>Star Trek and Christianity

> Bonnie and I went to the Star Trek movie on Friday and it was a good movie. It is one of the best Star Trek movies I have seen. I must admit to everyone that I am a bit of a “trekkie” and did some “research” before the film came out. When I was a kid, Star Trek the Next Generation was out and I enjoyed watching that on TV each week. That TV series along with the franchise movies fed the sci-fi junkie in me. But as I have become more and more sensitive to worldview issues over the past couple of years, I noticed something different about Star Trek as I read about the franchise online on Wikipedia. I read about its development and the creator of the story line, Gene Roddenberry. In his Wikipedia article, this is what it says:

“Although Roddenberry was raised as a Southern Baptist, he did not embrace the faith; he viewed religion as the cause of many wars and suffering in human history. Roddenberry considered himself a humanist and an agnostic athiest. According to Brannon Braga, “In Gene Roddenberry’s imagining of the future […] religion is completely gone. Not a single human being on Earth believes in any of the nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry’s mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of his universe. On Roddenberry’s future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it.”

That is a powerful quote. In other words, one of the main reasons for creating the series in the 1960s was to project a sort of “utopian” society based on athiestic naturalism. Athiesm is, of course, the belief that there is no God. Naturalism is the belief that the Cosmos is all that there is and all that there ever will be and that every is determined by random cause and effect. All that can be known about the universe can only be done through scientific observation. Scientific naturalism has advanced (and succeeded in large degree) into convincing the world (at least the scientific and academic world) that macro-evolution as taught by Charles Darwin is correct and that everything that exists in the world and universe today is the result of billions of years of random naturalistic causation.

It appears that Gene Roddenberry and the other creators of the Star Trek franchise is attempting to produce a visual and theatric portrayal of what an athiestic, completely naturalistic, society would look like. According to their viewpoint the universe would be completely fine, in fact “better for it”, without “any of the nonsense that has plagued humanity.” That plague, in Roddenberry’s viewpoint, would be religion – specifically Christianity. If you watch the television series through the lens of faith, you will notice that all of the characters and episodes of the series deal with athiestic altruism and scientific and naturalistically based fantasy.

We live in a society and in a time of a supercharged media and entertainment system that is able to bring movies to the big screen that have eye-popping special effects and dramatic storylines that captivate us and take hold of our attention in ways that have never occurred before with such power. Because of this, we must be so very careful on how such information is disseminated into our minds and into our families. We must educate ourselves and our families of the major worldviews and thought systems in the world and be able to recognize them when they surface in the mainstream media and entertainment industry. Not knowing the thought systems that compete against the Gospel will put yourself at risk of being dulled through special effects, dramatic sequences, and headlines into believing or assuming something that is contrary to the Word of God.

I am not saying that you should not go watch Star Trek. But I am encouraging all of you to be careful. There are too many individuals in the United States and throughout the world that devote too much energy into creating fantasy lives for themselves. Movies like Star Trek and Star Wars (both movies I adored as a child and still enjoy to this day) have created complete secondary realities for many people. They operate out of a worldview and moral ethic that is based on a science-fiction film or television series and not on the realities of this world. I have a personality that is attracted to science fiction and fantastical stories like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings. If you are like me, you understand the attraction of losing yourself in another world – learning about all the facts, histories, cultures, and wars of this non-existent world. You get lost in it, and forget that it DOES NOT EXIST. But you escape into it, you are released from the anxieties of your life into another time and another place, yes even another galaxy.

But, I have been taught by the word of God, and I thank God for that!:

Proverbs 28:19: He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

Ecclesiastes 12:13: Now all has been heard; here is the conlusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.

Isaiah 40:8: The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.

Matthew 6:22-23: The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. if then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

I Corinthians 13:11-12: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fullty, even as I am fully known.

Beware of fantasy and lay hold the Word of God

>Sufficiency of the Atonement

>The following post is a forum contribution that I made in my Systematic Theology III course this semester on the sufficiency of the atonement. Enjoy and comment at your leisure!

