If you checked Focus on the Family’s website a few weeks ago you would have found a video with a call for prayer. This was a prayer request that a torrential rain storm would drown out Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, at his rally at Invesco Field in Denver. Once the media got a hold of this, pressure mounted, and Focus on the Family apologetically withdrew the video. Ok, so we all make mistakes. I suppose even those who believe that such a prayer would be God’s will realize how ridiculous this looked. The person who produced the video stated that he believed God would show His divine disfavor towards Obama, by a torrential downpour beginning the very minute the program started. Of course, this would only happen if born-again believers prayed hard enough.
Now let me get this straight. A large number of born-again people are to let God know that He is supposed to send rain at a specific time in Denver, CO. And not just rain, but a storm of such devastating proportions that all would know, “this was God.”
Was the person behind this prayer call an extremist? Yes, but regrettably he represents an all to common extremism. Sending torrential rains on a political candidate? What about tsunamis, earthquakes, or assassinations? Are these divine activities?
A few months ago a video was on the news where Pastor John Hagee suggested that God was behind Hitler and the holocaust in order to accomplish His prophetic purposes. These are flimsy, twisted, grotesque and embarrassing interpretations of Scripture (more about this another time).
It is time for the evangelical community to draw a line in the sand and totally reject this kind of reasoning. This is an awful and derogatory representation of Christianity and the Gospel. Is this what we are about? Requesting that God cause misfortune to those who we may not agree with?
One pentecostal Christian in Florida told me God was allowing McCain to win the U.S. Election and that the Baptist preacher, Mike Huckabee, would be the Vice President. God would then orchestrate the quick death of McCain in order that the born-again Huckabee might ascend to the presidency. Where does this line of thinking come from? Who comes up with such ideas? What are people hearing from the pulpits, week after week?
Sadly, the evangelical church has lost awareness of what the Gospel is all about. God is not in the business of punishing whatever person or idea he might be displeased with. God sent His judgment for human sin on Jesus Christ, releasing us to preach “Good News” to the world. Unfortunately, bad news religion seems to be everywhere. Now and then you see a ray of light as someone presents what God has really done for world.
By the way, the sun shone brightly on Obama’s rally.
What if it had rained on Obama? Would that have been indication that the prayer call would have been answered by God? Certainly not! With that logic we would have to assume that the churches that were damaged as a result of hurricane Katrina were also punished by God. The fact is that believers as well as nonbelievers died on 9/11, in Hurricane Katrina and in the tsunami that wreaked devastation in South East Asia. We live in an imperfect world. Bad news is everywhere but our job is to preach the Good News. When we drift from the Gospel we look ridiculous. One more thought. I’m not advocating McCain or Obama; I’m bringing correction to a church that forgot the Gospel. Your thoughts? -Peter