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HOLLYWOOD JESUS
NEWSLETTER #29
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HJ News#29 Main Page
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This page was last updated November 25, 2001

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Main Topic:
THE REVISION OF JOHN 3:16
IN CHRISTIAN POP CULTURE

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COMMENT
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John_3_16
Good article Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: "Brian Terrell"

Good article. I appreciate your words and thoughts, but I have one complaint. I agree there have been some in the Christian community who have wrongfully claimed to know the mind of God and my complaint is not with that subject. At one point in the article I felt as if you were "name-calling," specifically when Jerry Falwell was referred to as "Jerry Falafel." I later realized it must be an over anxious spellchecker as the long-expected collapse of the computer age, Y2K, became "YAK" and Focus on the Family's host went from Dobson to "Doubloon" and the Southern Baptist professor and scholar on Islam, George Braswell, became "George Brawl." Might want to double check the spellchecker.
Brian Terrell

Response: Yes indeed. Sometimes the Spell Checker is not a good friend. Thanks, David

GOD'S PROTECTIVE HAND HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: "Mark Campbell"

The events of September 11 have understandably caused great depths of feeling in the Christian community. But, as with so many issues today, there is more going on here than simply Good vs Evil. Some see bin Laden is a pawn of Satan out to attack a tolerant and just America. Others see the Godless America being attacked by a man who is effectively the agent of God himself. But can these be the only two possibilities?

I don't believe so. A third possibility - and I'm sure, if you looked deeply enough, there are others - is that over time America has turned away from God, letting the Lord's protecting hand move away from the country. (This is a fault of the society itself - a society consisting of individual people, you and me - and not of any specific group or groups.) When God's protective hand has lifted from something or someone - be it from a country, a church or a person - then that entity is subject to the World, and all that goes with it. They are no longer under God's protection.

Bin Laden is an evil man, an amoral terrorist of the highest order, and it's scarcely feasible that he could be considered an agent of God. He is not God's punishment on America - he is an example of what happens when God's protection is lifted. There is a huge difference. God does not control the Al Qaeda network (I don't believe he controls any terrorist groups, come to that) but the actions of that organisation are undoubtedly going to cause more harm if God's protection is no longer there.

The September 11 attack was not God's punishment. It was a consequence of a country that has turned its back on Him. As the 'planes hit the two towers on that bright Tuesday morning, I believe God was in the depths of despair at Man's inhumanity to Man, He was mourning real tears over the huge loss of life and of the terrible chain of events that it would initiate. The last thing in the world He wanted to see was this terrible tragedy happening to America - or anywhere else, for that matter. But like a responsible father, He knew that sometimes a child has to experience the outcome of its wayward behaviour. However harrowing and painful this might be.
Mark Campbell

Response: The response of Americans after 9-11 was anything but Godless. I see signs everywhere saying "God Bless America." Churches were brim full. There were prayer services everywhere. Even huge ones -like the one in Yankee Stadium. Billy Graham was asked to preach in the National Cathedral to a room filled with elected officials from Congress, the Senate and the Presidency. America is not a Godless society. In Europe less that 1% attend Church. In America we have mega churches with thousands attending weekly. I totally disagree with your premise. If you where right Sweden, Denmark, France, England, Germany would have long since disappeared. In Islamic countries it is against the law to mention Jesus. Why doesn't God destroy them? Oh but America is some how different and so God allows the destruction of the WTC by taking his hand of protection away from it. If that where true why has there not been greater evils since? I hate to say it but you have been given a bill of goods. There are lots of "ministries" out there that find great financial reward in blasting America. They love to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Notice however, this is addressed to God's people (believers) not nonbelievers. It is not appropriate to use such passages to condemn America. We are a diverse people and very different from the theocracy of ancient Israel. Apples and oranges. Christians need to start with themselves, and not with outsiders. God is judging the church not the world -that's future. We need to do something about the false prophets and profiteers among us. Here are three very good verses from the New Living Bible:

Genesis 18:32 Finally, Abraham said, "Lord, please do not get angry; I will speak but once more! Suppose only ten (righteous people) are found there (Sodom)?" And the Lord said, "Then, for the sake of the ten, I will not destroy it." (So why would God act any different toward America, God is gracious).

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.

