‘The River Thief’: Not the Typical Christian Movie

Alex Duke | October 28, 2016


It’s something of a pastime for Christians to look for Jesus at the movies. (Decades-old spoilers ahead!) There’s Neo from The Matrix trilogy, the “One” who sacrificed himself and was resurrected. There’s John Coffey from The Green Mile, the miracle-working inmate who was executed by the state for a crime he didn’t commit. There’s Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings trilogy who, by the end of the third film, is revealed as the returning king.

While some efforts to connect the dots to Christ are more tenuous than others, this kind of movie-watching is, perhaps to a fault, common among Christians.

So, too, are the “Christian movies” that lionize believers for their passion and perseverance amid trials of various kinds. In God’s Not Dead, for example, the scarecrow of classroom secularism rears its head, but the plucky and prayerful undergrad boldly takes a stand for Jesus; in Facing the Giants, the prayers of the saints lead, against all odds, to gridiron glory—and a long-awaited pregnancy.

These films traffic in certain tropes whose net effect is to make Christianity antiseptic and triumphant. They also tend to glide over humanity’s fallenness. So sin is often generalized, theoretical, and innocuous…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-river-thief-not-the-typical-christian-movie.