No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: hypocracy

Another Movie…that distorts Christianity

Last night my 6 month pregnant wife goes blazing past me saying “there is a movie

Easy Distortion of Christianity?

I want to DVR!”  When she makes it back upstairs I inquire about the movie.  She tells me it is a movie that her friends on face book had recommended called “Easy A”.  I kind of blew her off because it didn’t sound like a good movie (this coming from the guy who will sit and watch those horrible movies on Sci-fi…).  Well lucky for me Easy A was on this morning when I got up, so instead of watching the news…I figured I would check it out. 

If you are interested in watching this movie, (and I’d suggest you probably shouldn’t) and haven’t seen it…you need to stop reading right about now…

 I picked this movie up about half way through.  The main character was accepting bribes from the boys in her school to say that shehad sex with them in order to improve their social standing.  The protagonist in the movie was a group of “Bible-thumping Christians,” portrayed as a holier than thou group.  The “Christians” in this movie are judgmental, hateful, spiteful, and above all hypocritical.  There was one point in the movie where Lisa Kudrow dropped the “G-D” bomb 5 – 7 times in a one minute time span.  In the end everything is fixed, except for the fact thatthe Christians remained the same judgmental, holier than thou group that they were portrayed as throughout the movie.

I think that pretty much sums it up…

What’s really bad about this movie is that it wasclearly made to influence high schoolers’ world-view.  Then the message it sends is that things like pre-marital sex and other immoralities are not that big of a deal and that Christians are just know-it-all self-righteous kill-joys. 

Have we really become so judgmental as a group that a caricature of the church has been formed?  I’ve got to be honest….this isn’t the first time I have seen this, but it the first time that I have given pause to the caricature.   Are we really as we are portrayed in the movies? My guess:  In some cases….yes-  and in some cases…no.  That isn’t a good thing.  Perhaps someone reading this blog post would look at me saying “oh look Mr. holier than thou…don’t be so judgmental.”  Maybe…it is the interpretation of the world ofhow we respond to certain circumstances?  I don’t know.

What is clear is that there is a perception in America that Christianity suffers from a finger pointing epidemic that lacks compassion for those in need.  It’s no wonder why this viewpoint is seen, since we often seem to be known more for what we stand against than for what we stand for.

Don’t get me wrong.  This movie is offensive and probably should be avoided by someone who is trying to guard their heart and mind (cf. Philippians 4:8) simply because of the language and the immoral world-views  it seems to encourage (i.e. pre-marital sex and homosexuality, cf. Romans 1:32).  I realize that movie protagonists are often over dramatized for effect, but the fact that Christians were the protagonists especially in the way they were portrayed really gets under my skin…Shortly after God tells us to not conform to the pattern of this world and to renew our mind (in Romans 12:1-2), He tell us in Romans 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” But that’s just it… we need to demonstrate Christ’s love without hypocrisy!!!

On second thought, this really shouldn’t be a surpriseconsidering the Bible told us we should expect it (cf. 1 Peter 4:12-16).But this is a good opportunity for self-examination… Are you making this characterization valid by being one of “those people?”Are you one with your nose in the air, looking down at those who struggle, and are in need?  Are you one of those people who, rather than helping would rather spread rumors and lies about someone (and maybe even disguise the gossip as a “prayer request”)?  Are you the one talking in back corners while on your phone about someone you know?  Are you the one sending the texts around saying “I heard from so and so that….”  Are you that person?

If so…welcome to the movies.  Don’t be offended, you are representing Christ and… this movie is about you.

Mourning the Death of Osama Bin Laden…

If you’ve read this blog at all you know that we are not fans of any religion or worldview that sets itself up against the God of the Bible. Nor do we back down from honest and straightforward debate with proponents of those worldviews.  I’m also not a fan of heinous acts perpetrated against our great nation and her people.  So it will probably surprise you that I have been grieved over the last few days by the death of Osama Bin Laden and I have been doubly heart-broken over the reaction the majority of our nation has had over this news.  Before you even think it, let me say that doesn’t make me a Muslim sympathizer and it makes me no less patriotic.

Look, let me explain:  I’m not saying that justice wasn’t served… because it was.  Nor am I claiming that he didn’t bring it upon himself… because he did.  And I’m definitely not saying that he shouldn’t have been stopped and dealt with… because he absolutely 100% needed to be.

What’s got my heart hurting is the fact that there is one more soul whose fate is sealed to be eternally separated from the loving God of this universe in a horrible place called Hell and people are rejoicing over it.  Regardless of what people may claim or wish or pretend, or what Rob Bell may imply, Hell is very real… it is very bad… and it is eternal.  So much so, I’d not wish it on my worst enemy – Even Osama Bin Laden… Even Hitler… Even the people who have directly, personally and deeply wounded me (both intentionally and unintentionally).

