The problem of evil and Viriginia Tech

read HomemakerAng’s comment on a previous post here.

My reply:
God brings judgment upon the nations in many forms. One way is in the depravity of the people.

Psa 81:11-12 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsel.

That doesn’t mean that each individual who suffers during such times is under special, particular judgment from God. Rather, God’s judgment upon the nation as a whole brings suffering to individuals.

Luk 13:1-5 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Do you still doubt that God brings catastrophes? He flooded the earth, destroying all of mankind except for Noah and his family. He hardened the heart of Pharaoh and brought plagues upon the Egyptians. He gave the Canaanites over to the Hebrews because of their wickedness. He brought terrible judgment upon the Israelites and their children in the form of famine, pestilence and conquering by brutal empires.

We know from the Scriptures that God deals with nations by bringing judgment upon them. Why not us?

Amo 3:6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?

Like us, Satan is a mere creature, created by God. He is not the equal and opposite of God, Ultimate Evil, engaged in an eons-long battle to rule all of creation – though he might like us to think so. He is a fallen angel, a rebellious servant of the Most High, doomed for all eternity.

2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment…

Can you really make a case from Scripture that Satan, a creature, can act outside of God’s sovereign will? Don’t you at least believe that God could stop terrorists and shooters if He chose? So how can you say that “Satan won”? Wasn’t God standing by passively with the power and authority to intercede?
In Job’s case, we see Satan wheedling very specific permissions from God. God Himself takes responsibility for Job’s trials, having granted Satan permission to bring those trials upon Job.

Job 2:3-6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”
Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

Now: why does God allow these things to happen to good people?
First of all, most Christians would agree that we are all sinners, deserving of death. Our every breath is a gift from God.
But why do Christians suffer? Why do non-murderers so often fall victim to terrorists and tornados? What good came of the death of martyrs throughout the history of the Church?

Sometimes it is hard for us to understand God’s plan. We can’t always predict the results of a particular event, especially if it breaks our hearts and makes us feel as if our world is falling apart. But even in the hard times, we know that God’s Word is true. We know that good for God’s people will come of these things.

Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

HomemakerAng said, “Yes we deserve death and each breath is a gift but would you guys all agree to these same findings if, God forbid, you or I found our children dead at a homeschooling conference they were singing at or during our family worship service and that it was GOD that did this? I don’t think so.

We have lost a child to stillbirth and experienced other tragedies and acts of violence within our immediate and extended family. We have many Christian friends who have as well. We have never doubted that it was God’s will, and that it was all for God’s glory and our good. On the contrary, we found and continue to find great peace and joy in knowing this. Our sufferings are not meaningless; God has a plan and He is working it out throughout history in each of our lives.

Why was our little Sarah stillborn? We were privileged to experience God’s grace, peace and comfort firsthand. We were reminded of the sanctity of life and the incredible gift of each precious child, the frailty of life, and our own dependence upon our Heavenly Father for every breath.
Did she die because we were wicked? No, but she did die because we live in a sinful world.

What good came of the persecution of the Protestants, Presbyterians, and Huguenots persecuted? Dr. Morecraft and my own hubby have a theory on that.

What good came of the death of Christians in the Roman arenas? The heathen Romans saw the strength of the followers of Christ and they feared, giving glory to God. The Christians fled to avoid persecution, spreading the Gospel throughout the civilized world. You and I were blessed by their deaths.

We can’t claim to understand God’s plan entirely, but whether or not we see the good we know it’s there. God is good, and we are His.

Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

read a follow-up post here

Comments

  1. Oops a typo,

    I said, “While I agree that limiting guns would not be unfortunate and unwise, it is by far the “worst” response our politicans could make.”

    It should say,

    While I agree that limiting guns would be unfortunate and unwise, it is by far the “worst” response our politicans could make.

    I took out the “not” from the first sentence. Sorry, I missed that when I read my post over again and changed a few words.

  2. Thank you Kim and I agree that there is the general call and a specific. Doug Phillips essay addressed those that were specifically as well as generally affected by the tragedy and he offered his advice on “what to say to them.” But, by mixing the two together, a lack of clarity and confusion is the result. (Thus differing views on the intended audience.)

    With Jesus in the two examples you and I brought up there was no confusion as to whom he was speaking. A call for repentance by definition causes anguish of the heart. But it shoud be done in such a way as to not cause unnnecessary hurt by its lack of clarity.

