Friday, September 23, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
GREAT inventor is to make bread without flour, and he is preparing the plan of a house which is to have no foundations. Wonderful! Isn't it? We are no longer to eat grapes as they come from the vines—they are so old-fashioned: we are to have them after they have been squeezed in a patent press, and have been fashioned into cakes of mathematical shape. We should not be at all surprised to hear that our steam-boats are all a mistake, and have become things of the past, being in fact superseded by electrified table-cloths, which each man withdraws from his dining-table, spreads on the top of the water, and then uses as an instantaneously-prepared raft, which he steers with his knife and fork. When this comes about, we shall still be found sticking to the unchanged and unchangeable Word of God. There will be no new God, nor a new devil, and we shall never have a new Savior, nor a new atonement: why should we then be either attracted or alarmed by the error and nonsense which everywhere plead for a hearing because they are new? What is their newness to us; we are not children, nor frequenters of playhouses? Truly, to such a new toy or a new play has immense attractions; but men care less about the age of a thing than about its intrinsic value. To suppose that theology can be new is to imagine that the Lord himself is of yesterday. A doctrine which is said to have lately become true must of necessity be a lie. Falsehood has no beard, but truth is hoary with an age immeasurable. The old gospel is the only gospel. Pity is our only feeling towards those young preachers who cry, "See my new theology," in just the same spirit as little Mary says, "See my pretty new frock."—C. H. S.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church . . . but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings."
1. As there is a more excellent appearance of the Spirit of God in the holy scripture, than in any other book whatever, so it has more power and fitness to convey the Spirit, and make us spiritual, by imprinting itself upon our hearts. As there is more of God in it, so it will acquaint us more with God, and bring us nearer Him, and make the reader more reverent, serious and divine. Let scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. The endeavours of the devil and papists to keep it from you, doth shew that it is most necessary and desirable to you.
2. The writings of divines are nothing else but a preaching of the gospel to the eye, as the voice preaches it to the ear. Vocal preaching has the pre-eminence in moving the affections, and being diversified according to the state of the congregation which attend it: this way the milk comes warmest from the breast. But books have the advantage in many other respects: you may read an able preacher when you have but a average one to hear. Every congregation cannot hear the most judicious or powerful preachers: but every single person may read the books of the most powerful and judicious; preachers may be silenced or banished, when books may be at hand: books may be kept at a smaller charge than preachers: we may choose books which treat of that, very subject which we desire to hear of; but we cannot choose what subject the preacher shall treat of. Books we may have at hand every day. and hour; when we can have sermons but seldom, and at set times. If sermons be forgotten, they are gone; but a book we may read over and over, till we remember it: and if we forget it, may again peruse it at our pleasure, or at our leisure. So that good books are a very great mercy to the world: the Holy Ghost chose the way of writing, to preserve His doctrine and laws to the 'Church, as knowing how easy and sure a way it is of keeping it safe to all generations, in comparison of mere verbal traditions.
3. You have need of a judicious teacher at hand, to direct you what books to use or to refuse: for among good books there are some very good that are sound and lively; and some good, but mediocre, and weak and somewhat dull; and some are very good in part, but have mixtures of error, or else of incautious, injudicious expressions, fitter to puzzle than edify the weak.
Baxter's Guide To The Value Of A Book
While reading ask oneself:
1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?
Monday, September 19, 2005
"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,
just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
"The greatest evidence of love is undeserved forgiveness. The supreme act of God's love was to give "His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God's love brought man's forgiveness. God loved the world with such a great love that He offered forgiveness to sinful, rebellious, wretched, vile mankind, by sending His own Son to give His life on the cross that they might not suffer death. He offered the world the free gift of eternal fellowship with Him.
Because forgiveness is the supreme evidence of God's love, it will also be the most convincing proof of our love. Love will always lead us to forgive others just as love led God in Christ to forgive us (Eph. 4:32). Nothing more clearly discloses a hard, loveless heart than lack of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness betrays lack of love (see 4:31). The presence of forgiveness always proves the presence of love, because only love has the motive and power to forgive. The extent of our love is the extent of our ability to forgive.
