BATMAN: THE DARK NIGHT – AN EASTER STORY

Easter at the Rock can only be described as an extraordinary experience.  On Good Friday we do a worshipful and ‘almost’ traditional service centered around the passion of the Christ and His cross.  It is beautiful, touching and meaningful.  Easter, however, is something all together different.  It has always been about celebration and joy… for Christ has risen.  But nobody on the planet does it quite like Church of the Rock.  We have taken the amazing story of the resurrection and have presented it in modern parable form that can only be described as ‘Hollywood does Easter’.  Donning sets, costumes and a home grown script written by ‘yours truly’ we have had some of Hollywood’s finest masquerading as the Christ.  In The Wrath of Khan it was Captain Kirk who died and rose again.  The next year it was Captain Jack Saviour (Sparrow) in the Pirates of the Galilean.  I appeared as the villain Captain Barabbas (Barbossa).

Last year it was Westley from the Princess Bride of Christ.  I did a cameo as Miracle Max and if you are watching on television this Easter Sunday you will catch at least a  snippet of my performance doing the memorable “he’s only mostly dead” scene.   One year I did my best impression of Michael Jackson in Robin of the Hood.

This year we are pulling out all the stops and doing Batman: The Dark Night.  The Caped Crusader along with Robin the Boy Wonder will be arriving in the Batmobile.  I will be making the requisite cameo, but I am afraid at this writing, that information is top secret.

If you are from out of town and ever wanted to come to a Church of the Rock service, Easter is the one to come to.  If you had to drive half way across the country, I guarantee it would still be worth it.  We have some immensely talented singers, actors and musicians that bring the resurrection story to life.  Last year we had 4,000 people show up for our three services so you have to come early to get a good seat.

UPDATE:

We had a record attendance over the Easter weekend.  Probably close to 5,000 people.  Dozens of seekers came to faith in Christ which is the whole reason we do it.  The Winnipeg Free Press covered the story and we got a front page mention.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/jesus-to-rise-as-batman-in-churchs-easter-play-146514375.html

Despite what our critics said about using Batman to tell the story of Easter, those who actually came, realized it did not cheapen the message of the resurrection at all.  I will say this again. We do not think that Jesus is Batman, Jack Sparrow or Captain Kirk. The play is an allegory along the lines of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The key to telling a parable is to take a well known cultural truth and use it in an analogous way. Before you call foul consider this: In Jesus parables He compared God to an unjust judge that does not fear God or man (Luke 18), a hard man who reaped where he did not sow in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:26), a rich man that commends unrighteous dealings (Luke 16) and an unjust and cruel nobleman in Luke 19… to name a few. He never says God is like these people in ever way.  They are only analogies. He uses some aspects of their life to explain spiritual truths about God and His kingdom.

Just because Batman is a vigilante in our modern day parable of The Dark Night, that in no way implies that Jesus is one. Parable telling is a perfectly acceptable and orthodox homiletic and has been used for centuries. The religious mind will always be offended just as it was in Jesus day. If we read the gospels the religious elite were offended almost every time Jesus opened His mouth. It was not that they did not get the point He was trying to make… they did not ‘want’ to get the point because more often than not, they were the ones getting skewered.

Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” Matt 15:12

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78 Responses to BATMAN: THE DARK NIGHT – AN EASTER STORY

  1. David says:

    Hi There;

    Will there be childcare for this service?

    david

  2. Cara says:

    If we live too far and can’t make it? Is there a way to order it on the internet? Or watch it on TV? Cauz i would LOVE to see that! Sounds AMAZING!

    Love ur ideas, love ur blog!

    Thx Cara!

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Cara
      Although we broadcast the Easter message we do not broadcast the plays. We would be required to pay all kinds of licence and broadcast fees for the music and some of the other material. The DVD’s are available for private viewing however. The four mentioned above are $20 each and are about 75 minutes long. That is basically our cost since we only produce a few hundred not 100′s of thousands like Hollywood. If you are interested give Donna a call at the church and she can ship them out.

      • Cara says:

        Thx so much for ur help! I’ll check it out!

        I live in Quebec and i love wathcing u on tv. Maybe one day i’ll be able to go to C of R in person.

        God bless u!

        Cara

  3. Bruno says:

    Come on play on word, I’m hoping for “why so generous?”

  4. Jay Bobsen says:

    This not only displays the fact that the Word of God alone is not enough, it is blasphemy. You indicated that Captain Kirk died and rose again in a previous year’s play? Utter blasphemy. How does that bring glory to God?
    Jesus said to go and preach the gospel, not entertain people.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      First off remember that Batman or Captain Kirk are not Jesus. Nobody said they were. These stories are mere allegories. If it is blasphemy, then so is C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Jesus Himself employed this same method to communicate the gospel… he called them parables.

      These things work precisely because they do glorify God. People who say these services don’t are always the ones who have never been to one.

      If it is a sin to entertain people then no christian should ever write a novel, perform a play or make a movie. We probably shouldn’t use musical instruments in church either. I think the bigger sin of the church is not entertaining people but boring them to death. I thank God for the brilliant ideas He gives His people to creatively present the gospel.

