Two recent news events – the He Gets Us campaign and the revival at Asbury University – have generated interest among Christians and non-Christians alike. They also have attracted critics from within the church, said Phil Cooke, a filmmaker and author in Los Angeles.
“Every time something pops up on the Christian radar, it’s embarrassing and frustrating to see how many Christian critics leap to immediately `expose ‘ it as false – especially on social media,” he said. “With Asbury chapel services for instance, it’s as if hundreds of armchair theologians feel obligated to fly to Kentucky and personally report on whether it’s legitimate or fake.
“Of course, hundreds more just make their exalted judgment without even seeing it firsthand. As a Christian community, it often seems our default response is, `no – this can’t be of God.’”
For example, one critic posted that “The He Gets Us ads are what happens when people watch The Chosen instead of reading the Bible.”
“When it comes to The Chosen or He Gets Us, these are folks who not only felt the calling to share the gospel through media, but they wrote scripts, raised money, launched massive productions, placed it in the national media — all at great risk,” he said. “And while millions of people have seen those projects, I’m just wondering how many people the critics have shared Christ with during that time.
“Would I have done those projects differently? Absolutely. None of us would tell the same story the same way, and we all relate to God in different ways. But because I disagree with someone else’s approach to sharing the gospel, that doesn’t necessarily make their approach false.”
Cooke shared the story of Gamaliel, a Pharisee who testified when the apostles were on trial in Acts 5.
“While we obviously need to be discerning and wise and search the scriptures, how did we get so many self-appointed theology cops who are convinced the rest of us are breathlessly waiting for their opinion?” he asked. “Guess what? We’re not. And as Gamaliel said, ‘If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.’ Share the gospel. In the process, we’ll make mistakes, do wrong things, interpret scripture differently. But either share it or lighten up on those who do.”
The Asbury events recently moved off campus but continue.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice