October 23, 2017

It Ought To Be A Parable. It’s That Good.

chada.jpgUPDATE: Here’s My Review of End of the Spear”

Chad Allen is a homosexual activist, and an actor playing a martyred missionary and his son. Some people can’t stand it. Sounds like the outrage of the Gospel to me.

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice… Philippians 1:15-18

I decided today, driving home with my mother from another doctor visit, that if the local radio station ever calls me to go on the air and talk about homosexuals, I am going to say “No.”

I also decided that if anyone gives me the opportunity to talk about Jesus and the Gospel, I am going to say yes.

I decided that I am not going present myself as a herald of the end of the world, a pundit of the demise of western civilization, or an expert on morality. Sure, I have an opinion, and if heavily bribed I could answer anyone’s twenty questions on “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” I’ll tell you that the interview would degenerate quickly, because I would read Hebrews 13:4 (“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous“) and make it clear that anything short of or beyond marriage or celibacy is wrong. Then I’d make it clear that we are all sexual sinners, that we are all sinners who have broken all of the Ten Commandments at the deepest levels of intention, that we are all desperately in need of the righteousness of Christ because of our sexual sin, and that the Gospel offers exactly that to those who come to Christ in simple faith.

I’m starting to believe that there is absolutely no way to say that the current crop of culture warriors is anywhere close to being as committed to the Gospel as they are to doing battle with homosexual activists. Listening to the culture warriors explain their latest bout of shock and outrage is quite revealing. I don’t know how they feel about Jesus most of the time, but I sure know how they feel about homosexual activists and other political sinners.

Chad Allen is the star of the Every Tribe Entertainment motion picture, “The End of the Spear.” He’s also a homosexual, and an activist. Of course, Ian Charleston starred in Chariots of Fire playing Christian and missionary Eric Liddel. Charleston was gay, and died of AIDS. The same movie was produced by Dodi Fayed, a Muslim. These little details didn’t make it to culture warrior central so that we could boycott Chariots of Fire for all the notoriety it would bestow on gays and Muslims. We are just told it was a pretty grand presentation of the Gospel in a good story. Worked for me.

Did someone say that Ian McKellen, Gandalf in LOTR, was gay, and an outspoken activist? Did someone say that Robert Powell, who played Jesus in Franco Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, was not a Christian? Shame I didn’t know that. I’ve been showing that movie to hundreds of non-Christians for two decades. Just think of all the outrage I’ve missed.

Thinking of the rascals and rapscallions that were out proclaiming Jesus while he was in prison, Paul said, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.” Now that’s a poor attitude. I’m sure what he meant was that he was outraged that the gospel had fallen into the hands of the impure and the unwashed, and he was actually concerned about the impression that would be left in the minds of the public.

It’s really just like the God of Jesus to put the Gospel’s story of reconciliation into the custody of Chad Allen, gay activist, so that the Pharisees can really get stewed. It’s like a lost chapter of the Gospels. It’s simply outrageous that no one checked in with the culture war powers that be to get the word that real sinners- Activists!!!- can’t be playing missionary martyrs or Christians who must forgive murderers. Oh the notoriety! Those impressionable minds!

It really is like the God who made Balaam’s Ass a preacher to make Chad Allen a preacher. I keep thinking of all the saints who must be somewhere, loving this. Will Campbell tops the list. Rich Mullins. Robert Capon, of course. Steve Brown. You know these guys are yucking it up. Irony is wasted on some people.

Don’t get me wrong. Paul wasn’t applauding the skunks. He was applauding the Gospel, and its power despite whoever the sinner is who winds up telling the rest of us that there is a new king. I’m not applauding Chad Allen or any other homosexual activist. I’m applauding the grace of God that’s bigger than the outrage of Chad Allen, Michael Spencer or the whole world of sinners put together.

The cultural warriors are certain that the homosexual activists are the enemy, and we must win the hearts and minds of the culture to agree with us that homosexuality isn’t natural, is sin, and can be reversed. The culture warriors know who are the real sinners: activists. (Remember, Jerry Falwell told us they were the reason for 9-11.)

So now we get an actor- generally defined outside of evangelical circles as someone with the talent of playing a part other than themselves- telling us the Gospel story. The culture warrior can’t stand it. How can we sit there and hear about the savior of murdering Auca’s from the lips of an unrepentant homosexual activist?

It sounds like one of Jesus’ own parables. Somebody ought to write it.

Why not find a homosexual in your community, and offer to go see Brokeback Mountain with him/her, and invite him/her to see End of the Spear- starring well known homosexual activist Chad Allen- with you?

Then take a picture of the two of you at the theater, and send it to a culture warrior near you.

UPDATE: An excellent review of the film (not the controversy) from Common Grounds Online. My own review is now here at IM. Tom Ascol has a more negative review. Ben Witherington III’s review focuses on the film’s non-violent message..

Comments

  1. Thanks for this one. And you couldn’t have said it better, “Irony is wasted on some people. I’m sure I will be back for some more reading. (interesting comments too on prior post regarding no tongues speaking missionaries)

  2. ‘homosexual activists and their agenda to destroy America’s morals.’

    I’d like to have the minutes of the meeting read back where that was put on the agenda.

    Otherwise, some interesting thoughts.

  3. Just today I was forwarded an email from the head of our County Baptist Association telling us not to go see this movie. My response was this,

    “I’ve seen movies staring drug addicts, womanizers, cocaine users, adulterers, and who know what other sins.

