Movie review: "One Night with the King"
by Dwayna Litz
www.ltwinternational.org - November 7, 2006
There is a new "Christian" movie out "One Night with the King" about the true story of Esther. It is based on Tommy Tenney's book at http://www.godchasers.net/index.cfm/pageid/598/index.html. The opening paragraph about the story from the movie site says, "an epic motion picture set in an imaginative world of adventure, intrigue and romance..."
But, how can the story be described as being set in an imaginative world if it is based on Scripture which is true and historical? I noticed the book is touted as a fiction novel. Which is it, Mr. Tenney?
While I have not personally seen this film, it appears to be focused on people finding their destiny with a "sneaky" message of the gospel interwoven into the story. From Tommy Tenney's own website http://www.godchasers.net/ this is a quote under Mission Hollywood heading:
"'One Night with the King' preaches the Gospel in a subtle and non-confrontational way. I call it "sneaky" preaching. This is Mission Hollywood! We want to create hunger in people by exposing them to the truth. There are people who will not come sit in a church and listen to a preacher, but they will sit in a theater and listen to the hidden truth of Esther's story."
Quite frankly, this disturbs me. Truth should be spoken plainly, boldly, and without apology. If someone doesn't want to go to church they probably don't want the God of the Bible either. However, I'm sure Mr. Tenney knows that the real truth of the gospel and God's Word would not make people pay to see his movie, and it would hurt the revenue he makes peddling it.
Mr. Tenney is a known Word-Faith teacher. I cannot help but wonder if the movie will lead to true repentance and salvation or if this is just another feel-good, Christian movie about trying to find our purpose in life. No doubt, many Christians will see and like this movie just like the woman I know who sent me the link to the trailer. I pray the Lord would rouse His people from their sleep and that all who call upon the name of God would ask for discernment to know truth from error.
One Night with the King: "... we learn of (a) the forging of a sinister metal trinket and (b) an ominous act of defiance by a king following a victory in battle that will have dire repercussions for ages to come. The king is Saul, who, despite Samuel’s orders to spare no one after conquering the Amalekites, allows King Agag to live. Samuel kills Agag, but, in a non-biblical twist, Agag’s pregnant queen escapes. Following a midrashic tradition, Agag becomes the ancestor of the genocidally anti-Semitic Haman (James Callis, looking oddly like Jesus).... Haman plots to exterminate the diaspora Jews in Persia, but is foiled by the courage and cunning of the heroine whom King Xerxes (British pop star Luke Gross) makes his queen. ...
"The film is adapted from the book of Esther by way of the novel Hadassah: One Night with the King, written by Pentecostal preacher Tommy Tenney and published by Christian publisher Bethany House. The novel, written in the form of a letter from the biblical Esther to a future royal bride-to-be, swoonily romanticizes Xerxes and Esther’s relationship, while turning Haman into a virtual forerunner of Hitler, complete with a swastika-like 'twisted cross' symbol adopted from India.... From Esther’s opening salutation... to her lamenting the corruption of the word 'intimacy' as a 'prudish euphemism' for sex, the novel’s contemporary sensibilities are stamped on every page....
"Though the novel takes significant liberties with the biblical story, the film departs further still. The canonical story opens with the defiance of Xerxes’s previous queen, Vashti, who refuses the king’s summons to appear at a feast where he wants to show off her beauty to his guests. The book of Esther explicitly draws out the potentially subversive implications of this act: What if other women, hearing of this, likewise refuse to obey their husbands?... This event is all but unrecognizable in the film, in which Vashti’s refusal to appear is construed as an act of political resistance against her husband’s war with Greece..."
When Biblical truth is twisted into a popular story, it spreads deception, not Christian faith. See The Prince of Egypt (Joseph), Narnia: Blending Truth and Myth and Movie Magic and Unconscious Learning
From David: I read your brief article on "One night with the king," and your suspicions are correct. I saw the movie and was very troubled throughout. It was very obvious to me that the message promoted the lust of the flesh the lust of the eyes and the pride of life! It totally missed the historical culture at the time and the Biblical message of God's divine favor on those who trust in him and are called out by his name!
I'm ashamed that professing Christians have the audacity to represent our mighty God and wonderful savior into the image of the creature! I hope you will research this pagan film further.
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