      • Pennsylvania says:

        “Jesus Himself employed this same method to communicate the gospel… he called them parables.” Let us take a look at what Scripture says concerning parables…

        Matthew 13:10-14 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
        though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

        The same story is repeated in Mark 4:10-12 and Luke 8:9-10. Parables require more explanation that the priveledged disciples received in private (as explained in these verses), excluding the general crowd from fully understanding the true meaning. Parables were used by the Lord Jesus to 1) keep the unbelieving in the darkness that they loved more than the light and 2) shield them from more truth that they will be held accountable for on judgement day.
        Jesus did not use parables to draw more disciples into ministry. They worked in quite the opposite way as recorded in Scripture.
        With all that Jesus did during His 3-year ministry – healing, feeding thousands, raising people fron the dead, challenging corrupt authority – why did He not have a huge following? He certainly drew a crowd, but in the end, when the “entertainment” or excitement was over, the crowd went home with their hardened hearts.
        Pastor – examine your plays about the Easter story in contrast to Peter’s declaration of the Gospel in Acts 2 and Stephen’s Spirit-filled sermon in Acts 6.
        Keeping you in prayer…

        • Phil says:

          When people don’t want to go to church because they feel it is too “old fashioned” and not relevent to today and too steeped in tradition, that is when you need something like this to provide a different perspective. Pastor Mark always preaches a message after which clearly lays out the Easter story and precisly explains how what they just saw interprets what we as Christians believe is the truth.
          In reference to Matthew 13:10-14, Jesus is telling his disciples that if he just layed it out to everyone without giving them a relavent example that they could relate to, then they would not have understood the meaning. The disciples were wondering why he talked in parables because the meaning was already clear to them.
          In regards to Peter’s sermon, everything in these plays (past and present) is an interpretation of the miracle of Easter. It does not detract from the message or even the Easter story, it is just a different form of delivery. It will line up biblically in every aspect.
          With Stephen’s message, the spiritual leaders were afraid because they knew he spoke the truth. People were listening to him, but those leaders had more trust in that society and thus were able to incite a riot against Stephen. When people hear the message of God and his forgiveness they need to make a decision that is all their own. They need to weigh their current beliefs with something new and make an informed decision…no one should be able to affect that because it is something personal. I think Church of the Rock does an excellent job of taking familiar things you see around you and giving them a new and different meaning. I would classify this as a parable and ones that are expertly executed to reach new believers. God Bless.

        • Peniel84 says:

          Very well said.

      • Joel says:

        Well, the only act of “blasphemy” I see is comparing your plays to C.S. Lewis (who, by the way, wasn’t writing an allegory; “Pilgrim’s Progress” is an allegory, the Chronicles series is just Lewis creating a Socratic exercise, a “What if ____”, where the blank is filled by “…Jesus went into a world where animals ruled?”).

        The problem with what you’re doing is that it does cheapen the Gospel; not because it’s entertainment, but because it’s not all that creative. You’re taking well-established characters and simply “tweaking” them. If nothing else, it’s similar to a copyright violation, not creation.

        Being made in the image of God means that Christians are called to be creative, not copy-cats. This is why we respect men like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the like; they created entire worlds. While it’s true that they borrowed from Greek and Norse mythology, they didn’t full on steal from Aesop’s Fables or from the mythological stories; they simply used the creatures in those stories and put them in a new world.

        If you want to do a play on Easter about the Resurrection, then wonderful, good luck, blessings, and mazel tov. But at least be creative, be original, produce a work of art; don’t simply ape and copy from the world, put a Christian twist on it, and say, “Viola!” If you want to do a story about a super hero who dies and comes back from the dead, then make him original. While the super hero motif isn’t original, but what you do with that motif can be (just as paint colors and a canvass isn’t original, but what is done with them can be).

        Furthermore, you seem to defend what you’re doing by saying, “It gets the unchurched into our building!” Maybe so, but so what? While entertainment isn’t wrong, when you try to get people to come to your church by entertaining them, or performing some type of venus fly trap for the unchurched, they’re eventually going to get bored. It’s why even great shows have to come to an end; at some point, you either jump the shark and lose your audience, or you have to bring the story to an end. Either way, entertaining your congregation as a means to build your congregation is self-defeating.

        If you really want to attract the unchurched to your church, perhaps you could offer them something real. Entertainment isn’t wrong, but we should call it for what it is; a temporary vacation for the mind. This is necessary sometimes, especially in our world. But ultimately, it lacks proper substance (hence my previous point of people getting bored and entertainment running its course). If you really want to shock people, then serve them. If anyone has a problem with this, or is turned off by it, then it’s not up to us to trick them into wanting to come to church.

        The problem with your approach is that it ignores the fundamental aspect of Christianity, the central tenet of our soteriology; we are to die to ourselves. When we try to attract people to church and keep them there by entertaining them or offering programs that make them happy, we’re not teaching them to die to themselves, we’re simply taking materialist narcissists and turning them into spiritual narcissists.

