The Independent Christian Film genre has grown exponentially over the past 8 years or so. The vast majority of these new independent films have been produced by young, homeschooled graduates (and their families). Creed of Gold is a fine example of the expanding nature of these films.
This is an action, adventure film that takes on a James Bond style storyline, while still pointing the viewer towards a Christian worldview. What I like about the film is its ambition in tackling a rather controversial topic (the Federal Reserve), its ability to keep the story moving and the well-executed humor that punctuates the action and drama. This film points the viewer back to the necessity for moral absolutes, and reveals the danger inherent in losing those fixed reference points.
With all independent films, you need to judge them within their genre, not up against epic movies with budgets in the 9 digits. In that respect, Creed of Gold is a quality film that exhibits some ground-breaking elements, pushing the limits of what is commonly attempted by most independent Christian filmmakers.
If there is a down-side to the film it would be the elaborate back-story. I’ve seen the film three times now, which is rare as I usually never watch a movie twice. This is a compliment in that the film is compressed enough that there is something new to be gained from additional viewings, but I still don’t understand the entire back-story. It is largely told (in conversations), not shown (a no-no in film-making), and it was too in-depth for me to catch it all. I think Creed of Gold needs to be released as a novel for those who really want to enjoy the intricate historical plot that underlies this story. So with that said, even if you couldn’t explain to someone about the back story, the movie really doesn’t hinge on it in many ways. You can fairly easily follow the modern-day plot and all you really need to know is that the modern-day bad guys are somehow inextricably linked to the bad-guys of yesteryear. Problem solved, now you just need to enjoy the film! Here is a description of the film from the producers (to help you with my dilemma!):
A secret group that financed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 did not break any laws but was what they did ethically right? The film follows three college students as they investigate this shadowy secret group of individuals who influence national economies for personal advantage. For centuries, this group has manipulated finances around the world and is now using the Federal Reserve to undermine the U.S. economic situation. Everything they do is essentially legal and undetectable.
When, unbeknownst to the others, one man gets greedy and creates a computer program in the Federal Reserve accounting program to siphon money into his own pocket, the race is on. Can our heroic band put together a compelling case strong enough and fast enough to reveal corruption at the Federal Reserve and ultimately the truth about the Bolshevik revolution before their trail of evidence is destroyed and they are eliminated?
As an immigrant from Russia, Adam relates the ideas that led to the Bolshevik revolution to modern America. Cody, as Adam’s brilliant but humorous side-kick, helps bring the message of the film home by sometimes just stating the obvious. And Kirsten allows us to empathize with the trio as we follow her personal journey from high-society to heartfelt faith.
Creed of Gold… Who Controls the Wealth of Nations?
Some young children may be disturbed by the mild violence in the film (different families have vastly different standards on these issues), but overall, this is a good, clean, fun film for the family that parents and older children (12 & up), will really enjoy. If you like independent Christian films, this is one you will want to add to your collection.
For more information on the film, visit: http://creedofgold.com
Israel Wayne (who wrote this review) is an Author and Conference Speaker who serves the Lord at Wisdom’s Gate Ministries.
In his book, Revolution, which focuses on the life of the American church, researcher and cultural analyst George Barna uses the term “mini-movements” to describe a number of forces that are shaping the landscape of modern Christendom. According to Barna, research is showing that the most dramatic life-changing catalysts at work among believers today are mini-movements that are not connected with any particular national denomination or specific local church effort.
What are some of these movements that are challenging people to become more serious in their faith and to embrace a comprehensive lifestyle of following Jesus in every area of their lives? The following are some of the movements that I think are the most significant in our day and age. They are not given in any particular order of chronology nor importance. They each have their place and are likely indispensable in the overall big-picture of God’s plan for our day and age.
I have to start with this one because it is the one to which I’m most intimately connected. The modern Christian homeschooling movement has been nothing short of a move of God on our land. It reflects the heart of Malachi 4:6, where God promises to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and children to their fathers. Christian parents must take responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of their own children if they want to see Christianity survive the forces of postmodernism and Islamo-fascism rampant in our world today.
Beginning in the 1960s with John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, the return to a Biblical view of origins and the emergence of a new breed of Bible-believing scientists, has revolutionized the Christian world. I believe that the Creationist movement in many ways helped to inspire a new interest in Christian education, encouraging the expansion of Christian schools and later homeschooling in America. This was in many ways a movement of reformation, calling Christians back to believing in the inspiration and authority of the holy Scriptures.
Christian Financial Management
When the late Larry Burkett first emerged on the scene in the late 1970s, talking about financial stewardship, he stuck out like a sore thumb. Today, there are hundreds of Christian financial coaches, and a number of national ministries dedicated to helping believers to become good stewards and managers of God’s resources. There is much work yet ahead, but the groundwork has been amply laid for this important movement to stir hundreds of thousands of Christians to channel their resources in Kingdom activities, rather than worldly pursuits and pleasures.
While all outreaches to the family are important, none is more vital than ministries that reach out to men and encourage them to take spiritual leadership of their homes. Most Christian men have not had the right kind of role models, and therefore feel inadequate to lead their wives and children according to the Scriptures. Groups like Promise Keepers broke ground in this effort of challenging men, and hundreds of ministries (some of them much more effective) have continued this endeavor.
Family-Integrated Church / House Church
In a world where the family is too often split apart by secular forces, many parents have been concerned that the common church practice of age-segregated learning/worship is further exacerbating the problem of disunity in the home. Tens of thousands of families have opted for a method of corporate teaching and worship that are not traditional, but are more Biblical in practice than the typical local church. Absent are “junior church,” age-segregated Sunday school classes, VBS and youth group activities. These family-integrated fellowships usually encourage fathers to lead family worship at home, and the church leaders often strive to avoid going around parents to teach their children.
