Last night my lovely bride and I braved a Nebraska snow storm to attend an event hosted by our friends Curt and Merissa Knight. The Knight’s are a wonderful family from our local church who, by the grace of God, are making an impact for the kingdom of Christ. The purpose of the event was to view a documentary film by Dan Merchant called “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers“, and then discuss it afterward.
The point of the movie, in my opinion, was to point out one of the primary, and often neglected, commands of Christ followers. The command to love your neighbor as yourself. I use the term Christ followers because, as the movie pointed out, the term Christian has become a negative term in our society. The term Christian has been associated with folks like Westboro Baptist Church and their pastor, Fred Phelps. You’ve heard of their famous tag line “God hates fags”. It is also the web address for their churches web site. They completely neglecting such biblical verses such as:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
They get the verse nine part, but seem to have forgotten what Paul states right after this. He states that those he is addressing were also among those who practiced the same unrighteousness.
Granted, Westboro Baptist is one of the extreme cases against the term Christian but the point is they are totally missing the second greatest commandment which is to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving your neighbor was exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. When we, as Christ followers, point our fingers at those unrighteous folks practicing those things condemned within scripture without showing them the grace and the love of God, we indeed fall short. This is the very same love and grace that God has shown you even when you were His enemy. Yes, I said it, His enemy. Or do you not know:
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:9-10 ESV)
To summarize the film, I would have to say it did a great job of pointing out this often neglected discipline of loving our neighbors. I would have to agree to disagree with some of the theology director Dan Merchant expressed briefly in the film. But the premise of the film was very successful. The concensus of those in attendance last night was that although those who focus only on the love discipline of Christ followers but neglect theology are doing harm to their neighbors by not also telling them about their condition before a holy God. In like manner, those Christ followers who only focus on theology and the doctrine of Christ and scripture without showing the love and compassion for those called enemies of God are totally missing the second greatest commandment. I would definitely recommend viewing this film. I would also recommend that you view it with others because it will prompt some interesting and stimulating conversation. I know it sure did with us.