The Bible and Culture

The Bible and Culture


Haiti– Where Was God?

posted by Ben Witherington

Hard on the heels of devastating tropical storms in 2008 which reaked havoc on the shores of Haiti comes now a 7.0 earthquake followed by a 5.9 aftershock leaving huge swaths of the poorest nation in the western hemisphere in rubble, and untold thousands either dead or badly in need of emergency medical attention And for those of us who care about such things, not far behind the question of Why is the question– Where was God in all this? Doesn’t the Bible say that God has especial concern for the poor? Why would God allow or cause this to happen? Is this as the insurance companies have often called it— ‘an act of God’? If not, was God on vacation when this happened?
It is easier in some ways to explain what is not the case than to say what is the case when it comes to God and natural disasters like this earthquake, despite fundamentalist preachers who are apt to glibbly say things like— “Haiti is the center of voodoo in the Western hemisphere therefore God judged them.” This hardly explains why all the Christian relief agencies, and various orthodox Christians in Haiti are also reeling from the blow just now. Were they just in the wrong line of fire, or is God’s aim that bad???
Let us start with something Jesus says about a natural disaster in Luke 13.8 Jesus asks his disciples “were those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them worse sinners than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?” Jesus’ answer is no. No indeed. What he is warning against is some sort of automatic correlation between disaster and one’s moral condition or beliefs. Jesus is equally clear that one cannot make a one to one correlation between sickness and sin or disability and sin (see John 9.1-5). In other words, the world is a complex place, and there are many reasons bad things happen to all sorts of people including good people and God’s people. And unless one is a fatalist and believes that everything that happens is God’s will, one way or another, then one has to allow that all sorts of causation answers are possible in the case of a natural disaster.
Natural disasters, or events of nature, are of course not called by us disasters if they happen on some remote uninhabited atoll in the south pacific and affect no human lives. It is rather when human beings, accidentally or intentionally get in the way of nature, or cannot get out of the way of natural occurences that we call them disasters and start asking sticky questions about God and how the universe runs. Here are a few considerations to take into account.
1) God is not the only source of causation in the world. There are many actors in the world, human and supernatural, and God is only the most important and powerful one. Even the Bible does not suggest God is the only source of all that happens in the world.
For example, Biblical writers are pretty adamant that God is not the cause of human sin. Were that the case, God would in no sense be a good God. It follows from this conclusion that there are things that happen in this world that are the fault not of God but of human beings. It does not further this discussion to add that God allowed this to happen. But then God allows all kinds of things to happen, good, bad, and ugly and it is no reflection on God’s character nor is it an indication that God does not care.
2) We live in an interactive world, a world where human behavior affects nature and vice versa. Its no good blaming the drinking water near Three Mile Island for being poisonous when it was human beings who caused the pollution of the water. Human responsibility for human ills is again and again insisted on in the Bible. Indeed, the primeval stories in Gen. 1-2 tell us that the Fall, which led to disease, decay, death, suffering, sin and sorrow in the world can be traced back to human causation, human sin. According to Genesis, it did not have to be that way, but we screwed up. In other words the primeval story is about prime evil, and we, and not just the snake, are responsible.
3) Compassion Fatigue. Haiti has been a disaster happening and waiting to happen for ever. Had most of the buildings in Port au Prince been strengthened or rebuilt to withstand such disasters, literally millions of people would have been less likely to be harmed in that city by what has just happened. And we have known about these problems in our own backyard for decades. For decades now the U.S. would rather throw good money after bad on military adventures in the Middle East and elsewhere when in fact with a fraction of what we have spent in the last decade on war the entire country of Haiti could have been rebuilt and given decent housing!! Yes its true. And these are our backdoor neighbors. But of course they do not have oil and other commodities to offer us, so we as a nation have largely ignored them and their cries for help, hoping that the piecemeal efforts of small U.N. and Christian agencies would pick up the slack—- which they have been unable to do, so overwhelmed have they been by the grinding indigenous poverty and needs of that whole country, not to mention governmental corruption over many decades.
So where can God be found in all of this? I would remind you of a famous passage from the story of Elijah. Elijah made a spiritual pilgrimage to Mt. Horeb to get some answers as to why all manner of things were going wrong in Israel, including the Queen wanting his head on a platter. God’s answer is interesting and suggestive— ”
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Hmmm… the Lord was not in the earthquake, the fire, or the wind— the natural disasters Elijah saw. His will could only be seen and understood in listening to God’s Word. And what God says to Elijah is precisely what he says to us— “I will give you aid, but I want you to go back and minister to those people, mourning with those that mourning, rejoicing with those that rejoice, suffering with those that suffer. Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me. Where is God in all this— he is in his arms and legs called his followers who are rushing to aid these people, and we must support them. He is standing right there in the rubble suffering with those who suffer, and weeping with those who weep and binding up the hearts of the broken hearted. And more than this we do not know, and cannot rightly say.



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Quiddity

posted January 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm


Good timely post. (By the way, it’s Luke 13:4)
Re your “Natural disasters, or events of nature, are of course not called by us disasters if they happen on some remote uninhabited atoll in the south pacific and affect no human lives.”
I think that it’s a disaster if even only lots of animals perish.
Totally agree that basic infrastructure would have helped in Haiti. Several years ago there were floods and mudslides in Central America and I was outraged that the governments there hadn’t done much in terms of civil engineering (dams, catchment basins, even simple road drainage). As a result, people were trapped and died.



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Thorn

posted January 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm


Excellent thoughts. A far more Christian response than Pat Robertson’s “Haiti made a pack with the devil” spiel.



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Ben Witherington

posted January 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm


Hi Quiddity— I was talking about a desert atoll…. I like animals too.
BW3



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John Adams

posted January 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm


I grew up in Haiti and was there to visit my parents, who are missionaries there, for the last 2 weeks. They live in Cap-Haitien, but I flew back through Port-au-Prince yesterday, missing the quake by only a few hours. I could not agree more with your statement that we must exercise great caution in equating this calamity to that intention of God’s. I am tired of the Pat Robertsons of this world. Thank you for this post.



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Holly

posted January 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm


Just posted on Haiti this afternoon.



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Willie

posted January 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm


Good post. The part about Haiti’s cry for help and the US’s unwillingness to lend enough money to rebuild safer buildings is indeed very troubling.
It’s also always nice to hear from a Christian that God didn’t cause the earthquake. I flinched today as a person led a prayer at my seminary’s chapel in which it was suggested that the earthquake was part of God’s mysterious sovereign workings/plan.
Moltmann’s theodicy seems to be the only one to have any credence when I see such horrible suffering and death-that Christ is among the dying and suffering Haitians, crying out to God with them, “why have you forsaken us?” thus God is with them in their godforsakeness.



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windyblue

posted January 13, 2010 at 8:19 pm


Well read Revelations, we are in the middle of it. And God does say we will have earthquakes and floods millions will die.
Plus we have Global Warming, which man has caused.
Man has done nothing but destroy The Lords world.
He had it right when he flooded the world back in Noah’s day. But through his grace and mercy he let us live.
And look at what Man kind has done.



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Margaret Placentra Johnston

posted January 13, 2010 at 8:23 pm


“And more than this we do not know, and cannot rightly say.”
Thank you for showing the humility to post this statement. Pat Robertson could learn a thing or two from you.



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Josh Rowley

posted January 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm


Thanks for these insights, especially #1.



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Karen

posted January 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm


This terrible earthquake was an act of God. Haiti stands for voodoo rituals,horrible human and animal sacrifices, devil worship and other abominations. Neverthelsess we Christians have to help as much as we can.



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Jerry

posted January 14, 2010 at 12:31 am


Why do people even hint or suggest God causes natural disasters? This is not an “act of God” God is not in control of this world right now….that is obvious because of how screwed up it is. The Devil is running this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus was in a boat and a storm came. Did God try to kill Jesus? Jesus calmed the storm. Was Jesus working against God? God doesnt not cause hurricanes, earthquakes, sickness, death.



