Friday, January 15, 2010

Some Thoughts on Pat Robertson

During just about every national or international calamity, televangelist Pat Robertson makes headlines with some insensitive remarks about why that particular calamity occurred. This week's earthquake in Haiti gave Robertson another opportunity. Here's what he said:

Someone in my congregation asked me how I would respond if a news reporter asked me to comment on Robertson's remarks. Here's what I wrote back in response:

The Bible is pretty clear that earthquakes, and other natural disasters, are a part of this world because of sin. After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God cursed the entire creation and “subjected it to futility” (Romans 8:20). So earthquakes exist because of human rebellion against God. But it’s not just the people of Haiti who are at fault; it’s all of us, because Adam acted as our representative, and so we are all guilty (Romans 5). It seems as though Pat Robertson ignores this reality in his public comments following every calamity. He basically did the same thing after 9/11 and Katrina. It is always somebody else’s sin that is the problem, and he never publicly seems to own up to his own sin as being a part of the problem with the world.

That is probably why so many people can’t stand him. Sometimes Christians are called to experience hostility from the world for the sake of Christ, but it seems to me that Robertson experiences hostility because of his own arrogance and insensitivity, not for the sake of Christ. In his public comments, he does not demonstrate a contrition and humility that flow out of understanding how desperate his own situation is because of sin, and knowing that salvation by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ is his only hope.

In Luke 13, Jesus was asked about a calamity in Galilee, and His response is insightful for this whole situation. Jesus said,

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 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?

So I think if Jesus was asked about the earthquake in Haiti, He might say, “Do you think that the people of Haiti were worse sinners than all other human beings? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” That is God’s word to us, I believe, in the face of the pain and horrors of this world. Earthquakes exist because we live in a fallen world in which humans have rebelled against our Maker.

The people of Haiti are no more guilty than I am. Yet Jesus came into the world not only to speak eloquently about calamities, but to experience cosmic calamity on the Cross. In His crucifixion, Jesus willingly took upon Himself the judgment of God that we deserved for our sin. Through faith in Him, we can receive forgiveness of sins and be reconciled to God, needing no longer to fear His anger and condemnation. When we have come into relationship with God through Jesus, we can have hope that even the biggest storms and calamities of this world will ultimately work for our good, because that is what He has promised to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

So in the face of the devastation in Haiti, Christians are called to love and sacrificially serve those who have been affected by this earthquake. And, like Jesus, we are called to remind everyone that their earthquake will come one day as well. Through repentance and faith in the crucified and risen Christ, we can be rescued from the coming wrath that will make this earthquake seem like an amusement park. He is our only hope.

What do you think of Robertson's remarks (or mine)? Leave a comment and let me know...


  1. Sorry for the formatting issues in this post. Copying and pasting from my email account makes things look a little awkward.

  2. Thanks, Larry, for closing that post with such a beautiful and clear presentation of the gospel.

    Are you old enough to recall that Pat Robertson ran for president? It must have been back in the late 80's or so.

    Jim W

  3. Thanks Jim. You know if I was being asked by a reporter I'd have to find a way to get the gospel in there!

    I don't really remember Pat Robertson running for president, but I think I had heard that before.

  4. I totally concur with you Larry on this. I too did a post on my blog about this. Shocking isn't it?

  5. Thanks for reminding us of our merciful Savior, Larry. I pray Mr. Robertson extends that mercy upon Haiti. Yes, Jim, I remember when he ran and, sadly if I was old enough and still in my former self, I probably would have voted for him because he names Jesus as LORD.
    There, but for the grace of God, go I!