Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2017)

A washed-up former child star, forced to do community service at a local megachurch, pretends to be a Christian to land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play, only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a 2017 Christian dramedy that stars WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. This is an interesting watch for me as I always have a hard time when it comes to watching Christian films because they come from such a strongly post revivalist evangelical state of mind. I grew up in an intensely Penecostal background but have since shifted to Lutheranism so it’s a stark contrast to see these films nowadays.

This film centers around a former child star, Gavin Stone, whose recent life choices have lead him into a sticky predicament where he is forced to do community service at a church in his hometown of Masonville, Illinois. Originally set to do maintenance work he lies his way into getting involved with the church’s production of a play about the life of Jesus.  Gavin goes from an out of control man to someone that has finally seen that life isn’t always about what you want and that sacrifices are sometimes necessary

I won’t get into all of the theology of this film which is largely based on the idea that one can accept Jesus into their heart when the bible shows that humanity from its conception to death is whole-heartedly opposed to God and that even the good they try to do isn’t worth a lick of spit. Without the work of the  Holy Spirit through the Word our hearts would remain hardened. It also showcases that conversion is an extremely emotionally charged experience instead of a gradual learning process.

Shawn Michaels plays a tougher than nails biker named Doug, with a heart geared to do Jesus’ will. His character is a wonderful part of this film even if it’s just part of a larger ensemble. Shawn is a Christian off screen as well so you really know he was giving his all to the part. He was a very enjoyable part of this movie.

One thing I did find that the film had a particularly good grasp on theologically was forgiveness regardless of whether or not someone deserves it, a virtue that is heavily espoused in most doctrines. Again forgiveness without the love of Christ is meaningless and an empty gesture.

This film will go over like gangbusters for most folks who enjoy positive and encouraging films. It certainly knows when to crank up the emotional leverage at any given time. I do enjoy these types of films to an extent but a part of me is always weary because so many of them focus on the experience of conversion and that Jesus will make your life infinitely more happy and enjoyable when the Word of God shows us at many turns that even through the lowest of lows and misery that it is all done to the glory of God.


Shawn Michaels as Doug

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