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…But I Bet They Help


Orieus: Numbers do not win a battle

Peter: No…but I bet they help.


I thought of that quote, from the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia, when I read a little quiz last week.  The website made a very bold quote:

Most ministers in the church today would not even be able to apply for membership in the times of the Puritans; their lives and knowledge would be dubious in their eyes.  The level of giftedness from Christ and ministerial commitment needed to function biblically in the office of Elder is all but lost in our day.  Bible knowledge seems to have been placed at the wayside.  Very few men are really qualified to minister to God’s chosen people, and care for the flock of Christ.

That statement is such a marked contrast to the current view of many Christians in and out of the pastorate who see little importance of extensive Biblical knowledge and theology or even disparaging it.

I certainly agree that there are ministers that know the correct theology, but by reason of lack of maturity or lack of genuine fervent love for Christ and His church are ill-suited to pastor.  But how many more with good intentions are going out to a fierce conflict, with people dying all around amidst the subtle and blatant attacks of a cunning enemy (and such is the pastorate), with few weapons, little training on how to use them, and little knowledge of the battle plan?  In contrast, how many are truly living their lives in agreement with what John Eldredge said in his book Waking the Dead, “I need to study the Word of God with all the intensity of the men who studied the maps of the Normandy coastline before they hit the beaches on D-Day.”?

That’s why I am so excited about the Together for the Gospel conference starting tomorrow in Louisville, where 3000 men will hear both the truth of God’s word and the vital importance of it.  Yes, having correct theology & knowledge of the Bible alone does not win the battle of ministry… but I bet they help. 

The Lion that was Castrated and the Gorilla that Wasn’t

Quite a few conservative commentators in the Blogosphere like Justin Taylor have expressed their disappointment with the portrayal of Aslan in the new Narnia film. I, too, loved the film, but with a sigh, thought, “That’s not quite the Aslan I wanted”. At first I wanted to, in the spirit of generosity, agree with Chuck Colson that maybe it was a product of the limits of filmmaking to create a creature that truly inspired awe.

That is, until I saw what Peter Jackson could do last night.

There was no doubt that Jackson’s King inspired awe and fear in anyone who saw him. There was no doubt of his strength or authority or nobility when he roared over his enemies.

And it wasn’t that Jackson had better computers at work—it was his conscious decision of how he wanted to portray his King.

The question on the table is—how did Adamson want to portray his King? I have to come back to Lewis’ famous line from The Abolition of Man—”We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful” Adamson’s Aslan appears castrated in comparision to Jackson’s Kong. Maybe Lewis would write The Abolition of Christ were he alive today.

What kind of fruit will Adamson’s gelding bear in our hearts? Unfortunately, I don’t this is a minor point. Our view of who Christ is, even in our children, even in a loose allegory, makes a difference. We connect the dots, even in allegory, even subconsciously. More than a few conservatives didn’t see The Passion of the Christ for this very reason, that they didn’t want their Biblical picture of Christ distorted or diminished. And although I know that Lewis didn’t intend Aslan to be some exact representation of Jesus, he never wanted him to be “tame” or “safe” either.

Wouldn’t it have been nice for Aslan to have been worthy of the title of King? Wouldn’t it have been nice for my twelve year old son, instead of just enjoying the film about the lion, to come out of the theatre saying “A masterpiece!! Two thumbs way way up!!” as he did last night about the film about the gorilla?