Watch this video before you read any further. It is a trailer for a sermon series to be held at First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. Matthew Paul Turner of Jesus Needs New PR wrote a lengthy article on this video, so I will make my thoughts brief.
It is no coincidence that Dr. Robert Jeffress will begin this series on the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks; First Dallas uses every trick in the cinematic book - from brooding music to patriotic symbols - to stir up a paranoid faithrioticism (Mr. Turner's word). This video makes you feel fear and paranoia, all in the name of Jesus. Or America. Or First Dallas. I can't decide which one.
Since when should the Christian pledge such a strong allegiance to the United States of America? While I am no anarchist, I cannot support such close ties between Church and State. I can't see any example of Christ instructing His disciples to so closely ally themselves with political authority and sovereignty. Render to Congress what is Congress's, and walk the discipleship road to the Kingdom of God. A sermon series such as this one makes me wonder if this church loves America more than they love Jesus.
Furthermore, I didn't realize that churches send out advance copies of the sermon to receive reviews, as if it were a Hollywood movie. Neither Jesus Christ nor her disciples need the endorsement of Gov. Huckabee or the Dean of the Moody Bible Church. The Word of God is. God is the great I AM. You do not need to sell your product to me. If you have to win the praise man to make disciples, than you do not know the glorious joy of Jesus Christ. If you have to make your product look beautiful, then you do not offer the true Jesus.
And beginning a sermon series entitled Twilight's Last Gleaming on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 is sick. It's shrewd marketing. It manipulates our emotions and fuels our fears. I pray that this church would repent of its fear mongering, and I hope that Dr. Jeffress would bring a message of hope and love instead.
Until next time,