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Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology

I am a Christian.
I am a pastor.
I am a father.

As all three of these things, I apologize to the world (and to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting), for Mike Huckabee and James Dobson.

This week, these “representatives” of Christianity in the American media, have done what they seem bent on doing and content to do in times of tragedy; they have stood on top of someone else’s pain and grief, while preaching a message of dreadfully misplaced, fear-infused hatred and horribly dangerous theology.

During a time when most people, (both religious and non-religious), have rallied around hurting people to express heartfelt condolences and great anguish, and have sought ways to somehow bring hope and healing to a devastated nation, Huckabee and Dobson have chosen instead, to blame the victims.

It’s your fault.

God is ticked-off at you.

Apparently, having a mentally unstable young man, whose childhood seems filled with dysfunction and oddness; having that young man brutally murder his mother, grab an arsenal of her own weapons, break his way into an elementary school and mindlessly butcher classrooms full of first-graders and those caring for them; this is God’s way of complaining about abortion and gay marriage and lack of prayer in schools.

God, according to Huckabee and Dobson, has been excluded by America, is deeply offended, and so He allowed the carnage of last Friday to unfold, (as God likes to do).

So let’s try and wrap our minds around this… According to these supposed religious experts:

God, (the all-knowing and all-powerful, Creator of all things, and Savior of the World), is…

… one; able to be “kept out of schools” by rules about verbal prayer and Nativity scenes. He is that neutered of power, that insecure and benign, that He needs our consent to enter a building, like a magazine salesman or a visiting aunt.

… two; so upset by gay marriage and abortion, that instead of perpetrating acts against those entities (surely the easier and more direct way of Him expressing this fact to a nation), creates instead, random deadly hurricanes and kills rooms of school kids, expecting His people to somehow connect the dots between such completely disparate things. (Not only is God peeved, but he wants to confuse us to as He tells us).

… three; so thin-skinned, that He’s willing to destroy entire”nations”, because some people in those nations, disobey Him or do things that He doesn’t approve of. He’s a grudge-holder of, “Biblical” proportions.

The thoughts seemingly never occurred to them…
… that God gives people free will, and that free will, enables some to make catastrophic choices, such as the one a young man-made last Friday. Some things (as incomprehensible as they are), are what they are; not veiled signs of something else.

… that God is not in the “nation” business, but the people business; that Jesus came to create a People; a new community, who are defined not by a border, or government, or continent, but by faith in Him. There is only one nation in the eyes of God, and He builds and disciplines it one person at a time.

… that God is made of Grace, and that Jesus tells us that because of this, He comes with a relentless, pursuing, extravagant love, and a heart for the lost and wayward. His mission is redemption.

It would take me months and months, and millions of words to adequately illustrate the lack of sensitivity, the perverting of Scripture, and the overall ignorance Huckabee and Dobson and others like them exhibit, when using something like the senseless disaster in Newtown to somehow give ammo to their agenda and credence to  their cause.

For now, let me just say; to every victim, every grieving family member, every frightened classmate, every terrified parent, every scarred first-responder, and every questioning, hurting, hopeless person across this nation seeking from religious leaders; healing, and finding only contempt…

…I’m sorry.

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309 thoughts on “Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology

  1. Ryan Gordon on said:

    Well said, brother!

    Ryan

    • Deborah Wertz on said:

      Well said.

      Huckabee and Dobson et al are opportunistic media whores that care only about promoting an ignorant agenda while enriching themselves in the name of Christ. Whatever the “Anti-Christ’ is, these clowns are certain contenders for the position.

      • Thanks for commenting, Deborah!

      • westboro baptist church ‘followers” show up in person. I haven’t heard Huckaby’s or Dobson’s comments. Similar message? At least you can turn off the TV on the later two.

        The Christ that I know loves, accepts and nurtures. John 3:17? God sent not His Son to condem the world, but that the world, through Him might be saved. I follow Christ out of love, respect and because He loves me.

        Where is this message?

      • Hey John.

        Thanks for commenting. Yes, the loving God is one that is largely ignored by certain teachers and churches.

        My biggest problems with Huckabee and Dobson’s message of God’s wrath on America, are that:

        1) They make “America” God’s focus, not the people all over the world.
        2) They totally disregard Grace, and what Jesus died for. They act as if He never came.

        Appreciate the comment.

    • Thank you for speaking out. More need to do just that.

    • Even in secular professions one does not discredit another in that profession! Let alone call them the horrible things you are calling fellow brothers in Christ. Ephesians 4:1-16. With friends like you who needs enemies! Is it profitable for you or anyone to incite such disunity among the brethren? Are we so much more intelligent than those who have gone before us, to not learn something from them? Reading some of your followers comments are quite disturbing … Calling these fellow brothers in Christ ‘whores’ ?! Wow is that what you wanted to gain by writing this blog? The enemy is elated when he can get us to fighting among each other! And why would any non Christian want to join us when we continue to fight and call each other horrible names, in the name of Christ! They can do that on their own. Perhaps a better way would have been to speak directly to them or sending them a personal email, rather than smearing them all over the Internet and Facebook. I am greatly saddened by this blog you have written!

      • Kerri,

        I am sorry. I replied to this earlier, but it somehow never posted.

        In that reply, I said:

        Kerri,

        I never used the kind of inflammatory,derogatory word you quote me as using above, so I am surprised why you chose to attribute it to me.

        I used the blog to question the Biblical teaching and tactics of some very high profile teachers, and tried to explain why I am disturbed by them. I don’t believe that is damaging the Body, but showing that we are capable of disagreeing and questioning what we hear and see, even from other Christians.

        I am sure you well know, that these men are well buffered from personal contacts, so a private message is almost impossible. Had I the ability to have done that, I would, however I needed to make a time-sensitive reply, as the words they spoke were already out there.

        Plus, they make their living in the public sphere, and I made my reply there, as my objection was to the way Huckabee and Dobson’s words affected the millions who received them, and my message is ultimately to those people.

        I am sorry the post offended you, but if speaking into things in our Christian culture that I believe are dangerous or hurtful, offends sometimes, that is also the pastor’s responsibility and risk.

        I greatly appreciate you reading, commenting, and apologize that you never received my comment.

        Thank you.

      • I just believe there are way to many attacks on brothers in Christ these days. God hates disunity among the bretheren.
        I was referring to some of your responders to your blog, one lady called these men Whores! I was just wondering if you had hoped to get these sort of responses. I was shocked by some of them. It seems you were intending to get people fired up by this blog! I think we need to be on the same team. Helping others together in unity!
        I think I could certainly have gotten thru to James Dobson via email. Huckabee did have a reply to his first response.
        I go back to my first point, that even in secular professions one never discredits another. But somehow we Christians do it in the name of Christ!
        Blessed are the peacemakers!
        Thank you for responding!

      • Yes, Kerrie, as relatively respectful and civil as the comments have been, people are obviously passionate on all sides.

        And again, I think God is glorified by our honest, raw, yet striving-to-find Him, conversations.

        Hope we talk more!

        Peace.

      • Unfortunately, I live daily in the secular world you speak of. People overtly and hurtfully attempt to discredit each other quite often. The way I felt when I read Pastor’s words in this blog was assurance that a man could proclaim himself Christian and proclaim that God means Love.
        I thank him for that. It saddens me to think that there are those out there who will compound the already unimaginable grief by trying to attribute it to their own faults and a vengeful God. That’s not the God I worship. Thank you, Pastor.

      • Thank YOU, Trisha. I am grateful that you hear my heart in all of this.

  2. Thank you for bringing truth & grace to light. I agree 100%.

    Ryan

  3. Ron Allen on said:

    John, I read your post. I appreciate your sincere defense of the gospel. However I heard Huckabee myself and he didn’t imply what you are saying at all. To me he simply said where there is no vision the people perish. He did say the media had distorted his comments. Grace knows that judgement was placed on Jesus. We must be cautious that we are not as judgmental about grace as we could be under the law. I hope you hear my heart in this. I understand your passion and defense of the gospel of peace. Please re read Huckabee’s statement and I think you will hear a heart of compassion rather than judgement. Blessings Ron Allen

    • Hey Ron!

      Thanks very much for replying.

      I’d like to give mike Huckabee the benefit of the doubt, but his quote was:

      “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

      He continued: “Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.”

      He’s implying a cause-and-effect, between our country’s policies and culture, and God engineering, allowing, or at best, refusing to intervene against these terrible acts, (and this case, acts upon completely uninvolved parties).

      I simply don’t believe God works that way.

      Greatly appreciate your reading and replying.

      Many Blessings!

      John

      • Kathleen on said:

        Appalling to consider such a hateful God…that does not exist in my world.

      • Thanks, Kathleen!

      • Margaret on said:

        I agree. I think the writer of this article misunderstood what was implied in Huckabee’s comments. In my view, he was simply implying that in a godless culture, bad things happen. NOT that God makes them happen.
        When godly principals are not what guides a culture, it can open the door for Satan, and it does.
        Huckabee’s comments were not that bad, in my interpretation.

      • Pastor Larry on said:

        Hi John,
        I, too, appreciate your passion for the Gospel. I completely agree that too often persons with a national podium speak in a manner that appears to be condemning or callous. It is not limited to Christian voices, but it is most disheartening when it comes from those who proclaim Christ. In my humble opinion, what is said my be true, but the timing of it is not honoring to the message of Christ to the world.

        Having said this, I do agree with Ron Allen as he speaks to what Mike Huckabee stated. It is a slippery slope when we begin to infer what someone “implied,” and I do not believe Mike implied a cause and effect. I do not believe he meant to be condemning, as in too many of his other statements, it was quite obvious that his heart went out to the victims and their families.

        Again, I genuinely understand your concern. But as we present ourselves to the world, should we not be in unity as the Lord commanded, rather than show discord in the body of believers? My dear brother, what honors Him more?

        May we serve Him in love, as He loves us and may we display unity as He is One with the Father. Our critics look for every crack in our faithfulness to His command.

        I wish you His fullest blessings! He is risen!
        Larry

      • Thanks for such eloquent and thoughtful words, Larry.

        My only concern is the idea of “being in unity”, meaning never having conflict. If we cannot disagree, and cannot hold one another accountable as Christians, then we are fashioning a false unity.

        We have the greatest commonality in Christ, but we still have things to work through.

        So glad that forums like this, are allowing that to happen, with mutual respect all around.

        Hope we talk more in 2013! Thank you again.

      • Polly Frye on said:

        Now that Mr. Huckabee has been called out… and thank you for showing his direct quote, isn’t it amazing how people are trying to call us out and accuse us of lying? I have seen posters read exactly what he said… and even listen to the video to see his face saying and then wonder why we didn’t elect such an “amazing” man as our President? A lot of people are now unremorseful and lack empathy… the exact reasons such people go into schools, churches, and theatres and kill people. Who knows what our nation is in for. I am certainly glad that we don’t have someone as reprehensible as Mr. Huckabee as our nation’s leader. We had a leader who went to the spot, stood with other of their community religious leaders and gave his sympathies. That is our leader. We don’t want one who pointed his finger and said as much as “Nah Nannie Boo Boo, it’s all on you you.”

      • Thank you. Polly!

      • Pastor Larry on said:

        Hi again, John,

        I believe you misunderstood my concern for unity. Perhaps I should attempt to be more specific. In no way do I believe one brother should not confront another when they believe them to be in error. There is a Scriptural formula for doing just that, and as I believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, that should be the process we use.

        My comment was that we should not air discord to the unbelieving world, as that does not demonstrate the unity we were called to follow. I voiced my concern of the timing of statements, but I will not go into motives of others. I am ill equipped to do so in my own spirit, and unless there is specific Scriptural mandate for wrong, we should all tread very, very carefully. As I was imprecise in the choice of my words that caused you to believe I meant we were never to disagree, perhaps the same could be true for the other two brothers. They are put on the national stage and asked to comment. I cannot say that I would do better put in their place.

        Again, I applaud your heart and believe we are of a similar spirit. At least, I pray that is so. Accordingly, I ask you to reexamine your own approach in light of Matthew 18. Let Scripture be the judge, not me. I am not worthy to judge any man, especially not by their words. I am no more than a simple sinner, saved by the grace of a most marvelous God.

        To those who are not of faith who have responded to this post, it is my honor to proclaim to you that as the Lord of All was merciful to me, so He desires to be merciful to you, through Jesus Christ, the Lord!

        My brother, John, I wish for you nothing but His endless blessings! He is risen!

        Larry

      • (Don’t know if this posted earlier or not)

        Thanks Pastor Larry!

        Would love to grab coffee sometime. Blessings and Merry Christmas!

      • Jane Barlow on said:

        I agree with Ron Allen, and I find it especially appalling that a man of
        God who knows all about God’s grace will not extend grace to a fellow pastor. In your own blog you wrote that Huckabee blamed the victims, but in fact your own quotations above assert that “we” (meaning as a society) have removed God from the schools. It’s one thing to disagree with Huckabee & Dobson, but to me, the shame is that someone like yourself would take this opportunity to try to shame a fellow Christian. Doesn’t this just place you in the same position you are claiming them to be? Christians, of all people need to understand that God speaks to us as individuals, and only God knows their hearts. Who are we to judge & condemn. The last I checked it is still a free country, and your attempts to smear these people is very, very sad. Do you believe this is pointing people to Christ? I don’t think so.

      • Yes, Jane, it is a free country, which is why this blog exists and is created, and will be used to speak into what happens in this world. If Huckabee and Dobson are shamed, they are shamed with their own words.

        I believe the comments in this blog, the kind and considerate dialogue in it of those who disagree, and the deep conversations about important things, absolutely point to Christ.

        Thanks for contributing.