    I plan on seeing this one too.”

  4. jnelson. Good point. Edited.

  5. My life is being played by a homosexual activist: me.

    Well not really. I didn’t just out myself. But my life is being played by a sinner, me. Whether the sin is homosexual behavior or anything else doesn’t make a difference before God. What if Chad Allen were a shoplifter? Or a gossiper? Or a liar? Or a hypocrite? Would people be as outraged?

    This is a complete non-starter for me. Anybody making a fuss about this is making a point not about Chad Allen, but about the perpetual Evangelical inability to understand the nature and seriousness of sin, despite the fact that we claim to be the only ones who have any reliable information on sin.

    How about we have a nation-wide televised event called “Sinner’s Sunday” where Evangelicals acknowledge that Jesus had to die for their own sins? All the Christian activisits and celebrities could be played by sinners.

  6. Oh yea guys. Just what we need as a Nation, culture, and society. Brokeback Mountain will probably win the Acad. Award for best picture, and millions of Christians go to see End of the Spear, and then the homosexual crowd gives Chad Allen Acad. Award for best actor. Of course this gives him a bigger stage on which he can spew his vile, sinful lifestyle.

    Michael, I surely won’t get in a debate with you with the written word. You are to good, and I have no writing ability to speak of. Oh, I will respond, but you will not find me a challenge. However, I do want to address what you had to say in your writing. I find your thinking troubling on this issue. It’s as if you make those who cast Chad Allen, and Chad Allen himself as the brave heros, and Jerry Falwell and the other “cultural warriors” as the villians.

    You write: “The cultural warriors are certain that the homosexual activists are the enemy, and we must win the hearts and minds of the culture to agree with us that homosexuality isn’t natural, is sin, and can be reversed. The culture warriors know who are the real sinners: activists.”

    Question: Don’t you think the homosexual activists are the enemy? The enemy of God? It seems clear to me that Romans 5:10 tells me I was once an enemy of God, until I was reconciled to Him.

    Question: You seem so contempteous of the those who are trying to reach hearts and minds that homosexuality isn’t natural? [Ah, maybe that is a statement]. At least your writing style ridicules them. Do you think the homosexual lifestyle is natural? Don’t you think it [practicing homosexuality] is a sin?

    We live in trying times. Up is down, and down is up. Evil is being call good, and good is being called evil. “Is” isn’t is anymore. Heaven forbid if we make a stand and say, NO, that is wrong; this is wrong. Jesus and his gospel is about right, wrong, sin, evil, and their consequences.

    It seems to me that you have a bug up you NOSE, about the “culture warriors,” and you don’t want to be identified with them, so you are trying to distance yourself from them by defending the indefenceable, when you write: “It’s really just like the God of Jesus to put the Gospel’s story of reconciliation into the custody of Chad Allen, gay activist, so that the Pharisees can really get stewed.” I believe you are way off base. It is NOT JUST LIKE God to put the Gospel story in the CUSTODY of a lost soul to make a point [get the Phariesees stewed] or for any other reason.

    I must stop now; I’ll be darned, the more I write the more I find I am getting angry. And I am not an angry man, but will admitt to being a “cultural warrior.”

    fish on [jerry]
    MAKE IT a great day.

  7. I make it clear that I have a Biblical view of homosexuality. I understand Romans 1, etc.

    But I do not believe that if I spent 3 years with Jesus, I would become a political activist. I do not believe I would say Chad Allen is the enemy, but I am not. The Bible clearly says that I am God’s enemy. The culture warriors constantly obscure the truth of the biblical understanding of sin by making homosexuals the worst sinners of all. In fact, my sins are worse than Chad Allen’s because I know the truth about Jesus. All have sinned. All have no righteousness. All are at enmituy with God. The culture war measures sin by the measurement of his politics, not God’s character. If he did, he would say that he is the chief of sinners.

    I do not believe that Christian pastors are called to be culture reformers and moral nannies. We are called to announce a new king, Jesus. We are called to offer Christ to all, not political answers.

    I believe Christians ought to oppose homosexuality the way Jesus and Paul opposed sexual sin, not the way political activists and cultural power prokers do. We should imitate Jesus, and imitate Paul who said: 1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders?

    I have written on these topics. Read here:

    How did Paul respond to homosexuality in his culture?
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/how-did-paul-respond-to-homosexuality-in-his-culture

    Gay America is here to stay
    http://www.internetmonk.com/articles/G/gayold.html

    Who is God’s Enemy?
    http://www.internetmonk.com/articles/F/falwell.html

  8. I was not aware of what you mentioned about Ian Charleson. Since the depiction of Liddell was one that went beyond the standard one-dimensional Hollywood treatment of believers, and since an actor has to get inside the head of characters they play to some extent, I wonder what effect Liddell’s story had on Charleson, if any.

    As for your vow to forego another ‘what about gays?’ interview, IMO Christians have been baited (and eagerly taken the bait) too many times on this issue, to the detriment of their message and ‘reputation with outsiders’ (1 Tim. 3:7). All right already, we all know that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Many (though not all) of those who continue to bash gays, and help to contribute to the image of all Christians as intolerant gay-haters, don’t realize how much hatred has actually gotten hold of them. That’s a high price to pay to address something that affects perhaps 3 to 5 percent of the population, and the merciless attitude they exhibit is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of them are going to reap what they’ve sown.