Whatever another believer may do against us, no matter how terrible or destructive or unjustified, Christ has paid the penalty for that sin. No matter how others may hurt, slander, persecute, or in any way harm us, Christ's sacrifice was sufficient to pay their penalty. When a Christian expresses, or even harbors, vengeance toward a brother, he not only sins by allowing selfish hatred to control him but he sins by profaning Christ's sacrifice-by seeking to mete out punishment for a sin whose penalty has already been paid by his Lord.
Because Christ has paid the penalty for every sin, we have no right to hold any sin against any person, even a nonbeliever. Peter thought that forgiving someone "up to seven times" was generous. But Jesus said, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven" (Matt. 18:22). In Christ all our "sins are forgiven for His name's sake" (1 John 2:12); He has "forgiven us all our transgressions" (Col. 2:13, emphasis added). "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). "
Saturday, September 17, 2005
The signs of a flesh-pleaser or sensualist are these:
1. When a man in his desire to please his appetite, does not do it with a view to a higher end, that is to say to the preparing himself for the service of God; but does it only for the delight itself. (Of course no one does every action conciously with a view to the service of God. Nevertheless, the general manner or habit of a life spent in the service of God is absent for the flesh-pleaser.)
2. When he looks more eagerly and industriously after the prosperity of his body than of his soul.
3. When he will not refrain from his pleasures, when God forbids them, or when they hurt his soul, or when the necessities of his soul call him away from them. But he must have his delight whatever it costs him, and is so set upon it, that he cannot deny it to himself.
4. When the pleasures of his flesh exceed his delights in God, and his holy word and ways, and the expectations of endless pleasure. And this not only in the passion, but in the estimation, choice, and action. When he had rather be at a play, or feast, or other entertainment, or getting good bargains or profits in the world, than to live in the life of faith and love, which would be a holy and heavenly way of living.
5. When men set their minds to scheme and study to make provision for the pleasures of the flesh; and this is first and sweetest in their thoughts.
6. When they had rather talk, or hear, or read of fleshly pleasures, than of spiritual and heavenly delights.
7. When they love the company of merry sensualists, better than the communion of saints, in which they may be exercised in the praises of their Maker.
8. When they consider that the best place to live and work is where they have the pleasure of the flesh. They would rather be where they have things easy, and lack nothing for the body, rather than where they have far better help and provision for the soul, though the flesh be pinched for it.
9. When he will be more eager to spend money to please his flesh than to please God.
10. When he will believe or like no doctrine but "easy-believism," and hate mortification as too strict "legalism." By these, and similar signs, sensuality may easily be known; indeed, by the main bent of the life.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Jehovah our God, we thank Thee for leaving on record the story of Thine ancient people. It is full of instruction to ourselves. Help us to take its warning to avoid the faults into which they fell! Thou art a covenant God, and Thou keepest Thy promises and Thy Word never faileth. We have proved this so hitherto:
'Thus far we find that promise good, Which Jesus ratified with blood.'
But as for ourselves we are like Israel of old, a fickle people, and, we confess it with great shame, there are days when we take the timbre and we sing with Miriam 'unto the Lord who triumphed gloriously,' and yet, we grieve to say it, not many hours after, we are thirsty, and we cry for water, and we murmur in our tents) the brackish Marah turns our heart and we are grieved with our God. Sometimes we bow before Thee with reverence and awe when we behold Thy Sinai altogether on a smoke; but there have been times when we have set up the golden calf and we have said of some earthly things, 'These by thy gods, O Israel.' We believe with intensity of faith and then doubt with a horribleness of doubt.
Lord, Thou has been very patient with us. Many have been our provocations, many have been Thy chastisements, but:
'Thy strokes are fewer than our crimes, And lighter than our guilt.'
'Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.' Blessed by Thy name!
And now fulfil that part of the covenant wherein Thou has said, 'A new heart also will I give thee and a right spirit will I put within thee. I will put My fear in their hearts and they shall not depart from Me.' Hold us fast and then we shall hold fast to Thee. Turn us and we shall be turned; keep us and we shall keep Thy statutes.
