11 Films That Capture the Themes of Galatians

The Gospel Coalition | 4/20/2018 | Staff
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Paul’s letter to the Galatians is one of his most famous and controversial. Scholars debate when it was written, where it was sent, and how to interpret its claim that humans are justified by faith and not by works of law. No one disputes, however, the influence of Galatians on Protestant theology and practice since the Reformation. Nor does anyone dispute that, whenever Paul wrote it, he was angry.

His vexation is clear from the start: unlike all of Paul’s other letters, Galatians has no thanksgiving after Paul’s signature “Grace and peace” greeting. Ancient letter-writing was more formal than today’s texts and tweets, and at 1:6 Paul’s recipients would have likely expected something like “I give thanks for you in my prayers” or “Blessed be God”; instead, he says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you. . .” Later he exclaims, “O foolish Galatians!” (3:1). At times he may even be writing in all caps (6:11). He’s not happy.

Paul - Letter - Issues - Center - Paul

Why is Paul so upset? Only the letter itself can say fully, but three issues lie at the center of Paul’s passionate appeals in Galatians: human incapacity, steadfast leadership, and the nature of Christian freedom.

To the extent that films express the culture in which they are made, looking at films that illustrate themes common in Galatians helps us to both better understand Paul’s letter and also to see how our own culture wrestles with similar issues. Examples can be seen in Henry V, Citizen X, Whiplash, Darkest Hour, Moneyball, All the President’s Men, The Post, Philomena, I Can Only Imagine, The Son, and Jane Eyre.

Paul - Humans - Vermin - Claim - Genesis

Paul does not believe humans are worthless vermin; the governing claim of Genesis 1 that all people are created in God’s image is certainly foundational for him. Yet he insists that apart from...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Gospel Coalition
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