How to Watch a Movie

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock and Robert Johnston discuss a biblical theology of cinema, focusing on how the church can better engage with universal themes expressed in popular movies.

About the Contributors

Darrell L. Bock

Dr. Bock has earned recognition as a Humboldt Scholar (Tübingen University in Germany), is the author of over 40 books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus, and work in cultural engagement as host of the seminary’s Table Podcasts. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from 2000–2001, served as a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College and Chosen People Ministries. His articles appear in leading publications. He is often an expert for the media on NT issues. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas. When traveling overseas, he will tune into the current game involving his favorite teams from Houston—live—even in the wee hours of the morning. Married for over 40 years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son and is also a grandfather.

Robert K. Johnston

Robert K. Johnston (B.A. in History and Honors in Humanities, Stanford University, 1967; B.D, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1970; Ph.D. in Religion, Duke University, 1974) is Senior Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, where he has taught students how to engage both biblically and theologically with movies, popular culture, and contemporary fiction. He is a recipient of the Weyerhaeuser Award as “teacher of the year” at Fuller, as well as a former provost.

A co-director of Fuller’s Reel Spirituality Institute and a past president of the American Theological Society, Johnston has written or edited fifteen books including: Deep Focus (2019, co-authored with Kutter Callaway and Craig Detweiler); God in the Movies (2017, co-edited with Catherine Barsotti); God’s Wider Presence (2014); Don’t Stop Believin’: Pop Culture and Religion from Ben-Hur to Zombies (editor, 2012); Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline (editor, 2007); Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes through the Lens of Contemporary Film (2004); Finding God in the Movies (2004, co-authored with Catherine Barsotti); Reel Spirituality (2000, 2006), and The Christian at Play (1983, 1997).

Johnston is a former school board member in Wilmette, IL as well as provost at North Park University in Chicago. He has often taught at a seminary in St. Petersburg, Russia, and helped establish PhD programs in Christian Studies that are accredited by the government in both Latin America and in India. For fifteen years, he and his wife taught all new staff members of Young Life, their basic theology class in how to think Christianly. Johnston has been a member of the ecumenical juries at both the Locarno Film Festival In Locarno, Switzerland (2017) and at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France ( 2018). He is married to Catherine Barsotti and has two adult daughters. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.