  9. If you want to see another parable that Jesus would have certainly told, check out the documentary Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher, written, directed and produced by former Worship Leader mag editor David Di Sabatino. Lonnie Frisbee’s story hits a little closer to home. The movie’s website is http://www.lonniefrisbee.com

    Sorry if this sounds like a commercial, but your post brings up the same issues as Frisbee.

    Also, the most surprising element in your post wasn’t that a conservative Southern Baptist can demonstrate a Caponesque understanding of grace, but rather the fact that a conservative Southern Baptist would refer to Will Campbell as a saint.

    Cheers,
    Tim Adams

  10. I had a conversation about this subject, this morning. I just wish I could have said it as well as you.

  11. Darren Fox says:

    Being as you brought up Jerry Falwell. Here is some irony for you, see this email to his Falwell confidential email group I received this week:

    ‘End of the Spear’ Premieres on January 20

    A Special Message from Jerry Falwell

    It’s not often you’ll find me endorsing a Hollywood movie. However, there is a special film premiering on January 20 that I believe Christians across the country should see.

    The film is “End of the Spear,” an astonishing movie that recounts the story of Mincayani, a Waodani Indian in the Ecuadorian rainforest who leads the killing party that takes the lives of five missionaries: Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian. The film follows Mincayani’s life over the course of many years, including his unlikely friendship with Steve Saint — Nate’s son — and his ultimate path to redemption.

    The release of the film marks the culmination of seven years of prayer, preparation and production by its team of Christian producers.

    I am encouraging all my friends to go out and see “End of the Spear,” for three reasons:

    1. I have seen the movie and it really is excellent. The production is first-class and the acting is superb.

    2. The Christian community needs to get behind this film so that Hollywood recognizes that there is an immense audience for these types of movies. (In addition, if the film is successful at the box office, Every Tribe Entertainment — the production company behind it — will be able to produce more inspiring films that touch the heart, mind and soul.

    3. The movie is a terrific vehicle for opening avenues of discussion regarding eternal matters with non-believers. I am recommending that Christians take unsaved relatives and friends to see “End of the Spear” so that you may discuss the themes of redemption and salvation with them afterward.

    For my friends in the Lynchburg area, “End of the Spear” will be playing at the Carmike 8 (801 Lakeside Drive, behind the Plaza). Here is a link to Carmike 8 so you can check the show times for the film, beginning on January 20: http://www.carmike.com/showtimes/dsp_showtimesdetail.aspx?theatrenumber=275410

    Other readers across the nation may check their local listings to see where and when the film is playing, beginning January 20.

    In the meantime, you may learn more about “End of the Spear” by visiting this website: http://endofthespear.com/

    The site includes a trailer and loads of information regarding the cast, the crew, and much more. I am also attaching a review by National Liberty Journal editor J.M. Smith, which recently ran in our newspaper: http://www.nljonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=271&Itemid=114

    Folks, we complain a lot about how Hollywood has become a cesspool of violence and immorality. This is our chance to do something about initiating a change in that situation. Please join me in supporting “End of the Spear” when it premieres on January 20.

    Maybe Jerry has loosened up….he has just admitted to watching the movie ya know.

  12. Bless me iMonk for I still sin.

    I humbly admit that left wing, tree hugging, cat loving activists with multi colored bumper stickers erk me to know end and cause me un-godly thoughts. Forgive me my desire to laden the rear of my car with my own beloved stickers that say things like, “Cat: The Other White Meat”, “PETA – People Eating Tasty Animals”, “So you’re a feminist…Isn’t that cute.”, “Celebrate Hetero-Pride” and “My SUV Loves Iraqi Oil”.

    and now off to say my act of contrition

  13. Histrion (Jay H) says:

    Michael writes: In fact, my sins are worse than Chad Allen’s because I know the truth about Jesus.

    [sarcasm]
    Ah, but Michael! If you still sin, you don’t have the Spirit, because true Christians don’t sin any more! I heard a preacher on the radio say it (week after week), so it must be true!
    [/sarcasm]

    Seems to me that “fish on”/jerry, like many of those who believe life in Jesus is all about “taking a stand,” is eager to point out the enemy but not so quick to act towards the enemy as Matthew 5:44 says he should.

    Jerry, if you’re reading, let me start by agreeing with you that same-sex physical relationships are not God’s intention for his children, and that there are people who would like to increase the acceptance, and in a few cases even the incidence, of those relationships. Now, three questions:

    Is every homosexual person a homosexual activist?
    Is Chad Allen a professing Christian or not? If he is not, then he is not condemned because of his homosexual behavior. He was condemned the very first time he had a hateful thought about anyone, probably in grade school, and his status just hasn’t changed. If he does profess Christ, however, then by your own statement he is not an enemy of God, and your rhetoric about his homosexuality should take that into account. I’m not saying he gets a free pass, just that your “us vs. them” mentality should now be sure to group him with “us.” (If necessary, review the difference between justification and sanctification.) If you really, honestly believe that Jesus’s primary message was about right & wrong & sin & evil & its consequences, then wouldn’t it be a good thing to make sure your total concept of right-and-wrong is as complex and loving as Jesus’s in its entirety?
    Did you really miss the point of Michael’s essay to the degree that your response seems to indicate? You know, all the stuff about Balaam’s ass, and the stuff that Paul wrote in Philippians? Go back and read it again. While you’re at it, review in the gospels where Caiaphas, certainly an enemy of God, preached the gospel.

