Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Slayer Under Fire from Christian Groups


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
I used to be really into Slayer. The heaviest of heavy metal bands, they pushed the envelope musically by pioneering a particularly aggressive kind of speed/death/black metal in the late 80s.

I was an unbeliever then, but even at the time, their lyrics seemed comic book, and so over-the-top *places pinky finger next to mouth* eeevil as not to be taken seriously.

This, of course, before I realized there really is a Satan, and there really is a place called Hell. At the time, I believed Satan was a creation of our own minds, a kind of psychological talisman that held all our primitive fears and suspicions. But a real person? Come on.

Now, I know that Satan is all too real, and all too active in our modern world. In fact, you'd have to be a fool -- looking at some of the real wickedness in the world - to not believe in him.

So it is safe to say that my image of Satan has changed drastically. But so has my image of the Lord Jesus Christ. If Satan was mankind's fears, my unbelieving mind reasoned, then Jesus was mankind's hopes. Sure, he might have really existed, but in the end, he was just a kindly, and somewhat naive, first-century teacher who wanted everyone to love everyone else. I pictured him carrying a small dove, maybe with some flowers in his hair, talking about peace and understanding and telling people to be nice.

This image, of course, is every bit as fuzzy-headed is my former image of Satan. Indeed, Christ came with humility and love, but he also came with power. Just this morning I was reading about his confrontation with Satan in the desert. He was tempted, but dispatched the enemy with three Bible verses (all from the book of Deuteronomy). This was Jesus the man, fighting temptation as we have to. His exchanges with demons were also telling. He never exerted himself in his "battles" with demons. These exchanges usually were marked by a lot of begging on the demons part and Christ dispatching them with simple commands ("Be quiet! Come out!")

However, to focus on just Jesus as a man in the Gospels is to also have an incomplete view of him. Christ is throughout Scripture (I'm getting fired-up now). There He was, walking through the garden in the cool of the morning; and appearing as a High Priest to Abraham; and appearing to Joshua as the "commander of the Lord's army."

But more than that, if you believe that the "angel of the Lord" is Christ (and I do). He was bad in the OT, especially when taking on Israel's enemies (And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.)

Hey Slayer, do you think He is afraid of some aging heavy metal band???? Stay tuned for my letter to Slayer.