I noticed a tweet this AM from a well-known ministry asking me to promote a documentary project to my friends. Personally, I have a problem with this. I respect this group and expect that eventually I will do my small part to promote the film to others.
What I dislike is the assumption that just because I agree with their message, I must automatically jump on the bandwagon and share it with all my friends. I have no idea of the quality of the film, the validity of their arguments, or the nature of their claims to being “controversial.” All of these may be true, but why am I expected to take them for granted merely because the project comes from a Christian ministry?
It reminds me of the mind-set in which Christians are supposed to go “hog-wild” over any music, book, movie etc., simply because it’s “Christian. I HAVE to like it simply because someone tacked the name “Christian” on it. Christian music, Christian fiction, Christian movies, Christian art, Christian t-shirts, Christian potpourri . . .
Most of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music was written for use in church. John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress as an allegory of the Christian experience. Both were for overtly Christian purposes, but they were of such quality that they stand as masterpieces in their field.
I’m not asking for a masterpiece, but if your product is good quality, let it stand on its on feet and trust me to make a decision on its own merits. Don’t presume that I will do your footwork without first knowing what I am promoting. I would never do it for secular works, and I won’t do it for sacred.
What about you? Have you ever been asked to promote a “Christian” work? Ever recommended or endorsed one that you later found of sub-standard quality? One that was worth it?
“One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good.”
The Prodigal God
I love this quote (and many more) from Tim Keller’s new book The Prodigal God. I don’t plan a full review of it, but I do highly recommend it. It’s based on the parable of the Prodigal son, the Elder brother, and the Father.
Another great quote:
The hearts of the two brothers were the same. Both sons resented the father’s authority and sought ways to get out from under it. They wanted to get into a position in which they could tell the father what to do.
Each one, in other words, rebelled — but one did so by being very bad and the other by being extremely good. Both were alienated from the father’s heart; both were lost sons.
Do you realize, then, what Jesus is teaching? Neither son loved the father for himself. They both were using the father for their own self-centered ends rather than loving, enjoying, and serving him for his own sake. This means you can rebel against God and be alienated from him either by breaking his rules or by keeping all of them diligently.
It’s a shocking message: Careful obedience to God’s law may serve as a strategy for rebelling against God.
Our church sign usually is used to announce upcoming events. Occasionally, I will put up a short quote from Scripture or my reading. Unfortunately, it’s not big enough for this quote:
It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.
So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.
Any objection to the carryings-on of our present golden calf Christianity is met with the triumpant reply, “But we are winning them!” And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total commital to Christ? Of course, the answer to all these questions is “no.”
A. W. Tozer
Quoted in He Is Not Silent by Al Mohler
The great irony of that quote is that it was written four or five decades ago. How prophetic. If Tozer were alive today, I wonder what he would have to say about contemporary Christianity.
Michelle Malkin reports that 44-year old Mohsen Namvar has been picked up by Iran’s state police. This Christian minister has previously been arrested and tortured for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity. His arrest comes as one of a number of Christians rounded up by Iranian authorities.
“It (religious law) makes the death penalty mandatory for people convicted of leaving Islam to follow another faith. So that, obviously, is another piece of intimidation.”
and . . .
“The church is growing at an absolutely phenomenal rate in Iran. Muslims are coming to know Christ; they’re getting involved with these house church groups. That is what has caused the concern of the government. That’s why these arrests are happening.”
Let’s pray that our brothers and sisters in Iran will experience God’s grace and protection, and that, whatever the outcome, God will be glorified through their suffering.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope . . . that Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”
The Apostle Paul