  14. Jay…

    I remember when I got in major league trouble over THIS post:

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/im-worse-than-bill-maher

  15. “Amen.” I have tried to follow some of this controversy through the blogsphere; your post is finally where I would rest my feet. This movie can be used to tell a magnificent story and even present the gospel, we are counterproductive if we begin attacking it. Let it be art, and let it and the artists stand for themselves. I am pained by the fact that Chad Allen is using this as a platform for his activism, but we only help his cause if we attack him. Trackback

  16. I surely did mix the soup. I don’t have time today to respond, but I will be back, hopefully, tomorrow to respond to some of the comments about my rebuttal to the article and issue in question.

    I must say I am heartined [sp] that, though there are most of you who have a very different opinion than I, you did not attack me personally. Disagree vigorously, yes. I can handle that. Thank you.

    Can’t let this one comment go before I go work. Jerry Falwell can hand Chad his Oscar for best actor for 2006 next year.

    fish on [jerry]
    MAKE IT a great day.

  17. Question: Don’t you think the homosexual activists are the enemy? The enemy of God? It seems clear to me that Romans 5:10 tells me I was once an enemy of God, until I was reconciled to Him.

    Everyone is an enemy of God who has not accepted His peace through Jesus Christ. iMonk was asking who our enemy is and Paul answers that one quite nicely :

    “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

  18. >>Why not find a homosexual in your community, and offer to go see Brokeback Mountain with him/her, and invite him/her to see End of the Spear- starring well known homosexual activist Chad Allen- with you?>Then take a picture of the two of you at the theater, and send it to a culture warrior near you.

  19. Wow, Michael, I commend you with regularity, but I think you’ve missed it bigtime on this one. The issue isn’t bashing Chad Allen; reading some of his words, I actually have gained a measure of respect for him as an individual. My problem—and I think that the problem with most folks whose words I’ve read—is with Every Tribe Entertainment. This Christian company heavily promoted this film to churches, including mine. This, by the way, classifies the film in a different category, in my mind, than Narnia, or LoTR, or Chariots of Fire, which were major studio productions made by secular entities. My argument is this: what is the motive of ETE in producing this film? Is it to make money, or is it to spread the message of the gospel? No (film company) can serve two masters… If it is to make money, then I object in their using my church as a means to help them pursue gain. If it is to spread the gospel, then the casting of Mr. Allen in the film is a mistake; they should have chosen, at least for the major, out-front roles in the film, someone sympathetic to the cause of the gospel. I would object to a Christian company telling the Billy Graham story using Marilyn Manson as the lead (is he homosexual? I don’t know and don’t care; it’s not a “gay thing”.). My objection is to a company, assumedly with their first motive as spreading the message of Christ, employing anyone in such a major way whose life is in significant part dedicated to the destruction of certain tenets of the message of Christ—whether that person is homosexual, or a heterosexual philanderer, or what have you.

  20. My argument is this: what is the motive of ETE in producing this film? Is it to make money, or is it to spread the message of the gospel?

    What about artistic expression? What about wanting to do a sympathetic portrayal of missionary work with no PC spin? It’s not an either-or/black-and-white issue here.

  21. ARRGH Only half my comment appeared.

    To put the rest in, Michael your idea of telling a homosexual friend that you’ll see Brokeback Mountain if they will see End of the Spear seems like one of those God ideas. To me it is the same spirit as Jesus going to have dinner with Matthew and the tax gathers or Him touching the lepers. Peter going to Cornelius’ home was considered by his fellow believers as scandelous as one of us going into a bar to share the gospel.

    How many times have we heard the cliche “they won’t care what you know until they know you care?”. It’s a cliche, but one that has a lot truth.

    At the end of the day what brings people to Jesus? Harsh, dogmatic aloofness that tells the sinner they must come to us or loving dogmatic inclusion that seeks to go to the Agora in Athens to be a light in the midst of sinners?

    For my money, to be strong for the standard of God’s word WHILE being in the middle of the world is what Jesus and Paul modeled for us.

  22. I said I would respond, but kinda sorry I said I would. I don’t know if I have the energy for this. I am not under any false illusion that my pitiful words will cause anyone to even pause and consider seriously my thoughts. But I will try.

    Michael, Chad Allen is an enemy, an enemy of God. Rom. 5:10 talks of enemies; Phil. 3:18 makes it clear: “…many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” I didn’t say it, Paul does. I am not the enemy any more because I have been “reconciled to him through the death of his son….” So the Bible makes it clear, if you are reconciled to Christ, you are NOT the enemy. However, if Chad has not been reconciled to Christ he IS the enemy of the cross. It may not be politically correct to talk that way, but I didn’t write the words.

    If you can not see that homosexual activisim is not consuming our culture and society, and that is the reason the so called “culture warriors” are battling so hard –???

    You say, “I do not believer that Christian pastors are called to be culture reformers and moral nannies.” Calling homosexuality sin is not, nor does it make a person a “culture reformer.” It is simply pointing out sin and calling for repentance. But that makes the gay crowd mad, and they scream, homophobic.

