Suffering, disaster & the Nature of God
Your responses to Disaster, Deliverance & Deceiving spirits
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From Adrian in Arizona:I am writing to share a few quotes that I believe will bless you along with your readers pertaining to many of the issues you cover on your site. You have my permission to add whatever you like from this email to your comment page.
First in regards to the recent Tsunami and how some may say, "How could a supposedly good God let this happen?" And thus accuse Him of wrongdoing
either that He did it, He allowed it and shouldn't have, or failed to stop it. I was reading The Way of the Master a book by Ray Comfort (LivingWaters.com/WayoftheMaster.com) and the quote below hit the nail on the head.
"An unregenerate world judges God as being the guilty party for the sufferings of humanity. As far as they are concerned, He is unjust. But the Law of God gives sudden light to their misconception. It reveals who is eating whose cookies. We are the ones who are in transgression. It dawns on us the we are more than brazenly impudent in our accusations. We are guilty criminals standing before an unspeakably holy and gracious Judge, accusing Him of transgression. In light of God's holiness, it is hard to understand why He continues to let a sinful race such as ours even draw another breath." p 189.
Also this quote from the same book really jumped out at me as it pertains to the newer style of gospel (which is no gospel at all), and the Purpose-Driven movement/Church Growth Movement and their goals to eradicate the concepts of sin, hell, repentance in favor of a more "seeker-sensitive" approach. This is nothing short of an attempt by the enemy to keep someone from acknowledging their sinfulness and the reality that they are deserving of eternal torment, and thus coming to true repentance in order to be saved and sealed for eternity. Ray Comfort uses Christ as our example in the following:
"Jesus continually used the perfect standard of God's Law and it's spiritual nature to call sinners to repentance.* He emphasized the reality of future punishment and was not afraid to alarm His hearers. He said, 'Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?' (Matt 22:33). He never softened words like sin or repentance he wasn't afraid to call hell by it's name. In fact, he went so far as to describe it in terrible detail: "the fire that shall never be quenched - where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched'" (Mark 9:43-44).
Neither did he entice his hearers with talk of a "wonderful new life" or compromise His words when it came to the "weightier matters of the law."
When He spoke to the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22, He didn't try to develop a non-confrontational, no-strings-attached relationship. He was not
a "seeker-friendly" Savior." "* Matt 22:36-40; Mark 7:9-13; Mark 10:11-12; Mark 10:17-22; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:26; Luke 16:16-17; Luke 18:18-23; John 4:18; John 5:46-47; John 7:19 " [The Way of the Master by Kirk Cameron & Ray Comfort, p 49. (asterisk and scripture references in the original)
Keep up the great work of being watchers and exhorters of the flock of believers! Your ministry continues to be a warning and a blessing to my
family! To the praise and glory of our Lord!
Thank you, Adrian, for sharing those insights!
From Fabienne:With regards to Rowan WIlliams' (and others') despair in the face of death which they were overwhelmingly reminded of by the tsunami disaster, I think Carl Wieland's essay is an excellent answer:
"Waves of Sadness"
The media have been dwelling constantly on the tsunami disaster and we are in danger of forgetting that there are millions of other people suffering around the world, some of them perhaps just down the street, or even next door. And most important of all -- we cannot forget that most people are headed for a Christless eternity unless we who know the joy of His salvation share the Gospel with them. How many of those folk who were swept away knew Him?
And in some areas, material aid is welcome, but Christians have been warned that any attempt at evangelism will be punished!
The competition among nations, organisations, and famous people to see who can donate the most to the relief work is nauseating. The people who are helping without any fuss or publicity, though their efforts will not amount to millions of dollars, are far more likely to be effective in the long run.
Having lived in the third world many years, I have seen what happens to a great deal of the aid that is given with fanfare...
During the time of the tsunami disaster, a very close friend of ours died of multiple brain tumours. She woke up unable to speak on 21 December, the first sign that anything was wrong. She died eight days later. Her husband and two little boys, and hundreds of people whose lives God blessed through her, will miss her tremendously. But we know she is Home, with the Lord. She never thought about herself, but lived for Jesus Christ and for others. She did not hesitate to let others know about Him, either.
Our friend's death gave us a different perspective. Yes, we feel for the victims of the tsunamis, and we can add our "drop of water" to the ocean of relief effort, but we cannot forget that however much aid people receive for this life, it won't be of any use to them when they die.
Both the tsunami crisis and our friend's death are reminders that *we do not know when anyone will die*. Death takes many people by surprise. They are reminders that Jesus' command to preach the Gospel is not for sometime in the future, but for *right
now* -- that "Pre-evangelism" is not the way to go. The neighbour you greet over the fence this morning might be killed in a car crash this afternoon. For that matter, you might die today!
"Pre-evangelism" supposes that we will have plenty of time to share the Gospel with people. But we may have no second chance.
Back to those who despair...
Is the Archbishop of Canterbury working for 'the other side'? (Is it possible that his question was meant to get Christians seriously thinking and praying for God's wisdom and understanding of His Word and Who He Is?) Far too many of Mr. Williams' public pronouncements clash with what God tells us. How can any true believer choose to remain under the banner of the Anglican organisation when it is headed by a man who seems to be determined to ask "Did God really say..." at every turn?
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