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Your Name

posted January 14, 2010 at 7:22 am


This article is pityfull in trying to explain why god has yet again deserted the weak and the poor. The people in Haiti live like they do because they cannot afford to live otherwise. If it is the US’s fault Haiti has not been rebuilt then why exact retribution on the innocent people of Haiti. Clealry there is no God. If there is he is weak and has no compassion and allows UN and Christian aid workers to die along side of the so called “devil worshipers”. If God built the world, why build it in such a way that every time a tectonic plate shifts millions of poor people die. There is only one explanantion which half the world has now woken up to.



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Ben Witherington

posted January 14, 2010 at 9:14 am


In regard to those who think what happened in Haiti is an example of God’s justice against unrighteousness, I would urge you to remember that there are many devout Christians now suffering in Haiti, and God does not uphold a principle of guilt by geographical proximity. Furthermore you would do well to read Ezekiel 18.4 and indeed the whole context. It talks about individual responsibility and judgment that is specific to that individual. It says, among other things “Know that all lives are mine: the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins who shall die.” In other words, God does not visit judgment on those who are not guilty.
As for the anonymous post about this once more proving there is no good God, I would suggest you go read Job and do a rethink. Monotheistic religion in our era, both Christianity and Islam is by no means on the decline worldwide. To the contrary it is growing by leaps and bounds in the two thirds world, so your plea will fall on deaf ears.
BW3



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dguest

posted January 14, 2010 at 9:45 am


Question to Ben Witherington:
There’s lots of talk about God being in control of the situation and how the New Testament speaks of God giving the believer trials and temptations to strengthen, test and edify. But seriously, the earthquake in Haiti seemed to break lots of believers’ spirit about a benevolent God. I mean christian families devastated, missionaries killed; children orphaned its enough to drive a haitian believer to the breaking point and just despair. Is God playing with lives just to see who would break and who would not? Is God toying around with the circumstances around the believer like some mad puppeteer?



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dguest

posted January 14, 2010 at 9:54 am


Sorry also just to add,
Reading Job or the NT does not help, because God dodges the question in Job and Jesus did the same thing when the tower of siloam fell, he changed the subject to repentance… why doesn’t the Bible just give a straight explanation of arbitrary suffering?



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Scott

posted January 14, 2010 at 10:23 am


You say
It does not further this discussion to add that God allowed this to happen. But then God allows all kinds of things to happen, good, bad, and ugly and it is no reflection on God’s character nor is it an indication that God does not care.
I don’t understand this. If there was a man who knew what the Hatian earthquake would do, had the power to prevent it, and didn’t stop it, we would say that he was a very bad man.



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Chap

posted January 14, 2010 at 10:46 am


Thanks for the thoughtful response on this disaster.
I would disagree with your point #3 however. Suggesting that Haiti’s suffering is the result of the “powerful”, particularly America’s willful dismissal of Haiti because we are only interested in oil is dangerously close to a Pat Robertson caricature of the situration.
The US has given 1 BILLION dollars to Haiti in the last 5 years! Not to mention the non-profit charity organizations, UN, etc… that are established. Sure this is a drop in the bucket compared to Iraq and Afganistan–but it chaps my hide to place the blame on America. (and please don’t place me in the “America is never at fault crowd”)
The problem in Haiti is the powerful ‘sinful’ people and government in Haiti who have systematically placed the boot on the back of the necks of their own people. This is where I place my outrage–another failed human system filled with sinful people who do not care for their own citizens. For God’s sake Haiti has 50% unemployment and their citizens make $2 per day on average! We should be asking what corrupt system is continuing to oppress these people? The Dominican Republic shares their border is doing much better…Why?
Other than that I loved everything else you had to say about God and natural disasters!



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hootie1fan

posted January 14, 2010 at 11:05 am


A pact with the devil. Is that what they call getting involved with Charles Taylor, illegal gold mining in Liberia and funding violence in Sierra Leone? If so, Pat Robertson would know.
We Christians need to take a page out of the playbook we have been giving to the Muslims and officially and uncatagorically dispute when our fellow Christians in positions of power use and abuse the name of Christ.



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frgough

posted January 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm


The suffering in Haiti is not arbitrary. It is the direct result of the evils of men. This earthquake was a disaster because Haiti is a poor nation. A 7 magnitude quake in the United States wouldn’t even damage most buildings.
Haiti is a dirt-poor nation because evil and corrupt men have played little tin god dictator for decades.
So, the earthquake was a natural occurrence, but the consequent suffering is the direct result of evil and corrupt men in positions of power.



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Druac

posted January 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm


Where was God? The same place he always is, in your head.



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E.K.

posted January 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm


Thanks for posting this…I pray for more Christians like you – able to refute the damaging pronouncements of Pat Robertson when things similar to this occur!



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Your Name

posted January 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm


Chap made the exact point I wanted to emphasize. Complaining about selfish Americans and our military spending may be cathartic, but it’s still wrong, and in the long run it harms Haitians more than even indifference. The US and the rest of the world have flooded Haiti with money, but it is stolen by a corrupt Haitian plutocracy before it reaches the people. As Reuters (hardly an apologist for American foreign policy) put it:
Haiti is the third most corrupt country in the world, according to corruption watchdog Transparency International, compounding the difficulties agencies face in delivering aid in an accountable and transparent way. Power lies in the hands of a few elite, leaving ministries unable to implement policies and divert funds to the local level. Haiti’s civil service is poorly trained and lacks the expertise to manage aid.
Christians must be generous, but not stupid. As long as we misidentify the problem (You haven’t dug deeply enough into your pockets!) we cannot correct it. We have an obligation to not simply give money, but to work to verify where the money goes. For too long we have been satisfied with giving funds to corrupt regimes, then continuing blithely on our way, consciences assuaged.
As sad as it sounds, perhaps this disaster, which has destroyed all vestiges of civil authority in the country, will provide a clean slate that foreign governments and international organizations can use to help the Haitian people build a working government.



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Josh

posted January 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Sorry, that last “your name” should have said “Josh”.



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Janie

posted January 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm


As a non-Christian I respect those who believe but it is pretty hard to accept the idea of a benevolant God when something this horrific has happened. Please save your “God works in mysterious ways” or that “Free Will” theory b/c I personally have never bought into that and I grew up in a Catholic home and went to Catholic school my whole life. When things like this happen only reinforce my believe that perhaps we are truly alone in this world and the existence of God or a god is just a way for us to cope with the brutal and harsh reality of the world.



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Ben Witherington

posted January 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm


What is interesting about this whole discussion is the absence of mention of human volition. I quite agree that Haiti is in part the way it is because of corrupt government. No doubt about that. So if you are going to point the finger at this then the conclusion must be— this situation is a disaster largely due to human evil, not God.
But even more telling is the question not even asked in these posts– what is the relationship between God’s will and human willing. Has God carved out a space for viable human choices and secondary causation or not? If God has done that then secondary causes can be responsible for all sorts of calamities in this world.
As for the flippant and ignorant responses about Job and Lk. 13— you need to go and do your homework. Both of these texts tell us quite directly that God does allow a variety of things in this world that God does not cause to happen, and the enormous presumption that we could know better than God what the situation actually is and why A or B happened is precisely the sort of hubris that leads to: 1) the inability to even see answers to issues this complex, never mind the spiritual blindness that prevents one from even considering God’s existence and role in the human realm
BW3



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kravitz

posted January 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm


Those wasting their time believing in so called gods have been proven again to be fools along with Robertson. People like him lead along the vulnerable and needy who have weak sense of self, only to be steered the wrong way by egotistical hucksters. Maybe this time a lot of people will figure it out. Haiti is poor because of international involvement – the CIA, PapaDoc, Baby Doc, and the ouster of Aristede. Not just because the country’s people wanted to be free of slavery.



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Linda

posted January 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm


Although there is truth in what you say, it’s the majority of the country …the dirt poor people that suffer in the longrun. Perhaps a better solution is to “give” directly to organizations such as Oxfam, the Red Cross,and other reputable organizations (and one can even “earmark” contributions to go towards a specific cause!



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Agnes

posted January 15, 2010 at 3:54 am


First of all, Haiti’s history is very interesting. I was reading their timeline of disasters. It seems after they declared Voodoo their main religion their worst problems began in Haiti. I do not understand how they can name their main religion voodoo and still state that they are Catholics. I do not believe that christianity and voodoo can be combine regardless of what christian church it may be in their country. The two do not mix. Now, is this God’s wrath upon them. Only God knows and maybe the Haitian people need to look at what has happen to them and why. Is it their location or is it God’s wrath? I do not know. Also, I read about their different voodoo practices which some are good and others are to fight evil and whatever else that was explain in the wiki concerning Haiti’s main religion. Again, only God knows.