    I think that is where the distinction is in this essay. The additional political opinions and speculation added into the Truths diminish the message of Truth. Telling a nation that “needs to repent” that carrying a gun is the SUREST safegaurd for lawless men is confusing. Is that Truth from God? No, it is opinion. And in my opinion, an untruth that the SUREST safegaurd is carrying a gun. It is one safeguard, but NOT the surests one.

    Further, telling a nation that the “the worst response to school murders that our politicians could make would be to further disarm the American citizenry.” Again that is not Truth, but opinion. The worst response in Scripture, is for a leader (or anyone) is to stiffen their neck and harden their heart to the Lord. The right to carry a gun is not a scriptural mandate. Limiting guns is merely a fruit of our departure from the Constitution. While I agree that limiting guns would not be unfortunate and unwise, it is by far the “worst” response our politicans could make.

    I see what you are saying Kim, and I agree with your general premise of repentance, it is the particulars of this essay from a Christian leader that mixes the very direct call of returning to God with a very political opinion. That was the part that was superfluous and caused unnecessary confusion to those that need clarity and Truth at this time.

  3. Spunky,
    Jesus responded in various ways to tragedy. He wept with Lazarus’s sister, but in Luke 13:1-5 He immediately issued a general call to repentance in response to both the atrocities of a wicked man (Herod) and an “act of God” (the fall of the tower of Siloam). If He were anyone else, I suspect He would be under criticism by some for His “callous” response to the news of those tragic deaths.
    Different situations call for different approaches, responses and roles.
    I think it’s safe to assume that though he is imperfect, Doug Phillips (like you and I) strives to follow the example of Jesus in each situation that he faces.
    Hence, a call to national repentance when signs seem to indicate that our nation is under judgment.
    Like Jesus’s response in Luke 13, we don’t think that those who perished at Viriginia Tech were worse sinners than all the others who live in America. Unless we repent, we will all likewise perish.

  4. Amy, my tone is not angry and I don’t feel that we are arguing. Honest discussion is healthy and helpful. You rightly called us to evaluate the words and that is what I am doing. Just as Mr. Phillip’s publically shared is thoughts, we are publically evaluating his thoughts in light of the Christian response.

    I understand completely that you believe we are under God’s judgment. It is not my desire to debate that point. My point was discussing the judgment of God to those that are in mourning is poorly timed. And that interjecting political rhetoric and opinion lacks the civility and respect due the victims and their families. I used the life and actions of Jesus to show that at times even when judgment is warranted, it doesn’t have to be spoken.

    The order of his essay and the readers discernment are assumptions that I would prefer not to make. Clarity for the families is necessary. As a Christian and a public leader in the homeschool community, it is incumbent upon Mr. Phillips to ensure that his words speak with enough clarity that those that may stumble upon his blog (believer or not) are not confused between that which are the Truths of God and the opinions of a man. Further, it is my personal thought that in a time of mourning we ought to stick to the Truths of God which are certain and leave the opinions of man for another day.

  5. Stephen A Morse says:

    Spunky,
    In my first comment, when I said Mr. Phillips’s words were not speculation or opinion, I was responding to your comment that they were, including those about God’s judgement, etc. As I said in my second comment, I believe that we are all under God’s judgement ever sense the fall of man. I accepted his(Mr. Phillips’s) analysis that we(fallen man) are reaping the consequences of sin. It affects us all in one way or another. Our understanding of who,when,how or where is limited to what has been revealed in scripture.
    Anyway, I sure hope that we are not arguing here. I have posted more comments today than I ever have before, so it is hard for me to sense your tone.
    I still think Mr. Phillips had some confidence that his readers would discern that when he ordered his responses 1.,2.,3, etc. that we would not spill them all out to those hurting at one time. I took it as a suggested progression of approach. He also did conclude with the encouragement to mourn now with these people and our nation, to love and encourage them with the hope that is within us.
    I agree completely with your example of Jesus weeping for Lazarus.

    May He guard our hearts and minds,

    Amy Morse

  6. Amy you said, “I should have clarified that I did not see Mr. Phiilips’s comments regarding the truth of the gospel as speculation or opinion. My comments were not to be applied to his comments on firearms.”

    And there is is the reason I said that the essay was poorly worded. He lacks clarity between the Truths of the gospel and his own opinion. My unease with this essay from the very beginning was as I stated above that this is a time for Truth not speculation, opinion, and political rhetoric.

