Douglas Wilson weighs in on Fireproof (HT: Challies):

But it was a very successful motion picture tract. This was edifying propaganda, and when I use the word edifying I am not putting quotation marks around it. The word propaganda is, if memory serves, the Latin passive periphrastic, meaning “things to be propagated.” Most made-for-tv movies and soap operas have low production values and they propagate the most frightful didactic drivel. This was a movie within that same genre that communicated the gospel clearly, and which walked people through some very basic and very real principles that contribute to the success of marriage relationships. It was not sophisticated at all, and revolved around a rudimentary come-to-Jesus appeal. And you know what? That is just what a lot of people need.

If I set myself to think of couples in marriages that I think would be greatly helped by watching this movie, I would run out of fingers inside of a minute. I can also think of Christians who would be offended by the schlock, but many of them would be those who know more about how a movie ought to be made than about how a woman ought to be treated. And they would rather watch a movie about a woman being abused so long as the movie was made right than to have the woman treated right in a movie that offended their refined sensibilities. So which is the altar and which is the sacrifice? Makes me think of Augustine’s comment about rhetors who cared far more about avoiding grammatical misuse of the word man than they cared about their actual treatment of actual men.

Now an obvious problem would be if the movie makers mistake the nature of their success (which has been enormous), and adopt the posture of artistes, and take to using a walking cane and a cape. That would be unfortunate, and let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But if they keep it real, I have better things to do than be upset with evangelicals helping others with a live-action marital catechism.


  1. I always like to look at the way Paul spoke of those who were spreading the Gospel while he was in prison out of spite. On one hand he thanked God that Christ was being preached, but he also clearly criticized them for their wrong motives. Which means, I believe, that when it comes to looking at the cultural works Christians make, we should be careful not fall into the either/or fallacy. A work, like Fireproof can be both edifying to some people and poorly done/seriously flawed/misguided at the same time.

    All that to say, I agree with Wilson.

  2. Pingback: Anonymous
  3. I’ve gotta say, I’m a little disappointed. I pretty much figured that the day The Dane and Doug W agreed on something would be more or less synchronous with the End of All Things – and yet I look out my window and there’s no Jesus coming down from heaven, just a thunderstorm.

    Scotts last blog post..Two Quotes That Struck Me This Weekend

  4. Well, Scott, if you want to be technical, I’ve got two things that might encourage you.

    1) Though I agreed that Fireproof may work well as propaganda and is a terrible film, I failed to mention that I loathe propaganda and wouldn’t touch the film with a ten-foot pole for fear of getting some of that stink on me.

    2) In a sense, me an’ Doug already agree on some things: Jesus is God, Doug is a sinner, there was an American Civil War. And that being the case, you can be sure that we are even now living within the End of All Things. Or Kingdom Come, if you prefer. We inaugurated millennialists get to do stuff like that.

    The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies

Comments are now closed for this article.