Does God Send Natural Disasters?

January 19, 2010 — Leave a comment
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Is America under God's judgment?My Response To Pat Robertson’s Comments Regarding The Earthquake in Haiti

Is America under the judgment of God? I feel the need to share some thoughts on the Earthquake in Haiti, but specifically the public comments made by 700 Club host Pat Robertson. I also realize if one listens to the context he spoke his comments in, he didn’t specifically say this disaster was judgment, but I’m using that title for this post because it’s the subject matter I hope to tackle, although insufficiently, even though lengthy as this post will be, I’m unable to cover everything needed to grasp this.

And yes, there are plenty of things I’m overlooking or not tackling. A book wouldn’t be enough to cover this stuff! So we’ll tackle my few things to make my point. After all, I’m just sharing my opinion.

I’m not going to repeat the same things as Albert Mohler said in his excellent article “Does God Hate Haiti” where he Scripturally contradicted much of what Robertson said, without mentioning his name at all. Maybe he wasn’t even referring to the controversy, but that’s how I and many others on Facebook took it when we re-posted it. I also read a very excellent response by Donald Miller on why so many of us are drawn to the personality of a vengeful mean-spirited judgment-happy God.  Heck, many in evangelicalism, and in the liberal media to boot, are all pouncing on Robertson’s latest ill-timed comments in the wake of a disaster.

So why am I sharing my own?

I will assure you I’m NOT about to speak ill of Robertson other than to say I think over the years he has increasingly lost his relevance in our culture as demonstrated by the repeated things he says publicly that may have a lot of truth to them, but are almost always said at the wrong time. I’m just using this latest controversy of his, and the fact many of us are well aware of the earthquake in Haiti to talk about stuff like this and ask serious questions Christians have struggled with all throughout history.

In showing respect to Dr Robertson, many Christian television programs and networks owe their livelihood to people like him who’ve paved the way with the CBN television network and The 700 Club show. The picture selected for this article of Robertson on the cover of TIME magazine in 1986 is selected as a way of indicating the influence he has had in his ministry and career. I’d like to show honor for what he’s accomplished.

However, he’s not right all the time.

Remember Job’s friends who tried explaining away why Job was going through such hard times, waxing eloquent in their theology, but God himself stepped in and rebuked them!? I want to be careful with our explanations of things in case that’s just what they are — wrong.

Is America under the judgment of God?

A few years ago a school board in a county in Pennsylvania rejected teaching intelligent design alongside evolution and he proclaimed that sometime in the next year a natural disaster would occur because they rejected God. He was among the first after Hurricane Katrina to correlate the disaster to the city’s wickedness, even though as others pointed out–the French Quarter–the area known infamously for Mardi Gras celebrations–was untouched. Yet many lower income families were the ones who lost their homes. I could give many more examples, usually revolving around the alleged evidence something is judgment from God, to give examples Dr Robertson has said publicly, and many Christians probably would agree with him but just not the timing of his comments.

His comments not only cause the enemies of God to scoff, but damage others who hear them and don’t understand them. I also realize Robertson’s spokespeople released a statement on his behalf clarifying

Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath,” and that “They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.”

Praise God for all that aid! However, most people don’t know or really care about the aid, since all they know about are the comments Robertson continues to make with such ill timing.

I also read a blog by an self-proclaimed atheist who is currently located in Haiti, saying in his post that upon crawling out of rubble and realizing other colleagues didn’t survive, that part of him thanked God even though he didn’t believe in Him. Then at the end of his post he clicked to a news article about the Pat Robertson controversy and stated this was some kind of proof (or excuse) for why he’d remain an atheist.

Next Page: What Does the Bible Really Say About God’s Judgment?

Steve Bremner

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Steve Bremner is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who is called to raise up disciples who flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos. He is passionate about blogging and podcasting, and is general editor of Fire Press, and also produces & co-hosts its podcast called Fire On Your Head. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his Kindle books. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which I receive a small commission if you purchase something I recommended.