Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go To Bible Study

I have no idea why I get the junk email that comes pouring into my inbox... no check that, I know EXACTLY why I get the junk email that comes pouring into my inbox and I wish it would stop. There's an underground economy out there based on trading and selling you. Your data (phone number, address, email address) is worth money to people and there's a lively trade going on. I found that one used car dealerships put me on a ton of junk lists, I wonder how much money they got for selling my data.

Ok let's restart: Dear Lord in heaven, what did I do to get put on a Life Way mailing list? 

This latest piece of ejunk particularly rankled me, it's an advertisement for a bible study for the book of Ephesians named "Defined" but it starts out splashing the movie Overcomer across the top of the page. Since the Overcomer is mentioned in the ad picture this in your mind using any movie trailer Voice Of Doom guy's voice:
From the people that brought you The War Room - In a world gone mad, where sins becomes virtue and false teaching becomes fast cash comes a new kind of superhero - The Overcomer
I have no idea why the movie the Overcomer is tied to this bible study other than the name Priscilla Shirer is featured in both. I don't go out of my way to see a lot of movies, and when I do go I've researched the movie before I plunk down $14 for lemonade and a small popcorn. Which is why I've seen very few "Christian" movies. An inordinate amount of "Christian" movies are only "Christian" in the loosest terms of the word, and many are barely "movies" at all. One of my tests is to look for the names Kevin Sorbo and Priscilla Shirer in the credits. I have very few qualms with Kevin Sorbo so I'll see his movies. Priscilla (and her dad) are a different story, and a reason for me to not see this film.

But the question remains - why is the Overcomer tied to 'Defined' which is a study of the book of Ephesians? At the bottom of the ad is the clue:
OVERCOMER is in theaters August 23. Buy tickets here. To see books, Bible studies, and other items based on the movie, visit LifeWay.com/Overcomer
Click those links if you want, I changed them to protect you. But pressing on, what does Defined, a study of the book of Ephesians have in common with Overcomer, the movie about a man who doesn't want to coach cross country track? Is it because of Paul's running metaphors? (Hebrews 12:1, Philippians 2:16, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5:7, 2 Timothy 4:7) I don't think LifeWay thinks that deeply. The meat of the ad for the study Defined follows (Emphasis mine)
When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, you have an opportunity to define yourself. You disclose your name, profession, and interests.
These factors help our culture define us, but are those answers enough? There are bigger questions our culture can’t answer: Who am I? and Why do I matter? And before asking Who am I?, you must first answer Who is God?
This new Bible study on Ephesians, inspired by the movie OVERCOMER, will help you understand the biblical answers to those questions so that you can discover all God has called you to be.
You/I/our is mentioned 14 times, God is mentioned twice. This is about as shallow as LifeWay gets and it doesn't set right with me, I don't remember any "Be all that you can be" in Ephesians, the book of Ephesians is so much deeper than that. 

One of Pauls main reasons for writing his letter to the Ephesians is because Judaizers  were teaching that Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the ceremonial feasts of the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. This was causing a separation between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. It was written so that both Jew and Gentile would fully understand the magnitude of God’s promise to forgive the sins of all humanity.  So we could understand that God’s merciful and kind favor to forgive men of their sins had ever been intended for the Gentile as well as the Jew.

Another issue dealt with is man's temptation to walk as the world through disobedience to God's laws (Ephesians 4-5).  Paul refers to the distinguishing characteristic that differentiates the “old self” of lusts of deceit (Ephesians 4:22) and the “new self” of righteousness and holiness in truth (Ephesians 4:24). Before one becomes a Christian they “walk in the futility of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17) and are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1).  The spirit of man is “renewed;” however, when introduced to truth through hearing and learning (Ephesians 4:20-23)

Paul defines righteousness in all areas of life as well. Whether the Jew or Gentile Christian is at work, home, or play righteousness must accompany their every day life. Within the home, the husband is commanded to be the head of his wife and to love her.  The wife is commanded to submit to her husband in obedience (Ephesians 5:22-33).  Children are commanded to obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2).  Those who work for others are to do it as though they were working for the Lord.  Those who were over their slaves or employees were commanded to treat them with kindness and fairness (Ephesians 6:5-9). 

Paul sums up the epistle to the Ephesians with a command to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17). Christians must recognize that the devil is real and he has much at this disposal.  We are at war with evil, terrible, powerful forces we cannot see (Ephesians 6:10-13). Likewise God is real and will deliver all out of the hands of their captors as they call upon His mighty name for help.  

Does this sound like LifeWay's advertising hook Who am I? and Why do I matter? There's no touchy feely LifeWay approved answer to that question in  Ephesians - you're either a degenerate sinner, or someone who has given up the I/My/Me worship of the seeker sensitive "Christian" Left and has given themselves up to God. And like I won't watch a movie with Priscilla Shirer's name anywhere in the credits, why would I risk falling prey to false teaching in a bible study with Priscilla Shirer's name in those credits? I don't trust her

1 comment:

  1. There are a few Christian movies which I like, namely the first three of the Kendrick brothers' movies: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof (the rest of their movies began going off-track into aberrant teachings). Also, Time Changer was fun.

    Unless I'm missing something, I think you're confusing the reason for Ephesians with the reason for Galatians. Chapter 2 has a minor mention of the difference between the circumcised and uncircumcised, but it is Galatians where Paul rips into them about the Judaizers.

    We have never used "Bible studies" -- If I want to study the Bible, I study the Bible and not some author's ideas. Priscilla Shirer would be as horrid as Beth Moore - they are cut from the same cloth.