Idol Chatter

I haven’t seen the Christian movie “Fireproof”–which stars former “Growing Pains” star and currently Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron–but I have seen some of the other work that has come out of Sherwood Baptist Church by the Kendrick brothers (they brought us “Facing the Giants”). And now, a recent interview in Christianity Today reminds me of the decades-old discussion about Christians and moviemaking: Is ministry more important than making Great Art?

In the interview, the Kendricks acknowledge that they have deliberately tried to increase their movie budgets and improve technique from their previous efforts. However, they also insist that their production style will still include using volunteers from church and won’t use movie stars who don’t share their beliefs because “the person who gives that message in the movie but doesn’t believe it himself or is living a life completely contrary to that.”
So, again, I will point out that though I have not seen the movie and I can’t review its specific merits, I will say that this kind of philosophy in making movies has always been a problem for me as a Christian who works in the arts. It’s similar to the kind of worldview Billy Graham’s Worldwide Pictures has always had in which all of their movies had to include the Sinner’s Prayer. And it’s a similar mindset to many other start-up Christian movie companies that want to work from outside Hollywood and still have influence while preaching their agenda. Somewhere in all of this, the argument eventually deteriorates into a discussion that great art that reflects truth and beauty cannot always co-exist with ministry and, in that case, ministry must triumph–even if it’s through schlock that will inevitably make some spiritual seekers, and Christians, wince.
I agree that the rapidly changing media landscape does provide unique opportunities for producers and writers to work outside of Hollywood. However, the notion that God is somehow more pleased with a group of Christians only making a movie with Christians that is overtly a Christian story than He would be with a story that is crafted with excellence and has non-Christians in it, seems to be an out-of-date paradigm that will not increase Christian influence in the mainstream marketplace or in our country’s culture wars.
Kirk-Cameron at

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