This post is adapted from one of my very first on Charlie’s Church of Christ – back when I was on blogspot about four years ago. Since I was traveling full time I didn’t post regularly and the blog died after three entries.
Oh geez I might be maturing.
Because I grew up in an ultra-conservative church where every year we were taught this is the one when Jesus finally returns, I used to think I had some sort of license to tear up the fairly ridiculous pastors and leaders that make those sorts of claims.
Back in 2007 when I originally wrote this post, Pat Robertson had just announced that in prayer God revealed to him the U.S. would see mass killings. “The Lord didn’t say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that,” Pat was quoted as saying. As soon as I heard these claims I had a strong skepticism, and obviously looking back now in 2011 – well, the mass killings never happened.
Here’s the thing – I’m not comfortable doubting Pat’s relationship with God. It just doesn’t feel right. As easy it as to say “wow – what a nutcase,” something in me holds back.
I’m sure Pot prays and talk to God and struggles with him and tries to listen to him, just as I do. So for me to say that I doubt God told Pat Robertson to watch out for mass killings in 2007 it means that I discredit this man’s personal communion with God. I don’t want to do that, even though his claims are asinine. I can’t completely doubt them.
What do you do with someone who is seemingly a man/person of God, who seemingly loves Jesus and wants to advance his kingdom (though I have a suspicion of our views of the kingdom differ greatly) yet says things like this? They’ve been Christians for double my lifespan, they can quote a heck of a lot more Scripture than I’ll ever be able to, and though these don’t necessarily lead to a closer relationship with God or knowing him any better, it nonetheless puts us all in a hard place.
Similarly, for those of you out there who may not side with my more progressive Christian tendencies – can you really doubt my entire relationship with Jesus? It may seem like I have some glaring holes and painfully obvious mistaken beliefs – but does that mean I have no relationship with God at all.
How do you reconcile this? I’ll assume that Rob Bell prayed about the contents of his book, and we can assume God never put up a stop sign. I feel convicted about my beliefs, and so do those who disagree. What do you think?