        In the end, more churches should engage in drama, in paintings, in creative music; more churches should engage in the arts. God is creative and being in His image we too are called to be creative. But this creativity should, you know, actually be creative. Not to be crass, but simply to get my point across, taking famous movies and using their characters and plot-lines while changing a few aspects is what pornographers do; it shouldn’t be what Christians do. A pornographer looks at a movie title like “Men in Black” and thinks, “How can I make this about men who wear black suits and get women?” A Christian shouldn’t look at a movie title like “Men in Black” and think, “How can I make this about priests who bring people to Jesus?”

        That’s not to say that you’re anything like a pornographer and I hope you didn’t take it that way. I’m simply underlining my point that simply changing a few things and adding a Christian theme isn’t creative, just as changing a few things and adding a sexual theme isn’t creative; it’s simply a bastardization of what art happened to be there.

        Ultimately, what will win this world over isn’t Christians copying the world and sanctifying the art that we see. What will win this world over is Christians actually living like Christ; that is, helping those who need it. A church of 50 who volunteer to help the people in their neighborhood will speak more to the message of Christ than a church of 5,000 who puts on a play about Jack ‘Saviour.’ The world will not follow a man who is in love with his creativity, rather, the world will follow a man who is creative with his love.

      • Peniel84 says:

        I meant very well said you your comment Pennsylvania, NOT Phil

  5. Dave C says:

    I and others im sure find all of the GOD given talent maybe the Joy of the LORD is not present in all people,but I know Myself and others bring this Joy of the Lord to many as did the Lord himself.To understand this is to know the Lord,the author of LOVE PEACE AND JOY.I pray The Spirit of understanding to you brother Jay.

  6. joncramer says:

    How about something new and relevent at your church, like maybe reading out of the KJV bible and maybe preach about sin and what Jesus did on the cross shedding his blood for us so maybe..just maybe some one might be born again.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Happeth Easter to thee too Jon.

    • Karen says:

      You have never truly listened to one of Mark’s Easter messages…Nobody makes it clearer than he does about Christ dying on the cross for me, and you, and for everyone else out there…My son when he was 10 listened to one of Mark’s messages and was born again. Keep up the good work COTR! (and Mark)

      Happy Easter!

  7. Paul says:

    What is the Gospel?

    • Isaac says:

      Hey Paul. That wikipedia link for what the Gospel is is decent, but usually when some refers to the Gospel they are referring to the Good News that Easter is all about; that we are all sinners and would’ve been bound for death, but Jesus paid our penalty in full at the cross, and rose again, and He gives us eternal life if we simply turn our lives over to Him.

      Happy
      Easter!

  8. Ryan says:

    Mark,

    I think the question is, will the Easter proclamation of Christ the crucified One risen from the dead shine through your parabolic caped crusaders?

  9. Jeff says:

    WOW! Who knew that a blog post about an Easter play would jack so many people up?!?!? Yep…let’s just keep doing things the same old way and keep getting the same old results! Churches that do that are DYING! The world is changing folks…accept it! The message of the GOSPEL can never change, but the way we present it HAS to.

    I work with kids all the time and can tell you that because they are saturated with multi-media every waking hour…I would be crazy to think that I can capture their attention and imagination with flannel-board figures!!!

    We have generations of people who were raised on the KJV Bible and barely understand what they are reading. There is nothing wrong with comparing other translations! If you have issues with that, you better start studying Greek, Latin & Hebrew and read only the original papyrus manuscripts.

    Pastor Mark (I know I don’t have to tell you this), but keep on keeping on! From what I’ve read, the “religious” folks didn’t like the way Jesus came on the scene with His new-fangled way of preaching & teaching either.

    I think God is pretty happy with your “entertaining” approach to sharing the Gospel and successfully leading people to salvation through Jesus.

    I have watched COTR on TV for years, rewatched episodes online, and attended the live events in Regina every year. Not ONCE have I ever heard anything contradictory to the Bible or anything blasphemous! I appreciate your style of presenting because I am very like-minded!

    For those who don’t “connect” to that style, I would remind all that’s why God gave each the free will to choose. That’s why I don’t watch Joel Osteen! Or visit his website or read his blog! It’s also why I would never sit through a church service led by Charlie Brown’s teacher (Waa waa waa waa)monotonously reading from the KJV.

    That being said…no matter what translation you prefer, the story is still the same. This weekend, some 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth was arrested, tried and sentenced to die the most horrible death on a cross for MY sins. That He would love me enough to do that, so I could be with Him forever, blows my mind! Hope it does yours as well. HE IS ALIVE! Happy Easter!

    • Mark H says:

      Jeff – It sounds like you’re more interested in the “sizzle” than the “steak.” If you need to be entertained to be moved by the word of God, then I think you REALLY should examine yourself with fear and trembling. I hope you’ll understand that if all you had was God’s word, God’s mercy and the blood of Christ and you still weren’t moved unless there was some Hollywood song and dance attached to that, then you are OF the world and not in it. I pay that this Easter season will be a time for you to really reflect on what God desires vs. what man desires.

