The problem with most Christian movies
Let There Be Light is a deeply forgettable movie. It is nothing but a collection of cheesy Christian movie tropes jumbled together with some famous names and media personalities. And then it turns out that it’s little more than an ad for a gimmicky app that I predict will backfire badly.
The storyline was bland and predictable (it was basically God’s Not Dead meets The Shack), the characters were stereotyped and most were very unlikeable. The atheist was an alcoholic divorced man who emotionally neglected his kids—because that’s what all atheists are like, right? And his Christian ex-wife is perfect, because all Christians are perfect, right? And they even managed to stereotype the idea of the pastor who used to be a bad boy, down to him still talking like a Mafioso—“Jesus got whacked”. Really?
The worst problem, though, and the problem that most ‘Christian’ movies share, is that they are very unclear about the Gospel. The atheist character ‘comes to faith’ not because of a biblically based Gospel presentation, but because of a near death experience where he encounters his son who died tragically of cancer (because all atheists are that way because of a painful experience in their past, right?). And then the very next thing is not to get the now-former atheist character in a church and out of the limelight for a little while so he can develop his new faith and focus on rebuilding the broken relationships in his family, but to put him on a pedestal and schedule a media tour to promote his new app.
The other major problem with the movie is how it deals with the problem of death. The atheist character, like many people, is concerned with the problem of death and suffering in a very personal way—his son died of cancer. They also portray one of his oldest son’s struggles when their mom is diagnosed with the same cancer that took his brother. But they never addressed the real reason there is death and suffering in the world in the first place. Here they could have demonstrated from Genesis how sin brought upon us the penalty of death, and why Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and how those in Christ can look forward to the Resurrection where there won’t be any more cancer or sickness or death.
The movie also preys on a common Christian fear of radical Islam. ISIS is mentioned several times, with one ex-Muslim portrayed, but the idea conveyed is that all Muslims are like ISIS, and somehow the app is even supposed to counter them.
The one thing the movie gets right is this: Jesus is the light of the world. The correct response to the Gospel isn’t to download an app on your phone, but to actually share the Gospel with someone you care about who hasn’t yet trusted Jesus. We must be prayerfully ready to share the Bible’s Good News. Gospel gimmicks like the Let There Be Light app won’t appeal to or reach anyone who isn’t already convinced. Going out and sharing the Gospel doesn’t need to be ‘innovative’—it is the means that Christ gave us to spread His message.
An outreach opportunity: for one night only!
Do you want to see a movie with high production quality (without stereotypes and gimmicks) that will equip you with answers to share the Gospel? Would you like to actually be able to take your unbelieving loved ones to a movie that will provide the basis for further conversation and interaction?
CMI has a track record of producing quality movies such as The Voyage That Shook The World, which examined the life and ideas of Charles Darwin, and the impact they’ve had on today’s world. Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels is an award-winning documentary featuring 15 Ph.D. scientists who explain insurmountable problems for evolution.
Our newest film, Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception is set to continue this trend. Millions of people have seen what they believe are alien craft, or even had experiences with what they believe are entities from another world. This phenomenon shapes worldviews and can be deeply troubling and painful for those affected. Thousands have been helped by Gary Bates’s Amazon Top-50 bestselling book Alien Intrusion, and now we are releasing a movie interviewing ‘experiencers’ and experts that come to a surprising conclusion about what is actually going on. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the answer is found in a correct understanding of Creation and the Gospel.
Check alienintrusion.com for trailers, behind-the-scenes videos and more.