    Further, if I granted that this was written to the Christian ONLY and not the unbeliever, he is still telling us what he would say to the victims and those mourning this tragedy and encourages us to consider this tragedy from his vantage point. And quite honestly, if I were one of those mouning I would not want someone coming up to me and telling me that this is God’s judgment for my sins or those of Adam and that we all deserve death. It may be true, but again this is NOT the time.

    I would direct you to the example of Jesus when he was told of the death of Lazarus, “He wept.” This was after Mary had approached Him and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Amazingly, Mary rebukes Jesus and He still responds with warmth, emotion, and tears. He could have corrected her for her stern words of rebuke, after all this is Jesus. How dare she tell HIM where he ought to be! But He didn’t. Instead, He was moved by her tears to benevolent action. His love did not go unnoticed by the Jews, “Behold how He loved him!”

    May we in the church respond with all the warmth and emotion that our Lord and Savior displayed at that time. May Jesus’ “sad eyes” become our “sad eyes” and allow us to see past their sinful actions to the hurting heart.

    My prayer would be that the unbeliever who sees our genuine tears of compassion, would say as they did at the time of Christ, “Behold how they love us.”

  7. Stephen A Morse says:

    Hello Spunky,

    I should have clarified that I did not see Mr. Phiilips’s comments regarding the truth of the gospel as speculation or opinion. My comments were not to be applied to his comments on firearms. I have not pondered that topic long enough myself. I still consider his intended audience to be Christians most obviously because his public blog is one that mainly Christians would read. He also uses lanquage to call us to communicate what we already are assured of. I am only trying to clarify my reasoning, not prove my point. I did preface my statements with the prayer that I would not incorrectly assume or ascribe motive for his article.

    Hello Homemakerang,
    I am not sure if you were addressing the general discussion in your latest comment or not, but I had 2 cents to offer. Please accept my words as if we were sitting across the table sipping tea, while trying to reason together such weighty matters.
    I do not see a difference between God’s judgement and God’s will. I see God’s judgement as His will and I consider this tragedy and our personal losses (loss of a child) as in the same category. The fact that we have to deal with death at all in any instance is God’s judgement and at the same time His will. He could not abide sin in any form and death came into the world by His will. He ordained it. Well, that was it for what it is worth.

    Trusting in His promise to complete me,

    Amy Morse

    Amy Mor

  8. HomemakerAng says:

    I think the best thing we can do is write VF a letter and state our dissappointment in the article in a respectful christian manner. It is important to let our voice be heard too and maybe they are unaware of how many people are dissappointed in the timing of the public blog post.

  9. Amy Morse, with all due respect to your idea that this was written to Christians I would disagree, and direct you to the words of this essay,

    He begins by addressing a mourning nation and then continues to specifically address the thousands of people deeply affected, “probably for the rest of their lives.” And then he narrows it even further and identifies the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers of the victims of murdered victims. Concluding his second paragraph with “What shall we say to them? What are we to learn?”

    The rest of the essay is what he believes we should say to them and by using a public blog to tell us what he thinks ought to be said and we are to learn, he is in effect telling a mourning nation and suffering families his message. He is telling them as well as us. Which obviously must include those that do not confess Christ as Lord. If his intended audience was specifically the Christian an email would have been sufficient and reached the targeted audience of believers. He didn’t. He used a public blog.

    You also said, “I don’t see his words as cold or bad timing either. They do not speculate or offer opinions.”

    Again I direct you to his essay where he said,

    “The heavy death toll may in part be attributed to past legislation making it difficult for citizens to carry sidearms. But, if even one of the students in that university had been armed, Cho Seung-hui could have been stopped.”

    and here,

    “We have one of two futures — a police state full of regulation and controls, where only the state and criminals have access to guns, thus leaving most women and children defenseless to evildoers, or an informed, well-armed citizen population, which is, to my mind, the surest safeguard against lawless men.”

    That is PURE speculation. My point is not to debate their validity but just to say that this essay does indeed include speculation and as I said before a time of mourning is not the time for a Christian pastor to use the tragedy for personal interests. It lacks civility and respect for the families who lost their friends and relatives.

    Just to be clear, I am NOT opposed to Christians using carrying a weapon but Scripture does tell us, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.” Is gun ownership the surest safeguard against lawless men? What about the spiritual weapons of a Christian? God has not left us powerless safe only with a firearm as Doug Phillips states. Doug Phillips talked nothing of prayer and the mightiest weapons which are able to pull down strongholds. Certainly, an article specifically directed to Christians would call upon us to seek the face of a mighty God who is truly the only SUREST safegaurd against lawless men.