    The apostle Paul was not quite the pacifist I think you intimate he was, when you write: “How did Paul respond to homosexuality in his culture?” I believe he HANDLED any sin the same way he handled all the things that got him beaten, stones, and wipped. He didn’t get people all worked up to kill him because he DID NOT say something to get them mad. If Paul were alive today, he would call homosexuality sin, and then the gay activists would call him “intolerant, homophobic, and a gay basher.” Paul did not get beaten so much because he told the people what they wanted to hear. Michael, he made somebody really mad. Heck, he was destroying the busy of the silversmiths in Ephesus.

    I teach my [God’s] congregation that homosexuality is a sin. Abortion is sin. Slander is sin. Jealousy is sin, sex before marriage is a sin. That does not make me a “cultural reformer” or a “moral nannie.” That makes me like Paul [not a Paul], when he told the Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:…I warn you…that those who live like this WILL NOT [caps mine] inherit the kingdom of God.” If that is a “culturaly reformer” or a “moral nannie,” so be it. Eph. 5:5 is pretty plain speaking too. By the way, our door [church] is open to anyone, practicing homosexuals included.

    I have not, but will read your “Gay America is here to stay,” so I don’t know what it says. But I want to respond to the title this way: So are pedophiles. So are rapist. Sin is sin is sin.

    You take I Cor. 5:12 way out of it’s meaning. Pointing out a non-believers sin is not judging, and I believe you know that. So you don’t judge a pedophile? Your blood pressure doesn’t raise when you hear of one of them abusing a child, torturing them and them savagly killing them. There is NO judging by you?????

    I will stop now Michael. If you don’t let this go through, I understand. I do not write well, and my thoughts are not well formed. Also, please, do not hear me to be attacking you. Words written do not have carry with them the nuances of sound. I would much rather be able to sit and talk. But this will have to do.
    MAKE IT A GREAT TOMORROW.
    fish on [jerry]

  23. Jerry,

    We disagree pretty profoundly. I do not agree with the James Dobson verson of Christianity, so I doubt if either one of us has a lot to say that the other one hasn’t heard.

    I am not a pacifist nor have I ever suggested that Paul was a pacifist.

    I find the idea that homosexuals are the “enemy” to be so far removed from what I learn about sin from Jesus that I can’t imagine where we’d start talking. We’re all lost sheep and lost sons. And frankly, if I ever start thinking of myself as someone other than a person worse than Chad, I am in a lot of trouble. I know what Jesus is all about, and yet I still sin. I am absolutely worse than Chad Allen. My profession of faith doesn’t change that a bit.

    Paul got in trouble for preaching Jesus as a new King. The implications- for idolators, sexual sinners and the rest of us- are obvious.

    I think that culture war analogies destroy the Biblical doctrine of sin, making the people we perceive as a Threat to be the real enemy. Jesus faced this with the Pharisees and the Zealots. He turned the tables on all of them. The Kingdom of God isn’t a culture war.

    Thanks for your post.

  24. Histrion [Jay H}
    I did read your post, and will try and answer your questions.

    #1. No, not every homsexual is an activist.
    No, Chad is not a professing Christian from what I have heard out of his mouth. Yes, his hateful thoughts condemn him, but so does his “active” homosexuality. You speak of “them vs. us, and that I should group him with us [I understand you mean if he is a Christian]. Take a look a I Cor. 5 and see if Paul does not make a distintion about them and us in the church.

    I do believe that [part] of Jesus’ “primary message was about right & wrong & sin & evil & its consequences….” The consequenses is eternal damnation — the good news is, “there is a way out. In the end, I don’t think it is complexed. I believe it is, “I [Jesus]love you so much I died for you, “REPENT.” I [Jesus] love you so much, I tell you, knowing that I might be branded intolerant, if you do NOT repent, you will spend eternity in hell.” Simplistic, yes. Absoultly true, yes.

    I admit, I may have missed Michael’s point, but I don’t think so. I think it comes down to this. This issue of homosexual sin and activism is a huge issue in our Nation, and we Christians are going to have to come down on one side or the other: Christians that call it sin, or Christians that move their theology around to except Gene Robinson and his ways. There is no middle ground. I call it sin [I am a bigot — judgement], someone says, no, it is not sin in the 21st century, get with it [they are the true lovers of mankind — not judgemental].

    Finally, to equate Caiaphas preaching the gospel to Chad is a stretch that breaks. This is a true story. I saw a woman on TV a few years back that claimed, with passion, that she was a Christian. She was an active ‘stripper.’ That is what she did for a living. The interviewer asked her how she could call herself a Christian and strip nake in front of all those men, night after night? She said, you don’t understand; I strip for God. When I get a chance to tell them about Jesus and his love, I do it. Histrion, that is about as rediculous as Chad Allen, in a round about way, preaching Jesus in “The end of the Spear.”

    May God bless you tomorrow as you worship Him.
    fish on [jerry]

  25. http://www.boarsheadtavern.com/archives/2006/01/21/19037346.html

    Comments from Steve Saint that are important to hear.

  26. Michael,
    I know you have more to do than chat we me, but I do appreciate your comments to me. I suspect we may not be as far apart as you think.

    Our righteousness is a filty rags, that’s for sure. But knowing that, I believe that too, there is a great deal of difference between the Christian and the one that is not. When Peter says that {we] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation designates a difference. It surely isn’t of our own making.

