Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti, God's Judgment and Pondering

The following is taken from a comment I made over at Dan Phillips' blog.

The media and blogs are aflame with the latest controversial comments from Pat Robertson. I don't follow the guy much these days, just as I don't follow many televangelists. Too much baggage and too many doctrinal issues.

Anyway, Pat's comments were about Haiti being cursed with repeated events since the days when they won independence from France. Supposedly there was an occult voodoo ritual involved, but that particular story has turned out to be only a legend. Certainly voodoo does go on in Haiti, but that's beside the point.

Aside from Pat Robertson, there is a larger question that I am pondering. And that is . . . does God bring calamity on nations in judgment these days, or is that only to happen in the final judgment? There are people I respect on many sides of this issue. I have been inclined to agree with the former view, but there are aspects that trouble me, such as the absence of a prophetic warning to a nation.

I haven't made an exhaustive study of this question, admittedly. It seems to me from Scripture (Old Testament) that God has indeed brought judgment on nations. If God is anything, He is consistent, and I see no reason why He couldn't do it again if He thought proper. However, in the OT, you generally had a prophet give warning of impending judgment. You also have God's accounts of why He brought judgment.

In this day and age, we typically don't have prophets warning a nation or a people of God's impending judgment based on specific evils within a specific nation. That makes it pretty hard to declare definitively that a specific calamity was brought to pass or allowed in direct judgment. We can say that God allowed it to happen for His own reasons, and speculate why endlessly. I can think of Jesus' words in connection with the tower of Siloam. "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

It is true that there is a lot of wickedness in Haiti. Lots of voodoo and the occult, and lots of violence. Those things have been known to happen in the United States also, although maybe not to the same level. But there were (and are) also true Christian believers living in Haiti. Some of them might well have been killed.

The long and short of it is that I'm conflicted. I'd really like to see a good, sound biblical study of this issue. I'm sure they're out there, but I don't know where they'd be off the top of my head.


crownring said...

Hi Sola,

How I wish Pat Robertson would put a sock in it! Whether Haiti is cursed or not is hardly the issue here. Was God judging San Francisco when it was hit by a 7 earthquake some years back? What about the New Madrid fault that sent plumes of dust and sand into the air for months after the initial quake and even changed the course of the Mississippi River in the 1800s? And why did Hurricane Katrina spare the notorious French Quarter of New Orleans and destroy the homes of the faithful and unfaithful alike? Natural disasters are the NORM for this planet, not the exception. That some are spared some of these horrors says far more about God's incredible mercy towards humanity than about any particular nation's righteousness or unrighteousness.

The issue is that an impoverished nation has been hit by a terrible earthquake and its people are suffering from exposure, lack of food and clean water, terrible injuries, and the very real possibility of widespread disease killing the survivors. Whether Haiti is cursed or not, we have an obligation as Christians to help them and to share the Gospel while doing so, using words if necessary. If we do nothing, the end result on Judgment Day may not be to our liking.

Solameanie said...

That is true, Crownring. It's an opportunity for the church to shine, and we'd best do it.

lee n. field said...

Prophesyin' Pat's problem is that he's trying to know the providence of God -- things we're not given to know.

This is a problem he shares with other, more stable and respectable evangelicals.I don't think anyone is warranted to say (for instance) that Katrina came because the US did such and so vis-a-vis the current state of Israel, or because> of the "Southern Decadence" homofest. Or that the Indonesian tsunami came "because" Islam was so nasty to Christians there. "Repent, or you will all likewise perish."

Pat's not a prophet -- he fails at least one of the OT tests (100% correct, and does not lead other to worship false gods). Whether there are such in the era past the completion of the New Testament canon is another question. I tend to think no.

God has judged nations -- that is clear from reading the OT prophets. Does he do so now? Probably, but apart from a clear word from a bonafide "navi" genuinely sent with a word from God, or something in the Bible, we should be careful in our pronouncements.

Better Image Photography said...

John McTeran who wrote the book, As America Has Done to Israel was interviewed on Brannon Howes radio show Dec 22. He showed links between natural disasters and those who curse Israel. Eye opening interview.

As to fixing the country, many times the problems are top down in the form of bad governments and aid is to the masses. Fixing the government must be part of the long term solution.

Daniel said...

If I may, I would like to offer as a comment a post I wrote a few days ago on this very issue. Not that I provide all the answers, but think that we should refrain from speculations of judgment of God on Haiti as there are some things lacking in this situation that are present in Scripture when God judges a nation.

God bless!