"Once we agree with God that we exist for His pleasure and His glory, we can accept whatever comes into our lives as part of His sovereign will and purpose. We will not resent, resist or reject the 'hard things,' but embrace them as friends, sovereignly designed by God to make us like Jesus and to bring glory to Himself. "

- Nancy Leigh DeMoss
"Your Chains Have Been Loosened and You Are Now Free"

This is from World Mandate, Antioch Waco's yearly missions conference, from 2012. Our own Bird does the photojournalism for them every year.

This is just . . . amazing. I don't know how anyone can watch it and not be moved.



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Comments on ""Your Chains Have Been Loosened and You Are Now Free"":
1. NHE - 11/17/2013 8:01 am CST

I've really come to like this art form. The kids are great and I'm guessing Bird's shots on this are amazing.

I had a tough time connecting with this particular script though - felt a tad heavy-handed.

2. Bill - 11/17/2013 10:34 pm CST

NHE,

I loved ever second of this - I think it resonates with me because the College and young singles age is the ministry I work with in church and it's where my heart is. And though the topics in this video hit all ages, the thought of young people being set free at an early age to follow Jesus really hits me (in a good way).

I agree with you - I love the art form.

3. NHE - 11/19/2013 12:23 pm CST

All that's true about the message here Bill, no doubt.

The tone is just a bit foreboding and overwrought for me though.

Specifically, Of the two masters that the story is about, I feel like the first one is more fully defined and brought to life than the second. Which leaves the overall tone more serious and ominous than hopeful...to me.

4. Bill - 11/19/2013 1:04 pm CST

Well NHE, it's not earthshaking to me that you and I could view the same piece of art and come away with some differing opinions :-) - one of the things I like about you - you get me thinking of things slightly differently than I might in a vacuum.

Still think this rocks, and it definitely fills me with hope, but I get what you're saying

5. NHE - 11/19/2013 1:29 pm CST

you know me Bill, I'm going to be critical of anything that still rings of "mainstream American evangelicalism"...no matter how enjoyable the art form :)

6. Bill - 11/19/2013 1:43 pm CST

Hmm.

You consider Antioch Waco "mainstream American evangelicalism"?

7. NHE - 11/19/2013 2:23 pm CST

I consider the video to represent it, yes....emphasis on sin symptoms and Jesus giving victory over them....but I don't know anything about Antioch Waco.

8. Bill - 11/19/2013 2:56 pm CST

Ah, gotcha.

As a followup, NHE - if you had created this, what would your emphasis have been?

I get where you are coming from, sort of - if I *really* got it I'd be a non-evangelical too. We're both Christians, of course - I hate the evangelical label now because it always now means something bad, and paints large swaths of our brothers and sisters in a bad light - but it wasn't until (relatively) recently that I learned being evangelical (in the classic sense - a person of the euangellion, the good news) was bad, very bad ;-) - happened right after I got on the blogosphere. I'd call myself an evangelical today but - like I said - I don't like those kind of labels and all it does is just make people think I'm part of the problem (which I probably am, of course. Aren't we all?)

Back to the video: I'm assuming that you think Jesus victory over sins is important, right? But that this video doesn't represent victory over sins as much as over sin symptoms? I think that's where you're coming from. If that's the case, I think you're missing the point.

I didn't catch the "avoid these sin symptoms" message at all, at least not as the main emphasis. The main emphasis is about freedom. You're right, sins are manifested as symptoms, but I think this video rightly shows that they are symptoms of who you are enslaved too, who your master is. Either your in the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light.

Like Dylan said, "you gonna have to serve somebody"

So I didn't take it as a "don't do porn. Don't love money. Don't be obsessed with your body image". I don't think that's what this is about at all.

I think it's about what it is clearly about: there are two masters - if you are dead in your sins, in the kingdom of darkness, you will spend your time trying to deal with that through unhealthy, destructive life-patterns. I thought it interesting that one of the destructive life patterns is a false church image/religion. But if you come to The master, He frees you of those chains.

I have trouble arguing with that emphasis, personally.

I'm interested in your thoughts as to how you might change this.

9. NHE - 11/19/2013 5:23 pm CST

Hi Bill - love you!

First, I DO regard myself as evangelical. By that, I mean that I hold to inerrancy, atonement, and all the doctrines of orthodox faith, including (and especially) proclaiming good news.

I don't however, want to align myself with modern evangelical notions of "religious right and left", "litmus test issues", "praying to receive Jesus", "victory over a besetting sin", etc.

Being post-evangelical means being mostly done with the American evangelical scene. It doesn't mean being done with evangelism. Perhaps there needs to be a better term.

Back to the video. It starts "alarmist" and heavy-handed for me. I don't think evangelism starts (effectively) with the devil. I think it starts with uncovering felt needs that are real, and pointing to Christ as not only the answer to the real need, but also the one who changes our needs to align with His. This offends our will and our sin nature - we don't want to be told what our real needs are and that we are made to find them completely in someone else. Our sin nature resists that at all costs.

