Movie as Theology: Ang Probinsyano

Theology is the study of God. From an evangelical point, the main source of knowing God is the Holy Bible. It’s often referred to as the special revelation of God.

But theology also views nature and culture as sources of divine knowledge, despite its obvious limitations. One cultural medium of shaping theology is movie or tele-series. In this case, we’ll consider Ang Probinsyano, a police story.

Honestly, I like Ang Probinsyano since I also grew up with admiration of its original hero, Fernando Poe, Jr., and now, Coco Martin. My family somehow used it to illustrate the importance of Filipino values in many ways.

But let me share briefly how movies affect viewers’ concept of God.

1. Reflect on the Problem of Evil.

Most movies depict the problem of evil, suffering, pain, and other malevolent realities.

Theology called “theodicy” as the attempt to answer the question: If God is all-good and all-powerful, why does evil exists?

In the fight between good and evil, the innocent people, especially children, and innocent friends sacrifice or suffer. Even the main character, like Cardo, struggle with the reality of evil and death.

Themes like oppression, injustices, and cruelty–which are evident in the movie–make the viewer emotionally attached to the characters and hate the anti-hero, like the villain, Joaquin, or the wicked rich, Don Emilio.

But where did we get the idea of something evil if there is no such thing as the absolute good? From the Christian point of view, it’s called “God.”

2. Remain Hopeful in God. 

Usually, the movie’s main actor is the messiah-type savior. He stands as the protector and redeemer of the weak, oppressed, and helpless.

But there is more to the series Ang Probinsyano. The theology behind the movie is that Jesus is not just human, but divine. That’s why the characters pray to him for salvation from evils and dangers.

Based on the biblical and historical confession of Christianity, God is a “trinity.” It means God is one in three persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The majority of the Filipino viewers know this as basic tenets of their Christian Faith.

As such, in the midst of all the problems and challenges, the movie teaches that people find hope in God through Christ. Even the branded “criminals” have hope to be changed by the mercy of God.

3. Receive the Gift of Faith in Christ.

Movies do not have to be “religious” for people to find God in it. Despite of the obvious limitations and motives of movies, still, as St Paul said, “Christ is still preached” or proclaimed.

Ang Probinsyano is not pushy about its religious stand. It gives the audience the choice to emulate the characters as they put their faith in Christ’s love and grace. That sense of humility is portrayed by Cardo who also influenced his “criminal” friends to have a change of heart without being self-righteous. It’s an offer.

The same is true in the evangelical Christian Faith. Salvation is a gift from God through Christ Jesus alone. Not only that, the faith to believe that it is only by His grace and not of good works or one’s self whereby a person can be saved is a gift from God.

The two main questions, therefore, are these:

Have you received that precious gift to believe that only Jesus Christ can save your whole self and no one else?

Are you trusting in God alone for the forgiveness of all your sins and your salvation through Jesus Christ’s redeeming love on the cross?

Like the Ang Probinsyano, the truth is an offer. God’s love is also an offer. It’s up to you to receive it.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017

Image above does not belong to the blogger.

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