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I saw a great movie last weekend.
That’s not something I can say very often.
It’s called “The Book of Eli” and stars Denzel Washington.
In Hollywood high concept language, you might want to think of “Mad Max” meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” But that wouldn’t be doing it justice.
It’s a hard movie to watch – dark, violent. It’s not a movie for children. But its redemptive message couldn’t be clearer or more needed for a time such as this.
The movie is set in the future, after an apocalyptic event or events leading to the destruction of organized society in America and the rest of the world. What’s left after this somewhat mysterious disaster are marauding bands of criminals who prey on others, widespread cannibalism, drunkenness and pockets of communities with little sense of morality.
It seems after the “event,” there was an effort to destroy all the world’s Bibles. In their wisdom, world leaders deduced that it was this book that caused this plague to befall them.
One man, though, has a copy of the King James Bible and is given a mission by God to take it West. He is also promised that he will be protected in this quest.
The movie is about Eli’s story and what he encounters on this trip.
I don’t believe I have ever seen a more overtly Christian movie come out of Hollywood.
It shows what the world would be like devoid of God’s Word, His law and the hope of salvation He offers. It shows what happens when the salt and light and truth are removed from the world. It shows the world in its most fallen state.
How a movie like this could even be made today is a mystery. One has to conclude it has much to do with Denzel Washington’s own values and clout in the industry. He not only stars in the movie, he is one of the producers.
The overall theme is walking by faith, not by sight.
It’s easy to be repulsed by the brutality and the ugliness that dominates the movie. But it’s important to experience it, because it represents the reality of life on planet earth without accountability to our Creator.
How low can man descend? There are no limits.
As Paul writes in Romans: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
The anti-hero in “The Book of Eli” is a man who will do anything to get his hands on that Bible. He knows the power of it. But he seeks to use that power to gain control over people for himself and his own ends.
The hero of “The Book of Eli” wants the power of the book to be used to free people.
There are some real surprises in “The Book of Eli” – not the least of these is how a movie like this could be made and distributed in an America still in rebellion against God in so many ways.
If you are looking for an action-packed adventure movie that carries a powerful message and profound truth, I urge you to go see Denzel Washington’s triumph.
At the end of the film, Eli says: “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.”
He did. And so does this remarkable movie.