Why Evangelical Films Fail ( Peter J. Leithart )

Theologically speaking, character development is “sanctification.” A conversionist form of Christianity places less emphasis on sanctification than on conversion and justification. In films, that translates into drastic oversimplification of human psychology. For Evangelicals, there are only two sets of motivations, as there are two kinds of people: Saved and unsaved. While that is ultimately true, it is not the whole story.

Though I’m an Evangelical Protestant, I find the characters in a good mainstream film more psychologically real than characters in Evangelical films. It need not be so. One need only read a bit of Augustine’s Confessions or Pascal or Kierkegaard or Dostoevsky to get a taste for the possibilities of Christian psychology.

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