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Foreword: Here is another interesting article by Albert Mohler concerning R. Crumb’s project of cartooning the narratives in the book of Genesis.  You can reach the original article through this link.

My very first encounter with the Bible wherein I had very vivid memories has to do with a cartoon-style frame by frame presentation of main narratives of the Bible.  It was a thick book, colored cartoons and as a young boy then, just like any other kid, cartoons was a medium of learning things. In fact my first vivid memories of divine judgment was a cartoon frame in Noah’s narrative in that particular Bible. But, as again, I was about 7 years old then and was not concerned about the revelation of God but rather the pleasure of reading cartoons.

In this article below, we learn why cartooning God’s holy book is not a good thing.  Please read on.

EmmausTrekker

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Cartooning the Word — R. Crumb’s “The Book of Genesis” by Dr. Albert Mohler

In all likelihood, most people would never even imagine a cartoon version of Genesis. Nevertheless, the cartoon version has arrived, and it is attracting no small amount of attention.

The Book of Genesis Illustrated is by famed cartoonist R. Crumb. Famous among cartoonists for his work as far back as the 1960s, Crumb has always combined cartoons and a social/political agenda. As David Colton of USA Today explains, Crumb is known for “subversive, turn-of-the-century linework, untamed libido, and obsessive social commentary.”

Indeed, Crumb personally attributes aspects of his style to experiences with LSD in his younger years. He became known for his “Keep on Truckin'” and “Fritz the Cat” cartoons. Disillusioned with the United States, Crumb took his family to France, where they now live.

Somewhere along the way, Crumb decided to take on the Bible, starting with Genesis. That is no small ambition. But why?

Crumb seems attracted to the book of Genesis as a collection of narratives with deep influence in Western culture. “I’m a spiritual guy,” he told USA Today. “I’m not an atheist, more an agnostic. I don’t doubt the existence of God. I just don’t know quite what God is. It’s a question that will challenge me until the day I die.”

As for the Bible, Crumb does not take it as the Word of God. He said, “I don’t believe it’s the Word of God. I believe it’s the words of men.” He added, “I’m just another human interpreting the story.”

In other comments about the project, Crumb has been a bit more forceful. He told Peter Aspden of the Financial Times that working on the Genesis project “nearly killed me.” Working through Genesis “ruined my health. I’m in recovery.”

He also spoke straightforwardly about his view of the Bible:

“I am completely sick of the Bible. I began to hate it as I worked on it. I’ve had my fill. The idea that millions of people have taken it so seriously — it is totally nuts. The human race is crazy.”

His Genesis project did not lead him to admire the Bible. “It had the opposite effect on me. . . .  I saw what a primitive, backward morality I had to deal with. It was a good way of exorcising the power of the Bible.”

Crumb’s distinctive cartoon style plays out across the Genesis narratives. The front cover of the book promises “nothing left out.” Very little is. Readers will find cartoon depictions of everything from Creation and the Fall to the curse of Onan. Reading The Book of Genesis Illustrated does reveal the power of this artistic expression (as in the sacrifice of Isaac), but mostly its severe limitations.

Christians coming across the Crumb project may wonder what to think. After all, this is a project that is attracting significant attention. Millions of Americans buy comics and pay close attention to the world of cartooning. Crumb’s new work has gained the attention of the nation’s major newspapers and the digital world.

For one thing, Crumb’s work reminds us that God gave us words, not images, as His means of revelation. The prohibition against images is not just a divine preference, it is a command. Looking at Crumb’s work makes the force of this prohibition all the more clear. Crumb interprets (or misinterprets) with every image and characterization. His style dominates the narrative — which is precisely the danger. And Crumb insists that he tried his best to restrain himself. “I’m not ridiculing it, just illustrating the exact words that are there.”

Another key insight from the project is this: The Bible always demands a judgment of the reader. The Bible cannot be read simply as literature of historical importance. Any reader sees it as far more than that. In fact, the Bible presents such straightforward claims about both God and humanity that it is either loved or hated, seen as the Word of God or as a poisonous chronicle of the human religious imagination.

In that respect, Crumb’s declarations about the Bible make more sense. His experience of drawing the narratives from Genesis led him to hate the Bible. He is offended that so many millions have taken it seriously. “To take this as a sacred text, or Word of God or something to live by, is kind of crazy,” he told David Colton. “So much of it makes no sense. To think of all the fighting and killing that’s gone on over this book, it just became to me a colossal absurdity. That’s probably the most profound moment I’ve had — the absurdity of it all.”

R. Crumb reveals a great deal about himself in this project. His project also reveals once again why God gave us words, and not images. Crumb’s newest work may be described as a triumph of the human imagination — and that is precisely the problem.

The Bible always lays claim upon the reader. The Book of Genesis demands a decision. The God who reveals himself in these words is not only the Creator of the cosmos, but the judge of every human soul. Genesis not only begins the Bible, it reminds us of our need for Christ. Every single narrative Crumb depicts finds its ultimate meaning in the atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ.

But that great fact cannot be reduced to a cartoon. It was never meant to be.

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David Colton, “Illustrator R. Crumb is Drawn to God with His Latest Project,” USA Today, October 19, 2009.

Peter Aspden, “A Bad Boy and the Good Book,” Financial Times, October 4, 2009.

 

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How Reformed Christians can contend for a pure gospel: “Get beyond witnessing to fellow Christians about the Reformed faith and start witnessing to non-Christians about saving faith.” – Sinclair Ferguson

 

sinclair_fergusonSinclair Ferguson (born 1948) is a Scottish theologian known in Reformed Christian circles for his teaching, writing, and editorial work. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen. Ferguson is the Senior Minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He is also a Professor of Systematic Theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, prior to which he held the Charles Krahe Chair for Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is also a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

 

 

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Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

On August 8, 2009 I linked to Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog regarding the Episcopal’s Church vote to nominate openly-homosexual candidates for bishoprick and this denomination’s open acceptance of same-sex unions. These actions are causing a major crack  and split within its walls.   Additonally, in this same post, I included an article by Aidan Wilson Tozer entitled ‘Divisions Are Not Always Bad.’ (https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/division/).