And yes, the cross IS the central message. So, I'm actually pretty good with the second master portion of the video, but I'd put it on the heels of a story representative of something a tad more benign and subtle, like relational self-protection.

We don't all relate to there being an evil master. It's a true image, but it's way too jarring and heavy-handed if the POINT is to evangelize. Just MHO.

10. Bill - 11/19/2013 6:37 pm CST

Love you too NHE ;-)

Keep in mind the video was played to a stadium of Christians serious enough about their faith to be at a missions conference. I didn't take it as primary evangelistic (although I think it's message resonates into that).

One thing about you I've noticed (at least I think so), NHE - the things that you probably feel as sin in your life don't tend to be the kinds of things the video showed. But in thinking of college students, many of them deal drastically/dreadfully/hopelessly with the self-destructive actions described at the beginning - materialism, lust, p0rnography, self-image, bulimia, etc. If it's about felt/real needs, these may not be the things that dog your steps, but for many people these are the very real things they need to be rescued from by Jesus. And I"m not just speaking of unbelievers, I'm talking about college/young people in our churches.

They need freedom. This video wasn't made, I don't believe, to be a slick evangelism tool. It's a piece of art that speaks to the freedom that the Son brings us - he makes us free indeed.

At least that's what I got out of it. It impacts me in that way every time I watch it

11. Bill - 11/19/2013 6:38 pm CST

Oh, also - the video wasn't played in the stadium, it was filmed in the stadium. The performance was live - I misspoke.

12. NHE - 11/19/2013 7:38 pm CST

First, in summary, I agree theologically with it all. What I had said though was that it just didn't "move" me.

Here's why:

Do you think Satan has any impact on the salvation and ultimate sanctification of the elect? I don't.

I think how we answer that question determines how the video hits us.

I think Satan can deceive us into not believing God's truth, but I don't think he can kill us physically or spiritually....which makes the whole "enslavement to the master" thing at the beginning somewhat moot to me. So yes, he's the author of the deception that leads to the sin depicted, but overcoming those sins doesn't defeat Satan. Jesus already has.

I know it's semantics...but I think it's really important semantics, and it should affect how we communicate to both unbelievers and believers.

We should be ever mindful and wary of our adversary in this life, but even more mindful of our eternal justification before God in Christ.

It's what we lead with that's important, whether we're preaching to ourselves or unbelievers.

13. Bill - 11/19/2013 8:19 pm CST

Good points, NHE.

As usual, I don't think we disagree on the broad themes.

For the unbeliever, I absolutely believe the enemy (I hate to say satan - though he's real, he's not omnipresent or omniscient. There are, in my view, a very few people he deals with personally. But that's an entire other kettle of fish) - I digress, sorry: I absolutely believe the enemy wants to kill, steal, destroy, and is doing so.

For the believer, salvation and sanctification are in the strong hands of Jesus.

I wonder, though, about all the people in the in-between. I say this very, very carefully. We tend to talk, rightly, about believers and unbelievers. But in my experience, particularly with young people, there are many people who are standing on the porch, so to speak. They are identified with the church, they believe they believe, we believe they believe, but ultimately they succumb to things like what was demonstrated in this video (not the specific sins, but the fruitlessness of a life lived to a different master, however that plays out). Perhaps they never believed. Sometimes God rescues them. But that can be after years and years of either unbelief or unfruitful, unhappy, inconsistent belief.

Jesus has already won. Whether it's stated in this dance or not, I watched it in that knowledge, and it made me exult. I may not be as sensitive as I need to be to the semantic or perspective/focus issues you've raised. But I don't know. We still have to do something with passages like 1 Peter 5:8. My sense of my own life and the general church is that we're less sober-minded and watchful than we should be. The enemy wants to devour us. I don't know exactly how to interpret that particular passage, among others that talk about shipwrecked faith, being torn limb from limb, etc, other than at face value.

In other words, I don't have a problem at all with something presented to unbelievers that states that the enemy would like to kill them. That's the truth. I think he wants to kill believers too. I can't sort out all the theological implications of that. To be frank, I see it too much to have time to do much more than watch and pray in helplessness while the slow motion train wreck occurs. I'm glad Jesus is powerful, and all-powerful, because I'm not and I can't point to one story of me personally having any influence in a positive way on someone who's drifting, no matter what I do (this is happening right now with someone I care about. Slow motion train wreck). So that may be another reason that being encouraged by the rescuing King is such a high point of this dance for me.

To your real point (or what I gather is your real point) - yes, if the message is "behave", or "the enemy and Jesus are two equal sides of the coin", or "the enemy is more powerful than Jesus" or whatever, I'm right there with you. All the above caveats aside, I'm with you on being turned off by any message that communicates any weakness or uncertainty in anything Jesus is doing.

14. NHE - 11/20/2013 9:28 am CST

Good point about the enemy "wanting" to kill us. That frames it a little better for me.

It all still feels a tad "prescriptive" to me...Jesus can help with your porn addiction and your materialism.

I'm just getting curmudgeony in my old age.

15. Bird - 11/21/2013 2:42 pm CST

It's always interesting to see nhe and Bill interact.

:gbird:

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