Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Twilight is a series of books and movies written by Stephenie Meyer. She is a gifted author, which is obvious simply by the demand for her books. If they were written poorly I doubt any one would be drawn to a story about vampires.
What concerns me is how this story has resonated in the church. And not just among adults. Many of those that watch this story are far younger (8, 9 and 10) than the PG-13 rating suggests should see it. Parents are already showing a lack of discernment that even the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) understands - these movies are not for children.
Beyond that though, parents are constant teachers. Everything we do teaches our children. We have a responsibility to them and more importantly to God to raise our children in their fear and submission of our Lord; by God's grace seeing them trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Even after they have confessed Jesus as Lord, we have a responsibility to help them to mature in Christ, knowing how to make wise and godly decisions. I am not convinced that Meyer's story does anything to promote this kind of spiritual maturity and, worse yet, it may actually be counterproductive to the things that we are teaching our children about who God is, His love and the gospel.
Understand, in Christ we are free...free indeed. But just because something is permissible does not mean that it is good - “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything." (see The Apostle Paul 1 Corinthians 6:12)
There are many troubling things in the series. Let me list three for you. 1) Paints an un-biblical view of love. John Lewinski makes several observations in an article (here). A love that leads to lying, disobedience, manipulation and more. Certainly not the kind of Biblical love that we find in 1 Corinthians 13 or commanded in Ephesians 5 (Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church; wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord).
2) Deep mormon world view. The author is a mormon. And her writing is no doubt supported by her theological beliefs. A Touchstone Article (here) says this: "Edward..., though described many times as an “angel” and though he has many of the characteristics of Joseph Smith, Jr., is also, as the First Son of the Cullen Father and Bella’s means to joining this Holy Family, the Christ figure of the story. His signature ability to enter into all minds (even Bella’s in the end) indicates his identity as the Logos that is the pre-existent “cohesion of all things” (Col. 1:17)." For a biblically astute adult this kind of allegory may not be problematic but for a child or teen who is often thrown by the wind of various doctrines and beliefs, something even this subtle could do great harm to their own understanding and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He goes on to say further "In some streams of Mormon tradition, Adam is, in fact, the finite God of earth (or the Archangel Michael), and Eve is his celestial wife from another planet. The Fall and expulsion from Paradise, according to this view, were necessary in order for Adam and Eve to marry and reproduce. “Celestial marriage” is a core ordinance for Mormon exaltation (salvation), and without the “Fall,” man could not take this important step in his progression from mortality to post-mortal life as a god in the Celestial Kingdom. This is a remarkable departure from orthodox, creedal Christianity with respect to sexuality and understanding how human beings relate to God." Meyer has no desire to promote the biblical account of creation, fall, redemption and Christ. The series says undercuts what our children have been learning in Sunday school.
3) The Bible says this: 1 Corinthians 10:6 says, 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 1 Corinthians 15:33 adds "Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Or Colossians 3 says "5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming." 1 Thessalonians 5:22 - 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 3 John - 11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. AND 2 John - 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting" That is challenging - Don't bring it into your house - what is it - False teaching.
I believe that God is sovereign and that God will protect my daughters. But I can't help but wonder what I might be doing to undermine what God wants for them. Even something as subtle as what movies they watch or what books they read can be devastating to their understanding of the gospel. We have a responsibility as parents to direct our children to fear the Lord.
I love my daughters and their growing faith enough to say to them "O be careful little eyes what you see, o be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, O be careful little eyes what you see."
Sunday, April 25, 2010
David Barton made this comment recently. "Respect the Office...Yes. Respect the man in the office...No I am sorry to say."
I was pondering this today, as I prepare to preach on Hebrews 13:7 - 17. Is this really what God wants us to do when it comes to our elected officials - respect the office not the man. Why don't we also apply that to the church - respect the office of elder but the man. Respect the office of deacon but not the man. What is the determining factor in who we respect and don't? If we simply don't like their decision, don't like their personality, don't like their hair? Do we stand in opposition to governmental authorities because they are antagonistic to God or simply because they are sinners? Obama is a sinner...but so I am I.
Romans 13 says that the authorities have been placed their by God. Not just the office but the man. God knows what He is doing (even though at times I think I know better...I don't). Did Paul respect the office or the man when we went before Agrippa or the leaders of Rome. Titus 3:1 Remind us to be submissive to rulers and authorities and to speak evil of no one (including Obama right?). He then gives us our motivation...because we were once like them...LOST.
I understand the frustration directed at our government. I am not pleased with the policies, decisions and directions of our president. But I have been convicted today as I read a statement that I probably used to say. A statement that made me feel (self) righteous. A statement that many Christians today are saying AMEN to. I am just not sure that it measures up to scripture.
Remember, our conflict is not against flesh and blood but against principalities of darkness. Respecting the man (and the office) does not mean we agree with everything the man does. It does not mean that we set aside our convictions. It does not mean that we are sellouts. What does it mean - that as I we respect and submit to him, we are demonstrating our submission to a much higher authority. A higher authority that one day even a president of the United States will bow to in honor. Only then, we won't be up in arms at the homage paid to a world leader. We will rejoice that every knee (including Obama) is bowing to the feet of King Jesus.