Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

4 Powerful Gospel Lessons from Infidel, Jim Caviezel's Film about Persecution

  • Michael Foust Contributor
  • Updated Oct 09, 2020
4 Powerful Gospel Lessons from <em>Infidel</em>, Jim Caviezel's Film about Persecution

Doug Rawlins is a pensive and talented Christian blogger with a vast, worldwide audience.

It’s so large, in fact, that individuals from Islamic countries read his blog, curious about his thoughts on faith, worldviews and the supposed clash of civilizations.

Eventually, this popularity leads to him traveling to a conference in Cairo, Egypt, where he speaks fearlessly about his faith during an interview that causes an international uproar. The video goes viral – and Rawlins becomes a target.

Within hours, Muslim terrorists storm into his hotel room and kidnap him to Lebanon, where he is mercilessly beaten and held at gunpoint, and then ordered to blog about his situation to the entire world.

Rawlins’ life seems to be in grave danger.

But then his wife – a State Department employee with a tendency to throw caution to the wind – gets involved. Will Rawlins survive?

The new film Infidel (R) tells the story of Rawlins and his wife, Liz, who fights corruption and lies in the Middle East as the clock winds down on his life.

It’s a thriller that stars Jim Caviezel and was inspired by true events. It was written and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, who also wrote and directed The Young Messiah and The Stoning of Soraya M.

Despite its R rating, it has a strong faith-centric plot.

Here are four powerful gospel lessons from the film:

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Photo courtesy: ©Cloudburst

still from Infidel

1. Be Smart … and Ready to Give an Answer

Rawlins is invited to speak at a university in Cairo, Egypt, where he will be interviewed live on television by a prominent Muslim host – and seen by millions in the Islamic world.

He’s prepared to discuss the gospel, yet he begins by addressing issues that should unite the Christian and Muslim cultures. The two societies, he says, can be co-belligerents in a battle of worldviews against secularism.

“The media, the pundits, they divide us,” he says. “They tell us we're engaged in a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and we’re at war. But I beg to differ. The real clash is between the Abrahamic religions and modern secularism. It’s the secularists that fear us, that hate us.”

His goal is to find common ground and agreement before tougher questions arise – a tactic the Apostle Paul used at the meeting of the Areopagus in Athens, Greece (Acts 17). It’s a smart strategy that humanizes the speaker and draws in the listener. It’s also more likely to win converts.

Photo courtesy: ©Cloudburst

Infidel still

2. Be Bold and Courageous for Christ

Rawlins’ goodwill attracts the audience and the speaker – but it doesn’t last long. That’s because the conference’s Muslim host implies Christians and Muslims share the same belief about Christ.

“Jesus is considered a messenger of God, a holy and revered prophet,” the Muslim host says. “Christians are unaware of the fact that we love Jesus Christ. We love him. Muslims accept his birth to be that of a good man – [a] great teacher, one of God's miracles from Virgin Mary.”

As each second passes, Rawlins’ face grows tenser. He knows what he must say – and he knows the ramifications, too.

“He may have been a great teacher and a good man,” Rawlins says slowly about Jesus, choosing his words carefully. “But he was so much more. He’s God.”

The audience gasps, but Rawlins continues.

“He said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life,’” Rawlins says, quoting John 14:6 and then John 3:16.

The host attempts to laugh off Rawlins’ comments, but the toothpaste is out of the tube. Rawlins has preached the gospel to the Islamic world, simply because he was “prepared to give an answer to everyone” about his faith, with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). He didn’t shout. He didn’t condemn. He only spoke the truth about the Savior of the world.

Photo courtesy: ©Cloudburst

Infidel still

3. Be Willing to Lose Your Life

Rawlins didn’t travel to Egypt wanting to be persecuted for his faith, but he knew it was possible once he stepped off the plane.

Within hours of his bold witness for Christ, he is kidnapped out of a Cairo hotel by radical Muslims, placed in a van, and driven to a remote location in Lebanon, where he is ruthlessly beaten.

It’s difficult to watch. He’s punched. He’s kicked. They threaten him with electrocution. They threaten to drill a hole in his kneecaps. But he never recants his faith – even when he’s promised freedom for doing so.

After he’s transferred to Iran – and beaten again – we meet members of Iran’s underground church. They risk their lives each day to serve Christ in the Islamic world, worshiping together secretly every Sunday in a member’s home. Their boldness is inspiring.

Jesus told His followers, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). Most of us won’t face a life-or-death situation due to our faith. But are we willing to lose friends? Our pride? Even our job?

Photo courtesy: ©Cloudburst

Infidel still

4. Be Patient with Unbelievers

One of the film’s most surprising plot twists involves Rawlins’ wife, Liz, who abandoned her faith following a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of their unborn baby. Childless, she believes God has cursed her.

“If you want to stay married to me, understand this: I’m done with God,” she tells him.

The wife of the mega-popular Christian writer is ... an unbeliever.

Rawlins, though, shows incredible patience with his wife, refusing to give up on her. He loves her and cares for her, despite their differences. His conversations with her are “full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5-6). He realizes he, too, was once foolish and deceived until the “kindness and love of God” appeared and saved him (Titus 3:4).

Infidel is far from being a family-friendly film. It includes more than 25 f-bombs. It features gut-wrenching scenes of violence. But for a mainstream film, it also has a faith-centric plot with inspiring gospel lessons. Not bad for an R-rated flick.

Infidel is rated R for violence and language.

Photo courtesy: ©Cloudburst

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Looking for Wholesome Family Films This Christmas Season? Listen to Our Culture Expert Share Her Top 5 Family-Centered Films - Perfect for Family Movie Night!

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.