Review of Faith in God: Interpreting the True Meaning of Faith in God | Eastern Lightning

By Xiaoxue, France

From the title “Faith in God,” it is very obvious to see that this movie is about religion. This topic is surely familiar to everyone, for today is no longer the era of Mao Zedong, who criticized all ghosts and monsters. However, with regard to why man believes in God, different people have different opinions. Some say that their faith is for filling the emptiness of the heart; some say that they believe in God for the sake of being cured of their diseases; some say that they believe in God for the sake of gaining entry into heaven; some believe in God in order to escape disasters which are getting greater and greater, etc.

 

Maybe each Christian has his or her own cause and way of believing in God. But what is the true faith in God, anyway? The movie “Faith in God” that I’ll introduce to you today interprets what the true meaning of faith in God.

The opening credits of the movie combine special effects with live-action shooting, presenting us with the scenes from the opening chapter of the Bible “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” to Exodus when God raised up Moses to lead the Israelites and issue the Law; then the Lord Jesus worked and preached and was nailed onto the cross to redeem mankind; the Lord’s apostles underwent persecutions; the sky above the Tiananmen Square is densely covered with black clouds and a great red dragon is spiraling. Immediately following, a banner that says “Underground House Meetings Must Be Banned” comes into sight with police whistles. Additionally, a few scenes present the actual circumstances of the CCP’s arresting and persecuting Christians. The opening credits deliver a sense of walking back to real life step by step from history. Though the opening credits last less than two minutes of time, there is sufficient room for the audience to think about what faith in God means. Meanwhile, it also delivers the message that belief in God is not fictional but is evidenced by historical facts.

The directors employ two storylines to convey the significance of faith in God from different aspects, pointing out the way to believe in God for both those who preach the gospel and those who accept the gospel.

One unfolds with Yu Congguang preaching the gospel. He is a preacher of The Church of Almighty God. He was once arrested and imprisoned because of preaching the gospel. In his escape of this time, he is rescued by a co-worker from the local house church Zheng Xun, and his family. Yu joins their gatherings and helps them solve a lot of questions and difficulties that they have had in their belief in God all along. They happily read the words of Almighty God and attend meetings to fellowship the truth with Yu. And therefore, their spiritual darkness is solved. However, when Elder Sun of the local church learns about this, he starts to seal off the church by any means necessary, indiscriminately restricts Zheng Xun and the others from examining the true way, and even mobilizes the followers to report Yu to the police and arrest him. Thus, Yu encounters the test as if before him rolls the Red Sea, behind is the troops in pursuit—not only is there the risk of being captured by the CCP police, but he is also an eyesore to the elder of the local house church. Facing this, Yu falls into confusion. But through prayers and reading God’s word, his sense of mission becomes stronger. Then he decides to stay there and that he will persist in bearing witness for the work of God in the last days to Zheng Xun and the others, no matter what kind of persecution or tribulation he may face.

Yu is calm and steady, and seems particularly composed when facing hunting and persecutions. From his experience, we truly understand the meaning of the words “The blood of the Christians is the seed of the church,” and we seem to see the image of saints and missionaries throughout the ages. Also we can more deeply comprehend the meaning of the words “The true way has been persecuted since ancient times.”

The other storyline unfolds with Zheng Xun and the others who examine the true way after meeting Yu. When they take a risk to save Yu, they firmly believe that this contains God’s good intentions. Later through fellowshiping with Yu, they indeed benefit a lot and feel the guidance of God over the course of fellowship. However, as they seek and examine the work of God in the last days, a heavy obstruction confronts them. Not only do they need to guard against the attacks and persecutions by the CCP, but the elder and co-workers also obstruct and threaten them, prohibiting them from examining the true way.

Because the elder searches all places for Yu to catch him and makes rumors to disgrace Zheng Xun and the others, in just two days, the church becomes chaotic and separates into different factions, and brothers and sisters become enemies. It really is unimaginable queer. The directors make use of such means to make a good comparison to the past, making us feel as if history repeats itself, and recall the time when the Lord Jesus performed His work, the church at that time also divided. Just like what Yu said, “The Lord Jesus’s work of redemption shocked the Jewish faith. Many people followed the Lord Jesus because of what He said and did, but what about the Jewish leaders? When they saw the authority of the Lord Jesus’s word and work, they became scared, because they knew clearly if they let the Lord Jesus do His work like that, all of the believers would follow the Lord Jesus, and the whole of the Jewish faith would soon crumble. So in order to defend Judaism and secure their positions, they tried to stop believers from accepting the Lord Jesus. When that happened, believers in God split into factions.” At the sight of the chaos and division in the church, Zheng Xun and the others were painful and confused. But through Yu’s fellowship, they understand the chaos and division of the church fulfill the prophecy in the Bible. So they decide to continue to study the true way.

Just when the two parties understand God’s will and decide to have a meeting to have a deep discussion, they are sold out by a believer called Goudan. Luckily enough, Goudan’s aunt finds out his scheme and urgently notifies everyone, so that the police did not find anyone. The directors use several shots here to take the audience into an atmosphere of tension. And they are arranged appropriately and grasp the audience’s heart.

The emphasis of the film is that when Yu and Zheng Xun and the others encounter all kinds of persecutions, hardships, and obstacles in their belief in God, they all maintain their confidence and unswervingly keep on following God. In the face of persecutions, will we be timid and withdraw, or advance bravely to fulfill our mission of love? In the face of the obstruction and restraint of the elder, will we discern and see through their purposes and intentions, or will we believe and follow him? In the face of betrayal and slanders, will we be scared, or will we investigate and figure out how to believe in God is approved by Him? These all depend on our own choice, and are determined by our attitude toward and perspective on belief in God.

The theme “what true faith in God means” runs through the whole movie. And it is interpreted from different aspects in every scene. Especially the last scene of this movie which takes place in the cave brings the story to its climax.

Yu sums up the meaning of faith in God into these words, “People who believe in God should believe in God’s words. That is, they should practice His words and experience His work. This is how they truly understand the truth and how they will really know God. Now this is real faith in God.” From the movie, we can see that Yu can see through the substance of those in power and keep God’s entrustment and his own mission in mind in persecutions and tribulations, and Zheng Xun and the others can continue to investigate God’s work in spite of so many obstacles ahead of them and finally understand the real meaning of faith in God—these are all the results of reading a lot of words of Almighty God. This interprets the true meaning of the words, “This is not because your pursuit is good, but because of the grace of God; it was God who opened the eyes of your spirit, and it was the Spirit of God that touched your heart….”

In the end, Yu Conguang and Zhao Ming narrate their experience of achieving transformation after experiencing the judgment and chastisement of the words of Almighty God. It is very fresh for Zheng Xun and the others, and makes them gain a deeper understanding about faith in God. And it also shatters a lot of people’s perspective of believing in God in order to gain blessings and peace. At this moment, we can’t help reevaluating our purpose and intention for believing in God, and thinking that it is really important to choose a correct path for belief. At the same time, the audience can even more clearly understand the true meaning of faith in God, which says, “True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.” This is the key point of the movie, and also an important message which the movie intends to deliver to the audience.

Recommendation : About Eastern Lightning

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