Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creative Liberty

How much creative liberty should be granted to Christian authors? Or more particularly to the genre of Christian fiction?

"The Shack" by William P. Young has been making the rounds among Christians for several months now. Depending on who you talk to, people either love it or hate it. Those that love it claim that the book helped strengthen their faith. Or it opened their eyes/mind to see God in a different way. Those that hate it see the heretical theology in the story. But should one hate a book because it is not necessarily theologically correct? After all, it is a fictional book. So, doesn't the author have the right to take liberty with his/her portrayal of God? Of the Church? Of the Atonement?

It is my opinion that Christian authors have creative liberty in so far as they do not meddle with the tenants of the Christian faith as prescribed by the Christian creeds (i.e. Nicene, Chalcedon, etc). Therefore, Young is free to write a murder mystery. However, he is not free to redifine the Trinity. Take liberty in the setting, plot, and characters, but leave the Christian tenants of faith alone. Once, one starts to meddle with the tenants, they leave the reader and themselves open to heresy. And Lord knows, we've got enough of that going around already.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Freiday Devotional

Passage: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Exposition: This passage reminds me of a story that one of the Profs at DTS likes to tell to the new students in his Bible Study Methods course. It goes something like this: "I met a lady once who informed me that she had read through the Bible 30 times. I said, 'Great! But how many times has the Bible been through you?'"

Now, I don't know how many of us could say that we've read through the Bible 30 times, let alone once. But when was the last time you let the Bible, God's Word, speak to you? As the author of Hebrews points out, God's word is "living" and "active." This is not to say that the Bible is going to run a marathon or blow you a kiss. But it is saying, that God's Word has the power to change lives, and it is in the process of doing so. If we would all spend more time in God's Word, we would see our lives change, and the lives of those around us.

The author of Hebrews not only describes the Word of God as "living" and "active," but as a "two-edged sword." This sword is not only sharp, but sharper than any other sword. This metaphor conjures up images of God's judgment, and that is what the author is talking about. Many people view this passage as proclaiming judgment on unbelievers, however, given the context (vv. 11-15), this passage is talking to believers. So, Christians will be judged by God's word. This is not a judgment unto hell or heaven, but of spiritual rewards.

This judgment, as illustrated by the sword, pierces deep into the person. The "soul and spirit" and "joint and marrow" illustrate the depth and severity of God's judgment. His Word is able to judge the smallest difference between what is spiritual and what is natural. Beyond that, it is able to judge the "thoughts and intentions of the heart." Therefore, God knows every conscious or subconscious thought one has had, whether for good or evil. There is no bluffing with God; no secrets hid from Him.

Therefore, shouldn't we all spend a little more time with God? Perhaps reading through that He has given us? As stated earlier, God's Word has the power to change lives, so I ask, is it changing yours? If it's not, why not? What could you do differently?

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your word, which guides us and leads us into truth and righteousness. We thank You for the sacrifice of Christ, that we may have a restored relationship with You through Him. Now, we ask that You help us get into Your word, that we may know and love You all the more. May Your Holy Spirit teach us and instruct us in the ways of holy living. In Jesus' name and by the Spirit we prayer, Amen.