Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Case for Christ challenges viewers before Easter

Movie Title:  The Case for Christ

Grade:  B+

Rating:   PG, 112 minutes

In a Nutshell: Perfectly timed for Easter, this Christian film attempts to demonstrate that Jesus Christ lived and was resurrected by challenging viewers to explore the evidence for themselves.  

Based on a true story and the book by Lee Strobel called The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Case for ... Series) , the film walks you through one man’s journey from atheism to Christianity.  As he says in the beginning of the movie, “The only way to truth is through facts.”  When his wife becomes a Christian, he resists violently, beginning his personal quest to prove religion wrong.  As a journalist by profession, he realizes he can no longer dispute the growing evidence.

So many people, including members of my own family proudly proclaim “I believe in science”, yet won’t take an honest look at what science has said about the existence of Jesus Christ and the resurrection.  This film addresses some of those pieces of evidence.  It also illustrates that you CAN believe in science AND God.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Believing in God…not believing in God.  Either way, it still takes a leap of faith.” – Kenny London (Mike Pniewski)
  • “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.  The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” – C.S. Lewis (as quoted by Kenny)
  • Believe plus receive equals become.” – Leslie Strobel (Erika Christensen)
  • “Open your heart and take a chance.” – Pastor (Jordan Cox)
  • ‘If you look expectantly for whispers, you’ll hear them.” – Pastor
  • “When is enough evidence enough?” - Ray Nelson (Brett Rice)

Things I liked:
  • I’m glad that the number of Christian films out there is on the rise.  They are generally improving in quality and it gives those who want to watch “clean” films in a fun movie theater environment a good option.
  • The movie shows an experience that reminds us that God uses us to bless others, to answer people’s prayers.
  • It was good to see Faye Dunaway in a movie again.
  • I always like it when information about the real people in the movie is shown at the end.  You get to see pictures of Lee and Leslie Strobel and learn about their books, ministry, and even what their children are doing.
  • It shows flawed Christians. In other words, just because you're Christian doesn't mean you're perfect.  "Church is a hospital for the sick, not a museum for saints." (Abigail Van Buren)
  • It does a good job illustrating that conversion is a process and an ongoing one at that, not a one-time event.
  • A psychologist in the film, played by Faye Dunaway)  talks about a phenomenon called a “father wound”, which she says all of the famous atheists in history had.  It refers to some kind of dysfunctional relationship with their biological father, making it difficult for them to believe in a loving heavenly father.  Interesting.
Things I didn’t like:
  • Lee and Leslie Strobel argue a lot about Christianity.  I never enjoy watching people fight and bicker in real life or in the movies, so that became exhausting to watch.  Marriage is hard, but if each spouse supports the journey of growth and discovery that we all take during our lives, marriage would be so much easier.
  • Like a lot of Christian films, this one is pretty slow moving.
  • Atheists always get so angry with Christians.  Why is that?  They scream for tolerance, yet they don’t offer any to those who think differently than they do.  Of course, this is just a movie, but I’ve definitely noticed that attitude in real life.  
  • There is mention of the “Christ Cult”, which is just plain offensive to Christians who are doing their best to be good people.

Interesting lines:
  • “There is no ‘what if’ with God.” – Alfie Davis (L. Scott Caldwell)
  • “Listen?  Do THAT.” – Alfie
  • “Churches aren’t perfect.  Pastors aren’t perfect.  That’s not God.  That’s people.” – Pastor
  • “It’s not luck.  It’s Jesus.” - Alfie
  • “In his time and in his way, God always keeps his promises.” – Alfie
  • “I missed the truth.  I didn’t see it.” – Stroebel
“You didn’t want to see it.” - James Dixon (Renell Gibbs) 
  • “What if it IS true?  Wouldn’t you want to know that?” – Leslie Strobel (Erika Christensen)
  • “Shouldn’t we go to church?” – Lee (referring to where he should have his first prayer)
“Right here.  Right now.  This is church.” – Leslie
  • SPOILER:  “I don’t know everything.  I never will know everything.  But I know enough and I believe.” – Lee Strobel (his touching prayer at the end of the movie)

  • Tips for parents: 
  • There is a graphic conversation when a doctor discusses flogging and crucifixion and shows images.
  •  Young children will be bored.  There is a lot of "talking" and no action. 

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