Monday, April 30, 2007

Spiderman Bible Study?

Wow who would have thought..... is it really relevant that a man spider guy be compared with anything that is Holy? Over at a Little Leaven we get this story...

Spiderman 3 "Bible Study"?!

Spidey_2Those pesky Bible stories sure can be dry, boring and irrelevant. Unbelievers now-a-days prefer the stories in popular movies over the dusty tales of Holy Writ. Isn’t there some way that we can teach 'spirituality' without having to bore people by actually opening the Bible?

Answer: Absolutely! From one of America’s most liberal seminaries, the one that has been teaching its students to ‘de-mythologize the Bible using ‘higher criticism’ for the last 4 decades, comes a “Bible Study” guide that will allow progressive and hip pastors to teach about God’s Word without actually having to open the Bible. This new ‘Bible Study’ is sooooo kewl that it allows pastors to plumb the spiritual depths of that new fountain of spiritual truth, Spiderman 3. (We bet you didn’t even know that Spiderman 3 was a Christian allegory. That’s okay. Neither did we.)

If you take the time to download and read the Spiderman 3 Bible Study Guide, you'll find it is REALLY lite on the scriptures but heavy on 'behavior modification' and the Spiderman 3 story line. Oh, and Jesus isn't mentioned even once in this "Bible Study". (Even Spiderman is a sinner who needs Jesus' mercy and forgiveness). It's as if those folks at Fuller believe that any story can teach us how to be spiritual. It doesn't matter if it is in the Bible or even if the story is true. (That's the problem with the liberals at Fuller, they don't actually believe the Bible is historically accurate.)

Heck! Let's get with the times here! Those fuller dudes are clearly showing us that the church no longer needs expository Bible teaching. Maybe we should just do 'spiritual' movie reviews every sunday at church instead of having a sermon.

If this is what the church has come to, we think it's time to dust off that old 'Titanic Bible Study' because it sure looks like the Christian church is about to sink into the depths.



Jason Epps said...

Dude that's crazy! What seminary was it?


Andy said...

You are kidding right? :)

Lyricsdad said...

Whoever came up with that is full(er) of it! LOL!

What a display of where our world and some who claim they are part of the Body have come to.

Anonymous said...

you guys have missed the point on this one. Read the guide- there's scripture at the beginning of every study.

Andy said...

No we got the point. Another attempt at watering down the Gospel for the purpose of making it more relevant. The Gospel is relevant and God's Word should be regarded much higher than this. Spiderman has nothing to do with the Gospel. Do a Bible Study on the Bible. Thanks for stopping by Anonymous. This is just another man made attempt and a poor one at that.

Lyricsdad said...

Ditto to what Andy said....

The Bible stands alone and does not need these ridiculous bits of fluff to make it relevant to each and every person who lives.

It is the Word of God Almighty and we don't need to come up with programs to make it exciting.

It seems every week we have some silly new program come out. This is nothing new.

I don't need a purpose driven best spiderman life now.

I just need the Grace of God and I have found it in the pages of the Holy Bible, without the fluff of the world thrown in.

Rich Tatum said...

For what it's worth, I've written several movie-based Bible study guides over the years for Christianity Today. I wrote one using the Matrix trilogy, all three Spider-Man films, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Shawshank Redemption, and more.

Movies are stories and stories are not entirely unlike life. Sure, you have to suspend your belief for most Hollywood flicks, but if there was absolutely nothing "true" in a picture it would be uninteresting to the audience.

Nathan the prophet told David a story. At the end of the story, David was incensed at the behavior of the character in Nathan's story. Nathan said, "That man is you."

Was Nathan's story an actual real-life event? Did he make it up to prove his point? Does it ultimately matter?

I tell my child stories at night when he goes to sleep. My stories have UFOs, aliens, talking creatures, flying puppies, precocious children, and cars that can talk. They also (usually) have a moral point and I try to use them to teach my child something. In a sense, I'm like an oral one-man version of a Hollywood production firm when I tell my child these technicolor fables.

Am I sending him to Hell?

I hope not.

That's how I view films when I write my own Bible studies based on movies. What biblical truths can we learn from the examles in the film.

And the beautiful part is, when Hollywood depicts a person being really mean and stupid, that also illustrates Biblical truths. Because, you know what? The Bible's full of people doing mean and stupid things, and it's all useful for instruction.

It's not that the films have replaced the Bible for instruction. The films capture people's attention, and while they're engaged in the film, we can redirect their attention to the Word and to ultimate truth, and maybe make them think a little along the way.

This is something I wish would happen more often than it does today.

If you're interested in seeing my own take on a Spider-Man 3 Bible study, visit my blog, where I provide it for free. (It's not the same as the one mentioned above.)

"Spider-Man 3 Bible Study / Discussion Guide"



L. Curtis said...

Mr Tatum;

Your post makes me even more concerned about such attempted world-ization (is that even a word?) of God's Holy Word.

You have done Bible studies on the matrix???

How can you feel right about joining God's Word to us with such an anti-Christian gnostic film?

