Monday, March 3, 2014

The Movie Noah

Ever since The Bible debuted on the History Channel last year there seems to be an onslaught of Christian based movies. This is not surprising considering the fact that over 13 million viewers watched The Bible series. Hollywood obviously wants a part of that cash pie.

Scheduled to debut late this month is the movie Noah. Already, before the release, there is controversy. On Ken Ham's (Answers in Genesis) blog you can find an article dated November 19, 2013 calling the movie unbiblical; while steering people away from the movie. This is quite surprising considering the movie was doing final-edits last week. So three and a half months before the film is in final editing, Christian leaders are already speaking against it. I want to say at this point, that was the wrong move. I will explain why in a minute.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, the new President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters was able to show clips of the movie last week at the NRB Convention in Nashville. They were not able to show the entire movie because Paramount was still making last minute changes to the film. Obviously NRB noted concerns of the movie's accuracy, however the approach to the problem was completely different.

In an NRB panel discussion with John Snowden, a biblical consultant for Noah, and writer Phil Cooke, it was realized that artistic license was used in the development and production of the film. This action would certainly deviate from the literal reading from the Scriptures. Because of the "imaginative interpretation" used in the creation of the film, NRB President Dr. Johnson requested from Paramount to add a disclaimer to all marketing of the film. Paramount welcomed and granted the request. The following is the disclaimer being added to all marketing material:

"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

More on the discussion of Paramount's grant of Dr. Johnson's request can be found on Paramount's Press Release.

It is not everyday that a major motion picture company decides to take a chance on a film that connects to Christianity. For that reason I applaud Paramount.

The problem with the reactions of Christian leaders is the failure to engage what they see as the issue. They are quick to boycott without an attempt to communicate. Note that it appeared amazingly easy for the NRB to successfully request marketing changes to the film. Imagine how easy it would have been for an organization that specializes in Biblical detail to offer assistance to a company who wants to spend $125 million dollars to put a Biblical event on the big screen. I believe the motion picture industry is looking for ways to engage the Christian community. We need to watch how we react to their desire. I am not sure boycotting is the ultimate solution. At least it did not appear to work for the SBC against Disney years ago.

The God of creation is looking to connect to a lost and dying world. The Christian community must be ready to engage them as they watch this movie. Keep in mind, the world will watch this movie whether you will or not. What will you do with the result?  

Is the movie accurate to Scripture? I have not seen the movie, but according to Dr. Jerry Johnson it is not. Look at 5 negative features about this film by Dr. Jerry Johnson, President and CEO of the NRB.

Does the movie have any positive attributes. According to Dr. Jerry Johnson it does.

You have to decide whether or not you will see this film. I, however, look forward to comparing the movie against the Scriptural account with those who have seen it. Who knows, I may have an opportunity to share my faith.


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