Hollywood is beginning to understand that even though they may have some significant differences in morality, Christian culture is part of an equation that equals big bucks at the box office. I find it more than slightly amusing that Christians seem to be the only ones that haven’t figured out the other side of that equation. The other side is Hollywood.
Their job is to sell movies. Period. The overwhelming majority of them are not Christ followers and as such, they cannot be expected to make genuinely “Christian” movies any more than General Motors can be expected to engineer “Christian” automobiles. It’s not what they do. Never have. Probably never will.
And though there are times when we get excited about the possibility that they might get it right this time, deep down I think we always dread the reality that we are mostly certain of… that in fact, Hollywood is Hollywood and filmmakers are salesman and not pulpiteers. And if we think it all the way through… do we really want them to be pulpiteers? That’s our job to allow the Scriptures… to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (to quote from Hebrews 4:12).
First I admit that my prior thoughts flavor what I am about to say. That said, I am in virtual agreement with the spirit of concern recently expressed about the movie. Do I wish ETE (Every Tribe Entertainment) would have selected a less controversial person than Chad Allen to play the lead role? Sure. Would I have been in favor of a more overt presentation of the gospel? Absolutely. Will I boycott the movie because they selected a homosexual activist and have diluted the gospel? No.
I have a strong disagreement with homosexuality as an option for followers of Jesus. So as I watched Larry King’s discussion last week on, to quote radio host Janet Parshall, “the homosexualizing of America”, I understood the opposition of some to having an admitted homosexual play the part of a revered Christian martyr. So many of the comments back and forth on Larry King Live were typical and expected. There was a unique piece of the discussion that especially stood out in my mind as I was listening. I’ve included it from the transcript:
KING: Reverend Mohler, do you have any gay friends?
MOHLER: Yes, yes I do as a matter of fact. And I don’t think it’s fair to categorize anything that’s been said here today as speaking of homosexuals as sub-human. As a matter of fact, I think we have learned…
KING: But you speak of them as sinners.
MOHLER: … Well, I want to speak of myself as a sinner, Larry. It’s just a matter of which kind of sin and which pattern of temptation.
KING: You don’t seem as angry at yourself. Just a comment.
Christians have often said that believers in Jesus should hate the sin, but love the sinner. All too often I’m afraid we come across as hating them both. This is what King was picking up on, using sarcasm to make his point. But he does have a point. Although I don’t believe Dr. Mohler was being angry in the technical sense, there does some to be a disparity between the way we view Chad Allen’s sin of homosexuality and the way we speak about our own sin.
Romans 1 is the touchstone passage that we love to (and should) quote as basis for our opinions about homosexuality. Yet the first part of Romans 2 is clear – contextually contrasting the specific sin of homosexuality to our own sin – that all of us are equally condemnable. Perhaps it would behoove all of us to re-read the first eleven verses of chapter 2 before entering into any discussions about chapter 1. I think it may cause us to focus differently. Not less on the sin, but more on the sinner.
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
Though I may not take all of Marc Newman’s ideas to the full length that he does in this article – www.movieministry.com/articles.php?articles=featured – I think he expands well on the overall idea I was trying to express.