7
Jan

Standing against the world

   Posted by: Mark   in The Church

Over the past weeks I have read numerous articles about the upcoming movie “The Golden Compass,” based on the first book in a trilogy by Philip Pullman. (I will refrain from including details about the movie itself, since a Google search will provide countless links to a rather common set of material.) This movie appears to be the latest standard around which Christians are being called to gather in protest, following on the tail of Harry Potter and “Holiday” advertisements.

As Christians we should warn our siblings of things that could be dangerous. While we should all be diligent in our walk, invariably one may see problems with something before the majority does, and should sound the alarm about such things. Warnings about this movie, however, seem to involve much more hyperventilation than seems necessary.

Years ago I was involved in a sect of Christianity that, quite honestly, causes me great embarrassment when I recall my enthusiastic participation. This branch tends heavily toward extra-biblical regulations, and focuses on external activity as singular proof of personal holiness. The stereotypical visions of wide-eyed, pale-faced gasping-in-astonishment reactions to breaches in these regulations are, in reality, incredibly accurate depictions of some of these people. And that is the same reaction I am seeing from many folks regarding this movie.

We live in a fallen world. James tells us that pure religion involves remaining unstained by “the world,” referencing the world-view of unregenerate man. We must be wary of adopting or being seduced by this warped view of life and God.

It cannot be made any more clear than Paul’s statements that “no one does good, not even one.” Even as Christians we get hung up on this. “What about feeding the homeless?” or “I am a devoted father and husband — surely that’s ‘good,’ isn’t it?” And indeed, on our limited scale of human goodness, these things and so many others could be considered “good.” But we cannot dismiss Paul’s statement. By the righteous, perfect measurement, everything we do falls short of being “good.”

Every creation of unregenerate men must promote the fallen perspective of this world — it cannot do otherwise! Every movie will at the very least intimate a hatred or disregard for God. Every book is founded in unregenerate thought.

Is “The Golden Compass” an attack by Satan against our children? Not more than anything else created by fallen man. In fact, it may be less of an attack than the majority of things produced by our culture. And perhaps that is where I am befuddled. A sneak attack against Christianity cannot, by definition, include generally-obvious anti-God material! If this movie is part of a series that describes the killing of an emaciated character called Yahweh (as is mentioned in one of the more widely-distributed summaries), and obviously promotes the ideas of its atheistic (or more properly, agnostic) author, there is not much “sneak” in that, is there?

Be measured in your responses to things. Do not be surprised when the fallen world acts fallen. Certainly validate things against God’s Word. And by all means, stand against the world (world-view), while living in the world (the physical place called Earth) and loving the world (the people).

This entry was posted on Monday, January 7th, 2008 at 9:02 am and is filed under The Church. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 comments so far

cp
 1 

Not sure I follow your position on this.

“Every creation of unregenerate men must promote the fallen perspective of this world — it cannot do otherwise! Every movie will at the very least intimate a hatred or disregard for God. Every book is founded in unregenerate thought.

Is “The Golden Compass” an attack by Satan against our children? Not more than anything else created by fallen man. In fact, it may be less of an attack than the majority of things produced by our culture.”

You seem to intimate that even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no one is capable of anything approaching God honoring thought, speech, writing, or movie making. I don’t think I can agree with this position. Also, without sounding like Chicken Little, I do believe it should be pointing out that the rather watered down version of this story that made it to screen IS an attempt to get unsuspecting, (read: lazy, ignorant, willfully blind, or insert your own favorite description) parents to purchase and inadvertantly introduce children to the extremely anti-God doctrines boldy presented in the book series. I don’t see that as a “wide-eyed, pale-faced gasping-in-astonishment reaction” to some sneaky sinister plot, but more a common sense response, and understanding that many in our churches and certainly those outside their walls are simply not as diligent about what they feed their children’s minds as they should be.
I shall respectfully get off my soapbox now.

January 7th, 2008 at 10:54 am
cp
 2 

Not to continue to belabor a point, but I want to quote a wise man I am honored to call my friend. He wrote:

“Am I really in a battle? Are there daily struggles that I should be involved in more? Or are the clash of swords and the yell of war too far away? Have I forgotten? Have I ever truly realized that this issue of following after or pursuing Christ is serious business? How earnest am I about training my children, and about fortifying against the worldview that is pushed mercilessly in every children’s movie? How serious am I about doing everything in my power to instill in their young, open minds the glory of Christ and what he has done for them and what he continues to do?

And so far the only answer I can hear, to my shame, sheepishly and faintly in the back of my mind, is “Not serious enough. Yet.”

In case you didn’t recognize the quote; it was posted October 8th 2007 on this site, with the title; How serious am I about this thing?

I repose (sp) that question to you in light of what you appear to be presenting.
How serious are you about this thing?

You know that I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, and your ability to draw wise conclusions from all available information, but I’m afraid this one has my feathers in a ruffle.

January 7th, 2008 at 1:19 pm
Titus213
 3 

The world will make the movie a success – and God already knows that. Could it be no more than a reminder of the failings of our churches to train Christians in Bible truths? We do seem to get all worked up over the overt attacks and shrug our shoulders at the silly little TV comedy that undermines the husband’s role in favor of the wife.

Matthew 23:23

January 7th, 2008 at 3:54 pm
Mark
 4 

Thanks for the comments and overly-kind words! I’ll try to address both of your posts in this single reply.

You seem to intimate that even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no one is capable of anything approaching God honoring thought, speech, writing, or movie making. I don’t think I can agree with this position.

I may have confused things by mentioning that “as Christians we get hung up on this.” I was attempting to point out that even as Christians our concept of “good” generally leaves out the ultimate standard of righteousness in every context except the Gospel. But even after regeneration and justification, we cannot please God without the faith of Christ. We can serve in ministry at church, teach, eat, or paint the house without faith, and thereby not please God, even if we truly are Christians and otherwise our task might be considered “good.” Additionally, even after salvation, any good we do has its ultimate source in Christ, not us.

I think you may have missed the whole point of my post. I certainly was not trying to justify this movie or the related books. As I said, I think we should warn each other of things that could be dangerous. I was pointing out my lack of understanding as to why there might be a “larger than normal blip” on the radar of so many Christians regarding it, and underscoring that with the suggestion that anything created by this world should be immediately suspect, and approached with careful discernment.

I am glad my sister sent me an email about the movie. I am glad that Al Mohler posted an excellent article about it. But I have seen other emails and heard/read other crying for boycotts of the movie as if it was Hilter returning in the flesh. If the mention of “spirit guides” in the previews or reviews was not enough to perk the ears of a discerning believer, a cursory glimpse at the biography of the author should have provided sufficient warning of the likely dangers. And honestly, if “Christian” parents are not wary enough to investigate what they put before their children, frantic warnings about a particular movie will have little impact overall.

Hope that clarification unruffles things a bit. Thank you for keeping me honest!

January 7th, 2008 at 4:07 pm
Titus213
 5 

We’ve been doing a lot of bird watching lately – new feeders on the deck. One thing I noticed is that ruffled feathers seem to keep the birds warm…

Keep folks warm!

January 8th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

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