Monday, September 26, 2011

Adolf Hitler, Abortion and the Gospel: Ray Comfort and the "180" Movie

“I give my unflinching, joyful, trembling Yes to ‘180’.” - John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church

     Earlier today, I happened to see a post by my good friend Chris on Facebook, a link to a video of what appeared to be a documentary titled "180". He had written some earnest words of appeal below them, pleading with those who saw his link to watch it, even if they didn't know him. On first sight, I had assumed it to be quite probable that it was another slightly sensationalist but mildly interesting video clip, like the thousands of others posted by Facebook users everyday, whether friend, foe, acquaintance or complete stranger. However, I also know Chris to be a quiet and level-headed young man, with a recently-awakened and burning love in his heart for God and the message of the Gospel. So I made a mental note of the video, and after coming home from work and a hot shower, settled down to watch it on the side while doing other things on my computer. As it turned out, I was unable to - watch it on the side, that is. It succeeded in riveting my attention from the very first frame - "Do you know about Adolf Hitler?" - to the last. And in doing so, reminded me of the inferno that God has lit in my heart as well.

A still from the "180" Movie
     "180" is a short, 33-minute documentary of a series of conversations had with people on the street by Ray Comfort, the interviewer and narrator of the documentary. Describing himself as "Jewish, and deeply concerned that a generation is forgetting one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the human race." Proceeding to interview people on the street about what they knew about Hitler and the Holocaust, Ray documents some astounding conversations with all manner of people, from Neo-Nazis and a survivor of the German assault on Russia during World War II to the indifferent and apathetic, and everyone in between. In the course of the conversation, he both incisively examines and challenges their perspective of abortion, good, evil, sin, God, heaven, hell, judgement, salvation, Jesus, the Cross and the Gospel. As shocking as it was to watch some of the conversations and worldviews expressed in them, the conclusions at the end were equally powerful in their impact. I've embedded the online documentary for viewing below:

     Ray Comfort and the 180 movie reminded me of why I go out, either alone or with friends every Sunday afternoon to converse with the people of downtown Vancouver. I want to engage them about what they believe, and why they believe what they believe. I want to stop them in their mental tracks and make them think carefully about all these issues that are so important in life, and that we sometimes make ad-hoc decisions about, believing whatever is told us. I want them to see. The burning passion of "180" is the same as that which God has placed in my heart - to make known in this city the name of Christ, the wisdom and power of God, echoing the thoughts of the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian church:

    "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach1 to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, ESV)

    As "180" began running through its final few frames and Ray Comfort delivered his concluding lines, I was reminded of the verse from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians:

    "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, ESV)

    Thank you, God for pouring oil on the flame in Chris' heart and mine. May it only burn brighter.