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Before Mel's 'Passion' …
Posted By Ted Baehr On 09/20/2003 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The Gospel is so compelling that people flock to churches that preach it and shun those that don’t. It has given life to billions since the death and resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
Now, it is coming to the big screen in a manner worthy of the greatest story ever told. “The Gospel of John” is the best big-budget movie about Jesus produced up to this point, and it is the word-for-word Gospel itself.
In the golden age of Hollywood, there were several big-budget Jesus movies of renown, including: “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “King of Kings” and many others. However, in the last 20 years, there have been very few productions of the Gospel, and those that occurred were either small-budget, like “The Jesus Film” ($6 million) or “The Gospel of Matthew” (less than $1 million), or they were blasphemous, like “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
Now, for the first time in at least one generation, there is a beautifully filmed, well-executed, wonderfully acted big-budget production of the Gospel. I personally went into the screening thinking, “Uh oh, this will be just another Christian film.” It was not. Produced by Garth Drabinsky, this Gospel movie has been done with care, love and attention to the demands of dramatic entertainment and yet with not one word added or one word taken away from the Gospel account.
This movie is so gripping that at one point during the press screening, a reporter said, “If I watch much more of this, I’m going to become a Christian.” Other movies, such as “The Jesus Film,” have used only part of the Gospel, 70 percent in that case, and the producers augmented it in order to enhance the drama of the movie. The director and writer of “The Gospel of John” have found a way to present the story in a compelling fashion without diminishing or embellishing it.
Furthermore, there are several more Gospel movies coming out in the near future, such as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion,” a powerful story of the passion of Christ; “The God Man,” produced by a former ABC Television executive, which is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read; “The Lamb,” which is one of the most authentic approaches to the Gospel; and “The New Jesus Film,” which covers the story from Creation to Revelation.
I recently asked one of the executive producers why there were so many films on this topic produced by Hollywood insiders. They answered that Movieguide? has shown them that this is what the audience wants, because the more Christian content a movie has, the better it will do at the box office.
However, “The Gospel of John” is not one of those movies you have to bring friends to and endure simply because you want to support Christian movies. It is a movie that will entertain you and have you praying that everyone will want to see it, so that God will move on their hearts to bring them into his kingdom.
We are extremely grateful that, since we started Movieguide? and the Christian Film and Television Commission, we’ve gone from one movie with strongly positive Christian content to 45 percent of the movies released. The movies with negative Christian content have practically disappeared, and there are more films about Christian heroes – like “Luther” and “Bonhoeffer” – and more films about Jesus than ever before.
“The Gospel of John” is the story of the Century, and we need to promote it from the housetops.
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