Disappointing Noah Advice

Posted on March 24, 2014 | 33 comments


The Dove Sent Forth From the Ark, Gustave Dore, 1866

The Dove Sent Forth From the Ark, Gustave Dore, 1866

I have not seen the new movie Noah.

Neither have a lot of people.

Neither have a lot of people who are telling me that I shouldn’t see it.

And I find this very disappointing.

There are many in the church, church leaders, church talking heads, who are in an uproar and declaring that followers of Christ do not need to see the movie Noah.

In fact, they declare that we should be afraid to see Noah.

The narrative goes like this: it does use the word God, it has taken liberties with the story,and it changes the context of the biblical reasons for the flood.

My response to that is: why to we, as a Church, continue to expect spiritual understanding from those without the Spirit? (click to tweet)

It seems ridiculous for us to ask those who don’t believe they are sinners – in fact, who believe everyone is basically a good person – to believe that the flood is God’s judgment for sin.

Instead, the movie Noah is a chance for loving engagement with the world. It is a world created opportunity to open up a gospel discussion.

If it is true that the movie relates the flood to environmental causes, does this not provide an opportunity to talk about how God made mankind to be stewards of the world He created? It would seem a natural inroad to say, yes, God made everything, and He made the world good.

We could acknowledge that mankind has abused the creation and talk about how that is part of our broken nature to be users and manipulators and try to define our self and value apart from God.

What a gift to be able to talk about how God promises to restore all things to his intended order in the new heavens and new earth.

The movie Noah is not to be feared, it is a gift. To use a sports analogy, it is a pitch right – down – the – middle.

One of the big complaints I’ve read an heard is that Noah is portrayed as doubting. Saying “why do you not answer me?

First, that seems like an acknowledgment of God. Second, while this is not in the Bible, is it so outlandish to think that a man who spent 120 years building a boat in the desert, amid the scorn and derision of world filled to the brim with sin, would have times of frustration, doubts, and feeling like God is distant? Sounds like a typical week for me.

And that provides another mode of discussion about the movie. Aligning our experience with the experience of those who see the movie and may want to ask questions. Following Jesus is tough.

It is disappointing the church leaders drum up fear. Rather than engaging the culture around us, it seems to be the desire of some to bully the culture we live in. That won’t work as a strategy to get people to hear the life changing message of the gospel.

Followers of Jesus have truth. We have love. If gates of hell will not prevail, then certainly we have nothing to fear against a big-budget Hollywood flick.

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  1. I don’t intend to see the movie, and am very disappointed because there are many Christians who will support it financially while it leads to more wrong thinking for people as to the real meaning of this part of the Bible. There is another movie out by Living Waters which is about the biblical Noah and I would rather support that. I don’t think the point you chose to take here as your main point is the one I would argue against at all but rather my reasoning would be with the movie being based on a Bible incident (not story) which is then changed so much that it is no longer at all true to the Bible. This causes confusion for many Christians and also means that non Bible readers will indeed come away with the thought of what they saw on the screen being the same as the account in the Bible and of course we are all very well aware that what we see and hear stays much more in our minds than the little we have read.

    • Any Christians who are confused by movies based on biblical stories really, really need to spend some time reading the book. This should not be a point of confusion for Christians!

  2. Surely you are free to watch it if you want. The jury is still out on whether I will, but to say we have to watch filth (which this may be, I do not know) to align ourselves with others who do and may need guidance? That is like saying we should live in sin, or use drugs, or view pornography so that we can “understand” better those who do. That is lunacy, pure and simple. To be a disciple of Christ is to stand as a witness of HIM at all times and in all thing and in all places. Hollywood has nothing to do with that. We stay as far away from evil as we can, not walk next to the edge of the cliff just so we can prove to ourselves how close we can live to sin and still be a follower of Christ. If you want a loving dialogue with the world, live a Christ like life and others will notice. They will desire what you have because there is no better way to be.

    • Thanks Janine, glad you visited, read, and I hope you come back. I support you freedom to make whatever decision about seeing Noah as you want, but to equate seeing a fictionalize retelling with seeing porn or intentionally partaking in sinful behaviors is a bit unfair. Paul did say that he strove to be “all things to all people” and I believe part of that is understanding their context, while not condoning or participating, and beliefs about the world in order to talk about Jesus.