1 Cor. 5:12-13 It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, "You must remove the evil person from among you." (Yet daily we hear certain Christians in the media judging the world, this needs to stop. It needs to stop now. We come off as so self righteous and heartless. May God forgive us).

Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate that. -David

PROFESSOR'S ARTICLE
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Bradley

FYI: A professor of mine from seminary has written a great article on how Christians should respond to the attack on 9.11.01 that you might find interesting and worth passing on to your readers. I enjoy your insights and comments and thought you might want to get some input from this source that I include for you below.
Thanks.
Bradley Aucoin

Comfort Within the Boundaries: Finding One's Voice Regarding Evil [Robert Pyne] http://www.probe.org/docs/comfort.html The terrorist attacks in New York City and in Washington, D.C. left many of us with more questions than answers. Pastors, teachers, and counselors may have an especially difficult time as they attempt to help others while still processing the news themselves. For this reason, the author, a seminary professor who has studied the problem of evil in depth, has prepared these comments as a service to the shepherds.

Response: Thanks for the good words. -David

BIBLICAL STUDY ON THE "JUDGMENT OF GOD"
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Doug

Hollywood Jesus
I did a quick study on the "judgment of God" following the attack - wish I had my notes to state my thinking using Biblical texts. But in general, the judgment of God falls on the righteous to turn them to repentence. So if Falwell and others are considering that this is the judgment of God, it is not falling on 'others' but on 'them' for failing to do the will of God. While there are instances in the old testament of the judgment falling on the wicked, the other meaning is more common.

Second, Malachi says that before Christ comes the second time he will send Elijah the prophet (see Malachi 4:5-6). The role of Elijah is to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers." In other words, the role of Elijah is to restore broken relationships between earthly fathers and their children, between the heavenly Father and His children, and, by further implication, to restore relationships between all people. America's 'father' is England, with America the rebellious child, but not only that, America is the child of all nations and can look to all nations as playing part of the father role to us. God's purposes are to restore relationships between all his children on earth.

If we have an attitude of "God is punishing them for being wicked" then we remove ourselves from others - we stand in judgement against them - we don't reach out to them because "they are bad." If we have an attitude of love and reconciliation we draw all people to us - we make ourselves available to all people - it's up to them whether or not to respond. If anything, we are to have a judgment of love and respect for all people, not of condemnation.

Response: Thank you I apprecate your research. I hope many will take notice. -David

I SAY LET'S GET BEYOND FUNDAMENTALISM AND GET BACK TO THE LOVE OF GOD
Subject: Newsletter_29_I_Like_Jesus_But_Not_Fundamentalism
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Gloria Lee Young

These extremests be they Fundamentalists of either the Christian or Muslum persuasian are just that extremeists and bound by the Law. They are waging their own war in the media and giving each other what they want "A Holy War" really you've got to be kidding it is and always has been an "Unholy War" I aggree with David's coments and was really surprised to hear his views were so much like mine
Gloria Lee Young

Response: Thanks for you comments. It is an unholy war, indeed. -David

GOD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001
From: Danny

Thank you for so much informative stuff. I really enjoy your newsletter. Keep up the great work. I'm really getting tired of people trying to use the 9/11 attack on America as an excuse to vent their own particular fears, prejudices, despair and angst. A sick and twisted man with a distored view of reality, a man with nothing better to spend his billions on than the destruction of a free nation--that's the issue. Not God, not judgment, not the ACLU (although they are anything but American), not the pornographers and every other slime that permeate our society, but a man on the level with Adolph Hitler; pure evil. Simple, isn't it.

Response: Thanks for you comments. -David

TRULY, I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN TO LISTEN TO THES PREDICTIONS
Subject: Newsletter_29_Feedup_with_Dooms_Day_Predictions
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Gloria

We should be focusing on the Love of God and Trusting Him to care for us Jeramiah 29:11-13 kind of sums it up,We are in God thoughts and he is here to give us a future and a hope.We need to be brought out fundamental bondage and into The Love Of God. God speaking to John to the Christians said in John 3:16 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us fro all unrighteousness. To the fundamentalists I say what the next scripture says, remember now all-though this is often used as a soul winning scripture. If we say we haved not sinned we make Him a liar(Jesus) and His word is not in us. My God The Father of all is a God of Love and Grace and Compassion and He is Sovereign and another thing it says in the word"Perfect Love casteth out all fear" Who is perfect Love but our God..
Gloria

