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Saturday, June 25, 2005 

Cruise in for a Bruisin'

Tom Cruise. Just the name these days for me invokes images of couch jumping and crazy-eyed verbal assaults on interviewers. Last night I nervously watched him on "The Late Show," wondering if he was going to jump across the table and slap Dave with that fake microphone-thingy that sits on his desk after Dave basically asked him to elaborate on his sex life with actress Katie Holmes of "Dawson Creek" fame. He didn't. He just kind of popped up out of his chair and laughed toward the audience. Whew! Dave was safe.

Unfortunately for Matt Lauer and some others before him, they aren't Dave Letterman. This morning on the "Today" Show, Matt apparently stepped over the line and suggested that Tom might actually be wrong about his recent comments that people should not use prescription drugs to counter conditions like ADHD. Cruise seemed to have to restrain himself a bit and then lit into his interviewer by telling him how much he didn't know about drug testing.

Hmmm . . . let's think about this a little bit, shall we? Here's a guy who is a public figure, in an organized religion, and now is suggesting that prescription drugs are not only useless for treating psychiatric conditions, but even harmful. And he is doing it all on national television! Now imagine someone like, say Al Mohler (or any other well-known evangelical leader for that matter), getting on national television and saying that prescription drugs shouldn't be taken by kids who have Attention Defecit / Hyperactivity Disorder. He says that he's read the reports and that his interviewer is just "glib." You know what would happen? The entire American Psychological Society would roast him on a spit. CNN would find about 15 medical doctors to come out against him on "Larry King Live" and there would be picketing outside his house on Lexington Road here in Louisville. And yet this guy, this movie star (who honestly isn't well known for his intellectual prowess -- not to say he isn't smart, but, come on, he's definately not a medical practitioner!), goes around saying all this kind of stuff without anyone correcting him. Is he right or something? I mean are millions of members of the APA wrong?

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not for medicating society to the hilt like we have done the past 25 years, but surely someone in the medical field disagrees with Cruise. So why won't they speak up? I find this interesting to say the least.

Cruise's main point of argumentation in the past has been basically, "I have seen people get off drugs and alcohol with Scientology. The stuff works. It must be true." This past weekend I attended the Pastor's Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, TN. Voddie Baucham spoke on why he chooses to believe the Bible. In one of his points he said that those who say they believe the Bible is true because they tried it and it worked for them have just opened up a hole in their logic "big enough to drive a Mack Truck through." He illustrated his point by saying that everyone who goes through a 12-step program has to choose a higher power to help them, but their higher power could be a squirrel if they want it to. So according to the "it worked for me" logic, if they are successful in breaking their addiction, then their squirrel would then carry as much weight as would the Bible (specifically Christianity) or Scientology or Buddhism, or whatever else.

And that is the danger of the New Age Movement. When I was in seminary at NOBTS, one of our final exam questions for "Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion" was "What do you see as the biggest threat to Christianity in the 21st century?" We could pick a number of problems ranging from Christian cults like Mormonism to the debate over the reliability of the Bible (which is what I chose) to the New Age Movement. Dr. Robert Stewart, our professor for that class, said he believed it to be the latter. I think more and more I agree with him. New Age stuff works. It always has. God, in instructing the Israelites regarding worship of other gods, never indicated that there was no supernatural activity in the religions of the Israelites neighbors. In fact, in the accounts of the plagues of Egypt, the sorcerers of Pharoah were able to duplicate many of the acts of Moses, yet not all of them. And when Paul and Silas encountered the slave girl in Philippi, whom Paul healed, Luke records that she had a "spirit of divination" and that she "was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling." Thus, we can conclude from this passage that the New Age stuff (which at that time was Old Age) was working for her.

