by Raphael Anzenberger
(Editor’s note: This is the 3rd post in a series called “A Journey of Evangelism in Scripture,” where we travel from Genesis through Revelation to look into the intersection of evangelism at various points of time.)
You saw the movie and thought… what in the world does Russell Crow have to do with Noah?
I had the same feeling.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to make a good movie about the Flood. So much despair, so much evil, so much destruction. Only Hollywood could turn a profit from such a story.
Yet, the story of the flood (not the movie version) is in scripture. It’s part of our metanarrative. It’s biblical and therefore we should not gloss over the fact that there was a time when God did judge the world for its evil. Why? Because one day He will do it again. And this reality should inform our evangelism. But does it? We think twice and suddenly we are not so convinced. Do we really need to talk about this judgment stuff?
To escape the gruesome reality of judgment, we redefine the eschatological horizon: “Let’s not talk about the end times; that’s too controversial.” Especially in evangelism. Surely we don’t want to be accused of using scare tactics! So the theological horizon shrinks to the existential horizon. We live in the now. The gospel frees us from our past and offers new life for today.
But what about the hope for tomorrow? The hope beyond the grave? The hope beyond judgment?
Jesus reminded his disciples that
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage [existential horizon], until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all [theological horizon] … Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (Luke 17:26-27, 30)
Only those who lose their life in Christ will keep it. For when we embrace salvation, we walk in Christ’s death and resurrection. Death to self, resurrection to Christ. We lose our life in him to find it again on the other side of judgment.
And that, my friend, is also good news.
So let us learn from Noah and Jesus. And maybe Russell Crow. The Flood reminds us that one day Jesus will judge the world as He did back then. May we be found in Him when that hour comes.
Raphael Anzenberger (@RaphAnzenberger) is CEO of France Evangelisation and president of the Francophone Evangelist Forum. He is an evangelist, missiologist, church planter, author, and speaker who seeks to raise a new generation of young evangelists who will bring the message of the cross throughout the Francophone world.