Somehow the Mission Impossible music playing in the background seems fitting.
Have you caught the buzz circulating on the internet about Tom Cruise's leaked Scientology rant? Cruise was caught on film rambling on at length about his Scientology beliefs. Just trying to follow the logic in his rant on the merits of Scientology seems like an impossible mission.
Reportedly, the Church of Scientology did not want the video surfacing on the internet and has heavy-handedly moved in with the lawyer brigade to try and restrict the video's availability. This legal maneuvering by the Scientologists was seen by some as a 'restriction of free speech.' The result: the launch of the internet wars raging between the Church of Scientology and a loose affiliation of illegal hackers trying to bring down the Scientologists' website and initiating a variety of other internet sabotage, including 'Google bombing.' Now the FBI's involved, computers have been seized...and who knows how this is going to play out in the end...
But what is the Church of Scientology about? What do Scientology's followers believe? Let's zero in briefly on two key teachings - God and salvation and compare Scientology with what the Bible has to say.
Scientology draws its view of God from science fiction and eastern mysticism and teaches there are multiple gods, while denying the deity of Christ. In contrast, the Bible teaches there is one eternal God revealed in three persons, as explained in these verses:
• There is one who is called the Father and is identified as being God. 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
• There is one who is called Jesus and is identified as being God. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
• There is one who is called the Holy Spirit and is identified as being God. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17).
Scientologists believe personal salvation comes through freeing oneself from the cycle of birth and death associated with reincarnation. This Scientology process of breaking this birth/death cycle is called 'auditing,' where memories and subconscious thoughts that block positive energy are removed. Auditing can be a lengthy and expensive process. In contrast, the Bible teaches that salvation is through Jesus Christ.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So take the opportunity to use the buzz around the Tom Cruise Scientology video circulating on the web to talk with your friends about spiritual things. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Ask your friends if they've heard any of the news stories about the recently released Tom Cruise's Scientology video rant? Ask them if they're interested in spiritual things.
• Find out if your friends understand much about the basic beliefs of the Church of Scientology. Take the opportunity to share how the teachings of the Bible differ from the teachings of Scientology in the key areas of who God is and what Jesus had to say about salvation.
• Ask your friends what they think happens when you die. Do they believe in reincarnation like Scientologists do? Share what you believe based on Hebrews 9:27-29:
• "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
• Talk about how you become a Christian. Share what difference your relationship with Jesus has made in your life since you've become one of his followers.
Celebrities' religious beliefs, no matter how strange or convoluted, can be a springboard for spiritual conversations about the true message of God's grace and forgiveness as revealed in the Bible. Step up and take the opportunity to turn the conversation toward Jesus and share what He's done in your life.
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.