The True Gospel
If you’ve never heard the Gospel of Jesus, it is this. God sent his son Jesus to earth to be the substitute for our condemnation. We were condemned because we rebelled against God and chose our own way. But Jesus paid for our sin by dying on a cross and if we believe in him, we will have eternal life. John 3:16. So if you have never followed Jesus, I pray you will and know that God loves you, and so do many faithful believers in Christ. If you need prayer or would like to chat, feel free to leave a message.
A Biblical Defense on why Rambo IV is more Christian than Starwars
I’m a huge fan of the Rambo series. Ok, maybe Rambo 1, IV, and V. But in all transparency I haven’t watched V since I’m worried about how they might finish the series. And besides, I already own the box set of 1,2,3 and IV and I’m quite annoyed that he made a 5th movie. I mean really? How am I supposed to make that look nice on my shelf. Ugg. But at least the Rambo franchise ended. We all have closure. Starwars? My word! It’s like a black hole story line, designed in modern times just to make money. – Just like Iron Man, that should have stopped with 1, do not do 2 and 3. Ugg #Disney –
But I love the idea of Rambo, he for better or worse exposes how those who are in certain situations in life, such as being in Vietnam were/are treated. He is the hero, there’s a bad guy/guys, and when conflict arrises, he always has to talk himself into acting.
As for Starwars, I’ll put it this way. If there was ever a series that should have stopped with its first trilogy, that would be Starwars. And especially since Disney has the rights to Starwars, none of the new movies have eclipsed the first three, or is that 4,5,6. You see, that’s another issue, the numbering of the movies. So I guess my favorite movies are 4,5,6. Ok, the old ones. They should have stopped there. But as we see with Ghostbuster 2016, let it goooo, let it goooooooo.
So why is Rambo IV more Christian than Starwars?
I won’t ruing Rambo IV for you, but the main reason is the story line surrounds a group of Christian missionaries who go to Thailand to minister to those in the villages there. But they are kidnapped. And Rambo has to decide what to do. Should he rescue them, leave it alone?
Starwars, well Christians are not mentioned. There are no Christian missionaries. And don’t get me started on the ‘Force’, that’s just a mystical, well, force that is shared among those special few who choose good over evil akin to Bill Johnson’s mysticism. But, no, there are no Christian missionaries. Drum roll…….
Final Score: Rambo IV – 1 Starwars – 0
Well, enough of my nonsense. And that’s what it is. Not only is my Rambo/Starwars analogy kinda lame, it’s not scriptural either. Unfortunately many evangelical progressive churches have decided to use this type of bait and switch approach to attracting people into the doors. Below I will scripture will explain why this is a practice that has no place in Christ’s church. And while scripture should be enough, sadly it won’t be for many.
Key Reasons to avoid mixing movies with God’s holy Scripture
There are so many examples of this blasphemy across evangelicalism and the NAR movements , but I’ll leave those off this blog post as I don’t want to reward them with social media clicks. The above example is the logical end to any twisting or adding of scripture through movies. Anyone who thinks IronMan is Biblical propitiation for Christ is incorrect has lost their way in Christ.
I’ve been accused of writing my own opinion, so this blog post will be heavy with scripture. Here we go.
1. It’s Blasphemy
“To blaspheme God’s name is to speak with contempt about God or to be defiantly irreverent. Blasphemy is verbal or written reproach of God’s name, character, work, or attributes.” To mix human philosophy with God’s nature and character is blasphemy. God doesn’t need any explanation from a godless source. He doesn’t need to be partnered with anything or anyone. He is Holy. We are not. We don’t need to look through the lens of a movie to see God. He gave us his Holy Scripture and His Holy Spirit for that.
“3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.” – 2 Peter 2 1
If you’re still reading, let’s look at more reasons that this practice of movie messaging is not biblical.
2. Confuses the Gospel
If we go back to the original sin by Adam and Eve, what was the method used by Satan to deceive Eve? He used confusion by asking Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Did God really say, yes, Satan got Eve to question what God said. Given what we know about our nature, how sinful our passions are, how we are born in sin, hostile to our Creator, why would we then confuse people on purpose and increase the risk of their/our own confusion about what God says? Good question.
God does not give us liberty to mix the Gospel with anything. Imagine God in Heaven, He gave His son for all of humanity, and wrote this Salvation story that is found in the sixty six books of the Bible, and yet, He’s like, “I hope my clay can improve on what I’ve done.” Silly and pompous. Galatians 1:6
A non believer comes to a movie church, having never heard the Gospel prior to walking through the doors. And instead of hearing the straight Gospel, they hear a mix of pagan philosophy, are ‘entertained’ and somewhere in there they here about Jesus. Congratulations, you now have exposed this lost soul to confusion. Do we care so little about the souls of the lost that we risk confusing the Gospel? Why can’t we just preach Christ and him crucified? Another good question.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
If Scripture is what is needed to make man complete, why confuse it?
3. The Gospel is not Enough.
It can’t be can it? There must be something in the thought process of a ‘pastor’ who feels they have to include entertainment into the mission of the church. My opinion is that this is the influence of the corporate church movement. After all, if a church has installed a corporate structure for grwoth, then it would be natural for it to have marketing strategies from the business world to achieve that growth. Happy people give money right? If a large or wanna-be-large church doesn’t meet its attendance and budget, then the revenue will take a hit. 2 Peter 2
Every book of the New Testament warns against false teaching except for Philemon. So why do those who practice the movie-gospel method do what they do? Do they want to confuse the gospel? Do they want false teaching in Christ’s church? But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Gospel is enough, the Gospel needs nothing. When ‘movie-pastors’ elevate human philosophy, giving it the same attention and status as Scripture, that’s a different gospel. The Gospel doesn’t need Steven Spielberg to interpret it. This is just entertainment. It’s syncretism.
