Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson: still a bill, still unpaid

Long ago and more than once I singled out Pat Robertson as one of the church's unpaid bills. He only exists because Charismaticism is accepted. Therefore his endless pop-offecies are tolerated.

I know some of our great, sound — okay, I have to say otherwise-sound — Charismatic bros and sises will say, "Are you nuts? I've got nothing to do with Pat Robertson! I think he's a barking loon!" Yeah, but, you've pried open the Canon enough to allow that some sort of new revelation is ongoing, and your otherwise-sound faith and practice has falsely legitimatized the notion that God is muttering, hinting, insinuating, and eyebrow-waggling semi-revelation to believers' sanctified gizzards.

So, given that — who knows? Maybe God is talking to Pat Robertson... on the Charismatic premise. (I affirm a very different premise.)

So now you can see on this this video where Pat links the earthquake to a pact Haitians made with the Devil. Yes, that's right: they made a deal with the Devil, the Devil delivered on his part of the bargain, but now God's mad at them and has cursed them. That's why they're poor, and nearby countries are rich.


At least he restrained the gleeful grinning and borderline giggling he often does when delivering oracles of doom.

So here's the things we "learn" from the prophet Pat:
  1. A nation can make a deal with the Devil
  2. The Devil can be trusted to deliver on the deal
  3. The Devil drove the French out of Haiti
  4. Unborn generations will be punished for a deal made back in the 1800s.
  5. Punishment looks like poverty and earthquakes; or, put another way
  6. Earthquakes and poverty mean your nation is cursed by God
  7. Conversely, a nation that is financially prosperous and doesn't have ruinous earthquakes is blessed by God
  8. Not only can Robertson read God's mind and speak for him, Robertson can read Satan's mind, too, and speak for him. (Quote: They said, “We will serve you if you get us free from the prince.” True story. And so the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” )
 I still agree with myself: Pat Robertson! That thing you do with your mouth! STO-O-O-O-OP!

UPDATE: Sometimes irony can be pretty ironic. Robertson caps his little yarn with the words, "True story." Yeah, except it turns out it isn't. Turns out it's a legend. Oopsie.

35 comments:

S2 said...

I asked this question in a comment on Phil Johnson's Facebook post on the same topic. It's an honest question and I confess that I haven't thoroughly thought it out. Putting aside the tone of the two, how do we evaluate Robertson's train wreck from yesterday vis-a-vis John Piper's response to the tornado that hit during the ELCA convention in Minneapolis?

DJP said...

This may sound sarcastic towards you, so let me assure you I don't mean it that way.

I am not devoted to running around, either explaining or defending John Piper.

HSAT, why don't you present the position, and I'll respond to it?

Brad Williams said...

Brother, I saw this on YouTube today, and I wanted to die. The first thing he said about the devastation was that it might be a "blessing in disguise" because the quake knocked down all those ugly buildings and now they can rebuild better ones. 100,000 possible dead, and many still trapped, and he's thinking that it might be a blessing because the country can get a make-over. That's besides the horrible things you mentioned.

There are many believers in Haiti who are suffering, and many believers here from Haiti are worried about their loved ones today. And perhaps many others there will perish today apart from Christ. God have mercy.

Al said...

Hey Pat, a couple of questions...

Do you suppose these Haitians were worse sinners than all those who live in Hispaniola?

and

When reading the Bible who speaks louder, God or medieval German playwrights?

al sends

Solameanie said...

Aside from Pat Robertson, there is a larger question that I am pondering. And that is . . . does God bring calamity on nations in judgment these days, or is that only to happen in the final judgment?

I haven't made an exhaustive study of this question, admittedly. It seems to me from Scripture (Old Testament) that God has indeed brought judgment on nations. If God is anything, He is consistent, and I see no reason why He couldn't do it again if He thought proper. However, in the OT, you generally had a prophet give warning of impending judgment. You also have God's accounts of why He brought judgment.

In this day and age, we typically don't have prophets warning a nation or a people of God's impending judgment. That makes it pretty hard to declare definitively that a specific calamity was brought to pass or allowed in direct judgment. We can say that God allowed it to happen for His own reasons, and speculate why endlessly. I can think of Jesus' words in connection with the tower of Siloam. "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

It is true that there is a lot of wickedness in Haiti. Lots of voodoo and the occult, and lots of violence. Those things have been known to happen in the United States also, although maybe not to the same level.

The long and short of it is that I'm conflicted. I'd really like to see a good, sound biblical study of this issue. I'm sure they're out there, but I don't know where they'd be off the top of my head.

mikepettengill said...

Please...somebody stop him...before her "represents" us again. I do hate when a group is defined in the media by one man...Democrats by Obama, baseball players by Mark McGwire or Christians by Pat Robertson.

The only position that represents us is Christ's and not other sinners. But, then, if you fully understand that you are probably already a Christian.

S2 said...

Thanks, Dan, for your offer (and for your reassurance - being a sensitive sort (please note that my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek) I would have been deeply offended).

While I love and admire John Piper, I'm at least intrigued by the response of most folks like you and I (if you'll allow me to place us in the same camp) to Robertson's rant yesterday and the relative lack of response to Piper's comments following the tornado in Minneapolis. While Piper's statement was much softer and came with a fair amount of explanation, I think this quote captures the jist of it:

"The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA..."

Your thoughts?

