Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mass Murder & National Repentance

James Dobson has used the Newtown shooting to call for national repentance.  But Peter Wehner thinks that's all wrong.

I'm not sure what to think about this. On one level I agree with Wehner's concerns. On another level, I find it puzzling that evangelical Christians cannot be allowed to speak prophetically to American Culture without political conservatives crying foul. I fear that this criticism has something to do with the Christian faith being reduced to personal, private "religion" (a thoroughly modernist turn). I think the author is probably right to resist using this particular incident as a symbol of God's judgment.

But surely our American culture/civilization is being "given over" by God to widespread ungodliness, to a "culture of death," if you will. Yeah, gun violence is down. It's not about guns per se (you knew I'd say that). The Christian faith teaches that God has expectations not just for individuals, families, and churches, but also for social behavior and cultures. And our "culture of death" factors into these kinds of events. Exactly how we present this is touchy, but it must be done. I find it disconcerting that a Jew like Ben Stein is able to speak more prophetically than Evangelical Christians are often comfortable with.

Another thought: was Jesus being callus when he responded to a mass murder and and tragic "accident" in Luke 13:1-5?
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
And remember, he was speaking to the nation/culture of Israel, not simply to individuals, as is clear from the parable of the "fig tree" and the "vinedresser" that immediately follows this exchange.

Don't take my comments as some sort of blanket endorsement of Dobson on this or any other issue. The piece just got me thinking, that's all.

No comments: