My wife Tracy received the DVD of the film ‘Wonder Woman’ as a present from her sister at Christmas. I had no complaints whatsoever about that as we had seen the film at the cinema and it had been an enjoyable experience. But watching the film again it occurred to me, not only how good it was, but just how idealistic the character of Diana (Wonder Woman) is, which is conveyed by her thoughts and actions.After all, without giving too much of the plot away, she finds herself plucked from her idealistic world and plunged into the horrors of World War 1. Not only that, but none of the generals want to listen to a woman! Yet, when given a mission, but told she must not be swayed by the suffering and death of civilian men, women and children trapped behind enemy lines because there is a greater overall plan, her idealism automatically kicks in. So she immediately stages a one-woman rescue attempt. This draws her comrades into action and vulnerable lives are saved and suffering is cut short!
Recently, in the evening, I’ve just started preaching through the book of Revelation. In 1:9-20 John has a vision of the glorified Christ walking among seven lampstands which represent seven Churches in Asia Minor. Some of these Churches are doing well in certain areas and badly in others. One is visibly successful, but spiritually dead. Two look weak, but are going to receive special blessing. As the number seven was seen as a symbol of completeness in Jewish thinking, it doesn’t stretch our minds too far to realise that this is a picture of the ‘complete’ Church throughout the ages. Both the good and the bad within the Church is represented here. But the key thing to note is this, Christ is walking among them! Even if they are sinning by tolerating false teaching or immorality he has a message for them and is warning them and calling them to repentance and to be faithful to the Gospel by not comprising it in any way !
My last post questioned what Orthodox Christians ought to do in the face of a situation where Scripture is playing second fiddle to ‘good disagreement’ and ‘listening to experience’ in the debates within the Church. Certain Church leaders have hijacked what the Church should stand for as they are afraid of the offence that Scripture can bring and the flak that will come the Church’s way if the full council of Scripture is preached. But this passage gives us hope. Christ does not want to forsake his Church, but is calling on those who truly love him to stand up and be counted. This can only be done by being gracious and firm about what we believe and praying for revival in our Churches. Otherwise confusion reigns when, at the best, neo-evangelicalism and neo-Orthodoxy hold sway, and at the worst liberalism is the order of the day.
So let’s learn a lesson from Wonder Woman’s idealism and stand up for what we believe! Let’s be prayerful and vocal by challenging anything contrary to Scripture and praying for revival in the Church. The last Church to receive a message from the risen and glorified Christ is the Church at Laodicea. They had grown cold and apathetic, yet Christ challenges them to respond to him. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me’ (Revelation 3:20). This is a gracious invitation to a banquet, a veritable feast, not a five-minute snack, but a time of intimate fellowship! Even when the Church wanders from God’s Word he longs to reconnect intimately with it. So let’s be idealistic about our belief in God’s Word and let’s pray for the revival of the Church in in this day and age!