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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Reflections On: The Hobbit's Invitation for Teens

Bilbo Baggins
 

Galatians 3:7 (NKJV) — 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.




[Click on the title to see the article, The Hobbit's Invitation for Teens.]

Yesterday evening as I was driving to a professional educator's class I happened to flip to the local Moody radio station at WKES 91.1 FM out of Lakeland, Florida.  (See WCIE, 91.1 FM).  At any rate, I was listening to Janet Parshall's radio program, In the Market, which is broadcast via satellite out of Chicago. But I will come back this is a moment.  

Some background of WKES, Lakeland, Florida is in order here.  While the history of the radio station itself would take hours to recount, I will just tell you that it was at one time owned by the now defunct Carpenter's Home Church, a charismatic and pentecostal congregation in Lakeland, Florida.  Unfortunately, though the church was thriving during the mid-1980s, it died after a huge scandal struck.  Pastor Karl Strader's son, Daniel, had fraudulently bilked $3 million dollars from the retirees of the Carpenter's Home Estates retirement community, leaving them without their retirement nest eggs.  That point was the beginning of the debacle of the 10,000 seat sanctuary and a congregation of 5,000 regular attenders.  Moreover, WCIE sold out to Moody Radio.

Which brings me to the point of the article, namely that the theme of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, written by the late Roman Catholic, J. R. R. Tolkien, is that ultimate power ultimately corrupts the person who wields it.  Jesus clearly said that whoever would follow him must forsake all and take up their cross and follow Him.  (Cf.  Matthew 16:24, 25).  Given the popularity of the prosperity gospel these days and the false teaching of New Thought and the Word of Faith movement which lies behind those doctrines, Christians would do well to take heed to Tolkien's theme of good versus evil and that evil once taking hold corrupts all who touch it.  (Cf. Luke 22:3-6).

I was introduced to The Hobbit in a 9th grade English class at Hardee High School in Wauchula, Florida, by my teacher, Al Pace.  I will be forever grateful for studying the novel in that class in 1974.  It truly was and is one of my favorite novels of all time.  Afterwards, I read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Those books were and still are burned forever into my psyche.  I particularly enjoyed the underlying Christian themes of the books, something all Christians can and should benefit from apart from the fact that this is great literature.

My problem, however, is that whenever Evangelicals sing the praises of the books and the movies based upon them they conveniently overlook the fact that J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic.  Many of these same folks talk about Tolkien's friend and colleague, C. S. Lewis, as if he, too, were a flaming evangelist for the Evangelical and Protestant faith.  Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.  (See:  Was C. S. Lewis an Anglo-Catholic?  See also:  Did C. S. Lewis Go to Heaven?)

What particularly upset me about Janet Parshall's program, In the Market, was that she made a remark early in the program about J. R. R. Tolkien being now in the Lord's presence.  I would like to know how a man who was devoutly Roman Catholic and who apparently believed in the idolatries of the Roman Catholic Church and the false gospel of justification by faith plus merits and infused righteousness could possibly be in heaven?  The naivete of Evangelicals these days is for all practical purposes nothing more than an Evangelical version of ecumenical latitudinarianism and theological relativism.

If the Gospel revealed in the Holy Scriptures is not some nebulous, existential encounter with an undefined mystical and cosmic Christ of liberalism, then what is the Gospel?  The Gospel is a series of logical and rational propositions revealed in great detail and precision in the Bible.  Doctrine, in short, is dogmatic and non-negotiable.  If the gospel of Rome is true, then it would be impossible for the biblical Gospel to be at the time true because the two positions are mutually contradictory and exclusive of the other.  There can be no middle ground between Rome and Geneva or between Rome and Canterbury or even Wittenberg.  As Martin Luther said, the crux of the matter is whether or not there is free will or if everything is determined of necessity by God Himself, extending even to men and angels.  In addition to contending earnestly for the absolute sovereignty of God and the bondage of the human will to original sin and inherent sin, Luther contended that the doctrine by which the Gospel stands or falls is the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  (Romans 4:1-8; Galatians 2:14-16).

Because I was disturbed by the confusion on the part of Janet Parshall, I called the toll free number on my cell phone and was surprised to get an immediate answer.  (1-877-548-3675).  Trying to be low key, I mentioned to her that it might be that J. R. R. Tolkien's Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism were incompatible with each other.  I then asked her if she could mention that on the program and her immediate response was, "No."  Rather than get into a debate on the phone and because I was on the way to a class, I replied politely, "Well, thank-you," and hung up.

When Evangelicalism is so broad that the Gospel gets lost it has crossed over from the truth into compromise.  I can draw no other conclusion.  (John 14:6; Acts 4:10, 12; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4; Galatians 1:6-9; 3:1-7).

Click here to read the linked article:  The Hobbit's Invitation for Teens

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