WICHITA, Kansas – This year has seen an increase in the number of religious-based films, as Hollywood is making an attempt to cater to Christian audiences.
But local Christians say it’s important that the movies stick to the message of the Bible, and while they say some movies have done that, others appear to have missed the mark.
The latest Bible-based film is Paramount’s “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe and premiering on Friday. Christian groups nationwide are divided on the movie, with some supporting it, while others say it strays from the Bible’s teachings.
“A lot of the controversy surrounds the Biblical accuracy of the story, and that poses problems for a lot of us evangelical Christians who want to stay true to the word,” Pastor Marty Freeman at Word of Life Church in North Wichita said.
A big criticism of the film by some groups is that it portrays an environmentalist message of humans destroying the Earth, which is not the case in the Bible. Still, other Christians think the film can start a conversation.
“There’s the extreme that some people take that’s like, ‘Yes, a new Bible movie is coming up, we have to go see it, because it’s the Bible,’ and then there’s the other extreme that’s like, ‘Oh no, not another Bible movie, they’re going to get it wrong again, we have to be opposed to this,'” Jordan Friesen, a film enthusiast at Cornerstone Bible Church who is entering the ministry later this year, said. “I personally think there needs to be a middle ground.”
Earlier this year, “Son of God” opened to large support from the evangelical community. Other films like “Exodus” starring Christian Bale are expected later this year. For Freeman and Friesen, they say the movies can have a positive impact on getting people to explore their faith.
“I have a friend and he’s been pumped about Noah coming out because he’s like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to use Noah as a starter to get people to start talking about the true gospel of Jesus Christ,” Friesen said.
“I hope it gets people pointed toward the Bible to look at Noah, to look at Jesus, to look at other figures in the Bible and really find out for themselves that it can spur faith,” Freeman said.