Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Taking Our Temperature

Everyone loves to read small poignant quotes from a celebrity or author they recognize. I think we all love to read those little memes on social media, that get our attention with a photo and just a few words. Thoughts that will make one think; that are to the point, and that are heart hitting seem to be pretty popular these days. I believe quotes probably always have been useful.
I love them myself. A few eloquent words to express what we are thinking, validates what we believe and often encourages us.

If I use a quote in my writing or on social media, however, I am extremely careful to do research on who said it and why. I like things used in context to understand the true meaning. I believe it is extremely important.

Further, I also want to know what exactly the person who said it stands for, and what their world view might be. The reason for this is simply that I do not want to promote someone who has an opposite belief system as mine. That is something for each of us to determine; but I am not going to unwittingly promote someone with whom I disagree. Say for example, I quoted someone who is a racist. Maybe the quote had nothing to do with race, but people knowing who he is, might then believe that I am a racist, or that I support racism. And that would be a fair assumption, in my opinion. Simply because someone said something that was correct on one issue and I have quoted them, it would be natural to think that I might agree with the author and we are like-minded on everything. It is simply human nature to think this way. Or what if someone saw the quote and they liked it too? What if they didn't know anything about the author of the quote, but then started trying to find other writings or information about this person? That would be quite common. What if they found that everything this person believed was detrimental to their life style, but they did not yet have the wisdom or discernment to recognize the fallacies or problems? What if they trusted me for my discernment on these things and I carelessly let them down?

You probably know where I am going with this by now. With all the recent discussion about the new movie, The Shack, I am a bit surprised by the acceptance of it by Christians. I decided it was time to weigh in, myself.

I think I have pretty much heard or read all the arguments. I believe I pretty well understand the pros and cons that have been brought ever since the book by author Paul Young was published in 2007. The main argument among Christians who defend this book/movie seems to be...

  • "Well anything that gets us talking about God is good." 
  • "Use it as an evangelism tool, by talking about it."
The discussion, when these people are pressed, then usually ends in:

  • "It's fiction!!"
But these arguments never seem to address the point that there are non-believers that are going to see this movie without the benefit of evangelism. Not everyone has someone in their life that can help clarify, or advise them. Unbelievers are going to be left with the belief that this is who our God is. There are going to be baby Christians, or those that are not solid in their faith, that can easily be led astray by incorrect doctrine. I believe we are all accountable for that, wherever it crosses our paths.

"But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak." ~ 1 Corinthians 8:9. There are numerous verses regarding this; I believe that demonstrates its importance.

Taking such liberties with our faith that Paul Young has in this book, there is a very good chance that his next work may be even more inaccurate and even more dangerous. What then? We have opened a can of worms by our acceptance of the first. Where and when are we going to draw the line and stand for truth?

Aren't we encouraged in Scripture to take a firm stand?  "To chose this day whom we will serve." We are taught in 1 Peter 5:8 to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

We must understand good and evil and promote that which is right. We, as Christians, know well the admonishments; why do we chose to ignore them when it comes to this?

The postmodernism being taught in our schools and colleges today would have us believe that there is no black and white. They insist there are only shades of grey that we need to manipulate as we walk through our lives. Well, perhaps things do turn grey in our life. But that doesn't mean things are NOT black and white; good and evil; right and wrong. It only means we have accepted the grey as we try to finagle the path we have chosen.

The media, many in Hollywood, and those who despise our faith, love to test us. They love to take our temperature by disseminating a little controversy at a time. They want to see just exactly what we will accept and how far they can maneuver their agenda. Those that would seek to destroy our faith want to push us to see how far they can go before we will say, "WHOA!! Enough is enough!"

 For those that say this book/movie is only fiction: I would say BUT! But  there is a problem with that thought! This movie is being haled and touted as a "Christian movie"! The movie has been given a designation of "Christian" which demonstrates that it should hold to Christian values and beliefs. And quite simply, it absolutely does NOT. It has an intentional connection to Christianity, so therefore there is a greater danger in its teaching, than a movie that truly is "just fiction" - i.e. one that has no correct doctrine, nor any intentions to try to teach doctrine. The bigger danger with this movie is that it is being haled as such a great "Christian" movie! That is far more dangerous than say A Dog's Purpose that talks about reincarnation of DOGS, but no intention to promote a faith. This movie is far more worrisome than those little Hallmark movies that are often off doctrinally, but still like to occasionally mention God.

There comes a time, when we must stand for the Word of God. We cannot let untruths continue, because they make us feel good. We cannot continue to rationalize and justify, and present straw man arguments simply because it is something we see as innocuous. There comes a time when we must chose between good and evil, black and white, right and wrong. We must stand for our faith and the doctrinal issues that are the Cornerstone of what we believe.

There are numerous warnings in Scripture about false teachers. There is also a warning for those who believe they are called to teach. This verse is often overlooked. We all like to be considered teachers at times. It builds us up; makes us feel useful and like we know more than most. And truthfully, when we are promoting something as well-known and discussed as this movie - in an instance such as this - we are teaching our faith. We best head this clear warning.

3My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.  ~ James 3:1-2 NKJV

Finally, we all know the story about the frog thrown into hot water that will quickly jump out. But a frog in cool water, when the water is slowly heated to a boil, will simply accept it and be boiled to his death.

Shouldn't we be aware that a little truth watered down or misconstrued is no truth at all? Shouldn't we want to be on fire for our faith and stand for truth wherever we can? The non-believer will not have discernment to recognize doctrinal error, but they will recognize one who contends firmly for their faith as opposed to one who is on the fence, or one who has a taste for the world. The unbeliever is taking our temperature, too. And really, when people are seeking truth, they want truth. Why would we give them anything else?

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
~ Revelation 3:16 KJV


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