One of my favorite books is “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and in a twist that no one saw coming…the movie adaptation is just as good! If you know the story, it’s about a English nobleman, Sir Percy, who uses disguises, quick thinking, and the pseudonymn “Scarlet Pimpernel” to rescue French nobles condemned to die by the guillotine during the Reign of Terror in France. (1792)
In order to hide that he is this dashing hero to many in Paris, he pretends that Sir Percy is a fool who cares more about his appearance than anything substantial. In the movie, while talking with his band of men, Sir Percy reminds them of the cost of being part of the band of the Scarlet Pimpernel. “You’ll be seen as fools, fops, nitwits, even cowards.”
One of his men pipes in, “That’s the easy part, the hard part is not being able to boast about our exploits to the ladies.”
Since this is a blog about spiritual applications and not one where I write book and movie reports and reviews, I’ll end that there and move to the application.
Ken Ham, 6-day, young earth creationist, recently debated Bill Nye, “the science guy” and ardent evolutionist, about the viability of creation as a theory about origins.
Since I am friends with many people that are creationists, there was a lot of chatter on social media about the debate. And a lot of “May God get the glory!” Which means, what? That the world who has been blinded by a demonic belief about our origins would suddenly say “oooooh, yes, that makes sense!”
That’s right, folks, I don’t believe His glory depends on who “won” the debate. Because the debate was won by the person that you already agreed with.
Now, I’m not here to argue that glorifying God isn’t the chief end of man, and I appreciate those very much who wanted God to have the glory. Nor am I going to debate Creationism – my book was about creation and salvation. (Though one does not have to be a young earth creationist to believe Jesus died for their sins. Just getting that out of the way before you all ignite your keyboards on fire disagreeing with me in the comments section.)
Let’s face it though, American Christians, we don’t want a glorified God, we want one with good PR. We want Jesus to look good to the world and be “acceptable.” He’s rescued us from death, and to us, he’s our brave Scarlet Pimpernel who embodies bravery and strength and wisdom. (In a side application, a Scarlet Pimpernel is “a humble wayside flower that isn’t known for its beauty.” Why hello Isaiah 53 reference.)
To the world, Jesus is a bumbling Sir Percy. Oh, some will say they respect Him and pretend to be His friend, but they don’t care to know Him as savior and to them, His dying for them is silly, foolish, and barbaric to them.
We try to wrap Him up in a cool looking package with a respectable bow on top. We don’t want to live His life. We want to market His message. Then boast about who we hang around with. “Yeah, I hang with Jesus. He’s my homeboy. Aren’t I cool?”
Except that I Corinthians states that God chose the foolish things to confound the wise. (I Corinthians 1:18-25) Jesus even told His followers that they weren’t going to be universally loved because of their association with Him.
So, how is God glorified?
God is glorified in our weakness. God is glorified in his judgement on the wicked nations. He’s glorified in our preaching the gospel, but “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (I Corinthians 1:17 b) I kinda think God will be able to handle His glory without us trying to wow the world.
By all means, continue to believe in a God who would make the world from nothing, cause donkeys to speak, have a man dip in a river 7 times to be healed of leprosy. Study and be ready to defend your beliefs, even if the world or other Christians think they’re silly.
Most importantly, believe in a God who would die for wicked, rotten sinners such as you and I. Because that is the silliest thing of all.
And glory to God for that!