  3. I think the movie is a good chance for believers to discuss the story of Noah.

  4. “… it does use the word God, it has taken liberties with the story, and it changes the context of the biblical reasons for the flood.” I find this perspective interesting (in a sad way) b/c there is one book, it’s called a Bible and many (if not most of us) ‘take liberties’ with its story – all the different denominations prove that. In that line of thinking it would narrow our communication with brothers and sisters and assume that our own little corner of the world is the ONLY interpretation that is correct.

    Also, in contexts such as these I prefer to settle where Jesus wasn’t pleased with His disciples and said, “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by JUST GIVING YOU A CUP of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice. [I put that in caps b/c there is nothing ‘super spiritual’ about just a cup of water]

    I’m guessing these types of proponents would be the same ones that say there is no good that can come of the song Spirit in the Sky because Norman Greenbaum is not a Christian.

    I’m on board with you, it’s an awesome opportunity for dialogue about Jesus rather than Christianity. We will be going to see it with another family that we are just getting to know.

    • Thanks Robyn. Good point, God shows over and over that He is able to use the lost for his purposes – think the rebuilding of the wall – He is the creator and sustainer of the universe, after all.

  5. Great post! Forwarding this to my hubby who heard all that is said about the movie but still wants to see it!

  6. I agree! I find it very disappointing that people condemn a movie before having seen it. I want to see the movie!

  7. Thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” Hollywood can’t seem to get most Bible stories right, but they are entertaining never the less. We seldom if ever attend the theatre, so we don’t plan to see the movie, but my husband says they (or someone) built an ark to show that it was possible for Noah to house all the animals.

    • I’ve read they actually did do much research. Which stands to my original point, we cannon expect those living without the Spirit to understand spiritual things.

  8. It’s just a movie. Watch it as a hollywood movie. get on with your life. 🙂

  9. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Scott. I think this is a great opportunity for discussions that probably would never have been discussed if not for a big, controversial blockbuster like Noah. I’m also grateful that the producers decided to add a disclaimer or statement that it is a fictionalized account of the flood. If they were claiming it was all or mostly truth, then I think we’d have the confusion that Sandra mentioned above. I think this is a lot like Myley Cyrus’ controversy. She did things that people {myself included} found terribly objectionable, but she gained so much popularity and buzz because of it. It was a great move for her career. I know that God will redeem this controversy for His good purposes better than any pop-idol might achieve–drawing all men to Him. Thanks for sharing, Scott. I didn’t know some of the details you shared here today and I’ll be sharing this on social media!

    • Yes, too true. Hollywood is all about buzz, and aren’t we all just unwittingly feeding the frenzy! I agree with you about the disclaimer. Thanks for being on this site, Beth!

  10. Thank you very much for your perception. My husband and I are still undecided about the movie and I am trying to learn as much as I can before making a judgement.

  11. I have not seen the movie. I realized long ago that I generally do not usually like movies about biblical stories.

    Of necessity, screenplay writers take artistic license with whatever book they are adapting to being told in movie media. I’ve come to accept that, in general. However, it always seems a bit sacreligious to take artistic license with the word of God. I also tend to shy away from reading Christian fiction for similar reasons…it seems borderline heretical to make God a character in a book who does the will of the writer…who acts as the writer expects or desires Him to act…

    However, for those who do see the movie, I say good for them! I’m glad they have an interest in the biblical story. If they like the movie, I hope they read the book. If they don’t like the story, I hope they read the book…because I know the book is better than the movie! 🙂

    • That is a true point, Peter Jackson has totally changed The Hobit. I hope the movie gets someone who never has to read the actual biblical story of Noah. Thanks, Joe for sharing.

  12. I totally wholeheartedly agree with your opinion. Thing why people dislike Christians (in general) is because they are separatists. They want to push away anything that doesn’t agree. They are afraid. We (in general and not just Christians) need to bring together – and generate a conversation. I have never heard of this movie (which isn’t surprising since we don’t have cable) but would I see it? Yes. It would open the conversation. It opens the door in a non-threatening and comfortable way (just so long as people don’t get all defensive and continue to push people away). How are non-Christians to get interested and feel comfortable if Christians are always so defensive and downright rude. It’s counterproductive. You can be strong in your faith and still sensitive to the people around you. Whether we like it or not, everyone is different. We all have different beliefs. It’s about opening the door – discovering – learning – education abd civil and friendly conversations. You want to have more people come unto your faith, you start the conversation with love and understanding. You show them a cross and tell them that they are going to hell – you will loose them without the first word even being uttered. And, they will hate you.

