There is a growing trend among some Christians to base their thinking about various doctrinal topics on fictional novels and movies rather than the Bible. The Shack has shaped the views of many on the Trinity, the Left Behind series of novels and movies moulded the eschatology of millions and the multitude of movies and books on heaven are gaining circulation faster than that next movie director can say ‘Cut!’
Would Jesus accuse many of us of the same Biblical illiteracy which he charged the Sadducees with in Mark 12? Let’s take a look….
As one group of Christ’s opponents put down their ‘weapons’ of attack, another group launched their. The Sadducees, whom Mark reminds us do not believe in the resurrection came to Jesus with a question. Their ‘hypothetical’ issue involved Moses, remarriage, death of a series of seven spouses and the resurrection. This woman had been married seven times and experienced bereavement seven times as she became the spouse of the next eligible brother who was mandated to marry his deceased brother’s wisdom. Was this a ‘real’ situation or had the group concocted a complex reality to again trick Jesus?
Jesus challenged their ignorance with a series of questions and statements woven together with infinite wisdom as he exposed their ignorance. Let’s summarize his critique –
#1 He accused them of error in their ignorance of Scripture and God’s omnipotence. They had the Bible, but they did not read the Bible. God had revealed to them His word, but they had decided their speculative reasoning was a more reliable source for religious conviction. I fear many Christians fall into this trap. Somehow a novel, a movie, an Internet article or even some preacher’s sermon trumps God’s revealed truth. It doesn’t seem to matter that these speculations overtly contradict truth, after all, they are so interesting! “Haven’t you read this? Didn’t you see the movie? It was SO AMAZING!” Trust me, I’ve heard higher compliments paid to Hollywood than to the Holy Spirit!
#2 He asserted truth as the author of Scripture and God’s omniscience. Having come from heaven and since He was God in human form, He asserted the realities of heaven. Life after the resurrection will be different from toda. There will be no marriage. Human relationships as we know them will not continue. Our main relationship, if we have trusted Christ, will be with the One who loved us and gave Himself for us.
#3 He acknowledged the writings of Moses and accused them of being badly mistaken. Reading the Torah, the first 5 books of the Old Testament, would not have led them to their current convictions. At the burning bush, God had identified Himself as the God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were still living though they had completed their earthly existence. His assertion “You are badly mistaken!” must have stung the group and sent them into a mental frenzy.
So whew does this leave us? How ignorant are we of Scripture? How carefully have we read God’s inspired, infallible, inerrant word? How quickly have we put down our Bibles and picked up the latest novel or booked tickets at the nearest theatre to catch a glimpse of the latest speculation?
I’m sure some of my readers won’t be too impressed! Reading the Bible, studying it and carefully interpreting it is hard work, but it is effort well-spent which will be rewarded by the Spirit of God who guided its writing for our edification.