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KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re: Concerns about The Passion

I find myself with much to say, more than I could properly express. I also find that much of it isn't worth saying. This is a fairly common phenomena in my life.

Do the Catholic and mystic influences bother me? Yes, but not very much. Do I think it's a transgression of the Second Commandment? Not really, not necessarily at least. Do I think it's entertainment being used as a substitute for joy? Not really, as some have said, it's not exactly entertainment.

What bothers me about it, then? Far more fundamental things. Specifically? Read A.W. Tozer's piece on "The Menace of the Religious Movie" ( http://www.biblebb.com/files/tozermovie.htm , thank you to the person who posted the link on this board), I'm essentially in agreement with him. Indeed, until I read that, I was in the dark about the more significant problems with the movie.

I don't really have anything against Mel Gibson or the others involved in the making and promotion of the movie. The error didn't start with them. They're responsible for propagating it, but it didn't start with them. It isn't the first time someone's pretended to be someone else for the mere purpose of drama. It isn't the first time someone's used worldly methods to attempt to do holy work. It isn't even the first time someone's done a movie on the topic. Indeed, it's quite consistent with past actions, and most likely also consistent with the beliefs of those responsible. I don't think it's necessarily hypocritical of the people that made the movie, promoted it, and seek to use it as an evangelistic or devotional tool. And I don't think it's at all surprising.

But I think it's wrong.

Interestingly, I also think God might, just might, use the movie in a great move among His people, perhaps even unto large-scale revival.

Why? Because of the content of the movie? Because of its evangelistic potential? Because it might remind Christians of the severity of Christ's suffering? No, not really. God may use it in that way, but that's not what I'm thinking of.

Why then? Because it shows us how far we have fallen. The movie's existence and Christendom's reaction to it can give us some hint as to the extent of the depravity in the Church.

What depravity, specifically?

Where do I start?

Maybe by asking these questions:

Is the Book just not good enough?

Are God's methods just not effective enough?

Is God's strength insufficient?

Most Bible-believing Christians would probably answer "No" to all three. Answer verbally, at least. But what do their actions say? What do their lives say? What do their ministries say?

I've been vague, but I don't feel called to get more specific. Getting specific might unduly limit the scope of prayerful investigation and reflection Christians should be doing at this time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, may God bless you and make of you what He wills,
-Keith

 2004/4/4 1:59Profile
shazbot
Member



Joined: 2004/2/11
Posts: 60
USA

 Re: Concerns

>>"Is the Book just not good enough?"

The Book is good enough. Jesus used parables to speak to the masses instead of speaking directly. The church has, nearly since its inception, used drama to illustrate specific bits of Scripture. Stained glass windows were used in the Middle Ages to give the illiterate people a picture to go with the story. This movie isn't designed to replace the Bible. Nothing can do that.

>>"Are God's methods just not effective enough?"

Who is to say that this is not one of God's methods? Obviously it is not infallible, like the Bible, but it can certainly be used by God.

>>"Is God's strength insufficient?"

Is God's strength insufficient to use this movie? Do we really want to say that God is limited by being unable to use cinema in His work?

I don't want to be mean-spirited or condescending. I'm just trying to counter all the bashing that's going on around here.

 2004/4/4 21:18Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Those questions weren't specifically about the movie, though they apply to it as well.

They're about a widespread trend of evangelism and devotion in American Christianity.

I'm not really trying to criticize the film itself (though the more I hear about the Catholic/mystic aspects, the more concerned I get about it). I'm concerned about the use of wordly methods to do holy work.

Could it work? Could God use it? Of course! This is God we're talking about... but is it right? To go to the extreme (which is poor argument style, but to make a point) are we going to say the ends justify the means? To clarify: Asking whether something is morally right is different than asking whether it is effective.

To paraphrase Art Katz, linen and wool could make a fine garment, but God forbade such a mixture to the Israelites.

Pragmatism could lead us down a very dark road. I believe it already has.

Please understand, I know God can (and will, and I'm fairly certain already has) used the movie to further His purposes. And I'm glad the people involved (in it's making, and in using it as an evangelistic tool, etc) are doing something rather than nothing. And if a non-Christian asked me questions about the movie I wouldn't refuse to make use of the witnessing oppurtunity.

But why have we gone to such lengths, apparently without justification? By "God's methods" I had in mind "Biblical methods," primarily personal, verbal communication (particularly preaching, in churches and the open air). Why do we have to get anywhere near a movie studio? Have we tried the Biblical methods of obeying Biblical commands and found them wanting? Or, to borrow a phrase from someone whose name escapes me at the moment, have we tried them and found them hard? And uncomfortable? And unpalatable to the world? And inconvienient to our personal and organizational agendas?

