What the Church Is Not Learning

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Carnage is the best word to describe what is happening in New Orleans. I pray the Church in this country is watching. What we are seeing may very well be the future, although on a scale restricted to one city in this country. Should more cities than one be involved in a more catastrophic event many days from now, it won't be pretty.

This is not a happy post. People may never want to come back here again after reading this, but I feel compelled to write.

I don't consider Jerry Falwell a spokesman for American Christianity. I want to say that up front. But on 9/11 he commented that perhaps what happened in New York that day was the judgment of God against America's sin. After being shouted down by a protest spearheaded by other Christians, Falwell was forced to retract that statement.

After hearing Falwell's comment, rather than immediately taking sides on it, I thought about it for a long time. Though I never did come to a firm position on what he said, Hurricane Katrinawhat shocked me was that so few people were even willing to consider for a brief moment that what Falwell said might be true.

Now we have a monstrous hurricane decimating a city known for it profligacy and overt sensuality. We have the gambling centers of Mississippi washed out into the Gulf. A couple folks have proffered the same reasoning as Falwell for the wreckage of New Orleans and Biloxi, but once again no one is listening.

Again, I don't have the perfect answer here. Judgment of God or not? I'm still pondering that. What troubles me is that so few Christians are willing to entertain for a second the possibility that Katrina is Wake-up Call #2.

Why does this trouble us so thoroughly that we relegate this possibility to the dumpster so quickly? Can we take a day to ponder this before we say that this is not the judgment of God against this nation? If it's not, then we move on. But what if it is?

The Church here has something to learn through all this. If we cannot discern the judgment of God, a judgment His righteous people easily saw in our Scriptural examples, what does that say about the American Church today?

The images and stories coming out of the Gulf are shocking. They so clearly show the utter depravity of Man that I can't see how we can be the same country after this. All the bravery that we hailed in New York almost four years ago has been swept away. The courageous stories of Katrina are buried in the rubble of vice and sin we see paraded on our TV screens.

What unnerves me about this is that the Church here does not understand that what we are seeing and hearing in New Orleans is far closer to the truth about Man than some are willing to admit. Worst of all, the events in Louisiana only prove that we as a Church are not prepared.

How are we unprepared? Look at the ripples this Gulf event is creating through all the strata that make up this experiment called America. The glaring weaknesses in our government, our energy reserves, our food and water supplies, and most of all, our souls, are on display for all to see. I read today that the area that makes up the most afflicted parts of the Gulf contributes a little less than two percent to the American economy. What if five or ten percent had been affected? Would total chaos reign nationwide?

It saddens me that the Church is largely unprepared to meet a major meltdown in America. We are not planning for a day when times get brutal. In truth, we act as if bad days will never come, the veritable grasshopper to the ant. Only in this story, there appear to be no ants.

He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
—Matthew 16:2-3 ESV

Church, should we not be the ones who interpret the signs of the times? Have we filled our lamps with oil or have the reserves gone out?

Did we learn anything from 9/11?
Did we learn anything from the prolonged recession from 2000-2004?
Are we going to learn anything from the aftermath of Katrina?

From what I can see, we ignorantly go on, blithely brushing it all aside. What else can explain the fact that we have not changed our course?

Just the other day I read that the underground Church in China is praying that persecution will come to America so revival will break out here. While I don't exactly side with that way of thinking, are we prepared if God answers the prayers of the persecuted Church in China?

I don't want the Church here to learn the hard way, but it looks as if we need a more catastrophic event to wake us from our slumber. God help us all should that catastrophe come and we are unprepared.

33 thoughts on “What the Church Is Not Learning

  1. Dan: “Wake-up Call #2”

    Yeah. Dan, I have been wondering about this myself. The intellectual elite will naturually poo-poo the thought. But for months, I have had this foreboding sense that some sort of cataclysm was coming. I just didn’t know what.

