My wife and I rented a movie the other night called Unstoppable, staring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The movie is supposedly based on true events and is a great movie. It begins with a wanton display of indifference to common sense regulations that results in a ½ mile long train leaving the freight yards with no one on board! This runaway, train number 777, is loaded with toxic chemicals and is barreling wide open toward the heavily populated Stanford, Pennsylvania.
The apathetic yard worker’s task was just to move the train to another track in the freight yards. Their apathetic attitude causes them to do stupid things, like moving the train without the air brakes hooked up and then jumping down from the cab of the engine and leaving it unattended while changing the track switch–meanwhile the friction brake disengages and the train picks up too much speed for the fat yard man to get back on board. He falls in the attempt and his watching co-workers just laugh, offering no assistance. A number of embedded factors multiply making it almost a certainty there will be an unparalleled disaster with thousands of people dead due to the train’s lethal load.
It occurs to me that this is analogous to our culture and the Christian Church today. Like any analogy it is not a perfect picture, but valid nonetheless.
Train triple 7s, the runaway, is cognate to our culture. The careless, corpulent, lazy yard man is metaphorical to the Church. His co-workers are a simile for the world, laughing at today’s Church’s ineptness and clueless to the consequence.
The Church should be leading the culture, not just moving with the flow. But the Church too has become fat, lazy and willing to “take the path of least resistance” and follow the largely politically correct, post-Christian society instead of sticking to biblical doctrines.
Perhaps you doubt that assertion. Then answer me this. Why is it 90% of evangelicals hold views antithetical to the religion they profess? Why is it 50% of Protestant pastors also don’t hold to a biblical worldview–this according to the Barna Group. Can this scenario be turned around? Maybe.
Now I don’t want to spoil the end of the movie if you haven’t seen it yet, but I will tell you that Frank (Denzel Washington) and Will (Chris Pine) use their engine attempt to avoid certain disaster. Yes the Church, tied to the culture, is heading down the track, throttle wide open and hell-bent on destruction. In my mind this is an apt simile. Returning to our metaphor it is the responsibility of the Church, firstly to return to God’s call to her to be the Church, and secondly, to try to pull America back from the precipice. The former is a necessary condition for the latter, but not a sufficient condition.
Frank and Will’s engine, allegorically speaking, can be seen as the Church or at least the segment of the Church that is fighting against the culture’s postmodernism, the heretical preachers and leaders influencing the Church and the culture, and Islam’s encroaching influences (check out the attached video by all means).
Now understand God has already told us how everything will end. What we don’t know is details of how the “last days” will play out. What I do know is the Bible tells us we need to re-engage and we need to it now. What I do know is my God is Unstoppable!
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, . . .
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? . . .
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a
tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. . . .
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.