Is the new Keanu Reeves movie really something evangelicals can use to teach biblical truth?
PASADENA — The horror movie Constantine features demons, exorcisms, readings from a Satanic Bible, suicide, a priest who uses vulgarity, graphic depictions of hell and a gory scene involving an electric chair.
Many evangelical Christians eagerly await the movie’s opening on Friday.
These pastors, seminary students and youth leaders say Constantine will provoke valuable discussions about subjects like heaven and hell, angels and demons, and God and salvation. They cite the film as an example of God using unusual channels to communicate with people.
The movie is the latest and perhaps most extreme example of the evangelical embrace of popular culture. Those who recommend the movie acknowledge the R-rated film’s graphic nature and muddled theology.
In the film, Keanu Reeves plays a man who has the ability to see angels and demons, the latter of which he hunts and destroys in an attempt to earn his way into heaven. It’s violent, fast-paced and utterly appealing to the same type of evangelicals who enjoyed discussing the philosophical and religious beliefs that undergirded The Matrix.
Just because a film deals with the supernatural doesn’t mean it’s worth seeing. If Constantine promotes a theology of works, as it appears from the trailers (kill demons, earn your way into heaven), we as Christians need to be prepared to explain why that’s wrong (and stupid–demons are a lot older, smarter, and stronger than you and me).
That doesn’t mean, however, we should use it as a Bible study.
If you’re looking for a good movie with plenty of meat to stimulate thought and discussion of biblical themes, try Signs or O Brother, Where Art Thou.