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4 thoughts on “Seeing the Prodigal Sons in a New Way”

  1. Andy says:

    I thought that this series looked nice initially. However, after watching a couple of them, I’m not so sure.

    For example, the story of the Prodigal Son omits the notion of sin and repentance. The big problem here is that this story makes even more familiar and common what was meant to be divine and heavenly – a ridiculous, incomprehensible story told by Jesus pointing a Gospel so otherworldly it would transform the world, into a simple feel-good film about a family business with no supernatural elements.

    I also watched the Modern Parables version of the Good Samaritan. There, a pastor and his son and youth group friends ignore a bleeding guy on the street, while a smoking Muslim cab driver takes him to the hospital. I can see a slight connection between a Samaritan and Muslim, although Samaritans in Jesus’ day were not known for suicide bombing synagogues and slaughtering Jesus by the thousands. The problem is that their modern rendition presents the message as a – even this guy who we think is bad is doing these good works; look at how much worse we are; we should do better – instead of Jesus’ point that we are called to love our neighbor, which includes everyone, including those with whom we have disagreements and differences.

    Thus, while the idea may seem hip, I can’t help but wonder if these films strip the Scriptures of their power. They turn what was told by God in the flesh in a decidedly spiritual atmosphere and context into mundane stories that seem more like an article about a good deed on the 8th page of the morning newspaper than a sword proceeding from the mouth of God that divides our joints and marrows.

    1. Andy says:

      slaughtering *Christians

      1. Brad says:

        Andy, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that Jesus told the parable in “a decidedly spiritual atmosphere and context.” Jesus told this parable while eating with “sinners” (younger sons) while the religious leaders (elder sons) were listening in the background.

        It seems to me that this film shows the lavish love and welcome of the father for a repentant son. It also shows the lack of love that the other son/elder brother has for his father, who refused to participate in the father’s welcome, and who refused in the first place to run out and bring home the beloved-by-the-father younger son. The story of the elder brother can be overlooked, but this film highlights it.

  2. Mo says:

    Oh, I really enjoyed this but… it felt unfinished. But I guess the original story is that way too.

    For me, the story of the Prodigal Son has always been one of the most difficult Bible passages to read, and for exactly the reasons dramatized here so well.

    I know what it’s like to be the one who always does ‘the right thing’. Or who at least tries. To see other people constantly doing wrong and then getting rewarded for it while I’m still waiting for ‘my party’ is at times unbearable.

    It’s one of the most painful, crushing things in life to accept.

    But I guess I have to remember the times when I’ve been the prodigal, and my Father welcomed me home as well.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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