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Nincompoop !

posted January 15, 2010 at 4:01 am


I am now very intoxicated and just pooped my pants !



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Nincompoop !

posted January 15, 2010 at 4:02 am


I just pooped my pants because I am very intoxicated !



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cool fg

posted January 15, 2010 at 4:41 am


God’s will is never to cause trouble or problems to people. This is just a natural disaster which occurred and it can also occur elsewhere where there are no people. So dont blame God for any evil. In the Bible its clearly stated that Satan is the Father of all evil and sin.



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m smith

posted January 15, 2010 at 4:55 am


First I want to give all honors to GOD, GOD doesn’t take people if they are living right, have you read thou shall have no other GOD’s before me they are idiot worshipers and it’s not all of them but the good suffer with the bad, read the rapture he came to take the one’s who were ready and left the other’s behind to get ready, Thou shall not kill, GOD does not Kill.



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Gregory Bruce

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:07 am


God is the hope that Haiti needs and through this disaster hope will be seen and Haiti will be better after this. Yes it is true Haiti has been suffering for a long time and world has ignored them, it is so sad that it takes a disaster such as this earthquake for the world to help. Through this tragedy I hope the world keeps it eyes and resources in Haiti so that the people can live a decent life. This rebuilding process will take a while but Haiti will be better by it. Hopefully the houses and other building will be built with a earthquake standard. I will continue to pray for the people of Haiti and donate where I can. God bless everyone in this struggle and keep the faith.



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KevinL

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:16 am


The article quotes passages of the bible which leads us to believe that god does not interfere with natural occurances. Strange considering God brought the various plagues to Egypt in the time of Moses, including “exodus 19″ and the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts”. Seems it was OK to intevene then but not now or by not preventing the Sunami or not by diverting a little rain to drought stricken regions of the world, where millions are dying of starvation. Of course the cop out answer is to say that it is all part of Gods master plan which we are not worthy or capable of undersatnding. The alternative is that the earth was created following the big bang, Haiti sits on a fault line, political cicumstances have lead to the country being impoverished and forced to live in dwellings that are crammed together and not built to withstand Earthquakes and hurricanes. These will circum to natural disasters as will the slums of mexico, India and all the other poor overpopulated countries. If you want to put your faith in something or someone that stands by and lets millions or people suffer under horrific cicumstances then you have my sympathy.



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kare

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:16 am


Whenever something bad happens we blame god….but when something good happens we just go about our business….God does not punish the innocent of which there were many in this disaster….and he deals with the scandolous of life in the after life…I am sure he has a sense of humor and some of those people got what was coming to them, however, the innocent need our support to help them bare these challenges…for this will shape many lives…which really is what god intended to do, shape us and hope we make good decisions. He cries with the haitian people for their suffering, heart ache, and physical pain. We should pray for them that they will find god in this mess and know that he can lift there spirits more than any charm or spell and they need to do it with prayer to him just as we should pray for them….something so awful happens and the first thing you do Agnes is label and judge them…what would God say to that?



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John

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:21 am


M smith – God killed all the first born of Egypt to get the Jews a better place to live. I have to agree with Kevin



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duggy boy

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:37 am


The bible quotes numerous passages when Gid is prepared to interfere:
Ezekiel 25:15-17
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.
I don’t see why he choses not to prevent these indiscriminant disasters from happening. Where’s the love???



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Mrs Jane Terry

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:39 am


The bible quotes numerous passages when Gid is prepared to interfere:
Ezekiel 25:15-17
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.
I don’t see why he choses not to prevent these indiscriminant disasters from happening. Where’s the love???



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Mark

posted January 15, 2010 at 7:31 am


God is not unfaithful, we are.
Just a question, what does it mean to give Responsibility or Authority?
What does it mean to have dominion over?
Gen 1 : 27 And God made man. According to the image of God he made him. Male and female he made them.
28 And [2blessed 3them 1God], saying, Grow and multiply, and fill the earth, and dominate it! And control the fishes of the sea, and the winged creatures of the heaven, and all the cattle, and all of the earth, and all of the reptiles of the ones crawling upon the earth!
interesting, to us was given the earth to dominate it, But we don’t or we can’t and we suffer because of it.
What went wrong why has the earth got a mind of it’s own? if you want to know, mail me.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 8:04 am


we know we have not done what we were to do.we were thinkin to much about our selfs not of others we were worng.i pary that wakes us up.now it is time we pray for them an do what we can. dont forget god is love now an forever.



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Sandy

posted January 15, 2010 at 8:17 am


Right on Mr. Witherington, u captured my thoughts too!!! U nailed it.



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Recce1

posted January 15, 2010 at 8:32 am


The US has given billions in aid to Hati but much of it has disappeared, probably to Swiss Banks, due to corruption. Basically Haiti like Somalia, Yemen, Burundi, and the Congo is run by gangsters who pose as politicians. Some of the poorest countries in Africa have enormous natural resources but they’re being plundered. then there’s the ethnic strife.
As pointed out, such tragedies are the result of human choices, i.e., sin. But does that mean that God caused it or that He doesn’t care? Not from what the Gospels teaches us. Furthermore, it says we are to help our neighbors, but it doesn’t say we’re to allow our neighbors to defraud us.
Sure, it’s easy to say that we should have used the money rebuilding Haiti rather than in wars. But I fear that those who don’t understand the nature of what we’re fighting we cause us to give up not only our sovereignty but also Christianity. That’s a requirement of Dhimmitude. Yes. I’m saying we’re at was with Islam, not radical Islam, but Islam, period. But many are ignorant of the history of Islam’s conquest of N. Africa, much of Europe into Russia, and into China and India.
But I will admit we’ve been wasteful, yet surrender isn’t an option. Nevertheless, we must help Haiti in it’s time of need. That’s the lesson of the Good Samaritan.



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Tom

posted January 15, 2010 at 8:32 am


Your quote of Luke 13.8 in the first paragraph???? What Bible are you using? Luke 13.8 does not say anything like you indicate. Whats up, is it a mis-print or do you just bluff your way through.
My take on God is that He does not cause bad things to happen to his children (me for one); are you up on “free will”?



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Avis

posted January 15, 2010 at 9:08 am


Tom
It should be Luke 13:4….. I’m sure it was just a typo.



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Sue

posted January 15, 2010 at 9:40 am


Our times are in HIS hands. HE spoke and the world came into being. HE spoke and the winds calmed. He will speak at the end time to conquer the devil. God has the power to do anything. He definitely knew that the earthquake would happen and where it would happen. We are told that earthquakes are some of the evidence of the end of this world. God is true to His word and we are to be prepared to meet Him today and everyday, whether by earthquake, heart attack, or cancer. Our times are in His hands and our circumstances are under His control.
He has a purpose. I just don’t know what it is. He is the creator of heaven and earth, and therefore has the power of control over all His creation.



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Rob the Rev

posted January 15, 2010 at 9:53 am


During this time that we are focusing on Haiti and the terrible disaster there let us use this moment to inform ourselves about its agonizing history and how the past and present policies of the the U.S.A. toward Haiti have contributed to make this disaster much worse than what it should have been had we treated the Haitian people in a more just manner up to this moment. This disaster did not have to be as bad as it was!
Read about the agonizing history of Haiti and how the United States has contributed to its misery in the book An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President, by Randall Robinson



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skrum

posted January 15, 2010 at 10:41 am


You had stated that the U.S. hasn’t helped Haiti enough. How come I am hearing more and more reports about missionaries and other people from U.S. churches that are there helping the people of Haiti? The country is run by a dictator. Until this way of govt. is overturned,it will continue to be the way it is. If we don’t stay a democracy in the U.S. we could find ourselves in the same situation.Why are we always accused of not helping enough????



