Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pat Answers and Fake Jesuses

I heard of Pat Robertson’s (Marion Gordon Robertson) statement on the earthquake in Haiti and, quite frankly, it ticked me off. Now I’m struggling with keeping this post from being a rant against the idiocy that Mr. Robertson has continually displayed throughout his career, but I won’t. I will try to only address the current topper, which will probably in time just become another layer, to Roberson’s half baked fruit-cake of statements, opinions, and beliefs – that of his Eliphaz-like condemnation upon the Hatian people.

There have been people all through history who make statements like his. When the devastation occurred to Louisiana, some attributed it to God’s judgment upon Mardi Gras. Others brazenly attributed “9-11” to God’s judgment on America’s love of money. Oddly enough, when something bad happens to these prophets of destruction, they seek prayer and only see themselves as innocent victims of Satan attacking godly people. Now God is a God who judges sin; just look at what He said concerning Eliphaz’s wicked statements on Job’s suffering, “..The LORD said to Eliphaz, the Temanite: ‘My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has…’ ” (Job 42 – I’ll get back to the rest of what The LORD said in a bit.) Eliphaz gave a Pat answer to Job’s suffering and God hit the buzzer, quickly letting Eliphaz know that he was on the fault line of God’s pending judgment.

We also have it spelled out for us by Jesus, in Luke 13, when addresses a group that shared the spirit of Pat and Eliphaz “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’ ” Apparently there were rumors floating around that supremely bad things only happen to supremely bad people. Jesus turns the table as says these things didn’t happen to them as some sort of “bad karma” due to their over abundance of wickedness, but declares that his audience is just as evil, warning them of pending doom if they don’t repent of their wickedness.

This being said, I just want to make a few comments on Pat’s statement:

  1. 1. The distorted grain of truth. God is just in that He is outraged at evil and truly does/will punish evil. This is the hint of truth in what Pat said, but he is no more right than those who go to the other extreme and just suppose that it’s God’s duty to forgive because of a distortion of the truth that God is love.
  2. 2. It fails to see God as merciful, and love. In every instance of God raining judgment on sinners, He has provided ample warning before judgment. He is not a bloodthirsty tyrant who loves to crush all who defy Him – quite the opposite in not taking pleasure in the death of the wicked. Jesus gives warning of pending doom, and urges people to repent. God, in the record of Job, not only tells Eliphaz that He is angry with him, but makes a way for Eliphaz to find forgiveness and escape the wrath of God. He did this with those living in Noah’s day, before sending the flood. He did this to Sodom and Gomorrah before raining fire down on the cities. He did this to the Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., etc. To claim that an unannounced earthquake is God’s judgment on a people for a demonic pact made over 200 years ago, goes against the entire way God has revealed to us in His word of how He works. In short – it puts Him acting out of character.
  3. 3. It fails to see evil as pandemic. All of humanity has made a pact with the Devil (so to speak), for in Adam all have sinned! To take Pat’s perspective begs the question as to why God hasn’t judged all of the world as He “supposedly” has done to Haiti. Why has America as a nation not suffered for its anti-God stances on things like no prayer in school with a widespread earth quake, or why not rain fire from heaven for the cry of freedom from religion? Why is America still prosperous while she murders countless children through abortion? The “Pat answer” fails to properly address these things. It just stands afar off and slaps a “Judgment of God” label on everything catastrophic that happens, ignoring the rest of the evil everywhere else in the world.
  4. 4. It discourages the very response that God’s people are to have in situations like this. As God’s people, we are to be a light to the world. We are to image God, to be to the world what Jesus was to Israel. Jesus walked into the midst of the Jews healing the sick, binding up the broken, giving sight to the blind. He came preaching forgiveness to publicans and prostitutes – drawing to Himself the outcasts of society. He did not say, the man born blind was such due to judgment for his parents’ sins. He did not condemn the woman with an issue of blood, using her as an example of all those who don’t obey the 10 Commandments.  We too should run to bind the broken (both spiritual and physical brokenness). But if something like this earthquake is God’s judgment on the people, our working to alleviate that suffering is a working against God’s judgment. Any efforts would place us squarely on the side of opposing God’s work.  To follow Pat and Eliphaz’s logic, when disaster strikes it’s God’s judging wickedness so we should not repair hospitals, take up food, donate blood, sweat and tears. We should line the street with signs telling them this is their reward for their pact with the devil.
  5. 5. It presents another Jesus to the world. The picture the world sees by the picketing “Christians” mentioned previously is not the God of Philippians 2. The One Who became flesh, and the lowest of the low at that. The God Who didn’t think His ‘godhood’ as a thing to be exploited and willingly went through hell to save those He loved. He took on all the forces of evil, suffering the full wrath of evil, and the full punishment of the wrath of God for that evil that He drew close to Himself in a death lock. This Jesus rose the victor over evil, and sends His people out to declare this GOOD NEWS to all and sundry. He calls us to risk all for His sake; to take His love to a hurting people. To those who are bound in their own sins, suffering because of their own treachery, yet counting our own lives as nothing in light of taking Jesus to these renegades – even suffering death at the very hands of the ones we are trying to save. This is our God! This is Jesus!

