Friday, May 17, 2019

Gleanings 23) Viewpoint - The Exorcist

Now this is really dated!
Even if you are a rare film-goer like myself, you will probably know that Blackburn is screening "The Exorcist" for the first time this weekend. The Council has approved its showing after some of its members have had a private viewing. Part of me is reluctant to mention even this fact because whatever I say, I know, shall be giving further publicity through his column - and that's exactly what the film makers want. This film has become a huge box office success just because of the warnings against the film and people's inflamed curiosity.  Films are part of the entertainment industry and there is a small group of people filling their pockets with delight as "The Exorcist" taps a new world- the supernatural- for its entertainment value.
That's the thing that worries me most. This commercialization of something real, tyrannical and fearful. Perhaps you saw and heard the first audience in London to witness this film.  The TV cameras were there. People talked of fright, of nausea. Some of those people who never gave a thought to God came out believing with fear in the devil. Because this is no ordinary horror movie. It is based on a book which in turn is based on an actual case of demon possession.
Some entertainment! I realize that psychiatrists and parsons have already had a field day with this film but I must emphasize that this strange world "The Exorcist" unveils IS real, tyrannical and fearful. It's not all in the mind.  Man has something to fear outside himself and this realm of evil which the Bible sums up in the description "Satan" has to be taken very seriously. We see Jesus Christ confronting the powers of this dark realm - these demonic forces which tempt him and which, in the end, crucify him. Believe me, you cannot be in the Christian ministry long without realizing the power of evil and its self-destruction as some people are enslaved by it. But we thank God that Jesus Christ has won a victory over the demonic powers. As Paul writes: "He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them (Col. 2:13) This is the vital part of the meaning of the cross - it's God answer to the realms of evil and terror. We find it difficult to understand but we can claim its victory.
This film, and I presume there will be others to follow it, speaks of something which is real. It does so for commercial ends - that's why I shall not add my money to the millions of pounds already made. I shall not see it. My belief is that for some people who will go to see it, this new dimension of the demonic will come as a shock - and they will have fear.
As a Christian minister, I want to stress that the power of Christ has already come to grips with evil and has overcome , so that Jesus can promise us instead of fear - peace through his victory. It is no good being realistic about the power of forces unseen, without claiming as true the words and deeds of the one person who declares that he has dealt with sin and evil - Jesus Christ. 

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