Recently I watched ‘The Book of Eli’ with my brother and I give it two thumbs up. I probably liked it partially just because I’m a guy with a healthy hunger for adventure and sci-fi flicks, especially when there’s at least a little bit of a story to it. I thought the cinematography and visuals in the movie were wonderful. But the big draw to this story was the focus on the Bible. I’m always intrigued when Hollywood tries to honestly step into the spiritual and with Denzel Washington leading this project I knew there just might be something of substance in it. One review of the movie suggested that it was something of a “Sunday sermon wrapped in a Mad Max adventure” and that’s about right.
But it does raise questions among some Christ followers. Is it good to see and pay money for shows like this? I mean there were scenes with graphic violence, some really hard language, and at the end the Bible is meticulously placed between the Torah and the Quran. How do you even interpret that last one? Were the writers showing that the Bible was superior to the other two or more than likely just implying there was no difference between them? Yes, there were some real issues in the movie and if they are a conviction on your conscience, then you need to pass it by. But on the other hand no one should judge someone else who did watch it. For while I would not want little kids to see this show, I believe that Christ followers ought to give this sort of thing another look. Here are some reasons why.
-The Kingdom is bigger than the church building walls. The point of the Kingdom of God is that it is lived out in our everyday lives and not just a Sunday morning routine. We can’t do that if we cloister ourselves. There are a lot of people who have seen The Book of Eli who don’t know Christ and if we ignore everything the world puts out, we won’t be able to communicate with them.
-The Church’s tendency to separate the sacred from the secular. Yes, there is clear sin. There was sin in Eli. When it comes to black and white sin the response is clear; avoid it. Don’t justify it, stay away from it. But there was truth in the movie as well. I was amazed at the amount of scripture that was either alluded to or directly quoted. I think one of my favorite parts was the last line that was taken directly from 2 Timothy 2:7 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” So, take the good and trash the bad.
-I’ve heard that Denzel is a Christ follower and I hope that’s true. If so, I don’t think he sold out in the movie. But my take is that he was just trying to do what I do a lot and that’s engage the world in conversations they understand so that we can ultimately show them the love of Christ. Yes the Torah and the Quran were shown at the end of the movie. But I’ve got a hunch that anyone searching for answers and saw the movie is more likely to go out and buy a Bible rather than the other two “books” and that excites me.
-We can learn from them. Honestly, one thought I had after the show was, “Dude? Wish I had the whole Bible memorized.” Yes, I experienced a bit of conviction of my own need to get back to some scriptural memorization. If Christ followers really believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, then why don’t we spend more time internalizing it and applying it?
In short, I thought the movie was great. If you saw the show, what were your thoughts? What other movies have you seen where Hollywood has tried to honestly enter the spiritual realm?
So if you’re out there Denzel and you’re reading this, as the Brits say, “Good Show”. Oh, and by the way, if you need a supporting actor for your next flick, let me know and I’ll be happy to oblige.