    • Mark H says:

      Jeff – It sounds like you’re more interested in the “sizzle” than the “steak.” If you need to be entertained to be moved by the word of God, then I think you REALLY should examine yourself with fear and trembling. I hope you’ll understand that if all you had was God’s word, God’s mercy and the blood of Christ and you still weren’t moved unless there was some Hollywood song and dance attached to that, then you are OF the world and not in it. I pray that this Easter season will be a time for you to really reflect on what God desires vs. what man desires.

      • Jeff says:

        Mark…be careful of putting out judgemental comments on people you know nothing about. It’s easy to make blind accusations when you don’t know a person’s heart.

        I could post my resume to refute your assumptions about my “beliefs”, but that is not what this blog is for.

        By the way…I do enjoy sizzling steaks, but I also love a good old fashioned hamburger!

        Hope you had a blessed Easter…I know I did!

  10. joe says:

    Can a 5 year old come to watch this?

  11. Nick G. says:

    While I do not agree with this form of evangelism, I am glad that you have included preaching, as that is what we have been sent to do as a church. I understand why churches feel the need to find ways to draw people in, it is because we christians have lost the art of witnessing and sharing the gospel with the people around us. I have found that once a church moves towards entertainment to entice people to come to church, that leads to you having to keep getting more and more entertainment in order to keep them coming. I respect your heart and desire to reach the world, as I also share that burden, I just cannot personally grab on to these methods, as I believe that it will breed weak christians that will not be committed to serve our Lord and King. I pray though, that the Lord will continue to show fruit in your ministry, as you shine a light in this dark world!

  12. sandra says:

    Mark, Thank you x 2! to everyone at Church of the Rock who helped in the presentation of our Good Friday service!! As a Believer, it was everything that I could ask for. I wish I had invited everyone! The passionate lead singer and the song selection, the ‘leave it at the cross’/communion exercise, and the brief but effective teaching made the service meaningful and thought provoking. Thank you for your dedication to, and accomplishments with, your Church.

  13. mmmhm says:

    Remember, it was religion that killed Jesus.

    • mmmhmmmm says:

      Nope,it was our sin.

    • Jane Smith says:

      No one killed Jesus. He gave Himself up to those who came to the garden; He gave Himself to be nailed to the cross; He gave His life up on the cross so that the final sacrifice could be completed. At no time was He unable to stop what was happening, but He didn’t stop it. He died willingly knowing that His resurrection would allow us to become holy enough to stand within God’s glory.

  14. mmmhm says:

    It was our sin he died for yes i agree. It was religious leaders that ultimately put him to death. Religion can very much get in between our relationship with Christ, and put a bad taste in the mouths of non-believers.

    • mmmhmmmm says:

      Amen, He died 4 our sins and it wasn’t just the religious leaders who crucified Him. He died because we all have sinned and we all have turned away from Him. We are all 2 blame 4 the sins that Jesus died 4. Religious and lukewarm are both rat trails away from Christ.

  15. lesley says:

    I love that Church of the Rock brings the message of the Bible to people in this form. I was in Winnipeg in 2007 and went to your church with my sister and mother, and saw a fantastic musical piece put on by the children, with Muppet-like characters, and the music was great! They were singing ‘Who’s in the house?’, and then the answer was a big J.C.!!! It really got everyone going and I loved it.

    I sure wouldn’t want to go back to medieval times when the service was all in Latin and the only people who could understand it were the priests! There weren’t even any pews in the nave – all the ‘commoners’ had to stand there, not even knowing what they were listening to!

    I believe creativity is a gift from God, and that He rejoices when we use our individual and collective creativity to share His message.

  16. Mark H says:

    I guess just preaching about Jesus wasn’t enough?! Batman??? Really??? God speaks about false churches as we get closer to the end times. After hearing about this, I can see God’s word never lies. Repent!

  17. Batmania says:

    Touchy,touchy.

  18. Isaac says:

    I was at this service today and it was awesome!

    I loved how clearly Pastor Mark preached the Gospel of Jesus, using Batman as a modern day analogy for the Easter story. It was also amazing that a bunch of people put their faith in Christ for the first time today. Very cool! That’s what it’s all about.

    I’m proud to be a part of this church!

  19. Ryan says:

    Awesome Easter performance again this year at Church of the Rock. In recent years the Christian population across Canada has become smaller and smaller. To reach out with modern versions of the Easter story and expose people to Word Of God is creative and exciting.
    The message is the same as traditional services and for people to attack the modern Easter stories at Church of the Rock, is simply unjust. Fellow Christians who are upset must take a step back and realize there were people who found Christ for the first time at these Easter services and that is something ever Christian can rejoice about. God Bless everyone involved in the production of Batman: The Dark Night – An Easter Story!

  20. Min says:

    While I’m not religious, I think it’s great that a church celebrates it’s religion instead of mourning it. Good luck!