    Fact is, non-Christians aren’t going to go see a biblical based movie. They are not. Why should they? But they will go to this, and that’s a start. You always have a choice to walk through an open door, but if it’s slammed shut and locked tight – they always go home.

    Thanks so much for linking up this insightful post at the Mommy Monday Blog Hop.

    • Thanks for sharing. It seems to be a stepping stone for conversation if we’ll let it be. Glad you stopped by the blog.

  13. I agree it opens the door for a wonderful chance to share Gods Word. People love to get all riled up about these biblical movies. I think its awesome that anything inspired of the word of God in theaters is pretty awesome!

  14. Great post. I plan on seeing the movie. I know it was made by Hollywood and they take liberties with everything, but maybe it will open a discussion in which I can share my beliefs. Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tricks.

  15. I have mixed feelings about see the movie. Hugh Hewitt saw it and liked it. I may see it and then make a judgement call.
    Saw your link on http://easylifemealandpartyplanning.blogspot.com/2014/03/four-seseasons-blog-hop-44.html

  16. Great points! My husband and I really want to see the movie. Not because it’s based on the Bible {seeing any movie made by Hollywood for that reason will be disappointing}, but because it looks interesting. I so agree that the church has to stop expecting the world to hold the Word of God in high esteem. The world will never do so. We |the church| shoot ourselves in the foot when we so vocally show disdain for the world. We should have the compassion that Christ has for the ungodly; at the very least we should pray for God to grant to us His compassion for the world. I think we often forget to pray for God to save the souls of movie makers, producers and actors, A-list all the way down. Hollywood isn’t a separate entity that God doesn’t want to reach and yet in all of our hostility towards Hollywood, what are we doing to proclaim the Gospel {our sin and God’s incredible rescue plan} to them? It has to start with love. Jesus didn’t condone the sin of those He was saving, but He looked at them with eyes of compassion and love first. Then saving them, He called them to go and sin no more. Not the other way around.

  17. Have not heard of the movie until today. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons!

  18. Haven’t seen the movie. I probably won’t. Thanks for sharing on Whatever Wednesday at Thank You Honey! Have a fabulous weekend! Hope to see you next week! How about those Gator!

  19. We are still hearing the Terrible news coming out Oso, WA. A terrible tragedy that could have been avoided if the people had only listed to the warnings. Many times the community was warned that they were sitting on a possible dangerous mudslide area and should move. Apparently most did not pay any attention to the warnings – – just like in Noah’s day. Even today we have scoffers who do not believe that Jesus is ever going to return. I say we do NOT know when He will return for just one and he does this every day! It behoves us to be ready for He surely will return as He said.

  20. I so appreciate your thoughts on the drumming up of fear. It troubles me that our society’s fear mongering is so common within the church. We lose opportunity for loving engagement by doing the very thing God has told us repeatedly not to do: fear. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I visited from Inspire Me Monday this morning and I’m glad I did.

  21. Thank you for the thoughts about the movie. I probably won’t see it until it comes out on DVD or Netflix because our tiny town only shows one movie at a time, and they only change selections once every two or three weeks ;). I’m not much of a movie watcher, because I’d rather read the book. My daughter saw it, and she went into it with an open mind, and the thing that bugged her the most is that the theater was full of parents with little kids (pre-school aged children)! I think that as Christians, our job is to not mindlessly do what the world does. Neither should we automatically condemn things that don’t seem to fit our mold of what Christianity looks like. I agree with you that we should use the movie as a springboard for dialogue. Dropping by from Inspire Me Mondays :).

  22. Hi Scott – I haven’t seen the movie, but I don’t like the idea of some Christian leaders using fear tactics and bullying regarding movies and other aspects of the culture they don’t like. Thanks so much for sharing this with the Let’s Get Real party.

  23. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly

  24. Hollywood takes liberty with every book ever made into a movie. I have yet to see a movie and say “Wow, that was so much better than the book!” I would expect no less from a movie based on Biblical events.

  25. Thanks for this. I had heard all the reasons why we shouldn’t see it and felt much the same as you do. Sadly there are so few {Christians included} who really know the true character of God that one Hollywood movie is hardly going to make a difference. It may even succeed in getting people to read the biblical account, or at the very least engage in a conversation about God. {what was it Paul said about those who were preaching Jesus with the motive of making things harder for him in prison?} Let us not forget Who is in control, working things for good and His glory. This version of Noah has certainly not taken God by surprise.

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