The Gospel Of John
These are the true words of God created into a full feature film with the Gospel of John as the only scripts read by the actors.
I had excluded the middle level of supernatural... beings and forces from my own world view. As a scientist, I had been trained to deal with the empirical world in naturalistic terms. As a theologian, I was taught to answer ultimate questions in theistic terms. For me the middle zone did not really exist.[i]
As the western worldview continues to shift toward animism and the philosophy surrounding post-modernity, western views of rationalism appear to be on the decline and a new acceptance of the spiritualism seems to be the way of the future. If this is true, the Malagasy Lutheran Church’s methods of contextualized catechesis and exorcism may lead the way to reach the lost within the western world.[iv]
Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.[vii]
Much of the gospel story, of course, can be read as a commentary on Christ’s relationship to power and “the powers” generally. Consider the period of Christ’s temptations in the wilderness at the start of his ministry. Here Satan offered to Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matt. 4:8). Satan’s implicit claim was that he possessed a ruling authority in and over the world. The biblical narrative makes clear that the scope and time of Satan’s power were limited by God’s sovereignty, and yet within those parameters he declared that power in the world was his to wield. Importantly, Jesus did not take issue with this claim. Indeed, Christ himself called the evil one “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11). This is a description that Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, asserts as well, describing Satan as “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). It is also an account affirmed by John’s first letter where he declares, “that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). If this reading is right then the spirit that animates worldly power—whether held by individuals, social groups, communities, institutions, or social structures—naturally tends toward manipulation, domination, and control. Rooted in the deceptions of misdirected desire, it is a power that in its most coarse expressions would exploit, subjugate, and even enslave. Within a fallen humanity, then, all power is tainted, infected by the same tendencies toward self-aggrandizing domination. The natural disposition of all human power is to its abuse.[xi]