    On the other hand, once the Loony Mullahs get their knukes�which is now not a matter of if but when�and then start distributing crude, low-yield, portable ones to the various terror franchises around the world�try to imagine peace-loving outfits like Hezbollah or Hamas becoming nuclear mini-powers�then The Destruction of N’awlins will become just a small picture of the devastation that could be coming down the pipe for all of us. If one big city getting knocked out can have such far-ranging repercussions, try to imagine three or four getting slammed at the same time.

    Our country is much more vulnerable than we would like to think. By the way, our borders are wide open, in case nobody noticed.

  2. Scott

    Are we willing to view all natural disasters as such: tornadoes, floods, forest fires, mud slides, ice storms, droughts, cancer, etc? The book of Job and Luke 13 stand out in my mind when speaking about judgment and the circumstances we find ourselves in.

    I’m uncomfortable saying whether a disaster, natural or otherwise, is God’s judgment. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. He hasn’t told me one way or the other. The lesson that we need to learn is the lesson of Luke 13 – to repent of our sin and live a holy lives, lives lived in the fear-of-the-Lord.

    He is God, and He is perfect in His sovereignty. And His ways are beyond me.

    Praise Him for His judgment.

    Praise Him for His mercy.

  3. Sam Graf

    Dan,

    It seems to me that one of the clear lessons of the book of Job is that we need to be careful when we assume to speak for God.

    The possibility that God is using natural disaster to accomplish his purposes cannot be denied. But neither can it be confirmed through observation. Job’s friends thought otherwise, and made excellent speeches, and yet missed the mark widely.

    The disciples made a similar mistake when exploring causes in the case of the man born blind. Sin was, to them, the obvious cause, and their only question was who’s sin. Yet this man had suffered blindness from birth due to other causes altogether.

    I urge caution not because the notion of God punishing or disciplining is unthinkable, but because conclusions are, so far as I know, unvarifiable.

    I’d also like to remind us all that the innocent may suffer with the guilty. Daniel and his ilk got hauled off into captivity as an Israelite, not as an immediate cause of God’s judgment. Likewise, it may be our place to suffer. If, in fact, Katrina was the judgment of God, then clearly, the innocent most certainly have suffered with the guilty — because of the guilty, if you prefer. Shall we not be the first to submit to the discipline of him who loves us?

    We need to take great care in what we say, do we not? And those who assume to teach are more accountable than all. In any case, it’s not just your name that’s at stake.

    Your little brother,

    Sam

  4. When the true judgment of God came against people, the true righteous of God were able to discern the difference between God’s judgment and the normal vagaries of living. We seem to have lost that ability.

    What troubles me about the New Orleans situation is that so many are unwilling to entertain the possibility that this hurricane and its aftermath are God’s judgment. How are they so certain? Can they point to any disaster and say for certain that it IS God’s judgment, or is it always the case that disasters are NEVER God’s judgment. If they can discern the difference, what criteria do they use for judging, then?

    I wish I had the answer to this because I believe that Christians should be able to discern God’s judgment from what is not His judgment. That we can’t seem to disturbs me.

  5. lindaruth

    As always, you make me think. It’s hard not to look at this and wonder why — judgement? just the results of living in a fallen world? But whatever the reason, it seems to me that here is an opportunity for God’s people to be his people — to be his hands and feet and agents for action and change. We don’t always understand the ways of God, but we can usually understand what the Holy Spirit is telling us to do, if we’ll listen. I’m speaking to myself as much as anybody here.
    Linda

  6. Becky

    Dan, you wrote the post I would have written if I had a blog. You didn’t mention the Northridge earthquake in Southern California (Northridge—the porn capital of the world) or the San Francisco earthquake (SF—gay capital of the world).

    Do I know that these events are God’s judgment? I do not! Yet as I read through the Old Testament books of prophecy, I see over and over God saying that this or that catastrophe would happen, “that they may know that I am God.”

    An attitude of judgment should be the farthest thing from our minds in such a calamity as Katrina. Instead we should be on our knees acknowledging our God.

