Christianity Today has an article about Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland. I did not know this until today, but he plays a prominent role in the movie Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. Apparently he was once speaking with Chuck Colson at a conference and one of the people in the audience was John Shepherd, the movie’s producer. He asked Begg to play the role of Bobby Jone’s golf instructor, Stewart Maiden.
The author of the article at Christianity Today hails this as a way of making the New Testament cool – nothing could do this better, apparently, than turning a pastor into a movie star. Now in theory I have little trouble with a pastor acting in a movie. But wait! How does the article describe Begg’s character? “Begg played the cursing and liquor-drinking Maiden, Bobby Jones’s Scottish golf instructor.” What? A pastor played the part of a man who cursed and drank heavily? The paragraph closes with the words “How’s that for relevance?” as if this was a good thing.
Sometimes I feel like I just don’t know which way is up anymore when it comes to modern Christianity. It wasn’t very many years ago that Christians would not even go to the movies, yet today pastors are being hailed as heroes for playing roles that require them to behave like unbelievers. To get in character they have to throw away what they believe and what they know to be true.
A pastor who becomes an actor does nothing to make the New Testament cool. Nothing can make the New Testament cool. It isn’t cool! Our culture hates the Bible and there is nothing we can do will make unbelievers embrace it. It is the Spirit who causes hearts to turn to God. Our job is to faithfully preach the whole gospel and to let our light shine. No amount of hypocrisy on the part of believers will make unbelievers suddenly reach the conclusion that God is cool and that His Word is cool.
So never mind asking “How’s that for relevance?” I would ask “How’s that for hypocrisy?”
You can read the article here.