      • Sara A. on said:

        I agree with your interpretation of what Mike Huckabee said. And to all of the people making excuses for him…When you take on the challenge of being a public commentator as Mike Huckabee has, you take on the RESPONSIBILITY of speaking to the public. All of the public, not just a certain subset. He wasn’t speaking only to Christians, he was speaking to the entire nation, trying to represent Christians…and doing so badly. What you think he meant is not nearly as relevant as what he *actually said,* and how it was received by anyone who wasn’t already disposed to agree with him.

      • Thanks so much for sharing these comments, Sara. Yes, I have tried to respond to the words themselves.

        I appreciate you responding!

      • Rick Thompson on said:

        1. We HAVE systematically removed God from our schools.
        2. Having done this, what is the moral compass that we follow?
        3. Perhaps we ought to let (God) in on the front and see what happens. Could it hurt and would it hurt? Who knows? We do have evidence that evil exists. Would you not agree?
        4. I believe there is a cause-and-effect but I also believe there are many other facts, as well as God, that relate to this situation. Many of those items, including policies and culture, are involved here and cannot be denied.
        5. To say that you don’t believe God works that way, does not make it a fact since your belief is completely unsubstantiated. You may want to check the bible, a book that has been around for much longer than your beliefs.
        6. You are certainly entitled to your opinions as well as you are entitled to be wrong.

      • Thanks Rick.

        Yes, I do reserve the right to be wrong! :)

        However, a school, building, administration or country cannot “keep God out” or “let Him in”. Only people can do that. That is huge flaw in these teachings.

        I use the Bible to evaluate the words of Huckabee and Dobson, and tried to explain why I believe it is clear on the truth that since Jesus came, God sees one nation and one people. He is not a nation-builder.

        When “America” makes a policy or law, I may not agree or you may not agree. Does God punish me or you, because of that policy or law, even if we love and are obedient to Him? They would make God very petty and rather unjust.

        More thoughts on this here:

        http://wp.me/p2h2UO-j3

        Thanks again for the reply. Appreciate it greatly.

    • whatever.

      • I think Margaret’s understanding of what Huckabee said, was extremely accurate.
        No one said God caused this. No one can deny that the bible and Godly issues of a Christian are removed from the public square. I would hope Mr Huckabee would re assemble his words and reply to this pastor’s over the top condemnation of a mis understood remark. thanks

      • Thanks Mary.

        I will only say that God has no desire to be in the “public square”. Jesus wants to be in the hearts of people, and the Holy Spirit to reside in them.

        We need to laws and rules, for God to reign.

        Peace to you.

    • John, I can see you are truly sad that these men made their statements. An you apology is touching. Trouble is, you are in the very small minority of christians. Most of them are like Ron here. No matter what is said by these charlatans most of your christian brothers and sisters will stand and say how the media, liberals etc have misquoted him. He said what he said. If he meant something else, he should have said that. I guess Ron is calling you an idiot because you took his statement the wrong way. This is why I am an atheist. Religion isn’t about love and peace. It is about control and hate and division. That is why you have over 20,000 different denominations of this religion. Just like Islam it is dangerous.

      • Thanks so much, Mike. I totally agree. I am not doing anything but challenging these men on their actual words. They have chosen to “double-down” many times, when given the chance to clarify.

        I find it unfortunate.

        Appreciate the response!

  4. Josh Bright on said:

    I have to say that the above comment is only an assumption of his meaning. Without clarifying through the person who said it, there is no way to state for a fact that those were his implications. All in all, it’s still good to see compassion :)

    • Zachery on said:

      “Without clarifying through the person who said it, there is no way to state for a fact that those were his implications.”

      Right, you can’t state as a fact the intentions of a statement unless you directly ask the person who said it what their intentions were. Unless that person gives you a disingenuous answer when asked about the implications of their statement.

      It’s important to hold others accountable for their actions. I find the idea that unless you know the literal entirety of a situation (specifically relating to the machinations of human beings in which you’d have to be able to read their mind or hook them up to a polygraph test) that it somehow absolves the parties involved of accountability for their actions is just a bit silly.

      “we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

      Otherwise read: This school was not a religious institution; therefore it is not (or perhaps, less) surprising violence took place there.

      “Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.”

      Otherwise read: Perhaps if the school had a religious affiliation the violence could’ve have been lessened or prevented.

      Yes, these are assumptions. They’re assumptions based on an understanding of the English language and what those statements mean when you put those words together.

      I hope you don’t feel I’m attacking you; that is not my intent. Perhaps I have misunderstood *your* intent. I simply do not think there is another way to interpret these statements other than the ones I have provided and attempts on behalf of the man that said them to diminish their initial impact come across as disingenuous.

      Cheers.

      • Hey Zachery, Thanks for the heartfelt and great response. Wish I had more time to reply.

        All I can say, is that the timing of Huckabee and Dobson’s announcements follow a pattern they have become known for; a pattern of interjecting the “moral collapse of America” card, at any time of tragedy in our nation, (shootings, hurricanes, etc.).

        There was no reason to offer these insinuations at such a time. To men (as a Christian), they are as insensitive and unhelpful as many say gun control grandstanding is at this stage.

        As national Christian leaders, instead of sitting with us in the grief and suffering of people and offering comfort, they chose to do something else.

        Thanks again for reading!

      • “Otherwise read: Perhaps if the school had a religious affiliation the violence could’ve have been lessened or prevented.”

        Yeah, b/c the alter boys.scouts were saved. The Catholic church, even the Boy Scouts have systematically hidden those who intentionally hurt children for centuries. Religious affiliation doesn’t mean nothing bad happens. It’s bad people.

        and blaming entire segments of the population was a very successful tactic, utilized by Hilter, who was also devoutly religious, during the holocaust.

      • Thanks for these comments! Yes, God is bigger than the small boxes we try to keep Him in.

      • Zachery on said:

        @anon

        I’m not saying I agree with such an implication. Far from it, actually. I was responding to the person above me. I was only trying to spell out the unavoidable implications behind the statements issued.

        Perhaps I didn’t explain myself thoroughly enough. I think skirting around the issue of using tragedy as an agenda pusher by using the straw man argument, “If you don’t know everything, you don’t know anything,” is incredibly frustrating.

        @johndpav

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. Thank you for being an inspiring symbol of love amongst an institution that regularly acts as the antithesis of the teachings of its own Messiah. I personally do not have any religious affiliation, but I believe that if this world (which is quickly slipping out of control) has a chance to survive, we must learn to coexist.

        It’s nice to be exposed to sentiments of love and kindness. Throughout my life hate and assaults have most often been the face shown to me by Christianity in the U.S.A.

      • Thanks again, brother! Hope to speak with you more in 2013!

  5. I’m a non-believer, but it is my fervent hope that more Christians will abandon this toxic, virulent brand of faith and instead take notes from your example.

    • Thank you Alex. We agree totally! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • As a non believer also Alex, thank you. But until the christians that back these charlatans see them for what they truly are, we as non believers will have to stand and deliver. My hope that we will be able to come to some agreement on the separation of church and state. This kind of inflaming statements will continue to drive a wedge between mankind. And that is the number one purpose of religion, keep the sheep off balance.

  6. van gogh on said:

    it’s not your job to appologize for someone else. You just want your own 15 minutes of fame. It’s awful that people place blame and said that they deserved it. But in THIS time, don’t spread anger and hate to others, claiming that they spread anger and hate. If they are awful people the will have to answer to God, not to you.

    The last thing the families of the victims need to see is everyone trying to place blame on this act, this was that fault of this disturbed kid. No one else.

    But sadly it’s your turn to stand on peoples pain.

    • Sorry Van Gogh, all I can do is speak my part… Been in trenches Family Ministry for 15 years, and know well the pain and dysfunction in families. I have also, in that time, seen Dobson, Robertson and Huckabee and those like them, continually twist Scripture to cheaply galvanize their base and increase their profile. I am using this forum to keep them accountable and challenge their unBiblical and fear-based attacks. They are just a few steps removed from Westoro Baptist. I am standing on their arrongance.

      Thanks for reading and replying.

      • Sarah Marie on said:

        And by doing so, YOU have twisted scripture to cheaply galvanize YOUR base and attempted to increase YOUR profile. Touche.

        You are apparently standing on your own arrogance (I think that’s what you meant, despite saying arrogance).

      • Hey Sarah,

        You are entitled to feel that way. (I know you’ve probably never heard me speak or read me before, so I understand).

        But I stand by my understanding of Scripture and the character of God as revealed there. I don’t believe Dobson, Huckabee and the rest have any Biblical basis to perpetuate such fear-based teaching, and believe their timing shows a great insensitivity.

        I spoke into that, as I always do and will continue to do.

        I have no books to sell, no DVDs to promote. My agenda is Truth, and to ask all Christians to be accountable for their words, even well-known ones. I stand by words here.

        Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • WHOA! John, I am offended by your comment, “they are just a few steps removed from Westboro Baptist.” These men are brothers in Christ and they may have err’d in their choice of words but they don’t deserve that kind of insult. The way you choose to express your anger is divisive to the body of Christ.

      • Hey Janice. Didn’t mean to imply that THEY were similar to WBC, but that this TACTIC of telling people undergoing tragedy that they are to blame, or that our nation’s sins are, is. I find THAT divisive to the body too. All Christians should be accountable for their words, regardless of their high profile. These men have done wonderful ministry and love God, of course. I never dispute that.. I simply think they are way out of line here, and said so, as clearlyas I could. Thanks again.

        P.S. The people of WBC are “brothers and sisters in Christ too”.

        Appreciate your passion and obvious love for God.

      • I agree with you John. If someone choses to be offended by your remarks then rest assured you have given balm to those of us who have been offended time and again by Huckabee and Dobson. If we are sorting out brothers in Christ I want to be your brethren and not that of Huckabee, Dobson and Westboro Baptist Church. I have found that there are more people claiming to be Christian that I find terribly offensive. It will be up to our maker as to what he sees in their heart but they do not speak to my heart and you do.

      • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Mary. Doing what I can to be faithful to what I feel God wants me to say at this place and time in the His kingdom. Thanks for taking the time to say this. Many blessings!

      • Barbara Hart on said:

        it is so very sad when the time now is to console each other and love each other just as Christ has done for us so many times….The fact is God is a loving God but He is also a just God and so many times in the scripture we are reminded that He like a loving parent disciplines. This country continues to go in the direction of sin–abortions etc–really how can we expect Him to bless us as a nation. my heart is broken not only for the children but us as a nation….

      • Hi Barbara,

        I don’t think God wants to bless us as a nation. I think he wants us individually, to know him personally.

        See today’s blog:http://wp.me/p2h2UO-j3

        Thanks for replying!

    • Van Gogh – well, I didn’t read any hate in John’s post, just a real surrender to “these people don’t speak for all us Christians.” I say thank you to John, and I’ve reposted his blog to as many places as possible. – Brian

      • Thank you so much, Brian, for hearing my heart. I didn’t even say that these men were themselves hateful, but that there teachings and message were flawed and dangerous.

        Thank you for sharing and for the encouraging words, brother.

    • Dixie Thomas on said:

      I am sad that this situation is an occasion for further pain. I do believe we as Christ bearers have an obligation to hold the Christ proclaimers accountable for proclaiming truth and love, justice and mercy in humility and gentleness. Yes, John did the right thing. When those who wear Jesus soil His name and the hope He offers, others who are clothed in Him must stand and say, “No!” Jesus Christ is above all and before all and He choose to bring mercy to all. God said to Ezekiel, “I have made you a watchman…blow your horn.”

  7. John Semmes/First Pres. Church/Oxford, MS on said:

    Thank you for writing this, and for sharing it.

  8. If God is “the all-knowing and all-powerful, Creator of all things, and Savior of the World,” a being who is not “that neutered of power, that insecure and benign, that He needs our consent to enter a building, like a magazine salesman or a visiting aunt.”—and if the recent tragic events are not “a cause-and-effect, between our country’s policies and culture, and God engineering, allowing, or at best, refusing to intervene against these terrible acts” then: 1. What is God’s role in all of this? 2. What is God’s perspective on all of this? 3. Where was God during all of this?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    A.M.

    • Hey A.M. Thanks for checking-in.

      Where was God in all of I think God is revealed in the courage of the teachers, who literally sacrificed themselves for innocent children. I see God in the beautiful young lives, made in His image that were snuffed out. I see God in the flood of grief and the outpouring of compassion and kindness toward the victims.

      As for how god views all of this? All I can say is that from my understanding of Scripture, God doesn’t see “nations” or countries, He sees people; people who are able to choose Him or not. I know His heart breaks for this horrible waste of life. I wish I knew His perspective, but I know that if, somehow in God’s infinite wisdom, this massacre was part of His plan, I certainly don’t think we as human beings can describe it in the simplistic, callous ways that Huckabee and others have.

      God is as powerful as the Bible says He is, but that power is not something He throws around like a jilted boyfriend.

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time. Blessings.

      • Why wouldn’t it be the individual who is responsible for their sins before God? Jesus died for our sins and it is not something I am asking another mortal soul to do for me. To sin or to be sinned against is not something I question on Earth albeit with painful results. I don’t have to forgive anyone and no one must forgive me. If in my heart I can honestly forgive then it is mostly beneficial to my well being more than the person I have forgiven. We have earthly laws that should take a course of punishment for crimes committed. But, it is by God’s Grace that we are forgiven. The Hell Fire Damnation preaching, my words not John’s, was something explained to me, at a very young age, ( by a very devout Little Bethany Southern Primitive Baptist grandmother) was primarily found in circus tents (particularly from where she grew up in the Ozarks) so the travelin evangelist could scare the believers into parting with their money. It is these hucksters of religion which Huckabee and Dobson come very close to emulating especially when they breathlessly plug their books. Maybe it is a culmination of Primitive Baptist and Lutheran tenets that I derive these beliefs but, nothing has happened in my life to convince me otherwise.

