I usually don’t do the movie reviews but this might be my first one. I have watched this one twice.
I don’t want to really address the actual topic of the movie but two things that stand out to me in the real portrayal of the actual circumstances of what usually goes on in this kinda thing.
The movie is called “Come Sunday’, it was aired in 2018 about a real pastor that was becoming a real inspirational speaker in the denomination of the church. I would recommend this movie for just watching on the two reasons that I will talk about but also the main focus of the movie is the subject of ‘universalism’, which I will touch on a little.
This is no bad rap on the actual movie on what I am going to say, I believe that it is accurate perception of the way things are done and I hope that it is seen as a glaring problem in the ‘church’ today wherever you go. The movie was well put together in the cast and dialogue, and uses the time frame of the issues for references to bring out the storyline.
The storyline is that of a preacher in a very successful denomination, in a megachurch, in a up and becoming town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This pastor bringing his weekly sermon to his parishioners with gusto and life changing decisions being made is making a big difference in his community. He has the backing of the denomination, his board, the people and the community. His message of ‘you must be saved’ by a ‘personal commitment’ to Jesus to get to Heaven is tested when He is at home one evening and watches the news.
The national news program is on the tv, when the broadcast is telling of the Rwandan Genocide in Africa. As the news anchor is talking He hears the reporter tell of the details of the story. He soberly tells the news of over 800,000 people who have died in the genocide attacks. This fact is devastating to the Pastor(Carlton Pearson) of the crime that was committed in africa, but it is more devastating to him that those 800,000 people did not have the chance to have that ‘personal commitment’ to ‘be saved’ before their deaths.
It is then that the pastor realizes that ‘what he has been preaching’ is wrong. How could God not allow all those people a ‘chance’ to act on their commitment to be saved without a chance to do so, when their life was cut so short, of women,children and elderly? This was not in Carlton’s understanding on how God worked? Something was wrong in the theology of his ministry.
It isn’t until later that night that Carlton hear’s a voice from God telling him that ‘All are Saved’! Then he see’s in his bible all the scriptures in the bible that reaffirms this fact that God’s love and His son dying on the Cross for ‘All mankind’ is the ‘All are saved’ paradigm by God.
He then goes to the pulpit in his next week’s sermon, comes to the people of the church and presents a different theology of God’s amazing Love for mankind that He say’s to them that “All are already saved”! This doesn’t go over to well, with a few people standing up to renounce the pastor as not preaching from God, or not preaching from the scriptures.
This is where I would like to make my points, first without telling all the details of the scenes or all the movie, let me just say that the things that I am referring to are the facts that it wasn’t shown in the bible as a point of reference, but what I would say is that this is probably what happened anyway. When Pastor Carlton stood up to preach and give his detailed understanding of his new and exciting theology that God ‘saves all’, their was not one person in the congregation looking at their bibles for reference to see what the pastor was talking about. It was a man talking to people telling them some new ‘good news’.
I don’t recall any people walking into the service carrying any bibles,(this is before cell phones with apps with bible on them) let alone having the people look down at the bibles that they had carried into the service. But it was the quick reaction of some of the people that stood up to scream that He was not preaching the Word to them! How would they know? No bible’s to be seen. It is with this that I seen problems at a lot of levels.
One subplot, from this is that we as christians have been taught, year after year after year, from our grandparents to our parents to finally us that the message is the same. So why bother. But what if that message is wrong from the beginning? what then. Is there a correction, and how is it found, by who,when, and why? At some level this is where we as christians have gotten caught up in ‘tradition’. This I see is major problem in christianity all the way around.
Let me expand on this a little, We can actually put these two things that I have mentioned together to solve the problem. The bible and believing the same ole thing week after week or year after year.(Fact checking) the term that I almost hate to use now days but is the only words that I see to use here. We have to first use the source of which we all can use, not just the person at the pulpit. That is the way that in the new testament the word was received to the assembly’s of people around the temple. We all can hear and read the scripture to strengthen our understanding of God’s words to people before us and now. One of my favorite little statements about the bible is ‘The Bible wasn’t written to us, but for us.’
The scripture is for us, it is to be used in all our battles, in standing up in our own personal lives, for our personal family’s, for our friends,for our acquaintances, and for ultimately for the world.
The second thing that should disturb us in the movie is that the portrayal of the authority of the ‘church’. Again I recommend that you see this movie to understand what I am saying, but it is the ‘government’ of the denomination(this concept is used in all denominations to control the individual church’s,not just this denomination)that overrides the ‘message,gospel’ to the people. This suffocating blanket of a paradigm is what leads people to question that ‘leadership’ in what they are actually there for. When we are dictated by a group that thinks that they know what is good for us, it then takes away the ‘personal God’ that we need to live by Him.
I say all this to say this movie was again a wake up call to alot things that is wrong with the church, the church is only the church in their building, they are of biblical ignorance(20 minutes of sound bites of the bible a week thru the pastor) as opposed to the ‘sound christian’ that actually believe that what a christian is,bible reading,fellowship with others, a follower of God(worship Him,His God) that believes that by believing in such God that my hear soul and being believes in saying, doing, believing in the things of God. It is this that will ‘SHINE’ as a light that ‘MY GOD’ is the only God, and that being an image of Him will set the world on fire with Him, and ‘ All will be saved’!