    For those examples and many others, this essay was poorly timed and poorly worded. It offers little hope to the nonbeliever and gives a somewhat false hope (carrying a side arm) to the believer.

  10. HomemakerAng says:

    I want to be done with this but I am still confused…

    I don’t understand why someone thinks this act at VA TEch was God’s judgement but losing a baby (any of us, I have lost 2) is simply because adam’s sin or God’s will. We CANNOT pick and choose when to say its God’s will or when to say its God’s judgement!!! It should be the same.

    When we say to one its because of God’s judgement, it seems we are sounding pious and “religious condeming” but then when I lose my baby (did twice) it was God’s will.

    If we go with the original intent of the article its all God’s judgment and I know, and you have agreed, losing a baby was because of sin in the world of adam, then why are people still saying that it is God’s judgement on VA TECH?

    Are we better or more special to God than those then that lost their lives?

  11. Stephen A Morse says:

    Hello Kim,

    This is the first time that I have commented on your blog, but I enjoy reading it almost every day. I am especially challenged as I read the latest stream of comments regarding the recent tragedy at Vitginia Tech. There is good dialogue including exposition of scripture, some opinion, and the sober acknowledgment that we cannot understand “all things” because “all things ” are not under out control. The article by Mr. Phillips’s has been one focus of attention, so I am entering that part of the conversation praying at the same time that I don’t assume his motivation incorrectly. I am not addressing every point of the article, just what I see as the intent. At the first reading of the article, I understood it to be written to fellow Christians as an encouragement/reminder of what our response should be to this horrible event, or really any event. It was kind of like the slap in the face that I needed to remember that God is not surprised by what has happened and neither should we be. Of course I always nod in agreement to the truth that “God is in control”. I should also be willing to filter all situations through this truth, good and bad, in the light of scripture and by the counsel of His spirit. As Mr. Phillips’s addresses Christians, he seemed to be calling us to not forget the complete message of Christ as we have opportunity to answer the obvious questions that will be asked of us. I believe he assumed that his readers, the Christian ones, would take time to discern how they can best shape this message of hope to all who are affected by this tragedy. He called us to remember that the life, death, and life of Christ is a thorough support system in such a time as this. I don’t see his words as cold or bad timing either. They do not speculate or offer opinions. Again, it is our responsibility to evaluate them, not simply repeat them. When we do mourn with these victims, our perspective should include the truth about our standing before God. It should also include the hope found in the face of His son Jesus Christ. It is a hard thing to express these equal truths to those who are hurting, or to those who already have an opposing perspective. Ephesians 1:1-23 says so clearly what I seem to be so poorly trying to say. As I read further, chapter 2 continues to remind those who are Chriost’s of our standing before and after Christ. It is stsrk, it is opposite. Paul uses strong words to portray this to those he loves and prays for. Hearing again from a fellow believer how our sin has separated us from God and that the only hope is through the blood of Christ, should call to remembrance the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom. We can communicate this message with confidence since it is the power unto salvation. God’s judgement is common to all of us. I do not see Mr. Phillips as claiming it to be exclusive to America, but rather it is directed towards and therefore includes all sinners. Boy, I have gone on too long. Lastly, I have been reading through Proverbs again, and was impacted greatly by chapter 16. There are so many verses that call attention to God’s sovereignty over all things. It grounded me this week as well.
    Kim, thank you for providing a forum for this discussion. I pray that we “…count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phillipians 3:8. That would include my lengthy comment on your blog!!
    I relate to so much that you write about regarding daily life. We are a home-schooling family with nine children, 5 boys and 4 girls. I also have suffered two miscarriages within the past 8 months. The second one happened when I was about 20 weeks along. I delivered a baby boy named Simeon Luke. I do not regret a bit of the sadness that we felt during this time. My children, as young as they are, experienced the emotions, questions and hard realities with us as we sought to know Christ better through it all. This circumstance provided yet another opportunity to share the gospel with them and others. Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.

    For His Glory,

    Amy Morse

  12. Grafted Branch says:

    This is a very sad time. Death is sad. Ambush is shocking. Watching tens of thousands or more people in Virginia and around the country seeking their solace in being a Hokey rather than in the person and work of the Lord Jesus is sad too.

