Matthew R. Perry

Archive for the ‘Creator’ Category

Disney’s Palatable Philosophies a Concern

In Apologetics, Creator, Music, prayer on March 14, 2009 at 1:42 pm

This past Friday night, we took our children to see Disney on Ice, and they absolutely loved it. Yet, I really began to listen to some of the songs that are not only Disney staples, but are now American standards–and I began to shake my head.

Hakuna Matata (Lion King). “It means no worries, all the rest of our days.”

The Lion King is a cinematic masterpiece. Clearly this one and Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight? are the two songs which gained a great deal of traction. Hakuna Matata, sung by Timon the meerkat and Pumbba the warthog, gives a “worry-free philosophy” that appeals not only to Simba but to many of us. It echoes the message of the 1989 Bobby McFerrin hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Three times in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us not to be anxious (worry), as does the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Timon and Pumbba advocated not worrying in order to avoid responsibilities. Jesus tells his followers not to worry because of a failure to trust God’s providence. For a Christian, worry is about not trusting God to work all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Granted, Timon and Pumbba’s advice is not heeded by Simba, who responds to the issue at hand—but many sing this song as a way to relieve stress.

“Let your conscience be your guide” (Jiminy Cricket).

This is rotten advice—but it’s especially bad when Christians use this logic believing it is sound advice in helping them in their walk with Christ. But our conscience is solely informed by our belief system. Muslims have a conscience when they miss one of their prayers. Mormons have a conscience if they drink caffeine, which goes against a tenet of their faith. Even Atheists have a conscience, when they go against their dictums as well.

Christians need to realize that our conscience is not equivalent to the voice of God. Our conscience merely reacts to what our heart and will hold most dear. And given that we are such sinful, fallen creatures whose consciences can be seared or to a lesser degree numbed, this is absolutely terrible advice.

Yet, Christians use this logic all the time: just follow your conscience. This was especially true in 1992-1993 when a subject came up before the Southern Baptist Convention about a certain civic organization (or should I say, religion) known as the Freemasons. Instead of coming out and taking a stand, here is what they said:

In light of the fact that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, while others are compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, we therefore recommend that consistent with our denomination’s deep convictions regarding the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, membership in a
Masonic Order be a matter of personal conscience.
Therefore, we exhort Southern Baptists to prayerfully and carefully evaluate Freemasonry in light of the Lordship of Christ, the teachings of the Scripture, and the findings of this report, as led by the Holy Spirit of God.

The holes in this are big enough to swim a blue whale through. My intention is not to say anything positive or negative in this about the Freemasons (I have addressed this elsewhere), but to show the logic of my beloved denomination. Our conscience must be directed by the authority of Scripture without any dilution or compromise–not by what we may personally believe–because we are flawed!

It’s scary when Jiminy Cricket starts informing our religious policies.

“When you wish upon a star…” (Jiminy Cricket).

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

A number of issues jump out. For one, wishing upon ‘a star.’ Taking our desires to the stars? This is nothing short of astrology! Even Wikipedia is helpful for a definition:

Astrology (from Greek ἄστρον, astron, “constellation, star”; and -λογία, -logia, “the study of”) is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide useful information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.

These ‘stars’ now have personalities (which is where the constellations’ personalities in general, and the Signs of the Zodiac in particular, come into play along with the reading of horoscopes) to which we may appeal. As a result, whatever desires we wish for toward this star will come to you! Yet, dear Christian, look at Hebrews 4:14-16:

14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We do not appeal to things created for guidance, but to the Creator through Jesus Christ.

Secondly, the phrase “no request is too extreme” is disturbing. No request is too extreme? Granted, in the context of the movie, Pinocchio the marionette wishes to be a real boy! This is an extreme wish! But the song now stands on its own. As Christians, we realize we are fallen people and that our wishes may stem from our fallenness rather than what is right and true.

Thirdly, the personification of “fate” is disturbing. Again, we need a definition:

: the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny

“She” is “kind” and brings to “those who love their secret longing.” This nameless director of all things not only has attributes but perceives attributes in others. While the melody is very tender and, yes, catchy, the content of this song is very unbiblical.

Conclusion

We can put our abhorrent philosophies to nice and catchy melodies and plant seeds in hearts without the receivers being none the wiser. How much more in tenderhearted children (and adults) who see animation and think its harmless? We must not be like so many who say, “I only listen to the music, not the words.” For those of us who have been gripped by the Gospel, we must be careful of the schemes of the devil and of man, who work to have us be gripped by something else that will lead us astray.

Thoughts?

When a Global Flood Resounds a Global Message, Part III: (See His Mercy in Deliverance)

In biblical creationism, Creator, Evolution, global flood, liberal, Noah on February 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Francis Schaeffer observed, “If I only had one hour to share the gospel with someone, I would spend the first 55 minutes talking to them about how the God of the Bible created all things, created us in His image, but that we have sinned. After setting that table, I would then share with them the gospel of God’s mercy in the midst of our sin.”

Did you notice that we have not mentioned Noah yet? Let’s fix that: Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” The word “favor” can also be translated “grace” as well. He is only one of two men in the Old Testament referred to in this manner—the other being Moses. He is the subject of Genesis from Genesis 6-9.