We cry to Thee that we may no more provoke Thee. We beg Thee rather to send the serpents among us than to let sin come among us. Oh! that we might have our eye always on the brazen serpent that healeth all the bites of evil, but may we not look to sin nor love it. Let not the devicesof Balaam and of Balak prevail against us, to lead Thy people away from their purity. Let us not be defiled with false doctrine or with unholy living, but may we walk as the separated people of God and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Lord, we would not grieve Thy Spirit. Oh! may we never vex Thee so as to lead Thee in Thy wrath to say, 'They shall not enter into my rest.' Bear with us still for His dear sake whose blood is upon us. Bear with us still and send not the destroying angel as Thou didst to Egypt, but again fulfil that promise of Thine, 'When I see the blood I will pass over you.'
Just now may we be consciously passed over by the Spirit of condemnation; may we know in our hearts that 'there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' May we feel the peace-giving power of the divine absolution. May we come into Thy holy presence with our feet washed in the brazen laver, hearing our great High Priest say to us, 'Ye are clean every whit.' Thus made clean may we draw near to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Further, our heavenly Father, we come before Thee now washed in the blood, wearing the snow-white robe of Christ's righteousness, and we ask Thee to remember Thy people. Some are sore burdened; lighten the burden or strengthen the shoulder. Some are bowed down with fear; peradventure they mistrust; forgive the mistrust and give a great increase of faith that they may trust Thee where they cannot trace Thee. The Lord remember any who bear the burden of others. Some cry to Thee day and night about the sins of the times, about the wanderings of Thy Church. Lord hear our prayers! We would bear this yoke for Thee, but help us to bear it without fearing so as to distrust Thee. May we know that Thou wilt take care of Thine own cause and preserve Thine own truth, and may we therefore be restful about it all.
Some are crying to Thee for the conversion of relatives and friends; this burden they have taken up to follow after Jesus in the cross-bearing. Grant them to see the desire of their heart fulfilled. God save our children and children's children, and if we have unconverted relatives of any kind, the Lord have mercy upon them for Christ's sake. Give us joy in them-as much joy in them as Christians as we have had sorrow about them as unbelievers.
Further, be pleased to visit Thy Church with the Holy Spirit. Renew the day of Pentecost in our midst, and in the midst of all gatherings of Thy people may there come the downfall of the holy fire, the uprising of the heavenly wind. May matters that are now slow and dead become quick and full of life, and may the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted in the midst of His Church which is His fulness, 'the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.' May multitudes be converted; may they come flockingto Christ with holy eagerness to find in Him a refuge as the doves fly to their dovecotes.
Oh! for salvation work throughout these islands and across the sea and in every part of the world, specially in heathen lands. Bring many to Christ's feet, we pray Thee, everywhere where men are ready to lay down their lives that they may impart the heavenly life of Christ. Work, Lord, work mightily! Thy Church cries to Thee. Oh, leave us not! We can do nothing without Thee! Our strength is wholly Thine! Come to us with great power, and let Thy Word have free course and be glorified.
Remember every one that calls Thee Father. May a Father's love look on all the children. May the special need of each one be supplied, the special sorrow of each one be assuaged. May we be growing Christians, may we be working Christians, may we be perfected Christians, may we come to the fulness of the stature of men in Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus Thou art a great pillar; in Thee cloth all fulness dwell. Thou didst begin Thy life with filling the waterpots to the full; Thou didst fill Simon Peter's boat until it began to sink; Thou didst fill the house where Thy people were met together with the presence of the Holy Ghost; Thou cost fill heaven; Thou wilt surely fill all things; fill us, oh! fill us to-day with all the fulness of God, and make Thy people thus joyful and strong, and gracious and heavenly!
