The Case for Christ movie may send some disciples of Richard Dawkins whirling. Not because they fear an epiphany may lead to conversion but because for the first time in living color and surround sound believers witness first hand why non-believers must remove God from the daily mix.
Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) is a reporter and happily married man until he accepts the challenge to debunk “Jesus,” the new devotee of his wife. Three years of research reveals Strobel’s frustration with being unable to refute Christianity and dispel the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Do you want to know the truth?” a fellow reporter asks, “or is your mind already made up?”
Case for Christ is so well edited and acted that you may feel at times you want to jump in with your own comments. You can do that in the car on the way home. What’s really at the crux of this faith-based film is what its audience on either side does with the revelation that yes, the death and resurrection did happen.
In his quest for the truth, Strobel got what he asked for and more. His 1998 book by the same title has sold millions of copies.
Imagine waking up in the morning with the thought of producing/directing a successful biblical film. That is the story with reality TV producer Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey & the newly released Son of God.
The challenge rests not just with film critics but with Christians as well. Rotten Tomatoes critics, for example gave the picture a 25% rating while its audience rated it 82%. The discrepancy according to the critics: “The faithful may find their spirits raised, but on purely cinematic terms, Son of God is too dull and heavy-handed to spark much fervor.”
Then we have Christians who wanted something more, or, as Christianity Today described: “..watching Son of God was not a dreadful experience, but it wasn’t a particularly inspirational or entertaining one, either.”
REALLY? My take on this is sometimes we forget that today millions of lapsed Christians and non-believers out there have no clue what believers are talking about. They have either missed the point in Sunday school or are hearing it for the first time. As viewers, this film is very possibly totally new information presented in cinematic storytelling—and music by Hans Zimmer!! Enjoy the film. It’s a movie! Leave the rest to the beholder.
How timely to have the story of Jesus at the theaters as liturgical calendars look to the beginning of Lent, and preparation for the celebration of Easter—the point of the story.
Could Steven Spielberg given Son of God audiences a deeper, more inspiring film? Probably. But, would he?