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"Controversial" Comic Book

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Religiot, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. Religiot

    Religiot Well-Known Member

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    Hey, what do you guys think about the theology in this comic book?
     

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  2. Paul James

    Paul James Active Member

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    This is a very powerful gospel document and it goes right along with Paul saying, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
    This is the correct way of sharing the gospel with the unsaved, because it brings the conviction of sin and the fear of God. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Corinthians 5:11).

    Notice that the guy in the story said he prayed the sinner's prayer. This is the fault of so many who profess Christianity. They think that just praying a simple prayer and nothing else will get them saved; but in the comic, it was clear that the guy's heart was not changed, and his Christianity was just outward show, and when he came up for judgment he was found to be still in his sins.

    There are people here who will reject this comic because it doesn't fit their image of a loving God and a gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Their image of God doesn't include His justice. Their God is a comfortable God that suits their lifestyle, and "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:18). These are the ones who say that God does not frighten people into the kingdom and they oppose those who face others up with their moral responsibility before God in the light of the Ten Commandments.

    So, I fully support this comic and I think every unsaved person should read it, and many "easy believing" professing Christians should as well, to show them that they need more than just an outward show of Christian religion to be approved of God in the judgment, which we all have to face.
     
  3. Duke of Stratford

    Duke of Stratford One day at a time.

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    I think the main point, that just saying some words doesn't make you a Christian, is correct. The theology of "say a prayer and do whatever you want" is dangerous, and it's good to call that out.

    I do think the comic is seriously flawed in its depiction of coming to repentance, however. There's virtually no discussion of God's love or Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. Though it's right in preaching faith with works that succeed from that faith, the motivator seems to be fear of punishment as opposed to a response upon meeting God's love. I'm not trying to downplay God's sovereignty or righteousness, but there's little focus on His love and grace in the comic. Guilt and fear aren't lasting motivators for genuine heart change, and overemphasizing these ideas can lead to people falling into works-based salvation and legalism.

    There are also some narrative points that are contradictory. The main character is depicted as a "say a prayer and do whatever" sort of person who only goes to church when he can get something out of it. But the panel showing him praying and being at peace with his "personal interpretation" of the Bible doesn't quite mesh with that image. It also seems to be arguing a separate doctrinal point than the comic's main focus.

    There are a couple smaller theological points that also worry me a bit. In the first depiction of the man's nonChristian life, we see him doing things like talking to a Jewish person and reading a book with a Disney logo to his daughter, and neither of these are sinful activities. The depiction of the Jewish man is particularly worrisome; the comic appears to imply that we shouldn't communicate or demonstrate love toward people outside the faith, which is... If I can be frank, there seems to be a bit of an anti-Semetic slant to the comic as a whole, which I know isn't the main point, but it's troubling. I'm not saying this is what the comic says, but it's a very easy interpretation based on what's presented.

    So, yeah, I think the overall theological message is good, but I don't think the comic expresses in the best way, and there are some implications to what it says that can have a negative influence as opposed to a positive one.

    Just my two cents.
     
  4. Paul James

    Paul James Active Member

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    We need to be careful about "negative" and "positive". Much of the church is infested with the non-Christian "Power of Positive Thinking" written by Norman Vincent Peale, who was heavily into the occult. The "positive confession" crowd have taken that up and teach that always saying positive things will bring blessing, and saying anything negative will block the blessing of God. This is not true. God told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit from a particular tree they would die! That's about as negative as one can get! Peter told the crowd at Pentecost: "The Jesus whom you have crucified has become both Lord and Christ!" That was certainly not positive, yet 3000 people got saved as a result.

    The reason why 95% of all new converts under most systems of evangelism fall away in the first year, is they are presented with the good news before the bad news, and they make a profession of Christianity before having the clear knowledge that they are sinners, deserving of hell, and will face the terrifying truth of being totally rejected by Christ because they continued in sin, making themselves hypocrites instead of forsaking their sinful habit patterns through the fear of God.

    But the 5% of those who continue as sound believers in the faith are those who know they are sinners, have faced up to it, repented in their hearts, loved Christ and hated sin in themselves, forsook the works of the flesh, and desires with all their hearts to live a holy life pleasing to the Lord.

    I read the comic as a young Christian, 50 years ago, and it instilled the fear of the Lord in me that has kept me on the straight and narrow with Christ ever since.
     
  5. Duke of Stratford

    Duke of Stratford One day at a time.

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    I do agree, and I in no way intend to say we should downplay sin and repentance. However, grace also should not be downplayed.

    I think different people work in different ways. For some people, the stark message can be important. Others need comfort and hope. Honestly, I believe that everyone needs a bit of both, but these can be at different moments. For instance, my church once began preaching on Malachi, and I ended up feeling really anxious about the message to a destructive extent. When I talked with one of the church pastors about it, he told me that not everyone is the target for a specific message. Some people need to hear harsh truth, and others need to hear grace. We all need both.

