“Son of Man,” Another Jesus Film

For what­ev­er rea­son, film­mak­ers are fond of putting the Bible, or por­tions of the Bible, into video-for­mat as a movie. From The Ten Com­mand­ments to The Pas­sion of the Christ, many impor­tant themes of the Bible have been put to film, and that isn’t even includ­ing the count­less car­toons of var­i­ous less­er-known Bible sto­ries out there. 

And now, direc­tor Mark Dorn­ford-May brings us Son of Man, a movie in which Jesus is por­trayed as a rev­o­lu­tion­ary in mod­ern day Africa. Says the Dorn­ford-May, “The truth is that Christ was born in an occu­pied state and preached equal­i­ty at a time when that was­n’t very accept­able.” Fur­ther, he con­fess­es his belief that the Gospels “were writ­ten by spin doc­tors” and that he had to strip away con­tent in order to arrive at his con­clu­sion about the Gospel’s truth.

I con­fess that I agree with Dorn­ford-May a bit; Christ has been “hijacked a bit — he’s gone very blond-haired and blue-eyed” and that “the mes­sage of Christ was that it is universal.”

How­ev­er, to strip away any of the Gospels’ truth is to cre­ate a lie. Jesus Christ did not come to preach equal­i­ty, He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Only those who believe into Christ are accept­able to Him, as Jesus demon­strat­ed with a brash state­ment about the inqual­i­ty of men: those who believe Christ are saved while unbe­liev­ers are damned already.

He did not fight to end slav­ery, nor did He seek to end the Romans’ occu­pa­tion of Israel, though He could have done both in less time than it takes for you to fin­ish this sentence.

The bot­tom-line, as with most “Jesus films” is that the crea­ture por­trayed on screen can­not right­ful­ly be called an hon­est por­tray­al of Jesus Christ (if such a por­tray­al could exist). Ele­ments of fic­tion abound, turn­ing what lit­tle truth is being por­trayed into a lie. How­ev­er, in this instance Dorn­ford-May con­fess­es that he does­n’t believe in the real Jesus, but rather in one of his own mak­ing, one who is sim­ply “a divine being who ris­es from the dead” rather than the only begot­ten Son of God.

Even the por­tray­al of the apos­tles is dilut­ed with lies, as they are por­trayed as com­ing from “fac­tions of armed rebels across the coun­try,” a far cry from fish­er­men and tax collectors.

The gospel por­trayed in the movie is not one of sal­va­tion for the soul, but accord­ing to the direc­tor Christ’s res­ur­rec­tion sig­nals “hope for Africa, the world’s poor­est continent…”

Rather than remem­ber Christ’s state­ments about lay­ing up rich­es in Heav­en and trust­ing the Lord for our dai­ly bread, Dorn­ford-May implies that Christ’s sac­ri­fice can bring rich­es to Africa and help solve its image of being a “mess of con­flict and corruption.”

Last­ly, Mary, the wife of Joseph, is por­trayed by Pauline Male­fane (the direc­tor’s wife), who pre­vi­ous­ly paid a “seduc­tive hero­ine” in U‑Carmen. Mary’s role is “beefed-up” as well, serv­ing as inspi­ra­tion for Jesus rather than His teach­ing her (which is what we read in the Bible). Per­haps there is some Roman Catholic influ­ence in this?

What­ev­er the case may be, it can­not be empha­sized enough that any por­tray­al of Jesus Christ on film is going to be wrapped in lies or, at worst, blas­phe­my. To claim a need for a video to teach us the ways of the Lord is to deny the suf­fi­cien­cy and truth of the Scriptures.

Sad­ly, even con­ser­v­a­tive church lead­ers of South Africa have praised the film. Where is the dis­cern­ment? Where is the love and fear of God? Where is the truth in the por­tray­al of our Lord and God Jesus Christ?

“Let God be true, but every man a liar…” Romans 3:4.

(Hat tip: Shawn)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman