I had planned on writing something about procrastination but decided I’d do it later.
Anyways, I was thinking today about some similarities between The Passion of the Christ and September 11. That’s a strange duo, I can’t deny, but hear me out.
After the Western world was shaken by the events of September 11, many Christians became convinced that this sort of event would drive people back to the church. And sure enough, in the weeks immediately following the event it seemed to be true as pews were more full than they had been in many years. People were shaken to the core and returned to their roots – family roots and often spiritual roots. But it took only a month or two before the people who had drifted in drifted right back out. At the one year anniversary of the attacks, Barna released a study which showed that very few people credited the attacks with having any impact on their religious beliefs. Bible reading, prayer, church attendance and small group attendance remained largely static. Many Christians found this surprising.
The Passion of the Christ was regarded by many as the greatest opportunity for evangelism since Pentecost. Data gathered in the months subsequent to the release of the movie prove that it made no significant impact either on Christians or on unbelievers. In the end it was near-total failure as a tool for evangelism and churches across North America bear this out.
Rather than critiquing these events as means for evangelism or leading people into the church, I believe our response should be to acknowledge anew that God does not adhere to human wisdom. On our own these are the types of events we might assume God would use. But God has ordained that He will use means that seem simple and that seem foolish to bring people into His church. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” God does not save lives through movies or through tragedies; He works now as He always has – by the faithful preaching of the gospel to those who are perishing. God’s wisdom uses foolish people to preaching a foolish message in a foolish way. God’s foolishness is so much greater than our wisdom. If we as a church could just learn this lesson we would not be swayed by every program and opportunity that comes our way. We would remain faithful preachers of the Word which contains the power of God to save lives.