A Matter of Faith


Produced by Rich Christiano & Laura Burnell and written by Rich and Dave Christiano


The Plot

A Christian girl, Rachel Whitaker goes off to college for her freshman year and begins to be influenced by her popular Biology professor who teaches that evolution is the answer to the origins of life. When Rachel’s father, Stephen Whitaker, senses something is changing with his daughter, he begins to examine the situation and what he discovers catches him completely off guard. Now very concerned about Rachel drifting away from her Christian faith, he tries to do something about it!


Key points

  • A young girl is being influenced by her Biology professor

  • The girl’s professor is teaching evolution as the answer to how life started

  • The girl’s father notices changes in his daughter and becomes concerned about her faith

  • The father decides to take action to save his daughter from drifting away from her faith


Does the plot glorify God?

Yes, it highlights that a young girl was being taught a theory that denies God’s existence. However, according to the Word, God has appointed the man as the spiritual head of the household and so we see Stephen Whitaker, being vigilant about his daughter’s faith. He assesses the situation and then wastes no time in taking action against the false teaching of evolution. So the plot glorifies God because you see a husband and father defending the faith.




Does the film content glorify God through His Word - is there use of scripture and are we encouraged to keep the commandments?

  • Stephen Whitaker, the father, quotes some of John 3:16-17 - “For God so loved the world,” in his conversation with Professor Portland, who had been fired from the university for teaching the creation account.

  • A Christian student, Even, defends the faith when another student implies that man evolved from apes. Even referenced Adam and Eve in the context that this student could follow his family tree all the way back to the first people and he would find no apes in the lineage..

  • The father, Stephen Whitaker, quotes from Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, in his opening speech of the debate, Creation versus Evolution.

  • Psalm 100:3 is shown at the end of the film: Know ye that the Lord He is God: It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.


In terms of the Commandments:


You shall have no other gods before me: 1st commandment: Exodus 20:1-3

  • Stephen, the father, struggled with the decision to send his daughter, Rachel, to a mainstream college, but implied she would surely find a good local church to attend. This indicated he was loyal to the Lord and wanted his daughter to be in an environment that recognized God’s authority.

  • Rachel’s had a despondent look as Professor Kaman promotes evolution in her first lesson, by asking the question about the chicken and the egg. His answer was that the egg came first, indicating God did not exist.

  • Professor Kaman’s example about man evolving, using track times as an example. The sinister music playing in the background indicated that what he was saying was wrong.

  • Rachel’s fellow student, Even, solemnly corrects Rachel in the library upon their first interaction, when Rachel commented that Professor Kaman’s class was interesting, he had good concepts and that he could be right about how life started.

  • Stephen Whitaker’s mild confrontation with Professor Kaman about the professor teaching evolution as the only explanation to the origin of life. Stephen made it a point to say that it went against Christianity and corrected the Professor when he called the creation account a story.

  • A fellow student tells Even that Professor Kaman got another Professor fired for teaching the creation account 12 years earlier. This seems to upset the student and he tells Even to wish Stephen Whitaker success in the debate. This implies that the student thought Professor Kamans actions and beliefs were wrong.

  • Stephen and his wife’s disbelief of the blatant lies, in a school textbook, about evolution being the reason for the origin of life. This showed their respect for God’s sole authority. They were baffled how the authors could “get away” with printing these lies.

  • Even consistently supports the Bible and says the debate is an opportunity for the truth. He puts Rachel on the spot and asks her if she believed God created the world, expressing his faith in God’s divinity and supremacy.

  • Stephen Whitaker’s opening speech mentions the following:

  1. If God did not create the universe, then who did?.

  2. There was reference to the theory of evolution being an attack on God’s authority.

  3. If you start as God as the first cause - everything else makes sense.

  • Professor Joseph Portland’s speech:

  1. Without God, there are no rules and no one to give an account to.

  2. He stated that man didn’t create God. He proposed the opposite. If man had his way, he would rather God didn’t exist. People tend to incorrectly blame God for the pain and suffering in this world. So if man had his way, he would rather eliminate God.

  3. He stated that he was fired from his job because he refused to teach the evolution lies from the textbooks

  4. He gave an explanation about how a laboratory cannot replicate life - there has to be someone there to set up and conduct the experiment.

  5. He concluded that it was not a matter of fact but rather a matter of faith. This glorified God because God requires we live by faith (Hebrews 11:3 - Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear).




You shall have no idols: 2nd commandment: Exodus 20:4-6

  • Professor Kaman was depicted as an idol - his intellect and “gift of communication,” as Even put it, made him the most popular professor on campus. No one dared go against him.

  • Professor Kaman made it a point during his first class to promote his Professor status - his intellect, which set the stage for him implying that he was the voice of authority.

