Friday, April 28, 2006

Five Reasons to See the Da Vinci Code

See my other post on the Da Vinci Code before you read this...

Now that you get my premise, let me be more specific. Here are five reasons you should see the movie.

1. You need to be aware of what people in our culture are interested in. There are few cultural events that impact so many people. People will be talking about it at work, school, etc. Don't you want to be part of the discussion?

2. You will communicate that you are open minded and willing to engage. How do you think people feel about you when they ask you about the movie and you say, "That movie is a tool of the devil to deceive the masses"? End of discussion. Next topic. Note to self; find new friends!

3. You will sharpen your mind as you seek to refute the misinformation about the Bible. Don't run from the challenge that Dan Brown presents to Christians. Seize the moment. Brown is taking advantage of people's lack of church history and theology. There is a plethora of books and websites (and pastors!) out now helping you to do your research. So go do it!

4. You might have the chance to steer a friend in the right direction. Dan Brown has given the church a HUGE gift. He's played off of numerous cultural interests (suspicion of authority, church abuse, secret societies, etc.), mixed it with murder and intrigue and made millions. His marketers have paid the bills, he's invited the audience and now we get to play the game. If we do our research, we'll win because Brown's research is seriously flawed. True seekers and people who are willing to go beyond what they want to be true (the Bible is a flawed and manipulated text that now gives me the right to ignore it) will see the truth and hopefully encounter God. Don't miss your chance to be a part of church history!

5. You just might enjoy it!

Should You See The Da Vinci Code Movie?

In talking to some people I was surprised to hear that some Christians are boycotting the Da Vinci Code movie. I guess it's just a "tool of the devil" in their minds. Hmmmm...well, maybe. But I never like to give the devil too much credit. The Da Vinci Code movie and book may be the devil's tool but he's never been known for using his tools that well. After all, I think the cross was his tool. It seems that God came out on top with that one!

It concerns me when I see Christians disengaging from our culture just because they deem something as bad or immoral or unbiblical. What do they expect? This isn't heaven. Why the surprise? Our call as followers of Jesus is to be there in the middle of the discussion, not abandon it, or draw such stark lines that no one wants to talk to us.

Living in this world will always present a tension for Jesus followers. The answer isn't to eliminate, condemn or ignore evil. Our job, should we choose to accept it, is to wade into the world at all levels and discern between good and evil, right and wrong, light and dark. And as we do, point others to the Source of all good, right and light.

Jesus spoke of this tension when he gave the story of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30). He said that someone came and sowed weeds in the farmer's field one night. Then there were weeds among the wheat. The laborers wanted to know if they should pull up the weeds. The farmer said, no, that might just damage the wheat. Wait until harvest and it will be easier to distinguish between the two.

That's our call as laborers here on earth. We are to live in the tension of truth and error and wait until the "harvest" when God himself will distinguish between the two.

All that to say, see the Da Vinci Code. More on this soon...

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Gospel of Judas and the Missing Link

Every month or two there seems to be some new discovery that relates to either the Bible or evolution or both. Last week two items were in the news.

The first one was about a new document they found, dating from 300 B.C. It tells a different version of Jesus and Judas. They are calling it the Gospel of Judas. This one is much more kind to Judas, showing that Jesus actually told Judas to betray him and not to worry because he'd be honored for it some day. In the midst of all of the Da Vinci Code excitement this document seems to stir the pot even more. But any historian knows that there were numerous gnostic believers who moved away from the original teachings of Jesus to create a modified version of their own. This new document doesn't take away anything from the biblical documents. It just verifies the fact that there were dissenters. Yawn. Tell us something we don't know.

A bigger news item was released last week that got a lot of evolutionists excited. They found what is seen to be the first fossil that offers a link between a sea and land animal. In the opinion of many, this was the virtual undoing of the Intelligent Design theory.

Now, I'm no scientist or church historian. So I'm not going to go into some long discussion of the details of either evolution or early church documents, but the excitement over both of these items by people who are hoping to disprove those who believe in the Bible as God's revealed word is a bit premature, don't you think? And if any believers are quaking, thinking that they are standing on shaky ground, I offer this analogy...

It's like being up 20 -0 in the ninth inning with two outs and a 3-2 count and the other team scores a hit. Does that mean you concede the game? I don't think so. There's a big distance between one hit and winning the game!

I'm not trying to diminish or disregard the entire evolutionary theory or the truth contained in other church documents. They have some merit. There's probably some truth there. In regard to evolution, maybe God did use it to create us. If evolution was proven to be true tomorrow I wouldn't miss a beat. My faith doesn't hang by that thread. But people are going to have to show me a lot more than one "missing link" to prove evolution. The real issue is how did life spring from non-life? And how did complexity arrise from simplicity without an Intelligent Designer?

And as far as the Bible is concerned, people are going to have to show me a lot more than a document written 300 years after the birth of Jesus to disprove the writings of people who lived with Jesus. So, enjoy the news releases. But I'm not losing sleep over them!