But we cannot leave off our prayer when we have prayed for Thy people, though we have asked large things; we want Thee to look among the thousands and millions round about us who know Thee not. Lord, look on the masses who go nowhere to worship. Have pity upon them; Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give a desire to hear Thy Word. Send upon the people some desire after their God. O Lord take sinners in hand Thyself. Oh! come and reach obstinate, obdurate minds; let the careless and the frivolous begin to think upon eternal things. May there be an uneasiness of heart, a sticking of the arrows of God in their loins, and may they seek too the great Physician and find healing this very day. Ah! Lord, Thou sayest 'To-day, if ye will hear His voice,' and we take up the echo. Save men to-day, even to-day. Bring them Thy Spirit in power that they may be willing to rest in Christ. Lord hear, forgive, accept and bless, for Jesu's sake. Amen.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
A sense of the beauty of Christ is the beginning of true saving faith in the life of a true convert. This is quite different from any vague feeling that Christ loves him or died for him. These sort of fuzzy feelings can cause a sort of love and joy, because the person feels a gratitude for escaping the punishment of their sin. In actual fact, these feelings are based on self-love, and not on a love for Christ at all. It is a sad thing that so many people are deluded by this false faith. On the other hand, a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ causes in the heart a supreme genuine love for God. This is because the divine light shows the excellent loveliness of God's nature. A love based on this is far, far above anything coming from self-love, which demons can have as well as men. The true love of God which comes from this sight of His beauty causes a spiritual and holy joy in the soul; a joy in God, and exulting in Him. There is no rejoicing in ourselves, but rather in God alone.
The sight of the beauty of divine things will cause true desires after the things of God. These desires are different from the longings of demons, which happen because the demons know their doom awaits them, and they wish it could somehow be otherwise. The desires that come from this sight of Christ's beauty are natural free desires, like a baby desiring milk. Because these desires are so different from their counterfeits, they help to distinguish genuine experiences of God's grace from the false.
An excerpt from a sermon originally titled True Grace Distinguished from the Experience of Devils by Jonathan Edwards, 1752.
How To Tell If You Are A Real Christian The complete sermon (in modern language) 38K
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
When I survey the wondrous Cross Where the young Prince of Glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast Save in the death of Christ, my God; All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood. See from his head, his hands, his feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down; Did e'er such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson like a robe Spreads o'er his body on the Tree, Then am I dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me. Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.
This is by far my favorite hymn
We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin as ever we found sweetness in committing it. Surely David found more bitterness in repentance than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba. Tears have four qualities: they are moist, salt, hot, and bitter. It is true of repenting tears, they are hot to warm a frozen conscience; moist, to soften a hard heart; salt, to season a soul decaying in sin; bitter, to wean us from the love of the world. And I will add a fifth, they are sweet, in that they make the heart inwardly rejoice. David, who was the great weeper in Israel, was the sweet singer of Israel. The sorrows of the repentant are like the sorrows of a travailing woman: "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world" (John 16:21).
Be as speedy in your repentance as you would have God be speedy in His mercies. Many are now in hell that purposed to repent. Satan does what he can to keep men from repentance. When he sees that one begins to take up serious thoughts of reformation, he bids them wait a little longer. It is dangerous to procrastinate repentance. The longer any go on sinning, the harder they will find the work of repentance. Delay strengthens sin and hardens the heart and gives the devil fuller possession. A plant at first may be easily plucked up, but when it has spread its roots deep in the earth, a whole team cannot remove it. It is hard to remove sin when it comes to be rooted. The longer the ice freezes the harder it is to be broken. The longer a man freezes in security, the harder it will be to have his heart broken.
