Tim Johnson, editor
November 2, 2003
Dealing With the Unrepentant
Are you discouraged because you can't get someone to change? Maybe you've worked long and hard to teach someone what they should do to be saved, but they simply won't accept it. It's clear to you and to them that there are things amiss in their life, but they just won't commit to do what is right. Or, it might be some erring brother in the church. You have struggled to convince him that he has sinned and needs to repent, but he steadfastly refuses to admit his sin and turn back to God. Surely, these are discouraging situations.
When we face these difficult scenarios, it should help us to remember that others before us have faced the same woes. In fact, when we "hit a wall" while trying to convert the lost or restore the erring, we are joining the good company of God's faithful servants through the ages. Their words certainly strike a familiar chord:
· "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalms 10:4)
· "... they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return." (Jeremiah 5:3)
· "Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent... " (Zech. 7:12)
· "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." (Acts 7:51)
· "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the clay of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." (Romans 2:5)
So, you see, your frustration at being unable to change the ways of unrepentant folks is not new. Others have endured the same things. The key thing is for us to stay committed to our task of faithfully serving God. "... be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (I Corinthians 15:58)
--By Greg Gwin
via The Beacon, July 8, 2003
Hollywood is about to crank out another movie about Jesus. Entitled "The Passion" and produced, written and directed by Mel Gibson, the movie focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus' life, up through His crucifixion. This film follows a long line of other productions about Jesus that have made millions for actors and producers and spawned no end of controversy. Some of these efforts have been downright blasphemous, portraying Christ as not much more than a mere man whose most serious temptations involve the romantic designs of female disciples. "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" both fit this category. Other productions have been more noble, some even produced with the goal of being strictly true to the Biblical text. A film produced a few years ago and simply entitled "Jesus" uses as it's dialogue the word for word text from the gospel of Luke, and a more recent production of "The Gospel of John" sticks strictly to the words of that gospel. Mel Gibson claims that he also tried to follow the Bible story closely, and even has his actors speaking Latin and Aramaic throughout the film in an effort to be authentic (there are plans for English subtitles).
Any theatrical production of the life of Jesus is going to have inherent problems. The clothing, hair length and physique of the actor playing Jesus are all subject to the imagination of the filmmaker, because precious little is said about these things in Scripture. But beyond this, the way the scenes are acted will often convey messages not found in the text of Scripture (even IF the dialogue itself is 100% true to Scripture).
The reality is that any theatrical production about any historical figure will carry the biases and beliefs of its writer, producer and director. It will convey THEIR view of the character. Obviously, caution should be exercised. Christians should ask themselves, "What can the likes of Mel Gibson or Andrew Lloyd Weber teach me about Jesus?" Gibson, for instance, is a Catholic. Would we be interested in attending a Bible study conducted by these men? And if we did so, surely we would not accept everything presented at face value, but we would "examine the Scriptures" to see if "these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
It occurs to me that if God had thought that the best way to tell the gospel story was by making a movie, He would have made one. But God sent forth His Son at the perfect point in human history -- in "the fullness of time" (Galatians 4:4). He inspired men to tell the story of His Son in words and to record the words in a Book (2 Timothy 3:16). One of those inspired writers assures us that "when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" (Ephesians 3:4).
Are we saying that visuals (including moving pictures) have no place as aids teaching the gospel? Not at all. What we are saying is that we must first consider the source. Second, we must compare what is presented with Scripture. And third, we must be careful not to confuse the media with the message -- a picture may sometimes be worth a thousand words, but no picture can take the place of even one inspired word!
by Steve Klein