    Where are the Christians in this situation? After 9/11 we as a nation prayed. Now, as a friend of mine just pointed out, we see angry people demanding the government set things right.

    Shouldn’t we as believers be at the forefront offering care—spiritual care as well as physical—for those people who are suffering so much?

    I heard of one family in Houston who opened their home to a displaced family. Why can’t we all? Should any be left in refuge camps for six months in a country with so many Christians?

    But besides a face of compassion, we need to point our lost, destitute neighbors to the God of heaven.

    OK, sorry—getting a lttle carried away, so I’ll stop.

  7. Cultural Savage

    Dan,
    I want to say first, thank you for your excellent posts and thoughts. I always find them thought provoking, even if I do not completely agree with all of them, as is the case here.

    I would have to say that the only way Katrina is a “wake up call” is the fact that we are forced to remember how broken and devastating the world we live in is because of sin.

    Yes the hurricane did hit a region that has come to be known as sinful, but here is something to think about: I love in a state where the majority of people are worshiping a false Jesus. To me, this is just like the idolatry in the OT, which God calls an abomination. Why would God choose to judge casinos and girls flashing people for beads when the fault line I live on would effectively ravish this state wide abomination?

    I Think Katrina is a horrible tragedy, and I think the Church should wake up to the sin, devastation, and broken world;d around her and reach out with the love of Christ… I just don’t buy into the notion that the sin’s of New Orleans had reached their fullness.

    Respectfully, and with love.

  8. Dan,

    Excellent thoughts, and certainly no one who claims the name of Christ as Lord and Savior shoud ever doubt that our sovereign God could act in such a manner.

    I see your main point, however, being that the American church isn’t prepared for such a catastrophe. I hope you’re not suggesting that we involve ourselves wholly in preparing for the Judgment to come, unless by that you mean that we ought to be busy doing the work of the Kingdom wherever we live. I want to be found by Jesus witnessing to some lost soul when He returns…as well as providing a cloak for my brother who has none.

    All of that being said, I do see that the American church is generally fat and lazy, acting much like the Laodicean church in Revelation 3. We think we have need of nothing…what we need is revival on a much wider scale than we have seen in the recent years.

  9. Josh Bonner

    Again, an interesting post Dan. You voiced what a lot of us are thinking right now. I was getting frustrated also, at not being able to decipher this as being a sign or not. I sorta had to make a conscious effort, to not stress about it.(I really like Luke 13:1-5 when I worry about tragedies like this). So while the jury is still out, I think if a devastating earthquake hits Vegas then we’ll know.;) What stresses me more is if the Church doesn’t do something about rebuilding the devasted communities and bring about change in those areas.

    There was an Old Testament scholar who came to my church last year and gave a Bible study of Ezekial. I asked him a question, after one of the lectures where he had named all of the powers that align themselves for and against Israel in the end times. I said, “Where’s the U.S.?” His remark was that that the U.S. wouldn’t be a superpower by that time. Shocked me. That’s his opinion I suppose, but it stands to reason that since our biggest vulnerability is are excessive need for fuel, a hit there, would cut us out at the knees everywhere as a superpower? I like this quote from Muggeridge. It kinda puts things into perspective on that issue:

    “We look back on history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of ‘the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.’

    In one lifetime I have seen my own fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that, ‘God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.’ I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian proclaim to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin his own assumption of power. I’ve heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as a wiser than Solomon, more enlightened than Ashoka, more humane than Marcus Aurelius. I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that Americans, had they so wished, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.

    All in one little lifetime. All gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.

    All in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind. Behind the debris of these self-styled, sullen supermen and imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ.”

  10. Susan

    Dan, your comment that “the Church is largely unprepared to meet a major meltdown in America” is, tragically, right on target. We cannot even handle our own meltdowns, much less those among those we should be able to reach with the Gospel.

