The Young Messiah: Should Christians Promote it?

WND movie reviewer Drew Zahn has this to say about The Young Messiah:

“The movie’s production values and entertainment value are exemplary, a story filled with distinct and well-blended characters, believable acting, and a script well balanced with mystery and humor. This is no “Christian movie,” but a first-rate, Hollywood production. Jesus’ “uncle,” Cleopas, is a particularly endearing character, and the elderly Sarah, who hides the Holy Family, is a true delight. The entire film is an intriguing exercise in speculation about both the boy Jesus and his earthly father, Joseph, whom Scripture is also largely silent about … so long as we all realize this is merely speculation. It’s not meant to be an addition to the biblical canon.”

This one statement speaks volumes:

“This is no “Christian movie,” but a first-rate, Hollywood production.”

I have absolutely no idea how it rates as a Hollywood production, but I definitely and wholeheartedly agree that it is NOT a “Christian movie.”

In his review, Zahn also rightly states:

“The Young Messiah,” however, is not a catechism, not doctrine, not the biblical story. It’s an exercise, a poem or a song about Jesus in movie form, and an entertaining one at that.” (emphasis mine).

And here are three of my ‘issues’:

1. It’s out of Hollywood and by nature is designed to take in money, from anyone and everyone who chooses to shell out twenty bucks (movie and popcorn/snacks).

2. Since it’s out of Hollywood and designed to make money, the message of the gospel that calls sinners to repentance or face judgment probably won’t be there. It will follow in the footsteps of previous recent films that also missed the true gospel.

3. Zahn was right in saying that the movie is ‘entertaining’. Does the Son of God, who came to save his people from their sins, deserve to be served up as ‘entertainment’ (the great American idol), even if it’s fiction?

There are of course other issues, like the matter of the source material for the movie, which most of the thousands of people and many ‘Christian’ organizations promoting it seem to be ignoring. I choose to think they are ignoring that little tidbit because the alternative of knowing the ‘rest of the story’ (Jesus killing his playmates) and promoting it anyway is beyond the pale.

Anyway, that’s Dan’s 2 cents. . .

The Young Messiah – Considering the Source

This morning I was able to actually listen to The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, read by James White and also find the translated text online. Here are the links.

Here is the YouTube of the reading by James White. It takes up about the first 30 minutes of the video.

Here is the link to one translation, however it doesn’t include Chapters 16-19.

Here is a link to a translation of all Chapters.

No spoilers from me. If you have read your Bible, and know what it actually says about the life of the young Jesus, you will easily recognize the true and the legend. If you know more of the bible, you might also recognize other actual biblical accounts that just might have been ‘adapted’ to a young Jesus. that’s all I’ll say.

Feel free to reblog the above all over the place.

Sharing Jesus, Part 4: The Solution to the Sin Problem

Armed with a biblically understanding of ‘spiritually dead’ and understanding that in essence, unbelievers are ‘dead men walking’, and knowing that our friend ‘Pat’ realizes that the issue if sin is the root cause of evil in the world, we can offer Pat the solution to the problem of sin in a manner that honors God.

Since the conversation is reaching ‘critical mass’ there are a few important things to remember.

First of all, pray that God would open Paul’s heart to receive this all important part of the message of the gospel. Secondly, remember that God alone saves and you are just the messenger. It’s not your job to get a decision or otherwise ‘close the deal’ – the Holy Spirit does a fine job of applying the solution to a God opened heart! As one evangelist expressed it:

“Christ is going after His lost sheep, and He wants to use our lips that they may hear His voice today, and our hands that they may feel His touch. He is the soul-winner. People are not won by us for Him. They are won through us by Him. He can win them without us, just as He can speak to them through the Bible quite apart from anything we might say. But He has chosen to work through us and with us.”     Leith Samuel

Spend a few moments going over a few things with Pat. You might want to briefly summarize where the conversation has gone up to this point:

  • The world is full of ‘bad stuff’ (evil).
  • The Bible calls the bad stuff ‘sin’.
  • Sin is a human problem that began when Adam blew it and disobeyed God.

Once you and Pat are on the same page it’s time to address the solution. You might want to ask Pat what he/she thinks is the answer to the problem. The answers you receive might be good answers even if they are just about temporal things like passing more laws, doing a better job of raising our children, raising the quality of our schools, easier access to higher education, and/or government programs to get rid of poverty. If so, talk about them, acknowledge that they might solve problems, but that they are only external answers and cannot really address the inner problem of sin that we all have.

This is a good place to introduce, in simple terms and directly from the Bible (not a 25 lb. Schofield reference Bible, but the small one you tend to carry around with you), God’s plan for dealing with sin. Be gentle! This is a conversation, not a used car lot!

Here are some suggested passages of scripture that were all written by the Apostle Paul. You can even introduce some or all the following scriptures by telling Pat that this guy named ‘Paul’ who absolutely loved to kick Christians around all over town wrote them! Make sure to tell Pat how each passage relates what you have already discussed.

The problem:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Rom 3:23

The natural consequences of the problem:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..” – Rom 6:23

God’s plan to punish his own Son in our place:

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:8

The applications of God’s plan – believe and call on the name off the Lord:

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Rom 10:9

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Rom 10:13

The result of believing and calling on the name of the Lord:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Rom 5:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Rom 8:1

The above passages are by no means a set method that must be followed. You might want to use other passages of scripture that also talk about the problem of man’s sin and God’s solution. John 3:16 is a good example and a passage we probably all know by heart. It also expresses God’s solution to our problem.

Always anticipate questions, and be ready with an answer or willing to find an answer. Be able to talk about the Biblical context of passages you use in the conversation. This communicates that you didn’t just memorize a few passages, but you know and are convinced of the truth of scripture. That’s huge!

In the next post we’ll talk about the response to God’s offer.

Sharing Jesus Part 1 – Starting a Conversation

Sharing Jesus Part 2 – The Sin Problem

Sharing Jesus Part 3 – The Sin Problem: How Bas Is It?

The Privilege to Speak of Christ – Truth for Life Devotional

The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the Gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Although Paul was thankful for his calling, his success in it greatly humbled him.

The fuller a ship becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you want to feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak, unworthy thing you are.

Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross and extolled the Son of God who bled on it. Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let “Christ and him crucified” be your ever-recurring theme.

The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers that, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, “Fill us with your beams!” But when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus. Jesus must be his sun, and He must be the flower that yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness.

Oh, to speak of Christ alone–this is the subject that is both “seed to the sower and bread to the eater.”1 This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.

1) Isaiah 55:10