From your notes, explain and evaluate James P. Boyce’s statement, “The atoning work of Christ was not sufficient for the salvation of man.” [James P. Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, 367-68.]The Atoning Work of Christ is not sufficient for the Salvation of ManTaken at face value and out of context, this is a startling comment by J.P. Boyce, the founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.[1] The atoning work of Christ was effectual in that it, as Boyce puts it, “removed…all the obstacles in the way of God’s pardon of the sinner”. Without the atonement, salvation could not take place. In other words, the atonement was a work of Christ to God so that the righteous judgment of God could be atoned for at the cross instead of on the souls of humanity as a whole. The atonement declares the righteousness of God and the holiness of God. The atonement makes it possible for God to save the elect for the sake of His own glory and righteousness. As Boyce puts it, it is a “Godward” act. The atonement places humanity in a position to where they can now have a relationship with God. The atonement along with the resurrection of Christ is the Gospel’s power.Nonetheless, even if the atonement is essential for salvation, it is not completely sufficient for the salvation of the sinner. Individually and positionally speaking the sinner as a human being is still at enmity with God. If the atonement was all that was sufficient for the salvation of the unbeliever, then the atonement would have resulted in a universal salvation for all of humanity. Maybe this is what liberal theological thought would like to be the case, but it is simply not biblical. The atonement crashes down the barriers, tears the veil in two, grants access to God in a personal relationship, but it does not justify the sinner. The sinner is still a sinner. The sinner needs to hear the gospel, but because of the sinful nature in the unbeliever, that Gospel falls on deaf ears. This is the case, even though, as Boyce points out, the Gospel “has all the elements which should secure its acceptance.” This passage from Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology is focused on the effectual calling of the elect, whereby God gives to those who are to be saved “such influences of the Spirit as will lead to their acceptance of the call.” However, as Dr. Moore mentioned in the lecture on this topic, even the effectual calling itself also does not save anyone. It is by the grace of God, through faith, that one is saved. This faith involves a knowledge of the Gospel truth, an assent that the gospel is the truth, and a trust in the person of Christ for salvation. As George E. Ladd questions, “Is the Kingdom of heaven to be entered merely by taking the name of Jesus upon one’s lips and making a verbal confession?”[2] Ladd answers that question by saying, “In Christ, the Kingdom now confronts us. The life of the Age to Come now stands before us. The One who shall tomorrow be the Judge of all men has already come into history. He faces us with one demand: decision.”[3] The Kingdom of God makes a demand for a decision. Yes, the atonement was necessary for salvation, but it is not sufficient. This decision is to be resolute, urgent, radical, costly, and eternal.[4] The decision points to all the work of God in the salvation experience, including Christ’s atonement over two millennia ago, but it is a crucial ingredient. The salvation experience is a glorious and mysterious working of God in the life of the believer. One must not over emphasize the importance of one particular aspect. Each phase of salvation has its place and its effect. When one experiences this phenomenon, the believer can only say, “Amazing Grace!”

[1] All quotations of James P. Boyce come from Abstract of Systematic Theology, p. 367-68 as referenced in the class lecture outline notes.

[2] George E. Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 96.

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid, 98-106.

>The Holy Spirit and Inclusivism

>The following was a forum question in my Systematic Theology class at Southern Seminary and my response to the question. Feel free to comment and add to the discussion!

Since the Holy Spirit “blows where he wills” (John 3.8) discuss the implications of his work among non-Christian communities.