  21. Matt says:

    I was at some of the skit but could not even stay for the whole thing. As I was offended by the idea that you would compere our saviour as a vigilante. To me that takes away from what he did meant to us as christians. I also saw the one from the pirates movie and was equally offended by the fact that you would portray my lord as a bumbling drunk. We need to get back to the basics and tell people what the Lord went through and what it truly means when we accept the gift of salvation. The Lord is not taken serios enough in this day and age when we need him the most, how does it help to make a mockery of easter as well.

  22. Matt says:

    Still what is so wronmg with just telling it like it is.

  23. Mark Hughes says:

    Nothing at all. If you had stuck around for the second half of the service that is exactly what you would have heard; An uncompromising message about the work of Jesus on the cross and the power of the resurrection in our lives. Dozens of people came to Christ yesterday at the close of the service. That would not have happened if we had failed to get them in the door in the first place.

  24. Matt says:

    Sure it would have if Christ called them to true repentance.

  25. Jesus rules! says:

    I don’t want to be rude or mean, but Pastor Mark, do you really think Jesus needs Batman to get people into Church? I really don’t think so.
    It would be like comparing Jesus to a Roman God back in His day to get the Romans to come to Church.
    Who’s in the driver seat, us or God?

    • Mark Hughes says:

      I love your idealism. And you are absolutely right. Jesus didn’t have any problem attracting a crowd without Batman If Jesus was here in the flesh we would not need Batman or musicians or singers or a building or me for that matter. But ever since Jesus left earth we have had to work a little harder at attracting attention to his message. There are lots of churches that love Jesus and pray and wait for people to show up… but guess what, they don’t.

  26. Jesus rules! says:

    I think Jesus said we would do greater things than He.
    My guess is, we are lacking somehow.
    I see Christian talk show after another trying to find out how to experience more from God. Well the Bible is clear on how to experience God to the fullest. Just nobody wants to do it.
    They tippy toe around the things that make them uncomfortable and expect God to work mightily. When He doesn’t they resort to all kinds of other new inventions.
    God’s got it all under control, we just need to let Him go into the areas inside us that we don’t want Him to go.
    He wants to bring revival! He wants to bring in a harvest that will blow our minds! He will do this here in Winnipeg.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Well, Steve (Jesus Rules, Batmania, etc. Yes, as moderator I see your IP address) Show us how it’s done, I am all for revival.

      • Steve says:

        So, you’re saying Avatar is out of the question? Heh heh. Had to say it.
        You know, I am not a picture of perfection in any way shape or form. But I’ll give myself credit on this, I am willing to have my butt kicked and keep surrendering to God instead of giving up.
        I am a guy who messes up in such unbelievably dumb ways that all I can do is repent and surrender, forgive and allow myself to die whether anyone else wants to do the same with me or not. But then I am able to recieve some real gems from Christ.
        I think Pastor Mark that this is how we get revival. By allowing ourselves to die. To let Christ turn us into new wineskins so He can pour out His new wine into us.
        Who can argue with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul went out not with persuasive speaking or eloquent talk but with the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul was willing to die. Willing to be mistreated, willing to go into the darkest places and pull the captives out of the darkness because he was filled with fearless love.
        That`s what I want to be and that`s what God wants to see right here in Winnipeg.
        He showed me a revival that I cannot believe myself. What`s going on I don`t know but this things gonna rock this town and turn stuff upside down, or rightside up, however you want to look at it.

        • Steve says:

          I meant it when I said,”Lord bless Church of the Rock,” by the way.
          I believe God wants to use Church of the Rock in a big way.
          I know in my life, I think sometimes I’m doing things right, when they’re just wrong and I need to die in those areas so Christ can do what He wants to do. Otherwise, so many things He’s done would never have happened. And I can see some amazing things coming into place because I had to swallow my pride and just die.
          Jesus is so kind and gracious to us. He always gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. I mean, that is the awesome thing about Jesus. We can screw up so bad! And Jesus just says,”Hey! Just admit you’re wrong and swallow your pride, and I will redeem you. Sure it feels like you are falling off a cliff to your death, but wait till you see what I’ve got for you. You will be so blown away!”

  27. Fanny says:

    Hey Mark,
    I have wondered for a few years why there is always dancers in every play. They are a huge distraction in my opinion… Thanks God bless!

    • Mark Hughes says:

      I can think of three reasons;
      1) The dance is a legitimate form of praise to God.
      2) As the church we need to redeem the arts for the glory of God. We have some very gifted dancers that need to be given an opportunity to express their gifts once in a while. What better time then a stage performance?
      3) I think they are awesome.

  28. Jay Bobsen says:

    If you want to really get some goats to attend, why not go all out and put a stripper pole on the stage and do a silly sex sermon series… oh wait, another church has already done that. Seriously.
    Jesus said “Feed ms sheep”. Today, we see “Entertain the goats”.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Other than the insulting reference to the stripper pole, you have got it right. We are trying to win the goats to Christ. Feeding the sheep was not Jesus only command. We are also to try to win the lost.

