Lately we now have seen the expansion of a style I would name theological documentary. As faith-oriented movies go, this style has change into considerably of a shiny spot in an in any other case uninspiring Christian film panorama. Documentaries can get away with being didactic and apologetics-oriented in methods fiction movies cant, which is why they’re usually well-suited for theological content material. Final years For the Love of God documentary, for instance, was a much more efficient protection of Christianity than any of the Gods Not Lifeless movies, for my part. The efficiency of American Gospel as an expos of the prosperity gospel derived largely from the interviews with actual folks it featured.
With an ever-broadening array of streaming platforms and direct-to-consumer distribution choices, Christian documentary filmmakers have a neater time getting their movies to audiences. All of this provides as much as an thrilling time for faith-oriented documentary filmmakingand I hope its solely the start.
Simply within the first few months of 2020, Ive seen three new, noteworthy Christian documentaries that I commend to you. Theyre about totally different topic matterssea creatures, the non secular realm, and serving in conflict zonesbut all three are nice for church or small-group dialogue. Examine them out.
The Riot and the Dance: Water
The second movie within the Riot and the Dance franchisea extra whimsical, faith-infused Planet Earthreleases March 6. Like its predecessor, Riot and the Dance: Earth (TGC assessment), this can be a supernatural nature documentary that explores the mind-boggling range of life, in a wide range of places and ecosystems, however by a lens of seeing nature as Gods creation, his residing museum that reveals his creative brilliance. Written by N. D. Wilson and starring biologist Gordon Wilson, this installment focuses on creatures in watery environsfrog-eating bugs in muddy ponds, humpback whales in Monterey Bay, snakes and salamanders within the Everglades, and so forth. Its an interesting, family-friendly movie that highlights the wonders of our watery world, even because it ponders the which means of water in theological phrases. Early within the movie the narrator observes that, at this second someplace on this world, the molecules of water that have been utilized in Christs baptism are nonetheless at work, floating in clouds, falling on windshields, heaving within the tidal seas. . . . It could be in baptism that we see water as its truest self. It’s demise. It’s life. Destruction. Resurrection.
The Unseen Realm
If youre on the lookout for a movie to look at and focus on along with your church small group, or a bunch of pals who like pondering heady theological questions, add The Unseen Realm to your record. Based mostly on the e-book by Michael Heiser (TGC assessment), the movie explores how the grand story of Scripturefrom Genesis to Revelationis basically considered one of supernatural non secular forces doing battle. Not solely is the documentary fascinating and informative, however its a welcome reminderin a rationalistic, demystified agethat the Christian story is inescapably supernatural. That includes interviews with pastors and students like Darrell Bock, Eric Mason, and Ben Witherington III, the documentary at instances seems like an excessively tutorial lecture in want of dramatic visuals to match its intriguing content material. However as fodder for dialogue about intriguing subjects like a rise up within the divine council and the id of the sons of God and the Nephilim in Genesis 6:14, the movie is certainly value a watch.
Free Burma Rangers
Free Burma Rangers is one half conflict documentary, one half missionary profile. Produced in partnership with LifeWay Movies, it follows the globe-trotting missionary efforts, over 20 years, of Dave and Karen Eubank. Worldly knowledge would name the couple loopy for bringing their three younger youngsters to stay and serve in violent conflict zones like Burma and Syria. Certainly, the movie raises nice questions for dialogue alongside these traces. Is there a degree the place laudable gospel ambition turns into reckless and harmful? Ought to a missionary of Jesus ever wield a machine gun and accomplice with fight forces? For college kids of missiology, lively or aspiring missionaries, or actually any Christian, Free Burma Rangers is value your time. The movie is a provocative and shifting portraitsimilar in some methods to 2017s Dealing with Darknessof how the gospel of Jesus Christ motivates believers to flee consolation and run towards hazard, dodging bullets and bombs to be conduits of therapeutic and hope.