    I will let it go now. May God bless you, and MAKE IT a great day tomorrow.
    fish on [jerry]

  27. Boy, oh boy, things are pretty wierd around here. I’m really fascinated by all you guys. Discovering iMonk (not even a week ago) has been like falling into this interplanetary Baptist recovery warp. What’s really spooky is that I’m finding out that I’ve got this latent voyeuristic fetish. It’s like listening to all this talk about sexual sin and Kingdom warrior-ing, not to mention the hellish judgement from what I’ve always figured were remote Christian outposts, is giving me a goopy, creepy satisfaction from which I’m sure that I need to confess and repent. One problem is finding out to whom I need to bring my confession, because not all pardon has the Lifeways Seal of Approval.

    Maybe I need to tender my credentials before I’m welcome here. I’m having a little trouble getting the lay of the land. (I slipped into the BHT for a little while last night and didn’t kicked out but that might be because everyone was just on that nice ‘tight but not tipsy’ fence.) My background is pretty speckled, kind of in a Laban/Jacob’s livestock sort of way. My mama was an independent pentecostal preacher, builder of churches, minister to the outcast during the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies and my daddy was a baptist deputy sheriff. Just so you know, north Louisiana is as deep south as you get. Somehow, I attended a Southern Baptist undergraduate college for about a year. I even joined a rural Baptist church and got baptized–again. They sort of kicked me out when they found out about the heresy that was my mama. Now, I wasn’t kicked out by the college administration but I was more or less shunned by the religion students. Brothers, all are they. It didn’t seem to matter that I had been pretty useful to those Baptist weekend revival type preacher boys. You see, I was an accomplished revival type piano player and special music singer. And, there were two or three of those righteous evangels that thought I was along to make out with them after a particularly rousing weekend of successful altar calls. But, that’s another post for another time. Anyway, I didn’t stay a Baptist. When I moved back home I was pretty happy with a non-denominational mega church until they found the fifties something piano player in the baptistry with her fifties something pastor who was also her brother in law. After I married an agonistic and moved down to guiltfree south Louisiana I joined up with the Episcolians and got my first two children baptized. That didn’t stick either because my brain had been hard wired for praise and worship music.

    To make a long story longer I found myself with the people called Methodist when I had need of quality daycare for my third child. They were also quite handy when I thought I would need someone to preach my husband’s funeral. As it turned out, he didn’t die during complicated surgery for lung cancer. And, those methodist folks were just too happy to let us lurk in their worship services, Sunday School classes, youth meetings and confirmation groups. They didn’t care that my mama was a preacher, that I didn’t have a clue about grace and redemption, certainly not my need for same, that my kids were rowdy or that my husband was grouchy.

    I can remember thinking that the pastor’s well crafted twenty minute sermons were not very touchy feely and really, not even all that spiritual. The choir was on the well rehearsed dry side. But, something changed when my squirmy three year old was baptized. I actually heard the words and they made sense. Instead of baptism being something else I was required to do for God, this was something God was doing to and for my child. We just had to show up and meet God. The Lord’s Supper became meaningful, too. Instead of it being a tacked on service once a quarter, held only if the Lord’s Supper lady remember to bring the crackers and juice, it became a time for more ‘inward and invisible grace’ fortifying me to be Christ to the world. Somehow, in the most raucous and scandalous way, that grace led me to accept my own call to serve Jesus in ordained ministry. I’ve pastored churches for nearly eight years now–first as a seminary student, for the past four years, full time.

    Enough.

    All that to ask, how in God’s world could homosexuals be our enemies? And, if no one sees how that question intersects with my story, then I really don’t belong here.

    In the two or three posts that I’ve left here during this past week, I’ve signed my name “John.” More fear that I would be shut out by the bretherins. But, no more.

    Grace and peace to you,
    Sharon
    UMC Pastor

  28. Sharon,
    You have undoubtably heard all the arguements against “practicing” homosexuals, from conservative, fundamentalists like me. You know the debate points Falwell, Dobson, Mohler, and others use. You also know the position and arguement that UMC pastors have on the subject, that would disagree with you on the subject[s] surrounding the whole gay question.

    Not a word that I say or others who believe the Bible to say what it says about “practicing” homosexuals will make you move on your position a jot or tittle.

    You have a wonderful story to tell about your journey to the foot of the Cross. God has been merciful and full of grace towards you. But I too have a story to tell. That of a drunk who was a terrible husband and father. That of a drunk who hurt so many people, the numbers are lost in space. This old drunk has also experienced the mercy and grace of our Father. And praise the Lord, the forgiveness of his wife and children.

    How is it that two people experience the same grace and mercy, the same reconcilation throught the death of God’s Son, and have such opposite understandings of scripture? I guess that is more of a thought than a question.

    Surely, Sharon, you believe the Word, and believe that God has enemies based on Philippians 3:18. I by no means believe PRACTICING homosexuals are the only enemies of God. Based on Philippians 3:18, whom do you see as the enemies of God?

    In Christ,
    fish on [jerry]

  29. ymerej123 says:

    You know what is simply amazing about this whole notion about enemies and God? When you look at the life of God himself (read: Jesus), you see a VERY different perspective on who is God’s enemies and who God in the person of Jesus wars against.

