Many things are tugging at high school football star Paul Vincent—parties, the drug culture and girls (not the good kind). His toughest foe however is not the culture wars; his most pernicious battle is within his home. His father, pastor of a large church, chronically and clandestinely lambastes the family with verbal daggers, causing all kinds of damage. His sister takes refuge in an inappropriate relationship, Paul parties late with questionable influences, and his caring, encouraging mother commits suicide. Although deeply distraught at the loss, Paul still harbors a flicker of hope, and when he happens to see a powerful pastor on TV, he immediately recognizes his own faith in God needs a vitamin shot. Determined, he seeks out the pastor, but meets an associate pastor, Ethan, instead. The ensuing discussion results in Paul’s sincere repentance and transformation into a man of Christ. His newfound strength and perseverance transform him into a potent agent of change in the lives of his family and friends.
Refuge Temple Church produced the film and strategically inserts real-life services, music worship and sermons. Their 800-number on the screen might break the “fourth wall” for some viewers. Although significant, some of these inserts feel too lengthy, as do some of the filmed sermons and discussions. However, an audience cognizant of the concept would stay with it; the redeeming message of repentance itself outweighs any excessiveness. The prolific musical score and numbers are rich in substance, and the lead actors command difficult scenes with believability. One of these difficult scenes is a suicide by gunshot scene. Although the suicide isn’t shown, the sound of the shot and the blood-streaked depiction of Paul’s mother is heartwrenching.
Theologically, some might question that the sufficiency of Christ is being mitigated as Ethan advises Paul that in addition to believing and confessing Christ, he must actively repent and talk to God so that God will then fill him with the Holy Spirit. However, historical Christianity teaches us from the Bible that we repent because Christ, solely by His grace, has first given us the sanctifying Holy Spirit. Repentance isn’t a bargaining chip for the Holy Spirit; it’s an essential element of saving faith, a component of it and redirects the will. II Corinthians 7:9 says, “You were made sorrowful according to the will of God.” II Timothy 2:25 tells us that God grants us repentance. It’s not a work added to salvation; it’s a part of the saving work that the Triune God already does in the heart.
The Dove Take
Redeeming the Time is a powerful story of healing and transformation by the Holy Spirit through sincere repentance.
While some scenes portraying verbal abuse and suicide make the film unsuitable for small children, Redeeming the Time is a commendable effort to convey the dire importance of repentance and forgiveness. This film is awarded the Dove-Approved 12+ Seal.
What to talk about
The importance of forgiveness and repentance in one’s life; theological aspects of statements regarding the Holy Spirit. Once repented, Paul becomes a brave agent for change in others.