Christianity isn't about doing something that works, it's about worshipping and connecting with the One, Living and True God and about being saved though the vicarious death of His Son, Jesus Christ, at whose name "every knee will bow . . . and every tongue will confess" He is Lord. We can't present Christianity as a 12-step program. We must present it as life-giving truth to a lost and dying world who have accepted lies that work for them, but ultimately will lead to destruction. If Tom Cruise never embraces Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, then one day he will learn that life was about more than works. Let's pray that God would reveal to these men and women trapped in darkness and demonic religions "the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

Until Christ is Formed in Us All,

I stumbled into your post when doing an icerocket.com search on "dave letterman", and, just had to say that I really enjoyed your post... Not to sound facetious, but, hey, amen.

Mark Gstohl

Good point on the Cruise thing. I think you are so roght. But who are we to argue with one of the 100 greatest Americans?

BTW--How does one defend the Bible apart from experience?

I think we defend the Bible in the same way we defend any other historical document or event. We look at the accounts themselves, their accuracy, their corroboration, their differences, what those who lived in that time said about them, and in the case of the resurrection of Jesus what the result was of those events and documents. With the NT we have over 5000 manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts written over a 1500 year time period which all essentially agree. Their are differences, but most are very minor. We have a 95% agreement rate between all of them and that number shoots up to 98% when you take out spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. We have serveral extrabiblical sources that comment either on events occuring simultaneously (which align with the Biblical settings) or shortly afterwards (which document the changing religious landscape of the Middle East due to the rise of Christianity). We have the fact that the resurrection was not something that could have been made up with much impact had it not been based on facts. And so we have a set of documents that seem to be for the most part internally consistent (at least way more so than any other set of documents at that time), widely testified, and rarely challenged. And we have a Jesus who followed in the line of many other "Christs", but whose impact was far more significant. And I could go on. The point is that I don't think God ever intended on making faith in Christ and belief in the resurrection and other events of the life of Jesus solely a matter of experience. Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 15 that the gospel is one of factual origin. It is the "royal announcement" (what NT Wright calls it) that a Saviour is indeed here and that He did indeed rise perform miracles and that He did indeed physically rise from the dead and there are witnesses to prove it. And Peter in his second epistle claims that these thing about Jesus were not cleverly devised tales but rather he and others saw the majesty of God in Christ, heard God declare Him to be the Son of God and saw the prophesies match up. Their faith was not based merely on experience (at least not in the way many speak today) but on what was a true historical event. Today we can have the same trust in those accounts of the historical events. Men like CS Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Lee Stroebel, and probably hundreds of others were brought to the Lord in the same way as those directly after Christ -- they believed the historical accounts.

So I hope that answers your question.

BTW -- Did Cruise really make the 100 greatest Americans? That's ridiculous. I can name 1000 other people that are much better Americans than he.

Bret Farve, Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Madonna, Arnold, Martha Stewart..it's loaded with really great people! I'm so ticked Mr Rogers was left off-seriously.


In the words of Napolean Dynamite,



The Today Show interview took place on a Friday Morning. The APA isn't going to come out and blast Tom Cruise on a Friday night because it won't make the front page on Saturday and if it did no one would read it. They'll wait til Monday. Which is what they done. http://releases.usnewswire.com/

Your right in that they probably won't call for a boycott of the film and they won't march in front of his house or even the Church of Scientology, the problem with making a BIG FUSS about all of it is that some people will think, "why are they so upset, he must have hit a nerve, he must be not so far from the truth."

The only issue I had was the "12 steps" comments, I wasn't sure where you stood on that one in that, when you talk about the "12 steps" they originated with Alcoholics Anonymous(AA). So with AA the whole point of acknowledging "God as we know him" is that the point of AA isn't to bring people to Jesus Christ, it's to get them off of alcohol and they don't care if your Christian, Muslim, Buddist, or you bow down before Chip the almight and all-knowing Squirrel, (personally I thought Dale always had the brains in the outfit) they just want you off alcohol. The twelve steps mention God or a higher power in 5 of 12 steps so it seems that they originated somewhat based on spirituality. But if Chip, or God gets you off the sauce, what's the difference??

And if you start saying that only Christ can get you off alcohol, then you start sounding a lot like Tom Cruise when he says that psychiatry doesn't work and drugs don't work but Scientology does.