As Brandon stated in an earlier post, we don’t know why these things happen. My purpose is not to explain why catastrophic things happen, but rather expose the error of those who think like Pat. To give an answer as Pat gives is to give the world another Jesus. Pat, and those in agreement with him, are in grave error in attributing the earthquake to God’s judgment. It is much more likely that men like Pat Robertson are God’s judgment upon a people who would rather have a god of their own crafting than The God of Scripture.

What should our answer be to this catastrophe? “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21) Give them Jesus!!!

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16 responses

  1. brandonchristiansullivan

    Very good post. I wish Pat Robertson would read this.

    January 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

  2. Ken Franse

    Great post Daniel! I was talking about this last night, just not quite as eloquently and bibliographical as you! Thanks!

    January 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm

  3. 4calledbyhisgrace

    This is a good post Daniel. I had not heard him say that but it doesn’t surprise me. Frankly, I thought what you’ve said is very well stated, and with grace and love. You know me….I would not have been so nice :-). It angers me to when he says these things b/c he has such influence over many. I could go on w/ more of my 2 cents but you’ve said enough “good” things in regard to his foolish and stupid statement.

    January 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  4. Kim Puleo

    God does not intentionally harm any living human being. As Daniel points out, with backup from the ultimate source-the Bible- God gives a myriad of chances to repent before doing what is ultimately the direct causal result of their actions. With that being said, I do not think that Pat was right, in anyway, whatsoever, for saying what he said. I think he is so wrong. It is taking the Bible and twisting it to your point of view. There is your dominant religion- Christianity and then dividing it up into sub-sections. This is what Pat is doing.
    Pat is twisting God and his message thru Jesus and the Bible, to suit himself and his message..
    By doing this it is creating a whole host of issues with other notable religious people. Not to mention the mere fact that he is totally twisting God’s word. And if, hypothetically speaking of course, this were the case–the earthquake in Haiti is a direct result of God’s wrath due to a pact made some 200 years ago–then all the rescue efforts are not for God, but against!
    Pat is an idiot.

    January 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  5. Setting the false prophet Pat Robertson aside, it’s worth remembering that God does still judge nations and that he may very well be judging Haiti. Note that I’m not really disagreeing with anything you say in your post and I’m definitely not agreeing with Pat.
    The other thing we need to remember and that Pat seems to have completely forgotten is that God is almost never doing just one thing at any given moment (unless that one thing is to ultimately bring Him, His Son, and His Holy Spirit glory). God has many purposes, and even if He is judging Haiti, he may also be calling other nations to repentance, demonstrating the kindness of His people by the help and the aid they bring, causing the gospel to be preached to those who need to hear his voice, spreading a net for the feet of his enemies, etc, etc, etc.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I’ve been meaning to comment for a while. I’ve enjoyed the blog reboot.

