The following is an email I sent in response to an invitation to submit a film to a “Christian” film festival. The recipient responded graciously.
While reading through your “About Festival” page, I came across this sentence – “In order to eliminate the temptation of an artist to plagiarize and make borderline unGodly content we carefully screen and exhibit films with a full 100% biblically correct worldview, that’s Maranatha Christian Fall Film Festival.”
Now, in and of itself, you seem to be saying a good thing; however, beyond your intention (as I believe your intention is to protect the sacredness of the Word) lies the element of human control.
Who will “carefully screen”?
By whose standard is something “a full 100% biblically correct worldview”?
No argument here that truth is truth, but on what authority does one man screen another man’s worship to determine on what piece of holy ground he’s walking? Even Smith Wigglesworth (early 1900’s), who raised the dead and healed the masses, going all over this great planet saving souls, was bashed for his “techniques” and “common practices”. He would often hit people where there was pain, and yet deliverance was felt. Imagine that in today’s society. He’d be buried in lawsuits.
Back in August 2010, I wrote, “Why the ‘Christian Film?'” Here it is: (SEE POST)
Ernst Kasemann wrote:
“What causes most trouble for Christians of all ages is not legalism or lack of faith or theological controversies; it is Jesus Himself, who bestows freedom so openhandedly on those who do not know what to do with it. The church always gets panic-stricken for fear of the turmoil that Christ creates when He comes on the scene; and it takes His freedom under its own management for the protection of the souls entrusted to it, in order to dispense it in homeopathic doses when it seems necessary. The church claims to represent Jesus on earth, but in fact it often supplants him. It must tremble in all its joints when confronted with His portrait. Ecclesiastical traditions and laws have domesticated Jesus, and today all the churches are living off the success of the attempt.”
I say this, not to discourage your desire – perhaps even your calling – to promote Christian film making and provide opportunity for filmmakers to network, but simply as an exhortation. I understand what you are trying to convey – at least I think I understand. Yet the Word is so living and active and powerful, and we are so lame, that often our attempt to manufacture holiness must stink as it rises to heaven. The Almighty sees us still, through the Blood, as precious – and it amazes me!
In your “careful screening” be careful yourself not to be one of Job’s friends, speaking from common sense while the Lord has reason to hold back his anger. If you choose to judge the work of others as deemed to be a “100% biblically correct worldview,” then pray like crazy, ’cause that’s a judgment I’d rather not shoulder.
Go full engine with the festival and open those doors for others who are not sure where to turn. My calling is to the Hollywood movers and shakers that need God more then they will ever know – until someone tells them.