Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, March 14, 2008

    Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana

    Ms. Rice presents this miracle as she has the other biblical events on which her fiction is based: she decoratively embroiders the Gospels while fully respecting their message.

    The above quote is from a New York Times article on Anne Rice's new novel entitled "Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana."

    It's the phrase "... while fully respecting their message" that I beg to differ for the following reasons:

    1. "...she gives him a crush on one of his relatives, a 15-year-old girl."

    Reason: While this is a novel, there is nothing in the gospels to suggest Jesus had a crush on one of his relatives, especially on a fifteen year old girl when he was 30 years old. The focus of Jesus' life from age 30 on was clearly on the kingdom and communicating that kingdom his disciples and through them to the world. To suggest Jesus as what we today would term a pedophile is more than literary licence.

    2. "So 'The Road to Cana' perches on the brink of blasphemy. But it succeeds in treating Yeshua’s humanity as an essential part of his divinity."

    Reason: The treatment of Jesus' humanity as an essential "part of his divinity" is nothing but the herersy of eutychainism which was condemned in the fourth ecumenical counsel in Chalcedon in 451. It also has similarities to other heresies cuch as monothelitism, monophysitism and docetism.

    3. "Since this book begins with the stoning to death of two young men said to be interested in each other (“What, two young ones under the same blanket on a winter night?”)"

    Reason: While perhaps a good literary twist, one must note the O.T. ritual of coming under the same blanket or having the cover of a blanket placed over another (i.e. Boaz and Ruth) served as a bond or pledge, not the suggestion of sexual activity, especially illegitimate sexual activity.

    4. "The first half of this book lingers eagerly upon its characters’ unfulfilled desires."

    Reason: This tends to paint Jesus as one who was frustrated or perhaps one with unfulfilled lusts, whereas the Bible speaks both of Christ's sinlessness and desires for the fulfilling of God's perfect purpose and plan, wherein he experienced similar things as us, though remained without sin.

    5. "In its opening scene, Yeshua’s thoughts of Avigail, his beautiful “young kinswoman,” lead him straight to a cold bath in a Nazareth spring."

    Reason: The gospels nowhere picture Jesus as a sexually frustrated man, or pedophile.

    6. "At the novel’s precise midpoint, Avigail throws herself at Yeshua with the steam heat of a Rice vampire, sobbing, “I am your harlot.” Yeshua fights back his desires in order to refuse her. “You’re really the child of angels,” she realizes, in a tone of disappointment."

    Reason: The gospels and other N.T. books (i.e. Hebrews) present Christ as the Son of God and superior to angels, not the "child of angels.)

    7. “I moved slowly towards what was at last going to separate me from all around me,” he says as he begins to feel the divinity within him."

    Reason: Jesus' separation from all around him was not the result of his moving forward but the reason and motivation for it. In other words, Jesus was already divine and distinct, so that it was not what he did that caused him to be distinct and great, but it was because he was distinct and great he did what he did.

    8. “Well, now I knew just what it meant to be the man who knew he was God.”

    Reason: Jesus knew what it meant to be God before he was 30 years old. We see this even early on in his life when he was in the temple which he referred to as "my Father's house.

    9. "The absence of wine at the wedding becomes calamitous, though the Bible describes it without alarm. 'It was a disaster of unlikely and dreadful proportions,' Ms. Rice maintains."

    Reason: Culturally, running out of wine would have been socially significant and perhaps have even led to some shame on the part of the parents, but would have been noting on the level of "a disaster of unlikely and dreadful proportions."

    10. “I’ve entered history for the whole of it. And I won’t be stopped.”

    Reason: This taints the motives and attitudes of Christ, who while he knew God's purposes as revealed in Scripture would be fulfilled, his attitude was not one of arrogance, rather his success depended on his humility and dependence upon God.

    For more, see article at Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

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