The idea that other people groups can encounter salvation apart from the Christian model through Jesus Christ is a very controversial issue. I would highly recommend the book 4 Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World edited by Stan Gundry. In that work, the pluralist, inclusivist, and particularist views are laid out with the particularist view being represented by a moderate and conservative branch. I tend to (at this point) side with Alister McGrath in this work as a Particularist / Agnostic. The theme of Scripture from beginning to end is found in the person and work of Christ and the sovereignty of God. I cannot see through the biblical evidence a way to salvation except through the blood of Christ and His grace through faith. The Holy Spirit is the agency by which that salvation process is worked out in each believer. I enjoyed reading the specifics of this process in Ferguson’s book and was enlightened as to the implications of the biblical record on the Spirit’s work in salvation. It made me have a fresh look at the entire doctrine and the Spirit’s work in my own life! With regards to the question posed here, Ferguson points out in his work that the role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Trinity are to glorify the other members of the Trinity. Therefore, the Spirit’s work is found within the parameters of the glory of the Son and of the Father. The Spirit will not do anything that does not glorify the Son and the Father and vice versa. John Piper in his excellent book Desiring God says that the chief end of God is to Glorify God and enjoy himself forever. The Triune God’s main task throughout eternity has been His glory for His name sake. That means that the Holy Spirit will work and act in concert with the Son and the Father. I don’t see how salvation or a working of the Spirit can occur outside the preaching of Christ crucified and resurrected and of God the Father and His providential plan for humanity. Nonetheless, I am not God nor will ever consider myself knowledgable to understand the fullness of His mysteries – and the question of the eternal destiny of those who are “moral pagans” of this era or of antiquity is definitely a mystery! Therefore, I must claim that I am agnostic in that regard and defer to the sovereignty of God and his perfect plan for all the universe. Nonetheless, I must say that Jesus did say that “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). That passage (in the midst of Jesus’ discussion of the Holy Spirit who was to come) along with the witness of scripture points on a Christocentric salvation experience. Anyone who feels that they can come to a salvation experience outside of Christ is “playing with fire”. Although I am saying that I cannot be one hundred percent sure that moral individuals of other faiths will be condemned, I certainly would not want to “test” the Lord on that issue. I would much rather now “fall on my knees and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior” (Philippians 2:5-11) than as to wait until the day of Judgement and be forced to do it and then hope for an exception to the rule.

>Fast Fact about Missions (10/40 Window)

>I have been studying a course on missions in seminary this semester and the statistics on the lostness of certain parts of the world are absolutely staggering. Here are some good numbers for you to think about:

1. 25% of the World’s Population has never heard the gospel and have absolutely no access to the Gospel. That is over 1.5 billion people.

2. The 10/40 Window as pictured in the image on this post contains 60% of the world’s population or 3.6 billion people and include 37 of the 50 least evangelized countries on the planet.

3. The three dominant religions in this region of the world (Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism) account for the following population:
a. 1.1 Billion Muslims
b. 1.0 Billion Hindus
c. 600 Million Buddhists

4. Although over 60% of the world’s population live in this area of the world and a vast percentage are unreached by the Gospel, only 8% of evangelical missionaries work among them.

5. 82% of the poorest of the poor live in this area of the world.

6. Of the 2,161 people groups (or approx. 1.7 billion people in the 10/40 Window who have NO access to the gospel):
a. less than 10% have the New Testament translated into their language.
b. Less than 10% have the complete Bible translations in their language.
c. Less than 20% have the Jesus film in their language.

*these statistics were taken from lecture on the 10/40 Window

>Introductory Post

>**This is my new blog page so that I can use my gmail account instead of the other one. If you would like to look at my posts from January – April 2009, please visit http://moore4christ.blogspot.com. This is a more stripped down version of this new blog.**

It is my prayer that this is the first of many, many posts / articles for the Moore for Christ Blog. I hope that everyone who visits and follows this blog will be enriched by its content and also blessed by the God and Saviour that this blog serves. I hope that all who follow this blog will begin to live More for Christ!

God’s Richest Blessings upon you!

Introductory Post

It is my prayer that this is the first of many, many posts / articles for the Moore for Christ Blog. I hope that everyone who visits and follows this blog will be enriched by its content and also blessed by the God and Saviour that this blog serves. I hope that all who follow this blog will begin to live More for Christ!

God’s Richest Blessings upon you!