If your talking about being saved, the okay "Chip" doesn't work in that senario. And I would concede that if someone was trying to "dry up" they would probably have a better chance with Christ than Chip. But AS FAR AS Alcohol, I'm with Matt Lauer on this one, if it works for some people...

Hey Brother, Dave here, the fellow LifeWay patriot. I really appreciate your blog, and I plan to read more of them. If you are very bored, you can check out my blog at www.thefivepointbiblicist.blogsome.com
See ya at the Way.

I have been reading your blog since you sent it. My husband has too. He is very impressed with you. Brian was Episcople when we met and began dating. He has since switched denominations. Anyway, I was reading the Tom Cruise post (and I could almost hear you speaking it) It made me laugh. I just had to say that I am glad you are still the same D.R. we all know and love.
I hope it is ok, I am sending your link to a friend of mine. He also has a blog. He is a former Baptist, now an Episcople lay eucharistic minister in training. Keep in touch!
Christy Brown Bucker
PHILLY FUGE 2001 (wow has it been that long?)

Man, you need to cut Tom Cruise missle some slack; didn't you see War of the Worlds? He's obviously still very pumped up from running from aliens and all. I'm sure he'll settle down after he marries his mid-life crisis...oops...I mean...err...Katie Holmes.

I just read a post on an NOBPT guy's blog and he said he had to sign a paper saying he wouldn't drink alcohol. When did that happen? Do you know anthing about it?


Lots of great comments guys. Thanks for stopping by.

Jay, thanks for the link. I will have to reread my post and your comments to see what exactly you are saying.

Christy, you are awesome. I am glad you and your husband have been reading my blog. Actually I am honored. And send my blog to anyone you want to. I am always glad to have folks stop by.

Mark, I don't think NOBTS students have to sign a specific paper that says they won't drink (at least they didn't when I was there), but I think signing the handbook is what constitutes an agreement not to drink since it is a part of the rules. At least that is the way we used to understand it. The same is true about Southern, but a lot of folks are conscientious objectors and feel that "the seminary community" only constitutes those that are on campus at the time of partaking.

Let me know if you find out more info.

May the Peace of God be with you;

The reason the APA and everyone else will be hesitant to be too vocally critical about what Tom said is because it's a well known fact the Scientologists will blackmail them. This is one of the cult's nasty tactics. They really are ruthless.

As for AA; I have seen a lot of aetheists come to God in God's various forms because of this program.

Don't assume you know everything, only God knows everything. Who are you, a mere human, to say that God can't work on other human souls through AA? Humility is a quality of the Saints, not Egoism.


thanks for the insight on Scientology.

As for your comment about AA, I never said God couldn't use AA. And I am not against AA either. What I am against is saying that truth is pragmatic. The "it works for you, but not for me" or the "whatever works for me is true" philosophy that Cruise was advocating is often found in AA. Those who believe in a false god because it helped them get off of alcohol are simply decieved. We cannot base truth on what works, but only on the truth of God found in Scripture. It is true that many people find many different things that help them. But it doesn't mean that the foundation behind what helped them is true or even trustworthy.

I don't know what you mean by "I have seen a lot of aetheists come to God in God's various forms because of this program." What various forms are you referring to?

As for humility, I am not trying to arrogantly dismiss AA or any other organization or say God can't work through them. I am simply making a point using AA philosophy (which many take to mean that one higher power is as good as another -- whatever works for you). In the end the most humble and Christlike thing to do is to tell people the truth, which is that there is no name under heaven by which men can be saved apart from the name of Jesus Christ. If that is arrogant of me, then I am in good company -- that of Jesus Himself.

Hejabi, I pray that you are a Christian, but if not I pray that you would consider exploring the claims of Jesus to be indeed God in the flesh and the only means of eternal life.

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




Thanks for your kind comment. Unfortunately, I don't blog much any more. I pastor a Church in Athens, GA, so I don't have much time to do much else. Maybe one day I will get back into it. But for now, I am glad my blog is still up and can still be used by God in people's lives.

Thanks again, and may God bless you truly,

Soli Deo Gloria,

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About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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