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The Message Behind the Movie: How to Engage With a Film Without Disengaging Your Faith [Paperback]

By Douglas Beaumont (Author)
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Item Number 90741  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.47 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2009
Publisher   Moody Publishers
ISBN  0802432018  
EAN  9780802432018  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Christian books on movies often expose Hollywood's messages without teaching what to do about them or how to turn those messages into opportunities for sharing the gospel. In contrast, with this book readers will be able to understand the basics of movie interpretation, identify and interpret key ideas, and provide an uncomplicated defense of the Christian worldview. --from publisher description

Publishers Description

Some Christians denounce nearly every move that Hollywood produces; others celebrate even the most morally and artistically questionable. While most Christians can agree on the cultural importance of films, very few are able to interpret movies with insight and understanding. Apologetics professor and film lover Doug Beaumont wants moviegoers to become more informed viewers, by better grasping the cinematic techniques and genre considerations that filmmakers use to communicate their central themes. He also wades into hot-button issues of nudity, violence, and language in movies, helping Christians to more carefully evaluate celluloid depictions of sin.
Packed with quote and excerpts from many of Hollywood's most successful films, and from some of the indie favorites that have gained cult followings, "The""Message Behind the Mov"ie is a fun and enlightening look at the art from that defines our age.

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More About Douglas Beaumont

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! DOUGLAS M. BEAUMONT is pursuing a Ph.D. at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, NC. He teaches Bible and Philosophy at Southern Evangelical Bible College and speaks around the country on various topics related to Christianity. His work has been published in The Christian Apologetics Journal, The Baker Dictionary of Cults and World Religions, and he was the one of the only Protestant writers to be included in The Best Catholic Writing 2006. He lives with his wife, son, bird, and dog in Charlotte, NC.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A must-read for movie-loving Christians  May 5, 2010
This is a relatively short and easy-reading book, but one which is packed with lots of original ideas along with practical application in the area of approaching pop culture (movies in particular) as a platform for evangelism.

Beaumont seeks to define a Biblical perspective of movie watching that sits somewhere between the two extremes of those who reject and withdraw from all things secular, and those who consume everything Hollywood has to offer without discernment. How do we balance our sanctification with our need to engage the culture around us?

The book is divided into three "Acts": Watching & Understanding Movies (discerning the underlying suppositions and significance of the story), Evaluating & Discussing Movies (discerning how specific elements of a movie present ideas such as salvation, the existence of God, the nature of truth, etc.), and Applauding & Avoiding Movies (discerning which movies are "acceptable" for the Christian to watch). Each Act contains a short fictional example of evangelistic conversations that can come out of discussing films.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the way that it has made me think more about what movies I will watch, and to think more critically of those that I do. There were times I wasn't sure I would like where I thought he was going, but his conclusions (which I'll leave up to you to read for yourself!) pull it all together, and his final authority is always the Word of God. Highly recommended!
A really good book to read!  Apr 5, 2010
I read the book The Message Behind the Movie, it was a pleasant surprise. I loved that it was to the point and it did not ramble. I very much liked what he said in the book. Bottom line:this is a really good book and I have recommended it to my friends and family.
Great book, Great Bang for the Buck!! Worth every page  Jul 28, 2009
This is indeed a great book written in a much needed time. It is very objective and gives great insights in the movie culture for everybody. This book not only allows Christians to no longer dread movies but it provides a tool where movies can be appreciated and critically analyized for meaning, message and relevance etc.

This book can be utilized as a key resource not just for churches, but also parents, school clubs, and even for personal growth. We need good books that will equip the people truthfully about the media. This area cannot be ignored as the movie industry has formulated the culture of the present generation.

It is must have indeed.
The book will inevitably bless even the most experienced of movie buffs.  Jul 19, 2009
When I first read the title of the book, "The Message Behind The Movie" , my initial response to the title was, the message behind all the movies made today is bad! Now I don't claim to be a movie critic, but I do admit to being very critical of the product put out by Hollywood these days. It is not an opinion I have had all my life, fact is until a I gave my life to Christ I was more of an agnostic when it came to my opinion of movies. Like many Americans, I was oblivious to the influence movies and television had on the way I looked at the world. Whenever I heard others complaining about the bad influence movies had upon society I would shrug my shoulders and consider them a bit too critical for life. I mean, after all, it was just entertainment as far as I was concerned.

When I gave my life to Christ, those rose colored glasses I saw the world through cracked, and the truth began to seep into my consciousness. I began to see the world differently as I started to realize how much of my life has been influenced by the movies I have watched through the years. Eventually I became so enraged by the way Hollywood movies had become propaganda films for leftist political agendas and immoral lifestyles that I not only stopped going to movies but I also gave up on television. So when a friend asked me to read a book about the movies, I hesitated until I read the title, "The Message Behind The Movie". While it was the title that grabbed my curiosity, it was the smoothness of the way the book flowed and the value of its message that made me eager to write this review.

