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January 14, 2010

Comments

It was wrong on so many levels. For one, how about timing. Greg was very critical of Pat after the 9/11 attacks, when Pat and others claimed that this was a judgement on America. He made similar claims after Katrina. The man has no sense of timing, and doesn't allow people to grieve and to act. It was thoughtless and heartless.

And why make those comments now? Did he make similar comments last year when Haiti suffered 3 hurricanes? Does he blame the atrocities of Trujillo on the "pact with the devil"? He's being very selective with his application of God's judgement on this situation.

The man also makes a claim much in line with the prosperity gospel as if to say that by being a Christian, you as a person or as a nation will not suffer. Even the Bible tells us that the early Christians suffered because of that very faith. I believe we error when we try associate too much of our faith with natural events. God has used natural events in the past for judgement purposes, but it's not a formula.

Mr. robertson has repeatedly shown himself to be a false prophet, speaking for God, when as you've said, there's been no indication that God has done so. I believe it is time top Christian leaders formally reprimand him.

Not much difference between Pat Robertson and the hyper charismaniacs – all trying to claim special knowledge (gnostics all) to impress people.

I was interviewed by the 700 club in 1995 (if I recall correctly) as I had been recently redeemed and people in my small town and church took notice and one of them was a field reporter for Pat. Left a slimy taste in my mouth.

At any rate, here are a couple articles that look into this charge repeated by Pat, with this quote standing out: “essay of special interest is entitled “The Ceremony at Bois Caiman.” Here again Kauffmann uses his meticulous analysis of original sources to argue that there never was such a ceremony and that its actual originals were in the writings of a Frenchman who was using it to denigrate the slaves, not celebrate a motivational or mystical moment. Kauffman’s tracing of the development and changing oh the story in Haitian literature is a tour-de-force of in-depth scholarship.”

That from http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/history/revolution/caiman.htm

Another, shorter article here: http://www.blackandchristian.com/articles/academy/gelin-11-05.shtml

Cliff notes: Pat Robertson appears to be full of beans. Or, could it be Satan? (couldn’t help it – watched too much Saturday Night Live in college).

Pat Robertson had no grounds to claim he knew the earthquake was God's judgment on the Haitians for voodoo. He was right to point out that practicing voodoo is evil and results in a curse, as do all false religions.

So this earthquake could be God's judgment, but we're simply lacking sufficient knowledge to be certain. Is that an accurate description of your position?

If so, then it's not very far at all from Robertson's. Both allow the possibility of hundreds of thousands of people directly being killed by an allegedly just and loving God. One honestly affirms the possibility, and the other hides behind "hiddenness."

A better response, in my opinion, is to reject the notion of divine judgment altogether. This earthquake wasn't caused by divine anger but rather by the shifting of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust. The response of the church isn't to search for "hidden" meanings but rather to respond in love and compassion to those who are desperately hurting.

It seems to me regardless of whether God killed these Haitians or let an earthquake kill them, you can still make the accusation you just did about how a just and loving God wouldn't do that.

So I think whether God is just and loving is a different question entirely from whether we can know whether God punished these people or not. And it's a question worth asking.

But I don't think we should simply assert that God would not punish a people group simply because we find the concept reprehensible. What reasons are there to say he wouldn't? Those who simply assert that God would not do so are in the same boat as Pat Robertson in that he also needs to provide reasons for why God would punish these peope. Both seem to be claims of special knowledge.

Dr. Robertson's spokesman issued a clarification that seems to resolve the "speaking for God" issue.

The thing that troubles me is the systematic and reflexive bashing of Dr. Robertson--even in some Christian circles.

God killing people? Of course...How else does any human being Die?? God brings us into this world and He takes even last swingin one of us out....all in His good time. At least...thats the record so far. (except for two that I know of) Is that completely beyond you folks?? Fer cryin out loud!

>>A better response, in my opinion, is to reject the notion of divine judgment altogether.>>

Why? Because the idea of judgment seems reprehensible to you? Is God not God? Why is this a "better" response?

