By Elizabeth Prata
American Gospel: Christ Alone explores the core question of Christianity, ‘What is the gospel?’ through the distorting lens of American culture. It is written and directed by Brandon Kimber and features interviews from many well-known American preachers and some not so well known. What IS the Gospel, is explored in detail and biblically. Even those familiar with the Gospel of Jesus Christ will come to a deeper understanding and appreciation for the miraculous method for salvation Jesus enacted by his life, death, and resurrection.
It also features testimonies and anecdotes by lay people who have undergone a radical conversion either from atheism, or a false version of Christianity. Their stories of finding joy in experiencing the true Gospel revealed to them by the grace of the Holy Spirit is deeply moving.
The film also examines how this wondrous Gospel has been twisted in America into a prosperity recipe for the accumulation of wealth, a piling up of fleshly desires, with Jesus simply as a Genie dispensing to us the lusts of our heart. Wrath, death, sin, sacrifice, and cross are words that have been removed in our alteration of this Gospel, and exported to the world as the normal face of Christianity.
It is this fact that wounds most deeply, and is done simply by contrasting the biblical version of true Gospel with the gross and putrid exports from well-known prosperity preachers. The comparison is done fairly and humanely, with pointed but loving testimony from many people, including Costi Hinn, nephew of the famous faith healer prosperity preacher Benny Hinn. Truly, one wants to fall on one’s face begging the Lord for forgiveness and repentance for them and for ourselves if we have ever had any part in it. The sterling brightness of the Gospel shines brightly in this film, and anything that approaches it in lies or twists are immediately seen for what they are: gross deceptions and hateful rebellion.
Coming in at 2 hours and 18 minutes, it’s long, but it doesn’t feel long. For me, it took even more time to watch, however. I paused the film numerous times to pray, cry, pace, or open my Bible and read. The truths presented in the film take time to absorb. For me, it was a trial to my heart, but a good one.
This film is edited to perfection. The cinematography is stupendous. The men interviewed the film are articulate, obviously grace filled, and loving. The documentary can be rented for $4.99 with a 48-hour watch window, or purchased for permanent download or on DVD.
For a weekend pairing I’d suggest watching American Gospel and Spotlight, the secular film chronicling the investigation into the first Catholic priest pedophile scandal in Boston during the early 2000s. Both films show (though Spotlight inadvertently) the power of the Gospel and the devastation of a false one.