    Listening the news on the radio I have been grieved over magnitude of the chaos that happens when those who are dealing with tragedy have neither the internal spiritual resources nor the spritual leadership to guide them through. I reflected on the sorrow of the Good Shephered as He looked over Jerusalem and lamented, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 15:34)

  11. Our situation in this country right now is difficult. With the anniversary of 9/11 coming up, a terrorist attack—even a small one—would have much larger impact because of the position we are in. This has also exposed the fact that we’ve underestimated the tenuousness of our energy needs.

    I’ve long said (for almost twenty years now) that the most available and readily-made fuel in the world—alcohol—should be powering all our vehicles. Without additives, it has 80% of the octane of gas and burns almost perfectly clean. The problem is that anyone can make it and it cannot be monopolized. Therefore, engine manufacturers, in collusion with the oil industry, are not making engines to burn alcohol (and yet high-end dragsters and such race on pure alcohol.) It’s ridiculous, especially considering that ANYTHING can be distilled into alcohol, from the grass clippings from our lawns to even our own bodies. No fuel is safer, easier to make, or simple to use than alcohol. And we would never run out of it.

    Lastly, for all those who staunchly fought against drilling in Alaska’s national forests, we are now reaping the result of not having that as a buffer.

  12. brian

    I wish I had the answer to this because I believe that Christians should be able to discern God’s judgment from what is not His judgment. That we can’t seem to disturbs me.

    I would agree that Katrina could be the judgement of God just as any other natural disaster could be.

    But, I don’t get why you think we should be able to tell the difference. What are you basing that on?

  13. Helen

    God never changes. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. Prophecies in the old, prophecies in the new and today.

    Look for the prophecies from the last few years in regards to current events. We do have a way of knowing if we will only seek God. He speaks to us every day, ask for wisdom and He will answer.

  14. Dan,
    We are gentiles living in a pagan world under the gospel. I right view of Jesus teaching in Matt 24 is very clear. Such stuff is NOT to be speculated as signs of anything. Instead, we are to preach the gospel until He comes. There is a reason I do not preach what you consider us to contemplate and that is because such judgement is to begin with the household of God and not the unbelievers. Your considerations are not the heart of God on this one at all. Such considerations are not a sign of wisdom on this matter. There is a reason most believers see such talk as unwise.

  15. I find it interesting and disturbing that the Church in China is praying for persecution in America. And yet, it makes perfect sense. Look how the faith of those in other countries is being perfected by trials that we can’t even comprehend anymore.

    Once upon a time, a disaster such as this would’ve sent people to their knees in prayer. All I see today is anger and recrimination.

  16. Kate

    Your thoughts were excellent, and timely!! Thank you for them.
    I received my usual ‘Desiring God’ email from John Piper today…and John thinks it was an act of God. He gave these verses:
    �Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?� (Amos 3:6). The answer of the prophet is no. God�s own testimony is the same: �I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things� (Isaiah 45:7). And if we ask, is there intelligent design in it all, the Bible answers: �You meant evil . . . but God meant it [designed it] for good� (Genesis 50:20).
    Kate

  17. Anonymous

    So basically you’re saying that Mississippi, one of the most conservatively Christian states in the nation wasn’t Christian enough either? That all those dead babies in New Orleans deserved to die because of Mardi Gras? To even remotely consider anything like that is a sign of great moral corruption.

  18. Brad, et al.,

    This post is not about trying to discern the end of the world. I’m not trying to use Katrina as one more Hal Lindsey-style dispensational flag.

    What I am trying to say is this:

    1. To all the liberal Christians out there who think we are all good deep down, the lawlessness in New Orleans should cure us of that un-biblical thinking.

    2. Signs are signs. Jesus said so in Matt 24:15-22. He told people to pay attention to that sign. All Biblical prophecy tells us to properly understand and prepare based on signs.

    3. It rains on the just and the unjust.

    4. The 125,000 men and women who were going to descend on New Orleans this weekend for the homosexual orgy that was planned called Days of Decadence, well that was canceled.

    5. The Amos passage quoted in an earlier comment and referenced by John Piper applies.

    6. No matter where anyone comes down on the issue of God’s judgment and Katrina, what is it going to take to get people in this country to repent?