Before I embarked upon my task however, I wanted to know what those whom this book is targeted towards thought about today's movies. In a recent poll of 2513 people, 71% responded that many movies are bad and some are good, while 17% said that all movies are garbage. Interestingly, only 10% thought movies were either harmless entertainment or mostly good. Here is a sampling of some comments I received as to my question I posted on [...] & [...] Post Scripts, "What's Your Opinion of Today's Movies";

Libby (PS) "The current penchant for remakes is kinda creepy. The youngsters have nothing of their own to say? "

Jim (PS) "Let me clarify my thought about bad movies. It's a lot like fast food, most of which is unhealthy junk. However a lot of people are willing to pay for this junk, so these companies stay in business."

Jack (PS) "I believe that movies today are designed for people with a low IQ or low education, since they mostly appeal to prurient interests or things that go boom!"

Petronski (FR) "At least two, maybe three, films per year are really quite good. "

robomatik (FR) "good movies are rare, but Hollywood does put out a few good ones from time to time."

demshateGod (FR) "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1) That pretty much rules out all movies."

RoadTest (FR) "My opinion of today's movies is that they are unfit for human consumption.

Check6 (FR) "Much worse than worthless. "

Tammy8 (FR) "I don't watch many movies- I hate to spend good money and be disappointed... it takes the right kind of movie to even interest hubby and I. "

TheOldLady (FR) "Movies are one of the ways that the left has taken over the country.......... If it's too much propaganda and not enough entertainment, we just hit "eject".......

Then there was this comment by a Freeper named, 3catsanadog that pretty much summed up my take;
"There are not too many movies made anymore that will inspire me to get out and watch them in a theater. I also don't feel like spending my hard earned money on some lib propaganda and lib movie star."

My feeling towards movies put me with the 90% who find very little, if anything, redeemable in today's movies. When considering those the author is trying to reach, I must admit that I would be a prime candidate to see if reading his book proves valuable in the task that he proposes.

Douglas Beaumont, the author, is an instructor at Southern Evangelical Seminary where he is also pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion. A self-proclaimed movie junkie, Doug wanted to unite his interest in theology, philosophy, and apologetics with his love of film. In "The Message Behind The Movie", Doug attempts to help the reader do a better job of interacting with the secular culture by understanding the movies that shape and reveal it. By introducing various aspects of how a story is told the reader will find himself better equiped to steer non-believers into discussions about faith, a process the author calls cinevangelism. It may seem strange and almost heretical to mention secular entertainment and evangelism in the same sentence, but in Acts 17 Paul himself used Greek philosophical arguments from creation to lead pagan philosophers to Christ. It is these kinds of eye opening methods that Doug leads the reader through while providing a foundation of Scriptural truths that will help a believer properly evaluate a movie.

"The Message Behind The Movie" is written in three acts much like the ancient structure of plays were divided by Aristotle into three acts. Each act is then divided into chapters that explain how stories and characters develop along established patterns that have been followed since Syd Field wrote his landmark book, "Screenplay". These lessons are significant when you consider that most moviegoers don't usually think in terms of character or structure while watching a movie. The book will inevitably bless even the most experienced of movie buffs.

Act One, the author explains how movies communicate through various means and how to understand the way stories are told. The reader is introduced to such characters as the protagonist and the herald, along with how to pay attention to the sights and sounds. The first section closes out with a discussion of the way the story is told, its supposition presented, and how to put all this information into practice so you can properly understand a film. By the end of the first section you have a better understanding of how to let a movie speak for itself without distractions interfering with its message. I was unable to set the book down at this point, as I was eagerly awaiting the next section and the lessons I would glean from it.

Act Two gives the reader a lesson in how to properly discuss and evaluate the different aspects of a movie, whether that be religious, philosophical, theological, or Scriptural. It is no secret that Hollywood either portrays Christianity as an outdated religion whose followers are narrow minded, or it presents a false gospel that leads people away from the truth. This section was my favorite in that Doug shows off his apologetical skills by presenting various lessons on how to defend the faith and by pointing out negatives and positives of the movie's message, without getting into a deep religious discussion that would turn off non Christians.

