This year, why not introduce folks to two wonderful Christian holidays that occur at the same time – All Saints Day and Reformation Day?
All Saints Day takes place on Nov. 1. Historically speaking, it has become primarily a day to honor Christian martyrs or “witnesses” who gave their lives peacefully to serve their Divine Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the true definition of a Christian martyr, not someone who murders other people as radical Muslims have been doing for nearly 1500 years. Theologically speaking, of course, every Christian is a saint set apart by God by being born again through the power of the Holy Spirit, as predicted by the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah in Chapter 31 of Jeremiah.
All Saints Day on Nov. 1 presents a great opportunity to watch movies and television programs about Christian martyrs, such as THE ROBE, QUO VADIS and A.D., among others, and to watch movies about ordinary people who were extraordinary Christians, such as CHARIOTS OF FIRE about Eric Liddell and UNBROKEN about Louis Zamperini.
Oct. 31, the day before All Saints Day, is a very important day for Protestant Christians. It celebrates the anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany (Oct. 31, 1517), marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation which helped inspire the founders of the United States of America, that “shining city on a hill” that brings great light to the world.
History tells us that Martin Luther picked that day to protest the heretical use of indulgences because everyone would be in church that night to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints Day, and would then be in church the next day to celebrate All Saints Day. Because of that, Oct. 31 presented a great opportunity to alert people about the church’s improper use of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thus, Oct. 31 also presents a great opportunity to watch movies that celebrate the Protestant Reformation and all the good that it has brought into the lives of the faithful.
Here, movies like LUTHER, LADY JANE, and SQUANTO: A WARRIOR’S TALE offer an enlightening time for historical reflection, although LADY JANE is for more mature audiences. Screenings of these movies can be followed up by other great historical movies about important Christians and examples of their faith, such as THE HIDING PLACE, RETURN TO THE HIDING PLACE, A MAN CALLED PETER, SERGEANT YORK, WEAPONS OF THE SPIRIT, ELENI, AMAZING GRACE, EL CID, and Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s wonderful THE BIBLE miniseries and Season One of A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES. There are also movies like AMISH GRACE, THE BLIND SIDE, SOUL SURFER, WORLD TRADE CENTER, and SECRETARIAT.
Then, of course, there are major fictional classics that demonstrate the power of faith, such as BEN-HUR and DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK. More recent titles could include such fine movies as GRACE UNPLUGGED, GOD’S NOT DEAD, FIREPROOF, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, COURAGEOUS, and WAR ROOM, or the upcoming movie about the rescue of Chilean miners, THE 33.
Christian faith in God and His miracles, including the miracle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is the centerpiece of all these movies, in one way or another. Now, isn’t that a better message to touch the hearts and minds of your children than the dark visions of goblins, ghosts, witches, ghouls, demons, and monsters?
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor