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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Is The Shack symptomatic of a deeper issue?

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 Is The Shack symptomatic of a deeper issue?

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I have no desire to wade into the argument over The Shack book and movie. I want to say on a personal note I did read the book years ago. I I got no checks in my spirit regarding any heresy in the book. But as others have said it was a message of God meeting a man at his point of desperate need. However I will leave that debate on the other thread.

When I ask is The Shack symptomatic of a deeper problem I'm thinking of something else. I'm thinking of venues of how we communicate spiritual truth. Basically the gospel.

Many of us are probably familiar with the Jesus video put out by Campus Crusade. This video is basically the story of Jesus has taken from the Gospel of Luke. This video probably more than any other medium or piece of literature has been instrumental in bringing many thousands upon thousands to the Lord Jesus Christ. This video has been translated into thousands of languages. And even to this day is still drawing people to the Savior.

Despite the success of this video and how God has used it, it has not been without criticism. There have been it's detractors who have come forth and said this video does not accurately portray Christ. They detractors have gone on to say that Jesus is only to be communicated through the pages of the written word. I would imagine in their minds the 1611 King James Version.

Most of the unreached people groups or UPG's in the world today yet to be reached with the gospel do not have a written language or tradition. The Wyckliff model of going into an unreached people group and reducing the language to an alphabet and then teaching the people to read. And then producing a translation of scripture would take 30 or 40 years. In this day and age when we believe that Jesus is about to return soon visionary missionaries are looking for new ways to communicate the gospel in the heart language of the people faster.

One model that has developed in the last 15 to 20 years has been a model called orality. Realizing that many of these unreached people groups have an oral tradition of storying. Ministries have taken the scriptures and have put them to about 240 story sets. That is the telling of God's word from creation up to the time of Christ by storying the truth of God's word. Storytellers are trained to tell the stories of God's word in the heart language of the people. Thus they go out and tell the stories to the people. And amazingly people are responding to hearing the truth of Jesus through the medium of storytelling.

I might add that really this is not a new way of telling the gospel or sharing the stories of God's word. The Old Testament Hebrews and the first century Christians heard the stories of God's word orally. Many of the first century Christians were illiterate. They would hear the scriptures and have the apostolic letters resd and they would listen.

Yet in a religious mindset in America orality has come under criticism. Those who criticized the oral method say people need to sit under the polemic preaching of God's word to be converted.

This was the answer to a question posed at Grace Community Church a few years ago during the Strange Fire Conference. The question was asked what about Muslims who are experiencing dreams and visions of Jesus . It has been documented that Jesus is appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions. Another way that God is communicating. Yet the position taken by Grace Community Church and others that follow its Calvinistic suasion is that Muslims need to sit under the polemic preaching of God's word to be converted.

The argument for the polemic preaching of the word as advocated by Grace Community Church is taking out a Romans 10:14,

...How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believe? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?...

Does this mean that those in an unreached people group who do not have a literary base must sit under a verse by verse exposition of John MacArthur to come to faith in Christ?

I hardly think so. Can the storyteller or the one who may be showing the Jesus video not be the preacher to share Jesus?

I could go on and describe other mediums of how the story of Jesus is communicated and that is coming under criticism. If we are not careful though we will find ourselves in exactly the same type of situation that William Tyndale found himself in.

In the 1500's it was only the Catholic priest who had custodian of the scriptures and they were in Latin. It was the desire of Tyndale to have a translation of scriptures in English that the plowboy and milkmaid could understand the word of God. Those of us familiar with the story of Tyndale knew that he was martyred to get the New Testament into the vernacular of the people.

Yet today in our Protestant Evangelical tradition we have the same mindset. We have the pastor or clergy laity distinction. The clergy are regarded as the custodians of God's word. Any means to have the people understand the word outside of the clergy is frowned on. This ranges from contemporary translations of scriptures to the use of storying and audio and visual Bibles to communicate the truth of Jesus. The clergy maintains that only through communicating the printed word, verse by verse exposition, is the accepted way by which one can learn about Jesus.

Can one learn about Jesus by hearing His story told through a storyteller? Can one learn about Jesus by watching the Jesus video in their heart language? Can one learn about Jesus by seeing him in a dream or a vision? Can one learn about Jesus by hearing Him expounded from the printed word? I think any Spirit-filled Christian would say yes to any of the preceding questions.

