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WHAT IS A "CHRISTIAN" FILM?
by -MK-

Christian [kris-chuh n]: exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike.

The term “Christian” means “Christlike” and has traditionally been used to refer exclusively to the people who are followers of Jesus Christ. Only in modern times has the term “christian” been applied to item and concepts. Hmmm…why do we feel the need to label items “christian” t-shirts, “christian” bumper stickers, or christian merchandise of any sort?

The labeling of a concept as “christian” is at least a bit more palatable. Christian music and christian movies are at least, in concept, created to be an expression of Christ-like principles, and intend to influence the audience in the ways of Christ. And such should be the life of a true Christian (in the traditional sense). We, as followers of Christ, are to be light and salt…an influence in a dying world.

Let us accept, for the sake of this discussion, that there are such things as “christian movies”. What qualifies a movie to be labeled “christian”? Must it be “evangelical” in nature…clearly presenting the message of salvation through Christ alone? Must it contain “the four spiritual laws”, or a Billy Graham style alter call? – Now, don’t take that last comment as derogatory. I hold men such as Billy Graham in very high esteem!

So what actually constitutes a “christian” movie?

PRINCIPLE #1: We should use only the lower case “c” christian when referring to concepts (laying aside the merits of merchandise for others to debate), not to be confused with the capital “C” Christian used to specifically refer to people whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life. The same should be true in the use of the word Church vs. church. “The Church” again is the Body of Christ, people, followers. “A church” is a building where things happens.

PRINCIPLE #2: The definition of what makes a movie worthy of the label “christian” will be as widely debated as Calvinism vs. Free Will….how can One God exist as three persons, and how does God knowing our every action from the beginning of time relate to His leading and guiding in our lives.

PRINCIPLE #3: Although we may reach a relative consensus of the definition at hand, each of us will have to come to grips with that definition for ourselves, just as we are individually accountable to the Lord.

MY PERSONAL DEFINITION – defining the content, not the form it should take – of what constitutes a “christian” movie, song or anything is this:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” - Philippians 4:8

Now let’s get out there and make some excellent and praise-worthy visual parables!

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Written by -MK-
Blog: xfaithproject.wordpress.com
Twitter: Twitter.com/xfaithproject
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©2010 Globeular International • All Rights Reserved • No Duplication or Distribution Without Expressed Permission.

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Tags: christian, film, gamma, kilburn, mk, xfaith

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Comment by Sid Richardson on June 4, 2010 at 6:18pm
Oh, my understanding was that the word Christian came from the Greek.
Comment by Matthew -MK- Kilburn on June 4, 2010 at 6:07pm
@Sid: to clarify, the word christian does mean "Christ-like" and was coined to specifically refer to people who follow Christ. The issue is not whether or not to make evangelistic films. It was about whether the label "Christian" could/should be applied to a movie, or anything other than a person.
Comment by Sid Richardson on June 4, 2010 at 12:00pm
I thought the word Christian meant Christ-man - man of/like Christ. (Is that being picky?) Anyway, I think a film/movie that depicts someone (or many people) being saved / rescued by Jesus or stories based on people that have been saved is what would constitute a Christian film. Otherwise what's the point? You would just be making a morally correct, nice movie. As Christians, it is our responsibility to be fishers of men and what a tremendous tool we have available today via the visual medium.

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