CIU Students Urged to Redeem the Media for Christ
By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Columbia International University students were challenged to redeem the media for Christ in a Chapel message from media critic Dr. Ted Baehr.
Baehr is the chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission. He is also the founder and publisher of “Movie Guide,” a publication that provides a critical analysis of media based on biblical values.
Baehr’s talk focused on the role his organization has played in engaging the American film industry, and he challenged CIU students to do the same.
“I believe if we are truly going to reach the world for Christ, some of us are going to have to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ in the media,” Baehr said.
In addition to reviewing movies, Movie Guide hosts a film gala each year. Like many award shows, the gala honors moviemakers and actors by category. However, at the end of the event, Movie Guide presents an economic analysis of each movie, showing that movies with Christian values turn more profit at the box office.
The result? Baehr says movies with positive Christian content have dramatically increased, from 1 percent in 1984 to 57 percent in 2011.
“We’ve shown [secular] moviemakers that they can make more money at the box office [with redemptive plot],” Baehr said. “The apostle Paul said he didn’t care why the gospel was preached, he just wanted the gospel preached.”
However, Baehr also showed the media’s strong negative effect, which can go so far as to harm the Christian witness.
“Most nations think America is a debauched place,” Baehr said. “Where do they get these ideas? The media. When they think America is debauched, they also think Christianity is debauched.”
“Dr. Baehr really encouraged me in my hopes for using media to impact the world,” Communication major and freshman Hannah Jones said. “His statistics about how some Christian organizations have withdrawn themselves from Hollywood ... really made me realize the need to place an even bigger impact on getting (out) a Christian message through movies.”
Baehr challenged the students to make a kingdom impact with the talents God has given them.
“We need more Christians in Hollywood, and less Hollywood in the Christians,” Baehr said.
For more on CIU's Communication program visit: http://www.ciu.edu/academic-programs/communication .