      • Thanks for this!

      • When I heard Mike Huckabee’s comments, my thought was that he had missed a wonderful opportunity to say, “Where was God? He was there, comforting the frightened children and grieving over their loss. He was there, grieving over the loss of his child Adam Lanza and Adam’s mother. He was there, as you say, John, ‘in the courage of the teachers, who literally sacrificed themselves for innocent children.'”

        As the mother of a missionary in East Africa, I agree that God is far more concerned about his individual children than he is about any nation as a nation. We need to be most concerned about living out His kingdom in our lives with the people around us.

      • Beautiful words, Nancy!

  9. I’m an atheist that saw this post on facebook somewhere. Though many religious people in my inner circle have expressed similar criticism of Huckabee etc, you’re the first religious person I’ve seen on the internet or any other media for that matter to criticize these men. Well done. I don’t agree with everything you wrote, obviously, since I’m a non-believer, but I think that more people like yourself need to speak up because men like Huckabee, Dobson and Bryan Fisher give religious people a real black eye when they speak the way they do in the face of tragedy.

    • Thank you sight66. I appreciate your kind words. I agree with your perspective on the damage these people do to those outside the Christian faith, and know that you see this all with different eyes than many in the Church. Many do not or will not make certain people accountable for their words, because their faith creates a blind spot.

      As I have said before, I detest bullies wherever I find them.

      I believe Jesus is much better than we Christians often reflect on Him.

      Thanks again for the encouragement.

      • No worries. I think it’s fair to say that rational people of all beliefs detest bullies.

        Now, can I talk to you for a minute about atheism??? Just kidding. Take care and have a merry Christmas.

    • Sight66, well said. Huckabee, Dobson and Fisher DO reflect very badly upon Christianity when they portray their God as–well, so human. Thank you, John, for having the courage to speak out against their brand of God.

      I am all too well acquainted with that God. I grew up in the next town over from Huckabee, and was brought up in the same denomination. From infancy, I was regularly subjected to the idea of God as a jealous god, and wrathful–one that would drown by flood an entire world of his own creation, including innocent children, because he was so displeased with his own creation. And that god would throw me into eternal hell simply because of what I think in my mind, even if I never shared it with a single soul.

      THAT God is the very reason I am an atheist today. Who would want a god like that? I became a skeptic as a child because so many things I was being taught in church did not make sense. For example, my church taught that even *thinking* an evil deed was exactly the same as doing it! No points for impulse control! I don’t choose not to believe in that god–I simply couldn’t choose TO believe in such a thing. Don’t “men of God” like Huckabee, Dobson, and Fisher realize they are driving people away from religion? Why would I ever want a child of mine to be indoctrinated into that brand of religion in the public school that he attends?

      As a small child I was exposed to week-long revivals about the Book of Revelations, end-times, Armageddon, plagues, the Rapture, judgment day. Those were things so scary to a shy, timid little girl like me. Mike Huckabee reminded us about judgment day. He thinks we should be “god fearing.” That kind of things just gives me a knot in my stomach.

      I am not against religion–not at all. I am open to the idea that human beings are hard-wired for religion, and goodness knows, the world is a scary place and many people take comfort in their particular faith. But religion itself should not promote hatred or be scary or dangerous!

      If more Christians were like you, John, Christianity would not be such a turn-off to others. You yourself, of course, did not “owe” anyone an apology, but it’s good to see that you do speak out against dangerous religious ideology.

      Respectfully,

      • Thank you DJ! Your honesty and passion are clear here. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me.

        Our church believes that ALL PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD, and I hope many who haven’t felt heard or seen recenlty, do now.

        Peace to you.

      • Maybe more people need to be against ‘Religion’, and by religion, I mean the man-made doctrine that brings forth confusion, false-teaching and holier-than-thou attitudes. Being ‘Christian’ has nothing to do with religion, denominational membership, or church attendance and everything to do with being ‘Christ-like'; loving, forgiving, and obeying the Will of God. The Pharisees were ‘religious’ and they didn’t recognize The Messiah when He was standing right in front of them, because He didn’t fit their agenda. I think Pastor John ‘hit the nail on the head’ by apologizing for the comments of those religious men and by pointing out that God gave us freewill. It’s our choice whether to obey or disobey. I cringe every time I hear a so-called Christian blaming God or putting words in God’s mouth, on National TV. Have we forgotten that Satan is the Prince of the power of the air and that he’s read the end of the Book? He knows he loses in the end, so the only way he can continue to reign on earth, is to delay the ‘Fullness of the Gentiles’. What better way to do that than cause confusion by false-teaching, and putting the blame on God. We need to put aside the doctrine, tradition and commandments of men and get back to the basics . . . Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Thanks, Pastor John!!

      • Cinme, thanks for the beautiful, thoughtful response. I greatly appreciate it!

      • DJ, It’s so sad to read comments like yours, knowing that someone had the opportunity to teach you the Word of God, but chose to scare you and turn you against it instead. God doesn’t want us shaking in our shoes, scared to death of Him; He wants us to love Him, so He can love us in return. Fear of the Lord should be a healthy, positive thing; A humble respect of His great power and authority, while placing yourself in submission to Him and His Will. I guess it’s the submission thing that we all have trouble dealing with :-) Praying for you and yours!!

  10. Anne Kindred Willis on said:

    If only THIS were in the mainstream. But no, the sane, caring folk are just quietly going about LIVING their faith, not yammering on with a bunch of offensive nonsense. Amen to your thoughts.

    • Thank you Anne! The beauty of this week, has been seeing just how many people out there have responses other than the ones perpetuated by Dobson and Huckabee.

      Yes, that is what it all comes down to isn’t it; how you live what you believe?

      Greatly appreciate the encouraging words!

  11. Thanks for sharing this John.

  12. Thank you so much for this post! Portraying God as vengeful, divisive and exclusive just pushes people away. It’s already sad that people are more readily apt to believe in a Lower Power rather than a kind and loving Higher Power. God gave us free will and, of course, the Unholy Trinity can say and speak what they like. They just can’t seem to see that spreading fear is NOT spreading the Word of God. We can’t change how they act much less what they think but if more people like you don’t speak up, all we hear are their cries from the wilderness because that is where they are right now. Jesus may be the Son of God but He said Himself that we are ALL children of God.

    And I am not Christian but believe that God gave us free will and brains to use. Some people are just not carrying God’s message just their own.

  13. Debbie Beall on said:

    I have no interest in defending Mike Huckabee or James Dobson, (though I must admit to hearing the Huckabee quote, and I didn’t interpret it as a direct cause and effect.) Mr. Huckabee is capable of defending his own position. I have a couple of questions. I am curious about your comment about their agenda. You said “give ammo to their agenda and credence to their cause.” What does that mean? You also mentioned “some things as incomprehensible as they are, are what they are.” There is absolutely no comfort or hope in that statement. I’m left with a sense that my fears, my helplessness, and the darkness and evil I sense is merely part of life. That the God I worship has left me with other infallible human beings to describe and fix problems that are so much bigger than we are equipped to fix. I want to know what God does think about us. I want to know that He has standards, that He stands ready to strengthen our feeble attempts at obedience. I don’t trust myself or anyone else to protect me, we are too self seeking to be honest or truthful. For me, the “I’m sorry” at the end of the article was empty of the power of God. I think I understand what you were trying to do; to explain that God does not punish us with these kinds of horrendous events. I agree with you. It’s just not enough to offer an apology for what is perceived as wrongheaded thinking. What if you are as wrong as Dobson or Huckabee? The evil that visited Conneticut was so tragic, heart wrenching and frightening it required more than apologetic statement from one flawed human being to two more. The sad part; I have weighed in with my flawed opinion, I wonder what our God thinks. Has anyone asked Him? Would we listen to the answer?

    • Hi Debbie!

      I could very well be wrong, but my responsibility is to be as faithful and obedient in what I see in the world and responding to it as I feel God prompts me. I know that the Pharisees were religious, smart, God-loving people, and they were often missing what God was doing.

      As far as the “agenda and cause” I mentioned, it is the continual playing of the “God is angry at America because of gays and abortion” card. I think it’s a cheap and easy way to explain evil in the world, and a quick way to rile-up their listening base.

      When I said some things “just are what they are”, I meant that, it is quite likely that this horrific event, was that a sick individual used his God-given free will to do something unspeakable. Maybe there is no “reading into it”, as Dobson and Huckabee have done… Maybe this shooting is not America’s fault,but the shooters.

      Thanks so much for caring enough to reply. Hope you have a great last week of 2012. Blessings.

  14. amen, amen, amen

  15. Lynn Palser on said:

    So many people do not understand that God is loving and would never chose to hurt others. Thanks for not being afraid to stand up and say it!

  16. missy @ it's almost naptime on said:

    Did you listen to Dobson’s podcast in its entirety? Please tell me you did.

    Salon grossly misrepresented his message.

    Dobson spent the majority of the time saying that we have too many neglected and abused children in our country. Agreed. That the breakdown of the family leads to the breakdown of society. Agreed. The paragraphs that were quoted, when listened in the context of the entire interview, were rather benign.

    He was not being hateful.

    He was expressing his concern that our nation is becoming more and more amoral and as a result, there are more abortions and other violence. All he said about gay marriage – the words of which he did not even say – was that it is another sign of changing the definition of family.

    As far as Connecticut specifically being God’s judgment on us, i disagree with him, but he makes his point. If anything, his argument would be that it is a judgment on us for neglecting our children, which is what 80% of his podcast focussed on. He summed it up by praying for a revival.

    You can disagree with him, but I believe he is being vilified. And I am not a huge Dobson fan either. But I don’t like to see anyone’s words twisted. Ive had it happen to me snd it’s not fun.

    http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/family-talk/custom-player/cleaning-house-raising-responsible-kids-i-316545.html

    • Hey Missy! Great stuff here. In short, I will just say that I’ve heard the unedited comments. I think they later talked around what they said, but still meant what Salon says that they said.

      This is not for Dobson and Huckabee, an isolated event, but a history of using the “God is angry at America” card in times of crisis and tragedy. I am not saying they are hateful. I am saying that there teachings and message here are Biblically incorrect, misleading and unnecessary in times like this, when they should be calling people to prayer and comfort.

      I believe Dobson, Huckabee, Robertson and others, know what gets their bases riled-up, and I think they can and should put down that agenda.

      Thanks for the great feedback!

  17. Very well said, and needed. The paragraph “…that God is not in the ‘nation’ business…” is spot on and says so much. We as Americans have this idea that we’re special in the eyes of God over and above other countries. But we are not special, not any more special than every man, woman and child that Christ died for. It’s the individual’s heart that God is interested in, not the country’s policies.

    • Thanks for the affirmation. Yes, that’s exactly the point. God has a bigger agenda than America. God is in the business of redeeming the world. (Post on this coming tonight:)

      Appreciate your response!

  18. YOU STOOD STRONG LIKE A PROPHET. Be careful because there are those who destroy prophets. The truth of your words has pricked all of our hearts and that is uncomfortable, so is the grief. I am grateful to have read your point of view, Jonh.

  19. JeffreyInNashville on said:

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, John. But I have to say this. One, I am a gay man; two, I was married at one time and have a thirteen year old son, and; three, because of number two, I am not a *supporter* of abortion, but I do not believe a government should tell a woman what she can or cannot do to her body. Lastly, but not least, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my (and yours, and everyone else’s) sins.That being said, were you implying that God go after the homosexuals and abortion supporters, or were you merely repeating what Huckabee and Dobson (and Falwell, and Phelps and countless others) spew? I am assuming you will get my email address with my reply, and would like your view on this. If that is what you think, I won’t hate you. Your words of compassion and love I hope helped some confused and angry individuals as this country heals during this wonderful time of the year. Again, bless you, and have a Merry Christmas! (Yes, I said, “Merry Christmas”)

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments, and no, I was absolutely NOT saying God should go after homosexuals and abortion supporters, but illustrating the flawed thinking of those I critiqued, who seem to imply that God is mad at one segment of the population, and is attacking another to make His point (as if God is passive-aggressive, or wants to confuse people). Using their theory of God’s wrath, I question why God wouldn’t just be direct, and show His displeasure clearly so we all would know. (All of this to point out how silly and very un-Godly those very ideas are). Sorry if that was unclear.

      This blog post came out of a passion for protecting people from fear-based, agenda-pushing teaching, designed to choose an easy target. I despise bullies; even Christian ones, and felt I need to speak to that this week.

      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to share your heart and your story. Hope we talk again soon.

      Merry Christmas to you!

      • JeffreyInNashville on said:

        That’s what I thought, and thank you for clarifying that. And yes, “Christians” can be the meanest bullies of them all. That makes me have that much more respect (and TRUE Christian love) for you. Where do you preach? I would like to hear you some time.

      • Thank you.

        I serve as Student Ministries Pastor at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, and speak on Sunday morning in a team rotation.

        You can visit this link, and type in my name to hear some past messages. I recommend the “LOWLIFE” series messages, and one I gave last Sunday as part of our “Christmas on Memory Lane” series.

        http://gsumc.org/Media_Resources.ihtml?id=686621

  20. Nick Cosimano on said:

    Well said.

  21. I agree with van gogh. This is like a media ‘twist’/spin zone. Dobson & Huckabee are not ‘blaming’ the victims. Wow. Really? They are simply referring to the absence of God in schools and the increasing violence as a result. I would encourage you to look at the statistics of drug use, violence, crime, bullying and pre-marital sex in our youth….pre- and post ‘prayer’ in schools. Staggering. But, being a pastor, i think you would probably already know that, but agree with it, as well. I think you should apologize for ‘bearing false witness’ against your fellow pastors. Sad. Is the post that you have written here, in ANY way COMFORTING to the families of the shooting victims? Is this what Jesus would do? I think not. Shame on you.

