Jesus Revolution — Movie Review

Watching this film will give you a bit of evangelical history from the 1970’s. It is the true story of a hippie street preacher, Lonnie Frisbee, who joins forces with Pastor Chuck Smith to revive his small congregation called Calvary Chapel. The movement they set off led to an explosion of baptisms and enthusiastic conversions among young people who had been (in the words of Lonnie) “looking for peace and love in the wrong places.” It was also the genesis of much of the contemporary Christian rock music used in some churches today. One of the converts is Greg Laurie, who goes on to become a well-known evangelical church leader in his own right.

From what I have read, the film is fairly true to actual events, and it does not gloss over conflicts. Some members left Pastor Chuck’s church when he began ministering to “hippies” and eventually Lonnie and Chuck disagree and go their separate ways. The acting is well done. However, the theology is all wrong from a Lutheran perspective — based on decision theology and feelings, with a charismatic flavor.

VERDICT: 3 STARS. Watch it for the history, not the theology.

For more movie reviews see these posts:

Overcomer–Movie Review

Show Me the Father–Movie Review

In His Steps–Movie Review

Red Sea Crossing, Part 3

The water of baptism combined with the Word is God’s victory for His people. When we view our story and our salvation in light of the Old Testament, we understand that God is always victorious. He is always acting. He is always about the business of saving His people.

The yearly Passover meal celebrating their deliverance from slavery in Egypt was a way to remind the Israelites that they were the people of a mighty God, a God who was with them and who had saved them. According to the Large Catechism of Martin Luther, recalling our baptism serves the same purpose.

“This is how we must regard baptism and make it profitable to ourselves; when our sins oppress us we must strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say: Nevertheless, I am baptized; but if I am baptized, it is promised me that I shall be saved and have eternal life both in soul and body.”

You are a child of God. You have been saved. Remember your baptism.

For more about the victory of God see these posts:

And Speaking of God’s Victory ….

God’s Victory Through the Sacrament of Communion, part 3

God’s Victory Over Our Sin

Red Sea Crossing, Part 2

The Exodus, and in particular the account of how God rescued the Israelites at the Red Sea is a prime example of how the Old Testament is a foretaste of things to come in the New Testament. As I read chapter 14 of Exodus, I see that this is a truly desperate situation. Facing the people is the sea; Pharoah and his army are pursing them from behind. They are trapped and cannot save themselves. Moses understands that they must rely completely on God. He tells them:

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today … The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

God is in complete control. He not only directs Moses, He hardens the heart of Pharoah and repositions the pillar of fire and the angel. He drives the sea back so that the Israelites can cross on dry land and the returns it to its normal course, destroying the Egyptians.

This is not only an event involving water, it is a watershed event! It is one of those moments when history is changed forever. The Israelites never forgot their rescue, commemorating it every year in the Passover celebration.

As individual Christians, our baptism is a similar watershed event. Through water and the Word of God, we too are rescued. Just as God defeated Pharoah through the water of the Red Sea, in the water of our baptism, God defeats the world, the flesh and the devil. Like the Israelites, we are no longer condemned to a life of slavery; we are new creations, united with Christ and promised eternal life with God. Whether we are baptized as an infant or an adult, it is the grace of God alone that finds us and saves us, the crux of faith as summed up by Paul:

“For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

More to come tomorrow ….

For more about baptism see these posts:

United with Christ in our Baptism

Baptism, A New Beginning

The Freedom of Baptism

United with Christ in our Baptism

In our most recent class on union with Christ, we discussed baptism. In the book of Galatians, we learn:

“for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27″

Union with Christ begins with our baptism. What does that mean to Lutherans? Well, for us baptism is a sacrament because:

  1. It was commanded by God
  2. It has a physical component (something we can see, touch, etc.) which is used in connection with God’s promise in His Word

We Lutherans baptize infants because we believe it is a work of God, not man. It is God reaching down to touch us, to claim us, and to change us. Although the rite of baptism is not what saves us, it is important. Martin Luther said we should remember our baptism every day.

“No greater jewel, therefore, can adorn our body and soul than baptism, for through it we become completely holy and blessed, which no other kind of life and no work on earth can acquire” (Book of Concord, 462)

For more posts about baptism see:

Martin Luther on Baptism

Spiritually Reborn in Baptism

Baptism, A New Beginning

Walking With Jesus–Devotion #4

Make a list of things you would take in a backpack if you were going on a long hike. What did you come up with? Probably things like water, food, first aid kit, bug repellent, blanket and so on. All of these things and others you thought of will keep you in good shape and get you safely to your destination.

