Monday, August 31, 2009

Christianity - FAIL!

I try to avoid politics here. What follows is not a political post but a theological one.

There are lots of folks who disagree with me on a variety of points. I'm friends with a fair number of them. So what follows is not in any way shape or form about the politics of the story.

You can dislike President Obama.
You can disagree with every single one of his positions and policies.
You can believe that the United States is in serious trouble because he was elected.

No this is about the theology of the following story. I have no trouble climbing out on theological limbs and staking my claim. You may still disagree with me, that's fine but this is a theological argument.

Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe Arizona has publicly stated (and reiterated the statement in subsequent interviews) that he prays that the President die of a brain tumor and go to hell. You can find a summary of the story here from Fox News (don't want anyone to accuse me of relying on the "liberal" media here). He prays for another man to die, for God to kill him (relying on David calling for the same kind of thing in some of the Psalms). He prays that another man be separated from the presence of the Holy for all eternity.

And he claims he's a Christian.

The kids have a word for a situation like this - FAIL.

How does a follower of Jesus justify this kind of thing coming out of their mouth in light of the teachings about loving one another, about forgiveness, about turning a cheek to someone who wrongs us? How do you hold such a point of view in light of Christ's own command to love each other as he loved us, a love expressed by asking the Father to forgive us as nails were driven through his flesh?

We are called to follow in Christ's footsteps. So if he was willing to forgo the chance to pray for his tormentors to be sent to Hell how can we turn around and do otherwise? As Christians are we not called upon by our faith to pray for the healing of those we believe to be broken? Must we not pray for God to save these people?

If Pastor Anderson's theology has room to pray for the death and damnation of specific people I am hard pressed to explain how it remains Christian.

It is certainly NOT the Christianity that I practice or that I find in my reading of the Gospels. Pastor Anderson can dislike the President all he wants. When he tries to cloak this kind of stuff in theological clothes he needs to be called on it.

I will pray for God to open the Pastor's heart and mind to understand his brokenness and the disservice he does to the Good News. No matter how much his words may irritate or anger us THAT would be the proper, faithful, Spirit filled response.



Lamont said...

Well said - thanks for speaking so clearly on this matter.

PseudoPiskie said...

He is just another example of the refusal of some people to take Jesus's teaching to heart while relying on the bits that support their prejudices. He is no more Christian than Dawkins or Harris or any atheist. His attitude personifies the evil that he preaches against. May Godde have mercy on his soul and deliver his followers from his evil!