I have been sick with some late winter/early spring bug and when I am sick I can’t read and hardly pray. It hurts my head too much. I have been enjoying watching King James Only conspiracy theories and Dr. James White’s responses to them.
So, in the middle of the night I couldn’t get sleep and after watching a dub of the Italian movie Saint Paul on the side was a movie called “The Preacher’s Daughter.”
“Oh great, another movie about a rebellious once-pristine daughter of a pastor,” I thought. However, unable to sleep nor think that clearly, I decided to watch. It actually was pretty good, though of course it had grave theological errors.
The movie is based loosely on the life of its writer/director, but it is really a rip off of a Mexican blockbuster, The Crime of Father Amaro. Now, I saw that movie back in my college days and it was essentially the plot of a pornography film. Both movies pretty much follow a young innocent girl, who becomes infatuated with a local young religious authority in her church, and then an illicit affair ensues. The affair results in a pregnancy and then an abortion that ruins the girl’s life. In the Mexican movie the girl dies. In The Preacher’s Daughter it serves as both the pretext and conclusion to the whole film.
What makes The Preacher’s Daughter good at all? Well, first it is less pornographic, though I believe there is a sex scene in the middle but I skipped passed it so I cannot really comment. Second, and much more importantly, the movie does not make out all Christians to be hypocrites.
The positive portrayal of Christians completely surprised me and it is at this point that the film drastically differs from the Mexican film. Granted, the backsliden music minister is not portrayed positively, but the protagonist’s parents are shown as loving and very patient, truly living in obedience to God. Further, perhaps the movie’s theological low point is also a high point in some ways. The movie contains a scene where the preacher’s daughter witnesses a baptism, and the reason for the baptism is described in Biblical terms of us being buried and resurrected with Christ. Later in the movie, the daughter takes a plunge into the baptistery, apparently showing a desire for that rebirth.
Now, it’s not rebirth in Christ she is likely seeking and no one is baptizing her. But, I as a Christian can see a very good point. We are dead in our sins and apart from rebirth, we remain old and not new creations. So, the movie is half right…
Another spot it is half right is when the music minister puts an end to the affair. He tells her that what they are doing is wrong and that he feels guilty. The preacher’s daughter replies something along the lines of, “Why should I feel guilty? I have been told my whole life that I am a sinner. If God hates the way He made me than [expletives].”
Now, an atheist would understand what she says and conclude that their is no God or there is something wrong with the doctrines of Christianity. The logic itself is correct.
However, here is where the conclusion is false: Yes, you are a sinner. You didn’t even have a choice in the matter of you being born, where you would have sin imputed to you and that you would freely sin out of your own free will. There is nothing you can do to change it. It is your nature, it is who you are.
In this, the character would be correct in her curse-laden tirade. However, where she is wrong is the rationalizing of why she shouldn’t feel guilty if that’s the way God made her. Being that the character essentially has a nervous breakdown as a result of these events, it seems to me obvious that deep down the character (and implicitly the writer of the movie) knows that God really is being sinned against and that there is reason to feel guilty.
This guiltiness substantiates the teachings in Romans 1 that all men know that they are without excuse. Apparently the conscience of the movie maker is seared and just doesn’t understand that it is because we cannot help but sin that God has made salvation available to us through His Son. God does not like the way we are as the movie’s character would like, because the inclination of our hearts is continually towards evil, all the time. But, when we are in union with Christ, He no longer sees us but He sees His Son. It is only then that God likes what He sees.