House Church Central Goes to the Movies

Touchstone Pictures. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. William Hurt, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sigourney Weaver, and Brendan Gleeson. Music by James Newton Howard.

As we view the film, we are led to believe that we are witnessing an early-American village that has "circled the wagons" to keep out strange creatures that occasionally invade the community. One member of the village, Noah Percy (Adrien Brody), has become psychotic and attacks and injures Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), a village citizen who is agitating for contact with the outside world. The second act of the film works out the consequences of this attack as the film�s sightless heroine (Bryce Dallas Howard) deals with the threatening world outside the village.

Spoiler alert -- don't read below the line until you have viewed the film.

Like Sixth Sense, The Village surprises the viewer with an astonishing plot twist. When all is revealed, we discover that the village is not what we were led to believe at all, but an elaborate device created by victims of terrible crimes in the modern world to live out a sin-free existence by separating themselves from the world. William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver also have important roles as village founders.

Christian theology makes it clear that sin is an inevitable and inescapable part of the fallen world. Only faith in the Messiah and His Second Advent can bring about a return to the Garden, which is guarded by the cherubim and flaming sword (Gen. 3:24). As dwellers in the fallen world, we all yearn that return, but any attempt to create it outside of faith, as the members of this film learn, is futile because sin will ultimately and unfailingly emerge from within.

But do the villagers learn this lesson? When the credits finally roll, it looks like they are going to give it another try. And it is at that point that we can use this film as a background in discussing the Doctrine of Sin, dealing with the consequences of sin, and related questions that are very relevant to the Church.

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