      1Cor 9:22 …I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

  29. Kristi says:

    This year I was very disappointed in the Easter play, sickened actually. Why did “Robin” keep using the word “holy” as a swear. It wasn’t necessary at all, didn’t add anything to the play, but was very offensive.
    I was embarrassed that I brought my neighbors with me. They know that Christians don’t use God’s name and attributes of God like the word holy as a swear word. I was at a loss what to say to them. Please explain why you chose to use this word over and over again in such a way.

  30. Mark Hughes says:

    We wrote it in as the concept comes from the original 1960′s Batman series when vulgarity of any sort was prohibited on TV. Robin had 356 different holy ‘something’ expressions. http://adamwest.tripod.com/robin.htm
    I have honestly never heard of anyone being offended by the holy mackerel type of expression.

  31. Ron says:

    Why is it we think we must make the church like this sinned filled world and copy it, when ALL we are commanded to do is preach the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ an NOTHING more or less?

    Do you beleive your attendacne will dwendle if you do not look like, smell like, and act like the world? Well it may but the key is those that are truly saved WILL stay there and they WILL be the best members you will have.

    Unless you care more for your pocket book than for the truth of God’s Word. These kinds of things sicken me! But pastor it is you who will stand before God as will I. Both of us will be responsible for what we have taught those that come to our services.

    God help the “Emerging church” come to repentance and begin teaching what Christ taught the people that asked about what it takes to be saved. In EVERY case Jesus said, “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.

    Deny yourself, LEAVE THE WORLD AND IT’S SIN LIKE THIS BEHIND.

    Take up your cross IN THEIR DAY MEANT BE READY TO GIVE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE UP FOR ME INCLUDING YOUR OWN LIFE IF IT IS REQUIRED.

    Follow ME; FOLLOW CHRIST AT ALL COSTS AND WITHOUT CARING ABOUT ANYTHING THIS WORLD THROWS IN YOUR FACE OR TEMPTS YOU WITH EVEN.

    Preachers preach THE Gospel not a seeker sensitive message to boast about how many you got saved this week and how much money you got coming in. A successful church is defined by the spiritual lives of those in the church and how they truly DENY THEMSELVES, TAKE UP THE CROSS AND HOW THEY TRULY FOLLOW CHRIST DAILY.

    Pastor Ron Godwin

  32. Zohan says:

    Wow, Pastor Ron Godwin, what a self-righteous rant! Have you ever even heard Pastor Mark preach? Did you mother never teach you about prejudging people that you don’t actually know or know anything about? I read somewhere about the sin of bearing false witness. I think this would qualify.

    Just because the church does an Easter skit with Batman and Robin that automatically makes him a compromising preacher? Easter’s message The Dark Night was about the fulfillment of Isa 53 on the cross during the 3 hour darkness from the 6th to 9th hour, about how Jesus bore the sin of all mankind and paid the debt for sin. It sounded like the gospel to me, not some watered down, soft soaped seeker sensitive drivel.

    What is really sickening is people who hide behind their computer screens, never actually doing anything or making a difference and merely tearing down those that actually are.

  33. Kris says:

    This is what’s wrong with American churches. This is a church that is not operating in the Spirit of Christ. When a church lacks the Holy Spirit, gifts of the spirit they need to draw the people some how. These type churches like to see the nickles and noses in the pews. More worried about how many people showed up today vs how many actually got truly born again. If this is how you want to bring the people into the church, this is how you will have to keep them, (entertained) Tares need to be entertained. Church is NOT for the unsaved, its for the saved to get refilled from God, to give God glory etc. Get the people saved on the outside and they will be the first ones at the door on Sunday morning.
    If the Holy Spirit was actually running the “show” service then there would be people humbling themselves at an altar not laughing with Batman. The Holy Spirit would be convicting the congregation of sin, not sipping on a slurpy and eating popcorn.

    People wonder why Americans don’t see the power of God. Healing the sick, raising the dead etc. Its this ridiculous mindset of these pastors. These pastors spend 5 minutes in prayer and 15 hours putting plays together. God is starting to really separate those in a church and those who ARE THE CHURCH.

  34. Mark Hughes says:

    Kris
    Did I mention we had 1,100 people humbling themselves at the alter Good Friday?

    And, we are not an American church. Winnipeg is in Canada. I also wonder how someone from Wisconsin can pass judgment on a church that they have never been to and know nothing about, in another country no less?

    • chris says:

      I do apologize. I didn’t read to find out you were in Canada, the link stated CA I assumed it was California. I will stand corrected. The point is still the same though. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires”. I don’t have to be in this church or any other church in order to see the worldliness. We the church should be influencing the world not the world influencing us. I would like to see how many of these “1,100″ people will still be serving Christ in a year. Anyone can be moved by a play, song etc. Heck my unsaved family will cry during the passion of Christ movie. Does not make them a Christian. Or cry during “mass” then they turn and praise mother mary. I am not saying that 100% of these people are not Christians, or did not truly give their life to Christ. All I am saying is if Christ is leading the Church there won’t be room for anything else. Mark, this is something that you need to take up with Christ.

