The Apostle: An Exercise in
Gordon Matties, Canadian
Movie Theology Website
A. How did you experience the film? With what did
you identify in the film? With what could you not identify?
B. What are the most memorable images? Which scenes
stand out for you?
C. What kind of film is this? Genre?
D. What is the film about? What scenes or images embody that for you?
E. What happens in the plot? Identify the beginning, in which you
discover the characters and plot conflicts; the middle which explores the
complexity of issues and relationships; and the end in which tensions come to
resolution or not.
II. Theological Themes
A. Identify the theological themes you see working
themselves out in The Apostle.
B. What theological or ethical questions does the
C. Explain how one (or more) of those themes was
played out in the movie.
D. Describe how this theme resonates (or not) with
your own experience, with Scripture, and with the tradition(s) of the church.
E. How does this theme energize, confront, criticize
or confirm your experience, your reading of Scripture, and the tradition(s) of
the church that you know about or have experienced?
F. With which biblical texts do you think the movie
III. Images of God and Humanity
A. What image(s) of God and humanity are expressed
in the film?
is the scope of human activity? For what are humans responsible? What freedom
and limitations do they have?
C. How is the presence and activity of God
D. What is the relationship between divine
initiative and human responsibility?
E. Describe the spirituality expressed in this film.
F. Where are these images of God and persons
supported or challenged by Scripture and/or church tradition(s)?
IV. Dialogue between the movie and the Apostle
Paul. Discuss and rank the following themes and texts according to their
importance as you find them embodied in the film.
A. Called and Gifted. Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 9:1-2;
B. Guided by the Spirit. Galatians 3:1-5; 5:16-26;
Romans 5:14; 8:1-30; etc.
C. Gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12
D. Treasures in Jars of Clay. 2 Corinthians 4:1-5:21; Rom 8:26;
E. Weakness. Rom 8:26; 1 Cor 2:3; 15:9; 2 Cor 11:30;
F. Greatest of Sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15
G. Flesh, Spirit & Law. Romans 8; Galatians 3;
5:16-6:5; 6:8; Philippians 3:3-16
H. The old life and the new. Ephesians 4:17-5:2;
I. As long as Christ is proclaimed. Philippians 1:15-18
J. Partnership with God in our salvation.
Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13
K. The church as “body” and “temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12; 2 Corinthians 6:16
L. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” 1 Cor
11:1; Phil 3:17-4:1; 4:8-9.
V. Synthesis: Having worked through the discussion
guide, summarize your understanding of the “embodied theology” of the
film? How does its theological
perspective seek to confirm or to challenge cultural assumptions, religious
traditions, and Christian practices?
For further resources on theological themes, go