Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Centurion's Open Letter to Pat Robertson

If you're not familiar with Pat Robertson, he's the guy on TV that makes bold predictions in hope of better preparing people for coming disaster. That's not so bad right? But what happens when the predictions don't come true? Well, his followers are unshaken and still heed his prophetic statements, even when said prophetic statements are as farce as saying that Mickey Mouse will materialize right in front of you one day and eat ice cream with you at Dairy Queen.

Why does he make predictions? Doesn't he think he is right? I'm sure he feels that he is correct in making the predictions. However, the problem is dating predictions. When you set a date, then you better be 100% sure that it's going to happen because when it doesn't, then you lose my trust and the trust of many others (I'm not speaking of loyal followers here). Also, these things, like Robertson's predictions, are what atheists, agnostics, and skeptics notice and really put on display to undermine Christianity.

The Centurion, a blogger for Pyromaniacs, wrote an open letter to Pat Robertson. The following is an excerpt:

"Now, what really bothers me about this isn't the money-making because a brother has to eat. If you and your conscience can spend your time doing this sort of thing, and people will pay you for it, it's a free country and people make money all kinds of ways.

But it does bother me that you leverage this aspect of your career to do other things as well. See: unlike Benny Hinn who just claims to be God's special Jedi, and we should get some of his anointing by sending him money, you encourage a horrible image of what faith in Christ looks like because your view of salvation is tied to how things look right now.

For example, in your book the people of Haiti were ravaged by disaster because they have made a "pact with the devil". Now, whether or not the folk religion of Haiti is idolatry (and it is), I think there's a problem with matching one-to-one their idolatry with their suffering.

On the one hand, it seems to say that other forms of idolatry aren't as bad. You know: the idolatry of celebrity which is evident on CBN doesn't seem to catch God's umbrage -- rather, next year will be another good year for CBN and its affiliated parachurch businesses. The idolatry of statism -- albeit conservative statism -- from preachers like yourself who put political victory over Gospel clarity and sincerity somehow slips under God's wrath's radar. And somehow the idolatry of speaking for God when God hath not said also seems to be outside the scope of natural disaster, as the videos above and the track record of those predictions plainly demonstrate.

And on the other hand, what about those actually suffering for the sake of Christ? This is the issue which I think cuts a little deeper -- because today there are Christians dying for their faith, but in your predictions only people in league with the Devil will suffer. I mean: we can expect as much from careless people who think the Devil is a sort of schtick we can use when we use religious language, but you're allegedly a godly man. You're allegedly someone with a deep faith. Is it your view that Christians who suffer are outside the will of God? It can't be that -- you wouldn't shame martyrs with that sort of nonchalant caricature of what it means to live in God's good graces. Would you?

So here are my suggestions for you in 2011, and you can take them for whatever they are worth to you:

1. Repent of your false prophecies.

This is an easy one as it wouldn't take 10 minutes to start and it would only require you to eliminate this 15-minute segment from your network each New Year. Just come out and say it: "For years I have claimed to be speaking for God, and I have not been speaking for God. I have been speaking from my own intentions and biases and thoughts, and I was wrong to assign those to God's will, and God's Word. I have sinned against God, and against my fellow believers, and I ask God's mercy and their forgiveness." You could do it -- and a giant swath of Christians would breathe a sigh of relief that you are not actually crazy or delusional but rather concerned that Jesus finally be glorified.

2. Reconsider the Gospel.

Here's what I'm thinking: rather than use your life's work network to promote every new fad and spiritual quack who will say the name "Jesus" or put a Bible verse on his product, schedule some prime time to the historical fact that Jesus lived a real life, and that his intention was to die for the sake of the sins of those who would believe in him. Jesus didn't die to make us sooth-sayers, or Congressmen, or influential entertainment executives: He died because we are all distracted from God by being sooth-sayers, and Congressmen, and influential executives, and so on. Reconsider that the Gospel did not make Paul rich but rather abjectly poor -- and he evangelized the Roman world without so much as a blog or a decent pair of shoes. Reconsider that the Gospel changes what prosperity looks like. And then repent of what you have made out of the Gospel.

3. Get serious about the actual Word of God.

I am sure you have read it -- the Bible. You have read the Bible. The problem is that you have not read it for what it says. You have spent most of your public life parsing prophecies so that you can make political points and cause your viewers to panic because the end is near. But it's funny that you are not in a panic that the end is near: you're storing up riches in storehouses, and still scaring others with prophecies of economic and political disaster. You know: the one time Jesus stood before someone of political power, he said, "My kingdom is not of this earth;" and when Paul stood before Festus and Agrippa, he didn't lecture them on the legitimacy of Roman policies -- he preached to him the Gospel in order that Agrippa would be changed, and saved. You are not like those founders of this faith, Pat. You would do better to be like them, and I call you to repent about your attitude toward the word of God.

I hope this note finds you in God's good graces so that you will be inclined by His conviction and Spirit to make your life right. It's not too late, and you will bless many by your change."

I think the Centurion makes a good case and his open letter to Pat Robertson is not angry, nor unjustified, rather it's in the same mold of Paul when he addressed problems with churches in his letters: clear, direct, yet loving. This letter, while being direct, is also filled with concern. The rest of the letter can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Want to read more on Christianity and the supernatural?

How Do Spiritual Gifts Operate? This is a transcript of a sermon by John Macarthur. If you don't like to read, you can also download the mp3 and listen to it.

Acts and the Voice of God - Greg Koukl on prophecy.

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