    7. Issues of judgment aside, why is the Church in this country whistling in the dark? Why do we continue to flaunt our unpreparedness for tough times?

    8. All those churches in New Orleans and yet people are raping medical personnel, shooting at rescue workers, and engaging in acts too horrible to describe. Do these facts not speak out against us? Should we not be sobered by them and get back to the very purposes you ask for?

    9. Christians must be providing an answer to tragedy. Yet when I look out there in the Christian world right now, I’m seeing a confused answer. Why? What should we be learning that we are not learning?

    10. We are not ready.

  19. Josh Bonner

    Yeah, I tend to agree Dan. I think your just baffled at the idea that people wouldn’t even consider the idea of God’s involvement. I suppose on one hand you can see every lightning strike/storm/ earthquake as a sign from God or on the other you can view God as being too gentle to do something like this. Maybe Christians need to read Jeremiah more often???

  20. Dan,
    I agree that the church is not prepared for judgment. No doubt the church is very unhealthy and undiscipled. I see the prophets speaking to the church, to the people of God. I do not see a correlation to judgment on the world for sin.

    Jesus says, Don’t think these people had this natural disaster occurred because of the of their sin BUT you on looker repent. The idea of judgment is to be applied to my heart. I am not in the place to start taking other peoples moral inventory when our house is in disarray.

    So judgment is coming on the church, persecution and some form of wake up call, yes. I have no problem with that but seeing the signs of that being a natural disaster that effect some them over there is not helpful.

    The church has many instances of humiliation that we can see as signs of a coming judgment upon our lack of moral distinction and lack of a clear display of God�s glory to the world. We have indeed lost our saltiness to great degree and unless we repent are in for a big surprise. Trouble is bound to come and those who have not built their house on �these commandments� will find the proverbial earth moving beneath their feet.

  21. Dan the Man: “10. We are not ready.”

    What do we have going? Well, we have the Third Wave of The Great Islamic Jihad boiling overseas, that has killed 3000 of our fellow citizens here at home. But we still don’t comprehend that we are at war. Instead, we’re still sending boatloads of our money to the Oil Ticks of Saudi Arabia so they can continue to fund their global program of building more Wahhabist madrassas, to better indoctrinate more and more muslins in their violent Jihadist idealogy. Add to that the Loony Mullahs of Iran being on the verge of going nuclear, and nobody seems to have any idea on how to stop them. Make no mistake about it: once they get their knukes, it’s going to be a whole new ball game. Add to that the states of the Southwest being inundated with illegal aliens because the borders are wide open. Add to that N’awlins having been destroyed, and now we have a sizable refugee population, the size of which we haven’t seen since the end of the Civil War.

    And still people discern nothing in all of this? We are not ready, Dan, because by-and-large the Church has lost its prophetic voice and vision; She doesn’t know what’s going on, because for so long now She has listened to the thinking of the World instead of the voice of her Master. I commend you Dan for daring to think about this subject, which is intensely unpopular with many people.

    Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Pr. 29:18)

  22. Anonymous

    Okay, I gotta comment here, too.

    When the true judgment of God came against people, the true righteous of God were able to discern the difference between God’s judgment and the normal vagaries of living. We seem to have lost that ability.

    I can tell you why we’ve done that. It’s because we’re entirely too willing to point the finger ALL the time to ALL those who WE think are ungodly. In that sense, we’re an awful lot more like Job’s three friends than like Elihu!

    What troubles me about the New Orleans situation is that so many are unwilling to entertain the possibility that this hurricane and its aftermath are God’s judgment. How are they so certain? Can they point to any disaster and say for certain that it IS God’s judgment, or is it always the case that disasters are NEVER God’s judgment. If they can discern the difference, what criteria do they use for judging, then?

    “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

    Natural disasters can be God’s judgement. Whether they are God’s judgement is entirely another matter.

    1. To all the liberal Christians out there who think we are all good deep down, the lawlessness in New Orleans should cure us of that un-biblical thinking.

