Column: The People’s Republic of … Noah
It’s Holy Week, and for me it is a time of somber reflection about Jesus.
There is relief, of course, in knowing that God in heaven did not abandon humanity in all our sins. There is surprise – looking around, and in the mirror – that we were created in God’s image. There is thankfulness that God thinks we are worth the trouble. There is joy – freely available to all – in God’s promise of eternal goodness, life, and love in His heavenly Kingdom.
And … there is ghastliness in what Jesus endured at the hands of man in order to defeat the curse of death, restore humanity’s fellowship with God, forgive our sins, and ensure our adoption as sons and daughters into the Kingdom of Heaven.
In all that, there is hope – ultimate hope – embodied in the resurrection of Christ.
Easter celebrates it, but modern culture widely misunderstands and grievously, severely underappreciates it. Easter is not a sign of our righteousness; it is a sign of God’s faithfulness. We are the child (Luke 14:5) that has used its freedom to fall down a well, and Jesus is the shepherd that saves us because we cannot save ourselves.
But “saving ourselves” – i.e., trusting in our own righteousness rather than God’s, expanding on God’s perfection to include ourselves, and re-writing God’s stories to insert humanity in His glory – is the Easter-diminishing narrative of modern man.
Witness the hit movie “Noah”, described proudly by its director as “the most unbiblical biblical movie ever made”. Because the Bible has so few details on people, one screenwriter explained, human details had to be added to get a “story”. Well, no. The Bible is not centrally about man, the Bible is first, last and always about God.
When the centrality of humanity is elevated as in “Noah”, the story, divinity and truth of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are lessened. More humanity, less truth, farther from God: that’s man-worshipping, secular, People’s Republic society in a nutshell.
Even commentator Bill O’Reilly, whose factual book “Killing Jesus” is a bestseller, struggles to get theology right on his top-rated cable TV show. He recently said he goes to church to “get his sins forgiven”. Aieeee! That’s why Jesus died on the cross “once for all” (Romans 6:10, Hebrews 7:27), not why anyone goes to church. Then O’Reilly soberly, narrowly, carefully, specifically described Jesus as a philosopher. My hunch is that O’Reilly, a Catholic, accepts Jesus as the Christ and Messiah, but couldn’t bring himself to say it, not even on Fox News.
It underscores societal preference for a people’s republic over God’s Kingdom.
And that’s no Bible story.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) cites 1 John 2:22-23: denying Christ has a high cost.