  • The fired Professor Portland had made his job at the university his idol and his identity. He said the job was his life, so when he lost that, he seemed to believe at the time that he had lost everything, including the defence of his faith in Jesus Christ. He referred to himself as being “out of the game” - he no longer felt he was in the race that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which refers to the endurance of our faith. Stephen corrects him on this and says a Christian should never be out of the game.


Do not misuse the name of the Lord: 3rd commandment: Exodus 20:7

  • It could be said that Professor Kaman took the Lord’s name in vain in the context of using God’s name with no humility or reverence, but in a mocking tone and with arrogant, rebellious mocking comments, especially during the debate.


Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 4th commandment: Exodus 20:8-11

  • There was a scene when the family went to their local church service, but there was no promotion for Sunday as the holy day of rest.


Honour your father and your mother: 5th commandment: Exodus 20:12

  • Loving communication between Rachel and her parents in the opening scene of her getting ready to go away to college and throughout most of the film.

  • Rachel told a student, Tyler, that she had to visit her parents as they were anxious to see her. She said this with a smile. Whereas Tyler’s reaction to visiting parents was one of obligation and mockery.

  • Rachel becomes split in honouring her parents and keeping an image at school (avoiding embarrassment because her dad was going to debate Professor Kaman). Her behaviour towards her parents deteriorates as she drifts away from her faith. She later repents. The film shows that honouring her parents was the right thing to do.

  • Even calls Stephen Whitaker, Sir, showing his respect for the parent role.


6th and 7th commandment - N/A


You shall not steal: 8th commandment: Exodus 20:15

  • Stephen recalled the account of a young boy stealing a coin from Rachel when she was 10 years old and him affirming it was a sin to steal.


You shall not give false testimony: 9th commandment: Exodus 20:16

  • The Professor is shown in a lie, as he told the father he taught evolution because he taught what was in the textbooks. However, when he was talking to his colleague, the Professor of Journalism, about organizing a debate, he said “his” views were being challenged. In addition to this, in his lecture later on, he told the students that a parent had challenged him to a debate, which was a lie. The professor was the one who backed Stephen into a corner during their first meeting and manipulated him into having a debate. He continued to spread the lie that Stephen challenged him to a debate.

He also told the students that the debate topic was near and dear to his heart - which was not what he told Stephen Whitaker. Then just before the debate, Professor Kaman reminded his class about the debate and said it was his obligation to the university and to the students to defend what he knew to be true. Rachel’s eyes are opened and she then sees the professor’s true motivation.

  • Jason, the student pursuing Rachel, lied to Rachel about liking debates and admitted it without any guilt.

  • Even’s conversation with Rachel exposing Tyler’s true motivation of friendship (which was based on lies), has a huge impact on Rachel. This scene shows the impact sin has on us - it hurts and destroys.


You shall not covet: 10th commandment: Exodus 20:17

  • Professor Portland apologizes to Professor Kaman for being bitter for years.

  • Professor Portland coveted Professor Kaman in the sense that he was still working at the university, while Professor Portland had lost the job and place he loved. Professor Portland realized that he had sinned and repented.



What Christian standards does the film convey?


Scripture alone

  • Rachel has her Bible on her nightstand and puts it in her case to go to college. This implies she was reading her Bible regularly as her authority.

  • Stephen Whitaker’s shocked reaction when he saw evidence that Rachel hadn’t read her Bible. This implies that the Bible had been her authority.

  • Stephen Whitaker struggled with the decision to send Rachel to a mainstream college, but hoped she would find a good local church to attend.

  • Stephen Whitaker refers to the Bible as our only authority during the debate and states it is trustworthy and the Word of God.

  • Professor Portland’s speech includes the line, “Someone who holds to creation has their beliefs firmly rooted in the Bible and a God who created everything.”

  • Professor Portland asks the audience the rhetorical question, “If they are going to rely on the ever changing ideas of man or God’s Word?”

Salvation through Christ alone (does not promote good works)

  • Stephen Whitaker’s conversation with Even, at the park, about how he explained the gift of salvation to his daughter Rachel, by using an incident involving a boy stealing a coin from Rachel. Although Rachel had done nothing wrong at the time, her father didn’t applaud her behaviour, but stressed that we all needed Jesus to get right with God, because we have all sinned, in some way.

  • Stephen Whitaker’s conversation with Professor Portland: When Professor Portland was being dismissive and said he was out of the game, Stephen Whitaker responded by saying we should never stop trying to share the Lord with people.

  • Even’s conversation with Rachel about the difference between just adding Jesus to your life and submitting to him. Even stressed we have to submit our life to him, then we can have conviction and take a stand for our faith.

  • Professor Portland said towards the end of the debate that he puts his trust in Jesus Christ, who died on cross for his sins, was buried and rose again on the 3rd day. He called his stance humility. He would rather trust and follow Christ and wait on the hope of the eternal life Jesus Christ offers.

  • Even told Rachel about how he became a Christian.

  • The song at the end: The Stand, by Joel Houston, which is about surrendering to Jesus Christ.