This time, with equal sadness, I learned the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] is proceeding into that same downhill direction. Again, Dr. Mohler reports on it in his website – Wearing the Disguise of Faithfulness and here are some excerpts:

  • On the crucial issue of blessing same-sex unions, the ELCA now recognizes no less than four understandings. The first represents those who “are convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to the Bible teaching and their understanding of natural law.” These Lutherans believe that same-sex acts represent “the grave danger of unrepentant sin.” Therefore, these Lutherans would call those struggling with same-gender attraction to a celibate lifestyle.
  • A second group of Lutherans believes “that homosexuality and even lifelong, monogamous, homosexual relationships reflect a broken world in which some relationships do not pattern themselves after the creation God intended.” Thus, these Lutherans do not except the public recognition of same-sex unions.
  • The third group of Lutherans goes so far as to believe “that the scriptural witness does not address the context of sexual orientation and lifelong loving and committed relationships that we experience today.” This group is ready to bless same-sex unions, but not to grant of these unions the status of marriage.
  • Finally, the report indicates that the fourth group of Lutherans is ready to affirm same-sex marriage as equal in legitimacy to heterosexual marriage. “They believe same-gender couples should avail themselves of social and legal support for themselves, their children and other dependents, and to seek the highest legal accountability available for their relationships.”

For the full article, please link to Dr. Albert Mohler’s site at: http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=4325

As I have done in my previous post, I am again appending hereunder an article by A. W. Tozer written decades ago on how the church should consider the ways of the evil world. Although it did not specifically address homosexuality per se, Tozer nonetheless emphasized the, “…bound duty of all Christians to re-examine their spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible.”

Finally, every Christian MUST heed the command of God through His Word given to John:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

 

This World: Playground or Battleground?

by A.W. Tozer from his book This World: Playground or Battleground?, Chapter 1

THINGS ARE FOR US NOT ONLY what they are – they are what we hold them to be. That is to say, our attitude toward things is likely in the long run to be more important than the things themselves. This is a common coin of knowledge, like an old dime worn smooth by use, yet it bears upon it the stamp of truth and must not be rejected simply because it is familiar.

It is strange how a fact may remain fixed, while our interpretation of the fact changes with the generations and the years. One such fact is the world in which we live. It is here and has been here through the centuries. It is a stable fact, quite unchanged by the passage of time, but how different is modern man’s view of it from the view our fathers held! Here we see plainly how great is the power of interpretation. The world is for all of us not only what it is – it is what we believe it to be. And a tremendous load of woe or weal rides on the soundness of our interpretation.

Going back no further than the times of the founding and early development of our country, we are able to see the wide gulf between our modern attitudes and those of our fathers. In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceived the world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very nature, these forces were opposed to each other forever in deep, grave, irreconcilable hostility. Man, our fathers held, had to choose sides – he could not be neutral. For him it must be life or death, heaven or hell, and if he choose to come out on God’s side, he could expect open war with God’s enemies. The fight would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued here below. Men looked forward to heaven as a return from the wars, a laying down of the sword to enjoy in peace the home prepared for them.

Sermons and songs in those days often had a martial quality about them, or perhaps a trace of homesickness. The Christian soldier thought of home and rest and reunion, and his voice grew plaintive as he sang of battle ended and victory won. But whether he was charging into enemy guns or dreaming of war’s end and the Father’s welcome home, he never forgot what kind of world he lived in – it was a battleground, and many were wounded and slain.

That view is unquestionably scriptural. Allowing for the figures and metaphors with which the Scriptures abound, it is still a solid Bible doctrine that tremendous spiritual forces are present in the world. Man, because of his spiritual nature, is caught in the middle. The evil powers are bent upon destroying him, while Christ is present to save him through the power of the gospel. To obtain deliverance he must come out on God’s side in faith and obedience. That in brief is what our fathers thought, and that, we believe, is what the Bible teaches.

How different today. The fact remains the same, but the interpretation has changed completely. Men think of the world not as a battleground, but as a playground. We are not here to fight; we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land; we are at home. We are not getting ready to live, but we are already living, and the best we can do is rid ourselves of our inhibitions and our frustrations and live this life to the full. his, we believe, is a fair summary of the religious philosophy of modern man, openly professed by millions and tacitly held by many more millions who live out that philosophy without having given it verbal expression.

This changed attitude toward the world has had and is having its effect upon Christians, even gospel Christians who profess the faith of the Bible. By a curious juggling of the figures, they manage to add up the column wrong and yet claim to have the right answer. It sounds fantastic, but it is true.

The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians. They might hedge around the question if they were asked bluntly to declare their position, but their conduct gives them away. They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ “and the world, gleefully telling everyone that accepting Jesus does not require them to give up their fun – Christianity is just the jolliest thing imaginable. The “worship” growing out of such a view of life is as far off center as the view itself – a sort of sanctified nightclub without the champagne and the dressed-up drunks.

This whole thing has grown to be so serious that it is now the bound duty of all Christians to reexamine their spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. Having discovered the scriptural way, they must follow it, even if to do so, they must separate themselves from much that they had accepted as real, but which now in the light of truth is seen to be false.

A right view of God and the world to come requires that we have a right view of the world in which we live and of our relationship to it. So much depends upon this that we cannot afford to be careless about it.

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