    • Hey Deli, I understanding your anger, however, you seem to be implying that just because these men are well-known or have a high profile, that they are exempt from questions and above accountability. On the contrary, the Bible says that they are moreso,

      As I have mentioned, I have been doing in-the-trenches” ministry with teens and in schools for 15 years, and I understand what are youth are doing, and the culture they live in. Prayer in schools is irrelevant to me. We have Christians in schools; as many as ever. God sees them, not the rules of a school system or government. To me, it is irresponsible, un-Biblical and insensitive to make the suggestions these men are making.

      If speaking passionately and defending people from teaching that I believe is false or misleading, even if spoken by those who have a reputation, then yes, shame on me.

      Thank you for contributing to this conversation. I believe it is an important one, and greatly appreciate you taking the time.

      • I am so discouraged by Christians attacking, judging the motives of others, and generally trying to clarify what THEY see as the good news by being against one another. Speak what is true. It can stand on its own, without tearing down others.

      • Hi Jo,

        Part of being a Christian is being accountable; for the things you do and the things you say. Leaders have an even higher standard, especially ones whose voice is so public. Part of speaking the Truth, is holding it up against what we hear, to see if it is a reflection or not. I don’t believe what these men have said here does that, and spoke to that.

        We all have such a responsibility.

        Thanks very much for replying.

  22. Thank you for this post. I have had online conversations and in person conversations with people who have adopted the same belief that Huckabee and Dobson has adopted. I can only pray that what I said may have opened their minds to a different way of viewing God.

    • Thank you, Adele! I am doing my best to say what I feel God is calling me to say, knowing that I can’t assume I’m right but to keep seeking.

      Our church’s mission statement is “Inviting All People Into A Living Relationship With Jesus Christ”. I think more of the ALL PEOPLE need to be heard from.

      Thanks for being one of them!

  23. kurtryne on said:

    I read Mike Muckabee’s post on facebook a few days ago, in which he quoted a speech that he made regarding the Newtown tragedy (I believe you quoted that speech in an above comment). I understand and appreciate your view, John, and I think you are exactly right to say that compassion (or at least conveying it) is often absent from the responses of some of America’s Christian leaders. There is certainly an agenda begin pushed on both sides of the coin. The left-side is pushing for gun control and Christians on the right side are pushing to get God “back into schools.” There’s a lot I could say, but I will try to be brief. I see the good in what you said in your blog and in the things that Huckabee has said. From my perspective, what Huckabee was implying is that when the government requires teachers to teach worldly views and does not allow Biblical principles and stories to be taught to students, it creates an open window for sin. In addition, there are many American ideals that are taught by our culture that are not of God. This increases the opportunity for sin and disfunction. This is what I think Huckabee was trying to say. I did not get the idea that he was blaming God for what happened. Now, where Huckabee did not go, is where your blog picks up. While the American culture, government, and politics has in many ways made more opportunity for the Enemy to gain strongholds, these are the times in which Jesus should shine…through His bride. When tragedies happen, when things are the darkest, is when the Light of Christ should shine brightest; it is when grace and compassion and love should abound all the more.

    Please do not think that I am saying that the things said by Huckabee and Dobson and others are the appropriate response, but I do see truth in what they said (well, Huckabee at least- he’s the only one I’ve read). Anyways, I hope what I’ve said has been helpful. I like the comments on this blog because they have all been very respectful and not attacking like so many others. I’m open to discussion as long as it strives to create unity and not division.

    God bless, and thanks for sharing.

    • Can’t add much to this, kurtryne. Great thoughts and balance.

      Yes, this has been a great, respectful discussion, with a huge spectrum of beliefs and ideas, and that has been so gratifying.

      Thank you for contributing to that! Blessings.

    • Kurtryne,

      I’m glad you are open for discussion.

      Is the government really requiring teachers to teach “worldly” views, American ideals that are not from God? Since you were not specific, I wondered what you meant. I couldn’t help but notice that in a photo of one of the little boys that was killed at Sandy Hook, there was a very large display labeled “Cultivating Character” visible in his classroom behind him. I couldn’t read it all, but I’m pretty sure it was something that God would have approved of, and something that all faiths could embrace. The little boy was from a Jewish family, so which Biblical principles should be inculcated into children with parents of faiths other than Christian, or no faith at all, (including faiths not based on the Bible), and who gets to decide? I can imagine that even some parents might not want their children taught the particular brand of religion (i.e., punitive god) that Mike Huckabee espouses.

      I agree with you that discussion is good and that grace, compassion, and love should abound all the more. I think we all want to understand and be understood. There is nothing to fear in that.

      I appreciate that everyone has been so respectful on this forum, and that John has encouraged open and honest comments from everyone whether or not they agree or disagree with what he has said in his article.

      • That’s what it’s about DJ; conversation, as much as we can have in this way.

        I have chosen to print every comment on this blog, so long as it does not contain profanity or name-calling.

        I think this is exactly what we’re all called to do, to engage and refine.

        Appreciate you, brother!

  24. I really wish I could back you on this, but I just can’t. I have only heard, first hand, Mr. Huckabee’s statements and I happen to agree with him. I see so many people taking what he said and seeing it as God “punishing” or “blaming” the victims and that is not at ALL how I interpreted his speech. I think that’s a very slippery slope to stand on when you equate the idea that the events of Sandy Hook were some kind of “punishment” and not what they were – the natural consequence of removing God from our lives – not just specifically our schools. Not one thing in Mr. Huckabee’s speech eluded to the victims being to blame, but that we, as a people, have chosen to exclude God from our *lives* (not just schools) and no longer teach absolute truth and consequences (only situational ethics) and are now reaping the natural consequences – like when you (hopefully) learned about cause and effect in school. Why does God allow kids to get cancer? Is He punishing them? No, but are they suffering the natural consequences of what we’ve done to this earth (through pollution) or what we’ve done to our food (through agricultural toxins), etc. Therefore, He’s allowing the natural consequences of this dying, sin-ridden world to play out. Additionally, Mr. Huckabee didn’t advocate that the Bible should be doctrinally taught in schools. He simply pointed out that we “teach” rules and laws, but never address where those rules or laws come from (the 10 commandments – which apparently you can’t even say anymore). We don’t teach Biblical principles anymore. There’s no need to teach cause and affect because it’s OK to be whatever you want – that’s your choice. I felt he really addressed the all encompassing issue here. We can point to individual, humanist causes all we want – mental illness, lack of gun control, lack of school safety, violence in the media, etc. Those are simply symptoms of a bigger disease. That disease – a Godless nation and Godless schools is to what Mr. Huckabee was referring. These symptoms are just how the enemy likes to bring about fear and confusion. The more we cloud the issue with trying to be specific in finding a humanistic cause (example: “oh, it’s video games” or “it’s what they watch on tv,” or “it’s what they listen to on the radio,” or “it’s because guns are accessible,” or “kids have chemical imbalances.”), the more the enemy blinds us to the overall common denominator in every, single, example – lack of God from our lives/hearts, our marriages, our households, our society, our entertainment, our media, and yes, our schools. Scripture does tell us that God will never leave us nor forsake us, but He’ll also not bang down our door where He’s not wanted or chasing after individuals who are not seeking after Him. The very idea that Christians are being torn apart because they’re incorrectly interpreting one man’s words, in my opinion, is just another way the enemy continues to divide and conquer. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

    • Hi Heather. Thanks for the great thoughts.

      To say we have “pushed God out”, begs the question, just who makes up the WE that Mr Huckabee is referring to? Is it 20 percent of Americans? 40 percent? 90 percent? Is God in Heaven waiting for us to reach a certain percentage before we are free from these tragic acts?

      This thought process also chooses to speak for millions of people who follow Christ? Who are they to say who has, pushed god out?

      This theology of “we push God out, bad stuff happens” is very dangerous. Obviously in our personal lives, when we refuse to be obedient to God, there are consequences, but I believe God handles that individually. I don’t think He lumps nations into one group, and I don’t think America has a moral condition, only each of its people does. Regardless of the spin, I feel that assertion in much of Dobson and Huckabee’s teaching.

      Thanks again.

  25. Thank you, John, for your important and timely message. If more people of faith would challange such hurtful messages as Huckabee’s and Dobson’s, perhaps more people would come to find a God of love, hope, and redemption, instead of believing that Christians and other people of faith represent such an angry, bitter, spiteful and mean God. Bless you and Merry Christmas.

  26. Thank you for your kind response to my questions. This is an interesting thread with people from all over the spectrum (believers and non-believers and many in between) chiming in. I know this question is one that is regularly asked but I would appreciate your perspective. As a believer yourself, if God is good then why is there so much evil, tragedy, and suffering in the world? I hear you when you say that God is not a jilted boyfriend but I wonder why so many have to die in such a horrific way and where God is in all of this??? It is hard to believe in a God like that. I certainly don’t want to be callous or disrespectful, but I hear people say things like: “God had nothing to do with that tragedy, etc.” With respect, where was he. It’s hard to believe in a God who was taking a nap or on a smoke break while others were perishing. Thanks for your response.

    • kurtryne on said:

      Captmccrae- I’m sure you were asking this question to John who wrote the blog entry. It caught my eye though, and I would like to respond. This is something that I wrestled with deeply for a time, and it still causes me to wonder sometimes. I think one of the biggest reasons that people wrestle with the question you presented is because our perception of who God is, is based on our own ideas and not actually who He is. We hear things like, God is all powerful and all good. We hear things like God is love. While these things are true, they may not mean what a lot of people think they mean.
      Tragedies have been happening ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the beginning. Cain murdered his brother Abel (a man pleasing to God, an innocent victim). In the time of Elijah, Queen Jezebel killed many of God’s people. Many of God’s own prophets did not die of natural causes. In the beginning of time, man chose sin and that choice has consequences….tragic consequences. This does not mean that it is God’s will for these things to happen- God’s grief over tragedies is much more than our own.
      These are not easy answers, and they usually take time and divine revelation to accept and be at peace with. Nonetheless, it is something that needs to be wrestled with. Satan wants people to believe that God is like Superman or countless other super heros, in the sense that He is supposed to “save the day” and do everything that is right in the sight of man. If Satan can get us to believe that, then we will believe in a god who is subject to us instead of us being subject to Him. We don’t write the rules, He does. The important question is not, “What do we think is right?” The important question is, “If God is real, then what is He like?” If God is real, and if He really did create everything, then isn’t He the judge? Isn’t He the one who decides what is right and wrong? Does it really matter what we think God should be like?
      I ask these questions, not to try to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong. Please don’t read it like that. I ask those questions to provoke serious thought.

      A few things to consider before I end. Consider the story of Job in the Old Testament…not easy to wrestle with, but very important. Of most importance, consider the cross. Think about what God went through when His only Son was on the cross…He did that willingly for us, for all mankind. Finally, ask God to reveal to you His goodness, mercy, and love, and then listen for His response (it may not be immediate). Ask Him for wisdom too. He gives freely to those who are willing to hear. I hope this enables you to come to a place of rest in the arms of the Father who loves you so much. I do not expect that you will receive my words after first reading them, but I do hope they spark something in you that leads to something greater.

      Feel free to let me know how this hits you. You won’t offend me. I sincerely hope that you can feel the love and goodness of God chasing you down in the coming days (Psalm 23).

      Blessings,
      KurtRyne

  27. marty happle on said:

    Everyone is making good points, and I do not listen to Dobson at all but I did watch a clip of Huckabee. It might help a little for him to give us an amplified version of what he meant, but I do not think it represents the total love and grace of God. The bottom line is that they are looking for government to legislate Christianity back into the public sector for stuff like this to stop happening and that is not the case. He also mentioned the removing of the 10 commandments as a problem and that is not what represents Christianity either. The anti-God crowd is actually doing the church a favor by removing the 10 Commandments for us, it is now up to the church to have John 3:16 put up everywhere. Jesus said to preach the gospel. Unsaved politicians honoring Christian morals is not going to help. When Christ is being represented by the 10 commandments then we are all guilty and that’s not what He came to do. The world has the wrong perception of God because of this.

  28. This is really perfectly said and I’m so glad you took the time and effort to do so! I too am sorry, for everyone that is grieving, not only about the the tragedy but about how sad our “religion” is right now. I baffles me how these “religious giants” seem to believe in a micromanaging God that is so small. I believe in a GIANT GOD, and would like to see way less “leadership” from these small minded men, who unfortunately are more concerned with politics than faith and love.

  29. Thank you for your words and your sound, sane reasoning. I wish more voices like yours existed, or at least found their way to rise above the din of the horribly wrong-headed few who seem to think they have a license to speak for God.

  30. Kathy Barnes on said:

    Wow, I just read all the comments, As a Christian and a Minister I do not believe that any of this was in Gods plan, I truly believe God did show up, He showed up in the teachers who protected the kids and put their own life in danger and some of them lost their life saving the kids, God showed up in the hundreds and thousands of prayers and donations to the victems familys. God showed up in the love being poured ont on Newtown. My question is why no one is talking about why satan was able to waltz into that school and open fire… Why a young man so mentaly disturbed was able to kill his mother, 27 people and himself. It is my thoughts that the why is just that, this young man was overtaken by evil and acted out. Weather it be mental health, drugs or a conbanation of the two. Yet as far as stating that it is because we have outed God from our schools, I do not for one think we are able to out God from anywhere with excerption of our own life. We have the choice to choose God and walk in His Word or choose Satan and walk in his evil. God gave us free will and sadly a lot choose to follow evil… It was Evil that showed up that day.

    • Awesome thoughts, Kathy! Keep up the great work out there!

