This is how I define a gospel movie. The story should center on Christ and his finished works. If the story plot does not meet that standard, it should not be regarded as a Christian movie. It’s not enough that the title of a movie looks ‘christianly,’ as long as the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is not at the crux of the story, it has no business being in the Christian genre.
Last month, at my place of work, a colleague invited me to a movie night in her church. When I asked what the title of the movie was, she responded by saying, A Fall from Grace by Tyler Perry.’ For several seconds, I stared at her in disbelief.
Even though it was too early in the day for a chit-chat, I took my time to narrate the story and gave her reasons why that movie should not be shown in a church gathering. True, I know Galatians five verse four used a similar phrase, ‘ye are fallen from grace’ to describe those justified by the law, the movie had absolutely nothing to do with that scripture. I had to ask if the leadership of her church had seen the movie or if they had just judged the content of the movie by the title.
What’s this movie about?
A Fall from Grace is a story about a woman who was charged for the murder of her husband. She was willing to plead guilty to the crime until a young lawyer came on board and suspected foul play in the conviction which led her to uncover some dark secrets apparently orchestrated by the woman’s best friend.
There is nothing really different about this movie from the usual thrillers we have scattered around. It is just an interesting secular movie that has nothing to do with Christ and the work on the cross. It doesn’t even come close. I know the title could attract the attention of anyone eager to see a faith-based movie. I had also thought it was something like what the Kendrick brothers or David White produced until I watched it and saw it had nothing to do with Christ.
Should A fall from Grace be shown in a church meeting? I do not think it proper. How can such a movie propagate the message of the gospel? How does it edify believers? I don’t have an issue if you watch it in your bedroom or go to the cinema to see it, but to gather believers and invite unbelievers to see a movie like that is just out of place.
One, from start to finish, there was nothing to show that the main character, Grace was a believer who fell back into self-effort. In fact, the only scene in the entire movie where we see what seemed like a religious activity was when Grace took her lover, Shanon, to church. In the scene, we saw a set of choristers in purple robes singing and that was all.
Secondly, Tyler Perry clearly rated the movie PG18 because of the presence of obscenity in the movie. If the producer of the movie could consider the movie inappropriate for children under 18, then how does a church want to effect that restriction? When we call for a movie night, are we going to say, ‘Children and teenagers below 18, can you get out of the hall?’ What message would we be trying to pass? Even if we decide to show such movies to mature adults should we even be sitting down in a church looking at naked buttocks and sexual content howbeit mildly portrayed?
Third, A fall from Grace has no biblical stand whatsoever. It carries two moral lessons. A warning against desperation to get into a relationship as well as the power of friendship and even though that might instill some form of morality, it does not translate to faith. The movie does not drive us closer to Christ in anyway. Our spirits are not edified. It will not make us love God more. There is no hope stirred up in our heart.
The last scene of the movie leaves you angry especially when you discovered that Grace’s best friend escaped and has proceeded to ruining another woman’s life. Please how does that lead us to pray? How does it drive us to meditate on God’s word after watching it?
As much as we want to get our congregation to relax once in a while and enjoy a good movie, if we are not careful, we might actually be creating an atmosphere for the devil to rule over the minds of the people. I think it’s important to prayerfully select movies for our Christian youth group meetings or church events.
This is in no way a spoiler for Tyler Perry’s movies. I have followed Tyler Perry consistently for several years and even though I am not always comfortable with the pattern of black women portrayed in a bad light in his movies, I respect his diligence and consistency to film making. But to refer to him as a gospel film maker merely because his stories carry moral lessons, I do not agree to that.
A fall from Grace is a crime thriller. Let’s call it what it is.
Have you watched the movie, A fall from Grace? What are your thoughts about the movie? Do you think such movies should be shown in Christian gatherings?
Read movie reviews: God calling by BB Sasore is deep in a quiet way.