I was deeply troubled as I read about Camp Siloam’s “MulleTopia” (“Camp Siloam goes ‘Mulletopia’” ABN, July 16, page 1, 8). My concern wasn’t over using creative themes or unique approaches in presenting the gospel. As a 29-year-old, I’m all for that. My concern is if the gospel was even truly presented.
Allow me to explain. First, it was noted that the story of Jonah was presented outside of its traditional, “Hebrew context.” This seems alarming on multiple levels. First, taking Scripture out of its Hebrew context implies that salvation isn’t “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16), thus classifying it as “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8). Second, as a theology graduate from a SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) school, I was taught that context is everything when seeking to understand and teach a text. How are we going to understand the message that is being given in Scripture if we ignore the context in which it was given? “MulleTopia” would thus receive a failing grade in the classroom. Why would you separate a biblical narrative from the rest of the Bible? Camp Siloam changed the ending of the story to be more appeasing. How is this not adding to and taking away from Scripture (Rev. 22:18-19)? Do we think we can give a better ending than God did?
The children’s hit movie, “VeggieTales,” gave a more biblical account of Jonah then did Siloam. At what point is changing a biblical account to fit personal preference not blasphemy? My burden is this: Is this another example of a new SBC trend to make concession on clear biblical teaching if it will indeed boost our numbers? If this is what is meant by the new Christian phrase, “Radical,” maybe we need to examine ourselves.
Editor’s Note: The ABN contacted Jason Wilkie, executive director at Camp Siloam, for his response to Jamie’s concerns. Following is his response: “I want to reassure Jamie and all Arkansas Baptists that the drama we write and perform each summer is supplemented with eight strong biblical, gospel-centered messages taught by pastors. I understand Jamie’s concern with the idea of taking a ‘story out of biblical context.’ In no way do we present our story as Scripture. Perhaps it would be better to describe what we do at Camp Siloam as ‘writing and performing a story which parallels a biblical story and reveals God’s Truth in a fun and exciting way.’ This is a technique that has been used by writers for years and years to help people see God’s Truth in a new and fresh way.”