Two Reasons Why I Will Not See the Movie Redeeming Love

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Not long after the book Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers was published, a friend loaned me a copy to read.

She raved about the book, telling me it was one of the best books she’d ever read and an excellent retelling of the story of Hosea.

I’ll be honest, that was 23 years ago, and I barely remember what I did last week. Not to mention my very odd tendency to read a book, forget most of it, and find that reading it a second or third time is almost as enjoyable as reading it the first time.

However, while I honestly remember very little about the book, I clearly recall parts of it making me extremely uncomfortable.

I was still single and trying hard to maintain a pure heart and mind while navigating an incredibly sex-crazed, sex-saturated culture; and parts of the book threatened to chip away at that for me.

It’s why up to that point, and especially after reading Redeeming Love, I was incredibly choosy about what Christian fiction I read, in particular Christian romance.

I am a little disturbed at how in the past 20-30 years, Christian romance has slid in the direction of secular romance, even playing on the edges of erotica.

Even as a married woman, I refuse to entertain myself with these types of books and movies, and that is why I am writing this post.

Two Reasons Why I Will Not See the Movie Redeeming Love

man and woman in field cowboy hat

The book Redeeming Love is set in the 1800’s during the California gold rush. Angel (portraying Gomer in the book of Hosea) is stuck in a life of prostitution, having been sold into it as a child. Along comes Michael Hosea and rescues her and marries her, only to have her run back to her old life, out of shame.

His unconditional love for her helps her to see how much God loves her and her life is changed forever.

It is a story that deals with the horrible truth of child sex trafficking and prostitution, while portraying the unconditional love of God and His power to set free those who have been trafficked and/or find themselves caught in the horrible trap of prostitution.

And yet, I take two issues with both the book and the movie.

1. The story of Hosea is not about social justice, rescuing women from prostitution, and raising awareness about sex-trafficking

That’s not the say that these issues aren’t relevant and that the church should not do all it can to rescue and bring these precious souls to freedom and safety.

Absolutely it should.

But, as Christians, at some point, we need to take a strong stand against twisting God’s Word and distorting it to say things it actually doesn’t say.

Especially when it is done by those who proclaim themselves to be Christians.

The Book of Hosea is a prophetic book, and therefore the story about Hosea and Gomer is a prophetic portrayal of a greater message God was sending to Israel.

The story of Hosea isn’t about Hosea’s marriage to a prostitute nor his unconditional love for Gomer, but rather a story of God’s unconditional love for the nation of Israel.

From the first promise to Abraham, Israel was chosen by God to be His people; and yet throughout the Old Testament we read numerous times how she abandoned God for idolatry, immorality, and every kind of abomination of the wicked pagans she refused to eradicate from the start, despite God’s repeated warnings of what would happen if she chose to spare them.

And in the book of Hosea, God chooses Hosea to enact a prophetic message to the nation of Israel by having Hosea marry Gomer, knowing that she would be unfaithful to him, to portray the everlasting love God had for Israel despite her repeated unfaithfulness to Him.

God would continue to redeem Israel from her bondage.

Throughout the Bible God has used marriage as a picture of His relationship to Israel, and now also the Church; which is why the institution of marriage is so sacred.

The marriage between a man and a woman is a prophetic image of God’s relationship between Himself and the Church.

Sadly, according to the reviews I’ve read (links below), the movie misses the mark by a mile when even the message of God’s redeeming love for Angel is completely left out.

What we’re left with is the watered-down, humanistic message of “love conquers all”.

2. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1

The movie Redeeming Love includes two lengthy sex scenes, totally nearly 4 minutes and multiple scenes with nudity and partial nudity.

The 7th commandment is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”.

Jesus took this command to a whole new level in Matthew 5:27 when He said that if we look on another woman (but women are not exempt from this) with lustfulness, we have committed the act of adultery in our heart.

Dear sister, may I ask you a question?

Would you watch a movie with long, steamy portrayals of sexual intimacy if Jesus Christ was sitting on the couch right next to you?

If you are a Christian, if you have surrendered your life to Christ, He is watching those scenes with you and grieving, because He knows what it is doing to your heart.

The amount of life-giving power we have in our lives is in direct proportion to the amount of darkness we allow into our lives through entertainment.

And we can’t rationalize away the sex scenes in Redeeming Love on account that it is a portrayal of the story of Hosea and Gomer.

I say, even worse. Even worse! Not only does the movie Redeeming Love miss the point of the book of Hosea by a long way, it pairs a biblical story with long, gratuitous sex scenes done Hollywood-style.

As Christians, we should be horrified by this!

But sadly, there are Christian women whom I have admired that are recommending this movie highly; calling it “spectacular” and “beautiful”

Dear sisters, isn’t it time for us to raise our standards above the gutter of gratuitous sex, biblical distortion, twisted theology, and a social justice gospel?

Even more, isn’t it time that instead of expecting Hollywood to tell the Bible correctly, we turn away from the god of entertainment and go out and preach the gospel to the lost?

I absolutely will not see the movie Redeeming Love mainly due to the following trusted sources who have seen the movie and gave an honest review of what they thought:

  1. Misty Leask from Year Round Homeschooling and Beautiful Ashes
  2. PluggedIn Online
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  1. Rosilind, that was an excellent post. Maybe you could write one regarding watching movies that take the Lord’s Name in vain. There are so many movies that do nowadays. It’s disturbing.

    Shelley Collison

  2. Just found this post cleaning out my email. Thank you for writing out a thoughtful response. I agree. I refused to see The Shack for similar reasons. It wasn’t Biblical. I couldn’t believe how many of my Christian friends applauded that movie. I was attacked for taking a Biblical stand against it and for being judgmental. Thank you for your courage. Very few know their Bibles well enough to see error and then take a stand to refute.

    1. Yes, I agree with you on the Shack, as well. I also was dismayed at the number of Christians who loved the book and the movie. There is a remarkable ignorance of the Word in the body of Christ today, which is ironic given the fact that we have access to the Bible in every translation as well as trusted commentary and Bible aids all for free online. We are most certainly without excuse…. but as Paul said, they do not have a love for the truth, so God has given them over to a great delusion. And it is tragic to watch those who were once great men and women of God fall into that delusion. We are most certainly living in the last of the last days.

  3. I hadn’t heard of the book or movie, but I’m saddened to hear the descriptions and read the reviews. We expect the world to have skewed values and we know we have to be cautious in our choices, but we expect people who label themselves “Christian” to be and do better. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised though, “… for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14) If they thought this was a way to reach nonbelievers, how would they see the difference if Christian and secular movies are the same? As you implied in your other article on compromise, compromise never achieves the goal of lifting the one in need, it only drags down the one that thinks they are helping.
    Stay Strong

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