    I’ve not read this particular article from DP, but I’ve read enough of him to imagine.

    Regardless however, the most prominent theme of this thread seems to be “Us.” Let’s comfort those who need comfort and quickly get about the business of pointing, seeking, chasing, loving, glorifying HIM. Truly He’s the only One who understands any of this.

    The Lord bless you and keep you…

  13. Kim, for me the sticking point is not that God judges nations, but specifically whether or not this act was God’s judgment. Linking the tragegy with God’s judgment at this time is unfortunate. Using qualifiers such as “may be” are helpful in a theological debate when we are uncertain of the validity of what is spoken, but jugment at a time of tragedy only add to the hurt.

    If your son is seriously hurt or dies in a car accident, it would not be prudent for the police officer who knows that it was your son’s fault to immediately tell you that his or your failure to properly train him caused the accident. Even if knows with certainty that this was the case. We don’t know with certainty that this tragedy was God’s judgment and speculating at this time is unnecessary and unfortunate. When Christians lack compassion it is a sad, we are the only one’s who can offer hope to those that are hurting.

    As a commenter above said, “How can they hear without a preacher.” But if the people walk away from the preacher because he has preached to them opinion and speculation instead of the Truth, who can blame them. They are looking for Truth at there time of sorrow, not speculation and opinion for personal interests.

    Scripture doesn’t mention America in its writings. Yes, we can speculate about whether this nation is under God’s judgment. And perhaps it is. But this is NOT the time to be speculating. People are grieving over their dead friends and relatives, may our words be words of comfort and Truth NOT speculation.

  14. It seems to me that a sticking point for many is the idea that God judges nations and societies, not just individuals.
    Adam was a covenant head. When he sinned, he represented all of us. We all feel the judgment for his sin.
    When things go wrong in a nation, it *may be* a sign that God is not pleased with that nation and has withdrawn His protection, bringing judgment upon them as a group. This does not mean that each individual who suffers is under God’s particular especial judgment, but when a group is under judgment individuals will suffer.
    Please take a few minutes to read Deuteronomy 28 for many, many examples of God’s blessings and judgment upon a group.
    When a Hebrew man’s livestock was stolen (vs. 31) did this mean that he was the worst offender in his neighborhood? No.
    Was the guy with a boil on his leg (vs. 35) hiding a more grievous sin than any of his neighbors? No.
    But according to Deuteronomy 28, things like these are signs that the nation as a whole is under judgment.
    Nobody has said that the victims at Virginia Tech were chosen by God because He especially hated them or their parents. There may well have been Christians among them. They were simply members of a nation under God’s judgment, just like you and I. Yes, these things can happen to anyone.
    Why did our Sarah die in utero 6 weeks before her due date? Not because hubby and I had dark secrets, but because Adam sinned. Maybe even because we live in a nation under God’s judgment (Deut. 28:18).
    Be that as it may, we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
    God’s people might suffer along with the unrighteous, but we are always in His hand.

  15. HomemakerAng says:

    Opps, I forgot to say thank you Kim for answering my questions

  16. HomemakerAng says:

    Spunky you clarified a lot of my point to.

  17. Mrs. S.

    You asked, “Is preaching not one of the greatest ways we can love others?”

    Absolutely! Allow me clarify, it is NOT the act of preaching that I was distrubed by, but WHAT was preached and at what time. Please read Doug’s article and determine in your own mind if preaching the politics of gun control, etc. is appropriate at a time of mourning. I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else whether it is. I just wanted to affirm that I felt similarly to the sentiment of Mrs. Homemakerang in that regard. That it was inappropriate. Just as it would be at a funeral service if people talked openly or the pastor preached about the sins of the deceased. It may be the truth, but it is not the time. Civility requires that during a time of mourning we comfort those that are hurting. There will be other occassions where the other conversations can take place. Telling parents that their choice of education is God’s judgement and the cause of society’s violence is not helpful at a time of mourning.

    Preaching God’s Truth is indeed to be proclaimed but we are to use discernment when we speak and act. Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”

    I don’t think it’s coincidence that the rending / sewing is combined with the silence / speaking. Our words have the ability to bring others closer to the only One who can provide them comfort or drive them further from Him. The difference is often in the choice of words, their timing, and the tone in which they are spoken. Mr. Phillip’s essay combines some Truth, a presumption about God’s judgement, and a call for Christians to bear arms.

