A friend recommended the movie A Matter of Faith and I watched the movie. Released in 2014, the film is directed by Rich Christiano and stars Harry Anderson, Jordan Trovillion, Jay Pickett, and Clarence Gilyard. Christiano is an American filmmaker, who has directed, produced and written many Christian films, such as The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry and Time Changer. I’ve watched the former two and they are good.
Harry Anderson (Cheers, Night Court) was the standout actor amid some good-ish but slightly amateur actors, which is usually the case with under-budgeted Christian films. However that was not a deterrent since the film’s premise was so well unfolded.
The movie begins with a family delivering a young college girl to her dorm and encouraging her as they leave her to begin her first year of college. She was raised a Christian and claims to be a Christian, but the girl finds her faith challenged by her biology professor (Anderson) who is an atheist and totally committed to evolution.
A Christian friend supports her but other friends she meets in the dorm and around campus draw her away from her Christian stance, and soon she does not know what to believe. She is freewheeling in limbo, a position that becomes more untenable as the dad’s concern over his daughter increases and he travels to the college to meet with the biology professor. The dad is trapped into agreeing to debate the Prof in public over evolution v creation, which embarrasses his daughter to no end and causes a split between them.
A sub-story that emerges is that years ago, the Biology professor had gotten his creationist colleague fired. Bitter and unhelpful, the ex-professor refuses to help the dad when the dad appeals to him for help in researching material for the debate with the atheist evolutionist.
The dad fears he is not up to the task of debating a superlative speaker such as the biology professor and wonders how to mend the rift with his daughter, and the plot builds to the climactic moment when the debate opens.
I thought the writer did a god job of presenting the myriad issues in a subtle but realistic manner. Any young girl or guy attending college away from home for the first time will be tested, and the world is experienced at drawing away the unwary.
One of my favorite lines is when the girl’s Christian friend at college explains to her that the reason the biology professor is so popular is that he gives a grade of C just for showing up. The girl agrees. Yet the boy says that underlying this unusual grading scheme is a satanic ploy to get as many people as possible into his classes, for the express purpose of delivering atheistic philosophy so as to confuse the weak in faith. “The world is not our friend. The professor has an agenda.” Connecting the grading scheme to the Professor’s intent to delude seemed to surprise the girl. “But he’s so nice! And popular!”
Though we who are more mature readily see these things, youth who are out from under a parent’s wing for the first time may not immediately see the connection.
The girl’s spiritual disciplines waned as other, worldly temptations came her way. She delays finding a church, she has drifted away from reading her Bible, she has not made any Christian friends, nor has she sought out any Christian activities or clubs. And this leaves a vacuum for the ideas of the plausible biology professor to enter in.
The film was clean, with no modesty issues or profanity. It showed the issues facing youth when they leave home for the first time, whether it is to a job, college, or military. The dad was shown as grounded in his church, submitted to his pastor, and leading his family as a shepherd. The usual worldly temptations were shown yet without the usual explicitness. Recommended.
The film brought to mind the testimony of Michael Kruger. Below at the link to The Gospel Coalition, Kruger describes his first year at college in a 6-minute video. Kruger gives students, parents and guardians some solid advice. The essay with accompanying video is titled How to Survive World Religions 101 but could just as easily be titled How to Survive Biology 101.
Michael Kruger on Facing the Challenges of a Secular University Environment
August 27, 2015
Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.
Many students can relate. Churches often have a hard time preparing their youth for a secular university environment. They equip them on a moral level, which is good and important, yet fail to prepare them intellectually and doctrinally. So how can churches better brace young people for the day their faith will be challenged, attacked, and deemed intellectually indefensible by professors and peers?
In this new video, Kruger, president and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, shares some of the lessons he learned in college. He encourages students to check their expectations, prepare for opposition, dig for answers, and more. Above all, he urges them to anchor themselves in the local church.
I know that many of you are looking for good, clean movies for yourselves or for your children or family. They are hard to come by, we all know this. A friend sent me a link to a movie streaming site called PureFlix. It is based on Netflix, the original streaming movie site, and claims to show only pure films, good for the family of faith. However as the friend says also, one would suppose one would need as much discernment on PureFlix as would be needed at any “Christian bookstore” since so much heresy and doctrines from other faiths is mixed in with the gold. Here is the synopsis of PureFlix,
Pure Flix Entertainment is a Christian film production company, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company produces, distributes, acquires and markets Christian and family-friendly films
Just an FYI for you guys. I do not subscribe to PureFlix so I can’t review it. However I see on the home page I see that at least, blessedly, one can scroll through the offerings safely without having to shield young eyes as you have to do on Hulu or even Netflix. The movie covers shown are clean.