    Agreed.

    2. Signs are signs. Jesus said so in Matt 24:15-22. He told people to pay attention to that sign. All Biblical prophecy tells us to properly understand and prepare based on signs.

    Yes. What are they?

    3. It rains on the just and the unjust.

    Agreed. From just the existence of a natural disaster, one cannot conclude godliness or ungodliness.

    4. The 125,000 men and women who were going to descend on New Orleans this weekend for the homosexual orgy that was planned called Days of Decadence, well that was canceled.

    Probably a good thing. But did they cancel it because they cared about New Orleans, or because they didn’t want to do something so selfish when people were dying?

    5. The Amos passage quoted in an earlier comment and referenced by John Piper applies.

    �Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?� (Amos 3:6). The answer of the prophet is no. God�s own testimony is the same: �I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things� (Isaiah 45:7). And if we ask, is there intelligent design in it all, the Bible answers: �You meant evil . . . but God meant it [designed it] for good� (Genesis 50:20).

    How long has it been since the church paid attention to Amos?

    6. No matter where anyone comes down on the issue of God’s judgment and Katrina, what is it going to take to get people in this country to repent?

    Nothing will get them to repent. Revelation 16:9,11,21:
    “And they cursed God…”

    And Revelation 15:20-21:
    The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood�idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

    The reason nothing will get them to repent is that they have deliberately chosen to walk in contrast to the way of God. Therefore, in accord with Romans 1, He leaves them to their depravity.

    7. Issues of judgment aside, why is the Church in this country whistling in the dark? Why do we continue to flaunt our unpreparedness for tough times?

    Because the church in America is rotten wood, choosing to worship things instead of Christ. It worships the Bible, the televangelists, the buildings it meets in, the money it collects in offerings – anything but God and Christ. The preachers preach ruin to their listeners, and they rape their sheep for a few pennies to go buy luxurious cars to drive. They tell us to rape the world for the money to purchase standing in the eyes of God (“if you’re rich, God has blessed you, so you must be SPIRITUAL when you’re really rich.” “It doesn’t matter if you run over people on the way to the top; once you’re there, go back and apologize.” Honest, as God is my witness, I’ve heard things like this preached from supposedly Christian pulpits!)

    8. All those churches in New Orleans and yet people are raping medical personnel, shooting at rescue workers, and engaging in acts too horrible to describe. Do these facts not speak out against us? Should we not be sobered by them and get back to the very purposes you ask for?

    The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desparately wicked; who can know it?

    9. Christians must be providing an answer to tragedy. Yet when I look out there in the Christian world right now, I’m seeing a confused answer. Why? What should we be learning that we are not learning?

    Look at who is responding. People from Baton Rouge, right after the hurricane hit, went down to New Orleans in boats, picked up a bunch of people, and took them to safety. Churches that haven’t been hard-hit have opened their doors and taken in refugees. Churches that seem to have it together have taken the position that Jesus meant what he said in Matthew 25.If you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.

    Who has responded?

    10. We are not ready.

    Of course we’re not ready.

    I would submit that Katrina is not God’s judgement, but God’s question.

    “Those are MY children who have been injured by that hurricane.
    YOU are MY church. What are YOU going to do about MY children?”

    Luke:Whoever gives so much as a cup of cold water in my name to one of these my little ones, will not by any means lose his reward.

    Matthew: If you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.

    “There was lawlessness rampant in New Orleans. What were you doing about it?
    Why did I have to send a hurricane to get your attention?”

    Matthew:You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted?

    Ezekiel:The watchman who sees the enemy coming, and does nothing, the blood of the city is on his head.

    “I can send a disaster anywhere I choose.
    What will you do when I send one near your home?”

    Matthew:You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted?

    Ezekiel:The watchman who sees the enemy coming, and does nothing, the blood of the city is on his head.

  23. Helen

    Would we want to live in a world where God did not judge sin?

    I believe the reason so many despise prophecy is because it takes control away from man and puts it back where it belongs, with God.