    I’m all for preaching the Truth it’s the preaching of presumptions and his political rhetoric at this time of tragedy that I found disturbing.

  18. Great post Kim. Was your precious Sarah full term? If you would rather not say, that is fine. I don’t want to bring up hurt.

  19. I would say there is nothing more loving than preaching to people.

    Sometimes the truth hurts. Perhaps it wasn’t God’s judgment for children being sent to public school, but there is clearly a pattern in scripture of God judging wicked nations by allowing/willing tragedies like the loss of a lot of lives. Certainly, what the man did was wicked, and he already stood before God. I doubt that any God fearing person would say that we should be hard and calloused, and not mourn. The point is, you shouldn’t let your emotions get in the way of reality (that it could very well be God’s judgment) and preaching the gospel, which happens to be offensive, according to 1 Corinthians.

    The reality is, we should use this tragedy as an opportunity to preach repentance to *everyone*. We all deserve to die, and we all deserve to perish eternally in a literal, burning hell. If people think this is sad (which they should, of course), they ought to be reminded of judgment day. They ought to be reminded that their sin is deserving of a punishment. They ought to fear the fury of God. Until people recongnize their wickedness, they won’t recognize their need for a Savior. And until they recognize that need, they are unable to repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out. It is only when true repentance occurs and one has faith in our all-sufficient Savior that that person can be truly comforted, and have that precious peace that passes all understanding.

    “And how shall they hear without a preacher…”

  20. Just a few thoughts (I didn’t even read Doug Phillip’s article so I can’t comment on that)…
    1). I’m not so sure that God’s judgment and God’s will can be entirely separated. Is God’s judgment not within His will?

    2). Christians and unbelievers are subject to being rebuked by God. While rebuking comes in many ways he uses these things for our good and teaching and for His glory.

    3). Spunky said “This isn’t the time to preach to them, but to love them.” Is preaching not one of the greatest ways we can love others? (I say this not knowing anything about Doug Phillip’s article or its content. I am assuming by preaching you mean preaching the word of God and its truths).

    I whole-heartedly agree with Kim regarding nearly every thing she said and what she got out of the scriptures she cited. Great post, Kim!

  21. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Beautifully said, Spunky.

  22. I would like to affirm the thought my Mrs. Homemakerang that the timing of preaching God’s judgment in this essay by Mr. Phillips was extremely poor. Just as I was disturbed by the anti-gun lobby immediately using this tragedy for their own gain, I am equally disturbed by Mr. Phillips rhetoric and use of the tragedy for political purposes, even if I might agree with some of his positions contained in the essay.

    Let us look at the life of Jesus when confronted by the death of Lazarus…Scripture records that when our Lord was taken to the tomb, He wept. (John 11:35) And the response from the Jews was, “See how He loved him!” No words, just tears.

    Kim you said, that “making sad eyes at one another won’t do a bit of good.” I respectfully disagree. When we are confronted by the death the natural response is to mourn and weep. There is no shame in expressing sadness and mourning with those that mourn. It is what we are called to do as Christians. We are called to comfort those that are hurting. To say that it doesn’t do a bit of good, needlessly heaps upon the hurting guilt for what is a very natural response.

    Doug Phillips in his essay asked, “What are we to say to the families? What are we to learn?”

    What are we to learn? Lots. And first and foremost it is to learn how to mourn with those that mourn and never grow callous to the plight of those that are hurting.

    While, Mr. Phillip’s essay contained some truth, it lacked any semblance of compassion for the lost and hurting, it was a lot of words but little demonstration of the love of God for those that mourn; even going to far as to say that the rise of violence in our society was “God’s judgement” and then he uses the opportunity to interject political rhetoric and call Christians to “arms.”

    It COULD be God’s judgement and I have nothing against Christians owning a weapon, but do we really want to preach that message at this time? I personally don’t think so and I’m glad to hear I’m heartened to know that I’m not alone in my discomfort.

    People have died at the hands of a brutally evil man. It is NOT wrong to feel sad and express that sadness whether it be in our eyes or with our lips. We are human beings, not robots void of feeling. And Christians should be the ones leading in that desire to comfort, NOT following the unbeliever who seeks to use this tragedy for personal interests and agendas.

    The call to “arms” should have been the call to wrap our arms of love and prayer around them and hold them close and weep with them and for them. This isn’t the time to preach to them, but to love them.