Presuming upon God's mercy can be eternally fatal. Many suck poison from this sweet flower. Oh, one says, "Christ has died; He has done all for me; therefore I may sit still and do nothing." Thus they suck death from the tree of life and perish by a savior. So I may say of God's mercy, it accidentally causes the ruin of many. Because of mercy, some men presume and think they may go on sinning. But should a king's clemency make his subjects rebel? The psalmist says, "there is mercy with God, that he may be feared," (Psalms 130:4) but not that we may sin.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
"In a culture that sets itself against the gospel, we can all use some encouragement in remaining faithful to preaching, teaching, and living it in our local churches. To that end, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, and C.J. Mahaney have planned a conference for April 26-28, 2006 that will bring John Piper, R.C. Sproul, and John MacArthur to Louisville, KY for the purpose of encouraging us as church leaders to keep the gospel the first priority in our lives and ministries. Each of the seven will address topics that range from the role of the pastor and preaching the text with the culture in view, to the heart of distinctively Christian preaching and why expositional preaching in particular is especially glorifying to God. Each session will be followed by a panel discussion among the leaders about the subject addressed by the speaker. You won’t want to miss this one. You can watch a recorded conversation among Dever, Mohler, Duncan, and Mahaney about the rationale, format, and potential benefits of the conference by clicking here.For schedule and registration information, click here If you go to only one conference for pastors and church leaders in 2006, make it this one. It’s time to unite around the old, old story. Let’s unite around the message of Jesus Christ and its implications for Christian ministry. Let’s come together for the gospel.
Registration for Together For The Gospel Conference Early Bird Special of $125 runs till September 30, 2005 (Noon-EST), Oct 1 onwards $175."
Why Sing the Hymns?
Consider this statement on the disappearance of hymns from worship from Paul S. Jones:
The postmodern church, like the rest of Western culture, is self-obsessed and seems uninterested in the rich heritage of church music imparted to us from the saints of previous generations. Although worship has become a buzzword in all ecclesiastical circles, minimal attention is given to biblical teaching concerning worship. As a result, we find evangelicals slipping away from biblical worship and justifying their practices on the basis of the Zeitgeist. A hedonistic, narcissistic, relativistic, 'me-focused' age, though, is hardly one that should inform and define our approach to God. And yet, it does. We measure our success by numbers, our relevance by how technologically integrated and up-to-date we are, and our worship by how good it makes us feel. In the minds of contemporary saints, hymns clash with the spontaneity, simplicity, and style that have come to rule in the modern evangelical church.
Paul S. Jones, "Hymnody in a Post-Hymnody World," in Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, edited by Philip Graham Ryken, Derek W. H. Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan (Philllipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003). The book is a collection of essays celebrating the life and legacy of the late James Montgomery Boice. Jones is music director and organist at Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church, where Boice was pastor for many years. See the church's excellent statement, Our Philosophy-Theology of Music, adoped just this year, as well as the congregation's Mission Statement.
The Ten Most Harmful Books of the Last Two Centuries
Human Events asked "a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders" to identify the ten most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries. The list:
1. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
2. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao by Mao Zedong
4. The Kinsey Reports by Alfred Kinsey
5. Democracy and Education by John Dewey
6. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
7. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
8. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Compte
9. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
10. General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes
It's hard to argue with that list, but it seems a bit weighted toward economics. I would argue for putting The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in the top ten, and Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead wouldn't be far behind. Any suggestions?
SOURCE: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Human Events, May 31, 2005
Star Wars and Christian Truth -- A Collision of Worldviews
George Lucas' Star Wars saga is now complete, or so we are told. With the cinematic release of Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, the story is fully developed and the massive film project is certain to be a commercial success.
The Revenge of the Sith is a gripping story, and the movie is propelled by generally strong acting performances. This episode's central story line is the tranformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader -- a Sith warrior. This moral transformation turns Anakin into a dark lord -- an unmistakable representation of evil. By the movie's end, the Sith rule the galaxy and the stage is set for the good guys -- the Jedi warriors -- eventually to return and defeat the evil Empire.
As in the other Star Wars films, the movie is a mechanism for introducing Lucas' own blend of Eastern mysticism and New Age concepts. The films focus on "The Force," a vaguely supernatural power that blends pantheism and metaphysics. It is decidedly not the personal and transcendent God of the Bible.
In my extended commentary, The Faith v. The Force: The Mythology of Star Wars, I traced the influence of New Age and Eastern ideas on George Lucas, and pointed to the influence of the late Joseph Campbell as something Lucas has acknowledged.