State of the Dead

  • Professor Kaman implies that man created God to make life less painful for himself as man feared the thought of death. So man created heaven to soften the blow of death. Stephen Whitaker references the afterlife after this point from Professor Kamen, saying he believes in an afterlife. It was a bit ambiguous, and Christ’s return was not mentioned, so the film falls short on this point of doctrine.

Biblical marriage

  • A conversation between Jason and his friends about Rachel’s decision to only watch TV in the lounge with him, in the evening, to protect her virtue. This illustrated the teachings of preparation for a biblical marriage.

  • The respect the parents showed for each other even when the stress levels increased. Their words and actions promoted a biblical marriage - reminding me of Ephesians 5:21: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

  • Rachels conversation with Tyler when she breaks off their relationship to protect her virtue and faith, telling him she wanted to live her life to please him the Lord.

  • Stephen Whitaker is portrayed as being the strong but humble head of his home.

  • Stephen Whitaker was the one to hold a speech on behalf of his wife at Rachel’s going away party, illustrating that he was the head of the house.

  • Stephen Whitaker was the one who confronted Professor Kaman, indicating that he was the spiritual leader in their home.

Recognition of the value of life and blessing in children

  • The loving communication between the main character Rachel and her parents

Modesty of dress: The promoted appropriate clothing.


Recognition of the body as the temple of God

  • Rachel’s decision to not watch TV alone with Jason, in order to protect her virtue.

  • Stephen’s wife is seen cutting up vegetables for dinner -illustrating a healthy diet


Does the film give glory to God through praises and thanks?

  • Rachel gives silent praise and thanks to God as she is reunited with her parents (she looks up to heaven as she hugs her parents)

  • Stephen praises God with his opening speech in the debate concerning the wonder of creation: It’s complexity, beauty, design, intelligence and diversion.

  • Dr Portland’s speech about God being our Creator and the gift of salvation through Jesus.

  • At the end of the movie, the quote: The chicken came first - Rachel Whitaker, gives glory to God for being the origin of creation.


Did the film encourage my faith?

  • Yes! It had Christian role models like the parents, Rachel, the pastor of the Whitaker family’s local church, Even, Professor Portland. They all contributed to the encouraging and uplifting tone in the film.

  • Stephen’s faith was challenged and he found himself scrambling to explain his faith. Why was that? Sometimes we allow intellect to intimidate us, but the Bible says in Proverbs 9:10:The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom - all 31 chapters, and all of that wisdom was given to Solomon by God. Stephen Whitaker ended up getting help from an unexpected friend, a fellow Christian, who exposed the so-called wisdom of the Biology Professor that revealed itself to be nothing more than manipulative tactics to gain popularity with the audience and promote evolution.

  • The film encouraged us to stand on our faith, which must be based on the Word of God and the gift of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

  • The film’s focus was love for Jesus, God the Father, the importance of Christian parents, the word as our authority - LOVE.



What actions did I do, as a result of seeing the film?

  • I saw the film again and again…! I also downloaded the song, The Stand. I like music so I have a tendency to download the soundtrack of Christian films that uplift me and encourage me to praise the Lord, and have him at the center of my life, through His Word - Jesus Christ.

  • The Christian values of the characters: the father, mother, Even, the Pastor, made a lasting impression, especially Professor Portland’s speech at the end of the debate.


Would I change anything about the film?

  • The reference to the afterlife in the debate should not have been there. Although it was subtle and made by Prof Kaman who believed in evolution, it was not refuted as incorrect and Jesus’ second coming was not mentioned.


SUMMARY

I have seen this film about eight times and counting - I never tire of it.

  • It beautifully depicts the love the Father and Son have for mankind, their creation.

  • It depicts the beauty of God, our Father and the miracle of His works in everything we see and can’t see and rejects the false theory of evolution that is now being taught in schools as a matter of fact.

  • It depicts the biblical Christian family, with the father as the spiritual leader and protector of his family and the mother as her husband’s helper and nurturer of the household.

  • It acknowledges the fierce spiritual battle we are in and how it affects Christians and non-believers alike.

  • It illustrates how we have the free gift of salvation, through Jesus Christ, that is ours, if we submit, humbly accept it, and stand on the authority of the Bible as our life guide.


My understanding from the Bible about what happens when we die; enables me to watch this film with the solid understanding that we remain in the grave when we die, and the afterlife starts when Jesus Christ returns - not before.


Titus 2:13 says, “ Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” - Jesus’ return to collect all those who believed and believe in him is a beautiful promise we can look forward to - the Blessed Hope.



Thank you for taking the time to read this review.


Until next time - peace be with you.


In Christ, Deborah Ljung




Film site: https://www.amatteroffaithmovie.com/

DVD and digital download available at www.christianmovies.com


Source for film thumbnail: https://christianmovies.com/collections/frontpage/products/a-matter-of-faith-movie-dvd



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