I paid the nine bucks necessary to see The Book of Eli this weekend. Sometimes when I walk through the doors of a theater, I wonder if the investment is going to be worth it. This time it was. I left with a deep sense of conviction.

The film’s primary character has one responsibility, to go west with the last copy of the Bible. Along the way he masterfully mutilates and/or exterminates anyone or anything that gets in the way of his mission. Protecting the Word of God until he can deliver it to the God-appointed location is all that Eli lives for.

At one amazing moment in the film, after having to decide between protecting the scriptures and saving a life Eli announces… “I got so caught up with protecting it I forgot to do what it said.”

I’m afraid that many times we are so caught up in protecting our perspective of a biblical thought that we forget to do those things the Bible says we are to live our lives doing. In fact, it seems in the faith community today, and in many small groups, we are discussing and debating the doctrine found in the Bible more than digging to find out what the scriptures tell us about how to live our lives.

A few thoughts:

1. Debating theology with an unbeliever present will seldom, almost never, lead to the not yet follower of Christ choosing an eternal relationship with Jesus. If you’ve got a pre-Christian in your group ask group members to get together at a time other than the meeting time to discuss doctrinal differences.

2. Debates that lead to disunity are, in almost every instance, “foolish controversies” (Titus 3:9) which we are told to avoid.

3. Biblical truth doesn’t need you to protect it, evidently God’s standing guard over it. (Matthew 5:18)

4. If we are living out the activities motivated by love that Jesus modeled, the world will know that Jesus is God’s Son and the only pathway to God.

P.S. Please know that I am not suggesting that church leadership allow false teaching or that a group leader allow any perspective to be considered truth. I am simply pointing out that small groups should spend their time seeking the truth and concluding how to show the love to the world that Jesus modeled rather than hosting a debate when more than one perspective is brought to the forefront.

P.S.S. The Book of Eli is not rated R for nothin’. It is very violent and is sprinkled with very colorful language. Don’t go see it if your sensitivities are fragile.