      • Zohan says:

        Hey Mr Basement Theologian and Guardian of all Orthodoxy why don’t you get on a plane and fly up here, sit through a service and then make an informed judgment. For one thing you might actually get saved or repent or both.
        You are the very worst kind of critic. The kind that hides behind a computer screen and attacks the church from afar. Give your head a shake. You are no Martin Luther.

        • Matt says:

          I am in Winnipeg and have attended church of the rock several times and I am in full agreement with Chris, from first hand experiences

  35. Audrey says:

    My goodness! I can’t believe what I’m reading. EVERY Sunday I attend COTR, people are being saved! If just ONE Salvation took place during the Easter service, it would have all been worth it! Jesus would have died for just one! It appears that some people have simply become to legal and religious to even notice. The statement that church is not for the unsaved but only the saved is wrong. Try telling that to the people who’s salvation took place in a church, and have gone on to be amazing men and women for Christ. We are to judge by the fruits – and COTR and others alike are beautiful orchards! Not everything is perfect, but this side of Heaven, we won’t see it. We worship Jesus at COTR – we witness many healings, and if anyone thinks for a moment that God is not working through this church, they are completly wrong. I brought an unsaved friend to church, after several weeks she was saved, and a few months later, baptized. If church was just for the saved, she’d have little hope. Some sow, some water, the Holy Spirit reaps. It’s ALL for the glory of God – in however He chooses. Some need to reach thier deathbed, some come to Christ through friends, some through family, some in church, and still others, in the most strangest of times and places. Remember, we are in the end times – stranger things than Batman in church will bring people to their knees in adoration to Christ. Pastor Mark does not only preach to the unsaved, he preaches and teaches to the saved, and does a fine job. There is no distraction – the message of Christ’s finished work on the cross is preached LOUD AND CLEAR – the approach is different, but people are being saved, and the doctrine is sound. We are blessed by this church, and may God continue to bless Church of the Rock.

  36. chris says:

    Audrey,
    Sorry if you misinterpreted me. I did not mean to imply that we should not preach to the unsaved. My point is, don’t use gimmicks in order to trick people into the church. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Preach the whole console of God. Trust in the Holy Spirit to do the work and change hearts. That is when you truly see the conversions in peoples lives. I don’t remember reading anywhere in the bible where they put on plays and ice cream socials in order to preach the blood of Christ. People need to know they are sinners and need a savior PERIOD. I see the front page of this churches website. This is all making sense to me know. Seems like Church of the Rock follows Rick Warren. Rick is preaching a false doctrine. While the minds are off rehearsing for plays, the enemy is filling up the pews with false teachers like R Warren. We are to expose false preachers.

    Who is the Church?

    When the word church is said today too often the minds of many people think of a family building. But the church is not a building nor is it an organization but it is a people. A blood washed, called out people that meet to worship and honor God. God is not impressed with huge monuments built for His name sake. II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” The church is the body of Christ with Jesus as the head, and she will only remain the church when she stays connected to Christ. If the church loses or strays from Christ and His headship then she will cease to be a church, even if there is “a form of godliness.” (II Tim. 3:5)

    What is Gods purpose for the Church?

    God has left His church with the command to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt.28:19-20). This is not just a call to make converts but there is a responsibility that goes along with that and that is to make disciples out of the new believers. That is where the importance of the church is realized. The church, who are the called out ones, must meet for the purpose of worshipping God, but another main function is to build up the body of Christ, that is why God “… gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” (Eph. 4:11-13). Peter was told by Jesus Himself with great emphasis to “feed My sheep” If the church will keep herself pure and separated from the influence of the world, and preach and teach conformity to Christ, then and only then will the church be able to go out and fulfill that Great Commission.

    • Audrey says:

      Chris,
      So what your trying to say is that the many unsaved people who are somehow drawn to a church and become saved, and the many people who actually are saved in a church building are somehow disqualified? You quoted Mt.28:19-20 that instructs us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Where I come from, that’s usually done in a church and performed by a Pastor. As well, when we share the Gospel, many times, a church invitation is offered. This is what many people require to authenticate what we are sharing with them. If church is just for the saved, who will bounce out the hypocrites? The enemy has people in pretty much every church – I think it’s more dangerous living in denile than “accidently” invite the wrong person to church. Who would screen this anyway? There are many people in church who say they are saved but are liars. I think they cause more damage than anyone. It’s impossible for us to know everyone’s heart. At the end of the day, it’s between them and God. Again, we can judge by the “fruit” – and this church continues to multiply.
      As well, when the church speaks of the attendance, it isn’t to brag about themselves, it’s to boast in Jesus, the number of people who had the opportunity to hear the Gospel for the first time, and to make a decision for Christ. That’s something to encourage others about ~ it’s exciting! It’s beautiful.

