Bad Boy Charlie Sheen....

By: Sharon Ericson© 2006

I have never thought of the actor, Charlie Sheen, as someone who was a good role model, had great values, or was a decent guy. Then again, I’ve not spent much time thinking Charlie Sheen was a bad role model, morally repugnant or indecent. The truth is, I’ve just never given Charlie Sheen a great deal of thought. My impression is he has a fairly limited repertoire – Goofy Smile, Sad Puppy – attracting a certain type of audience (non-jock womanizer party boy?) drawn by his personality, more than raw, real talent.

Sheen hasn’t been a Pedestal Guy for me, and if he was for other Christians, it appears he just took a nosedive based on the number of friends I’ve had forwarding the 12/13/06 Alert Newsletter from the American Family Association”, entitled, CBS, Charlie Sheen bash Christ, Christmas and Christians

Job 30:9 “And now their sons mock me in song; I have become a byword among them. 10 They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face.

According to the AFA alert, “CBS and actor Charlie Sheen have used the Christmas season to ridicule and mock Christ, Christmas and Christians. CBS approved actor Charlie Sheen’s vulgar adaptation of a favorite Christian Christmas carol. On the December 11 program, the network included in their Two and a Half Men an episode featuring Sheen singing about his sexual activity to the tune of the traditional Christmas hymn ‘Joy to the World’. CBS and Sheen knew that the lyrics would greatly offend Christians, but did not hesitate to air them..”

The “alert” provided a link to the offending episode, as well as a transcript of the perverted song verses. There’s no doubt it is vile. There’s also no doubt CBS and Hollywood know their actions are “offensive” to Christians. I’m also sure they’re not concerned about what Christians think. IF they do not care what God thinks, WHY would they care what man thinks?

Not satisfied with bringing the vile episode to the attention of Christians, and simply urging them to avoid watching the sit-com, AFA urges Christians to “Take Action”, sending a letter of protest to CBS because, “Such actions send a signal from CBS and Hollywood: ‘It’s ok to bash Christians, their religion and their God.’ If you are tired of this bigotry from CBS and Hollywood, please take action and then forward this to your friends and family.”

This is where my brain screeches to a great big halt. I find myself repeating words like “bash Christians”, “bash religion”, “bash God”, “bigotry, and “offensive”, trying to find some spark that will ignite my flesh into angry protestations. I simply can’t get that excited about this. Yes, it’s disgusting, stupid, juvenile, but there is truly nothing new under the sun. The unrighteous have always been a part of this world –
1Co 6:9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…

I’m not sending a letter to CBS/Sheen/Hollywood, “outsiders” who are already condemned (John 3:18). My Biblical responsibility is to “protest” (admonish, exhort, rebuke) those who claim to confess with their lips that Christ is Lord (Rom 10).

1 Corinthians 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge THOSE OUTSIDE the church. Are you not to judge those inside?

Wake up Church! Why are we to be so worried about the actions of the world which “would greatly offend Christians”? Who are WE to be offended? Are we friends with Sheen? Are we somehow buddies with CBS and Hollywood? Have they in some way broken a vow, a promise – words spoken in friendship and love – which they have now violated? Have they gone back on their word they would have a care for the things we proclaim to care about? Have they approached leaders of Christian churches in this country waving a white flag, apologizing (for the world apologizes, and doesn’t seek forgiveness) for all the times they’ve misappropriated things of God, perverting them for man?

Wake up Church! We should study the words of David in Psalm 55 in how he distinguishes between “enduring” when enemies are insulting, and weeping when betrayal comes from the hands of “a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God”.

Endure, Church! Contrast the plea of AFA with the wise and discerning words of John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church, written earlier this year when Muslims protested Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

“What we saw this past week in the Islamic demonstrations over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each. Not all Muslims approve the violence. But a deep lesson remains: The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.

If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised:

All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads“ (Psalm 22:7). He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not“ (Isaiah 53:3).

When it actually happened it was worse than expected. “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. . . . And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him“ (Matthew 27:28-30).

His response to all this was patient endurance. This was the work he came to do. “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth“ (Isaiah 53:7).

This was not true of Muhammad. And Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. One Sunni Muslim writes, “Muslims believe that Allah saved the Messiah from the ignominy of crucifixion. Another adds, “We honor [Jesus] more than you [Christians] do. . . . We refuse to believe that God would permit him to suffer death on the cross. “ An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the ‘ignominy’ of the cross.

That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account“ (Matthew 5:11).

During his life on earth Jesus was called a bastard (John 8:41), a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household“ (Matthew 10:25).

The caricature and mockery of Christ has continued to this day. Martin Scorsese portrayed Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ as wracked with doubt and beset with sexual lust. Andres Serrano was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to portray Jesus on a cross sunk in a bottle of urine. The Da Vinci Code portrays Jesus as a mere mortal who married and fathered children.

How should his followers respond? On the one hand, we are grieved and angered. On the other hand, we identify with Christ, and embrace his suffering, and rejoice in our afflictions, and say with the apostle Paul that vengeance belongs to the Lord, let us love our enemies and win them with the gospel. If Christ did his work by being insulted, we must do ours likewise.

When Muhammad was portrayed in twelve cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the uproar across the Muslim world was intense and sometimes violent. Flags were burned, embassies were torched, and at least one Christian church was stoned. The cartoonists went into hiding in fear for their lives, like Salman Rushdie before them. What does this mean?

It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man.

And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death“ (Philippians 3:10).

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