    • I believe God was primarily there comforting the scared children and teachers as they died. Where best for the loving healing of our Lord? He calmed their fears, healed their bodies and gave them the loving hug of a father. Evil, when chosen, may not be stopped but his are the hands of the ultimate healer. I believe THAT is where God was that day.

  31. Speaking as only one non-Christian, I can only say that it is heartening to hear from a Christian pastor whom I believe to be saying, “Please don’t judge all Christians by the words of a few very high-profile, and always prolific pontificators.”

    And John, I am not trying to put words in your mouth. I’m just saying what I heard.

    Which I find to be infinitely more comforting than the first self-appointed Christian spokesman on Fox News.

    Those words are the reason so many of us give more than a subtle nod to the words of Gandhi:

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

    Namaste.

    Dee

    • Dee, this is greatly encouraging to me, and it is my heart. I believe God often has very bad Public Relations, and do hope this blog starts good conversations, that are above rhetoric and grandstanding. I hope people like you come to at least find a trace of goodness and Grace in them.

      So appreciate you taking the time!

  32. @GrowSomeValues on said:

    Your schedule must be busy following around all your parishioners apologizing for them. I’m sure they do some silly things to. Maybe you should focus on apologizing for your own sins instead of apologizing for some foolish comment someone else said. to me this is just as silly. Just saying #plankeye.

    • Hey GS.

      I don’t follow people in my church around, but I do LOVE them, which means a balance of acceptance OF them and challenge TO them. Jesus doesn’t say not to judge, He sees we are judged with the measure we use. I am evaluating Dobson and Huckabee’s words, which is how the Body of Christ works. I am willing to have my words evaluated too.

      We can love one another while still holding a standard up before each other.

      I apologized for them, because their voices have power, and in this case, that power feels damaging to people who might think they alone speak for God or for other Christians, like myself. The Pharisees were great, religious people, but they often missed God. It’s possible for me and for you, and for “professional Christians”.

      It’s OK to refine one another through discussion. It’s Biblical.

      • @GrowSomeValues on said:

        Mat 7:3-5 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

        Healthy discussion to refine is great. Confronting those in the wrong to get them on the right track is also biblical. So I presume you’ve sent them an email etc. trying to get them to hear your point of view and how they are wrong. No? I agree if they said what you have claimed, they are wrong. I don’t follow main stream news and have not heard their comments first hand. However apologizing for someone like you have done wreaks of self promotion by preying on the “sheep” to feed your ego and spread venom as they unknowingly, do a knee jerk Facebook, twitter etc. share without questioning, motive etc or checking biblical foundation. I myself have participated in spreading your kind of venom in that manner in the past so I know it when I see it. You have a great catchy title and you say what people want to hear but the way its framed comes across to me as pious and self-promoting to those like myself question why you, Huckabe etc say what they say. I didn’t see any healthy discussion in your post just pointing out someones splinter while you, just as as all sinners , have a plank in your own eye. Good luck with apologizing for all the Christians that have powerful voices and they say wrong things. I’m sure you will prosper greatly in a worldly manner feeding the Sheep what they want to hear. Your posts will continue to be shared as it spouts passive aggressive venom as its packaged in a nice little bow.
        Try apologizing for your own transgressions next time. Apologizing for someone else in the manner you did is well….. plank eye.

    • donna eli on said:

      Ditto. I whole-heartedly agree with
      GrowSomeValues. All posts. That said, I will not follow this blog any longer. I would encourage others to do the same.

      • Thank you Donna.

      • It is extremely disheartening to me to read some of the comments that have been posted on this site as a result of what is obviously the caring and thoughtful concern of a Man of God and Faith.
        He did not ridicule or belittle, He never condemned anyone, he simply stated the fact as laid out by these men’s own words, aligned with the teachings of Scripture, and stated what should actually be easily recognizable to all true believers in Christ, the implications of silently allowing this type of action to continue.
        Jesus taught by example. He ended the old Covenant and sealed all of us within the New. I do not live under the Law, or the requirements of the Law, since Christ Himself clearly said if you do that—YOU must keep the entire Law! I strongly suggest you read what all that entails before going back to the Old Testament to condemn and Judge others. Yes you are absolutely right; God and our Lord will have final Judgment. BUT Christ also showed that by His actions on the Cross, until you draw your last breath salvation and redemption is possible. The Judgment only comes after Death. When the Adulteress was brought before Christ by the Church, and the Leaders of the Church, and was asked to pronounce Judgment upon her while living, and available for redemption He refused. Christ does not punish this side of the Judgment Seat. He does not condemn Nations, this side of the Mercy Seat. His plan is for the Salvation and Sanctification of all who will come unto Him until the very end. —-And something for all of you “Bible Thumping Fear Monger” Christians to consider. According to the very Words you preach and condemn with; if this young man truly was disturbed and not of sound mind; if it was a mental illness and not an evil choice (and I for one know not, I am certainly not omnipotent.) Then God loved him as well, He died for him, just like you and me; the God I serve and Love has compassion for all who draw nigh unto Him, no matter the Midnight Hour. It’s time that we as Christians get out of the Blaming Game and back into the leading People to Salvation Game. Jesus Christ himself said that many would come in His name, Preaching and Teaching and even preforming Miracles, Yet He would tell them to depart from Him. If you cannot show God’s Mercy and truth now, what hope do you have of showing it after there is no need for faith any longer?? Faith is the evidence of Things hoped for, things not seen. If you look at the explanation on this site and still feel a sense of self-righteousness, maybe, just maybe, it is your own soul you should be searching, Christ came to offer life and offer it more abundantly. Too often in this day and age we get in the way of what God has planned for us simply because we choose to condemn above comfort, pray against instead of pray for, Judge others before we judge ourselves. Only if we as a Church begin to see where we have went astray can we ever hope to have the non-believer Walk in the Abundant Way.

      • All I can add is Thank you and Amen, Miles.

  33. I have been reading all of these comments and I wanted to offer my encouragement to you. I sincerely feel your intent and I get you and understand what you are saying. Thank you for bringing this to light and I wish you many blessings.

  34. I’ve never read your blog before; I was brought to this from a friend’s post on Facebook. I want to thank you for expressing this so eloquently and with such grace. I grew up in Arkansas where people like Huckabee tend to be the more outspoken arm of Christianity. It is good to see a more compassionate view.

  35. Hello Friends,

    Just wanted to take a quick second, and thank you all for reading, commenting and sharing this post and blog, regardless of your perspective, or whether or not we agree.

    The response this week has frankly, been overwhelming, and has made long replies difficult, but I have tried and will continue to try to do so, albeit briefly.

    I am grateful to have you all be a part of this conversation, and that it is been happening in such a respectful, thoughtful manner, (which is rare in social media. :)

    I believe it’s important to have real discussions about important things. I believe we are proving here, that we can be passionate and disagree, and still affirm one another’s humanity and treat one another with dignity.

    Thanks again for your participation and feedback.

    I greatly appreciate you all!

    John

  36. What they are saying is:

    One, not that GOD is being kept out of school by people….rather HE has chosen to remove HIS hand of protection from a country that refuses to follow HIS laws….the 10 commandments!

    Two, by removing HIS hand of protection from a country going in an opposite direction from HIS values, we can expect these sorts of things to happen.

    Three, no HE is not a grudge holder! But, he will allow the spirit of the anti-Christ full reign to get the attention of wayward nations. Exs. Pharaoh, Lot’s wife, Sodom and Gamorrah, Noah’s Ark, just to name a few. Of course, those who don’t study their bible are ignorant of these facts.

    And, yes, GOD did give everyone a free will. Some choose to use that will to follow the anti-Christ and do horrific things. GOD could have easily stopped it, HE alone has the power over the anti-Christ. But, he did remove HIS hand of protection for a time that day, until HE found HIS believers, in the form of angels on earth, that gave their lives to save many more and stop the carnage of innocents. (Strange how 1st graders are innocents, but unborn babies in the womb aren’t….don’t you think that is a bit hypocritical?)

    And, yes, GOD did send JESUS into this world to build HIS nation one person at a time. How? By all who believe in HIS son JESUS. Without doing that, a person is not a part of GOD’S nation….the truth that many want to erase from GOD’S words.

    And, John Pavlovitz has twisted their words. That would be called slander bearing false witness and breaking GOD’S 9th law. Just sayin!

    • KC,

      I appreciate to taking the time to comment.

      I included these men’s exact words, and made my statements regarding those words, and I stand by them. I have not needed to twist their words. I believe you may be trying to do so here, by claiming that they meant something else.

      Bearing false witness is to intentionally lie or mislead. I have simply stated my opinion of them, as you have done here.

      Thanks again for commenting.

  37. Michele on said:

    Thank you for sharing what so many of us feel. Beautifully written!

  38. Patrick on said:

    Christianity: You’re doing it right.

  39. I truly appreciate your comment. The truth of the matter, no matter how we look at it or want to change it to suit our individual belief system is that we have been commanded by Christ to go forth and spread the Gospel, that is, to preach the Good News of the Salavation through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is the Pastor’s job to guide his flock, Prophets are delegated by our Lord to Admonish the believer. Broadcasting a message of prophetic doom about cause and effect is not now, nor has it ever been a part of God’s command to the Church. We encourage love and guide. Let the Holy Spirit admonish, rebuke , and correct Believers for the error’s of their ways. Your comments were absolutely appropriate considering the context and meaning of the original statement, and yes I heard it word for word as well.

  40. John,
    As a pastor, I am always concerned about what I said being misheard, misunderstood or misinterpreted. I believe all if the above can be applied to your ‘apology’.

    I cannot speak to what Dr. Dobson has said concerning the tragedy of this Friday past. However, Gov. Huckabee’s statements were in direct response to a pointed question, “How could God let this happen?” In my humble opinion, he answered the best way anyone possibly could. Because of his honest and clear answer, he has been systematically maligned by the very people who would ask the question in the first place. Your words have been added to the chorus of those who would use this kind of tragedy for their own benefit.
    I would ask, have you attempted to address your feelings with either Mr. Huckabee or Dr. Dobson before airing your discontent in the public forum?

    • Hey Todd,

      Their platform is the public forum with very public words. They have heard my feelings on those words in a public forum. I am ministering to others as well, and in real-time, I felt people needed to hear my response.

      Had I access to them, believe me I would use it.

      As I have said, isolated phrases can be misunderstood or twisted, but not a pattern of pulling the “God is angry at America” card.

      Appreciate you feedback here. Keep up the great ministry out there!

    • Todd, I would suggest that a key problem with Gov. Huckabee’s answer was that he phrased it in a way that bought into the proposition that “God let this happen.”

      Historically, God hasn’t responded very kindly to such suggestions. When Job asked a similar question about all the misery he experienced, God’s response was: “Who is this that darkens counsel without knowledge? … Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

      As Abraham Lincoln once put it, “God has his own agenda.” To buy into the notion that he knows what God was doing in regards to Newtown, Huckabee shows the same kind of hubris for which God chastised Job.

      Instead of buying into the notion that we are merely victims of God’s discretionary whims, Huckabee could have responded that we don’t have the wisdom to question God’s involvement or lack thereof. But we have been given free will and the ability to take strength from his guidance, try to live our lives accordingly, show love to others, and as individuals be the change we want to see in the world.

  41. God as a punisher is Pagan. Pure Pagan. In ancient Rome, the early Christians set themselves apart from the Pagans by believing in a loving God, and strong community. And pooling money to support the most vulnerable members of that community rather than ostentatious displays of wealth as the leading Pagans did.

    Early Christians also disliked worshiping a punishing God because this was the root cause of their own oppression. The Pagans blamed them for every bad thing that happened to the crops or the army because the Christians refused to hold the required sacrifices to appease the Gods.

    Christianity seriously needs to return to its roots.

  42. John,

    I think it’s wonderful that you shouted out your concerns about the message people heard from some with a high profile in Christian circles. I think, too, that it speaks of your heart of compassion and openness that you’ve responded to so many of the replies people have posted here on your blog. I agree with your suggestion that it is in so many ways careless at best to suggest that these poor children were vehicles for God’s punishment on a wayward nation. At the same time, I think it’s difficult to do a thorough reading of the Old Testament and come away with the idea that nations can do whatever they choose without consequence. As in many things we see in Scripture, it seems to me that there has to be some balance between God working on and with individuals, but also His call to nations to pursue holiness and live within the boundaries of His precepts.

    Thanks for taking the time to speak words of compassion on behalf of the families of Newtown who are surely overwhelmed with grief, and for your willingness to challenge those in very visible positions to speak with caution. Blessings to you and yours.

  43. joyce frazier on said:

    I personally know Mike Huckabee and you are way off track. You should apologize to him.

    • Mike said what he said Joyce. That’s all I can go on. I respect him. I know He loves God. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with his words.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • John, I personally know Jesus Christ as my savior and I feel the love that his father has blanketed you with in order for you to preach His gospel and ease the pain of his children. As the English say, “Keep calm and carry on.”

      • You’re the best, Mary. I shall!

  44. As an atheist — a basically decent, moral, law-abiding atheist — I have been enormously angered and disappointed by the responses to Newtown coming out of some sectors of the Christian community. Your post is a wonderful reassurance that there are Christians who don’t feel that way, and who — more importantly — are prepared to stand up to those that do.

    You have nothing to apologize for, but I’m very thankful for the apology, all the same.

  45. Yes! As a Christian, a missionary, I have spent a lot of time this week trying to explain to those I serve that this is not what I feel or think. Beautiful Job.

  46. Thank you for saying and doing what every Christian should to shame these hateful, evil men. They should be ridiculed and ignored until they no longer have a platform from which to spew forth their filth.