In the final chapter, Act Three, the author discusses the issues that Christians raise about the value of movies and introduces principles that can be applied when choosing which movies to watch and which ones to avoid. Many Christians, in defending their stance for or against movies, will use various verses from the Bible. The author takes these Scriptures and puts them in their proper context to help the reader better understand his take on the value movies can have for cinevangelizing. As I finished reading this last chapter I must honestly say I felt better equipped to not only understand the message behind the movie, but also how to use the message as a tool to defend and proclaim my faith as a Christian. It is my opinion that Christians who enjoy going to the movies should read "The Message Behind The Movie", before they see their next film. I understand Sandra Bullock has a new movie called "The Proposal" playing at the theater; I think I'll take my wife to the movies.
Must Read  Jul 12, 2009

Allow me to preface my review of Doug Beaumont's latest title, The Message Behind the Movie, by first providing some background as to my own evolution of perspectives regarding Christians and Hollywood. I grew up in a vehemently separatist, fundamentalist branch of Christianity. As I grew in age and interests I would often times find my desire to see the latest summer blockbuster running in opposition to the wishes of and teaching and warnings of my pastors. The mantra "Nothing good can come from Hollywood" reverberated throughout their sermons as they would wax eloquent on the evils of motion pictures. So, needless to say, this anti-cinema conditioning caused a great deal of confusion in my life and especially my newfound life in ministry. I would be told that if a Christian attends a film he/she has disqualified themselves from spiritual leadership and service to the church.

As I struggled with these issues I began to see examples throughout the Scriptures in which Paul quoted from popular media (I realize I am using this term anachronistically) in his presentation of the Gospel to a pagan world. As I wrestled with the methodology of Paul in contrast to the teaching I was so indoctrinated with I stumbled across There I found that Doug's blog provided clear and coherent answers to the claim that "Nothing good can come from Hollywood." Rather than abandoning the popular media, Doug provided a Biblical framework in which a believer could evaluate a film, digest the good elements and use various points in communicating the Gospel. Finding someone so balanced on the Scriptures and with such a positive outlook on a Christian's ability to be "in the world" but not "of the world" was quite refreshing and encouraging. That was a number of years ago now and yet I remember even then thinking, "This guy REALLY needs to write a book about this stuff!" Well, finally Doug has and I Am excited to be one of the reviewers selected by Moody Publishers to give my take on this excellent text.

First, Doug opens The Message Behind the Movie by spending six chapters (ACT ONE) discussing how to understand various elements of movies. I particularly enjoyed the chapter entitled "Can Anything Good Come Out of Hollywood." During these first six chapters Doug lays a solid framework around the nature of storytelling through the media of film. This is quite significant because, as odd as it sounds, many people simply do not understand how to watch a film. Viewers routinely sit back and watch the images stream by as one would watch a car passing them on the interstate. There is no introspection, there is no evaluation, and certainly there is no worldview consideration taking place. The Message Behind the Movie appeals for Christians to first understand how to watch a film before laying down principles regarding how to use and discuss a film.

The Second section of the book (ACT TWO) delves deeper into how one goes about evaluating various elements of the story being presented in a given film. In his chapter on "Discussing Movies Religiously" Doug points out something that I believe to be a key element in movie evaluation. Doug notes that while Hollywood as a whole disdains the notion that human beings are "sinners" there is still a steady stream of films that resonate the theme of salvation (pg. 86). Such themes provide an excellent spring board upon which one can engage non-believers in a dialogue regarding the Biblical theme of salvation. Doug then moves his focus to how one discusses a film both philosophically and theologically. He does an excellent job pointing out that practically all films make assertions regarding the nature of truth, reality, and the existence of God. It would serve the Christian well to know how to understand and to interact with these assertions. As the educational culture in our nation becomes less text driven and more technology driven it becomes imperative that Christians understand how to use the assertions being made in popular film to engage in a dialogue regarding one's worldview.

Doug provides a fitting conclusion to his book (ACT THREE) by reminding believers of the Biblical imperative to avoid evil and to honor God in all that we do. However, in his classic fashion, Doug attempts to correct popular misunderstandings of texts such as I Thessalonians 5:22. He points out that many Christians take this to mean that anything that appears to have evil elements must be avoided, however, the text actually encourages the believer to abstain from every form of genuine evil, not things that simply appear evil on the surface. In his concluding remarks Doug leaves his readers with a sobering reminder, one I believe provides a fitting conclusion regarding any debate about what a believer should or should not consume from popular media. The text he quotes from Scripture that most resonates with me was I Thessalonians 5:21 "examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good."

In conclusion, I am very grateful for The Message Behind the Movie. The nascent form of this book found in Doug's blog impacted my life at a critical point and I believe this text will impact many believers struggling with the same issues I had to face. Now, as an instructor of Apologetics and Theology I plan to use this text as an example of how one can critically engage the culture and remain relevant without losing one's faith. This is a MUST read!

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