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Tilly43

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:06 am


@Skrum…what I think you may have missed is actually in your comment:
“How come I am hearing more and more reports about missionaries and other people from U.S. churches that are there helping the people of Haiti?” Is is NOT the US gov’t that has beenlending a huge helping hand, it is the people of the US that’s lending the hand. There are points to the commentary and the comments that I do agree with, but we the gov’t has to do more for our neighbors to the south. The building infrastructures are the main reason, I believe why the death toll is so huge…change, change is certainly what’s needed. I hope God has now gotten the attention of the powers that be



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Terry

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:22 am


We are so busy trying to judge other nations for their sins we better look at our own. That is what Luke 13:4 was about,Jesus said unless we repent we shall perish also.Sin is sin by the barrel or by the thumbel it is all sin.What ever is going on in Hatti with their Voddoo worship is it worst then America taking God out of our schools.America has committed great sins, so instead of judging other nation we better get right with God or a worst fate is in store for us.



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Michelle

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:37 am


Amen, Terry! All the sinful things in this country that are being done in the name of religion. . . Sin is sin! ALL have fallen short.



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Gus

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:42 am


If my memory serves me correct the French settled that island nation and left it in total ruins and now you think it is the responsibility of the U.S. to clean up that mess (again and again). Our friends in China and India have pledged $1M each for Haiti….what a joke ! !



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:48 am


Pray right now for Haiti. Please pray. They are our brothers and sisters too. If you cannot make a donation, please pray. It will be the next best thing to do since we cannot be there.



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midwest gal

posted January 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm


What is the history of the country of Haiti making a “pact” with the devil. They also deal in Vodoo. It happened a couple hundred years ago, I heard the story once from a person who did missionary work there.



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Linda

posted January 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm


I couldn’t sleep last night because the thought of those left behind this mess is to much for me to comprehend. So I got up and donated as much as I could and I feel the Lord wants all of us to look deep into our pockets and help. If your an American you do have the money to donate. We can give up our Starbucks for 1 or 2 wks and how much is that. Well believe it would make a difference if we all thought like that. I’m not a perfect saint but I gave up something so I could help.



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Body

posted January 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm


Thank you for this article. It helped me get a different perspective on things, and not just about what happened in Haiti. My father has been diagnosed with a debilitating illness, and I can apply many parts of this article to that situation as well. It helps me to remember that I too am part of the body of Christ, and so it is my responsibility to minister and serve wherever it is needed – whether in Haiti or at home.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm


let us not be judgemental. God send the rain for the just and the unjust. some countries timeof disaster are not yet! do you remember the tsunami or what happened in new orleans not so long ago? let us pray one for another and not be like the highminded pharisees.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm


I do not have the answer and do not jump to the conclusion that all that happened here is soley because of the witchcraft and idolatry going on in Hait. I agree with the assessment of this article, but I do not remove all responsibility from the people either. This is complex and only God knows exactly why this devastation happened to this nation. But, I do not see anywhere in scripture where it says God does not judge the nations and I cite the story of Jonah and the books of Prophets that speak of the judgements against the nations. In all this, let us remember our own nation has its own offenses against God. The rain is considered a blessing and for the sake of the righteous, the rain falls on all, righteous and wicked. May repentence and revival break out in Haiti like a wildfire. May the people of God pray and believe Him for the salvation of this whole nation.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm


Our prayers and deepest concerns are with you all in haiti. some
times we as people take so much for granted, and we don’t apperciate
life. look at these people who diaster has surrounded and who probably
appreciate life more than we do. what can we do as humane to make our would a better place. what can we do to lift up our brothers and sisters in the this time of need? I will tell you what we can do is believe in jesus and that he died for our sins so that we can have eternal life in heaven. Last but not least lets start encourage one another to help, donate, and pray, pray, pray ,These are our people too. Lets Help Saved OUR PEOPLE . We Love You Haiti.



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GOD'S SON!

posted January 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm


WHEN I HEARD THIS NEWS, IT BROKE MY HEART TO SEE SO MANY PEOPLE AND CHILDRENS SUFFERING, BUT LIKE THE BIBLE SAY’S THEY’RE WILL BE WORST THINGS THEN THIS IN THE LAST DAY’S. THIS IS ARE SIGN’S FROM GOD SO WE COULD GET MORE CLOSE TO HIM. WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THIS COUNTRY, IF WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY THE PRAYERS MAKES A LOT OF DIFFERENCE, TOGETHER WE COULD MAKE IT HAPPEN. WE HAVE TO BE READY FOR THIS THINGS. IT COULD HAPPEN ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES OR ANY COUNTRY, ONLY THE LORD KNOWS. THAT’S WHY WE HAVE TO BE READY.



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frgough

posted January 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm


“As a non-Christian I respect those who believe but it is pretty hard to accept the idea of a benevolant God when something this horrific has happened. ”
So, you are instead comforted by your belief that all this death and suffering was utterly pointless and without meaning.



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Chaplain Leigha - Cert. Critical Incident/Disaster

posted January 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm


Greetings –
Where was God? He is in the same place that He will be when a great ‘quake’ or ‘flood’ hits an area of the US.
Professional clergy come under fire, when we attribute ‘life events’ to the work of God. There were several variables related to 9-11, Katrina, BeiJing, and now Haiti. We sit on plates, and they are subject to violent movement and the devastation that results therein.
Our job is to meet and greet all of the shaken victims with the love of the Lord. To bring the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by our shared love and compassion. We mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice, pray with and for those who are lost and trust that John3:16-17 are true, that He so loves us, He gave His Son that none should perish!
Thus, we offer that hope, love, joy and peace.. We don’t lament over the lost, I seen God work, He is intentional – He won’t cut off the lights unless we do! – and even then He is faithful.
PLEASE LOCAL PASTORS STOP with the aspersions and DOOMSDAY – I believe in the prophetic and that the Word of God is TRUE Genesis to Revelations – but there but for the grace of God we could have been born or present at any of these calamities.
Please help us reveal Christ, by not condemning the victims of tragedy. Exalt Christ, that he might draw all men unto Himself. His Word declares, let your light so shine among men, that they might see YOUR GOOD WORKS, and GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN(Mt. 5:16)!
In His Love and Service Always,
(Rev. Dr.) Leigh K
Chaplain Capt. USAF, Aux.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm


WHATEVER KIND OF CHARITY WE CAN EXTEND TO THE VICTIMS IN HAITI,GOD WILL BLESS THE WORKS OF EACH HANDS DOING GOOD AND THOSE CHEERFUL GIVER GOD BLESS EVERYONE PARTAKING THESE ACTS OF GOODNESS.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm


I WILL SAY MY PRAYER RIGHT NOW FOR THE VICTIMS.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm


To Ben Witherington.
At some point, don’t you think the answer to huge questions should amount to more than just “Ingnorance is Bliss”.



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Dionnette Swinney

posted January 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm


It is unfortunate that so many-purposely and declaritvely renounce being a Christian when its translation is [to be] “Christ-like” To do GOOD! TO LOVE! TO COMFORT… Why would you pounce on and against that? Our finite minds cannot perceive and decipher all of the mysteries of GOD…There is something left to the imagination so that you will seek GOD through the WORD- asking, begging to understand. Some things may be revealed to us, some things may not. But Seek to understand. It is that very Benevolent GOD that bestows MERCY and GRACE upon us by waking us every day ..It is more of a catastrophe that people don’t want to set aside time to commune with GOD, whether in a church or in their private lives- not realizing that it is GOD who owns ALL of it, down to the nanosecond. So uhmm, you might note that: GOD can take the time, the breath, even the very thought that you THOUGHT you possessed whenever HE gets ready. BELIEVE that.



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Ann

posted January 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm


I pray for them. I do not question what has happened. I find more answers than questions. Since the disaster I have not received one letter from Haiti claiming they are some bank or king and need my name address and number to cash a check. The sins of a few can cause the torment of many. I’m quite sure that’s not the only scam ran in Africa. If you notice when God is in the heart of many less happens in that area. In Biblical times all were introduced to the word of God and a chance to believe in something so powerful, but unseen. Now the governments have cut off the word of God in public places (In America too) and a lot of other new religions worshiping animals people and idols have immersed. It’s only going to get worse. I pray for them, but I am not in shock at all, because it could happen anywhere. Pray to who is not seen(God), believe what is written(Bible), and be of good service(To People) I’m quite sure the father who lost his wife and his child on New Years said “OH GOD!” when the monitor straight lined and that’s what started their hearts back to beating, but they didn’t say it in the papers or online, because of laws protecting atheist. If we are ashamed of God he will soon become ashamed of us and we will be no more.



