The Gospel and The Dark Knight

A few nights ago, my wife and I finally got out to see the newest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. I’m glad we saw it in the theater. Because the movie has already been showing for a month or so, we missed (or avoided depending how one looks at it) viewing in a full theater, but we paid a little extra to see it enhanced, in IMAX. As much as we could, experienced the movie at it’s fullest.

I would sum up all two hours and forty-five minutes, without spoiling anything, as super-human-hero versus super-human-villan, battle strung upon battle or all out war, unimaginable weapons and machinery, explosions ad infinitum (one nuclear!), plot twists, an unexpected ending, and enough leeway for yet another movie in the franchise (even though they “say” they’re done). Yes, the movie was good. Yes, it grabbed and held our attention. But at the same time, I walked away feeling that I just got the same experience as when we saw The Avengers over the summer, or Mission Impossible 4 in the spring. With all the drama, c.g., and pyrotechnics, this is it. This is the best they can do. And now that it’s over, it will be three or four months before I experience this again, unless I want to shell out another 37 bucks plus concessions.

It reminded me of a statement by John Piper regarding sharing the gospel with students. If you are a youth worker or have children, I would highly commend listening to Imparting a Passion: A Challenge to Youth Workers. An important point that the pastor makes is this: As a Gospel-minister you are in competition with the movie-makers.

With due respect to the movie industry, and the incredible and lasting affect movies can have, there is a power in the creation greater than any movie director could wish to wield. Romans 1:16 plainly puts it: “the Gospel is the power of God for salvation unto all who believe.”

As our lives and the lives of those around us are filled with challenges, setbacks, confusion, tragedy, embarrasment, agony, pride, indifference, pettiness, injustices, dissatisfaction, and the like, we would easily find an escape as near as an internet connection and Netflix. But something better is offered than escape: rescue. “All the sad things coming untrue” as it’s been said. It’s rescue through a sinless life, foretold for centuries, dying as a substitue, rising in power, ascending to heaven, but sending his Spirit, until he returns bodily. That is where the real power is.

And because that’s where the power is, that’s where the fruit will come from. So whether preacher or parent, let’s roll Gospel scenes for the people we love: vividly, creatively, consistently. Against the Gospel, all the movies in all the world don’t compete.

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