Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Morgan Almighty!

This week Dr. Jim Denison, one of my professors at DBU and a friend, posted an account of an interview with actor Morgan Freeman in his daily e-mail called the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture. 

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors. Movies like Shawshank Redemption, Invictus, and Driving Ms. Daisy are some of my favorite movies. He currently hosts Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman on Sci-Fi Channel. His iconic voice is recognizable in film, TV, and commercials. I have always thought if there could be a narrator for my life as I walked down the street, it would be the voice of Morgan Freeman (a close second would be James Earl Jones). 

All said, Mr. Freeman's recent comments disturbed me....

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Denison's post..... 

In a recent interview, Freeman was asked, "Do you think there is a God?"  His answer: "Do I think there's a God?  Um (pause) yeah."  "You paused," the interviewer noted.  "I paused because I am God."  "Because every man is created in God's image," the interviewer replied.  Freeman: "Yes or God's created in my image."

In an earlier conversation, he explained that God was created by man: "Has anybody ever seen hard evidence?  What we get is theories from our earlier prophets.  Now, people who think that God invented us think that the Earth can't be more than 6,000 years old.  So I guess it's a question of belief.  My belief system doesn't support a creator as such, as we can call God, who created us in His/Her/Its image."  He concluded: "So if I believe in God, and I do, it's because I think I'm God." 


As I pondered Mr. Freeman's words the other day, I thought about how sad it is for someone to exist outside of a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. To Mr. Freeman's credit, though, (and I still love him as an actor, BTW) he is a man of faith, as are all people. We will all place our faith in something or someone. He has chosen to declare his faith in himself as "God". 

There are a multitude of problems with this, of course. If God is a creation of the human mind and will and Godhood is therefore superimposed upon each individual person based on their ability to govern and direct their own lives, as Mr. Freeman contends, then a whole bucketful of relativistic arguments ensue. Does simply our existence make us worthy of such a moral and ethical position? If everyone is their own "God", then any moral absolute is thrown out the window and the most evil of actions of history from Nazi Germany to Aurora, Colorado are justified on the basis of our own"Godhood". 

Secondly, does belief alone dictate the existence or non-existence of God? Or does God's revelation of Himself supercede any of man's preconceptions of who or what God might be? 

Finally, if we created God, such as Mr. Freeman contends, then what does that say about the state of humanity? Are we truly left to our own devices? Is eternity something of dreams instead of reality? Do we exist simply for this short 80-90 years and then that is it? 

The Bible speaks to many of these issues. First, it speaks to the nature and revelation of the God of the Bible as the only true God. 
           - Isaiah 45:18 (ESV)- "For thus says the Lordwho created the heavens (he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other."
            - Isaiah 44:6 (ESV)- "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god."
            - 1 Timothy 2: 5-6 (ESV)- "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

Secondly, belief or faith are the result of such a revelation, not the precursor to revelation. 
            - Ephesians 2: 8-9 (ESV)- "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Finally, what does it look like to place our faith in anything other than the God of the Bible? Well, the Bible says that our state without God is one of hopelessness and death. 
              - Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)- "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
              - Ephesians 2:12 (ESV)- "Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world."

So, in the midst of all this, is there good news? Absolutely!!!! Hear the following verses. Ephesians 2:13-14a (ESV)- "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace..."

How can you come to know this peace with God and begin a relationship with the God who has revealed Himself as the only real God? Simply by responding to His offer of grace by a step of faith. (remember grace comes before faith). Romans 10:9-10 gives us help in how this is made real in our lives. 

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)- "Iyou confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."

Will you confess Jesus as your Lord today and believe in your heart that He died on a cross for your sins and rose from the dead to give you eternal life? If so, you will know this God who is real. I guess Mr. Freeman is right to a degree, understanding who God is is a matter of belief.....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Line in the Sand (or in the Parking Lot)

There is a somewhat apocryphal story surrounding the Misión San Antonio de Valero, or more commonly know as the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas. In 1836 as General Antonio López de Santa Anna's army surrounded the mission filled with nearly 200 Texans who were fighting for their independence. Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, Colonel William B. Travis drew a line on the ground and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over — all except one did. As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna. As you may know, the defenders of the Alamo held their position for 13 days before being overrun and defeated by the Mexican Army. Though the battle was lost, it afforded the rest of the Texas Army led by General Sam Houston to move eastward in a war of attrition until they found the best place to make their stand for independence. That place was San Jacinto and the Mexican army, divided by pride and numbers, were defeated and Texas gained its independence.
Today, I was encouraged to see those who believe in a Biblical view of marriage take a stand as well. Granted, their lives were not on the line, but many took a strong stand in support of Dan Cathy's statement of support for a traditional and Biblical view of marriage. I have seen lines wrapped around the corner of the Chick-fil-as in Fayetteville today and many Facebook posts of the same such scenes across the country. Though we as Christ-followers do not need to lead in a war of hatred, bigotry, or slander (that is not how Jesus called us to follow Him!), we are called to "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15) which is a sign of our maturity in Christ. We are to love all people and to share the good news with all, including those who chose to participate in a homosexual lifestyle, but we are to stand for Biblical truth and live lives that are salt and light in the world.

So, hurray for Mr. Cathy, but more importantly, hurray for those who took the challenge to make their voices known through their actions testifying to the truth of God's Word regarding His plan for marriage and His gospel to the world.

In Him,
Pastor Jim