    Good post! Keep them coming.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    • brandonchristiansullivan

      Hi Charles,
      I’m interested in knowing how you come to your idea that this earthquake is God’s possible judgment on Haiti? If anything, I would see this as God allowing something horrible to occur to alert the people of the earth to the difficult predicament of the Haitians.

      We must remember the principle of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asks God if He would spare the city if there were 50 righteous people there. God agrees and to make a long story short Abraham asks God to lower the number to 10. Just 10 righteous people and they would be spared. But we know the story. I find it difficult to believe that Haiti is coming under the judgement of God.

      God will judge nations. But I think it would be more evident if He were doing that with Haiti.

      Your thoughts?

      January 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      • I’m interested in knowing how you come to your idea that this earthquake is God’s possible judgment on Haiti?

        Well, I don’t think he’s persecuting them because he believes they are righteous and are worthy to suffer for his name. I think we forget what it means to judge. It means to decide. God decided to kill 200,000+ Haitians. He decided to inflict hunger and destitution upon them. And like I’ve already said, I don’t think he did it because they were righteous, like he did with Job or with the saints in the New Testament. I’m also not saying he did it for any particular reason. Pat Robertson might think he speaks for God. I certainly don’t.

        Maybe the disconnect here is purely under what one means by the judgement of God. When God poured out his wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah, he didn’t spare any who were left. Whatever type of judgement this was (and it was some type of judgement, in the sense that God determined to bring this catastrophe upon them), it wasn’t anywhere near the same as the judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah.

        Is that what you mean when you say that you think it would be more evident if He were doing that with Haiti? That it would be more devastating?

        Anyway, thanks for the reply. Let me know if we’re still at odds on this.

        Thanks,
        Charles

        January 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm

  6. brandonchristiansullivan

    Thanks, Charles. I guess we come at it from a slightly different perspective. I wouldnt’ say that “God decided to kill 200,000+ Haitians. He decided to inflict hunger and destitution upon them.” I would say that He allowed it to happen. I wouldn’t say that God was judging Jewish people during the Holocaust; rather, He allowed evil men to act unrighteously toward them.

    And no, I did not mean that it would be more devastating. It was hugely devastating!
    It was more along the lines of saying there would seem to be a clear line of demarcation. That He has given them their last warning, as it were. But from all that I have seen and what my friend tells me (he is from Haiti) God is doing a work there.

    I don’t attribute natural disasters to actions of God unless there is something strongly pointing in that direction.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    • I would say that He allowed it to happen. I wouldn’t say that God was judging Jewish people during the Holocaust; rather, He allowed evil men to act unrighteously toward them.

      But here’s the real question. What is the purpose for which God created the universe? And is He achieving His purpose?

      January 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      • brandonchristiansullivan

        Well, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism the reason of man’s creation is to “Glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever”.

        To put it in another way, man was created to tend God’s creation as it’s head. God created the universe as an act of His goodness,grace, and love.

        Man was made to tend to God’s creation; man messed up, and now God is in the process of redeeming the whole of creation (not just humanity) and bringing about His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

        January 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      • (Replying to myself because we’ve hit the reply limit)
        Right. So here’s the next question. (Note: I would hold more specifically that the point of the entire universe – all creation – is to bring glory to God.)

        At the end of time, will God have obtained maximum glory for Himself or will He only obtained some lesser amount of the glory that was possible?

        Sub question: did man’s sin lessen the glory that God created man and the universe to give Himself?

        I hope you’re willing to put up with these questions. At worst, they’ll give you the exercise of hashing through these things, at best, they may actually be beneficial. I swear, I’m going somewhere with them. (and if you want to switch to email, I’m fine with that too – charles AHT cac2 DAWT net)

        Have a good evening,
        Charles

        January 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      • brandonchristiansullivan

        I couldn’t’ post it to your last thread so I have to post it under here.

