Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How "Noah" May Affect My Friends

No, I have not yet seen Hollywood's gross distortion of the Biblical story of Noah, and I haven't decided whether I will or not.

I have read several reviews - for and against the movie from friends and other viewers. But, here's really why I don't appreciate this latest twisting of Biblical truth...

...I work with people who are still learning how to apply the abiding principles of God's Word to their everyday decisions and everyday life. They are struggling with the question - How does a Biblical culture translate into my own culture - and what does that look like? Some don't yet realize that Jesus wants to be Lord of their life as well as every single part of it and their world.

One of my greatest burdens is for people live as Christ-followers, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week. Many island believers are still drinking the "milk" of the word and have not yet graduated to the "meat."

Misinterpretations of Scripture abound here as the "prosperity Gospel" has its many, many devotees. They are told to "plant a seed" (give money) to receive their corresponding miracle. The bigger the "seed" the bigger the response that can be expected from God.

There are many other false denominations, false doctrines, and false prophets that pop up here and there. They distract, deceive and damage the name and followers of Jesus Christ.

Many Ugandans, particularly on the islands, have not been taught to be "Bereans" - to search and study the Scriptures for themselves. There are multiple reasons for this:

1.  Many islanders are illiterate. They cannot read English or even read their native language. Thus they receive nearly all of their spiritual nourishment through another person - either behind the pulpit, over the radio or on the television.

2. They don't own a Bible. A hardcover English Bible sells for around $8 in Jinja. This is a big investment for people who often make less than $1 a day. We have just left a dry season - both of rain and money. People are now planting new crops, but will not be able to harvest and sell them for a couple of months at least. Whatever money is earned now is spent on buying absolute necessities.

3. Many Ugandans are not taught to reason or even to question information. If someone in authority says something then it must be true and should not be questioned. Numerous pastors, and especially those in the islands, have had little or no formal theological training. They often teach as they learn.

In light of this, Christians in the western world are spoiled - we have all of the above and so much more. We have been trained and taught hundreds thousands of times by numerous different people, many who are highly-trained. We have countless Biblical resources at our fingertips.

We have no excuse for not being able to discern when someone attempts to twist or misinterpret God's Holy Word. But my dear brothers and sisters here in Uganda, as well as in many other places in other parts of the world are far more susceptible to such distortions.

Thanks to no real enforcement of copyright laws here, copies of the "Noah" movie are right now easily obtained from almost any "video" shop. I have already seen posters advertising it. And I have no doubt that well-meaning Christians here will quickly get their own copy to show to their family and friends.

But, when they watch it will they be able to discern that "Noah" is indeed not a Christian movie? Will they correctly identify Hollywood's "add-ins," and go and investigate for themselves by reading the true Biblical account? Or will they swallow what they have been fed and unknowingly perpetuate a lie?

I don't understand the director's intentions in trying to present the most "un-Biblical Biblical" story every produced. That statement nearly makes me sick.

But my heart especially breaks for yet another assault on the young and tenuous faith of my local brothers and sisters. May God grant them His discernment.

Photo Source: kikn.com

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