So again I raise the question. Is the shack book and movie symptomatic of a deeper issue question mark and that is the issue of how do we communicate the truth of Jesus?

Is it possible that there are some, even in this forum, who would say that the only way Jesus can be communicated is through the 1611 KJV?

Brethren I submit that God is infinite. And that He can communicate through any number of diverse means to bring a person to Himself.

Again is the shack symptomatic of a deeper issue? Is it striking perhaps at our religious sensibilities of how God is communicating Hid truth?

Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 9:14
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6165
NC, USA

 Re: Is the shack symptomatic of a deeper issue?

I agree with you bear.

There is no indication that Paul was preached to. He had a vision in which he was asked a question- "Paul, why are you persecuting me?" and was deeply converted in an instant- "what would you have me do, Lord?"

I think it is safe to say that many Christians are suspicious of anything that does not run something like this:

Opening song
Greeting/announcements
Couple of more songs
Turn to your neighbor and shake hands
Offering
Sermon
Altar call/closing song
Closing prayer
Buffet line


_________________
Todd

 2017/3/6 10:25Profile









 Re:

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Brethren I have tried to clean up the typos in the OP.

Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 10:48









 Re: Todd

/// I think it is safe to say that many Christians are suspicious of anything that does not run something like this:

Opening song
Greeting/announcements
Couple of more songs
Turn to your neighbor and shake hands
Offering
Sermon
Altar call/closing song
Closing prayer
Buffet line ///

Bro sounds like the church I visited yesterday. Everything you mentioned except the buffet line. :-)

But I do agree with you. Anything that does not communicate Jesus in our religious paradigm comes under question.

Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 10:50









 Re: Criticcal Article of the Jesus Video

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I have included an article that is very critical of the Jesus video. I wanted to include this article as an example of what I was getting at in my OP.

Despite the fact that the video has been used by God to bring people to Him. The author of the article is critical on minor points about the Jesus video.

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Campus Crusade for Christ

A Critical Review of The Jesus Film

This review has been adapted from a review done by an East-coast pastor of the video The Jesus Film. The Jesus Film is a major motion picture of the life of Christ based on the Gospel of Luke. Campus Crusade has made the Film available to more than 180 new mission agencies (in addition to the more than 400 already using it), and it continues to be one of the key ingredients of Campus Crusade's New Life 2000 ecumenical world evangelization campaign. Since Campus Crusade claims The Jesus Film has been viewed by more than 710 million people, in 220 countries, in 340 languages, with 41 million "making decisions for Christ" (as of 6/96), its accurateness in doctrine and style must be a major concern to all Bible-believing Christians

1. The video claimed that there were one billion Christians in the world. This is obviously a loose definition of a Christian which would include many who name the name of Christ, but have not truly believed in His salvation on His terms.

2. Satan is portrayed in this video as a snake. This is not stated in the gospel of Luke on which the Film is based). If I were asked how I would have handled this situation I would have had the narrator keep speaking and have a different voice for Satan.

3. The video says that Jesus was called upon to read in the synagogue, but Luke 4:16 states that Jesus stood up to read. This indicated to me an authority which the movie leaves out. In the same scene the video shows Jesus kissing the scroll of Isaiah. This also is not recorded in Luke 4, and kissing the scroll is a form of worship which is contrary to the nature of God to worship any thing.

4. When Jesus calmed the sea in Luke 8:22-25, the video presented Jesus calming the sea without speaking. In Luke's gospel, it does not give the actual words which Jesus spoke, but it does record the fact that Jesus did speak! This is important because the Film removes the picture given in John 1:1-5, that Jesus is the Word of God.

5. The video, when portraying Legion, showed him naked and showed an inappropriate view of this man. Even if this was factual rather than speculative, it is inappropriate for a general audience.

6. The video dealt with parables, but only gave part of the reason for Jesus use of parables in His teaching.

7. When the video portrayed Jesus casting out a demon, the video did not indicate Jesus speaking. Again, while Luke's gospel does not record the actual words which Jesus spoke, It does record that Jesus rebuked the demon. This, again, is an omission of an important picture that Jesus is the Word of God.

