Telling Stories?

I was foraging through a number of my favorite websites this week and spotted a video clip on Brannon Howse’s Worldview Weekend that was from my alma mater: Liberty University. It turns out the video is from a convocation back in November, but I’d still like to make some briefs comments about it. The two young men speaking at LU that morning were Jason Russell of Invisible Children and Alex Harris, author of “Do Hard Things.” You can watch the entire thing here. Glancing down the list of other videos, I’ll have plenty to critique if I just subscribe to the LU video account.

I realize that Russell and Harris weren’t at convocation to give a sermon, but a few of Russell’s comments were actually shocking in their deviation from a Biblical perspective. 

 The first was his remark (roughly 4 mins. 11 seconds mark) that Invisible Children is trying to accomplish its goals by “just telling stories,” but he added that: “We believe that Jesus Christ was the best storyteller and we believe that he truly said go out and tell stories because that’s the most powerful thing. That wins the heart and the mind and it will get people to follow what you’re doing.”

WHAT? I almost fell out of my chair when he said that. Boy does that miss the point and denigrate the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not just some great storyteller who persuaded people with his eloquence. He was GOD! He was fully God and fully man. And his time of ministry was a whole lot more than years of storytelling. He was proving his deity, telling people he was the promised Messiah, he was demonstrating the nature and power of God. It is also important to remember that although multitudes followed him, many also turned on him and called for his crucifixion. His “stories,” more appropriately called parables, also offended many people.

Also, the mission he commanded us to do was not “go tell stories.” It was much more explicit. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Christians are to share the good news about who Jesus is, what he accomplished on the cross and through his resurrection from the dead, and how people can be saved by faith in what Jesus has already done.

Later in the video (roughly 17 min. mark) Russell also made the strange claim that people’s insecurity is the cause of all world problems. “I truly believe insecurity is the cause of every single problem in the world. I believe that,” Russell said.

I think the Bible makes it clear that the cause of all the world’s problems is sin (one of those sins – pride is condemned often in Scripture). Not insecurity. Sin is the root problem of humanity, it is what separates us from God and only Jesus is the solution to the problem. After all, it was he who conquered death. Revelation 1:18 says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

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