    John 8 presents such a STARK contrast to this whole debate: the opening scene is a sinner (the adulterous woman) who is brought to Jesus for condemnation and saber rattling. But how does Jesus respond? He attacks the accusers by (I surmise…) writing down the sins of those who accused for all to see on the Judean sand! How does Jesus handle this woman? With gentleness, acceptance, love, patience and embracement! Yes He tells her to leave her anti-life, her nonliving sexual lifestyle and embrace true Life and Real Reality. Contrast THAT reaction with the verbiage and rancor in His interaction with the ‘religious’ leaders in the rest of the chapter (not to mention the Synoptic Books in general…): consistently Jesus deals very, very harshly with the religious leaders and power brokers, while handling sinners with gentleness and love. It is simply amazing…and humbling.

    I think we could all take a lesson from the life of Jesus as we interact with those who are enraptured by nonliving. And do try to remember that JESUS is Lord and not Paul, please.

    -jeremy

  30. Although the story involves New Tribes Mission, the film was not made by “New Tribes Entertainment” as you state. It looks to be done by “Every Tribe Entertainment”, and I’m fairly sure they are not affiliated with New Tribes Mission in any way. Not that they wouldn’t want to be affiliated… that’s not for me to say… just pointing out a typo.

  31. I spotted a typo, the film was made by “Every Tribe Entertainment” and although the story is very much related to New Tribes Mission, the film is not.

  32. First of all, I’ve got to say that I think you go a bit far in saying this “ought to be a parable” and comparing it to the “outrage of the Gospel.” If I understand correctly, the outrage of the Gospel was the coming of a new King, shattering the religions of old, offering life in His kingdom to those who would accept Him. The offense of the Gospel is seen in EotS with the strained relations between the “old school” Waodoni and the Christian converts. I somehow doubt that Paul was thinking “it’s the outrage of the Gospel” when thinking of those who preach Christ for gain.

    In addition, I can also see that, for some, the problem isn’t so much that Allen’s a homosexual, but that he’s an activist. I can also see how they might have a problem with a Christian hero being played by someone who not only sins himself, but promotes sin as good.

    That said, I think contemporary Christians’ propensity to boycott everyone they disagree with is silly, if not hurtful to the Gospel. By making such a big deal of Allen’s homosexuality, Christians themselves are distracting people from the story told by the film. Admittedly, one may be able to say that it’s at least partly ETE’s fault for casting a homosexual in that role in the first place. That’s fine, and maybe there’s something to that. However, for us, this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Maybe it seems like a lose-lose scenario; we don’t want to appear to condone homosexuality, but at the same time, we want to support this film because of it’s subject matter.

    Then again, maybe this will be a good chance for Hollywood to see what will happen today with a “Christian movie” that, for once, isn’t hyped as the “Greatest Evangelistic Event Since the Resurrection”.

    Finally, I thought Albert Mohler had some interesting thoughts regarding this controversy on his radio show. (Sorry, I’m not aware of a transcript.)

  33. Michael, I think it DOES sound like the outrage of the Gospel.

    “If I understand correctly, the outrage of the Gospel was the coming of a new King, shattering the religions of old, offering life in His kingdom to those who would accept Him.”

    So was the Gospel only scandalous once? To the first hearers only? Maybe it is only an outrage when it comes to dietary matters. Personally, I love ham. I eat ham all the time. I try to get back to South Louisiana all the time to eat shellfish. Why isn’t that scandalous?

    Sharon

  34. Hm, I suppose my definition might be a bit narrow. I would point out, though, that this coming of a new King, etc. is still scandelous to many. If you haven’t seen the movie, it has a great representation of that. Certainly, there’s also the scandel of the Incarnation, since, to the Jews it would have been heresy, and to the Greeks, well, matter was evil, so how could God become truly man?

    Then there’s the scandel of inclusion. The breaking down of the wall between Jew and Gentile. Jesus’ bucking social norms and spending time with sinners.

    And, then, of course, there’s the aspect of not being able to save yourself, which hurts our human pride.

    I think the closest thing to this case would be that scandel of inclusion, but it just still sounds like a stretch to me. And it’s not that I disagree with his point, just that I think he overstates it a bit.

  35. Jerry – I’m slightly off-topic – in my opinion, Phil. 3:18 isn’t about the enemies of Christ; it is about the enemies of the CROSS of Christ; i.e. those who don’t want the cross of Christ to affect their daily life, to “walk according to the pattern you have in us” (3:17).

    So, to answer your question, who does Paul think are these enemies of the cross? They are the “false circumcision” (3:2) who put confidence in the flesh (3:3), who try to have a righteousness of their own, derived from the law (3:9). In other words, the enemies of the CROSS are the ones trying to be religious by their own righteousness and good works.

    Their glory is in their shame – – their earthly, fleshly efforts at righteousness (3:19) – – which are shameful because these works are temporal… there is no lasting glory… it takes Jesus to transform our “humble state” 3:21 into something of lasting glory.

    This is not to minimize or gloss over the things that the Bible clearly calls sin. However, in the context of Phil. 3, I believe the enemies of the CROSS of Christ are not the sinners in need of grace, but instead they are the self-righteous who lead people away from grace.

