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Former SBC EC member plays key role

EDITORS’ NOTE: This story is part of a series of Baptist Press stories about Fireproof, which hits theaters Sept. 26. To read an overview of the movie click here. To read a review of the movie click here. To read how churches can get involved click here. A story about movie volunteers is available here. Finally, a story about the director and producer is available here.

ALBANY, Ga. (BP)–“I didn’t sign up for this.” That’s what Harris Malcom, a former member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said about his role in the upcoming movie “Fireproof.”

Malcom told Baptist Press he and his wife, Phyllis, joined a prayer team at the church where they are members — Sherwood Baptist in Albany, Ga. — in support of the church’s efforts in producing its third film, “Fireproof.” Sherwood Baptist also produced “Flywheel” and “Facing the Giants.”

Set for release Sept. 26, “Fireproof” chronicles the impact of selfishness, financial struggles, emotional adultery and Internet pornography on the marriage of the main characters: firefighter Caleb Holt and his wife Catherine, a public relations executive.

When the movie’s producers — brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who are associate pastors at Sherwood — sought a 50-something couple to play Holt’s parents, the Malcoms got the call to move from prayer support behind the scenes to acting in front of the cameras.

Malcom’s prominent role as the father of Holt — played by Kirk Cameron of TV’s “Growing Pains” fame — is crucial in that he confronts Holt with a 40-day challenge called a “love dare” to abandon his selfishness and focus on saving his crumbling marriage.

“I was humbled to get the role. It was a rewarding experience,” said Malcom, who was a Georgia pastor for 25 years and now is a ministry resource consultant for the Georgia Baptist Convention.

As if art were imitating life, Malcom’s appearance as a father figure was not his only qualification for the role of marriage counselor to his on-screen son. Malcom has always held an interest in the importance of marriage, having written his doctoral thesis on premarital counseling.

Malcom believes that too many movies and television programs belittle masculinity in the traditional roles of husband, father and friend, and that “Fireproof” does the opposite. “It points to the importance of these relationships,” he said.

“All relationships are precious, no matter what they are,” he said. Whether between spouses, parents and children, or friends, all relationships may be enriched by the movie, Malcom said.

Malcom thinks the movie is a good starting point for troubled marriages, and that marriage counselors may find the movie helpful, too. He’s convinced that the related marital resources scheduled for release with the movie will be invaluable to all marriages.

“Even good marriages have trouble,” he said. “I know Phyllis loves me, but I’m sure there are some days she doesn’t like me.”

One marital resource related to the movie will be “The Love Dare” book, which will be released by B&H Publishing Group around the time of the film’s release. In the movie, Caleb’s father gives him a 40-day “love dare” journal, which essentially is a challenge for Caleb to learn to love his wife again. Foundational to the plot, the journal involves suggestions about daily, simple acts of love offered to a spouse. Suggestions include not talking negatively for a day and performing unexpected kindnesses, like pouring the spouse a cup of coffee or leaving a thoughtful note.

Malcom believes the movie will help single people as they look to the future, or even those who are single again.

“My prayer is that this movie will show the world God’s plan for marriage and that lives will be changed for eternity as a result,” Malcom said. “So many couples today throw in the towel at the first sign of serious conflict and they don’t have the skills to know how to deal with those hard times. The hard times will come to every marriage sooner or later, and knowing how to seek the Lord will make the difference between success and failure.”

“This is a must-see movie for couples in all stages of their marriage,” he said.
Norm Miller is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Va. For more information about “Fireproof,” visit FireproofTheMovie.com. For resources, visit FireproofMyMarriage.com.

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  • Norm Miller