The Fighting Temptations is either a big-screen story about God's grace, or an example of Hollywood's anti-Christian agenda. It depends on which Christian film critic is arguing the case.

Pastor Mike Furches, a regular reviewer at Hollywood Jesus, couldn't wait to take his congregation to see The Fighting Temptations. Furches's inner-city church in Wichita, Kansas, has attracted many former gang members, drug addicts, and prostitutes. He wanted his congregation to see The Fighting Temptations because it was, in his view, a redeeming depiction of God's love. And where the movie showed Christians as hypocritical and judgmental, he used the portrayal as a teaching opportunity for his congregation to change those perceptions. The film also featured rousing music that fused hip-hop with gospel, something Furches says could be effective at his church.

But according to Ted Baehr, the movie's Gospel music soundtrack wasn't enough to outweigh its demeaning portrayal of Christians. And when Baehr considered that The Fighting Temptations was part of a wave of movies marketed directly to Christians, he burned with righteous indignation.

"They are now going to market borderline material and even anti-Christian material in the marketplace by buying airtime on Christian radio stations and finding susceptible Christians to promote this stuff," Baehr wrote on his Movieguide website. "The issue here is control. Hollywood wants to control the church audience."

These diverse Christian reactions to The Fighting Temptations signal the confluence of two trends. Movie producers are making more family-oriented films and often target church audiences in their promotions, and evangelicals are more engaged with movies than ever before.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
The Passion of Mel Gibson Subscriber Access Only
Why evangelicals are cheering a movie with profoundly Catholic sensibilities.
Current IssueYou Have God’s Blessing to Say ‘God Bless America’
You Have God’s Blessing to Say ‘God Bless America’ Subscriber Access Only
Why a faith that transcends all nations leaves room for patriotic devotion.
Current IssueOur July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption
Our July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption
How unwelcome change can lead to a fuller life.
RecommendedBernie Sanders Attacks Wheaton Grad’s Stance on Salvation
In Christ Alone: Bernie Sanders Attacks Wheaton Grad’s Stance on Salvation
Trump appointee hearing turns into a religious test for office.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickThe Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
The Church's Biggest Challenge in 2017
Let’s get unchurched evangelicals back into church, and prejudiced evangelicals back to the Bible.
Christianity Today
Multi(per)plexed
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.