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duke adderley

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm


God almighty thank you for being there while Haiti is in chaos AND DESTITUTE FOR ASSITANCE AND RESTORATION,AS YOU ARE EVRYWHERE.REVEAL YOURSELF .REVEAL YOUR GLORY THAT ALL MAY BE PERSONALLY AWARE.BLESS WITH PROVISIONS,BLESS WITH WITH SALVATION ,YES LET YOUR HEALING POUR DOWN ON THEM SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY,PHYSICALLY ,FINANCIALLY AND SOCIALLY .IN JESUS NAME FOR YOUR GLORY.
AMEN.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm


Is there a place for judgment of rebellion in your religion, tradition or understanding of a just God that will share His Glory with none other? Voodoo, witchcraft, sorcery; are they not all very prevalent in the religion of the Haitians? If God does not punish rebellion then He denies Himself of being just, true and righteous as the Bible clearly states. In a secular account of God’s judgment through earthquakes (as stated on the History Channel program Apocalypse) spoke of God judging more with the quaking of the earth than any other type of action. Do you not know of Korah’s rebellion in Numbers and spoke of in Jude? God is a God of huge amounts of grace and patience but over and over again there is a time of God’s move and most often it is dramatically counter to our “carnival land Christianity”. If there was any question why was the outpouring of wrath against the spotless Lamb necessary; in is such a horrid and brutal way. I think we need to have compassion on the human suffering but definitely give place to God’s actions/judgment against rebellion and sinfulness.



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Elena

posted January 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm


You made so good points although it is regrettable that you felt the need to get political. My Christian faith is everything to me, and I strongly disagree with your views on our “military adventures in the Middle East.” There is a very real struggle going on between good and evil in our world today. There are many set on not only destroying us as a nation, but on destroying the Christian faith as well. While I wish we lived in a world where everybody loved each other, the fact is that we don’t. We have to wait for heaven for that. Satan is the lord of this earth and sin and evil and hatred are very real.
Sometimes war is necessary. It was true in biblical times, it was true in WWII, and it is true today. A country’s first duty is to protect its people and its freedoms. To say that we could have used that money to rebuild Haiti is very naive for several reasons. One, we need to protect our country and the promise of freedom it holds for us and the world. Fighting a war with terrorists is a different kind of war and borders don’t mean anything to them. Two, our country is so incredibly over-indebted that our economy is in real danger of imminent collapse. As a country we should follow biblical financial principles and not spend money we don’t have. Not only Haiti, but countries all around the world need and are deserving of our support, but our government doesn’t have the resources to be all things to all peoples. If our economy collapses we can help no one, not even ourselves.
In Haiti a huge disaster has happened and it is right that we come to their aid at this time. And as Christians we are called upon to help others however we can, individually and in groups, and also to spread the message of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.



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undefined

posted January 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm


Good Evening,
I believe the only answer for disaters that happen in this world is the work of the devil !! All bad things come from the devil,and good things come from “GOD”. He is a loving “GOD”,and had nothing to do with the earthquake in Haiti.
Yours-In-Christ,Ms.Marie.K.Lally,
The Scooterlady,Pinellas Park,Florida 33781(Tampabay Area).



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nitewing

posted January 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm


Thank you. Everyone always likes to pass the buck to God. We must face the fact that alot of the ills in the world are caused by us. But as the originator of this post said Where is God? He is with all the people that are helping Haiti. Natural disasters such as Earthquakes and Tornados are going to happen. We cannot prevent it. But we can be there to help and it is with God’s hands that there are people there to help. Bless the writer of this post.



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Roxanne

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm


Elena–your piece was very well written. The Bible says there will be more disasters at the end of time. I believe we are very close.
God does NOT bring diasters, but He does allow them. He is in control. Any trial is test to see if we will turn to God or away from Him. If we will praise Him in times of trouble or curse Him as Job’s wife urged him to do. With the Witchcraft and such in Haiti, it may be that God was sending a message. We don’t have the right to judge. But God makes it clear in the Bible that such outright rebellion is wrong and history is clear that He has punished such behavior before. There is an old song that goes, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me…………” God has already done the judging so we don’t have to. He just expects us to help those in need by showing His love.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm


God was in the same place they left Him



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Porter

posted January 16, 2010 at 12:51 am


What a surprise, a liberal “Christian” commentator has trouble rightly dividing the Word. First of all, the scripture he mentions in Luke are actually verses 13:4-5. The question is asked of the Lord in verse 4, and His answer is in verse 5. Mr. Witherington failed to include the Lord’s entire answer in verse 5 – “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Repenting and being judged for your deeds are topics famously avoided by liberals. Mr. Witherington also seems to enjoy denigrating fundamentalists that might bring up that this island is famous for voodoo rituals, as if judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah never happened. To blame this quake on simply a force of nature, and mere coincidence that Haiti has suffered a lot of “natural disasters” in it’s past, is denying God has any interest in the course of human events. Does He not know the number of hairs on your head, or that a sparrow has fallen to the ground? Does the Lord not allow for trials of various sorts? When I first opened my Bible after the disaster, I happened to open to Job Chapter 9, verses 4-6 “God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? 5 He removes the mountains, and they do not know When He overturns them in His anger; 6 He shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble;” The Lord God is still in control. Wise up Mr. Witherington! We do know more, and can rightly say, if we rightly divide the Word. God is not mocked Mr. Witherington! I urge you to preach the whole counsel of God, not slicing up verses to keep from upsetting certain liberal sensibilities. I agree with Elena fighting terrorism in the Middle East has nothing to do with this disaster. The U.S. has dumped millions if not billions into trying to clean up that perpetual nest of corruption in Haiti to no avail. Porter +++



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Scott

posted January 16, 2010 at 1:29 am


It’s just random chance. The power that set the world in motion, God if you want to call it that, is completely indifferent and does not love us, hate us, or for that matter care about us any more than we care about ants crawling around in a garden, or bacteria crawling around in the dirt. He/she/it just sits back and watches. Do you honestly think that humans, who have been around for just a small speck of time in the vast existence of the universe, are really so important that an all powerful entity would even give us the time of day?



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Shirli

posted January 16, 2010 at 6:15 am


Scott, I am totally sorry that you do not believe that God cares for us. He cares so much that He sent His son to make a way of eternal life and restoration from this chaos. He is intimately involved in the lives of those of us who know Him and trust Him through His Son Yeshua of Nazareth. He is holy and righteous and true and cannot let sin go unjudged, but He is quick to forgive and eager to restore wholeness. He is merciful and loving and I pray you will come to know Yeshua that you might know the Father, Our God and King. He is watching and waiting for you to receive the Truth of His great love for you. Ask Him with a sincere heart to reveal Himself and He will do it for you.



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Your Name

posted January 16, 2010 at 6:42 am


That is very true. God is always with us, let us continue to help one another. =)



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robin in nj

posted January 16, 2010 at 10:12 am


God’s rain and mercy is on the just and unjust…the real question is..Where were we when Haiti has suffered for so many years…we are our brothers keepers. If “Developed Nations” would help the less developed, maybe when things like this happen it won’t be so devastating. We have left Haiti a long time ago. The indifference of the world has been harsh. Maybe this happened so we would help them rebuild their nation. Too many countries have too much, and others have nothing. Surely God doesnt mean for the world to be this way.



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David

posted January 16, 2010 at 10:27 am


Isaiah 29:6
You will be punished by the LORD of hosts
With thunder and earthquake and great noise,
With storm and tempest
And the flame of devouring fire.
Revelation 14:7 “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
God is Sovereign….. yes, I agree that we should come to the aid of people, but not to recognize and acknowledge that God uses “natural disasters” for His purpose, judgment and warning is just plain wrong.