JOHN 3:16 AND "DOOMSDAYERS"
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: "Chris Weigel"

Some thoughts, First, I enjoy the newsletter, by and large. With respect to the revisiting of Jn 3:16 and the "doomsdayers": I don't tend to listen to them much, lots of heat and little light. But with regard to the judgment of God on our nation, don't dismiss the concept out of hand. Remember that God's people in the Old Testament were continually judged by God and he didn't hesitate to use His and their enemies as the chastening tool. They too could be heard saying "God can't possibly be using His enemies to judge us." How wrong they were. Is the WTC bombing a direct judgment of God on us for our abandoning certain values? Probably not. Does God allow and use all for His purposes? Absolutely. Last thought: while attempts at humor are good, don't lower yourself to taking cheap shops at brothers in Christ by name calling...Jerry Falafel...please. It's neither constructive nor Christlike.
Take the high road.
Chris Weigel

Response: "Falafel" was an unintended error. The spell checker changed it and I was not paying close attention. You will note that that error does not appear above. I agree that name calling is not a Christ like thing to do. Beyond this, there is no way that God is involved in the slaughter of those precious and innocent people in the WTC. God has better ways of getting our attention. America is a great nation. -David

MY THOUGHTS
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16

Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 23:08:56 EST
From: John Paul Landry

Dear Mr. Bruce,
My thought on the subject is as follows. I simply agree. I was insulted by the thoughts of the 900 or 700 or 1100 club. Whatever it is. I was also questioned to the point of being verbally abused at my own church by a generation younger than myself. I brought an article from the religion section of my newspaper to church to see if my sunday school class agreed or disagreed. They unanimously agreed. The title of the article was "Jesus taught his disciples to undermind violence." The article from the Dallas Morning New in Texas, discussed what Jesus' thoughts from the bible were of violence. It was fascinating. Are we not Christians? Jesus' message was "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass againsts us." I also would like to voice that I heavily disagreed with the U.S bombing Afghanistan on World Communion Day in the United Methodist Church. I being Methodist know that communion was being shared world wide with fellow christians and found it hard to believe that we could attack another country on the Lords day. I hope my thoughts don't arouse too much hatred. I just want to encourage you to keep writing your opinions cause there are people who will agree with you. I mean the Jesus I know would!!
Blessings In Christ
John Paul Landry ><>

Response: Thank you. -David

SEE WE TOLD YOU SO
Subject: Newsletter_29_God_Is_Judging
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Tillie S

I don't know if God is judging America per se, but I do know that God used pagan nations to punish His children in the Old Testament, and that we are warned that what is written in the Old Testament is written for our warning. There have been plenty of Christians afraid of God's judgment on America if we don't repent, and have quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 as the basis for their fear. So when this happened, it follows that they would say, "See?? We told you so."
Tillie S

Response: Isn't 1 Chronicles 7:14 asking the people of God to repent? It has little to do with "non-believers" in America. "Judgement begins in the house of the Lord" -not at the World Trade Center. Again Jesus said, "God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." -David.

THE NAYSAYERS AND HOW THEIR WORDS HURT GOD
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16

Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Wilson Kriston

Hi David,
It is a long time since I have written. I read your recent newsletter with the utmost interest and I do believe that God is not judging America.

I do heard some people say that if God do not judge America, He should also apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah. This goes to show how shallow is their understanding of God's love for this world.

I also agree with you the extent of God's love for this world so much so that He gave His one and only, precious and priceless Son to us sinners as evidently pointed out in John 3:16. Another way to see God's love is how we should see the old testament's account on the destruction of Sodom.

As we read through the Bible, God promised Abraham that He will spare the city if there's at least 10 righteous men in the city. TEN righteous men out of the potential thousands of inhibitants and less than 1% of the whole city population!

God is so gracious to the people of Sodom then, why should He be different now? Of course, the city is so wicked that only Lot was found to be righteous with God and so is his family. Even then, angels are sent to rescue them before the impending judgement.

Brother David, I sincerely believe that there are much more 'righteous' brothers and sisters in Christ in New York than in Sodom. And I will believe without regrets that God will keep all of us in safety during this period of great shaking.

