God’s Not Dead, And Neither is His Word
Over the weekend I took some time to hit the theaters for the new “God’s Not Dead” movie so I could see what the hype was about and so I could inform other Christians what they should know before deciding whether or not they should see it. The movie had some good points, including an emphasis on our need to turn to God and the importance of standing up for your faith and knowing how to do so. Many are saying that for these reasons, Christians should support the movie and show Hollywood that we appreciate efforts made to bring the Bible into the spotlight. On the other hand, there were negative aspects in the movie, including a concession on theistic evolution and a strong push for “ask Jesus into your heart”/sinner’s prayer salvation. For these reasons others are saying that Christians should avoid the movie because the false teaching outweighs the positive content.
While I’m not here to endorse or condemn the movie, I would encourage those who decide to go to make sure to address those issues as a group with those they take to see the movie. What I really want to focus on, though, is the problem so many in the “Christian” world have with the Bible today. 2,000 years after Jesus walked the earth, it’s safe to say that the Bible is what it is, and it’s not going to change. We know what it says, and any new or contradictory teaching is to be rejected (Galatians 1:8-9). That’s why ideas such as a sinner’s prayer or theistic evolution are so frustrating. So much of the “Christian” world clings to ideas that simply aren’t in the Bible.
I’m reminded of the classic “desert island” illustration, which lays out the scenario where you’re stranded alone with your family, removed from society, books, religious leaders, television, etc. All you have to go on is the Bible. Is there any way that you would come up with the idea that God used the Big Bang or that the days of creation were actually millions of years? Would it be possible to believe in a sinner’s prayer as God’s means for administering salvation? Of course not, because those ideas just aren’t in there. It is only under the influence of men who have fashioned their own creeds and doctrines that the Bible has become something that it was never meant to be.
On the other hand, it’s very easy for us to look at those who have twisted the Bible into meaning what they want it to and call them out for their error while overlooking the ways we’ve made our own departures from the text. That’s not to say that denominational leaders are excused, but rather that we all have the responsibility of examining our teachings and beliefs by the Scriptures and the “desert island” scenario of removing all external influence. Do we handle our relationships with others the way God would want us to? Does our church resemble what God intended for it to be, or have we watered it down with man’s wisdom by adding dozens of programs in some congregations? What about the family – can we fall into the trap of letting busyness drive our family lives rather than discipleship? Even the commonly held doctrines we have in the church should be tested and questioned by the Scriptures. We can’t point out the error of those who believe the sinner’s prayer or theistic evolution if we ourselves simply blindly follow what our preacher teaches or what the culture expects us to do. Our faith has to be our own, and it has to come from the inspired Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21).
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if you’re the average church member sitting in the pew each week or if you’re making a major movie that will go out to potentially millions of people. We’re all constrained to teach the Bible as it is, not how we want it to be or how someone tells us it should be. Let’s continue to study (2 Timothy 2:15) and continue to grow in our faith, knowledge, and understanding.