• Thomas Bonifield

"Emanuel" Shows the Power of Forgiveness

The coming documentary shines a light on the miracle of Christian love overcoming hate after a mass shooting at a Charleston Church.

Sunset over Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC.

In June, 2015, a self-declared white supremacist gunned down nine black Christians in a prayer service at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charlestson, SC. That act of diabolical evil stunned the nation. What followed two days later was more stunning still: family members of the victims offered words of forgiveness to the murderer during court proceedings.


That demonstration of Christian grace is the essence of Emanuel, a documentary from talented young director Brian Ivie. A devout Christian himself, Ivie, who also wrote the film, interviews both survivors and families of those killed. He does get into the heinous act itself and the racism behind it, no avoiding that, but as he explained to the Charleston Post and Courier, the focus is on both the forgiveness - something many secular news stories have covered, if not entirely grasped - and its source.

"Many of them do mention forgiveness, but I also think what separates our telling from all the others is our theological understanding of where that forgiveness comes from. And that is the cross of Jesus Christ."

Wow, it doesn't get better than that. Praise God for our brothers and sisters at Emanuel A.M.E. Church for living out their faith so powerfully and for Ivie for bringing us their story.


The project has attracted the interest of some big names, including NBA basketball player - and committed Believer - Stephen Curry and Hollywood actress and South Carolina native Viola Davis, both of whom came aboard as executive producers after it was completed. Their aim is to raise the documentary's profile so that it gets the attention it deserves.


Emanuel is a limited engagement from Fathom Events and will play in theaters nationwide for just two days - June 17th and 19th - so mark your calendars. You can check the film's website via this link to find a location near you. In the meantime, the trailer below will give you a sense of the power of the film.



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