If you’ve heard about the movie “Woman, Thou Art Loosed” you probably realized it was only a matter of time before I wrote about it! If you haven’t, well, ignorance is bliss.
“Woman, Thou Art Loosed” is, of course, the title of the bestselling book by T.D. Jakes that deals with encouraging women who have been hurt or abused. I have not read the book, but my understanding is that it is fairly solid, though it succumbs to typical triumphalistic evangelical theology where Jesus heals people from emotional hurts more than from their sin. Still, I know there are plenty of book out there that are far worse!
Following the success of the book, Jakes has had a film made based on it. The film follows one woman’s journey from childhood abuse to ultimate redemption and freedom in Christ. Jakes says that “the movie’s goal is to give a face and a voice to the many sexually abused women he has seen in his work.” He is “hoping the movie will become a relevant tool for churches and organizations to begin to treat the runaway problem of childhood sexual abuse. One of every three girls and every four boys has suffered sexual abuse by the time they reach age 18.” Those are admirable goals. Sounds great, right? Just hang on.
The movie is going to be brutally realistic, showing scenes involving the rape of children, drug use, violence, prostitution and murder. This will make it the second “Christian” movie in the past year to be rated R. Of course the rationalization is exactly what one would expect. “Jakes says the Bible, too, is filled with R-rated stories, such as Amnon raping his half-sister, Tamar; David committing adultery with Bathsheba; and the incest between Lot and his daughters.” I have addressed this concern recently, but will repeat myself briefly. First, the Bible contains the written word. God could just as easily have waited until the development of visual media to give us a visual Bible. But He did not. He saw fit to give us the written word which would free us from having explicit images seared into our memories. While we may have read about the rape of Tamar, we certainly do not have explicit visual memories of it. Secondly, God was careful to provide very little detail about such topics. While people in the Bible do commit adultery and suffer rape and other terrible crimes, there is never explicit language used to describe them. This is, obviously, deliberate on God’s part. Finally, while God may describe rape and other horrible things in the Bible, this does not necessarily give us license to show or write about them. Jakes’ explanation is mere rationalization and he ought to be ashamed of himself for rationalizing sin.
As with The Passion of the Christ, Jakes is promoting a grassroots movement to promote the film amongst evangelical churches. I hope churches have the wisdom to avoid promoting this movie amongst their members. While, as with “The Passion” some good may come of the movie, that can never excuse Christians from doing something sinful, and I have no doubt that viewing this movie would be a sin. I am sure that after the financial success of “The Passion” we will see many more movies like this one in the coming years. And these movies will do little more than pull the church even further from God’s Word.