  24. Sam Graf

    “And still people discern nothing in all of this? We are not ready, Dan, because by-and-large the Church has lost its prophetic voice and vision; She doesn’t know what’s going on, because for so long now She has listened to the thinking of the World instead of the voice of her Master. I commend you Dan for daring to think about this subject, which is intensely unpopular with many people.”

    I guess I’m going to have to blog this out on my own space, but I see nothing here that is helping my vision. I do see what appears to be a very problematic confusion of terms, where “the Church” appears to be being used interchangeably with “the United States.” The very fact that I think that might be happening might mean we’re not even on the same page, which is not an aid to comprehension.

    For contrast, let me quote The Orange County Supertones:

    “Pay no mind to the generation line
    Forsake your sect and be color blind
    The problem’s not Hollywood, the problem’s not Washington
    The problem’s a weak and divided church of schizmed Christians”

    Whether anybody agrees or not (what they’re saying might be intensely unpopular at Cerulean Sanctum), the message is unambiguous.

  25. Ted Gossard

    Thanks Dan. I have tried to reply before on this blog. Do appreciate your thoughtful blogging and more often than not find myself in general agreement with you.

    Here I’m not sure I’m on the same page, though I think I understand where you are coming from.

    I think we as Christians need to be working at getting our own house in order (1 Peter 4:17).

    Why should we be alarmed that the United States along with all the rest of the world simultaneously continues to experience God’s mercy and justice? Whatever judgment of God that may be ocurring down south on our nation is not to diminish God’s judgment at work elsewhere in letting sinners be confirmed and reap the consequences of their sin (including the sin of dead religiosity as was true in Jesus’ time).

    At the same time we must remember that this is the day of God’s saving work, and not his condemning work. That latter is to come, for sure when God brings the finished salvation in Christ to completion. Therefore we should reach out to the tax collectors and sinners and befriend them, not condemn them, as we do the works of Jesus.

    We need to look at ourselves as God’s people, repent and fulfill our calling in Christ. This certainly has little to do with the good American experiment, but everything to do with being missioners of the kingdom of God.

  26. Sam Graf: “the Church” appears to be being used interchangeably with “the United States.”

    Sam, since you were quoting me, I guess I need to respond by way of clarification: Most emphatically I tell you that I was refering to the church and NOT the United States as such. I really fail to see how you got the idea I was using the terms “interchangeably”. Anyhow, I hope I’ve made myself perfectly clear on this point. Yes, there is the Church that happens to be located in the United States, but I keep the things separate in my mind. When did I ever suggest they were one and the same?

  27. Ted Gossard

    It is ironic that one can see what has happened on New Orleans as actually an opportunity for God’s mercy to be displayed.

    Yes, tragically many died. But many are experiencing sacrificial love in good deeds from God’s people.

    Yes, we could look for God’s hand of judgment in all of this. But can we possibly see his hand of mercy at least displayed in the lives of many?

  28. Rooted in Him

    I must apologize if someone made the following point somewhere in the comments above. I do not have the time at this point to spend checking.

    I think your problem about why Christians are not talking about judgment with regard to the Katrina is actually answered in one of your earlier posts about changing methodology.

    God’s judgment is real, but talking about it with regard to “day-to-day” disasters is no longer, to use your terms, effective methodology.

    Just as we no longer have circuit riders, we also no longer try to terrify people, unbelievers, into the Kingdom of God.

    Do we need more emphasis on “sin, judgment, and righteous” among believers? Yes, and that should be done in church, in the context of the gathering of believers. Actually coming to a conviction on those things is a function of the Holy Spirit.

  29. Sam Graf

    Mr. Moonbones,

    “When did I ever suggest they were one and the same?”

    The suggestion comes from the difficulty I have in always knowing which “we” you and Dan are talking about — we Americans or we Christians?

