House of Cards Christianity

house of cards

Have you ever built a house of cards? It isn’t easy because it doesn’t take much to knock the whole thing down. If you pull out one card, even if that card is on the top of the “house,” you have a good chance of making the entire thing collapse.

Unfortunately, sometimes I see the Christian faith taught in a way that makes it look like a house-of-cards faith. Let me explain, starting with the good news.

There is only one “card” that has to stand in order for the gospel to be true: the resurrection. The Christian hope and message is dependent on Christ’s death and resurrection. Period. Full-stop.

If the resurrection is true, then there is literally nothing that can change the truth of the gospel.

However, problems arise when we take secondary issues — even issues that are very important — and place them on equal footing with the resurrection. This problem is compounded when we combine these secondary issues with very specific interpretations of Bible passages that are not, and never could be, crystal clear.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I do believe the Bible is completely true. There might be passages where you and I would disagree on what is the best way to interpret what we are reading, but I still believe that if interpreted properly, the Bible is 100% accurate.

That being said, the Christian faith does not find its true foundation in Biblical inerrancy.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the book of Genesis (or any other book in the Bible for that matter) was a complete fabrication made up by someone who was actually an atheist. Or, what if we witnessed a freak mutation causing a snake to sprout wings and feathers in a few generations, thereby proving macroevolution is possible? If things like this happened, do you think the case for Christianity would fall apart?

It shouldn’t.

Why? Because the resurrection still happened and there is plenty of historical evidence for it. Either Jesus rose from the dead or he didn’t. The reality of that truth, like all truth, is not based in anything other than it corresponding to an actual reality. (For more on this, I would recommend “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Dr. Gary Habermas and Mike Licona.)

Unfortunately, many young people have been led to believe that things like a very particular interpretation of a book such as Genesis is the basis for Biblical authority and that Biblical authority is the only reason to believe the Christian message is true. These students then go to university, learn a lot about science, find that it contradicts a particular interpretation of the Bible and therefore conclude that the entire Christian message is false. This is why the church loses many young adults.

I would claim this is silly if it wasn’t so tragic.

Although I do believe the Bible is true, and I might agree to disagree on some finer interpretive points, the message of the gospel is not so weak that some doubts about the Bible should cause people or faith to crumble. In fact, the best case (at least in my opinion) to prove  Bible is authoritative is that the man who rose from the dead certainly thought it was! My concern is that most evangelical Christians continually argue the point backward.

In conclusion, our faith is not built like a house of cards, but it is built on a solid foundation. The only thing that could disprove the gospel would be the body of Jesus. There are many other important truths to discover, but they are only important because the Risen One says so.

Jaclyn Needs a Favor

Yesterday was my last day to teach King Hezekiah at the Community-Wide Ladies Bible study in Potosi, MO. What a unique and blessed experience! My heart was so encouraged by the faithfulness and response of the women. Thank you if you are one of the ladies who attended! What a beautiful group of women. God knows how far we’ve come and how thrilling it was for me to have had the opportunity to teach the study He placed on my heart. I fought for years to get out of the assignment to write a Bible study, but now, I am so thankful. I praise God for the power of His word!

Today, I’m writing in request mode. Unbelievable to me, I have people and ministry leaders requesting a DVD and Leader’s Guide to go along with the King Hezekiah study. It has taken my husband and I some time to figure out HOW to go about accomplishing these things, but through the Lord’s leading, we have a plan.

Saturday, May 3 we will be recording the DVD, LIVE at STL TV studios in St. Louis. I worked for the station for nine years and am thrilled they have taken on the project! Here’s the thing — I need a studio audience.

Ladies, are you available? Would you come? It will be fun.

Here are the details:

Where: STL TV STUDIOS
4971 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

When: Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:30 a.m. – PROMPT ARRIVAL
10:00 a.m. – Filming Begins
12:30 p.m. – Filming Ends

What: Jaclyn will be teaching 5, 20-minute sessions. Please wear “camera ready” clothing. This means no white, no red and no crazy prints, especially with white. You will also need to wear makeup brighter than normal! 🙂

Please confirm your spot NO LATER THAN APRIL 29TH by contacting Kathy Silvey at 573-760-6102 or at katherinesilvey@yahoo.com. We must list all names of attendees with the studio. Space is limited.

DIRECTIONS from Potosi, MO: Hwy. 21 N. to 270 N. to 44 East. Exit at Hampton Road. Turn left going towards Zoo. Turn right onto Oakland Ave. (outer road towards Science Center). The STL Communications Division/ STL T.V. Studio will be on your left, just before Kingshighway. (The studio sits in the hillside and is brown brick…looks almost underground.)

Call Kathy if you have questions.

Your participation is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

If you can’t come, would you please pray! Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the weight of what God has asked and is requiring of me. I do not take these opportunities lightly. It will be a great challenge to deliver 5, 20 minute sessions LIVE, in one take, under the pressure of a DVD release. I want God to be honored and glorified; HIS NAME should be exalted. I want others to grow in knowledge of His word. His Word is LIFE to us. I want to be used by Him as I pour myself out, using the gifts He has handed down. I want to succeed because the gospel is at stake. I want Christ to have as many followers and worshipers as possible. He is worthy.