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Your Name

posted January 16, 2010 at 10:52 am


We can contemplate the meaning of a natural disaster, but the Creator, blessed is He, only knows the true nature of events in our lives. I would sooner put my faith in an omnicient, omnipotent Creator, than totally impotent “random chance.”
Prayer doesn’t change our outer world, it changes US



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Your Name

posted January 16, 2010 at 10:54 am


I want to thank you for telling the true, I will pass it on.
Doretha Killebrew
Agapewomen Ministry
http://www.agapewomen.com



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Dina

posted January 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm


We must understand that if we decide to go our own way, we must not blame no one for the negatives outcomes of life. It is our nature to do whatever we want but there is a price to pay sooner or later. When the Lord is the center of our lives, any nature of disaster teach us a lesson for good and brings a message to turn oround to the rigth path by our own goodwill to obey and praise the only one true God. Simple as that.”PRAISE AND SERVE JUST TO THE ONE GOD ALMIGHTY, JEHOVA”



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jpmaurice

posted January 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm


No disrespect intended
But all the afoementioned sounds like a whole bunch of stank Bull, horse pucky- just stupid.
Let’s just start with : God created Satan- and then turn’em loose- knowing full well what satan would do- ( I think that this is a refelection of the character of anybody that did it ( especially God))
About Haiti?! All the poor and poor children- I don’t think this speaks well of God and the Gospel at all in fact in makes me feel ashamed and stupid to be a believing Christian. Then I thought, maybe it’s so Haiti gets the attention and sustained help they really need which they mat not have otherwise would recieved? I don’t know, but what you said sounded like a whole bunch of crap to me I found it even ofensive it made Jesus look like a lier and that if there is a God, he didn’t/don’t care anyway.But then how do we explain the rescue effort and all the concern-Ay but theres the ire. Pray my friends, pray that there is a God, and this God cares and that the Holy bible are his inspired words, and that faith is rewarded.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen?



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Lynn

posted January 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm


This is not judgement on the people of Haiti. This is to see the hearts of the people of the world.



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Ricardo

posted January 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm


If we understand the fundamentals of Christianity and the ultimate death of Christ on the Cross, we will understand that God gave his only begotten Son so that sins will be forgiven. This was the pact God made to redeem humans from the sins of Adam and Eve.
It proves that God does sacrifice the people He loves so that future generations would benefit from their sacrifices. If the earthquake didn’t happen in Haiti, in the long run there would have been greater tragedies as the line of poverty extended in Haiti. Haiti was totally ignored before the earthquake, but now there is a massive effort to rebuild Haiti and give the people of Haiti a future that they one day would be proud of.



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Rev. Amy Queen

posted January 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm


True, I’m so glad to hear someone else teaching the fact that there are other actors in this world involved in the cause of many things. God does not bring direct punishment on people because of thier moral standing. If this were true we would all be killed immediately and life would cease. The Bible says “all sin and fall short of the grace of God.” In God’s grand design there are constants, controls in the game of life if you will. These will work to teach us what we need to learn by what choices we make. It is by our own direction that we often experience difficult learning in order to grow. In some instances there may be natural or supernatural beings who may have made a wrong turn in the game and through use of thier own free will caused disasters to many. This can be hard but in it there can be growth opportunities for many. Focus on the positive and how we can help each other. This way we can grow.



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Joe2011

posted January 17, 2010 at 11:41 am


Of course God caused the earthquake in Haiti. Just as He will soon cause the entire world to quake as He pours out His wrath at the end of time.
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
It is pure foolishness to believe that anything happens outside the will of God.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:



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Your Name

posted January 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm


GOD always works in mysterious ways,sometimes it’s hard to beleive HIS reasons for letting certain things happen.He calls many to the Heavenly home becuase it’s always been part of HIS plan and Haiti being a poor forgotten nation in a sense by others from around the world will now have the attention it so badly needed by all of us.”.GOD works in MYsterious ways”



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Esther

posted January 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm


where was God? He,was looking after you.Thank Him for that, just like he doing right now.And pray for those in Haiti.I used to feel bad for someone,who would die.But now I feel bad for me who is steel here,seeing all the bad around the world. what happen. are kid’s can’t go out and play.Cause someone might take them.So just thank God everyday.That you can,Cause he looking after you and me, this is what I See



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Brian Simon

posted January 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm


I believe that there is nothing that goes on that God doesn’t know about. He is the eternal Creator of the universe. Nothing happens by chance or happenstance. Everything that happens has been predestined before the foundation of the world. Some may ask why did God allow all of the devastation and lost lives to occur in Haiti. With our finite minds, it is impossible to try to figure out why God does things. I have learned to go to the Bible to better understand the will and purpose of God. Let’s take the story of Job for example. Job was an upright man who walked with God. He was a prosperous man who took care of his family. The devil asked permission to attack him. God said “Have you considered my servant Job.” The devil said,”I would but you have a hedge of protection all around him.” So then God removed the hedge of protection. God allowed the disaster to transpire in Job’s life but the ultimate purpose was to show forth his glory and to make his presence known in the earth. I submit to you today that the reason for the destruction of Haiti is to show forth His power in the earth. God has the master plan and our job as Christians is to pray for those in Haiti. God is an omnipotent and omniscient God.



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John M.

posted January 18, 2010 at 5:33 am


Mr. Porter, Dr. Witherington is anything but liberal as a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. It is neither a liberal seminary nor a fundamentalist seminary, but it does teach people to rightly divide the Word of God using an inductive Bible study method instead of deductive proof texting.
To say that God directly caused that earthquake is the same as saying that God caused that troubled student to kill several innocent people. The young man chose to do what he did. Neither God nor the devil made him do it.
I lost some good Christian friends in that earthquake who were down there trying to see what else the United Methodist Council on Emergency Relief could do for those people who had already been through much with a hurricane.
If you hold, Mr. Porter, which I gather you do, that God caused this earthquake as an act of judgment against the people of Haiti, then both Christians who were already there were in the way of God’s will and those who are there now are in the way of God’s will, all of which is both not biblical and absurd, sir.



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Bob Roberson

posted January 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm


Yes, God knows all that happens but He does not cause all that happens. He may allow things to occur but He does not engineer everything that occurs. Bad things happen because we live in a world in which there is sin. Evil abounds because we humans refuse to stay in God’s perfect will. The earthquake in Haiti did not happen because the Haitians are bad people. Otherwise, why did the “non-bad” people suffer, too? The earthquake happened because a fault inside the earth shifted. We are given the opportunity to do good works. Here is such an opportunity.



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Jeff

posted January 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm


This was an interesting article. Some points I enjoyed, others not as much. I think what gets me the most about situations and disasters like this is that if we cannot blame god for those that we lost, then why should we thank him for those that we didn’t? If he didn’t have his hand in the event, then why thank him that you survived? It also seems a bit callus on the part of the survivor to be thanking god for allowing them to keep living while there’s 50-100K people that god did not apparently, seemingly according to the person thanking god, think they should live.



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Your Name

posted January 18, 2010 at 7:51 pm


How can anyone believe in an all-powerful, merciful God after what has happened in Haiti?
Either He’s all-powerful but not merciful, or He’s meciful but not all-powerful. The third (and more likely) alternative is that He doesn’t exist.
Theodicy can (just about) explain and justify God’s failure to intervene to prevent man-made evil like the Nazi holocaust on grounds of man’s “free will”: but what possible justification (assuming you’re not a fundamentalist idiot like Pat Robertson) can be used to explain a natural disaster and the human suffering of innocents as has happenened in Haiti?



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Porter

posted January 19, 2010 at 11:07 am


John,
You overlooked or simply ignored as I pointed out that Mr. Witherington did not quote the entirety of verse 5. Why do suppose that is? Because that would be unpalatable to those that don’t want to believe in the judgment of God and the necessity for the large majority to repent. As I said before – “Repenting and being judged for your deeds are topics famously avoided by liberals.” I think the proof of his leanings are in his commentary, especially the reference to Mid-East, which has nothing to do with Haiti. We’ve dumped tons of money into Haiti in the past, with precious little positive impact. Do you suppose God simply winks at a nation that is rife with the practice of voodoo and witchcraft? I don’t. If you don’t believe in God’s wrath, then why should we warn people of the wrath to come? If you don’t believe in God’s wrath, then why do we need a savior? It’s really a question of whether you believe in the entirety of the inspired Word of God or not? If not, then you probably fall into the category of what is often referred to as a cafeteria style Christian. You pick the parts you like, and skip the parts you don’t. Regarding what is absurd sir, it is your attacking me without any Biblical foundation to your argument.
I hope you come to grasp what the true meaning of the gospel (good news), which is to be saved from the judgment of God, and the wrath to come.
Porter
+++



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Lucinda

posted January 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm


Anyone that studies the word of God knows that satin is ruleing the world at this time and it will end when our Lord comes all signs are pointing to it will be soon!!