  37. Audrey says:

    A church that is strong enough to handle the saved and the unsaved. I really believe that my Jesus can handle it. I’m quite positive that there is some serious Spiritual Warfare taking place which covers the church. The Holy Spirit really does show up at COTR and others like it during services. I don’t think that would happen if inviting unsaved people was wrong in God’s eye. As well, the message is transferrable – to the saved and unsaved. The message of the Gospel is rock solid. At the end of the day, we all have a choice to make. We must also ALWAYS remember that Jesus loved us before we were saved, and he died for everyone. If we pray against hidden agendas, God always wins. The power of Christian prayer is no match for the enemy. God always shows up. If that wasn’t the case, people wouldn’t get saved in church – which by the way, really strenghtens my faith and is a great encouragement. I have three sons, and it is one of the most exciting things that happen for them at church. Imagine, 11, 14, and 17year old boys raised in the Northend of Winnipeg, getting excited about the Salvation of people they have never met. That in itself is proof to me that the Holy Spirit is working through this church of ours in a very mighty way.
    Again, in my opinion, we get fed at Church, at homegroups, but especially, reading our Bibles, and talking to God in prayer, in the Name of Jesus.

  38. Matt says:

    But Church of the rock is obviously not feeding all the sheep in their church when the whole point of the easter play is not to offend people outside the church. Instead of lift up the true believers( of which I know there are some in the church). Remember that the Bible says that the message of the cross is an offence to those that are perishing so why soften it for them to make a false profession of faith, even if sometimes they truly do come to repentance. Ther is another thing to keep in mind when it comes the style of the play and using modern fairy tales as “analigies” or “parables” to tell the story of easter.Keep in mind Matt 13:10-13 And the disciples came and said to Him,”Why do you speak to them in parables?”Jesus answered them,”to you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given,and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have,but whoever does not have,even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables;because while seeing they do not see,and while hearing they do not hear,nor do they understand.” That seems pretty clear to me that the idea that you need to use “analigies” and “parables” of your kind to reach the lost instead of clear and accurate teaching and preaching of the word of God is not biblical. As the whole point of the parables was to hide the truth from those that have already rejected, instead of putting the message in a form that they can swallow easier. While the Bible may not be specific as to the style that is used on Sunday mornings for the worship service there is very clear instruction on what the substance should be, as Paul is instructing Timothy on how he should preach the word. This is something Preachers should really take to heart when they look at how they “get people into the church”. I will leave 1 final scripture to consider.
    2 Timothy 4:3 and 4
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

  39. Mark Hughes says:

    The purpose of parables, even according to Matthew 13, is to “make known the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” not to hide them. Often Jesus explained His parables and they were understood. Those who did not ‘get them’ were those who did not want to get them.

    Parable telling was a long established tradition by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. The whole point of parables was to take commonly understood everyday things like farming practices or political events and use them to declare spiritual truths. There was nothing immoral or sinful about the practice. Nobody here seems to have a problem with CS Lewis using a Lion and a Witch as a parable of Christ and the Devil, but are getting bent out of shape about us using Batman and the Joker to do exactly the same thing.

    I would say we were very successful in presenting the message of the resurrection even though we used Batman as the hook, as the 1,000′s that showed up had hearts open to understand and dozens came to Christ after the plan of salvation was explained FROM THE SCRIPTURES. If our critics had been there or had stayed long enough, like Matt did not, they would have heard the message of the gospel proclaimed very clearly.

    The parables of Jesus were often offensive, and to some of you clearly our Batman one was as well. The religious mind of the modern day Pharisee will always claim they are defending orthodoxy whereas more often than not they are prisoners of their own self-righteous leglism. For example; Jesus critics were offended that he healed on the Sabbath. They were so put out by Jesus failure to keep religious protocol that they completely missed the fact that a man’s life was miraculously transformed by the Holy Spirit. In a like manner, rather than being excited that the Holy Spirit brought so many came to Christ this Easter, our critics are offended by our methods. God has always used symbolism and outrageous people to communicate his message and does not have a problem offending the religious mind while doing it. John the Baptist and almost any of the prophets come to mind.

    If some didn’t like the Batman theme, I have no quarrel with that. That is your prerogative. But to say that the sermon on Easter was compromised or watered down is an insult to the very word of God itself since the message of the death and resurrection was preached straight from the scripture. On that point I am quite certain that I am not the one who needs to repent.

    Comments on this blog are now closed. It’s been fun. Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

  40. Ron says:

    Making the “Gospel” look like, smell like, and in every other way LIKE the World is NOT Godly folks.

    Matthew 7:21-23 study it well I pray.

    Repent of your sins and trust in Christ alone we need to SEPARATE ourselves from the world. This is not “relevant” God’s Word is “relevant” for ALL generations for ALL times and you need not add this kind of worldly junk to get people there.

    Simply PREACH the truth and God will bring them and they wont be a bunch of false converts either.
    Pastor Ron

  41. Satan says:

    “On that point I am quite certain that I am not the one who needs to repent.”

    So am I! Join the club my son!

  42. Satan says:

    PS if there were more pastors like Mark Hughes it would make my job so much easier!

    see you sooooon.

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