  47. stmforum on said:

    Your words have helped restore my faith in ministers. These preachers who use God to threaten people who disagree with then remind me of parents I’ve seen in restaurants who try to make their young children behave by pointing to a policeman who happens to be in a nearby table and saying, “If you don’t act right, he’s going to arrest you.” Policemen I have known tell me they hate that – partly because they were just trying to go about their real business, partly because it’s not their job to teach table manners to someone else’s kid, and partly because it can make it harder for them to win the trust of that kid when he/she gets older.

  48. As the old quote has it, it is not necessary for evil people to do something; it is sufficient for good people to do nothing.

    Thank you for resisting the temptation/pressure to “do nothing”, and speaking out.

    In fact, the compassionate and responsible folks *are* the mainstream. It’s just that they aren’t the ones actively seeking to be heard. Time, and past time, to start speaking out and policing your own before you’re seen as supporting them.

  49. Jeff W in MO on said:

    Amen! Alleluia!

  50. Drumdude13 on said:

    You should be sorry. You’re incredibly reckless and pathetic in your remarks.

    • You’re free to say so, Drumdude13.

      I stated something out of conviction and passion, and tried to express it as clearly and thoughtfully as I could.

      That’s all any of us can do.

  51. I didnt get that from what Huckabee was saying at all. Nor do I think he was in any way blaming. I got that he is merely saying that when you remove the author of right and wrong from society then society no longer knows what is right and wrong. There is no moral compass. Each individual becomes their own compass and everybody ends up lost.

    • I think that can be true for individuals, not for countries.

      The shooter removed God from the proceedings, not America, the school system or any other entity.

      Thanks for replying.

  52. Thank you, Pastor John for voicing what I have been feeling all week. You have a new follower.

  53. Thank you for the wise words. I disagree on God not being in the classroom. As a Christian and veteran public school elementary teacher of 27 years, the following is what I believe: God is in classrooms all across our nation. He is in each teacher who views the teaching profession as a calling to serve Him. We do His work as we treat the students as Jesus would have. Show them the way to live in a society as productive, contributing members. Counsel and support them as they face uncertainties and difficulties. Show them they are worthy of love and that their teacher cares about them enough to discipline them on their path to being the best they can possibly be. If we, as teachers, ever forget that God is using us as a vehicle to make a difference in a child’s life, we are sorely missing the big picture!

  54. The Rev. Canon Dr. Clark M. Sherman on said:

    john, thank you for such a thoughtful and sensitive piece. i wish there were more voices out there likes yours. during the past 2000 years we have so perverted the Christian Faith, that it no longer represents the truth presented to us by Jesus of Nazareth. we need to return to the words & ways of The Master.

  55. Thanks for speaking my heart in this as well. I’m repeatedly disheartened by the “Christian” voice in the mainstream media. I hope more voices like yours get airtime.

  56. Frederick Mann on said:

    Thank you! Blessings! I am a Christian, an Episcopal Priest, and Dad. I could not do better than your words.

  57. While I appreciate that you are offended by offensive comments and willing to say so. I found one comment a little perplexing. God would not destroy a nation out of some who disobey? Well He did, many times as written in the Old Testament. Did you forget the Flood? Sodom and Gomorah? etc.
    While God is merciful and given us a mediator in Christ. One who has atoned for my wrongs. It does not change the fact that God does hate evil. He saw how it can play out in cases like Sandy Hook. Sent a Son to die, so our hearts can change so that our hateful hearts do not do the same thing.
    Chew on that, it is more edifying.

  58. what do you think you reap what you sow means
    sow seeds of murder and you reap it
    the bible clearly states abortion is murder

    • But what does that have to do with one person going and shooting up a classroom?

      We’re one of the most materialistic, greedy countries in the world? Could God be punishing us for that? Or pornography? Or divorce?

      Just don’t think we can assume what events can be attributed to what practices we engage in that are ungodly, as there are too many.

      Thanks for commenting, ELAN!

      • Well, you were the one who scoffed at the idea that God could judge an entire nation in your point number three. The writer was addressing your Comments about the issue. God IS grace and love and mercy, but he is also a righteous judge and He has reserved the right (and exercised many times) to judge nations. Both are inseparable parts of His nature. I haven’t heard either MH or JD’s comments so I will not weigh in on those.

      • K Guyt.

        Jesus came and created a” new nation”, one defined by faith in Him. I don’t believe works that way. That’s why He sent Christ.

        More on this idea here:

        http://wp.me/p2h2UO-j3

  59. David O'Donaghue on said:

    Dear Jon,
    First, Thank you for your important posting here.
    Second, I am deeply concerned by the state of Christianity these days. And when I read comments that say that the opinions of Huckabee and Dobson need to be taken as “brothers in Christ” I completely disagree. It is clear to me that anyone who would think that God uses the slaughter of innocent children as a means of communication is worhipping a very different God than me. I think its time to see that the growth of hate and vengeance and the affirmation of violence as a means of conveying God’s love, is not just wrong and sick theologically, it really is a different religion. I am much more akin to compassionate Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Moslems, than these sort of what-ever you ant to call them. Jesus would be sickened by their selective use of the Bible to condemn, blame and hate. It all comes down to love.
    Maybe we are moving to another major split in Christianity. These folks are either a sign of a very sick religion or they represent a moloch like tribal religion that needs to not be identified with the universal message of love and peace of Jesus Christ. What do these people want? They want prayer in schools, they want to deny science, they want some kind of selective adherence to the scriptures (since eating shell fish is as much as an abomination as a man sleeping with another man and I seriously doubt these people are kosher). They want their form of religion in Schools, completely insensitive to the diversity of religious beliefs and expression in America today. They want CONTROL. And is that what Jesus taught? They have the arrogance to think they know God’s will. And, instead of having faith that God is in charge, they are ready to arm themselves and our schools with mroe weapons so we have more shootouts when we disagree. Gee, this really is not the kind of world I want to live in and I’m pretty sure its not what Jesus had in mind.
    Remember the terrible tragedy of the Amish School shooting. The Amish responded in a amazingly Christ-like manner and thank God, these people were not around then to say that God was punishing the Amish for their way of life. Here was a religiously committed group of people who were the victims of an insane act of violence. God, turned his back on them as well?
    Its really time that pastors speak out and condemn this false theology and this false god that is being preached by “the brothers in Christ.” If the churches don’t respond then the silence is going to convey acceptance and even endorsement of this sort of message.

  60. The criticism here is unfounded but not unexpected. Those boldly proclaiming God’s judgment have always been unpopular, from Moses to Jeremiah to Paul. God voluntarily withdraws where He is unwelcome, just as Jesus told the disciples to wipe the dust of their feet when leaving unreceptive villages (how quickly we forget). God resists the proud, and America is generally too proud to want God’s help. Yes God offers grace to the humble individual, but He judges the nations as He has always done. Indeed in light of tragedy Jesus said “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish”, and as Peter preached, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So as you apologize for those wise enough to read the writing on the wall (writing of judgment for a wicked nation and ruler by God’s own hand – yep that’s in the Bible too), you muddy the waters so no one repents, no one reflects, no one finds the grace you ironically crow about. You are embarrassed that a sovereign God judges nations from Israel to Judah to Assyria to Babylon to Persia to Rome to America. I am sorry that God’s holy character is so embarrassing to you. No one is saying that the shooting was deserved; it was a terrible tragedy. Godly people throughout history have seen tragedy, repented, sought God’s face, and have asked “what must we do?” Strangely, you apologize for such reflection. Alas, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” And you have chosen to scatter. You might as well continue the thought and apologize for every prophet in history that by God’s command brought a stern warning to a disobedient people. That’s what the false prophets did, too.

  61. Deborah Evans on said:

    I thank you! Even David was challenged by the prophet when he did wrong. I agree that Huckabee’s and Dobson’s words and attitudes are only a few steps removed from Westboro. Regardless of whether they are false prophets or seriously misguided brethren in Christ, it makes no difference to their outcome. Their end result hurts the victims tremendously! I have been hurt by these kinds of Christians after suffering a tragedy. When a true representative of the love and grace of Christ steps up to comfort the victim by telling them these people are wrong, it helps tremendously! Not only do their words and actions hurt victims, they also hurt Christ and make His love, mercy, and grace devoid of any hope! I know you are not just trying to get your share of fame! How despicable that someone could be so uncaring for these victims as to try to insult you! As a victim of a tragedy, who has been hurt by Pharisaical Christians like Huckabee and Dobson, your post helps ease my pain! Thank you! Don’t ever stop!

  62. Deborah Evans on said:

    In response to Pastor Todd above: Along with many other folks, I have made known my feelings to Mr. Huckabee on his FB page. After such a backlash, Mr. Huckabee began to backpedal. He never apologized. He said “his intent was misunderstood and his words were twisted by the media.” However, I heard his response to the question how could God allow this? Does Huckabee really know how? Do you? Does anyone? NO! None of us has the answer to that! He should have said he doesn’t have all the answers (NO ONE DOES!) but that the Bible teaches us thru Christ that God is weeping, grieving, and mourning right along with us. Jesus wept. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept! His heart was filled with compassion whenever he encountered human suffering! He NEVER played the guilt trip card to convince people to follow the true God! The only folks Jesus ever chewed out? The religious folks! Who did play the guilt trip card, I might add! I see God’s love from John’s post, and it is healing and redeeming.

  63. Thank you for writing this! I’ve intentionally stayed out of this whole debate because I have had a hard time putting into words how I felt about all the misplaced “religious” theology; this article states it perfectly. Thank you for the much needed, Jesus-centered perspective!

  64. Michael N on said:

    What a mixed message God is sending. I wonder if Huck can explain why God allowed the carnage below.
    *In 1997, a gunman entered a school in West Paducah, Kentucky. All of the victims were participating in an on-campus prayer group (3 dead, 5 wounded).
    *In 1999, a gunman killed 6 teenagers and 1 adult at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Texas during a “See You at the Pole” rally. “See You at the Pole” is an initiative that encourages large groups of students to meet at their campus flagpole and pray for their school.
    *In 2005, a member of the Living Church of God killed 7 fellow members during a worship service at a Sheraton Hotel in Wisconsin.
    *In 2006, a man stormed an Amish (Christian) school and shot 10 girls, killing 5 of them.
    *In 2007, a Colorado man who had been home-schooled by deeply Christian parents went on a spree and killed two at a missionary training center, then proceeded to the New Life Church and killed two more people. 5 were wounded in the spree.

  65. Pastor, while I don’t believe the things that you do (i.e., Christianity), I appreciate you for saying all that my Christian friends have been saying in the last week. It’s sad that people would use a perverted version of religion to support abhorrent arguments.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it and it certainly won’t be the last time — religious fundamentalism and extremism is a threat to everyone everywhere. But most especially, it is a threat for the majority of people of any faith who — like you — are good, honest people who care about their communities because it forces people into a false dilemma between their “faith” and reasonable and good lives. So, thank you also for pointing out the error in their arguments from a faith-based perspective!

  66. I wanted to email this to you because it is the right thing to do, but i caanot find your email so i apologize for this being public. i am supposed to come to you one on one biblically, so if there is way for to take this off public i am asking you to do so (trying to follow Matthew 18).

    John, I am ver disappointed this would be the POV from a ‘pastor’. Way to take snippets from the entirety of what James Dobson and Mike Huckabee said John to make a nice little blog. Obviously you either didn’t listen to ALL that was said, you chose to ignore ALL they said or you have something personal against both. However, as your blog has caused many to say things like, “amen and amen, God is love and he would never choose to hurt people.” Though these sentiments are true, God would not choose to directly hurt someone as by the massacre in CT, God does allow things (all thing) to happen. If you do not believe God is all powerful and all sovereign, you do not serve the God of the Bible. And it is not our place to make excuses or stand up for God. Our minds and ability to see is finite, unlike Gods, and I can guarantee you this, what happened in CT and the tragedies that happen every day for that matter: God will get the glory and ALL things will work out for the good of those who love Him. To believe anything else does not equal the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and all Sovereign God of the Bible. So for the sake of your theology, I hope first you will write with integrity and use all of what Dobson and Huckabee said instead of what satisfies you and second, it would be good for you to learn both the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God. And just so you know that my heart is broken over this, I know Gods heart is broken too, but Gods heart is broken over sin which is the root of this. We live in a sinful and evil world. Christ allows us to choose right and moral choices. One day will come when all these tragedies will stop and for those who do not know Christ, they will hope there was more time because when the tragedies stop, that means Jesus has made all things right. So it is up to you and I to tell people about Jesus instead of misinforming people of what Dobson and Huckabee said. I am a pastor too and quite frankly I am ashamed of what you wrote. In no way did it buld up or edify Gods kingdom but instead you chose to play on the emotional heart strings of people to get a few readers and comments. If you truly are a believer and a pastor, let me encourage you to think first and foremost about the souls of others instead of tearing down your brothers in Christ. If you had a problem with them, the biblical thing to do according to Matt. 18 would be to go to them first. Instead you chose to do it publicly. That is not God honoring John. You obviously have a voice with the number of responses, please use that voice to build up your brothers and sisters and not to tear them down. A whole world is watching.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful, passionate response, heartofafish.

      Wish I could respond to all of it, but ultimately I believe we build up the Body by engaging those in it who we believe are damaging it, and that is the source of this post. You are correct, the world IS watching, and they want to see a Christian community that is willing to disagree and able to have difficult conversations.

      I’m sorry if the words I wrote offended, but I do stand by them.

      At the end of the day, no one owns truth, other than God. The best any of us can do is walk faithfully and be obedient each day.

      Thanks for writing.

  67. Wow, what a complete misrepresentation of what Mike Huckabee and James Dobson said about the Newtown shootings. I wish people would actually read and understand what is being said instead of coming to conclusions that are not there. You have done a horrible disservice to Christians everywhere.

