Asking for good theology from a B-Movie is a pretty tall order. To be honest, I might have said nothing if the production company was not named “Reverence Gospel Media.” However, being that they are trying to communicate something about the Gospel, I hold such a production house to a much higher standard.
Now, if you want to know more about the plot of the movie (a drug-dealer connected but not slangin’ concert promoter named Miles with questionable friends falls in love with a girl that is pretty moral and goes to a mega church, and they get married and he becomes a pastor in the end) I suggest you just click the above link.
However, what I want to comment on specifically are the movie’s disturbing theological elements.
Arminianism. A pastor in the movie tells the gang-bangin’ yet totally legit protagonist something along the lines of, “I had a calling in my life and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. You have a calling in your life too, everyone does. But YOU have to answer the call.” (The conversation starts at around 59:40.) Throughout the movie there is schizophrenic thinking as it pertains to God’s all powerful nature and ordaining of events, including Miles’ mother’s death and his girlfriend getting in a coma. God is all powerful in these events and the movie does not deny it. Yet, to argue that God can control the free will of men so that they get into car accidents and put your girlfriend in a coma, but He can’t make you answer a call from Him requires special pleading.
Arminianism is at its center an unbiblical way of thinking. The Bible has crystal clear examples of man’s free will being molded and changed, so the issue is not whether it is impossible, it is. Therefore, when the Scripture states, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29), it is rather clear that God could grant us belief, because “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).
That is why Paul says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8) because not even faith is of ourselves. Yes, we got to answer the call, but if it is God at work in us we don’t answer the call apart from Him working through us “both to will and to work.” If “there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God” (Rom 3:11) then there cannot be anything within the man that compells him to answer God’s call. But, thanks be to God, just as “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” in Lydia’s day (Acts 16:14) He is as work doing the same thing today.
The burden of proof is on someone who says God has nothing to do with man coming to believe, because I can’t find anything in the Bible that says that.
Love of money. In the same conversation with the Pastor, Miles marvels at how the pastor looks like one of the guys he would chase tail with at the club. Pointing out his dress, the pastor responds, “You’re kinda tight yourself Miles.”
“I’m not driving a Lambo,” Miles says incredulously.
“Lambo?,” the Pastor responds defensively. “When I pulled into the parking lot I saw a four door Bentley and I’m assuming that’s yours man!…Last time I read the Bible it said nothing about style being a sin, it kinda goes back to the old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Apparently the pastor needs to spend less time at the Lambo dealer and more time hitting the books. The Scripture warns “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (1 Tim 6:10) and “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:19-20). Why? “For where your treasure is, there your heart is also” (Matt 6:21). What does it tell you if you store up treasures such as Italian sports cars and flashy clothes on Earth? That your treasures are stored on Earth, and that “you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:3-4).
Guard your own heart and it’s desires, for if your desires are focused on there here and now, and not glorifying God, there is no mistake as to what your inclinations are towards.
Relationships. The one positive thing about the movie is that the couple does not have sex before marriage. However, it is exceedingly obvious that though Miles’ squeeze does not want to be “unequally yoked” (2 Cor 6:14), she accepts a marriage proposal before he even accepts Christ as his savior. Christians are compelled to marry “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39), which rules out relationships with non-believers.
So, while it isn’t wrong to have a friendship with a non-Christian, to become romantically involved with one is clearly a bad idea, being that the point of romance is marriage.
In summary, if you can ignore the bad theological elements in this movie it can be enjoyed. However, there is hardly any meat to it that makes it useful to show to non-believers. Further, I would be wary to show it to anyone that was not very firm in the faith as it is the opposite of instructive. It is disappointing that a man like Miles, with tons of sin in his life, is never presented the Gospel as a means in which he can attain forgiveness and new life.
And this is the problem with the liberal Christianity presented in this film. Christ is your buddy who is with you in the ups and downs. He’s give you a big ol’ bear hug during the days of doubt.
However, this is not who God really is. God takes compassion on me and you. We are so wicked, not only do we constantly sin against Him we can’t even be reasoned with. We don’t want to be forgiven, we want to make our own way to heaven. But deep down, you know that’s not true. You can’t repay God with something He has given you. He is merciful and loving, and if you know there is nothing you can do then accept the Lord Jesus. In Him there is forgiveness for sins and by Him comes the gift for you to accept Him now in your life.