Maybe it is time we remember that as the Body of Christ, we don't join ourselves to the world. We are in it, not of it. We do not fellowship with the world. Our only real relationship with the world should be one of ministry.

Maybe instead of trying to make the Word of God relevant to this world, we should instead remind people that they should be drawing away from the world and pressing into God. We don't need the world's offerings to make the holy Revelation of God important or needed. The Body needs to stop being part of what the world thinks is good. We need to remind people that they don't need these things. Maybe instead of trying to link the Bible with such things as the matrix movies, we should tell the Body of Christ that they should stear clear of such things and run to God.

Trivializing God's Word for the sake of itching ears is wrong.

Andy said...

Considering the very blasphemous use of Jesus Christ in this movie by Venom, along with the fact that it has nothing to do with what is good or holy I am not sure Christians should watch it let alone make a Bible Study out of it. Now I also understand learning a culture so that we can share the Gospel with them, but watching Spiderman 3 has nothing to do with this. It is also using the word of God in ways that God did not intend. I believe you confuse the point of "eternity in the hearts of men" with finding correlations with movies and Christian Doctrine. Many movies have a hint of the eternity in the hearts of the men who produced them, but in no way does this put them on par with HOLY SCRIPTURE, nor does it give anyone license to bring it to that level. Mr. Tatum your position cannot be defended Biblically with a sound hermeneutic.

Rich Tatum said...

Thanks for your mostly respectful interaction Andy and Leonard, I appreciate it. I had composed a lenghty reply to post here but realized I didn't want to use your blog as a bully pulpit or to overtake your own point of view with a vast ocean of verbiage. So, I've posted a response on my own blog. Feel free to read and respond, or not. I believe I've made my case and you have made yours. You're under no obligation to rebut me, but I'd be happy to continue the interaction at my blog if you'd like.

See: Hollywood: the modern Areopagus



L. Curtis said...

Mr Tatum;

Just got done reading your responses. Seems you have taken such liberty in posting what you think I believe that it becomes merely attacks on my character.

That is fine. I still stand on the Word of God and don't see it as necessarry to join it to the world in order to make it relevent.

Andy said...

All right Rich you came over to my blog and left a comment to come over here so I have taken the bait. I read your well thought out argument and justification that you have here. I have a lot of experience in dealing with these types of issues where someone uses a Bible verse to justify a behavior or a theology that is clearly not scriptural. John Calvin would have rebuked you sir. It is very unfortunate that relevance is the continual point of justification for why many people including the "Emergents" justify their culturally sensitive, theologically watered down teachings. They would insist that you should watch Horror films, Nudity, and extreme violence so that you are aware of what the culture is doing. This is not scripturally supported. Nor is your argument that Spiderman holds truths beyond what God has already instilled in the hearts of men, and there is little if any of that. You contribute to a brothers sin by endorsing a movie that uses our Lord and Savior as a genie tyrant that puts a curse in the form of evil superpower in Venom. Now you try and compare that to the Old Testament where God unleashed his wrath, there is an extreme difference. That is GOD's WORD! Spiderman is not and to try and use John Calvin as your support for "everything" to be God's word is not at all what he meant. Now there is Biblical principles all around us, they are everywhere and in everything, but that does not mean that someone should do a Bible study out of the Quran, or the Book of Mormon, etc. They are lies that the devil has sown, the same devil who has tried to get people to "forgive themselves" rather than fleeing to a savior. Now I did read a bunch of your Spiderman Study and you address this, but it is hypocritical. You find what you deem are "good truths" or something that you can proof text next to a Bible verse and then ask some "emerging questions" How did I feel etc.? That is not how we are supposed to use scripture for. Please start obeying what your Bible says and use scripture to teach, preach, rebuke, exhort, etc. Quit trying to mesh it into the World so that you can seem "cool" and "fresh" and "relevant". You wont have an opportunity to waste time like this if you were in the "church" in another country or worse another time frame. Go and preach the Gospel and quit trying to harmonize it with your love of movies.

Andy said...


I just heard about the article in Christianity Today. Again this movie is not a Christian Movie.

What you are doing is called "reader response" you are interpreting something the way you want to do so. For example if you have read the story Little Red Riding Hood, you know it is a story about a girl, her grandmother and a wolf. It is not about Communism, and no matter how I want to interpret it, the author had an intent and it was NOT communism. The producer of this movie did NOT want to convert people to Christianity or help the Gospel in any way, he wanted to be relevant and make money. You are reading into the movie what you want to and it just isnt there.

The other issue I have with this is if you do this with a movie do you do this with the Bible as well? I would hope not, the Bible was written with Authorial Intent. We read it for what it says and how it applies to us, we do not get to self interpret the Bible and respond to it any way we want. Please take this valuable lesson from Scripture.

Jason said...

This is just an illustration, so that people will easily understand the word of God, why does Jesus used parables? those are stories, he used it so people will understand His wisdom.

TOP FIVE said...

Mr Tatum;

Just got done reading your responses. Seems you have taken such liberty in posting what you think I believe that it becomes merely attacks on my character.

That is fine. I still stand on the Word of God and don't see it as necessarry to join it to the world in order to make it relevent.

Other Movie :