2007·05·10 · 10 Comments
The Gospel in Spider-Man 3

Yes, that is the same title as Dan Phillips used. Since he said a lot of what I was thinking (and a lot more), I thought I might as well use it. Dan correctly states that Spiderman 3 contains a lot of good moral principles, but horrible theology. Dan’s objections begin where mine did, with this statement from the movie: “First, you must do the hardest thing. You must forgive yourself.” I've previously written on this subject here. Read Dan’s article, in which he concludes: “Spider-Man 3 is a fun, expertly-done movie. It contains a nice bit of moralizing. It preaches an appalling sermon.”

I only have two things to add to what has already been said.

First, assuming we buy the psychoskubalon of self-forgiveness (as though such a thing as a sin against self exists), it is not hard to forgive ourselves. What could be more self-indulgent? and what is more definitive of human nature than self-indulgence? Letting ourselves off the hook for our sins is as natural as breathing.

spiderbob.jpg

Second, in answer to the objection, “Well, you know, it's not a Christian movie. You can't expect them to get it right,” I reply, “You're right. In fact, I should expect them to get it wrong; and when they do, I should be prepared to say so.” You see, whenever anyone, whether Christian, Roman Catholic, Jew, Muslim, or atheist opens his mouth on anything touching on God, theology, or spirituality, he is obligated to get it right. God will accept nothing less. There is only one God, one Way, one Truth, one Life. God makes no allowance for false theology, even due to ignorance.

“But it's just a movie. It's just entertainment. No one came to hear a sermon.” But they did hear a sermon — a moralistic, man-centered sermon. A sermon that leads away from Christ, even while promoting moral character. That is damning, and it needs an answer.

This does not mean you can't go see Spiderman 3 and enjoy it for the entertaining (though mediocre) work of ignorant men that it is. Just be prepared to answer those who praise the good moral of the story with the true Gospel.

10 Comments:

1. 07·05·10··00:21
CJ

"...I should expect them to get it wrong; and when they do, I should be prepared to say so..." AMEN!

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
II Corinthians 11:3

2. 07·05·10··04:49
Dan Phillips

Well-put! And that graphic -- yikes!

3. 07·05·10··05:51
Andy

I would like to offer a different side of things. I'm a strong Christian, but an incident where I broke up and broke the heart of my ex-fiancée has been eating me up. You say, "it is not hard to forgive ourselves." Though I know that the Lord has forgiven me, he did it the day it happened, even my ex forgave me shortly after it happened. Forgiving myself has been a year long process that has never truly been accomplished. Though for some of you it may not be an issue, and as you said, it isn't a "Christian movie," but being able to forgive oneself is one step in the process of forgiving and forgetting. So please, be careful in generalizing such things as what is easy and what is difficult.

4. 07·05·10··07:28
CJ

Andy,

I do not wish to speak for David or make this post a "group therapy" session. But, if I can suggest to you without offending that you have missed the point and it would benefit you to do a biblical topical study on forgiveness, I believe you would be blessed.

I say this out of experience with major depression to the point I overdosed and began to cut my wrist. Self forgiveness is not biblical. Also, guilt and conviction are two very different things.

5. 07·05·10··08:17
David

Hi Dan,
Thanks for stopping. That is a creepy picture, isn't it?

6. 07·05·10··09:02
David

Andy,
I don't doubt that you have struggled with guilt. If you were at fault as you say, that's actually a good thing. Knowledge of guilt is necessary to bring us to repentance.

You do need to repent of your sin and seek forgiveness, but from the ones you have sinned against. You haven't sinned against yourself. You've sinned against your fiancée, but ultimately, your sin is against God. You need his forgiveness, and if you have repented, confessed your sin and asked for forgiveness, you can be assured you are forgiven.

If you are still struggling with guilt, it is likely that you are focusing on yourself rather than God. So you're a sinner; take it to the cross and leave it there. Praise God for his mercy and grace!

Also, continuing regret is something you will never be free from, unless you have no conscience. You should feel sorrow when you remember your sin. But the memory of your sin should also remind you of God's grace in forgiving you, and fill you with humble gratitude.

Remember your sin, but don't wallow in it. Rejoice in God's grace.

7. 07·05·10··11:18
Nathan

This does not mean you can't go see Spiderman 3 and enjoy it for the entertaining (though mediocre) work of ignorant men that it is.

I think I'll substitute "Waterless Places" for "Spiderman 3," and use this as my blog's motto.

8. 07·05·10··12:48
CJ

Please forgive me for quoting a book that is not the bible. :)

"The Search For Significance" by Robert S. McGee pages 134-135

Basic focus: Guilt focuses on the state of being condemned: "I am unworthy." Conviction focuses on behavior: "This act is unworthy of Christ and is destructive."

Primary concern: Guilt deals with the sinner's loss of self-esteem and a wounded self-pride: "What will others think of me?" Conviction deals with the loss of our moment-by-moment communication with God: "This act is destructive to me and interferes with my walk with God."

Primary fear: Guilt produces a fear of punishment: "Now I'm going to get it!" Conviction produces a fear of destructiveness of the act itself: "This behavior is destructive to me and other, and it robs me of what God intends for me."

Agent: The agent of guilt is Satan: "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4). The agent of conviction is the Holy Spirit: "But if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Rom. 8:13).

Behavioral results: Guilt leads to depression and more sin: "I am just a low-down, dirty, rotten sinner"; or to rebellion: "I don't care. I'm going to do whatever I want to do." Conviction leads to repentance, the turning from sin to Christ: "Lord, I agree with You that my sin is wrong and destructive. What do You want me to do?"

Interpersonal result: The interpersonal result of guilt is alienation, a feeling of shame that drive one away from the person who has been wronged: "I can't ever face him or her again." The interpersonal result of conviction is restoration, a desire to remedy the harm done to others: "Father, what would You have me do to right this wrong and restore the relationship with the one I have offended?"

Personal results: Guilt ends in depression, bitterness, and self-pity: "I'm just no good." Conviction ends in comfort, the realization of forgiveness: "You have made me complete and have given me the righteousness of Christ, even though my performance often falls short. Lord, I confess my sins to You. [List them. Be specfic.] I agree with You that these things are wrong. I also agree that they have been destructive to my life. Thank you for Your grace and forgiveness. Is there anything I need to return, anyone I need to repay, or anyone I need to apologize to? Thank You."

9. 07·05·10··13:54
David

Nathan,
I'll expect a cut of any profits your blog makes, then.

10. 07·05·10··14:17
Dan Phillips

Though it is popular, and though I think we both understand the feeling, it simply is not meaningful to say "I must forgive myself." I did not sin against myself. I am not the Lawgiver. God is the Lawgiver. I need His forgiveness.

Now, non-Christians may mean literally that when they say that, as they are Gods unto themselves. But thus shouldn't be what a Christian means.

What a Christian may meam by it is, "I feel horridly guilty, and am having a hard time believing in and accepting God's forgiveness." But you see, then, that puts it on its proper bases. It is an issue of the Word and faith, not of achieving a particular emotional state.


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