult Truth // Nic Allen
MLN Podcast // Steadfast Faith in a Turbulent World // David Shedd