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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia: "Unprecedented Evangelism Opportunity?"

I just got a mailer from Focus on the Family trumping the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie. The headline on the envelope: Now, a major motion picture release provides an unprecedented evangelistic opportunity.

Pardon my tempered enthusiasm, but I could've sworn that many said the same about the Passion of the Christ movie last year. Yet its evangelistic impact was hardly unrivaled, historically speaking... consider the Great Awakenings, etc. And frankly, it seems that sinful men are more likely to turn to Christ in the context of opportunities like world disasters and personal crises than a movie about a lion -- unless seeds have been much sown already.

My question, in light of the excitement about Narnia, notwithstanding the Scriptural opportunity to "make the most of every opportunity" (Col. 4:5); how much are we succumbing to the entertainment-oriented technique-centric media-driven mentality of today's gospel-light American evangelical church in being (overly?) excited about this movie?

The FOTF newsletter states: "The imaginative legacy of C.S. Lewis is an ideal way to reach a whole new generation of hearts and minds!" Again, I wonder if too much emphasis is being poured into this great combination of Lewis' allegory—however illustrative and well-told—special effects and all; and too little on the power of God's Word to save (Romans 1:16, Isaiah 55:11).

Far more have been won into the Kingdom through the means of lives that exemplify the love and power and Word of Christ; than by fancy presentations and books and methods. I don't mean to be a skeptic, but I feel a need to have caution in being overly hyped about this movie. May we have well-balanced enthusiasm even as we ponder the opportunities that this movie may provide.

By the way, I don't mean to say I have no enthusiasm for this movie. I am enthusiastic. But that enthusiasm is primarily driven by my fondness for the original books and my enjoyment in the gospel as it is symbolized in the tales. Plus, I think the effects will be amazing, esp. since the team doing it is the same as that which did the great LOTR movies. I am not primarily viewing it as an evangelistic tool because of my above musings.