        God’s ultimate glory will consist of God being shown to be who He has said He is.
        However, can man rob God of the glory/praise that is due to Him? Yes. Acts 12:23 is proof of that. Herod did not give God glory so he was eaten by worms. Does this affect the ontic glory of God? No.
        Giving glory to God is not like making a fire shine brighter by adding your twig.

        Yet, God receives more Glory when someone believes and is brought into the kingdom than when someone perishes.

        Did man’s sin lesson the glory of God? I would say it lessened the glory of creation–which is a reflection of God’s glory. The heavens declare the glory of God. But I would imagine in a sinless world it would declare it all the more.

        Your thoughts?

        what is your email again?

        January 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

  7. I don’t know all that God knows, nor do I pretend to, but the God of the Bible does judge wicked nations. It is interesting to note that Haiti is the Voodoo and Witchcraft capital of the world. Could it be that they filled their cup of the wrath of God like Sodom and Gomorrah did? I don’t know if they did, but I wouldn’t put it on the list of things that the Lord would not do.

    PS: about Katrina, it is a strange coincidence that Bush made political moves against Israel that week and that the HOMO Mardi Gras was going to be held in the next few days. Kinda strange timing, huh?

    January 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    • danielpulliam

      I hope you didn’t hear me say through what I wrote, that God doesn’t judge wickedness or wicked nations (see point 1 in the post for clarity). Scripture is replete with examples of that very thing. as a matter of fact, it is those examples that I draw my conclusions from.
      There is wickedness going on at any part of the world at any given time. So any time a disaster happens it wouldn’t take much of a conspiracy theorist to point at something and say that it is God judging it. (Job’s friend was good at this.)
      I find that God gives warning to nations before bringing destruction on it. I also find that God doesn’t destroy the righteous along with the judgment of the wicked.

      I’m glad you bring up Katrina, as I think it’s a good example. The “HOMO Mardi Gras” (as you call it) was going to be held, so you can’t say God was judging homosexuality as Katrina was a bit too soon for that. And I wasn’t politically involved during that time, but to think that any move for any reason that disagrees with the stance of the modern Jewish nation brings the judgment of God is a dispensational error. There are Palestinian children being slain today in the name of the Zionist movement – a movement which some Christians are supporting due to the error of thinking we must side with the Jews no matter what.
      Plus, in attempts to show Katrina to be some sort of judgment of God one points to a multiplicity of things; like I said before, humanity is so wicked that we don’t lack any fuel for the conspiratory fires. Scripturally, when God judged nations, it was clear as to why He was judging them.
      So for the 5 issues listed in the post I think it is erroneous to say the current happenings in Haiti are God’s judgment on a voodoo infested nation. God is displeased, no doubt, but I don’t think this tragedy fits the bill. If it is, then we should not be aiding them. We should not soften the wrath of God.
      Hope that clears the waters a bit.

      January 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

  8. aviddebater

    I agree with Daniel, here. As Daniel puts it, all of us, every human being on this planet, yes is a child of God, however, we are all sinners and are all wicked. So to say that the earthquake in Haiti was a direct result of Haiti’s wickedness. Well is it not true then, in that point of view, such as Spencer’s and this idiotic fellow who even came up with the notion, that 9/11 could be a judgment from God? Or for the simple fact that any countries trials and tribulations- earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, mudslides, fires, etc-are a direct judgment of God. Yes, as Daniel so eloquently states, God is disappointed with our wicked ways- yes all of us have wicked ways that we must contend with and pray for! However, this earthquake in Haiti is not one of them!!

    January 23, 2010 at 12:16 am

    • danielpulliam

      Thank you for taking time to comment, aviddebater, as I am grateful for anyone who takes time to read/comment on this blog.
      Would you grant us a bit of clarification, though? You said, “As Daniel puts it, all of us, every human being on this planet, yes is a child of God,…”. Since I didn’t say that, would you explain what you mean by that statement?
      Just trying to keep the water from clouding up.
      Thanks!

      January 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

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