Since the inception of the Faith & Film blog, I’ve frequently noted and maintained the idea that film can be used for evangelistic purposes – specifically by drawing out Christian themes from films, and initiating conversations about Jesus with our friends. And in this week’s blog, I felt prompted to explain my spiritual/theological rationale for this initiative by communicating its foundations in Scripture and offering advice on how to engage with films spiritually, to further encourage and spur you on for the task of evangelism, using film.
Since June 2020, I’ve continually written articles on 30+ films in the hope that I may equip others to share Jesus in this relevant, innovative, and exciting way. Naturally, some may be wary of this approach to evangelism. To some, it may seem as if I am “market(ing) the Gospel” in the same manner as “modern businesses” who wish to “sell their products”. But I assure you, my intention is not to redesign, or shoehorn the powerful, lifesaving Good News into a universally ‘palatable’ format, which simply appeals to the masses. For you and I both know that the Gospel already boasts humanity-wide appeal: Romans 3 teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, and in Luke 19, Jesus came to “seek out and to save the lost”, which encompasses all of humankind. Therefore, personally encountering Jesus, confessing that He “is Lord” and believing that “God raised Him from the dead” will be the only thing that saves us from eternal separation from God. So, the Gospel message already addresses humanity’s greatest need and therefore, its potency has no expiration date and does not require me to ‘market’ it.
The challenge, however, arises in our God-ordained mission to alert people to what we know to be the truth. After all, Jesus commissioned his disciples and us by extension, to go and “make disciples of all nations”. How are we to do that, then, if the Gospel message doesn’t always suit a “promotional plan” or causes offence because of the Cross? Many have turned to culture as a means of introducing practices which entertain, do not easily cause offense and have wide appeal, to ensure that a non-believer’s interest remains steady. And suddenly, the Faith & Film blog begins to sound a lot like this. And in a way, it does. The blog offers a ‘seeker friendly’ blend of faith and culture which many are understandably wary of - for culture is often known and considered to be “hostile to the very ideas of truth and assurance”. But in spite of this, we know that the Lord does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”, so that they might be saved. With that in mind though, it seems unlikely that the Lord would object to the inclusion of cultural relevance, in order to complement the work of evangelism.
It is my belief, then, that the Faith & Film blog furthers the evangelistic work we have been commissioned for, specifically because it introduces non-Christians to a form of faith exploration which always points back to the Gospel message, but also entertains. As many of you know, I do not shy away from explaining the full Gospel message, here at the blog. For just as the Apostle Paul proclaimed that he is “not ashamed of the Gospel”, because of its unique power to save all of us, I too believe that the whole unadulterated truth of the Gospel must be shared. This blog, therefore, is culturally relevant, but does not compromise upon the Gospel message in its attempts to reach all for glory of God, and the salvation of the lost.
Prior to reaching out to those who do not yet know the Lord, however, we must first grasp the importance of learning to position ourselves spiritually, so that we might hear God speak to us even as we watch the films noted here on the blog, or indeed suitable others. For as you and I are both aware, God’s Spirit has been known to speak to people through purely “aesthetic experiences”, including that of “shared meals”, or perhaps the “awesome beauty of nature”. As a result, the Faith & Film blog exists to help Christians facilitate opportunities for film-watching, discussion, and Bible reading, for within which God is more than able to reveal something of himself to Christians and non-Christians alike.
We know and trust that the Lord does not “speak in a whisper” or from a “dark corner” that is easy to miss, or attempt to deceive us. Rather, the Lord’s “transmitter” is not faulty, but it is “our receiving equipment” which often “leaves a lot to be desired”. John 3 informs us that the wind “blows where it chooses” and is detectable, yet we “do not know where it comes from” or “where it goes”. In this exchange with Nicodemus, Jesus is describing the Holy Spirit and its ability to move and rest upon whoever, whenever. Its unpredictability means that we “cannot command the Spirit of God to speak to us” at any given time, just because we feel like it. We therefore cannot confirm that as we watch a film and discuss it with friends, that God’s Holy Spirit will always be speaking to us. Yet, we do know that “where two or three are gathered” in the name of Jesus, He will be “among them” and we can trust that if God intends to speak to anyone in a given moment, He may indeed use culture to achieve that. This should encourage us to actively wet our fingers, hold them up high in the air and keep them there to “feel for the Spirit’s wind”, so that we might hear from God. But put simply, it involves praying before watching a film with others, and throughout, so that we might welcome in God’s still, small voice. And, as I have encouraged readers many times before, we can do so using this example of prayer:
“Dear Lord, as I watch this film, I ask that you would be present here with me. Highlight to me anything within it that is honourable - anything that can be used in conversation for your Kingdom purposes. Amen.”
As you prayerfully invite a friend or family member who doesn’t yet know Jesus, to watch one of the blog’s highlighted films with you, why not take a moment to pray that God’s Holy Spirit presence would rest upon that meeting? Afterwards, if you felt God move throughout that time, please consider getting in touch at the following email address, to share a testimony of how God used film to draw people to Him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
 John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World (United States: Crossway Books, 2010). Pg. 37
 Romans 3:23, Luke 19:10
 Romans 10:9
 Matthew 28:19
 John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel. Pg. 38
 Ibid. Pg. 23
 2 Peter 3:9
 Romans 1:16
 Elijah Lynn Davidson, How to Talk to a Movie: Movie-Watching as a Spiritual Exercise (United States: Cascade Books, 2017). Pg. 3
 Priscilla Shirer, He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear the Voice of God (United States: Moody Press, 2007). Pg. 14
 John 3:8
 Davidson, How to Talk to a Movie. Pg. 7