03 December 2011

A Christmas Carol: The Church Service

No doubt all of us are familiar with the Charles Dickens Classic, A Christmas Carol. Who among us has not to some extent associated the Christmas season with the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge? As we watch Scrooge go from a mopey miser to a generous geyser (sorry, I was channeling my amateur SD pastor within), we no doubt are tempted to examine our own pattern of generosity. This may be well and good, after all, nobody likes a tightwad, but is this the primary message of Christmas? Like many others, I enjoy watching my favorite version of this film each year (for the record, the rendition with George C. Scott as Scrooge is by far the best), but I do so recognizing that the message of the story is completely devoid of any Scriptural truth. The classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge teaches the world that to be stingy and miserly, or, more simply put, to be a "bad" person, is to be condemned to an eternity of chain-clanking wandering. Yet, to be generous and giving, to be a "good" person, is to be assured of a far different fate. Friends, this is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, while this may be a memory-infused story for us to view or read this time of year, we must do so with the full understanding that it cannot be identified as something "Christian." Consequently, we can safely say that such a story has no place being told inside of our churches. Even if one were to "Christianize" A Christmas Carol, what would be the point? Isn't the real story of Christmas: the story of Jesus Christ, God made flesh, coming to dwell among us only to one day die a bloody, brutal death, bearing the wrath of God for the sins of all who will believe only to rise again three days later in victory, enough? Surely we do not need to resort to telling fairy tales in order to celebrate Christmas! Surely we do not need to rely upon elaborate stage productions, costumes, glitz and glamour in order to draw people into our "church"... do we? Surely Steve Munsey, pastor of Family Christian Center and, ahem, "director" of Scrooge: The Musical, would disagree with what I have just written.

 

2 comments:

  1. That sort of reminds of me of Joel Osteen's new book - Every day a Friday. He found out that on average people are 10% happier on Fridays -- so naturally Joel steps in to help you be 10% happier on the other days too. This is man's religion at its best...they cannot rightly diagnose the real problem (sin), therefore their solution is not the true gospel but a pathetic false one. The true gospel represents real forgiveness and peace with God, but these false gospels can only offer a 10% improvement in earthly happiness. Or legalism masquerading as generosity.

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  2. Thankfully God does not require us to be generous to our own demise. In my case I have to be somewhat of a miser this Christmas since I'm in the red. So I'm glad that I'm not going to that church...

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