  36. Okay- I am still weeding through my thoughts on this issue of the movie The End of the Spear- so bear with me please.
    I don’t have a problem with the fact that a movie was made about a martyred missionary and a gay activist is the guy playing him. I understand that movie making is a business. The people who made the movie don’t have a policy of requiring anyone who works on their film to have a christian faith- and really what difference would it make if they did- only God can see their heart. Really- seeing a movie with a gay man playing a christian doesn’t mean the church elected him as an elder or something.
    The issue I am struggling with is this – we know that movie making is a business therefore it isn’t run like a church so how then can a business be called “christian”? This is something I have thought on for years regarding “christian” music etc. A movie making company can say they are Christians but I don’t really know them personally so I have to take their word for it. They can say their movie is “christian” but this movie to me seems really just “morally acceptable” It isn’t about preaching the gospel. Its just a movie – and quite frankly I think a buddhist or hindu could watch it and not in any way be convicted that they need Jesus.
    So that leads me to my problem- The movie company asked churches to basically promote the film for them. At what point is a pastor or church leader joining arms with a group or company – essentially “yoking” himself with them. Does putting up poster for a movie, getting in the pulpit and urging people to go, showing 2 minute promos, etc. qualify as “yoking” yourself with a group? We are supposed to be careful who we “yoke” ourselves with aren’t we?
    I guess maybe the world has gotten too complicated and marketing driven to make it as simple as saying- “hey go see this movie- its good” – anymore.
    Here is the scenario I envision being a problem. A large church with a youth group of 200+ and the youth leader shows promos for the movie and maybe even takes a group to see the movie. A girl- new christian- thinks Chad Allen is cute- so she looks up his website and sees all manner of discussion about things very unchristian. What is she to think? This guy starred in the movie her youth leader took her to. what if she isn’t mature enough to discern that what he is saying isn’t what her church believes?
    Or even worse- what if the group that made the movie- or some other group that made some other movie- believe themselves to be Christians but have a pretty different definition of what being a Christian is. Should a church throw their support behind a group- linking arms with them as it were- only to later find out they’ve been deceived?
    Why is the church promoting movies anyway? And why are we as Christians so desperate to have more entertainment that is “christian” ? I guess what I’m wondering is how do I reconcile Isaiah 56 – come out from among them and be ye separate, and 2 Cor- don’t be unequally yoked; and Jesus being a friend of sinners and actually choosing Judas who he knew would betray him as one of his disciples.

  37. For your arguments to have substantive value they must be consistent and valid. When you say “It really is like the God who made Balaam’s Ass a preacher to make Chad Allen a preacher” you make an association between Balaam and Chad Allen that I believe is in error on several points, that of God making the choice and Chad Allen as a preacher similar to Balaam’s Ass.

    Balaam’s Ass was an animal and as such was not a sinner, including one whose lifestyle was an embrace of sin. So the analogy of a “disrespected” beast of burden and a “disrepected” gay activist being chosen by God as preachers doesn’t work on a fundmental level. In addition, afterwards, Balaam’s Ass was once again just a beast of burden. He didn’t go on the sinners popular network and tout his “preaching” as some form of validation for his sin, with the goal of getting Christians to accept his sinful life as valid.

    As to asserting that God actively made this choice to deal with the Pharisees of the Christian world, I believe you have walked a spiritually dangerous line, which concerns me on many levels. Since you say you are deconstructing your Evangelicalism, I fear you may be removing a structural support to sound faith. While God may or may not use sinners to demonstrate the Gospel at any given moment, preaching, according to Romans 10:15, depends on being sent and being sent has requirements, one of which is not being a sinner (which is different from committing sin, which we all do). Would one send out a working hit man, an active paedophile, a Nevada licensed prostitute on a break? No. Nor would you send out a active homosexual activist who fully embraces his sin. There is a radical difference between committing sin and embracing sin as the identification of who you are and what you do.

    While it is true that a lot of Christians are way too judgmental and there are things to learn from the sinners of the world (Bernard Ramm’s book “Seven Wormwoods and God” comes to mind), I think you are way off base here; way off base.

  38. I have looked a lot into this controversy. Sometimes truth can be hard to sort out through all the rumors surrounding something like this. For those of you who have asked “why would they (ETE)do that?” here are some answers from the people involved. They never meant for this cotroversy to be the star…they were hoping the story and ultimately God’s way of working things out better than we would have thought in ways we wouldn’t have chosen. After all, His ways are higher…
    http://www.epm.org/articles/end_spear_chad_allen.html

    Also, I would like to address a comment posted by slaird:
    “Here is the scenario I envision being a problem. A large church with a youth group of 200+ and the youth leader shows promos for the movie and maybe even takes a group to see the movie. A girl- new christian- thinks Chad Allen is cute- so she looks up his website and sees all manner of discussion about things very unchristian. What is she to think? This guy starred in the movie her youth leader took her to. what if she isn’t mature enough to discern that what he is saying isn’t what her church believes?

    I don’t neccesarily see this as a problem so much as an oppurtuniy. We live in the real world. Our young people ar immersed in it. We’re not “sheltering” or “protecting” our youth by not ever talking about all things worldly and culturally relevant. Hopefully her youth leaders will be doing their job and be prepared for questions like this, maybe even address them before hand. Does the gospel not have the answers she seeks?

  39. Oh…I also wanted to include the following links as well. I value truth, as I believe the Christian community should. My sister in law and I went to see End of the Spear last Sunday. The very next day she recieved a forwarded e-mail from one of her best friends telling her she should boycott the movie. Anyway, the first link is to an article that was part of the large problem in spreading false rumors, and the second is an article mostly attempting to undo some of the damage and shed light on biblical truth in the matter.
    http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=2244
    http://www.epm.org/articles/end_spear_response.html