Pure Flix: Not the Christian Safe Space You Think It Is
As I watched What If..., my mind kept being drawn to Genesis 50:20 when Joseph tells his trembling brothers that "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
God is always in control, and there are no "what if's." To even imply otherwise is an attack on the sovereign throne of God. To make a movie that explicitly states that God lives in a handwringing universe of "what if's" is to make a movie with a message that I do not want my children to watch. I want them to know that God's will cannot be thwarted and that their response to Him should be submission.
The theological errors of What If... caused me to wonder what other errors are sewn throughout the movies on Pure Flix's streaming service. Unfortunately, I didn't have to wade through many artistically underwhelming movies before finding some pretty serious theological miscues.
One of the common themes found in many of the movies I watched is the error often called legalism. As one of the website's featured movies, Milltown Pride offers a prime illustration.
The movie's protagonist is the star player on a baseball team. Besides his skills on the diamond, Will Wright is also an alcoholic. Throughout the baseball season, Will battles his demons but suffers a relapse. At one point in the movie, Will's love interest, Ginnie, finds out that he's been drinking. She confronts him by scolding, "I thought you were a Christian!"
In plain view throughout Milltown Pride, that sentiment removes a person's standing before God from solely being found in Jesus and places it, at least in part, in a person's performance. Regardless of their personal standards in reference to alcohol, Christians recognize that drinking alcohol doesn't make someone an unbeliever anymore than abstaining makes someone a Christian. To believe otherwise is legalism and makes man's salvation dependent on man.
For the sake of space, those are only two examples out of many. Peppered throughout Pure Flix are movies promoting a man-centered view of the Bible, soteriological errors, and the Prosperity Gospel. And I haven't even touched on the misrepresentation of God through poor aesthetics.
To be clear, my goal isn't to get people to cancel their Pure Flix accounts. My goal is to encourage fellow believers to engage "Christian" movies as critically as they do (or at least should) secular movies. In fact, maybe even more so. Allowing theological errors and even heresy unwittingly into your home via a supposed Christian safe space may be more dangerous than watching Hollywood produced movies.