Free, But Not to Indulge the Flesh Featured

Written by Thomas Lieth
It seems that we Christians can fall off both sides of a horse.

EN17 0123 Of course, these “platitudes” can apply to all sorts of things. I would like to use it in terms of how we deal with secular society. One trap we can fall into, or one side from which we can fall off the horse, is for evangelicals generally less of an issue, but I still want to mention it. That is, in all that the world produces to see a “divine spark”—no matter how obscene it may be. For example, the science fiction series Stranger Things, which has become all the rage on Netflix. Even Christians have praised the show, but seem here to forget Ephesians 5:3—“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people”—when they watch TV, where a teenage character is pressured to have sex with her boyfriend. It is shown how the teenage girl undresses as her boyfriend looks on—so reports imdb.com. With all due respect: the lack of sensitivity and relativistic indifference of many Christians to right or wrong in terms of their consumer behavior is frightening. Yes, we are free, but Galatians 5:13 remains unequivocal: “Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh.”

It gets worse: in particular evangelicals have the habit to look for references to the Gospel in trendy entertainment productions, and find them. A Christian satire website, “The Babylon Bee,” saw this tendency with regard to Stranger Things and published the sarcastic article, “The Top 6 Gospel Themes in Stranger Things.” The satirist is showing in an exaggerated way the fruitless efforts of many modern Christians to find the Gospel in the least appropriate places. The sad relevance of their article: two days earlier, the evangelical online portal Relevant Magazine had published an article entitled, “The Gospel According to Stranger Things.” And the author of this article was quite serious in his intellectual effusions. He actually managed to find the Gospel in a godless science fiction series and to fabricate even more abstruse parallels to God’s Word than the satire post (!) with his wildly incredulous six points.

Such soliciting to pop culture is not really a sign of a Christianity that trusts in the power of God in the Gospel. This is one of the traps: that we deal too naively with “the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2), and thereby undermine the integrity of God and His Word. Many believers already do this, thus fulfilling the end time prophecy of 2 Timothy 3:1-9.

Now the other side would be to demonize everything produced by the world. Sadly, it is the Christian “fundamentalists,” who believe themselves to be alone in following God’s Word, which tend to fall on this side of the horse. I’m thinking of some dedicated Christians who believe that behind every human achievement stands groups like the Bilderbergers, Illuminati, Freemasons, Satanists, Wiccan witches or New Age gurus (and whatever else is out there).

A Christian embellished negativism, which forgets that people are created in the image of God, is not healthy either. Yes, “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16), but that does not mean that man was created in the image of the devil, and therefore everything he might create is bad. Creativity and innovation come from God, not from “the prince of the power of the air,” who likes to destroy the good ideas of people or use them for evil. So, we should be careful that with our warnings of evil, which indeed governs this world, that we do not get on the wrong track and make ridiculous and implausible accusations of conspiracies behind what is actually good—only because we cannot accept that a lost person is still created in the image of God (James 3:9), and can produce something good and wholesome.

Midnight Call - 11/2016

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