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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!!!