A House Divided
Vol: 100 Issue: 19 Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I got beaten up pretty badly for my column about Pat Robertson last week about his statement regarding the earthquake in Haiti.
I am probably a glutton for punishment. You should see my e-mail. I wanted to just let this drop, but the Lord wouldn’t allow it.
I had an entire column almost prepared on another subject. But I said something to my dictation software, and the entire column disappeared. I couldn’t find it in the clipboard and it was just gone.
This is the topic I got steered back to. So we will go from here.
Most of the comments made in defense of Rev. Robertson seemed to ignore what he said in favor of closing ranks with Pat Robertson just because he is a Christian.
Somehow that doesn’t ring true to me. This isn’t a case of Christians presenting a divided front to the world.
Of course Christians are divided! If we weren’t divided, we wouldn’t have so many denominations.
We don’t agree on methods of baptism, we don’t agree on the timing of the Rapture, we don’t agree on the doctrine of eternal security; when you get right down to it, we don’t agree on much of anything.
Ecumenism is a word that’s used when Christians do close ranks to present a united front to the world.
It would be different if the story about the Haitians selling their soul to the devil were true. As I recall from the statement, that is exactly what Rev. Robertson said; “true story”.
But by every authoritative account, the ‘devil’s covenant’ story is not true.
WorldNetDaily reported of a distinguished Haitian Christian minister and scientist who researched rumors about Haiti’s 18th-century independence movement. According to his research, the entire story is nothing more than an uncorroborated rumor.
Jean R. Gelin, who is a minister in Haiti who holds a PhD, wrote a series of articles in 2005 regarding Haiti’s history and the slave rebellion 200 years ago.
“Obviously, the idea that Haiti was dedicated to Satan prior to its independence is a very serious and profound statement with potentially grave consequences for its people in terms of how they are perceived by others or how the whole nation is understood outside its borders,” Galen wrote.
“One would agree that such a strong affirmation should be based on solid historical and Scriptural ground. But although the satanic pact idea is by far the most popular explanation for Haiti’s birth as a free nation, especially among Christian ministers and some Haitian church leaders, it is nothing more than a fantastic opinion that ultimately dissipates upon close examination.”
Why would I believe a Haitian scholar over Pat Robertson on a matter of Haitian history? Because it is a matter of history.
When it comes to history, logic dictates that the best source for accuracy would be a person who has made a lifetime study of the topic at hand.
Because Pat Robertson is an authority on the Bible, it does not automatically follow that he is an authority on the history of Haiti simply because it involves a religious element.
Adding to Dr. Gelin’s credibility is the fact that he published his research five years before Rev. Robertson put it on the front page.
Finally, the claim that what Rev. Robertson said was being twisted by the media doesn’t hold up, since what he said is what he said.
I heard it myself.
My commentary was not intended as a critique of Rev. Robertson’s ministry or the good that it has done over the course of many decades.
My commentary was aimed at putting some distance between his comments and what I believe as a Christian minister.
I didn’t think that Pat Robertson was mean-spirited in his comment. Just unthinking and ultimately, irresponsible.
And since it gives ammunition to those who paint Christianity as a hateful religion, I can’t pretend it is doctrinally correct in order to shield Rev. Robertson from his critics.
I certainly don’t believe that God struck Haiti with an earthquake because a handful of Haitians allegedly sold their souls to the devil 220 years ago.
Many of my critics have tried to defend Robertson’s statement on Biblical grounds — always using the Old Testament — as if the New Testament were suddenly irrelevant.
What’s next? Justifying stoning on Old Testament grounds?
Trying to make a comparison between Haiti and ancient Israel suggests God also has a special covenant with Haiti that somehow Haiti abrogated.
When God sent judgment upon Israel, he likened it to Israel having committed adultery. Israel is often referred to as the ‘spouse of God’. Haiti holds no such status.
When God drowned the Pharoh’s soldiers who were pursuing the children of Israel during the Exodus, it was to prevent them from overtaking Israel — in violation of His plan and His promise.
In this instance, the alleged covenant between the devil and the Haitians was supposed to have been in return for the devil’s help in freeing Haiti from slavery.
If the earthquake were the result of a curse on Haiti, it then follows that it was the devil that helped the Haitians to throw off their shackles and overcome slavery. That was, as Pat Robertson said, “the deal.”
Jesus was once accused of casting out devils in Satan’s name.
“But He, knowing their thoughts, saith unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” (Luke 11:17-18)
There’s no comparison here.
If Haiti were judged as a nation last week for this alleged act 200 years ago by a handful of Haitians, then America should not have survived the 20th century.
America is the wellspring and birthplace of pornography.
America is the world’s number one market for drugs like cocaine and heroin.
America is the only country in the world still debating the meaning of the word ‘marriage’.
America has aborted some 65 million babies, according to some estimates, since Roe V. Wade.
Now, one might argue that America’s decline is a judgment from God — and it would be hard to argue with that assessment.
But if so, it is still a judgment for what America is doing now, not for what was done 200 years ago. And in fulfillment of prophecy (2nd Timothy 3:1-7) in accordance with the outline given by Scripture.
The visitation of the sins of the father upon the children unto the third and fourth generation is not a Christian concept.
That is part of the law of Moses. (Exodus 20:5) Jesus died to fulfill the Law of Moses and to free us from its shackles.
Since we are not under the law of Moses, we have no business judging others according to the law of Moses.
Judgment upon the world for sin during the Age of Grace is held in reserve until the Tribulation Period after the Rapture.
If Rev. Robertson is crediting the devil with causing the Haitian earthquake, then this is a case of the devil bringing judgment against his own — for swearing allegiance to him!
That makes no sense.
If Robertson is not crediting the devil, then he is blaming God. The Bible says that not a single sparrow can fall from heaven without God being aware of it and permitting it.
There is no doubt that God was aware of the Haitian earthquake, and there is no doubt in my mind that it in some way fits with the Plan of God. Indeed, it must. But I don’t know what that plan is.
And neither does Rev. Robertson.
Rev. Robertson has an obligation as a minister of God when teaching to teach, not to muse about things that he has no more knowledge of than does anyone else.
Because Rev. Robertson is such a high profile and respected teacher, his words are immediately accepted by the world as representative of the Christian community.
If the Christian community closes ranks when they know — or should know better — then the world has every reason to believe that Christians agree with Rev. Robertson.
I have much respect for Rev. Robertson as anyone does. I’ve watched the 700 club for years and years.I am not piling on with the media in an effort to make Rev. Robertson look bad.
I would much prefer to sing his praises.
Instead, I am explaining why I don’t believe that what he said is representative of what I believe Christianity teaches.
I believe that what he said makes Christianity look every bit as hateful as the case the world is building against it says it is.
To remain silent is to suggest that somehow I agree that 200,000 innocents were killed as a consequence of Divine judgment — a judgment rendered 200 years after the crime.
And that I accept it as evidence of God’s justice.
I do not agree. And the Lord won’t let me remain silent. In this particular case, I wish that He would.
I don’t want to be perceived as being disrespectful of Rev. Robertson or the mighty works the Lord has done through him. But I promised the Lord, (and each of you) that I would tell it like it is.
It is not intended as a reflection on Rev. Pat Robertson, his life or his life’s work. But his comments are being used to paint my Lord in an unfavorable light by the enemy, regardless of how they were intended.
Somebody has to say something! I wish it wasn’t me.