Again, please don’t misunderstand me here…  I am NOT a fan of Bin Laden… I detest and denounce what he has done… He was evil to the core and I realize the chances of him ever accepting Christ were slim to none… Well, given recent events, Slim is permanently out of town, so the chances are obviously zero now. But we have condemned Osama for his blatant disregard for the value on human life, but yet, by rejoicing his death aren’t we doing the same?

Some of you may call me a hypocrite because I am a proponent of capital punishment… And I definitely believe that Bin Laden should have been put to death (and unlike Mendenhall I do believe we have all the info we need to condemn Bin Laden’s actions and he would have undoubtedly been convicted had he made it to court)…. What I’m saying is that we need not rejoice over it.  There are often things that NEED to be done, but which should give us no pleasure in the doing of them… Burying the dead, disciplining your children, complicated and painful (but life-saving) surgery, chemo-therapy, etc. are all examples of things that have to be done that no sane person should rejoice over.  In fact, that last one may be the best example… Killing Bin Laden was chemo-therapy – it eliminated a cancer that needed to be dealt with, but is it cause for jubilant celebration? I submit to you no, it is not.

Consider this… 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  That “everyone” includes people we’d rather not have existed… Hitler… Stalin… Bin Laden… child abusers… rapists… your ex… EVERYONE.  Further food for thought is Ezekiel 33:11 which says, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’”

Does that mean everyone will believe and or that everyone will enter into Heaven? By no means, (God speaks about punishing the wicked in the Ezekiel verse – sorry Rob Bell, both God’s Love AND His Justice wins) but it does mean that we should value human life and desire, like God does that everyone come to know him… It means that we need to tell people about the good news of Jesus Christ… and it means we should grieve when people die without Him – even people as evil as Osama Bin Laden.  We need to love and pray for people as long as we and they are alive and let the Lord sort it out when we’re all dead (cf. Romans 12:19)… In fact Jesus Himself said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Getting to that place is hard… and it will require a revolution in thinking… but let me ask you this:  Can you bring yourself to care more about the Kingdom of God than the good ol’, US of A?  That’s where I believe God is leading me… How about you?

So yes, I grieve for Osama Bin Laden… as well as all who die without knowing Jesus. Do you?

Should We Be Embarrassed?

Many people today reject Jesus because they perceive Christians as hypocritical, uncaring, exclusive, bigoted, etc. and/or they think are skeptical and believe we all have ulterior motives.

Because of this, they rightly challenge us with difficult questions such as:

Does your religion help society? Does it help me, whether I’m in your group or not? Or are you just another self-serving group?

I think one of the best passages to answer this set of questions is James 2:14-18:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

This passage places a focus on servant-evangelism. Contrary to one popular view, this passage isn’t talking about salvation (Salvation is faith alone in Christ alone), instead it’s talking about our witness before other people. Because of what Jesus did for us and because we are children of God (who in 1 John 4 is called love itself) we need to love other people regardless of their spiritual condition. Not only do we need to love in our hearts we need to love them practically.

This is NOT to be confused with a social gospel (doing random acts of kindness without sharing Jesus with them), but rather doing good works in the name of Jesus. But we also need to be careful to not appear to being coercive and having ulterior motives – We need to love for Love’s sake (for God is Love).

Being selfless in our love will be compelling to those who have a strong emotional connection to this set of questions, particularly if they or someone close to them is directly and practically impacted by our acts of love.

There is a tract from the North American Mission Board called “Why We’re Here…” it ties in well with this passage (and is good for passing out when you are doing a public act of love/service). Let’s look at this tract as an application from what is implied from the James 2 passage above.

The tract says:

Often people ask what brought us here, and why we’re doing what we’re doing. There are three simple reasons I came to serve others this week…

  • I met God one day, and He has changed my life. I used to live my life pretty selfishly. Then I met the God of the Bible. Now I care about people and meeting their needs in a brand new way.
  • I want you to see God’s love in my service. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16, NIV). I want you to know that I’m serving others because of God’s love in my life.
  • I hope you will want to know more about how to have a personal relationship with God. John 3:16 is just one verse in the Bible, but it explains a great deal about God and His plan for you. If you have a few minutes, I’d be happy to talk with you about knowing God personally through Jesus.

As a Christian I’m often embarrassed that society expects the government to take care of social issues! Jesus has called for us to take care of the poor and helpless. We need to love and care for people because He does. If we love Him we will love what He loves.

Let’s follow what the Scripture says here in James 2 and Matthew 5:16 and put hands and feet to the Gospel!

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