    What do “we” have going? you ask. But I am having trouble understanding how what “we” have going demonstrates that we’re not ready for whatever is you think we should be ready for. It’s unclear to me why I should assume that there is something for us to discern here. There is a difference in what we mean by “discern,” depending on whether we’re talking about ungodly Americans or wayward Christians, is there not? The same seems to me to apply to the word “repent.” The water is muddy here, and I assume Dan meant it otherwise

    If we — the Church — have been charged with lack of discernment, lack of vision, lack preparation, lack of readiness, being significantly unteachable, and so on, then this merits further thought on my part to be sure. Just elsewhere in my case, as I mentioned earlier, out of respect for Dan.

    Thanks,

    Sam

  30. sam: The suggestion comes from the difficulty I have in always knowing which “we” you and Dan are talking about�we Americans or we Christians?”

    Okay, Sam. I can’t speak on behalf of Dan Edelen, but I can speak for myself. Just to make it absolutely sure there is no possibility of confusion here, I will clarify things to the best of my ability:

    When I speak of “We” I exclusively meant “Us Xtians, Who Are Washed In The Blood Of the Lamb, Born Again By The Spirit of The Living God”. I had absolutely no one else in mind. I intended to refer to no one else. Being American, as such, had completely nothing to do with it. It never, ever entered my mind. It was the farthest thing in world.

    Now I truely hope that I have made myself absolutely clear about this.

    Sam: It’s unclear to me why I should assume that there is something for us to discern here.

    As far as seeing if there were anything to discern, well, I am sorry but I cannot help you on this one. You’ll have to begin the same way that all have to begin: Understanding that the “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”, and that we have to come to Christ, God’s one and only Savior, just as a little child, which means with complete trust, and laying aside all our selfish ego and having things our way.

    Now, I’m I claiming remarkable discernment above anyone else? No. But I do know that our lives are but a breath, and that God does all things in righteousness and faithfulness. I also remember that in times past, God sometimes does reveal what he is doing to his prophets and seers. A good example would be Agabus, in the New Testament Book of Acts, who predicted a famine that would hit the entire Roman Empire. It is recorded that in response to this prophecy, the church back then acted to prepare for what was coming.

    But I suspect that even if there were a modern day prophet like Agabus, I doubt that anyone would listen to him.

  31. The primary reason Cerulean Sanctum exists is to discuss the state of the Church in America today.

    Therefore, when I am talking about “we,” I’m talking about we Christians or the Church. The specifier here is American.

    In this particular post, when I talk of godly repentance, I mean for all Americans, Church and unbelievers alike. I am talking to the Church, but I am including unbelievers in that need for repentance. They need to get the message as much as we Christians do.

    But most of the time I am speaking of Christians when I say “we.”

  32. This is a topic I too have struggled with since the Northridge quake. A major earthquake hits the community where 70% of the pornography in America is produced. Hmmm. To not at least ask if it was God would seem foolish.

    The problem I had with all of the people saying “this was judgment from God” was that it all took place after the fact. Claiming responsibility after an event is easy � any nutcase can do that. My observation from the Old Testament is that God wanted it to be very clear when he was responsible for things, so he sent prophets in advance to give details on exactly what God was going to do to various nations and cities just so that there would be no ambiguity when it happened. The prophecies would contain details which might not make sense in advance; but after the events took place made it clear that yes, this was the fulfillment of prophecy.

    So after Northridge, after 9/11, after Katrina, I kept waiting for someone to dig out a prophecy that had been given prior to those events which was more than a generic “I’m going to judge this nation” statement (which could be used to explain anything). I was hoping to hear a prophecy given before Northridge that would say something like “I’m going to shake the city that leads the people into promiscuity, that calls them to lust after each other. I will cause it to fall to the ground in rubble”; but if such a word existed, I never heard it.

    Now perhaps the reason for that is that Christianity doesn’t know how to handle the gift of prophesy. We either say it doesn’t exist or accept anything that people claim is spoken in God’s name. We’ve lost the balance point between those extremes. Perhaps God did try and tell the world what He was about to do; but the Church buried it or forgot it, and so lost an opportunity for a powerful testimony to the world.

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