The Power of Love in BACK TO THE FUTURE | FCC 57

On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we jump in the DeLorean and turn on the Flux Capacitor as we look for Christian themes in Robert Zemeckis’s sci-fi classic Back to the Future. Is Marty McFly’s love and kindness for his father enough to save the world? All that and more in 3, 2, 1!

For your convenience you will find each segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Updates
  • 00:11:25Back To The Future Discussion
  • 01:15:00 – Listener Feedback
  • 01:33:25 – Reel News
  • 01:37:10 – Lightning Round
  • 01:38:40 – Listener Challenge and Upcoming

The Power of Love Leads to Repentance

Marty McFly is looking for a better father figure. At the beginning of the film, his father George McFly is a wimp and a slacker who does not like confrontation even if he is in the right. Because of his father’s incompetence, Marty is perceived as a wimp and slacker. This negative influence also leaks into Marty’s self-confidence; he refuses to send his audition tape to a record company because he would not be able to stand it if they refused him – a trait he picked up from his father.

Fortunately, he has another father figure – who is slightly more stable even if a tad eccentric – in Dr. Emmett Brown, whose loving encouragement comes in the form of one of the most pragmatic proverbs, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Marty isn’t getting this type of support from home, so he’s getting it from where he can: the local nut-job.

This image from BACK TO THE FUTURE shows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Crispin Glover as George McFly.

As the story moves on, Marty has to stir his younger father to woo his mother Lorraine the right way (any other way wouldn’t work because Lorraine is smitten with Marty since her dad hit him with the car instead of George, thus upsetting the entire space/time continuum, but I digress). Marty earns George’s trust by showing him the same kind of loving-kindness that Doc has been showing him throughout the film thus far. Marty then gives George the right words to say and shows him the right thing to do, thus enabling George to do the right thing when the time calls for it.

This is a mirrored image of how we as Christians can facilitate the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven: by using God’s kindness to lead others to repentance as Paul describes in his letter to the Roman Christians. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to be there for someone whenever they need it and help stir them along to do the right thing. Eventually, the entire future will change for the better, and instead of living a distressed life, the world can enjoy a fulfilled life.

1.21 Gigawatts of Jesus Christ

Humans are capable of amazing things; in this film, a man has created a time machine. It’s easy to rest on those laurels and enchant ourselves with our own accolades, but in doing that, we set ourselves up for failing and falling. It happened with the Tower of Babel, with King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire, and even with Rome. It would seem that Man was never meant to be able to do anything of his own accord, and for the Christian, that’s perfectly acceptable.

This image from BACK TO THE FUTURE shows the courthouse being struck by lightning.

Just as the flux capacitor needs a bolt of lightning to be able to do its thing (and also kinda like how Vision needed a charge from Thor’s hammer in Avengers: Age of Ultron), we as humans need the power of Christ surging through our lives in order to do our thing. Otherwise, once we get up to 88 mph, we may just get nothing but a speeding ticket.

Reel News

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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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