It’s like that in our “walk with Jesus.” As we move through life, God gives us a whole lot of help so that we can reach our eternal destination with Him safely.

Our baptism gives us a spiritual knapsack full of good things earned for us through the suffering, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus. For example:

*Forgiveness for our guilt and sin

*Love for times we feel unloved or do unloving things

*Hope when we feel like we won’t make it

*Peace when we are in turmol

*Joy when we are sad

We simply need to remember to use and rely on the helps God has given us for our walk. They will not help if we leave them in our pack or at home when we go walking through life.

*Think of a song you can whistle or sing on your walk with God that will remind you of the ways He helps you along your walk — maybe “What a Friend We Have In Jesus.”

To listen to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” go to this post:

Story Behind the Song: What a friend we have in Jesus!

For more about friendship see:

Friends in the Lord

Remembering Old Friends

Friendship Promises – Book Review

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Baptism

Since we’ve been on the topic of baptism, here’s what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say:

“Baptism is not an offer made by man to God, but an offer made by Christ to man. It is grounded solely on the will of Jesus Christ, as expressed in his gracious call. Baptism is essentially passive-being baptized, suffering the call of Christ. In baptism man becomes Christ’s own possession. When the name of Christ is spoken over the candidate, he becomes a partaker in this Name, and is baptized “into Jesus Christ”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see these posts:

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Praying For One Another

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Time

Martin Luther on Baptism

After posting John Stott’s quote on baptism, I decided to see what Martin Luther had to say!

For that purpose Christ instituted holy baptism, thereby to clothe you with his righteousness. It is tantamount to his saying, My righteousness shall be your righteousness; my innocence, your innocence. Your sins indeed are great, but by baptism I bestow on you my righteousness; I strip death from you and clothe you with my life.”

Martin Luther

For more quotes by Martin Luther see these posts:

Martin Luther on Charity #2

More Advice From Martin Luther

Martin Luther on the Sabbath

How Should We Then Live? –A Quote by John Stott

“Can a married woman still live as though she were a single girl?  Well, yes, I suppose she can.  It is not impossible.  But let her feel that ring on the fourth finger of her left hand, the symbol of her new life, the symbol of her identification with her husband, let her remember who she is, and let her live accordingly. Can a born-again Christian live as though he were still in his sins?  Well, yes, I suppose he can.  It is not impossible.  But let him remember his baptism, the symbol of his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and let him live accordingly.”

John Stott

For more on baptism see these posts:

Baptism, A New Beginning

The Freedom of Baptism

Spiritually Reborn in Baptism

 

 

A Different View of Life’s End

“We who follow Jesus Christ face our suffering and dying differently than others do.  We look to the Cross of Jesus Christ for hope and guidance and ultimately to the Risen Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15).  We, who belong to Christ through Baptism, do not measure a person’s worth by the ‘quality’ of life as limited by illness, disability, or aging.  We were of worth when helpless infants as in our Baptism God made us His (Romans 6:4), and we are still of worth in God’s care when we are helpless as a patient at the end of life (Romans 14:7-8).  We care about the dying, disabled, or elderly and attempt to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).  We bear witness to a better way, the way of the Cross of Jesus Christ in which God comes to care for us first by His suffering and dying (Hebrews 2:10) and then in our suffering and dying (Romans 8:28).”

Confession of Faith written for Lutherans For Life by Dr. Richard Eyer of Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin.  Learn more about Lutherans for Life by following this link:

https://www.lutheransforlife.org/

Baptism, A New Beginning

According to Luther’s Small Catechism, baptism is a sign that:

“the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned through daily sorrow for sin and repentance, and that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up.”

 

Baptism is the moment of our incorporation into the crucified and risen body of Jesus, a time when Christ takes hold of us and makes us His.  It is entirely a work of God’s grace, as it is He alone who works faith in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Since a human “decision” is not the beginning of our life as God’s child, Lutherans baptize infants.  In the sacrament of baptism, through water and the Word, we become the sheep of His pasture.  He calls us by name.  I’ve always associated baptism with this children’s hymn I used to sing with my daughters.  Listen closely and you’ll see it addresses our end as well as our beginning.