Grace, forgiveness and redemption are core themes in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, a fun, faith-based comedy in theaters now. Essentially, these traits are what Christians are known for, but Gavin Stone doesn’t know that when he shows up on the doorstep of Masonville Baptist Church to serve his 200 hours of community service.
After a party gone wrong, Gavin is just looking to serve his time so he can get back to Hollywood to reclaim his fame as an actor. He mops a few floors and cleans a few bathrooms, but quickly comes across auditions for the upcoming church play. Naturally, he wants to audition, but the church has one stipulation: You must be a Christian. “I am,” he lies. And so begins his journey as a “believer,” which involves many cheesy moments, cliché phrases and wrong assumptions.
Strictly following church stereotypes, Gavin tries to fit in with his cast mates. When he attends his first church service, he trades in his beanie, jeans and button down shirt for khaki pants, Dockers and a tucked-in polo shirt. He greets everyone he passes with a “Blessings. Peace to you.” He goes “all out” during worship, and grabs a whole handful of communion wafers instead of just one as they pass the communion tray during the service.
It’s humorous moments like these that make Gavin likeable and relatable as a character, though some of his humor about Christian stereotypes could offend conservative viewers. It’s an effort to draw attention to how Gavin sees Christianity from the outside, showing that his assumptions about Christianity only get him so far. In getting to know people from the church, he realizes he is missing something.
His cast mates don’t just say all the right Christian things; they demonstrate a Christ-like attitude in the way they live. Allen Richardson, played by The Cutting Edge front man D.B. Sweeney, is the pastor of Masonville, but he knows what the “bad boys” are like and won’t take any grief from Gavin. He makes it known that Gavin has to make good decisions to complete his community service at his church. Kelly—the pastor’s daughter, the play’s director and Gavin’s love interest in the film—demonstrates patience, grace and forgiveness time and time again as Gavin presents his new ideas to “enhance” the play. Doug, played by former WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels, is a sweet man in a biker gang for Jesus who is dedicated to helping others in need. He attends a weekly Bible study and invites him in when no one else does. His example of humility is exactly what Gavin needs, having come from the narcissistic world of Hollywood.
It’s through these characters’ actions that the gospel is preached. God’s grace shines through as the audience sees Gavin feel welcomed into the church community and begin to understand what being a Christian truly means.Overall, this movie is a laugh-along, feel good film with a strong Christ-centered message.