The Worship Revolution
Among young people in America (and around the world), there is a renewed desire for authentic worship. All over the country there are massive gatherings of people who have come to cry out to God to move in our day. Sometimes these events are reminiscent of revivals of days gone by, and other times they are little more than Christian rock concerts, but increasingly there are select leaders within this movement who are promoting a God-centered (rather than man-centered, self-therapeutic) approach to worship. This movement began mainly in the UK and has found its way to American shores. There is also a renewed emphasis on songs that are theologically sound and vertically oriented (focusing on God, His work and His attributes), rather than a rehash of endless “God is my girlfriend” type songs that are presented as “worship.”
This may seem like an odd thing to include in the list, but we live in a visual culture, and no force has shaped modern American society more than television and the movies. Because of the blatantly objectionable content of films from the beginning of the “Silver Screen,” Christians abandoned film-making as an evil endeavor and left it to the dominance of unGodly people. As a result, billions of people receive their worldview through a media channel that is corrupt in it’s content and methods. That is changing as solid Christian believers are creating excellent films to the glory of God. All of the Arts need to be reformed, not just film, but this is perhaps the most unexpected and encouraging development I’ve seen in the past decade.
When I was a child, Christian worldview training and the teaching of apologetics were largely related to seminarians. Today there are numerous websites, including my own www.ChristianWorldview.net site, conferences, online courses, books, videos and many other resources for learning to understand and defend the Christian faith as it relates to all areas of life. This is one of the most important movements of our day.
I have seen a renewed emphasis on “deeper life” teachings in recent years, and a renewed desire to know Christ more. Thousands of people are reading books and articles on the revivals of days past, and desiring to see holiness restored to the Church. I have been able to participate in several conferences with a focus on repentance, forgiveness, forsaking sin and surrender to the Spirit of God. The old thing is the new thing. What a joy to see the “old” message returning in a new and fresh way. Our magazine, Brush Arbor Quarterly, reflects this emphasis.
Get on the Move
People who believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the totality of human existence, tend to be involved in many, if not all, of these movements. If you are unfamiliar with any of these movements, I would encourage you to check them out, and see if the Lord would have you join Him in what He is doing.
Rich Christiano, of Five & Two Pictures is a follower of Jesus Christ who makes quality films for the glory of God. His movie Time Changer is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is a very solid, God-honoring film that is great for audiences of all ages. He is also the producer of Unidentified, another very popular Christian film. Rich was gracious enough to spare some time to share with me about his views on filmmaking and also his new feature film, to be released later this year.
Israel Wayne: How did you first get involved with film making?
Rich Christiano: In the late 70’s, when I was only 20, my brother Dave and I went to Hollywood. We wrote a script and tried to sell it. We got two offers but never made a deal. In 1980, I became a born-again Christian that totally changed my life. My brother did also.
Israel Wayne: What inspired you to make Christian films rather than working in the secular film industry?
Rich Christiano: A lot of people think that when they become a Christian, they need to move to Africa or something to minister. My brother and I wanted to make films and we felt the LORD saying to us to make them for HIM! We left California and went to graduate school for Radio-TV-Film at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. My brother Dave eventually got a teaching job in San Antonio where he met a guy who was making Christian films and encouraged us to do the same. We made our first film in 1985 and now have produced 12 movies between us.
Israel Wayne: What are your primary goals when you make a film?
Rich Christiano: First, to please the Lord. John 15:5 is my film making verse. Jesus says ”Abide in Me and you will bear much fruit because without Me, you can do nothing.” I believe this. If we really want to reach people for Christ with our ministry, we must first please HIM. Second, I want to make films that will motivate, challenge, and inspire the believer. Give him some food for his soul. Third, I want to put the gospel in our films so that a non-believer may consider Christ as a result of seeing the movie.
Israel Wayne: What are your thoughts on the new Independent Christian Film movement?
Rich Christiano: I think there are some major issues. It seems most Producers are just wanting to make films that are family oriented with a God message. I call them crossover films. They say they want to hit the mainstream and to try to “reach” the non-believer so they water down the message. But this doesn’t work, especially if you believe that only God’s Spirit can reach people and HE must be pleased first. There are very few filmmakers that want to put a real message for the Lord in their films. And to me, this is what a Christian film really is, a film with a message that points to Jesus Christ. Other films may be wholesome and family oriented but that does not make them Christian. Mormonism is wholesome and family oriented but surely NOT Christian. It is sad to me to walk into a Christian bookstore or to go to Christian websites and see some of the movies being sold as “Christian” films.
Israel Wayne: Tell us about your latest project.
Rich Christiano: We are super excited about our new film called THE SECRETS OF JONATHAN SPERRY. We really believe this film is going to make a real impact and do well. This will be our biggest release to date. We are hoping to release this film into hundreds of theaters coming Sept 18th. It’s a story set in 1970 about a 75 year old man named Jonathan Sperry (played by Gavin MacLeod) who starts talking to three 12-year old boys about the Lord and mentoring them. This film has tons of heart and we have received great response in the screenings we have done. And this is not false hype either, this film is delivering. We are very confident about this movie and what it can do. People can check out the trailer and more info at www.SperryMovie.com
Israel Wayne: How can God’s people be praying for you right now?
Rich Christiano: Pray that the Lord will raise up Christians and churches that will sponsor our new film(s) and help us get the word out. We do plan some national promotion but we need the local grassroots to be really effective. We are trying to set up a network of Christ-centered churches and believers that want to get behind solid Christian movies so I would ask for the Lord to raise up these believers and churches that will partner with us. It can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.