But do we see the Good News that is the Gospel found here? Absolutely! God by His own initiative chose Noah who was “blameless in his generation [and] walked with God” (6:9). God informed Noah of His plans: “I have determined to make an end of all flesh. . . . I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13). But God galvanized the heart of Noah. We realize from Genesis 9 that Noah was not perfect—but God’s grace shone on Noah’s heart and strengthened him to obey.

Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come in to the ark. Some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. “If you just hang on through the storm, you’ll be saved.” Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ.

Do we see anything else pertaining to salvation? Read with me Genesis 7:11-16

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. [12] And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. [13] On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, [14] they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. [15] They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. [16] And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

So let’s review. God created all things. He made them good. He created humanity in His own image, and called them very good. They were to be fruitful and multiply, be caretakers of the earth, and enjoy God’s presence and provision. Yet, they rebelled when they listened to Satan tell them that they could trust his Word rather than God’s. They disobeyed and are under a curse that leaves them slipping and sliding and destined for hell and judgment, away from God’s presence and provision for all eternity.

God saw the issues, and ordained not only judgment, but the man and the vessel to bring humanity’s deliverance solely by His grace. God even shut Noah in. Why?

Clearly, this is the instrument God gives of their deliverance. 1 Peter 3:18-21 says:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, [19] in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, [20] because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. [21] Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Only eight were saved: Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. The rest ignored the 120 year evidence of God’s Word to Noah and to them. Hebrews 11:7 said, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

The lesson? Dear friends, God made you personally. He made you and wired you to bring and spread the glory of His name and the wonder of His fame to all peoples. Yet, out of a desire to honor self, you rebelled against Him. You wanted to rule your own life, live by your own agenda, and thus you turned your back on the living God. We are, as the Word says, destined to die and afterwards to face judgment. That is exactly what we deserve.

Yet, God in His mercy did not leave us that way, but provided an instrument of salvation. An ark? Those pieces of wood point to other pieces of wood that came thousands of years later, put together as another instrument of our delivery—the cross of Christ. Noah points to Christ in that Christ found favor in the eyes of God not simply as a human being receiving God’s grace, but as the Son of Man and the Son of God who was God in the flesh, living righteously before His Father to stand as a substitute. Jesus is greater than Noah in that while Noah preached God’s Word of judgment to those who do not believe, Jesus preached and took our judgment in atoning for sins. He put Himself in the flood to absorb the catastrophe of that judgment we so undeniably deserve!!

Given how great this deliverance is that our Savior and Lord provided for us, what will you do? Will you look deliverance right in the face, knowing that a much more horrific and eternal judgment awaits for those who reject our Savior in order to continue wallowing in hell-bent sin? Will you see the cross of Christ and the empty tomb as instruments of God’s mercy and grace toward you, in spite of the wrath from Him that you deserve? In John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” Is He drawing you this morning?

Read the other posts in this series:

In Praise of Darwin by Secularists and the Vatican?

In biblical creationism, Creator, Darwin, Darwinism, Evolution on February 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm

A secularist group called the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” is starting an ad campaign in praise of Charles Darwin during the time of his 200th birthday (February 12, 2009).  The group urged people to “evolve beyond belief.”  We should not be surprised by this media blitz of this group and others like it.  It just reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said centuries ago:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles (Romans 1:20-23, ESV).

Given how there is no conclusive evidence to Darwin’s theory of macro-evolution (one species evolving into another), this is another example of how science and academia have exchange the religion of Christianity for the religion of Darwinism.  We look at the same evidence with different presuppositions. 

Also, the Vatican just released a statement that Darwin’s theories are not in opposition to the Genesis 1 account.  Richard Owen writes:

The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin was on the right track when he claimed that Man descended from apes.

A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a “higher power” for the complexities of life.

Organisers of a papal-backed conference next month marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species said that at first it had even been proposed to ban Intelligent Design from the event, as “poor theology and poor science”. Intelligent Design would be discussed at the fringes of the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, but merely as a “cultural phenomenon”, rather than a scientific or theological issue, organisers said.

Intelligent design a mere “cultural phenomenon”?  The Vatican said this? 

We must beware of taking man-made theories and cultural baggage to the text of God’s holy Word and re-interpret it.  Given that God created the heavens and the earth and all things in it, we must realize that science must submit to the Scriptures, not vice versa. 

Psalm 33:6
    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
        and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Rev. 4:11
    “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
        to receive glory and honor and power,
    for you created all things,
        and by your will they existed and were created.”

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Why "Gripped By The Gospel"?

In Christ, Creator, Gospel on January 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Why another blog? I am more and more convinced that an understanding and embracing of the Gospel ministers to every area of body, mind, and soul–and ministers to every area of life: marriage, family, struggling with addiction, life in the workplace, politics, etc.

I have another blog which deals with wider areas that may be of interest to my church. GBTG is an off-shoot of my new web ministry “Him We Proclaim,” in which we preach Christ crucified, proclaiming Him to encourage and warn others about the issues which take us away from the intention of our Creator.

I look forward to posting and dialoguing with all of you.