I want you to join me.

Please, pray.

YAY! Another “Noah” Review!

I liked it.

I cannot remember a movie that has had a wider range of opinions coming from people who seem to hold the same religious beliefs as “Noah.” I’m not talking about a difference in opinion between atheists and Christians, or even between denominations. I’m saying that if you go ask three different Baptists what they thought about “Noah,” you will probably get three vastly different opinions. Many of you are likely to think that my opinion is garbage.

That being said, your perception of the movie is going to be 100% determined by your pre-determined expectations.

If you are hoping Noah follows the Genesis account line-for-line with as few “liberties” taken as needed to complete the film, you will be incredibly disappointed with “Noah.” You’ll probably find the most trouble with director Darren Aronofsky’s vision of the “Nephilim.” In “Noah” they are depicted as fallen (but not following Satan) angels who are bound to earth, literally. As in, literally, they are covered in rock to take physical form. They help Noah build and defend the ark.  It is however, interesting that if you ask 10 preachers about the Nephilim, none of them will tell you they know who they were with any kind of certainty. Thanks to “Noah,” it seems one possibility has been ruled out with great fervor.

But the rock-monsters are the biggest beef I have with this movie because as I revisit Genesis 6, I can’t really say that the rest of the story in the film deviates much from what is actually written in the text. Now, given what is written I highly doubt that a great many of the details surrounding Noah and his family are Biblically correct and would find time justifying a lot of editorial decisions, but I can’t say none of it was possible. (I know this is a vague description, so you’ll just have to see it.)

Another issue that many have but that didn’t bother me a whole lot is that Noah gets pretty depressed and a little crazy. Then again, you might too if you heard people screaming outside as the flood waters take them. Noah gets to the point where is so convinced of the depravity of all that he thinks that even he and his family are meant to be the last people and not repopulate. At one point he almost kills his granddaughters, but *spoiler alert* he doesn’t.  The whole situation harkens to Abraham and Isaac with God providing “what is needed” at the right time.

So, why did I like the film?

It preaches. In fact, it preaches a lot. Whether Aronofsky wanted to or not, he made a film full of themes and messages that are entirely Biblical, even if they are not all found in the particular story of Noah.

The doctrines of an intelligent creator, the depravity and fall of man, sin, judgment, mercy and grace are crystal clear in this movie. “Noah” is not an attack on God as far as I can tell. It is made very plain and very believable that humanity is corrupted at heart and deserves judgment.

You want to talk about sinful nature and mercy? In one scene, Noah reminds his wife that they have just as much potential to do evil in their hearts as anyone else and that they are only being saved by the grace of God.

Other Biblical imagery and allusions abound if you are paying attention. I could say a lot more, but the bottom line is that if you can’t strike up a conversation about Jesus after watching, you need to watch it again.

A lot of criticisms have been made that “Noah” is really about environmentalism, but I think that point has been greatly exaggerated by people who make a living talking about politics.  People, don’t let politics — even if that’s the message the director is trying to send — interfere with your ability to think critically about the larger messages in this movie. If you want to see a political agenda in this movie, you easily can.  But the main point of this movie is not to convince you to be a vegan.  However, if you are really bothered by the idea that humans ought to be good stewards of the earth, I would invite you to revisit Genesis 2, 3 and 6.

I’ve also heard the complaint that “God isn’t even mentioned.” That’s just crazy.  The characters talk about “the creator” constantly.  Biblically speaking, God didn’t give a name for himself until Abram, so how else do you think people would have understood and related to who He was? Given that the movie speaks a lot of Adam, the garden, etc., we can be sure that the creators of “Noah” weren’t trying to pull some stunt. I think using “creator” was the right move.

Summary

Ultimately, we need to consider the source of this film. It was directed by an atheist whose last major movie was hailed as a “psycho-sexual thriller.” At the very least, I’d rather more “bad” Christian-themed movies come out than more “psycho-sexual thrillers.”
I don’t know Darren Aronofsky or what he believes or might be thinking about, but when he said he tried to stay true to the message of the Noah story, I believe him. Even if you think Aronofsky’s poking fun at you, don’t play ball.

We need to remember why the story of Noah is in the Scriptures.  A lot of history happened that, for one reason or another, God didn’t see the need to have passed-down and recorded. But the story of Noah made the cut because it teaches us about more than just what happened in the past.  The reason we teach kids about Noah is to teach about sin, judgment, mercy, grace and ultimately, Jesus. If the story of Noah went, “There was just some guy who built a boat and there was a little flooding and a few people died, the end,” it probably wouldn’t be in Scripture.

But much larger messages are found in the story of Noah, and I believe this film captures them. Of course there are problems, but God can work through that, no problem.  Love it or hate it, let’s let God redeem “Noah” for His purposes because this movie does put visuals to a lot of truths.