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Your Name

posted January 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm


First, let me state that I believe that God is all-knowing and all-powerful so that you understand my perspective.
I believe that when God created the world (intentionally, I don’t believe he just allowed it to happen but it still means he’s in charge)he designed the Earth’s rotation which set environmental issues in motion which continue today. Did Haitians spring up from the carribean mountains? No. He gave man freedom of movement who in their freedom forced others onto the island where an earthquake was scheduled for 2010. Don’t like that explanation? Try this one:
God allowed the earthquake to happen there because he feels the people have remained faithful through hell on earth and would be just the catalyst to show, through their renewal, how powerful He is and how rewarding our lives can become by being a part of His rebuilding of that nation. Need another option? How about this:
Haitians were sacrificed because the nations who were given plenty did not share well with a giving heart wanting nothing in return. We ignored them (the way aid was given in the past was apparently not quite in line with God’s plan) so God made us see them, and watch them die, and survive , and prayerfully thrive.
Any way that’s how I see it. Any of the above will do because the answer is in his word. He has called us to serve not villify. Stop analyzing and get to work.



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sandy

posted January 21, 2010 at 12:49 am


no argument on where was god or is there a god, from a biological standpoint, it is a tough pill to swollow…the earth, nature, god, what ever you want to call it, cleans house when there is an overload..
be it the tectonic plates, high density populations (diseases) or other factors like genetics..
when ever there needs to be a balance made, nature does the work…to put things back into balance..
we step in and change things with medicine, or with building standards, or with other ways to keep the weak or sick alive and it really is us playing god in that case…



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John M.

posted January 22, 2010 at 1:58 am


Luke 13:1-5
1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
In the beginning of this passage, Jesus asks a question about two different disasters. In each case, verse 2 and verse 4, Jesus asks if those who died were worse sinners than the people who did not.
Jesus answers that question about each group with a “no” in verse 3 and verse 5.
The fact that this question is repeated twice and the answer is repeated twice, and the warning about perishing unless we repent should grab our attention and lead us to ask why this repetition?
Repeating something is a means of saying this is very important.
What is Jesus trying to communicate by asking the same question about these two historical illustrations?
Jesus wants to address a common attitude among people that those who suffer must be worst sinners than those who don’t. Repeating it, gets his listeners attention and prepares them for his answer.
What is Jesus saying by his answer ‘no’ in verse 3 and 5.
Jesus is saying that disasters like those two historical events do not happen to some people and not to others because one group is less sinful than others.
Why does Jesus repeat his answer no in and what is being said by this answer?
Because he wants to drive his point home that these two historical disasters did not take place because one group was more sinful than the other group.
How does it tie into what follows in the end of verses 3 and 5?
It ties in by saying that we are all sinful and while some have already died in a disaster and their judgment is final, there is some time for others to repent for we never know when a disaster might take our lives and we must be ready for our final judgment.
What does the end of verse 3 and 5 mean?
People are going to face judgment before God after death and no one is going to escape dying. He is using the two historical events of tragic deaths as a means of warning people of facing death without repentance.
How do these questions and Jesus answer about the two historical event apply to us today?
They tell us that the people who died in Haiti, the Indonesians who suffered their fate from the tsunami, those who lost their lives as a result of hurricane Katrina and other victims of such disasters are not worse sinners than others which makes us the good people.
They tell us that these disasters did not take place because somehow these people were not as good as other people.
How does his repeated statement about ‘unless you repent, you will likewise perish” apply to us today?
Unless we hear God’s mega phone calling for our attention in these disasters and repent, death will take us by surprise one day also, and if we have not repented we will die also but the death we will face will be more painful than just physical death.
The point Dr.Witherington is making in his article has to do with Jesus’ two questions and his repeated no that these terrible events did not happen because they were worst sinners. That’s all his article is really seeking to make a point about while people who read too fast rush to “unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
He’s not doing a bible study or a sermon or an article on the entire passage. He is purposefully focusing in a very valid way on the one part that deals with where is God in a natural disaster and did it take place because those people were worst sinners. The answer is no, because each of us deserve the judgment of God and by his grace the living are given a chance to repent before they die.
However, his point is about was God judging these people because they were worst sinners than other people. His article is based on this part of the whole the whole passage which is valid for he is dealing with those two questions.



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Porter

posted January 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm


One thing needs to be recognized, which many use to discount God had any hand in allowing this, or that there even is a God, because of all the innocents that perished or are suffering. This is ignorance of the Word by semi-believers, or totally dismissing it by the non-believers. The Word says “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10. There were many there to help not counted among the cultists practicing voodoo and witchcraft. However, were they totally innocent, and their motives totally pure? We don’t know why many survived, and many did not. That is only for Him to know. However, as far as saying this was not a sign from God, or to discount the coincidence of this incidence occurring in Haiti or the event in New Orleans another known area where voodoo was practiced (among other things going on in the “Big Easy”), and the tsunami in Indonesia an area not known as a bastion of Judaeo-Christian values, is once again discounting what we learn about the nature of God from the Word. So, yes brother John, Jesus was pointing out that those that experienced tragedy weren’t necessarily anymore sinful than everyone else, but the part of the verse ignored by Mr. Witherington, and apparently discounted by you, was not a trifling aside. That was the essential part of the lesson, and was repeated as you showed. Tragedy can happen at any time be prepared. Repent, seek the Lord, and put Him first in your life. According to Mr. Witherington our response is to go and help, which it always is, and Hollywood agrees along with the media, the government, and all sorts of secular relief agencies. Mr. Witherington left off the part that the Lord emphasized, which is fine with the world (media, etc.), because that would be Biblical, and offensive. So your defense of Mr. Witherington’s article doesn’t hold water with me. Anybody can give out a cup of water, but to do it in His name, that’s what makes all the difference. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” Mark 9:41. Porter +++



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J. Marshall

posted January 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm


Mr. Porter,
I’ve tried my best to show you the exegetical basis for this.
I was not discounting the application and climax of that whole paragraph which is repent or you will likewise perish. I noticed that you totally left out my own hermenuetical work and application of that which Dr. Witherington does not deal with As someone who knows him, I can tell you he does not discount the biblical teach about God’s judgment which is the issues that concerns you the most.
Sir, you make some blatant assumptions about Dr. Witherington.
I would strongly suggest that when you decide to critique something written by a person that you Google their name so you can learn about their education, where they work, what they have written and on what basis can they have any business writing on that subject. In other words, had you done your homework on Dr. Witherington, I don’t believe you would have been able to support your wrong assumptions.
I also notice your total lack of respect of addressing someone who even though you don’t agree with the Bible does call us to treat everyone with respect such as calling Dr. Witherington by his professional title as a professor with PhD and who is a noted NT scholar who has written books against ideas which we would both be against such as “The Jesus’ Seminar” and “The Ds Vinci Code”, i.e.
The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth
The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci
About all I hear in your response are memorized talking points, but not actually having thought through all that I wrote.
I fear that somehow you think that you are less of a sinner than the people killed and hurt by the various disasters that I listed. I suggest that you must repent of this attitude for none of us, including yourself know when we may be killed or badly injured by such a disaster at sometime in our lives which is true of anyone.
I can’t believe how stuck that you are on judgment and liberalism that you can’t see beyond your judgmental attitude.
Also, sir, you make many assumptions about me that are downright false. I’ve attempted twice to respond and now for a third time. If at this point you still don’t get it, then biblically speaking I am not going to write anymore.
Plus, I’m only trying to explain, but not defend Dr. Witherington for he can defend himself if he so chooses.