    • jc, you obviously believe Huckabee and Dobson have a different agenda and message than I have seen and heard, but each of us only have that, an opinion.

      The only disservice Christians of any status or title can do, is to remain silent when compelled to speak into things happening in the world, which I have tried to do with this blog, and the comments to it, as respectfully and honestly as I can.

      God is glorified in this, I believe.

      Thanks for writing.

  68. I have to say I really appreciate what the author and many of you have to say. It is restoring my faith that some realize how hurtful and divisive some can be in the name of God, Jesus, or whatever deity they profess to represent. As a gay man, I have been alienated from the Christian Church (Baptist) and had to find my own faith through searching for spirituality. You should probably add Pat Robertson to the list of those who claim to know God’s reason for bad things is vengeance against a few “evil-doers”. According to him, gay and lesbian people are the most powerful to evoke God’s wrath as we caused Hurricane Katrina, Earthquakes in California, Hurricane Sandy and countless other disasters. It seems ironic that the gay communities in these areas were mostly spared significant damage. Either his God is near-sighted or he is way off base. Each time I hear something like this it unfortunately causes me to dig my heels in more in my distaste for organized religion. The God I struggled to find is so loving and merciful and has brought me through some pretty rough times.

    • Thank you, LanceP.

      Just remember: God is bigger than a nation or a speaker or a church. No matter how loud a voice is out there, it doesn’t mean it is the voice of God.

      I would recommend you read the Gospel of Matthew sometime. Start with Matthew 5-7, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. If you do, listen for the voice of Jesus there. You may begin to see a very different God than the one on talk radio.

      Glad you have found some goodness in this blog. Blessings to you.

  69. John,

    Normally I would let this go because I have little use for Huckabee or Dobson and the christian right in general. In this case, however, I do think that people have misinterpreted his words. Lets attack some of them for a moment.

    “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

    He continued: “Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.”

    While he’s clearly implying cause-and-effect, I don’t see where he’s saying “God caused this!” A more moderate interpretation might be that, because we have left God out of our schools, young people feel like they have no where to turn when they feel disenfranchised and alone and so, a few of them resort to violence.

    Also I don’t see him pointing to the people of Newtown specifically but rather to society as a whole. In other words Huckabee seems to be saying that because we have a secular society, children don’t feel the necessary connection to God that might have given them the hope to keep them from such a dark place and acting in such a horrible way.

    That being said, I don’t agree with Mr Huckabee and, in the main, I agree with many of your comments. God was there in the people who raced to save the children and the adults who risked and gave their own lives doing what they could for their students. I firmly believe that God is there now in the consoling words and the compassion of strangers.

    This was clearly the act of a man in terrible pain. My heart breaks for the families who have lost loved-ones and for the family of the gun-man who are as desperate for answers as anyone.

    Grace and Peace be with you.

  70. Thank you for your post – I am so tired of my belief in God being held hostage with some of the “christian leaders” that get quoted in the media. Gives us Christ followers a bad rap. Am going to grab your blog feed. Thanks again and Merry Christmas

  71. Mike Huckabees statement is exactly what this nation needs to hear, we need to wake up now as a nation. The problem with this nation isn’t guns, alcohol, etc…it’s sin. God says that if we’ll humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways he will heal our land, that’s the solution to all the violence throughout America and the world for that matter. Let’s open our Bibles before deciding who God is based on what we want Him to be, and find out who He is, he’s a God who desires a relationship, lets start there!

    • You’re right Andrew. The problem IS sin, but nations don’t sin, people do.

      That day, a man with a gun sinned, not “a nation”. Dobson and Huckabee know better and should be more responsible with their words.

      We can’t legislate personal obedience, and God isn’t waiting for us to.

      Thanks for checking-in!

      • As a nation we reap the consequences of the decisions by our leaders…you see that throughout the Bible, that’s why there were so many kings in Israel who didn’t last long. Our leaders have decided that prayer in schools shouldn’t be allowed, the Bible shouldn’t be taught but rather be replaced by evolution, etc and biblically a nation that ‘curses’ Israel will be ‘cursed’, still applies and has most likely been applied to our nation recently because of our poor treatment to Israel recently. Thanks for the reply!

      • Again, Andrew, you see the idea pre-Jesus, but there is an entirely different “nation” and way that God evaluates. He evaluates individual people on their response to Jesus.

        I believe trying to dissect the Biblical teachings about “Israel” and to somehow adherer them to present days is nearly impossible and frankly, unnecessary. You and I are not responsible for, or accountable to our nation, only to our own conduct. God says we will be taken into account for what we have said and done.

        Does God hold you responsible for what our lawmakers do or do not do? I believe that would make God very petty and “human”.

        Thanks again for replying.

  72. Thank you for this and your message of real Christianity.
    Catherine+, an Episcopal hospital chaplain

  73. Lee Reed on said:

    Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart and then with words that burn with Spirit he said that it meant the same thing to love your neighbor as yourself. He did not say to arm yourself. He did not preach fear. And he said the kingdom of God is within you. The presence of guns in the classroom not the absence of prayer killed our innocents.

    • Great words, Lee.

      You said in a few words, the heart of all of this.

      I would go further and say, the presence of a sick person with a gun, killed innocents.

      Thanks for taking time to comment.

  74. A voice of reason, thank you!

  75. Dan Weatherford on said:

    Just for the record – I count this man as a true brother-in-the-faith – one who understands (utterly) that God, our Father, is ONLY ABOUT REDEMPTIVE LOVE THAT LEADS TO TRANSFORMATION… condemnation is OURS for the taking…as is SALVATION. As followers of Christ, ours is to serve, love, extend grace and forgive…only God is adequate for judgment!

  76. Thank you for being a visible, moderate Christian voice speaking out against this kind of horrendous judgmental response. I’m always a bit taken aback by the willingness that some folks have to declare with absolute conviction what God’s Will Is . . . I’m of the opinion that our limited human minds can’t really know God’s Will, and have to just take our best guess. For us to judge others like these comments do is breathtakingly arrogant.

  77. Don Smith on said:

    I too, am a Christian. I too, am a father. And, I too, am a pastor. And I also have an opinion. And all I see in his post is masterful reinterpretation of the words of both of these men. IMO only an idiot would interpret what they said as “God” killing these people. My interpretation of their remarks is that for the past many years, our culture has been bent on secularization to the point of removing any vestige of God or His principles from the community. From what I can perceive about the God of the Bible, He imposes himself rarely upon an environment where He is not welcomed. What we are seeing, is not the vengeful acts of a tyrant god,and a fool would insinuate or distort the writings of either of these men to read such, but what we are experiencing is the sad, sad effects of the vacuum left when He is no longer wanted in the community. What do you really expect? Go ahead, lash out at anyone who (gasp!) thinks we need to return to God if it makes you feel better. I’ve read many of your blogs. You think you’re clever. I don’t.

    • Nations cannot return to God, Don, only people can.

      Though we share geography with others (in this case, America), Scripture says we as individuals, will stand before Christ and be judged, not as one group.

      The language and understanding of God as “nation-buildre” needs to go, if we are to really see how to minister to people.

      It is not through government or laws or policy, it is person to person.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Don Smith on said:

        I speak of we as a nation as a cumulative body. It is clear that we as a conglomerate have decided God has to go! Like it or not (and I don’t disagree w/ your response. We will be individually accountable.) God does see us in geographical contexts. He does speak in terms of of nations and the consequences of trashing his precepts. Ps. 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” et,al. Again, I don’t believe God is doing any of this, it is the natural consequence of the void left when He is removed. Evil washes in when He is remanded out of our culture.

      • Thanks Don!

  78. Thank you so much for this. I needed reminding that not all Christians are ignorant, sanctimonious yahoos. I’ll try to be more tolerant.

    • HA! Thanks, Heather. Well, many would say that I am all of those things, but I appreciate your kind words, and will be doing today, what I always to; try to hear His voice and respond in word and deed. Thanks again!

  79. I’m not saying this is one of those times,because only God truley knows,but all through the Bible God has allowed people,children,and nations to be desrtoyed because they have turnned their hearts away from God.So to say that some of these tragedies that we face can not be because God is trying to get our hearts turnned back toward Him is just nonsense..Romans 1 is a great place to start,but it goes all the way back to Genesis.

  80. I find it extremely disheartening that there are people – not just Huckabee and Dobson – who declare that tragedies such as the massacre in Newtown and the tsunami in Japan were deliberate punishments meted out to the “immoral” by God. God is bigger than this. God doesn’t harm children (or anyone, really) to set an example about what will happen to those who are – in the eyes of some – immoral.

    Perhaps this way of thinking finds its roots in some of the stories in the Hebrew Bible. However, when Jesus Christ came to redeem us, teach us, be a model for us, to show love and compassion and to urge the same from us, he changed the image of God from God of wrath and anger to God of love and compassion.

    Yet there are people commenting here and elsewhere (not only Huckabee and Dobson, but also Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, and the like) that Adam Lantz killed those children and adults because God wanted to punish secular institutions, or gay people, or those who have abortions (even justifiably for the survival of the mother), or…the long list that we hear in various forms over and over. Or that hurricanes cause death and destruction because some people decide to be atheists. Or that there is a drought because of mixed-race marriage, or legal same-sex marriage, or any number of things.

    As you and others have written here, if God is displeased by us when we sin, God will still love us. If we decide that we are the arbiters of divine justice, then we have taken on the prerogative of God. Too often we decide that we can (and should?) set the bar for what constitutes sin. (That’s a huge discussion that is constantly being discussed in seminaries and churches, so I’ll leave that alone!!) For example, those who say “you can’t take part in the Eucharist here because you don’t believe exactly as we believe,” are reducing God to the size of human parochialism and bias. I prefer to think of what the rector said in the church where my family attended every week, “This is not our table. This is God’s table. All are welcome.”

    I’m getting off track. When certain people declare that children died because other people did things that are appalling or just strange _to_them_, that is an example of “blame the victim,” which is wrong. Wrong.

    And when Huckabee, Dodson, Limbaugh, Robertson, etc. etc. claim to speak for God (as they do when they say that God harmed children to punish others), they not only disrespect those who were killed and wounded, but also reveal themselves to be small-minded, prejudiced, bitter people deserving our pity.

  81. CEinthelight on said:

    Thank you for your comments. I can hear Christ in your words. Unfortunately the opportunistic and manipulative words of these “leaders” seem to communicate fear and division. Christ embodies the light compassion. I choose to live with Him.

  82. P Morrison on said:

    From the prophet Micah: “God has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Thank you, John, for being one of God’s voices in the wilderness.

  83. Rev. Irvin Porter on said:

    Interesting evaulation on somebody elses remarks. But you do not have the Christian world on your shoulders enought to “apologize” for anyone but yourself and your own deeds. I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinions in this country and so Mr. Huckabee and Dobson have given theirs. I personally don’t prescribe to much of their viewpoint myself but that is my right. As a Presbyterian Minister, however, I wouldn’t presume to speak for all Christians on any issue. It seems that the political climate of this tragedy is getting the better of some people and we just don’t need that right now. Thanks for your thoughtful writing but don’t presume to speak for Christians on anything.

    • Thanks so much for sharing these words, Reverend.

      Wish I had more time to respond, but a couple quick things.

      1) I opened the post by saying I was a father, pastor and Christian, and shared my perspective from that. I did not claim to speak for anyone but myself.
      2) As one person, I could never speak for all Christians, however, the comments and shares of this blog show, that I did give voice to things a large group of people were feeling. That’s what pastors do.
      3) Dobson and Huckabee have done something far more serious than claim to speak for Christians, they claim to speak for God. I am challenging them, that I do not recognize that voice.

      Thank you again, and god bless you as you serve and do great work.

  84. God is made of Grace, and that Jesus tells us that because of this, He comes with a relentless, pursuing, extravagant love, and a heart for the lost and wayward. His mission is redemption.

    BEAUTIFUL.

    I shall be quoting you a lot this Christmas season.

  85. Deborah Ward on said:

    I think what Huckabee was saying was if people talked openly about a loving God in their lives within their schools, then maybe there would be more chances for children to know His love. Maybe a would-be gunman would instead grow up to be healthy and a good member of society.

    • I think that is a huge leap from what he actually said, Deborah. If he had said that this was his intention, I would have completely agreed with him!

      Thank you for sharing this.

  86. Pastor Allen Pope on said:

    An excellent and much
    needed response to two
    of the loudest pseudo-Christian
    voices in the nation.

  87. Joe Henry on said:

    This is not what I heard in Mike Huckabee and James Dobson’s comments and I read them in entirety. Once again we are plagued with “Political Correctness”. It makes me ill. Neither Huckabee or Dobson blamed the victims.

    • Hey Joe.

      Immediately after a tragic event, these men blamed “the nation”. The nation, is made up of people, some of whom were killed that day.

      They did not suppose to blame the shooter, or the family he grew out of, or the guns he used, or anything directly related to the shooting, but simply implied God’s anger against our country due to whatever ills they chose to highlight.

      That is not politically correct or incorrect, it is simply wrong.

      Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      • Amen John! I am sorry that your commentary brought out a rather bitter side to some Christians. I am glad the debate is evolving but I imagine your are getting a bit tired of responding. I am still following the thread because I honestly do not comprehend how Christians that should be humbled and grateful before a loving God can support the Huckabee or Dobson brand of religion. They work overtime to get everyone riled up and then use it to a political advantage and try desperately to paint the Liberals as evil, sadly at the cost of those who have suffered a tremendous loss. They do their best to strike the fear of God in everyone who they feel are the ultimate sinners. Neither one have the good sense to be humble as they are overcome by their own importance. I do not understand any Christian defending them against what you have stated. Keep preaching the truth as you see it because your voice is making the love of God more apparent.

