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Thursday, October 27, 2005

New Narnia Movie Trailer

Thanks to Beggars All for bringing this to our attention. There is a new trailer out for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie. Go here. The book has long meant a lot to me. So I'm on pins and needles waiting for the movie. If it is well-made and sticks to the text, this could be a very useful tool for the Church.

First, because it is a ripping story. Full of strange creatures, an evil witch, mighty wonders and bloody battles.

Second, because it conveys Christian truth expertly in the narrative:

  • Sin. The character of Edward illustrates the hold that sin has on our nature. It is like an addiction. It's a hunger, a desire, a passion, lust, envy, greed, pride, idolatry. It's all the same. Sin is being curved in on oneself. Sin is - at its core - looking for fulfillment in anyone or anything other than God through Christ.
  • The Devil. Satan has control over the world, but not complete control. Ultimately, he is still God's devil. And God is supreme. Yet, under the devil's sway, all of creation is cast into a winter-never-Christmas. All color is gone. Life no longer blooms. Warmth is a memory.
  • Substitutionary Atonement. The one eternal Son of God submits to the law and is cruelly murdered in place of the sinner. His death releases the sinner from his bondage forever.
  • Resurrection. There is nothing at all remarkable about the resurrection of God's Son. What else would "The Life" do but live. The remarkable thing is that He died in the first place.
  • Christus Victor. The Lord will crush the serpent's head. The witch and her followers will be damned.
Others who've written about C.S. Lewis and Christian theology in The Chronicles of Narnia can expound on this much further and much better. But all of what I've mentioned is clearly portrayed in the narrative of the upcoming film (assuming it remains faithful ot the book).

And that is why I believe this film has the potential for being a much better tool for Christian evangelism than Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. Gibson showed. This tells. And I think telling is better than showing alone.

Gibson showed us the crucifixion, but never explained its meaning. Image has value. But without explanation, the image alone can easily mislead. Luther complained that people meditate on the passion of the Christ and either feel sorry for Jesus or get mad at the Jews, neither of which were the intent of his suffering and death.

I admire Lewis's accomplishments. Hopefully this film will help us tell about Christ to a generation who simply don't know anything, though they think they know enough.

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The Heresy Hunter said...

There is a new book out called "Finding God in the Land of Narnia" by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware that talks about the symbolism.

Darrell said...

Pastor, Wendy and I are just flat-out goofy about this movie. We can't even talk about it without giggling, trembling, clutching each other with hope and dread. The kids are giddy, too. (In all honesty, one of the greatest joys in my life is seeing the way my son's eyes light up when we read the books to them, and Aslan shows up in the story. Once he figures out who Aslan is a picture of, I'd like to think that he'll bring that wide-eyed love to church, too.)

Is it wrong for me to pray that Disney gets it right with this film? It seems like such a trivial thing to pray about, but it means sooooo much for all five members of this family.

John said...

Here is the site for the movie, with lots more information and links:

Carl said...

I'm planning on taking my catechumens to see it, but wonder if I should "let them in on the meaning" (which you have cogently and truthfully provided here) *before* seeing it or *after*?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Darrell and Wendy,

Whoa! It sounds like you guys have a similar reaction to me and Julie. We're hyped.

I don't think it's wrong or trivial to pray that Disney get this right. When we pray the Our Father, we say, "Hallowed by thy name." We are praying for God's name to be honored among us.

One way that God's name is hallowed is when His truth is spoken faithfully. Likewise, he is mocked whenever false doctrine is proclaimed. C.S. Lewis was clearly attempting to communicate Christ in narrative form. To pray for Disney to get this right is nothing less than to pray for God's name to be hallowed in this instance. And that is a Christian prayer all the way.

If Disney does a good job, not only will many people potentially be enlightened, but the Lord's name will be hallowed among us (whether the Disney folks intend that or not).

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...


I too plan to take my catechumens and youth. A number of them are familiar with the books already. And, apart from the film, I have long made the occasional Narnia reference in sermons and the like. So a lot of them sort of get it already.

But I think I will wait until after we see the film to offer an in-depth explanation of the imagery.

Eric C. said...


I have seen people quote Lewis as saying that he disliked "substitutionary atonement" as an idea; that he called it "silly" and "outrageous". And it's arguable whether or not the model in LWW is indeed substitutionary. It is NO DOUBT Christus Victor, but that's "ransom", not SA. (Frankly, I think they go hand-in-glove). But while Aslan pays a price (ransom) that no one else can pay, there is no explicit sense that he has borne the wrath of the "Emperor Beyond the Sea".

Just food for thought. As for myself, I am ueber excited!

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Eric C.,

I don't know about the Lewis quotes. But I don't quite agree that LWW has no notion of substitutionary atonement. In the chapter, "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time," we hear of the law of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. It says, basically, that the sinner must die. It doesn't call it "wrath," but it is judgment. It clearly states that blood must be shed and that this is the law/magic of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea himself.

Aslan then dies in substitution for Edmund's life. He takes the curse upon himself and offers his own blood for the boy's. The spilling of blood is repeatedly mentioned.

That's pretty much substitutionary atonement. The wrath of God is not emphasized, but it is not absent either. The death curse does not come from the Witch, but from the Father.

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