Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LHP Review: Star of Wonder

Larson, Rick. Produced by Stephen McEveety. The Star of Bethlehem: Unlock the Mystery of the World's Most Famous Star. Spokane, WA: MPower Pictures/Sound Enterprises, 2009. 65 Minutes. DVD Video. $12.95. http://www.mpowerpictures.com/ http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ (N)

"I was merely thinking God's thoughts after him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God." These are the words of Johannes Kepler, astronomer and Lutheran Christian. This presentation about "the World's Most Famous Star" was, in part, inspired by Kepler's research hundreds of years ago. Kepler's work was "derailed," one could say, because of one wrong date. How can you find "The Star of Bethlehem" if you are looking in the sky at the wrong time? Josephus turns out to be the culprit. When did Herod the Great die? We have more accurate data today. And that makes all the difference in discovering when the Star appeared.

The Star of Bethlehem is a powerful and brief 65 minute film I intend to show to family, friends, and when legally possible, the congregation and school I serve. Presenter Rick Larson is winsome, engaging, and interesting. The graphics are incredibly good! I thank God that we have computer software like "Starry Night" to reproduce in minute detail the night sky from any time in history and from any place on the globe.

Much of the early content reminded me of Paul Maier's The First Christmas, now included in his one-volume "trilogy," In the Fullness of Time. Unfortunately, Maier, noted scholar that he is, is looking at the wrong time, too, according to Larson's data.
The presenter makes a good case for his thesis. After all, he is a lawyer.   :)   He is as respectful of Scripture (God's Word) as he is of goodscience and observations of creation (God's world). Larson presents unique and plausible explanations of information in Scripture that is in harmony with what he personally observed in the sky or recreated through the astronomy software that he purchased. He engages in a powerful apologetic for Biblical Christianity demonstrated in a proper use of the scientific method and grounded by faith in Christ.
Note three major dates given in the presentation:
September of 3 B.C.
June of 2 B.C.
December 25th of 2 B.C.
Who were the Wise Men of Matthew's Gospel account? What was the Star of Bethlehem? What are its nine characteristics according to Scripture?
I hate spoilers, so I won't share any more critical details. The heavens indeed declare the glory of God, and so does Rick Larson in the film The Star of Bethlehem. Watch it this Christmas season. Purchase extra copies to give away. Invite friends and family to watch it with you and then join you at worship of Christ the newborn King! 
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.