Here are the most relevant sections: Conspicuously absent from Lucas's cosmology is anything connected to biblical Christianity. Though oblique references to faith abound in the film, the central religious motif is "the Force," explained by the Smithsonian guide as a combination of "the basic principles of several different major religions." Further, "it most embodies what all of them have in common: an unerring faith in a spiritual power." Lucas explained "the Force" as "a nothingness that can accomplish miracles." This is, the Smithsonian's Henderson asserts, "reminiscent of Zen Buddhism."
"The Force" is not analogous to Christian faith, but is a form of personal enlightenment and empowerment. Faith in "the Force" is simply faith in mystery and some higher power--mostly within. As Lucas instructs: "Ultimately the Force is the larger mystery of the universe. And to trust your feelings is your way into that." The last thing Americans need to be told is to trust their own feelings.
The mythology of Star Wars is perfectly adapted to the spiritual confusion of postmodern America. "Go with the Force" is about all many citizens can muster as spirituality. When Christianity ceases to be the dominant worldview of a culture, paganism is quick to fill the void.
Some see a very different picture, with Lucas and his Star Wars series presenting a religious allegory that is compatible with Christianity, at least in part. In Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, film critic Dick Staub makes some truly incredible claims for the series. "One of Star Wars' great contributions to contemporary belief is the reinforcement of the centuries-old teaching, advanced by all religions, that something mysteriously spiritual is at work in the universe," he asserts. "Star Wars creator George Lucas named this phenomenon 'the Force.'"
This one of the movie's "great contributions to contemporary belief?" Can this be a serious statement? The Force is a blend of light and darkeness, good and evil. It is impersonal and seductive. Such a concept is not compatible with Christian truth, and it hardly ranks as a great contribution to anything. It is merely a vehicle for the telling of George Lucas' story -- and for the promotion of his New Age ideas.
Staub also relates that the concept of God "is not foreign to George Lucas, who in an interview with Bill Moyers embraces mysticism over certitude in his understanding of God." [See my article on this interview.] Staub then turns to application: "Likewise, the Jedi type of Christian embraces divine mystery humbly, professing a similar modesty about our knowledge of God, who though personal and accessible is also aurrounded by what one mystic called 'the cloud of unknowing.'"
This is profoundly, dangerously, tragically wrong. A Christian cannot embrace anything like Lucas' brand of mysticism and agnosticism about the nature and character of God. We are completely dependent upon God's self-revelation [that's the true basis for humility] and we are fully accountable to that revelation. We are to know and to embrace everything that God reveals about Himself -- and this is nothing akin to George Lucas' brand of mysticism. Of course, there remains much about the infinite reality and glory of God that we do not know, but we are commanded to know all that He has revealed about Himself. The living God of the Bible has revealed Himself in the Son, Jesus Christ, not in an impersonal force.
The turning point in The Revenge of the Sith comes when the sage-like Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to convince Anakin to resist the dark side of the Force. "If you're not with me, you're my enemy," Anakin says. Obi-Wan's reply: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." So, only the dark lords believe in absolute truth. The enlightened Jedi know better, of course, and Lucas wants his viewers to embrace Obi-Wan's counsel.
Here we face the reality of the New Age vision -- no absolutes. At the same time, this is also evidence of the inconsistency at the heart of any denial of absolute truth. For Lucas does present the dark side as truly evil. That's an absolute, of course, but it is precisely the kind of politically-correct absolute promoted by those who deny absolute truth. Listen as your friends and neighbors talk about this film. The conversation will reveal more than they intend. This is a film about worldviews, and Christians should know how to point directly to what matters.
REVENGE OF THE LINKS: Mark Pinsky, Many Faiths See Religious Allegory in Star Wars, The Houston Chronicle. See also reviews by Jeffrey Overstreet in Christianity Today and Gene Edward Veith in World.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Monday, September 05, 2005
I didn't know John Calvin was a Jedi Night:)
They have found over at Ars Theologica a unknown picture of John Calvin. Did Calvin use his Jedi mind tricks to influence the results of TheologicalStudies.org's poll that named Calvin as the "Greatest Theologian of All Time?" :)