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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Jason Janz Lands on the Gospel Rather Than the Spear

Jason Janz of Sharper Iron has written a lengthy but very substantive post a couple of days ago entitled "When We Say 'Gospel': My Primary Concern with End of the Spear." More than answering his critics about his stance on the movie, he has taken the path to explain his position by explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ - which he does quite well. He says

"Moreover, without the Gospel, there is no Christianity. Whatever religion fails to present the three truths outlined above [see entire text] is not Christianity. It is a different religion. In fact, it belongs to an entirely different class of religions. Social reform is not the Gospel. Self-amendment is not the Gospel. Moral improvement is not the Gospel. Those things may and usually do result when people receive the Gospel, but they are no substitute for it. No Gospel, no Christianity. It’s just as simple as that."
Janz goes on to make his second point that the movie fails to portray the missionaries as "the godly, evangelical missionaries that they were." Janz rightfully argues that
"one cannot separate the Gospel from the lives of these men and be telling the same story. The Gospel was their passion. It was their ultimate motivation for living in Ecuador at all. Introducing the Gospel that saved them to other sinners was the crux of their mission—as evidenced in their journals."

He continues by sharing that "Jim Elliot was portrayed dishonorably as a reckless buffoon" (sic). I could not agree more. It could very well be (I'm speculating here) that Elizabeth Elliot has chosen not to comment on the movie (thus far). Janz puts its plainly, saying of Elliot,

"He was a godly young man with a genuine passion for souls. The movie’s caricaturized rendition of Jim was misleading at best, reprehensible at worst. It is one thing to show a man’s personality, but it is another to obliterate any indication of his sober commitment to the Gospel, which was, by numerous other accounts, the preeminent passion of this man’s brief life."
Consequently, to add insult injury, the movie, as Janz adds, does not give conversion to Christianity as a reason that the tribe changed their ways. In this section, there are quotes from each of the five missionaries who not only presented the gospel but demonstrated it in their lives and deaths. The rest of the article is Janz's reasoning of why the gospel is important, why we need to get it right, and why it is important that we are thorough in our presentation of the precious truths we proclaim and believe. I am grateful for the attitude and articulation of Janz as he as exhibited a taut but teachable spirit during these recent events. While the movie has taught us much about the movie and all the controversy that came along with it, I think that the last lesson we have learned is about ourselves. What does this movie, and our response, say about us? About the gospel? About the beauty and excellencies of Jesus Christ treasured and trusted in?

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