Saturday, November 18, 2017

LET THERE BE LIGHT....(NOT YOUR TYPICAL MOVIE REVIEW)

This is a review of a paying customer to a local AMC Theater. It is totally unsolicited, just like all reviews posted on this site. Thank you.
As mainstream Hollywood flounders under the weight of itself, the increasing abundance of some amazing Christian films is just astounding. Let There Be Light (LTBL) is one such film. While Pure Flix has become the "Warner Brothers" of Faith and Family big time movies and streaming services, LTBL is in independent movie produced by none other than the top U.S. Cable News Host - Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel.

The official Let There Be Light website describes the movie thus, in part:
"....But even with all the fame and success, Sol is empty and distraught on the inside and his increasing reliance on alcohol to numb the pain is only making things worse. His New York party lifestyle has isolated him from his ex wife Katy and their two remaining sons.  Their unrelenting faith in God is something that Sol has actually grown to resent and he tells Katy that he just got sick and tired of her praying for his soul. Sol’s self-destructive habits eventually catch up to him and a serious car crash leaves him clinically dead for four minutes before he is finally resuscitated by some heroic first responders.  It’s a miracle that he’s still alive, but what really changes Sol’s outlook on life is what happens during those four minutes.  It’s a four word message that refuses to let him go despite his best efforts to deny it"...and those words are "LET THERE BE LIGHT".

Right off the bat, as the movie swings open, a big debate is going on between a polished, apparently mainstream evangelical Christian TV show guy and the celebrity atheist and superstar author Dr. Sol Harkins, played by "Hercules" - Kevin Sorbo. The debate happens in front of a huge lecture crowd which is actually representative of a lot of professing "Christians" these days. While the evangelical debates from familiar talking points, the accomplished celebrity author is able to not just passionately proseltyze as a pagan to the weak minds out there, but then go Elmer Gantry on them, with raw emotion. You see, even atheists know there is a God. Just ask Richard Dawkins, who once remarked "Oh my God...." when he forgot the full title of the book "Origins of the Species" by Darwin!

I have read other reviews of LTBL, by Biblical solid christian websites and blogs I always rely on for good discernment, and I could not disagree with them more. One of them is Patheos. This is NOT a cheesy Christian film. On the contrary, as anyone can see from the articles on this blog, I only promote the Bible and what it says - as far as life is concerned. I see the heresy out there and leave it to great people like Challies and Patheos or Dr. Al Mohler to talk about those things. My calling is to alert those who are open to it and what that scene, where the great Kevin Sorbo and his character shows is just how gullible and easily led into oblivion, the majority of people are. It was almost infuriating to watch our God being blasphemed by "Dr. Sol Harkins" (Sorbo) and people sit there and applaud him for doing so. These are some of the same people who will show up in a megachurch, the very next weekend and singalong with the latest Hillsong worship song, while sipping a caramel macchiato from the coffee shop in the church lobby. This is my first takeaway.

The movie DOES takes several turns from here on out as Sorbo's character embarks on a search for the meaning of those four words - LET THERE BE LIGHT. I see nothing hoaky or cheesy about it, just some good screenplay writing and as an evangelist and author myself - Gospel preaching. What some of our own evangelical critics of this movie may have forgotten is that the prime focus of a Christian and Faith-based movie is the Gospel. Using a former Italian 'wise guy' who spent 10 years in the joint and got saved when someone gives him a Gideon New Testament - his only companion for "three years in the hole" is genius. After all, the movie background is New York City and some of the best churches in NYC are in Brooklyn - the biggest being the Brooklyn Tabernacle, which covers every single nationality in the world. (Never mind the movie was filmed in Birmingham, Alabama! Lol).
Two hundred Gideon New Testaments 

like the one in the movie, handed out
at Inner City Trunk or Treat, 90 
minutes, to people who have never
had their bibles  - IN AMERICA

What Pastor "Vinny" does in his simple, funny and "goomba" - speak is to explain the Gospel of Salvation to an atheist better than some real preachers on TV and whom I know personally, who spent four years in seminary! He does that while having us laughing out loud.

I have been a Gideon Bible Society man for going on 23 years and have handed out 1000's and 1000's of Bibles to so many people as well as tens of thousands of tracts. I have had one man come looking for me at a Christian men's conference years ago, who said I gave him a gospel tract in front of a bar, during a parade once, and he didn't want to take it, but his wife did. These things have eternal consequences. As one who is hands on involved in evangelism no matter the neighborhood (from college campus to the inner city), there is something happening when the Word of God changes hands from me to a recipient. I just finished handing out 200 Orange New Testaments (student) to child and adult alike at an inner city "Trunk or Treat" Halloween replacement party for almost 400 people in a disadvantaged neighborhood. The hugs and love were icing on the cake. This was the second takeaway from LTBL - Pastor Vinny's Gideon bible from jail.


Kevin Sorbo and wife Samantha with real life son.
They all had a part in Let There Be Light.
My final takeaway, which actually had me teary-eyed, was Dr. Harkins' wife Katy (who is actually Kevin Sorbo's real-life wife, Samantha) and her explanation to her two (also real-life) sons as to why God chooses to answer prayers the way He does. Her two surviving sons were praying for her healing from a terminal disease and worried God was not listening to them. THIS is the sort of thing which each one of us as Christians and believers will ultimately face in life, as sure as we live and breathe. If we cannot explain it to someone else, or understand it ourselves, then there will be bitterness, doubt and even unbelief.

For me, this last portion of the Hannity-Sorbo creation was worth the entire endeavor - first, the risk of these great men taking a chance to make a movie like this and secondly, to have solid Bible based doctrine to apply to real life, and then write it into a screenplay like this. I think the misunderstanding of what a Christian movie, whether it is Let There Be Light or God's Not Dead (1 or 2) and some others is expectation.  Sure we want to be entertained and have high standards due to the production quality of mainstream Hollywood.  But a Christian movie is more than just watching Star Wars in IMAX and going "wow" for about 5-10 minutes afterwards. 

We expect something more life-enhancing, rich, solid and sound when we watch a Faith Based movie, whether is by Sorbo or David A.R. White or the Christiano Brothers. The good thing is - these men never disappoint and I for one, will continue to support these movies in the theaters. I have already started word of mouth among my own circle of friends of LBTL. Let's continue to do pass the word along, this holiday season!
Roll Tide
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