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Porter

posted January 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm


Ok, I’ll concede I don’t know Dr. Witherington, and I don’t normally post in this forum. I did refer to the good Dr. as Mr., because I find that those that get accustomed to titles wind up with a certain affectation as a result. As you know, the Lord did not choose any of the scholars of His day to spread the good news as one of His disciples. As a street preacher for many years, floating in and out of many denominational settings, I find that the Word speaks for itself without the need particularly for any hermeneutical or exegetical gymnastics. I also find that those making a career out of theological pursuits have a tendency to get lost in the weeds, not seeing the forest for the trees, thus getting off mission.
I also concede that Dr. Witherington is no where near being as liberal as those in the Jesus Seminar, or the like. However, I’m sure he would feel comfortable in practically any Methodist church, or even the PCUSA or the Episcopal church for that matter. Of course, as the Lord said, “for he that is not against us is for us.”, so no point in wasting time criticizing them. Anyway, originally, I simply pointed out where I thought Dr. Witherington erred. It seems to me, as far as you’re concerned the learned Dr. Witherington can do no wrong. I beg to differ.
In closing, be blessed, and always remember to share the hope that you have.
Porter
+++



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Ingerbore

posted January 23, 2010 at 8:21 am


All I have to say is I don’t understand why Christians are asking this question. Jesus told his disciples that in the last days there will be earthquakes in divers places….he gave them many signs. These things have occurred throughout time, but seem to be getting worse, we as Christians need not ask the questions Where was God in Haiti? He was there as you can see by the daily miracles, children/people being pulled out of the rubble after days of lying under heavy concrete and coming out with praises to God on their lips and child being saves with hands raise thanking God, a woman singing after while being pulled out from the rubble….God is there in Haiti.
Why do Christians forget that Satan is the ruler of this world and it is he that is causing and influencing Humans to do his will and THAT my friends is the primary answer to one’s questions about disasters (Satan and Humans). Read your Bible, really read it and not just your favorite, or your demoninations’ or Pastor’s favorite scriptures.
Pray for understanding as you read, you may have to re-evaluate what you believe. Just read the Bible and stop trying to put something on the word. Remember children listed to Jesus and so did the learned and the unlearned and they understood what he said without all the books and interpretations.



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J. Marshall

posted January 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm


Mr. Porter,
I’m glad that we could conclude our exegetical dialogue on a positive note. I will say that while I think Dr. Witherington does well at many points, he tends to be a bit softer on the book, The Shack, than I am.
And yes, he does not go as far into the passage as you’d like him to go.
What some consider exegetical gymnastics, others consider following the laws of grammar and of literature. Many read far to quickly and it is often due to poor hasty reading or a weakness in reading ability that creates many errors. I’m not saying that of you at all. I’m speaking more in geralities and that’s why I suggest people read a valid Translation of the Bible which is on their reading level.
Of the original 12 chosen by Jesus as his disciples none were scholars indeed. I sometimes wonder if the Apostle John might of had a bit more means than the others.
Jesus did call Paul, a man educated by one of the greatest teachers of his day, as an apostle and inspired him to write a grand majority of the books in the NT.
Sometimes, I think conservatives equate little education with spiritual purity and education with liberalism and spiritual unfaithfulness. Now there are examples of them, but I also think God called us to love him with all of our mind as well, so if one can get advanced education and be faithful to God they should not for their own benefit but for the benefit of others in Christ’s name and ministry. The basic message of the Bible is as clear and simple for a child to grasp but also deep and intellectually challenging to keep the greatest minds busy for a lifetime, for example Martin Luther and John Wesley. I just mention this in passing and not as something to dig into.
We indeed need to keep scripture primary above commentaries, sermons, etc, while also not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Have a great day and be blessed as well.



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Larry pate

posted January 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm


GOD was in Haiti when the earthquake came. and when the aftershocks came; and GOD is there right now. GOD has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. We cannot judge them, we can only quote how GOD feels about it. it is my prayer that the world will finally be awakened by this event and make their calling and election sure. no one knows the day or the hour of our Lord’s return. However, much of the reporting and opinion gathering on this event is , in my opinion , pointless. the should not be seen as entertainment. This should also not be seen as an opportunity to gain or become an influence in the middle of a lost people(I speak of the USA and not Haiti). this should move us back to our knees and to our bibles and to seek an opportunity to judge ourselves that we not be judged. Peace in Jesus Christ forever.
Larry pate



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edwin salazar

posted February 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm


Los que creemos en Dios buscamos respuestas en la Biblia, y por supuesto que las hallé, Primero Dios existe, sino que alguien demuestre lo contrario, ¿Se puede acaso demostrar que Dios no existe?. Segundo si Dios existe ¿entonces por que tanta miseria?, la respuesta sería Dios actúa con bendición o castigo, de acuerdo a su justicia, pues es obvio así como hay felicidad hay tristeza, nadie tampoco puede negarlo. ¿Pero por que tiene que ser así?
La Biblia dice que primero creo Dios los cielos lo que implica también creo los ángeles, pero un grupo de ellos se rebeló contra el orden divino y fueron expulsados del cielo. En el paraíso de Adán y Eva se dio una ley de Dios, ellos se rebelaron también, de esta manera el hombre se pone a favor de la rebelión, tanto ángeles caídos como los hombres en pecado originan todo los males de nuestra vida. ¿Pero por que Dios deja suceder todo esto?, Dios le dio un tiempo limitado tanto a los ángeles caídos como a los hombres pecadores para demostrar que su rebelión tiene razón de ser, es decir si ello conllevará a tener un mundo mejor que el creado por Dios, sin necesidad de la ley de Dios, Nadie puede negar que eso es falso por que en el mundo en que vivimos hay tanta miseria, sino por que la pregunta de la premisa de esta página web. Según la ley de Dios dice que todo el que pecare morirá, por lo tanto todos los rebeldes serían sometidos a muerte. ¿Entonces donde está el amor de Dios?
El amor de Dios lo trae el evangelio que significa “buenas nuevas” y lo trajo el señor Jesucristo quien dijo: “Arrepentios por que la salvación ha llegado”, “Mi padre me dio la potestad de perdonar pecados”. Si buscamos a Dios en la muerte, busquémoslo para la vida, Jesús dijo: “ El que cree en mí aunque muera, vivirá”. El tiempo de la rebeldes terminará con la segunda venida de Cristo, lo que en Apocalipsis enseña es a un Jesús guerrero con espada y juicio contra los rebeldes, pero también premiará a sus seguidores con la resurrección para la vida eterna. Es una vida donde ya no hay cuestionamientos a la ley de Dios por que quedará demostrado por la propia historia, ¿En que tiempo hay felicidad en nuestros tiempos o cuando Dios tenga todo bajo control?, entonces ya nadie podrá cuestionar la ley de Dios.



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Mario Herrera

posted February 19, 2010 at 11:56 am


Even if we had enough wisdom given by The Lord, we would not be able to respond what happened in Haiti. Why The Lord was not present in a preventive manner to protect these people from earthquakes before any construction was carried out? Or Why these people or ourselves claim God after we have done everything wrong by our own decisions or efforts? Why The Lord does not protect us all, good and evil, from disaster or disease?
First of all, we never take The lord into account before starting any journey; but we want to blame him for the results afterwards.
We have to remember humankind responsibility for sin, and the curse from Eden about death, which included living in a vulnerable world too. A world that we have made even more vulnerable being greedy. Just look at the green house effect, among many others damage on the ecosystem being caused by us. We tend to blame someone else. Like Adan blamed Eve and translated the responsibility to God because he created and gave her to him. We have not changed very much.
We have to understand life is not easy for most of us, whether rich or poor, from first world or underdeveloped community. But one thing we know all Christians, that our Lord Jesus is the Savior, the author of life and faith, and only coming unto him we can find the real answer for everything that happens in our sorroundings. We want to be led the right way? There is only one way, one thruth and one life: Jesus Christ our Lord
He has promised abundant life but many of us have chosen not to beleive. It will always be matter of faith. Even if we do not understand or we do not want to see God. He is in Haiti waiting for you and me to help the poor, and the needy for his word and good news.
What happened in Haiti is a wake-up call for many Crhristians, and a chance for those of us still alive. Remember, No one is safe in this world. Coming into Jesus now before death or disaster reaches us around the corner and before is to late to mourn our own disasters, is the best decision we make now.
God Bless you all and mostly those who preach his word and good news.



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Frederic Maldonado

posted June 14, 2010 at 8:23 am


Really awesome article. Honest.



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Everett

posted November 1, 2010 at 9:21 pm


Who do you think sent it in the first place?



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