A frail Mozambiquan woman watches the Jesus film and is healed of deafness. In rural China, house churches hold days-long services in 110-degree heat—with gusto. More strangely, in suburban Chicago, worshipers get gold teeth ex nihilo. In Christian circles, such "miracle stories" are typically met with glee, groans, or a mixture of tepid acceptance and doubt, depending on one's theological disposition. No matter your own, Finger of God (Wanderlust Productions) , a compelling 2007 documentary that recently released to dvd, was made to convince audiences that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to all Christians, and that miracles are manifest in the unlikeliest pockets of the globe.
The man doing the convincing is director Darren Wilson, a Judson University professor and former "unbelieving Christian" who aims his film at Christians who do not think the charismata are real, or who believe they ended in the apostolic era. Wilson's narration gives coherence to a mishmash of video footage and interviews with pastors, evangelists, and those who have been healed. Many of these are familiar faces of the charismatic movement, including Canon Andrew White, Heidi and Rolland Baker, Sid Roth, and John and Carol Arnott, founding pastors of the controversial Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.
With no script, borrowed equipment, and a paper-thin budget of $20,000, Finger is like a home video of a Pentecostal worship service—which is its strength and weakness. On one hand, this is not the flashy televangelist working his magic on stage; it's unpolished and captures the feel of true documentation. On the other, watching the miracles begins to feel voyeuristic. As one interviewee puts it, "The supernatural becomes the entertainment, because God is the most exciting, captivating being in the world." Well, yes, but is he here for our entertainment?
Still, Finger is surprisingly moving, especially when it finally connects all the miracles with the love ...