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February 2004

February 23, 2004

Thanks to Maryanne for sending me a link to an excellent article in The Banner of Truth entitled Five Reasons Not To Go See The Passion of Christ. The author (Andrew J. Webb) focuses on the movie’s origins, script, theology, medium and main character. Many of his points are similar to ones I have been thinking, praying and writing about. Here are some pertinent quotes:

This is in marked contrast to the Jesus film, which is unabashedly Protestant and Evangelical in its production and message and which has been widely used in evangelizing Roman Catholics. It is largely for this reason that the Jesus film has not been utilized or endorsed by Roman Catholics. By contrast, The Passion of Christ has already proven its effectiveness as an evangelism tool in producing Catholic conversions and encouraging Catholic devotion.

For modern evangelicals to embrace a vehicle that is inauthentic in order to achieve evangelistic ends indicates a serious decline in faithfulness.

Lest we forget, the greatest torment that Christ experienced on the cross was not caused by the nails driven into his flesh, but in his being made “sin for us” and vicariously suffering the righteous punishment of the Father in our place. Even the worst physical torments inflicted by the Sanhedrin and the Romans upon Jesus were nothing by comparison to the anguish of having the sins of all the elect imputed to Him and making full satisfaction for them.

The means that God has ordained for the transmission of the Gospel, was neither drama, imagery, nor even “lectures” – it is preaching.

February 22, 2004

Between the Cushions has an element of mystery to it. New to blogging, the author seems to prefer to remain pretty well anonymous, identifying himself only as “lj.” He has recently posted some interesting articles dealing with topics such as Devotions and Spiritual Success. He tends to update a few times a week and his site is a good one to add to your “rounds.”

February 21, 2004

My son is three years old and has recently begun to become aware of the existence of death. At only three he has far greater capacity to wonder and to ask questions than he does to understand. This makes it difficult and as his father I struggle to try to share with him what death is and how something so terrifying and so final can be made an occasion of wondrous joy.

Today while my wife was at a Bible study, Nick and I settled down to watch a movie. It was a children’s movie and at the end one of the central characters died. I watched Nick as this event unfolded. I could see his face fall and his eyes narrow as the character died. I saw tears form as he watched the loved ones gather around their fallen friend. He turned to me and with tears spilling down his cheeks sobbed, “Daddy, why did he have to die? When is he going to come alive again?” I pulled him to my lap and reminded him of heaven and told him that people who love God go to heaven when they die. I told him how heaven is a place where there is no more death, no more fighting and no more sadness. I told him that it is a place where we can always be with God and where boys and their daddies can be together forever. He tried so hard to understand, but how is a three-year old mind supposed to understand a concept as large and as unnatural as death?

And so we sat on the couch and we wept together. Nicky put his head in my lap and cried about something he could not understand and something he was not created to understand. Daddy stroked his hair and wept for this world – a world which was created for us to live in for all eternity with our Maker, but a world that has been defiled by death. I wept that a three-year old needs to concern himself with death; with things he cannot and should not understand.

I asked Nicky if I could pray with him and wiping the tears from his cheeks he said “yes” and closed his eyes. So I asked God if he would help Nicky understand that death is not something to be feared if we love Him. I asked Him to help Nick learn to love Him more and more. And of course I asked Him to give Nicky peace so that his young mind wouldn’t be troubled by concepts too difficult for him to understand.

I wish I could explain to my son about the death of death accomplished through the death of Christ. I wish I could make him understand that if he places his trust in Jesus he has nothing to fear in life or in death. I hope, I trust, I pray that such an understanding will come in due time, so that when someday Nick’s eyes close in death, he and I will be reunited in that place where death shall be no more, where there will be no more mourning, pain or sorrow and where God will have already wiped away the tears that filled his little eyes.

February 21, 2004

Should this make me nervous? I know I sometimes have the tendency to “throw out the baby with the bath-water” but quotes like this do not do much for my confidence in the effects this movie will have: “After both of The Passion screenings I attended, the Protestant women talked about identifying with Mary as a mother who was watching her child suffer. From whatever point in his spirituality Gibson’s treatment of Mary is springing, it is touching deeply the maternal impulse in his viewers.” Now I’ll admit that Protestants do tend to shy away from Mary, but Gibson’s Marian theology is definitely far beyond what the Bible teaches. He calls her “a tremendous co-redemptrix and mediatrix.”

This article (also at Christianity Today) speaks more about Mel’s faith, focusing a good deal of attention on his use of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion of Our Lord.

Interestingly, neither article seems to point out the obvious error (heresy) of trusting in Mary as a co-redemptrix. What an indication of the state of Protestantism that such error raises no warning flags!

February 20, 2004

The church bought up another 1000 tickets and I have spent the day editing the site to work them into the system. At 2 PM we got the system live and have again been overwhelmed with the response. The tickets are nearly gone.

All this ticket stuff has eaten severely into my blogging time so I apologize for the lack of meaningful content. I’ll find something interesting to write for tomorrow!

February 19, 2004

On Sunday my church began to give out tickets to The Passion of the Christ. We purchased several thousand tickets, buying out entire shows, which gives us the ability to speak with the crowd, give out literature and invite people to our church. On Sunday we had a few people come by the site and order tickets. It slowly increased during the week. Then yesterday evening the local paper, the Oakville Beaver, ran a full-page advertisement and an article about the church. BOOM! Within 18 hours we had distributed all of the tickets. I was receiving hundreds of emails an hour and the church phone lines were plugged. The people came in droves. As a matter of fact, we have decided to buy some more and already have a large list of people who want to be notified when they become available.

I’m not sure if people really want to see this movie or if people just can’t resist a deal. Either way, we are hoping we have lots of unsaved people go to the movie so we can meet with them afterwards and invite them to study groups and to church.

February 19, 2004

Thanks to Dave for sending along a link which ties in nicely to my post from last week entitled I Love What I Hate.

Weekly DV presents a short but hilarious mockumentary studying Americans and their gods.

February 18, 2004

My buddy Jason of Jason McGibbon Project fame just had me upload some MP3s to his Web site. There are three preview clips and one full song available for download. Why not head over there, click on the CD Info and Music Preview tab and take a listen? Make sure you listen to “Do I Know You” which happens to be my favorite track from the album.

I recently discovered the music of Dale Nikkel. He is a Canadian singer and songwriter who leans towards the folk genre. He has several MP3s available for download. “Postcards From Home” is especially good!

Someone also requested that I link to the band Gretchen. Gretchen is a female-fronted rock band with obviously Christian lyrics. I love good, straightfoward hard rock and definitely enjoyed their sound. Perhaps if I link to them they’ll send me their CD! (just kidding, of course)