Doug Giles


Finally … a major motion picture with a solid Christian premise that’s not repellently corny.

Machine Gun Preacher tells the story of biker bad boy Sam Childers (played by 300’s Gerard Butler) who collides with Christ via the influence and prayers of his wife, Lynn (portrayed by Mission: Impossible III’s Michelle Monaghan). Upon conversion, Sam morphs into a crusading missionary who rescues kidnapped kids from a Sudanese warlord by the means of prayer, hard work and an AK-47.  

As a Christian, I must confess that I’ve become a wee bit leery of Christian-themed movies for two reasons:

  1. If Hollywood has anything to do with it, the flick will usually depict Christians as buckle-shoed killjoys with three teeth who forbid dancing, have an IQ of 50, and secretly hump altar boys.
  2. Typically when Christians pony up to produce a movie it’s way underfunded and sports a cast of D-grade actors who stumble through predictable lines that drip with Precious Moments goo. It’s either that or some god-awful end of the world waste of celluloid that appeals only to atheists’ sense of humor or to the niche market Rapture crowd. Yep, generally speaking, when it comes to producing movies, like soup in a bad restaurant, the church’s mind is better left unstirred.

Machine Gun Preacher, however, avoids both Hollywood’s acrimonious assaults and the church’s Lysol-disinfected depictions of a gritty faith in a crappy world.

The R-rated film opens with a fusillade of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, violence and more F-bombs dropped than Chris Rock could spew if he were to accidently smack his crotch with a sledgehammer. I’m kidding … there are not that many F-bombs in the film—but they are there, my beloved, so you have now been officially warned.

For me the crassness of MGP is both refreshing and necessary. It is refreshing in the sense that its depiction of a lost dude’s lostness is kept base and not gussied up for the sensibilities of the saints. The film makes zero attempts at keeping the religious comfy so that they won’t pop a blood vein in their easily offended foreheads.  Delicious. 

Secondly, the rawness is essential, at least to me, as a backdrop to spotlight the radical love and transforming power that faith in Christ delivers to Sam and why he’s passionate about following God in an extremely sacrificial way. I believe the maxim is, “Those who’re forgiven much, love much.”

Doug Giles

Doug Giles is the Big Dawg at and the Co-Owner of The Safari Cigar Company. Follow him onFacebook and Twitter. And check out his new book, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation.