The Expository Files

And Now For Something Not Any Different

On the television program Seventh Heaven, the father is a minister. One of the plot lines involves the minister's son planning on marrying a young Jewish lady and then he was going to "convert". The minister is against it, as is the girl's father, a Rabbi.

But the minister's objection is not based on the teachings of Jesus Christ at all. Rather, it is based on how he perceived that the son's conversion was a rejection of himself. Jesus evidently has little to do with this man's faith. He never once suggested to his son that he was turning his back on Jesus, "the author and perfecter of faith." His conversion would be a denial of the atoning death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God. But that did not seem to matter much. He was angry that his son was rejecting the "path that the father had chosen for him." Of course, he learns his lesson about how his son needs to choose his own path, which is, of course, true. But that does not mean that the whole family has to pretend that Jesus does not matter. The show ended with a wedding and the Rabbi and the minister sharing the duties and "mixing" their faiths. It appeared to me that the "Christian" minister was careful not to mention Christ. Or perhaps it was habit; he may not think or speak much about Jesus any other time either. At any rate, the fact that Jesus was never mentioned and that the minister was permitted to add his own "traditions" to the wedding suggests that Jesus must not be much a part of his "tradition".

Jesus is our standard of authority. He is our hope. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6). If the minister really is Christian, then this is what he believes. But he doesn't: He believes there are other ways.

Jesus said, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matthew 11:27). This is another statement of Jesus that our fictional minister rejects as false. It evidently does not take knowing Jesus to know the Father after all.

The Scriptures of Christ's New Covenant proclaim through the apostle Peter, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). This message from the Lord, too, is rejected by the minister in the program.

Now, I am not saying that either the son nor the young lady he was marrying ought to have been mistreated. Christians should treat others the way they want to be treated. But I wish that the script writers of this and other series could develop at least one character who not only claims to be a Christian, but actually seeks to follow the teachings of Jesus. That would be really different!

By Jon W. Quinn
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From Expository Files 9.6; June 2002