Sunday, 20 April 2008

This past week in New Zealand a tragedy occurred – 6 students and a teacher lost their lives in a flash flood. They were all from Elim Christian College – a Pentecostal church school in Auckland. The funerals have started being held, and comments are being made on God’s will and him allowing this to happen. Two of the more direct for your thoughts:

A Pentecostal pastor:

Pastor Luke Brough who led the [funeral] service said the tragedy took seven lives was not God's will. Life was not always fair and it was not a perfect world, he said. "When people say to me this is God's will, I say rubbish. That is not true. God is grieving too." He said God could have stopped the tragedy but to do that he would have to take away peoples' free will, the opportunity they had to choose. He said the greatest blessing God had given was the freedom of choice but it was also the greatest curse because "often we choose the wrong thing" and when the wrong choices were made, sometimes innocent people suffered.

And then there was this from a liberal Christian:

One thing is certain to me, while it is always appropriate to thank God when we survive a hazard it is not right - though for a young person understandable [referring to a survivor who spoke of God saving him but not others] - to declare that God saved us or that God refused to save others who most likely prayed with at least equal fervor. It is evident that God is not in control of the world having committed it to our charge.

While each speaker is coming from a completely different theological background, where they end up is remarkably similar. Simply put: God is not in control. The Pentecostal because he [presumably] wants to protect God from blame – the liberal [presumably] because he believes that God doesn’t get involved (because he won’t – or can’t?). And if this is the case, then really – what hope is there?

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