Guest / Limited Access /

Denzel Washington is one of Hollywood's most successful and respected actors. But the two-time Academy Award winner (for 1989's Glory and 2001's Training Day) is also one of Hollywood's highest profile Christians.

The son of a Pentecostal preacher from Mount Vernon, New York, Washington, 55, has been an active member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ for nearly 30 years, reads his Bible every morning, and always chooses roles that he can "bend" in the direction of a positive message or a reflection of his deep personal faith.

Faith is everywhere in Washington's new post-apocalyptic film, The Book of Eli, which opens Friday and is being marketed with "B-ELI-EVE" and "D-ELI-VER US" billboards. In the movie, Washington plays a mysterious machete-wielding traveler named Eli, directed by God to protect the earth's last remaining copy of the Bible—that's right, the Bible—and to take it "out West" for safekeeping while villains seek to take it by force and use it as a "weapon" of control.

Washington's character in the film is intensely violent—severing the limbs of bad guys at every turn—but begins to soften when he meets an innocent girl (Mila Kunis) who reminds him that we can get so caught up in protecting God's Word that we sometimes forget to live by it.

For Washington, "living by it" is chiefly characterized by love and sacrifice. The ultimate message of Eli, he says, is "Do more for others than you would do for yourself." It's a message Washington was surrounded by as a boy.

"We prayed about everything, everyday," Washington told members of the religious media last week in Los Angeles. "And we always ended with 'Amen. God is love.' I thought 'God is love' was one word. It took me a long time to learn ...

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

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

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueCT Makers: 20 of the Most Creative Christians We Know
CT Makers: 20 of the Most Creative Christians We Know
Meet the artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists using fresh ideas for common good.
Current IssueBecca Stevens
Becca Stevens
Her booming survivor-run enterprise supports women in recovery.
RecommendedThe Secret Life of Pets
The Secret Life of Pets
A pleasant enough re-tread of every animated movie featuring talking animals that you've ever seen.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickThe Real Cost (and Power) of Seeking Justice
The Real Cost (and Power) of Seeking Justice
The murder of Willie Kimani can rally the global Body of Christ for an end to impunity.
Christianity Today
Keeping the Faith
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2010

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