      • Thank you, Mary! This week has shown me that there are many people who see God in the way Huckabee and Dobson shared, but I have also tried to affirm them as people, and to respect them.

        The other great thing, has been meeting so many thoughtful, kind, passionate people like yourself, who are often not represented in the mainstream Christian media. I may not qualify, but I will continue to speak to anyone who will listen!

        Have a great day!

  88. David Eddleman on said:

    John, I have to tell you that I am not a religious person. I am truly agnostic on the subject of god (and I’m sure some of the next replies will bring some nasty remarks about that), but I appreciate your thoughts about the two people who claim to “speak” for god. I am always suspicious of people who claim that special honor of being god’s prophet through whom he/she delivers personal messages. I’m also amazed at the people of faith who preach god’s love, deliverance and forgiveness , but turn around and imply that he/she sends disaster to those that don’t believe in him or don’t act according to what “they” say god wants. No one really knows what god wants, so it would be nice it they’d back off their righteousness act. Putting god’s words in his/her mouth must be the real offense to him/her.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and meaningful words that even a nonbeliever myself can respond positively to. Your warmth and dignity shine through your remarks. The Lanza boy must have had such terrible demons to have done what he did, but it was his decision, not god’s, to commit his heinous crimes.

  89. I’m a Christian

    I’m a Mom

    I’m a lesbian

    And I Thank You.

  90. I know Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, it is hard to belive that they implied anything like this, these men are christian men and have a great love for God, it comes down to this we have let people take God out of our schools, country simple because we do not want to cause a scene, we have turned our back on God, evil is going through out country, what do we expect>
    Huckabee felt the pain as many of us did over the brutality of the massacre on these innocent children and adults, God did show up and protected a lot in that schools, look how many he saved. Look at the disasters that have happened. We cannot have prayer in schools anymore our kids are being threatened that if they pray they will withhold there diploma.
    We need to support one another and love each other instead of posting what you thought they said. Everytime a see a six year old child I think of those little angels and say a small pray for there family and community because I know they are devastated, and will never ever be able to forget.

    • Thank you Carolyn. I agree with the heart behind much of what you say, but believe that making people answer for their words, especially high profile Christian leaders, is healthy, good and Godly.

      God is not removable from our schools, because He does not reside in buildings, but within people.

      We need to stop speaking in terms that simply do not reflect what we know about God and the Holy Spirit. No rules or laws will change God’s availability to those who seek Him and call on Him.

      Thanks for sharing these comments. I am grateful for your participation.

      • We also need to stop speaking of God exclusively as “he.” God is beyond gender. One of the reasons we have so much violence in our society is that we insist on discounting/disrespecting all that is considered feminine, including the Divine Feminine, “God the mother,” who is just as real and just as valid as God the father. When “feminine” qualities (such as compassion, kindness, and gentleness) are valued equally with qualities that are associated with the masculine (i.e,, assertiveness, discipline, leadership, etc.) – then there will be less violence. Gender-inclusive language referring to God is an important move in that direction.

      • Hi Grace,

        Obviously God is the Author or both genders, and God has both male and female characteristics, however Jesus calls God “Father”, so He is simply a way to refer to God. It would be difficult to just keep saying “God has”, or to call God “It”.

        I understand your statement, and agree with the sentiment, though I do not think it has any direct bearing on the violence we see in the world.

        Thanks for replying. I greatly appreciate it!

  91. Deborah Ward on said:

    I bet if Huckabee read my explanation, he would agree with it – just as you said you “would”, if it wasn’t a “stretch” on his remarks (your opinion). Imagine all three of us agreeing that acknowledging God in everyday life at school could have a positive affect, and prevent a would-be murderer. Gee, I bet we are actually all on the same page! Meanwhile . . call me “pseudo”, . . . or just have Huck, me, and any others, who don’t need an apology, go away. As long as you have a fan club, you probably won’t be interested in standing on that particular “same page”. Some people just want vie for a control, and choose sides.

    • We are on the same page that people need Jesus, but he doesn’t come through laws and rules, and He is not excluded or “kept out” by them.

      God is Sovereign. His Holy Spirit takes us residence in those who believe, not in buildings.

      Some people DO want to vie for control, and Dobson and Huckabee, (who have DVDs and books and donors and massive “fan clubs” to consider), speak in a way that will energize these things.

      Yes, we all love God and yes, we all want people to know Jesus, but we can differ on how that happens.

      Thanks again. Appreciate you staying involved in the conversation.

      Merry Christmas!

  92. Thank you for that- and-

    As well as the nutcases saying that Sandy is God’s revenge for gay marriage, even though some states have constitutional amendments saying there can be no gay marriage-

    I am aware that there are Evangelicals who do not believe that, even though they believe all gay lovemaking is sinful.

    The more interesting question, I think, is how can we address and be heard by those who think it is God smiting America? They get whipped up into a rage or a terror- how can we help them to understand the Loving God?

    • Hey Claire, Well that is the huge task isn’t it? For so long, many voices have gone unchecked and bad theology and misleading teaching have greatly distorted God, and created a Christian culture that simply accepts things because well-known people have said them.

      That’s why I am gratified that this post has reached as far as it has. I know people are hungry for deeper and different conversations, and that more people are out there who believe God is bigger than the one heard on talk radio.

      Speak what you believe, where you are able, and pray that people receive. That’s all we can do.

      Be encouraged!

  93. John, You have completely misrepresented the views of Huckabee and Dobson. Period!

    • Thanks Tim, Don’t believe I have. I think I used their actual words, and stated why I believe the words were misleading to the million who heard them, and why they are the basis of some very shaky theology.

      Appreciate the response.

  94. WOW Lets all just continue to judge one another. The
    Very reason I left the church

    • Dear Anon,

      To “judge”, is to declare someone’s moral condition; their state before God. When someone claims another is “doomed to Hell”, for example, that would be judging. I never have and never will enter into such declarations.

      What Christians can and must do, is to EVALUATE and RESPOND to the words and actions of other believers, especially to teachings they hear, to refine one another. This is part of what it means to have true accountability.

      Love sometimes means having to say hard words. I cannot tell whether you left the church because you were being judged or not, but I would challenge you to consider whether it was judgement, or simply difficult conversations, and the challenge to live to the calling of Christ.

      What feels like judgement, often are simply honest words.

      Thanks for commenting.

  95. Margaret Bayliss (not for publication on said:

    I believe in God, however I am unable to say what form God takes, and I believe in the message Jesus preached – d0 unto others as you would have them do unto you. I no longer believe in religion as so much evil has been committed in the name of religions of various persuasions. I believe that if one lives as good a life as possible and keeps God in his/her heart then he/she will be with God in the next life, be they Christion, Muslim or any other. Like any parent God does not choose to favour one over another. As for the hate mongers, I don’t know where they will end up as I don’t believe in hell either.
    How about looking at the Australian gun laws.

  96. Lee Reed on said:

    My sons and I were eating at a barbecue restaurant recently and talking about astronomy, raising more questions than answers. Suddenly a man wearing a John Deere cap was standing beside us. “I know a book,” he said, “that will answer all those questions. The Bible.”

    I responded, “Sir, do you own a tractor?” ” Yes, I do,” he replied. “When you have mechanical trouble with it,” I asked, “do you turn to the Bible to get information about how to repair your tractor?” “Of course not,” he said. “Well, we were talking about things that are like tractors,” I explained.

    The larger point is that turning to our religious beliefs does not always direct us toward correct answers for issues of public policy. For instance, although we have much higher church attendance and a more strongly religious Christian population than any Western nation, we have a murder rate four times higher than in any of 23 wealthy, democratic countries like ours. This tragic murder rate is obviously not due to the fact that we are an ungodly nation. Nor is it because we play video games, because they are played worldwide. And of course it is not because we have more mental illness than in other countries.

    By far the strongest connection explaining our tragic murder rate, is the fact our country is awash in lethal weapons designed only for killing human beings. With 5% of the worlds population, we in the US have nearly 50% of the world’s guns. So, yes, let us do everything possible to bring God into our lives, but let us also take decisive measures to get as many lethal weapons as possible out of our lives. And, please, don’t pay attention to people who would have you believe that the absence of God rather than the presence of guns is the cause of so much firearm death. It’s not.

  97. Erwin Goodwin on said:

    You are a brave and courageous brother in Christ. Thank you for standing on truth.

  98. Jennifer Kravitz on said:

    I think Lee has it right. On the other side of the world, in the Chinese province of Henan, 36-year-old Min Yingjun entered Chen Peng Primary School and stabbed 22 children.
    While these two instances are eerily similar in their type and timing, there is a crucial difference: the rampage in Connecticut yielded 28 dead, while no one died in the Chinese incident. Terrible injuries were sustained by some of the victims, but all of the children will live to see another day. An estimated 30,000 americans are killed every year in gun violence. Snady Hook was just more of it.
    Yes, God is holy and our sinfullness is an affront to him, yet he sent his Son in love to redeem us by His grace. But until Christ comes again we will live in a fallen world and we are his representatives. Why aren’t these “leaders” adressing gun control? I am brokenhearted over the Christians who are buying up weapons and vocally supporting the NRA. I could go on but I will just thank you for speaking up.

  99. THE LORD SAID –

    2 Chronicles 7:14

    14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    I PRAY –

    Divine mercy in my heart!- That I may love with HIS LOVE
    Divine Mercy in my eyes, may I look upon others with compassion
    Divine Mercy in my ears, may I respond to what I hear with forgiveness
    Divine Mercy in my actions-may I serve without judgement
    Divine Mercy in my words-may I give hope and dignity to the sinner!

  100. Please remember, dear people, that God does judge his people and he does discipline them, as any good father would do. But he is not a God of revenge. He is a God of love and mercy whose teachings and commandments we are to follow. Just as we are with our own children, God tells us, his children, that there are consequences when we turn from him and fall into sin, but he is always calling us to come back. Read again the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.

    God does deal with nations. Recall Israel in the Old Testament. Also, recall this Bible verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14:

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

    ——————

    Divine mercy in my heart!- That I may love with HIS LOVE
    Divine Mercy in my eyes, may I look upon others with compassion
    Divine Mercy in my ears, may I respond to what I hear with forgiveness
    Divine Mercy in my actions-may I serve without judgement
    Divine Mercy in my words-may I give hope and dignity to the sinner!

    • Thanks for the very thoughtful comments, but disagree about God dealing with “nations”. Your quote from Chronicles is pre-Jesus. I strongly believe God sent Jesus to create “one nation”. I believe Scripture strongly supports this.

      See more thoughts on this here:

      http://wp.me/p2h2UO-j3

      Appreciate your participation in this discussion greatly!

  101. As a devout Christian (Catholic) woman who does NOT want to be associated with such “preaching” that comes from Huckabee and Dobson, I thank you so much for this post. Very well said and I couldn’t agree more. My husband teaches in a public school and he sees God’s presence every day at school in so many ways.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Sheri. I am glad these words resonate with you. Will pray for your husband, as he does great work in difficult places, and am thankful that he can testify to the BIGness of God there.

      Blessings!

  102. I am baffled as to why you took down my reply? And did not even respond?

  103. Frances Robson on said:

    I heard Rev. Huckabee the night he made the comments you find so offensive and I agree with those who say you did not hear them or read them objectively for he had total empathy for the families and the young man. Like others, you heard what you wanted to hear just like when I read your article, I read it from my point of view and disagreed with you. The comments from some of your readers were expressed in a way that Christ would never condone and I was surprised that you did not delete them. If this is the manner “Christians” treat each other, no wonder the world does not want to have anything to do with us. Also, Rev. Huckabee is very accessible through email and is not isolated from the world. He is a fellow minister of the Gospel and where is your respect for him as you would expect him to respect you? I pray you rethink your blog posting and ask yourself if this is what Christ would say about these 2 men? After all, as Christians that should be the guideline for anything we say, do or write. Pray about it.

    • Frances, I respectfully disagree.

      To say someone “hears what they want to hear” works on all sides. We all have different perspectives and experiences and receive words differently. That is the essence of opinion. I have given mine here, and stand by every word.

      As far as comments on this log you deem “unChristlike”, I chose to allow a freedom of expression from all parties involved, as long as no cussing or inappropriate language was used. Jesus had some pretty harsh words for the Pharisees, hypocrites, liars, thieves, and in general, people who did not act in accordance with God’s word, especially leaders. It is not unChristlike to make others accountable for words and actions, especially other Christians.

      And the heart of it all is, I find the words of Dobson and Huckabee to be anything but Christlike here, and that is why I offered my opinions of them.

      Even though I disagree with much of what you say here, I am glad you said it, and will not censor it.

      I think Christians can disagree and still glorify God.

      Thanks for commenting.

  104. P. Hoover on said:

    And we wonder why the non-believers mock Christianity. You, my misguided friend, are part of the problem.

    • Thanks for your opinion, P. Hoover.

      Non-Believers mock Christianity for lots of reasons.

      One of the reasons those outside the church most dislike it, however, are the hateful, mean-spirited, Biblically fraudulent teachings espoused by such high profile representatives of the faith as I critique here.

      Even those with very little understanding of The Gospels recognize when they are being given an imitation Jesus.

      I stand on every word here, and the reactions of many outside the Church to them, remind me that we will need to continue to challenge the bad teachings that have come from loud voices for too long.

      Thanks for commenting.

  105. gocru01 on said:

    Thank you for your words. As a teacher, I’m interested in your sources concerning Dobson and Huckabee so that I, too, may analyze them and pray over them. Please, if you read this, email then to me. Thanks.

  106. excellent publish, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do
    not understand this. You should continue your writing.
    I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  107. Michelle Bequette on said:

    Thank you for your post — it mirrors the sentiments of myself and massive silent majority.

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