And, instead of going to the Lord in prayer and casting ourselves utterly upon Him, have we resorted to our own strength, and indeed to wordly (arguably wicked) methods?

I don't just mean movies, I mean most (if not all) of this "seeker-friendly" business.

Again, if I haven't made this clear: I'm not specifically "bashing the movie," I'm deeply concerned that the state of Christendom has degenerated to the point that the vast majority so-called "Christians" cannot be bothered to obey Mark 16:15 ("Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.") but they'll rally around a motion picture. The movie is but one of a multitude of things I'm inclined to "bash," because I think they constitute radical and disastrous departures from Biblical Christianity.

I think I've said enough, if not too much, on the subject. As I said at the beginning of my previous post, much of what I have to say isn't worth saying. I'm sure most of you either figured all this out before or would have done so before long. I simply felt burdened to say something, and I hope the Lord will deign to use it for His purposes, if He so wills.

God's grace be with you all,
-Keith

 2004/4/4 22:54Profile
Imimaginary
Member



Joined: 2004/4/2
Posts: 19


 Re:

Quote:
Could it work? Could God use it? Of course! This is God we're talking about... but is it right? To go to the extreme (which is poor argument style, but to make a point) are we going to say the ends justify the means? To clarify: Asking whether something is morally right is different than asking whether it is effective.



Quote:
I don't just mean movies, I mean most (if not all) of this "seeker-friendly" business.



Quote:
Again, if I haven't made this clear: I'm not specifically "bashing the movie," I'm deeply concerned that the state of Christendom has degenerated to the point that the vast majority so-called "Christians" cannot be bothered to obey Mark 16:15 ("Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.") but they'll rally around a motion picture. The movie is but one of a multitude of things I'm inclined to "bash," because I think they constitute radical and disastrous departures from Biblical Christianity.



I may have misunderstood what you said here but the only questions that came to *my* mind while reading your message were...

Wasn't there a prophet in the Bible who was told, by God, to walk around *naked*? Another one who had to marry a prostitute, let her go, went after her again and even had children with her?
If we start to look at everything in the Bible that may not have made sense at the time but we understand it now... we'd never finish...

My point is... We just don't know everything. The Lord has control of Heaven and earth and He has a purpose for everything.

Why bash this movie (or be *inclined* to do it) if it doesn't portray Jesus as something He is not?
And let me just add that this movie is not only an evangelism tool to reach the unsaved but it's also a visual aid that some of us needed because we were just sitting in church content to be there without even talking to our own relatives or neighbors about our Saviour... The Holy Spirit is also causing people to be bolder with the message after watching this film.

I am NOT a fan of this "seeker-friendly" business mentioned here.
In fact, thats the main reason why I never tire of reading or listening to sermons, articles, books, columns and basically anything written or said by Ray Comfort, David and Gary Wilkerson, Carter and Teresa Conlon, Neil Rhodes, Tim Delena... and the list goes on and on...
I do NOT approve of just anything *contemporary* just to bring people to church (let alone to Jesus)... but this movie is different.

Let me stop right here. I don't want to go on and on on this subject. I believe in the power of prayer...

Instead of wasting our time trying to convince:

one side to stop putting God in a box and trying to bring Him down to *our* level by rationalizing everything. And to stop thinking that if it's not "OK" in *our* christian standards then it cannot be of, from or even used or blessed by God.

the other side to stop being so irreverent and confused...

Let's just pray to God that He take control of everything and everyone. Whatever the intention was to make this film doesn't matter anymore because the Lord is in charge now...

Let's pray. It always works!

Oh, yes... let's not forget to read the Word... we must not do one without the other... :-)

God bless you all!!!

 2004/4/5 5:16Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

I believe I've entirely failed to convey my point.
I knew this tended to happen on the internet, verbal communication is much better for anything approaching negative criticism. Call it a triumph of hope over experience :)

I'm reminded of a set of "rules" I saw on a door in the biology building:

1. Don't think.
2. If you do think, don't speak.
3. If you do think and speak, don't write.
4. If you do think, speak, and write, don't sign.
5. If you do think, speak, write, and sign, don't be surprised.

 2004/4/5 19:42Profile
moreofHim
Member



Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re:

Keith, this happens to me all the time!

Those who are meant to "get it"- will. Those who don't - won't. :-)

Satisfied in Him alone, Chanin


_________________
Chanin

 2004/4/5 20:11Profile
Imimaginary
Member



Joined: 2004/4/2
Posts: 19


 Re:

Well, it's a good thing I decided to go and pray instead of typing anymore on this subject...

discernment is the only thing I depend on... I CANNOT compete with intellect :)

God bless you!!!

 2004/4/5 22:14Profile





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