8. In the video, after denying Jesus three times, Peter prays. This is not recorded in the gospel of Luke.

9. What really bothered me as I watched this video was simple fact that I never felt like I was getting the whole picture. It is true that Campus Crusade was only presenting what was recorded in Luke's gospel, but God gave us four gospels so that we could get the whole picture. It was very hard for me to see the crucifixion depicted, yet Jesus was not wearing the crown of thorns. It was also hard for me not to hear all that Jesus said as He hung on the cross. Since this video is meant to be evangelistic, and God has recorded and preserved four gospels for us, should not the whole picture which He has given us be portrayed?

10. The events presented in the video are out of order as they are presented in the gospel of Luke. If the intent was to stay true to the gospel of Luke, should not the message be presented as Luke gave it? (The Holy Spirit spoke through Luke!)

11. The video leaves out Jesus rebuking the Pharisees. The gospel of Luke, along with the other gospels, share much information regarding Jesus rebuking the Pharisees and the sin of the Pharisees. The video only presented John the Baptist rebuking the Pharisees. If those who made the video intended to leave out this information because they were emphasizing the gospel message, would not the gospel of John have been a better choice? (John 20:30,31)

12. The prayer at the end is all right, but it is not the prayer I would use to lead a person in salvation. The admission that, "I am a sinner," is not definitely clear although it is implied.

13. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, a question which was my own even before I viewed this tape: Does a video of the life of Jesus in any way offend God, i.e., are not the first and second commandments violated by the portrayal of Jesus on film? In the past, not even Hollywood dared to portray Jesus face-on. One saw the back of His head or hand in films such as Ben Hur. But now a man who doesn't even profess to be a Christian plays the part of God manifest in the flesh! Are those who "come to Christ" through the film coming to the real Jesus, or the actor who plays his part? (That actor, Brian Deacon, describes himself as a "lapsed Catholic" who hasn't practiced his faith: "I've had many doubts about Jesus' teaching," says Deacon. "I'm just an actor. I don't want the responsibility of being Jesus Christ ... The character of Jesus belongs to everyone and I had to find my own voice and emotions for the role." What "Jesus" is this who attracts multitudes!)
Whenever a film about Jesus is made, the one playing the role of Jesus must use facial expressions and tones in his voice to portray Christ. If he does this in any way wrongly, he has misrepresented God to people. This is much to scary a task for me! The Bible clearly states that, "... Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). The Bible also states that it is the preaching of the cross which is God's chosen method of evangelism. I do not have a problem with a video which preaches the gospel message, but I do get concerned about anyone playing the role of Jesus for Jesus is God!

Biblical Discernment Ministries - 8/96

______________________________

Again is religious tradition getting in the way here of how we perceive the communication of Hid Truth?

Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 10:59
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6165
NC, USA

 Re:

The dude who wrote that response has way yonder too much time on his hands.


_________________
Todd

 2017/3/6 11:40Profile









 Re: Todd

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So agree my brother. So agree. But then those who are inclined to criticize The Shack, either the book or the movie, will also criticize more christ-centered videos like the Jesus film.

That is why I opened up this thread asking if the criticism of the shack movie is not symptomatic of a deeper issue. Can God communicate through other mediums besides the printed word?

Those in Christendom will say no. But I believe those who see that God is interested in a relationship will say yes.

Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 11:55









 Re: A Critiwue of Orality

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I have included the last part of an article by the Bible League in which they criticize the orality movement in communicating the gospel to unreached people groups period

The Bible League article does a fair job in analyzing what orality is about.  The article does say that the purpose of orality is to communicate the Gospel of Jesus to those groups that do not have a literary base.  Those groups that missionaries call unreached people groups or UPG's. 

However I believe the conclusions reached by the Bible League at the end of the article are not correct.

The conclusions are quoted below. The link to the complete article is at the bottom of this post. It was too long to post it in its entirety here. The article is well worth reading. It may not make much sense to those who are not involved in missions. But I post the article to show that there are those who criticize other means to get the gospel out other than through the printed word of the scriptures themselves.

