Monday, August 22, 2011

Every pastor needs some Gandalf in him

Through the power of film Peter Jackson has made J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy famous and accessible to a generation who may have never have heard of the literary classic. One of the most endearing characters in the story is a wizard named Gandalf. He is the leader of the fellowship of the ring and pledges himself to see that Frodo Baggins endures the treacherous journey to the fires of Mount Doom.

Because of unforeseen difficulties Gandalf must lead his band of pilgrims through the mines of Moria where they successfully fight violent goblins and trolls. But before they make it through, a wicked, powerful balrog pursues them. This wicked creature makes even the goblins tremble and is Tolkien's depiction of demonic beings.

In one of the most dramatic scenes of the first movie, Peter Jackson vividly portrays the resolve and courage of Gandalf to stand against the onslaught of the balrog. On the bridge of Khazadum, Gandalf turns to face their attacker and, taking his stand, declares, "You shall not pass!"

It is, to my mind, a powerful illustration of what God calls pastors to do in those seasons of intense spiritual warfare in the life of a church. Such "evil days" do come. And when they do, God's people are called to "stand" (Ephesians 6:13; cf. 6:10-12).

We are to be mindful of the devil, aware that he regularly looks for ways to destroy God's people, and we are to resist him, knowing that as we do so, he will flee (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9). Pastors--those whom God gives to His church to shepherd His flock--must lead the way in this effort.

When demonic forces seem to be unleashing their fury against the Lord's work among His people, pastors must protect the flocks they serve by standing firm and saying, "Enough! We will not yield one more step to our enemies. By God's grace, we will stand!"


Joe Blackmon said...

Like I said on Facebook, considering the actor who played Gandalf, this might not be the best choice of words for what you're trying to say. :-)

Brian Charles said...

Tom is not using Ian Mckellen as the example, he is using the character Gandalf within the context of the LOTR. Good post and a thought provoking one at that.

Christiane said...

Seeing as Tolkien was a devout Christian, he might have patterned Gandolf after St. Michael the Archangel . . .

note this appeal for help and you might see in it a pattern for Gandolf in that amazing scene:

"Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


In my faith, we are taught to call on God's help against satanic forces. I'm sure it is the same with Southern Baptist ministers. We, as Christians, do not face satan and the evil ones unaided. We are protected by the Almighty and His forces against demonic evil.

A Christian must NOT think to face demonic power on his own. It is very dangerous without God's help.

Robert Warren said...

How far do we take the analogy when Gandalf says "Fly, you fools!"?
Perhaps Jude's prescription to leave the rebuking to God.