Rolling Stone: Scared of The Bible

Rolling Stone says they won’t print an ad for the Bible because they disagree with the message of the ad.

What does that say about the messages they regularly print on ads throughout the magazine? Are they really ready to say they agree with all of that?


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  • Anonymous

    “…there is no reason to believe that Christ saves only Christians, or for that matter that Christ saves all Christians. And the criterion by which we will apparently be judged certainly does seem to involve our deeds, somehow.”

    So, are you saying that if someone rejects Christ but is basically a good person they might go to Heaven? Or that if I accept Christ as my Lord and Savior that there’s a possibility that I wil go to Hell if my good works somehow don’t measure up? I refuse to believe that this could happen.

  • mark

    Peter and Jeffrey, you have once again left my spinning. You have brought up some great questions based on several pertinent passages, but in a discussion of Faith, Works, and Salvation I believe it is a good idea to start with the foundational passage and then understand other passages in light of its clear teaching. In this case it would be Ephesians 2:8-10. Most of my fellow church members would say Eph 2:8-9 and would thus lose the entire import of the passage. We are Saved by Grace exclusively through Faith exclusively and though works has no part in Salvation, it is for works that we are saved. Those that Christ Jesus prepared for us beforehand. I think a solid understanding of this clears up whether or not you can insert Christian and Muslim for Jew and Gentile since the only way to insert them into Romans would be if they were both Christians which I define as those who are saved according to Ephesians 2:8-9 and not simply by referring to themselves as Christian as Jesus made clear when he said not everyone who calls himself my disciple will see the Kingdom of God.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Yer welcome, Jeff — haven’t had time to check your revisions yet, as I must dash out and see the new Star Wars movie, and commenting thoughtfully on your thoughts takes time. :)

    What he is pointing out is that in Christian theology, righteousness and good deeds are not unneccessary but they are powerless to save. Only faith in Christ saves.

    Careful, there.

    If you are saying that we are saved by having faith in Christ, then you are just promoting salvation by works under a different name, since “having faith” would be the “work” in question.

    If, however, you are simply saying that it is only Christ who saves, then I have no problem with that. Indeed, I heartily affirm that. My point is that, as per Romans 2 and other passages (like that “sheep and goats” passage in Matthew), there is no reason to believe that Christ saves only Christians, or for that matter that Christ saves all Christians. And the criterion by which we will apparently be judged certainly does seem to involve our deeds, somehow.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Peter, I’ve revised my comments extensively after having a night to sleep on it…. Thanks for catching me in some errors. I hope my revision is clearer and more carefully thought out. Last night, I was still weary from the day and the film, and I used some truly awful language like “varying varieties” and the word “betraying” instead of “portraying.” I should NEVER blog about a movie until at least 12 hours after seeing it.

  • Anonymous

    “But the BEST Christians and Muslims are those who realize that true righteousness is all about deeds… being a good man.”

    Funnily enough this is exactly what islamic/jewish theology says about what makes a man good enough to be saved. You take Christ out of the equation and what you are left with is salvation through good deeds which is essentially Jewish/Islamic thinking. This idea is being passed off by Hollywood and the MSM as an ideal for Christians too and its getting more overt by the day.

    We must beware this kind of thinking and be sure that our children are well aware of it too. Jeffrey has a good point. I don’t think that he is saying that good works have no place in Christianity, few Christians would say such a thing. What he is pointing out is that in Christian theology, righteousness and good deeds are not unneccessary but they are powerless to save. Only faith in Christ saves. This is what makes us Christians and not something else and any idea to the contrary snuck into our heads through popular culture is going to erode that idea and instead implant the idea that what makes a man good is good deeds, tolerance ie the Christ-less line about religion that the other two monotheistic faiths advocate. It seems beyond obvious to us to say that without Christ, there are no Christians and no point to remaining Christians but to many vulnerable people out there it is not remotely so clear. We must strongly contradict the message of this movie.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    I will obviously have to see this film again, because it seemed that several of us on the junket were impressed that the film was fairly balanced and complex and better than we had expected, etc., but now I am coming across more negative reactions, such as yours.

    In any case, a few points, if I may:

    But the BEST Christians and Muslims are those who realize that true righteousness is all about deeds… being a good man.

    I honestly don’t have that big a problem with this. Consider Romans 2:

    To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

    All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

    Change “Jew” to “Christian” and “Gentile” to “Muslim” and I think this passage would still apply.

    It seems to me that Protestants as a rule have tended to think that Paul’s admonitions against following the Jewish dietary laws etc. were somehow an admonition against emphasizing good deeds in general, but this is simply not so. Perhaps this is my Mennonite background speaking, but many Protestants, following in the tradition of Martin Luther, have generally been a little paranoid about emphasizing the importance of good deeds, lest they seem too Catholic; Luther himself pushed this paranoia to the point where he wanted to throw the Book of James out of the scriptures.

    Being a good man means knowing that your enemy is really just like you, and when all is said and done, there are really no differences between the two belief systems worth arguing over.

    “Arguing”? Or “fighting”? How many beliefs are worth killing for? And which ones? Again, maybe it’s my Mennonite background speaking, but I have a difficult time believing Jesus would have taken up arms to conquer Jerusalem, as the Crusaders did in 1099 (though defending it as Balian did in 1187 might have been another story, I don’t know — then again, the historical Balian had to threaten to kill all the Muslim hostages in Jerusalem before Saladin agreed to take the city peacefully). Indeed, this Christian inclination towards non-violence is one of the key differences between our belief system and the Muslim one. (Didn’t Malcolm X convert to Islam partly because it rejected the principle of turning the other cheek?)

    The Christianity he arrives at in the end does not involve prayer or submission to a Higher Authority. And it has little or nothing to do with Christ.

    Um, what makes you say that Orlando Bloom arrives at any sort of Christianity at all? Ridley Scott, at least, was pretty clear in the interview that Bloom’s character remains an “agnostic” right to the end.

    We must first and foremost adhere to the religion of tolerance, and keep our other religious convictions to ourselves. It’s more important that we please each other than that we please God.

    Oddly enough, Romans 2 is one of the few places in scripture that uses the word “tolerance”, too. :) But I honestly wonder exactly what sort of God-pleasing activities you think Balian (and thus the film) is rejecting, here. Conquering and slaughtering the infidels, perhaps? It is a historical fact that the Knights Templar believed they were invincible against superior numbers because God was on their side; in this, they cited passages like Joshua 23:10. In the film, this is represented by the idea that they are invincible so long as they march behind the cross; I don’t know if that particular detail is historical, but I think the Knights would have been wiser to heed the lesson of I Samuel 4.

    We are kept far far away from Muslim women, for example, so we don’t have to wonder about how they’re treated.

    Well, we do see Saladin’s sister, who is apparently abused before she is murdered by one of the Templars. I’ll freely grant that that scene was a bit gratuitous.