And I would also appeal to those fellow Christians who speaks without thinking about God's goodness. Have they heard about the rescue efforts of Angels? I read some, heard some and even seen the interview of some on TV. If God is truly judging America would He sent His angels to do all these? And what kind of God do we have if He decided to punish and yet rescue us?

I believe that the judgement has not yet come. If God wants to judge, it will be much much more horrific than this (please read revelation) and there would not be a New York City standing if this is so. It is our Blessed Hope that we shall see God's face before His impending judgement on the world and not just a city of the world.

My last comment to Christians who misunderstood God. Give a thought to those Christians who lost their loved ones, are they blaming God? Is it fair? I don't think so because it is not God who execute this because I know God is fair and loving. Only someone who do not know God will blame God for all these. And i sincerely feel that Osama is wrong about his works for his god and it is clearly not the god of Koran nor the Good Book.
In His Grace and Mercy Everyday
Wilson Kriston

Response:Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your time and thoughts. -David

CHRISTIANS HURT THE CAUSE OF CHRIST
Subject: Newsletter_29_Feedup_with_Dooms_Day_Predictions
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: BKilmer

Dear David, I agree with what you said:

"There are two ways to look at pop culture and current events. 1. While aware of evil and its consequences, keeping the focus for what is noble and good (Phil 4:8). -This is the approach I use in HJ.. 2. Disregarding the positive aspects and ever focusing on what's evil and wrong. -This latter approach has possessed the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian community by and large -I am very sorrowful about this, because I consider myself an Evangelical -although I, with Billy Graham, do not consider myself a Christian Fundamentalist."

I believe as as Christians we should expect the world to have much evil.

We should rejoice over the good that is evident in the world, and know that if we could trace back to the source of any good, it would be God.

Like Jesus, we should not force our morals nor our Christianity on anyone. Thanks for your insights.
Bruce Kilmer
Mt. Pleasant, MI

Response:Thanks for your thoughts. Love is always the better path. -David

READ DEUTERONOMY 28
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Lee

Read Deuteronomy 28. The answer is in this scripture.
Lee

Response: So are you saying America is cursed? Are you putting Deut 28:15-68 in the mouth of God as a judgment on America? Well, if God has cursed America -then there is no hope -America will fall. Are you agreeing with Bin Lauden? For me America is about freedom of thought, religion, and lifestyle. God is not judging America. I am glad to be an American! -David

KOOKS ARE STILL LISTENED TO!
Subject: Feedup_with_Dooms_Day_Predictions_Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Norm

Isn't it amazing that these kooks are still listened to, though throughout history that have never yet been right. Doomsday - end of world predictions have been wrong 100%, and yet Hal Lindsey still manages to sell books.

NIRVANA!
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Harsts

yeah ungodly rock song nirvana!

POLLYANNA VIEW OF GOSPEL MESSAGE
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: Mark

David, just how is God, according to the Bible, going to "put the world right again" ? Destruction of this earth is inevitable. Many of the "good people of New York" will not be saved from this destruction. Yes God loves the world, but he does hate the condition it is now in. Having said this, I can agree with you on some of your points. I do feel ; however, that your position toward people who are not Christians is more destructive than finger pointing. People need to hear the good news of the Cross. But they need to hear it in truth. They have to believe in the current condition of man in order to believe in the truth that the Cross brings. What good does it do a person to go through life believing that being "a good person" is enough to save them? The Bible is very clear that no one is good without Christ. Christians should not use the tragedy of 9-11 to pronounce God's wrath on America. This is wrong and it harms the body of Christ. Love is the message that Christians should bring to the world. But love without truth us not love.
Mark HE. mhnash_99@yahoo.com

SPELL-CHECK STRIKES AGAIN
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: "CB"

David, It appears that you used MS Word's spell-check utility to proof the below newsletter, and it changed certain words, such as Falwell to Falafel. Sadly, Word is horrible about this kind of unasked behavior. I'm sure someone has notified you of this, but I thought I'd do my duty and let you know as well. By the way, I agree with all you said, and thoroughly enjoy the web site and the ministry it brings about.
Thanks. CB

Response: Yes, and Y2K was altered to YAK! Oh well, thanks. -David

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