I was recently watching the 1972 Christian apocalyptic movie, A Thief in the Night. Here is an excellent article about the impact of the film. (The article says that even Marilyn Manson was impacted by it!)
The Executive Producer of the movie was Russell S. Doughten, Jr.
Doughten also plays a pastor in the movie. The pastor he plays is one
who does not preach the Bible but rather his own philosophies, and he
comes to regret that after the rapture.
The thing is, the
pastor's sermon (before the rapture took place, that is) makes sense to
me! The pastor is saying that a lot of these Christian doctrines that
people have died for do not affect real life that much. He asked if we
would appreciate beauty any less if the virgin birth had not happened,
or if we would treat our neighbors badly had Jesus not gone around the
countryside performing miracles. He also said that God is far more
loving and merciful than we are, and so, if we wouldn't consign people
to eternal torment in hell, what makes us think God would do so? The
pastor then went on to affirm that the Bible encapsulated basic
principles of human interrelationships, and he criticized conditioning
relationships on acceptance of particular doctrines (i.e., a literal
six-day creation). You can watch the sermon here, starting at the 19 minute mark.
I agree with this pastor? I'm not sure. I think that he makes a good
point about not conditioning human relationships on adherence to
particular doctrines. I have been guilty of this in the past, whether
I've been on the right or the left! Do I think that Jesus' miracles are
unimportant? Well, I think that one can appreciate life and be a
fairly decent person without adhering to certain Christian doctrines,
according to the letter-perfect evangelical understanding of them. But I
also believe that Jesus' miracles were important because they were
God's work of serving others and of healing a broken world.