    That's more my point. Overemphasizing the negative is just as dangerous as overemphasizing the positive. That aspect of my concern was with how the comic portrays its message. I think some of it comes from Jack Chick's original style (of which this comic is an edit) that carried over into the comic in question.
     
  6. Paul James

    Paul James Active Member

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    I agree.
    I like Ray Comfort's approach to preaching the gospel. He shows his listeners their sin by testing them according to the Ten Commandments. Once they acknowledge that they are not good in themselves and will probably be found guilty in the judgment, then he gives the good news about the gospel of Christ and the grace of God. I think he does it in a way that is friendly, makes sense to the ones he speaks to. What I do like is, he doesn't try to bring them to making a decision. He leaves it to them to think things through and make their own decision. I also like that he is not advertising a church, nor is he proselytising to get "acres" on seats, or "notches" on his belt. In this, he couldn't say that he has won "such and such" a number for Christ, because he never tries to get a decision. I thought I would just add this as interesting information about a great way of preaching the gospel without being an spiritual "insurance salesman".
     
  7. Duke of Stratford

    Duke of Stratford One day at a time.

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    That is good! Especially the fact that he doesn’t try to get people to make a decision in the moment.

    I try to think of it like this: Jesus showed personal care toward his disciples and toward sinners. He treated them like people and, even though He had rebukes and commands, everything was from a place of love AND truth. I think if we as Christians showed active engagement, treating people like people and not projects (or, as you phrased it, notches in a belt), we’d spread the gospel much more effectively. Maybe that’s partially why I’m not a fan of Chick-style tracts in general. But again, consciousness of different approaches for different people so the Spirit can work in them as an individual. :)
     
  8. Religiot

    Religiot Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I can see that also, but I think that the page depicting his new Christian-life shows that the meaning of the images are not antisemitic, but just a depiction against fellowship with those who deny Jesus as the Messiah.

    Plus, I don't think that any Christian could ever be antisemitic, because Jesus, after all, is the King of the Jews; and He still is a Jew Himself, and that, forevermore.
     
  9. Quietus

    Quietus Lost Cause

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    Well, no one is going to be saved by how sinless they are. They are going to be saved based upon whether or not they are cloaked with Christ's righteousness. Once saved, sins are no longer added to our account; the debt is paid in full. This isn't "greasy grace", this is what Paul tells us in Romans.
     
  10. Paul James

    Paul James Active Member

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    Being cloaked with Christ's righteousness is the wedding garment that is essential to be admitted to the marriage feast of the Lamb. So it is essential to salvation. I thought you would have known that.

    "But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless. Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:11-13).

    This is a parable told by Jesus depicting the marriage supper of the Lamb.
     
  11. Quietus

    Quietus Lost Cause

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    That's what I said.
     
  12. Paul James

    Paul James Active Member

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    Oh! Sorry I misread you. Blame my daughter's dog who chewed my reading glasses and broke them! :)
     
  13. Duke of Stratford

    Duke of Stratford One day at a time.

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    Sorry—I completely missed this reply when you wrote it!

    I see the angle that was attempted there, but it’s still really unclear. From my read, it seems like the message is “don’t engage” or “don’t be friendly.” The hard thing with creative work is that you have to be careful about how the audience will interpret it. I’ve experienced that quite a bit while working on my Creative Writing degree. It’s a good thing to check with an audience to see how messages can be interpreted from different individuals’ perspectives.

    A Christian absolutely should not discriminate against any ethnic group. Unfortunately, it is possible to proclaim Christ and still be discriminatory and/or prejudiced against others. Someone can definitely call themself a Christian and display anti-semitism. I worry that, even though it is not the intention, that that would be what someone sees here.

    I don’t want to get super off topic by going on a tangent about that. I think there are a lot of points being attempted here, and I personally don’t think the way they are expressed in the comic will be very effective in evangelism. I appreciate the effort in trying to educate on a difficult topic, though!
     
  14. Religiot

    Religiot Well-Known Member

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    No worries.

    Audience feed back is important, but only for a very limited input.

    Remember, this comic is not for evangelism, but for admonition.

    And yes, it is possible for anyone to claim Christ, yet deny Him by their actions:

    "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." --Matthew 15:7-9

    That is truly the object of the comic, to point this out, and to depict, as much as possible, that it is obedience to Christ that saves, period.

    Consider also the great limitations of such work, how that most of what can be said on such a great subject must be left on the cutting-room floor.

    Truly, the scriptures are sufficient, but because of deception, literature like this is now required to get the layman to look at the bible for themselves, instead of relying on seminarians that contradict each other on basic doctrine, so much so, that there are more denominations of Christianity than any other religion in the world, by far: this is all the evidence that I think is required to realize that something truly pernicious slithers just underneath these seemingly innocuous divisions.

    The times we're living in are uniquely evil.

    Godspeed.
     
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