” I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek”. – Romans 1:6
OUTLOUD THINKING: Have those ‘movie pastors’ lost their faith. Maybe they never had any. Maybe they’re in the church for selfish gain. There are many false teachers that are working in the Christian church for the wrong reasons. Have some lost their faith in a God who created the universe to achieve His goals with or without our help, yes. Why would they feel the Gospel is not enough? If they don’t provide this movie method to the flock, will the flock get disappointed? Maybe be it’s crowd appeasement.
Man bad – God Good
The solution to addressing movies and comparing it to Scripture is to talk about how glorious God and his Scripture is and that anything man can write or make is evil if it doesn’t align with God and his Word. That’s a statement, that’s enough. But it isn’t enough is it? That’s not as entertaining as having your picture taken with Darth Vader on Sunday morning. Think about the likes a ‘movie-pastor’ gets on Facebook. Yeah buddy. And that explains why the movie method is used, it’s about vain deceit.
4. And fourthly, it is a sin to those around the world dying for their faith.
We give to missions, we talk about how bad other Christians are persecuted for their faith. We lament publicly and disfigure our faces as we sit in our stadium seating, popcorn in hand to watch a movie at church? Odd huh. It’s like that Sesame street game, -one thing is not like the other-. Imagine a Christian church in China that has to meet underground out fear of being put in prison, watching the ‘pastor’ of a church taking selfies with Chewbacca? One thing is not like the other.
Those who add to the Gospel have lost their faith in God and/or misunderstand what their true mission is. It’s not their job to grow the church. It’s God’s. It is God who draws people to Him. We are to proclaim the Gospel and only the Gospel. But those in the corporate seeker friendly mega churches have different goals, success for them is counted in numbers. Some even do head counts of ‘decisions’ and use those numbers as success. They want instant results, the ability to say, “Look, our strategy worked!” We have ‘X’ amount of new people. Well congratulations, you have them coming for something other than the true Gospel. What ever you won them with, you’ll need to keep them with that and more. If you won them with entertaining dopamine trips, you’ll have to raise the bar next time. or they’ll go find another place that can out entertain you.
The Gospel needs nothing. It doesn’t need me or you to change it or add to it. Matthew 28
After all, when you add to the Gospel, people are free to accept, reject and even hate your message. And they’d be right, because it’s your false gospel, you’re gospel is false. You can not go to Scripture to defend your message. Hating your mixed gospel has no eternal consequences for them, but it will for you. And the next guy or gal who tries to reach that person with the unadulterated Gospel will have to contend with the false seed you planted.
“32 You must not make my holy name impure so that I will be treated as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord—the one who makes you holy” Leviticus 22:32 See also: Colossians 2:8
When you mix the Gospel and other messaging, you have no recourse if someone says they don’t believe in your God. You then can’t say, well my God this, or my God that. You have to re-present your mixed God and not the true God. See the conundrum?
Jesus command: Teach them all I have commanded. This doesn’t include movie philosophy. It doesn’t include anything outside of Scripture. If movie pastors are looking for stories, try the parables by Jesus. We know that Jesus spoke in parables at times to even hide the secrets of Heaven from the listener. We are not Jesus, we can not equate to His parables. Use what he has provided.
Judgement day, Jesus will separate the sheep and the goats. Who are we to toy with that moment where people will go to Heaven or Hell. The answer is, we aren’t the ones. We were given one job, one message. Our fear and love for God should keep us from changing it. But sadly, it has not. People have and always felt like the Gospel is not enough. They will add this, subtract that. As a preacher’s kid, I watched as pastors latch onto this church growth trend, or that trend, this philosophy and anything that they feel is needed to achieve their goals. Will those ‘movie pastors’ change and stop mixing the messaging? I imagine until a new trend comes this will continue. And being raised in evangelicalism, there is truth in the statement that denominations/churches are very poor in self-examination. But that’s another blog post all together.
Coming out of evangelicalism to a more orthodox Christianity, my short journey in apologetics has given me one very quick lesson. Evangelicals when confronted with the possibility of error, can be very vicious. It is predicted that many will defend the movie gospel practice. Many may talk about how great these movies are, the great lessons they teach. And that’s to be expected when movie-pastors elevate movies to the same level as scripture in front of the flock, and there-by yoking the words of our God with the words of pagans. Words of warning from our Christ Jesus…Matthew 16:5-12
7They discussed this among themselves and concluded, “It is because we did not bring any bread.”
8Aware of their conversation, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you debating among yourselves about having no bread? 9Do you still not understand? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?11How do you not understand that I was not telling you about bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
12Then they understood that He was not telling them to beware of the leaven used in bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Sadly, the newer generations are leaving the church. With church attendance dropping in America, the writing is on the wall. The seeker friendly methods like mixing the Gospel with movies, are not working. it is failing. Sure, you can entertain people, but Disney has a 64 Billion dollar budget, churches should return to the Gospel and leave the world outside. A Gospel that is perfect, sufficient for God to give His only Son and does not need the worlds crutch. If these ‘movie pastors’ will repent and go back to the Gospel, then there is hope. Come out and be separate. Be salt and light.
Steven Davis is a musician, metal artist, media producer, reforming evangelical, bible school dropout, and preachers kid.
#apologetics #saltandlight #starwars #rambo #rambomovie #summerathemovies #disney