  23. HomemakerAng says:

    I wrote VF a letter this morning, they replied and here is my reply to set the record straight:

    Dear Mr. Renaud,

    I am online right now and I am impressed I received a response from you in a timely fashion. You may print this below if you include all of it thank you… I AM SORRY, READ ON:

    #1 ok, yes it may have been a little heated, I am just so disappointed that brothers in Christ (whom I usually respect) would at this time make the statement that this is God’s judgement as parents are awaiting the return of their precious children from the M.E.O. in a body bag. Wouldn’t this be a great time to witness to bring more into the kingdom right now rather than condemn? Yes, we could use this tragedy to glorify God.

    #2. Forgive the clone remark. I am sorry and am asking for forgiveness, I was wrong. I said it in the flesh.

    #3. So, if I understand correctly, you do believe that the amish shooting was the same as the VA Tech shooting? Although I still do not agree with that, I am grateful you are being consistent in your theory.

    #4. I will reconsider my harsh words as yes we are a blessed family doing the work of the Lord. I am sorry I came against you viciously. I do hope you might reconsider the delivery of the messages you release during future tragedies to be more time sensitive. Yes, the internet is a great thing but it can turn into “old-fashioned confusion” as I must have misconstrued some of this (not all I feel though). There is a time and a place for most of your letter (we are all about gun control and my husband agreed they would never have gotten past him)but I think possibly some of it could have been toned down. I am sure I am not the only one that disagreed.

    May God continue to bless your work, forgive me please. Please let me know you received this so we can have closure.
    Humbly in Him,
    Mrs. Homemakerang

  24. Thanks for your message of hope. I say hope, because I remember reading about you little girl, months ago, and your views on it helped me several times when I was going through difficult times. I really admire your faith, and your heart.

  25. HomemakerAng says:

    Dear Kim, on the loss of your precious babe I am so sorry, truly I am, I cannot fathom a painful loss as this.

    I don’t understand though how DP can pick and choose what is God’s judgement and what is God’s will?

    Do you feel your baby loss was God’s judgement? I hope not, because it wasn’t at all. But, why then is this shooting God’s judgement?

    If we go with his statements all violence and tragedy is God’s judgement to us, and that would make all of our tragedies from HIM, .

    I don’t think its fair to say what happens to “us” is God’s will, (making it more beautiful and religious sounding) but what happened to VA Tech is God’s judgement… Who are we to say what God is doing anyway?

    Where the Amish that were killed in their private school also being judged by God? please answer this. Please! If you think the Amish were not being judged by God with this violence but VA Tech was then my point is complete.

    I am trying also to say that during a time like this we should be reaching out to them and not judging or condeming them!

    What about the woman at the well? Jesus treated her with love and welcomed her. I am not advocation tolerance whatsoever but Jesus did accept the woman at the well.

    I think in your deep heart you have seen some inconsistencies here but how could you feel free to write about the truth. You are a smart “bible girl”, I have read enough of your posts to back it up, you don’t have your head in the sand when it comes to God’s word and I admire that. You emerse yourself in the Bible. On this one I really think we need to dig deeper…

    Rocks, he says we are being judged because of sending our children to government school. He said the shooting happened because of God’s judgement, reread the article. If I misconstrued it, there are atleast thousands of others that have too. What is important is he crossed the line, I think this might hurt his ministry. I know I have spent THOUSANDS at VF and I believe I am finished, my conscience would not allow it.

    Homemakerang

  26. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Good post, Kim–you said this better than either of the posts you linked to. To say that these things happen because our suffering is never meaningless is true and kind. For DP to say that these things happen because children are in public schools is–frankly–a ridiculous leap, and not very helpful.

    As for the post by the woman who bemoaned the lack of heroes–certainly I, too, wish that someone could’ve managed to save the day. We ALL wish for a different outcome. But to criticize the young students who were present in such a horrific, shocking, life-changing scene is surprising, to say the least.

    Sorry–I’m rambling–all of this to say that it’s a good question to raise, this idea of suffering for God’s glory. There is no doubt in my mind He’ll be glorified in this, one way or another.

  27. What an excellent post. Thank you! God is glorified when His people trust that He is in control of every molecule of the universe (which is the only conclusion you can come to if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God), even when we don’t understand exactly why He does what He does, or why He allows what He allows. May He grant repentance to our nation, even if that means more tragedies like what happened at Virginia Tech.

    -Mary Jo

Don't just think it: say it!

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