The More You Preach, the Fewer You Reach

The title is a quote from Phil Vischer, founder of Big Ideas productions and creator of the Veggietales series. With the release of his second feature film, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, Christianity Today interviewed Vischer.

Some Christian films have failed flat-out because their plot was their message when it should’ve been a subtext or a comment that a side character makes in passing. However, if your main character turns to the camera and delivers the truth of Jesus, you’ve probably lost nine-tenths of your audience in five words. It’s hard to accept that when you are a filmmaker who has decided God wants you to use filmmaking to share the gospel.

The Passion was such an anomaly, you really can’t use it to learn much of anything about the nature of film. You had the most popular film actor in the world making a deeply personal work of art about a religious story. What are the odds of that happening again?

The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings are also tough test cases. How many Narnias are there? How easy is it to come up with another Lord of the Rings? It’s not. There’s Tolkien and Lewis and then everybody else. Besides, you couldn’t write Narnia today and have it accepted by the evangelical world because [of the magic] and because in its metaphor, it effectively has a non-Christian worldview.

Now, if we go to another fantasy world, we need to find Jesus there—literally. That is why the Harry Potter books are viewed to be straight from the pit. Even if Rowling says she’s enjoying Christian themes, forget it. How do you write a Christian fantasy today? I have no idea. I don’t know that you can. I think we’ve killed it. I think we are so concerned with how oppressed our worldview is and so defensive that we’ve painted ourselves into a corner. And thus, we can’t tell the kind of stories that Lewis or Chesterton would have told to share the gospel. It’s kind of depressing, frankly.

I think Vischer is right. What do you think?

Thanks to Think Christian for pointing out the article and the quote.

One thought on “The More You Preach, the Fewer You Reach”

  1. I think Phil is dead on. Our culture in general atleast for my age range is not interested in God or are tired of hearing about it. They hear people all the time preaching what they believe and stuff. What people want is something to relate to. They aren’t going to relate to God if all they feel is us preaching at them and telling them to get saved.

    My personal philosophy in the way I witness is that it needs to be out of love. We can use words as much as we want but the best way to do it is from actions. There is a quote I heard awhile back and cant remember who said it and it goes like this: “Preach Christ always, use words if necessary.”. If I want to reach my generation they need to see what God has done for me and see what God can do for them. They aren’t going to do something cause you told them.

    Now I’m not saying its not good to preach cause I want to be a youth pastor but I believe preaching is for church but when your out in the world it needs to be from love and the love God has given us for people, then out of that they will come to know God by the way he has changed us. If they ask questions or want to know why we are the way we are then there is the opening God has given to you for words, but I believe the best way is just making connections.

    Well I hope you got what I was trying to say , I loved your post and I love your blog you are very good with your writing and they have great content. ~ Jeremy Newton

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