Posts Tagged ‘worldview’

Rapture theology has been a hot topic in the United States for almost 200 years!  That’s a long time for a person, a short time in church history.

If you knew me, you would know that for more than twenty years I have been explaining to young people that the doctrine of the rapture is new in church history, is fairly localized in its popularity, and is not specifically taught in Scripture.   You might have heard me raise the question whether those who are “left behind” in Luke 17 are the wicked or the righteous.

But when this remake of the movie “Left Behind” got close to release, here is what has been bouncing around in my mind. Why are we so worked up about this movie? Why is there a race in social media for many Christians to debunk this movie? Why is it suddenly important not to be “left behind” in our public denunciations?

Will this be a good movie?  I don’t honestly know.  And I’ve discovered people have a lot of criteria for deciding what makes or doesn’t make a good movie. Here are a few I’ve heard.

  • It made me cry
  • It made me laugh
  • It made me feel something
  • It didn’t have any sex in it
  • It didn’t have violence
  • It didn’t have more than 5 swear words in it.
  • It had a good story
  • It had great special effects
  • The acting was believable
  • I heard it was good

Personally, I’m a worldview guy.  It’s the worldview of a movie that matters to me more than anything else.  That means I’m going to love movies like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy or “Its a Wonderful Life” but be troubled by the message of  impactful movies like “Meet Joe Black” or “Saving Private Ryan.”   (I can hear the comments beginning already!)   I may be inspired and encouraged, but I don’t expect hobbits to give me  a treatise on redemption or look to a young boy to teach me about heaven.

I don’t happen to agree with the theology of the movie, Left Behind.  But I feel no need to denounce it.  I was positively influenced as a young boy to wrestle with the condition of my soul by a similar movie called “A Thief in the Night.”  As I look around me today, what really has me thinking is….what is the worldview of Christians that would rather race to publicly denounce a movie than engage in thoughtful conversation around a potential cultural event about end times and sin and a returning Savior?  Who is our audience?  Do we think that our theological purity proclaimed on social media is going to create an atmosphere of mutual respect, genuine seeking for truth and thoughtful dialogue?  Or do we care?

Are we just so anxious to be right that we don’t care who gets “left behind!?!”

“But once the child reaches adolescence the parents must spend much more time and attention on the way they exercise authority and correspondingly less on worrying whether obedience is forthcoming.
(p. 31 emphasis added)

I love this chapter. It challenges me, it encourages me and it invites me to be transformed! Here is one of Peterson’s great paragraphs:

“Challenges to personal authority – commonplace in adolescence – cannot be settled simply by quoting Saint Paul: ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.’ Adolescents are quite likely to have read the letter to the Ephesians, too, and able to do some quoting of their own: ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.'” (Ephesians 6:1, 4)

I believe that we teach much about reality…and do much to shape worldview in the way we handle power and authority. I believe our internal hard-wiring to ask “Why?” at an early age is a gift that is foundational to the discipleship of both the child and the parent. Take your own experience out of the equation for a few minutes and think with me:

* What does the answer “because I said so!” or “because I am the parent?” communicate about authority….about power?
* What does it teach about who (or Who) is in control?
* How important is it for the young child to hear an answer that reveals that we are under authority…that we ourselves are accountable….that we are stewards…that God is love and we are His imperfect agents?
* Have you ever thought about the question “why?” (in all its forms) as a gift from God to your own sanctification?

When a young person moves into early adolescence they begin to attempt to appropriate for him or herself what they have learned. As they seek a healthy level of autonomy, how do we best teach about authority and power? Is it helping them to act in the role of a child….or an adult?

Like a belayer letting out more rope for the climb and yet holding the climber secure, how do we do navigate this adventure?

The One who belays us is LOVE. And He calls us to be like Him. So perhaps the critical question is “What does LOVE do with power? What is the source of His authority?

Andrew Murray talks about Revelation 7:17 being the most important verse in literature anywhere in all of history.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

What this verse reveals is absolutely unthinkable, unknowable aside from Divine Revelation. And it is central to understanding reality. Authority is not about raw exercise of power, position, popularity, who you know, how much money you have, whether others like you, or any such thing. Power itself is not what holds the universe together.

The Pantocrator, the One who rules all things, is revealed as LOVE – both in who He is and what He does. At the center of the throne is a lamb who is a shepherd. Are you shouting praises, reader!? This is amazing revelation! The result of wrestling with that verse and all of its implications years ago forever changed me, my worldview, my parenting and my ministry.

Adolescence provides a wonderful opportunity for us to examine afresh if our practice of power and authority is harsh, crushing, demonic, positional, etc or if it is the often messy, always nurturing and sometimes painful surrender to LOVE.

Tell me what you think. And get a book. 🙂 This is good stuff!

(This post is inspired by chapter 4 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 8 weeks to become part of the discussion).