______________________________


Quote...The Orality Movement, which is based on the flawed theories of a Jesuit priest and the weird practices of the Emerging Church, is teaching a false gospel. It is committed to a non-biblical version of the Christian faith that is without a doctrinal base. The oral Bible is not God’s Word, but a collection of crafted stories. The deception of the oral Bible is that it crafts Scripture to make it culturally appropriate and worldview sensitive. It offers a non-offensive gospel that is not the gospel of truth.

And so we must conclude that the actions of the Orality Movement represent a serious attack on God’s Word. The tragedy is that many true Christians are being deceived and misled by the persuasive promotion of the storytelling agenda. As reformed Christians we must warn our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those in the Third World, of the dangers of this movement. As Martin Luther opposed the darkness of Rome, so today we must oppose the darkness of Lausanne and its Orality Movement. We live in a time when there is a great hunger for the truth of God’s Word and the doctrines of the truth-...End Quote.


Link to Bible League article below.


http://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-the-orality-movement/

_______________________________

I might add the Bible League has a vested interest in the printed word. Thus this may be their agenda for criticizing orality.


Bro Blaine

 2017/3/6 12:04
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1718
Tennessee, but my home's in Alabama

 Re:

The Shack is symptomatic of a deeper issue, but the question you've posed, Bear, is whether the controversy about The Shack (not the book/movie itself) is symptomatic of a deeper issue of what are the legitimate ways to communicate the gospel.

The Bible clearly sets forth what is the normative way for gospel proclamation: preaching. Not skits. Not movies. Not creative arts generally. Preaching.

The Bible clearly sets forth other miscellaneous means of communicating truth: Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Teaching. And (gasp) spiritual gifts to the Body operating in the assembly (tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, words of knowledge/wisdom).

The Bible clearly models yet another means of communicating truth: Written teaching, and in the New Testament in particular, written letters devoted to teaching. Teaching happens there by encouragement, advice, doctrinal exposition, written prayers and other literary forms. Let's group them all into one broad category, though: writing.

Within the miscellaneous category above is storytelling. Jesus did it. The apostles did it. In the Hellenistic culture of the New Testament, oratory storytelling was a high form of communication. Practically every oral form of communication we use today has its roots in the Greek culture's oral communication. We use it in education (Socratic method), politics (rhetoric, policy debates in the halls of legislation, debates by candidates), religion (examples of preaching by Jesus and also Paul are at the root of any half decent preaching today, but they shared those features with other Greek communication forms in their day).

Ancient storytelling, of which gospel preaching in the days of the New Testament is a later sub-type if you're doing a strictly analytical look at the communication form itself, began as an exercise of recitation long stretches of text from memory. Eventually, there developed a strain of artistry to it, a technique of delivery if you will, called sophistry. Sophistry was the training and application of certain speech techniques designed to garner buy-in from listeners. It was heralded, widely-used in the highest circles, and also derided by the likes of Plato and Aristotle who disfavored such techniques as barriers to being able to know truth (philosophically speaking).

So, the controversy over forms of communication is not new. There ARE problems presented in every form of communication that impact the substance of the matter communicated.

Concerns over orality are well placed, but not wholly correct. Fact is, many of the unreached people groups lack a written language and the time to introduce them to the gospel of Jesus Christ takes too long. There is nothing inherent in the New Testament to suggest that the model for gospel propagation must include a long cycle between introduction of the gospel and gospel maturity that requires written literacy. Orality is a legitimate means of missionary work, the most New Testament means of doing so (i.e., God has chosen the foolishness of preaching...) and is still under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit as HE sees to it that the work of the Lord reaches fruition in the end of days. We are putting our hands on the ark, so to speak, if we deny orality as legitimate in order to wait on us to perfect development of written language and then to translate the Bible into that language and then to teach it to those who have just learned to reduce a language to writing. Not that it shouldn't happen in that longer way, but one does not invalidate the other, here.






_________________
Tim

 2017/3/6 13:15Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6165
NC, USA

 Re:

In the movie "Amistad" there is a scene where two slaves coming over on a ship come across an illustrated bible- obviously they could not read it but by looking at the pictures from OT through the NT they had a very good picture of who Jesus was and what he did.

I've always liked that scene in the movie.


_________________
Todd

 2017/3/6 14:07Profile





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