Can you unravel the concept of the ‘fear of God’ in 15 minutes? Francis Chan attempts to do so in this impressively produced, contemporary short film, which is designed to be used in a small group setting. The film is the first in his new series on the basics of Christianity.

This is a genuine and thoughtprovoking challenge to the Church’s softening of Christian orthodoxy on the subject of the fear of God. Chan’s teaching is undoubtedly brilliant, as he reflects on the Church’s recent tendency to diminish the concept of fearing God to little more than respect for him. If we lose sight of the sort of reverence that God demands, says Chan, we’ll never live the sort of lives that God wants, nor understand the power available to us through the Holy Spirit. What undid the power of Chan’s message for me, however, was the tension-inducing film interwoven with his teaching, which showed a girl in bed, whose room slowly filled with water until she appeared to be drowning. Instead of illustrating Chan’s message, this distracted me from it.

Would I use this DVD resource with my small group? Perhaps if they were all mature Christians and we had plenty of time to discuss the ‘fear of God’ post-film – otherwise, no. Paradoxically, Chan has selected a topic for the first of his Basic series which in my estimation isn’t really basic at all.