>>This earthquake wasn't caused by divine anger but rather by the shifting of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust.>>

Yes, that was one of the efficient causes, though perhaps not the final cause. It does not need to be "either-or". This is the same mistake anti-theist evolutionists make.

>>The response of the church isn't to search for "hidden" meanings but rather to respond in love and compassion to those who are desperately hurting.>>

Why not both? (Though the latter more immediately)

PTB

"And why make those comments now? "

In this country, we are inundated with sales and salesmen from cradle to grave. Every young person is exposed to a sales person on the television in their living room at a very early age. Americans are so conditioned to respond to nothing other than a sales pitch that they have become deaf to all other frequencies. In order for Pat to be heard, he feels he must deliver a sales pitch that will get attention and in effect he is right. He is simply exercising the same tactics that he has seen salesmen employ all of his life.

The problem here is that he is not the only person in this country that has trouble realizing that salesmanship can be an inappropriate response in many of life's situations and this is simply the result of an upbringing in a society that has lost its way.

I don't think God exacts temporal judgement in our lives for what we do or don't do. Instead, God leaves this to the principles of sowing and reaping described in Gal 6:7-8, which Melinda hinted at by saying "There are consequences for practicing false religions . . ." What frustrates me is the ambiguity of that statement. What are those consequences? And then, do those consequences involve divine judgement? I don't think so, but this seems like the issue at discussion here.

To me, natural disasters seem to be part of a fallen world that God currently allows to exist. If God did exact divine judgement using natural disasters or telling one country to declare war on another, then just what did Jesus do on the cross? In fact, that sounds a lot like the Old Testament. Last time I checked Jesus' death took all of the punishment for all of our sins. We are living under a new covenant. In his grace, God restrains his judgement in this life so that we would have opportunities to come to Christ.

Anybody ever notice that God hasn't destroyed people if there are believers present. Remember Noah and Sodom and Gemorrah? When the righteous people were removed God took the rest of the people out. For Robertson to respond the way he did is a waste of time. Shouldn't he be reacting with a plea for Christians to help by sending money to relief groups?

"Shouldn't he be reacting with a plea for Christians to help by sending money to relief groups?"

Sure, but that would get in the way of asking Christians to send money to him and his ministry.

Robertson's comments are short sighted, judgmental and stupid. No mortal knows why such suffering and evil exist , only God. God's plan will be revealed in his time. There is evil in Robertson's comments by assigning God's motives for any specific tragedy. None of us are free of sin EXCEPT JESUS. As Christians we should not assign motives, we should pray in humility as sinners and emulate Jesus in love and service to others. Robertson should get off his high horse and quit the judgment as that is God's arena! There may be thousands of people comming to Christ during this time. Who but God knows how this fits into end times. War , injustice , suffering all reality in this world and part of God's kingdom plan.

The statement was in poor taste and further to say he was right because there on consquences to practicing voodoo is as well. How many innocent children died over there? Did they deserve it?

"Anybody ever notice that God hasn't destroyed people if there are believers present." Not entirely true. Check out Voice of the Martyrs ministry. People die everyday, horrific deaths, precisely because they are believers. Association is no guarantee of exemption. I think you have to be really careful when reading narratives to not read too much into them, nor create something that is axiomatic. "All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12)

I like John Piper's response to questions about why such natural disasters occur. He addressed it in an articulate and humble way in interview on NPR (after the tsunami), which can be found here in audio form:
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/MediaPlayer/1678/Audio/

He also writes (more briefly) about it here:
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2005/1279_Tsunami_and_Repentance/

FYI, Trujillo was the dictator of the Dominican Republic, not Haiti.

"FYI, Trujillo was the dictator of the Dominican Republic, not Haiti. "
Correct. The point was that there have been several unfortunate incidences in Hatian history - natural and man-made to their detriment, and there was no mention by Robertson that those events were connected to this alleged "deal with the devil". He could have pointed out that God would use other peoples to exact justice, even on his own people.

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