Sean

Chris Anderson said...

Pat Robertson is Fred Phelps with his own TV show. Ugh.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

That's just all kinds of wretched.

Not having listened to Pat's spiel (I just don't have the stomach for it) I can only look at 2 Timothy 3 (the first few verses) and think that if God is going to be mad at any country, ours must be near the front of the line.

And a side-note... It isn't an acronym, but maybe you need a spot in your sidebar for little nuggets like "pop-offecies". *chuckle*

Julie

Trinian said...

Unbearable.

Sir Aaron said...

I've always wondered why Robertson doesn't ask God why New Orleans went down, but Las Vegas is still going strong.

JTW said...

John MacArthur's commentary on Luke 13:3 - "...Christ challenged the people’s notion that they were morally superior to those who suffered in such catastrophes. He called all to repent, for all were in danger of sudden destruction. No one is guaranteed time to prepare for death, so now is the time for repentance for all."

The Squirrel said...

Well, earthquakes are part of the Curse, and therefore are judgment on sin. But, without direct revelation from God, it is impossible for us to draw any parallel between any specific sin and any specific aspect of the curse.

~Squirrel

trogdor said...

Piper's commentary on the tornado is here, for anyone interested. My summary of the two:

Piper: God is sovereign over all, including weather and disasters. Such disasters are temporal reminders of impending eternal judgment, and are always a call to repentance. Indisputably, the ELCA was at that very time acting to 'sanctify' damnable perversion and discourage repentance - and claiming the name of Jesus to do it! Stopping far short of saying this tornado hit because of the ELCA, he nonetheless draws a connection between an event designed to call us all to repentance and a church which is very outspoken and unrepentant about their sin.

Robertson: Claims to speak for God that this quake hit because of a particular sin of Haitians, a sin which he completely made up. Rather than a call for repentance, seems pretty happy that God's anger was unleashed and those lousy sinners got what was coming to them.

Perhaps this interpretation is colored by the past performance of these men, but so be it.

Paula said...

Ugh....Fox News just ran the story, although, thankfully, they didn't run the embarrassing video. They also said, "outraged religious leaders called the statement unbiblical, unchristian, and arrogant."

They didn't say who the "outraged religious leaders" were. Gotta love the "appeal to authority" damage control that Fox is engaging in. Who are these "outraged religious leaders?" Did they interview one or a hundred? Was it Rick Warren, Billy Graham, or Joel Osteen? Or Maybe Erwin McManus slipped the comment into a Doritos commercial. Maybe it was that Manhattan conglomeration convening a convention to speak as one united "Christian" voice on this important matter! The possibilities are endlessly intriguing!!

Also, someone must ask the most Rev. Robertson whether it would be sinfully subverting God's plan for the devil-worshiping nation of Haiti for Christians to send aid their.

Paula said...

for Christians to send aid their.

send aid THERE...THERE!!! I'm a homeschool mom, I MUST correct spelling and grammar, even my own! It's a sickness.

REM said...

What-to-the-ever! AT LEAST HE CAN OUT LEG PRESS YOU!! Ohh. Wait. Pat Roberson can out leg press any 3 NFL lineman COMBINED. Ummm...

(door closes quietly)

Chris Anderson said...

I'm assuming that Fox is quoting Dan and his commenters. Dude is widely read.

RT said...

I will stop short of praying that a hurricane comes into Hampton Roads . . . but only just.

Andrew Faris said...

DJP,

As a charismatic, I'd simply suggest as you mentioned that Robertson is wrong and not prophetic. The way we gather that is by weighing the words against Scripture- just like you are doing with his words here. Prophecies are to be weighed, and in that sense controlled by the Canon. That seems to be a major part of the teaching in 1 Cor. 14, and it also seems like exactly what you are doing with your list of his words here. In that sense it is only the many, many charismatic who simply aren't thinking biblically (you know what I mean, so please don't say that was redundant) that allow Pat Robertson to exist.

All that to say this: couldn't we do the same thing that you did, but only connect Robertson with, say, everyone who believes in Satan as a personal force? "See, you all who believe in Satan open the door for a wackjob to say things like this, even though you would all suggest that his demonology is screwy."

The problem isn't that Robertson is a charismatic: it's that he's wrong about this and a lot of other things, yet somehow has obtained a massive societal megaphone to tell everyone. That's the problem- not his being a charismatic.

Andrew

Trinian said...

You know, this is a pretty major event here, and very close to his predictapaloosa. Kinda weird that God didn't mention something about this to ol' Pat.

SolaMommy said...

Not to derail...but if I remember correctly, all the news reports I read about the Minneapolis tornado said it only damaged the steeple of the ELCA church next to the convention center as well as some of the roof and then lifted. And it happened just as they were voting. And there was no meteorological indication that a tornado was going to touch down anywhere that day! It wasn't some widespread mass destruction like Haiti. Not that it necessarily means that it was for sure God's judgment, but it was pretty ironic how specific the time and place were.

Paula said...

Wow! Turns out the "outraged religious leader" was none other than Robert Gibbs

Gibbs, asked about the remark, ridiculed Robertson.

"It never ceases to amaze that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid. But it, like clockwork, happens with some regularity," he said.

~Mark said...

Where do the Scriptures say that God no longer communicates with His people in a way that doesn't violate His written revelation?

(I do NOT agree with Pat Robertson. What he said doesn't even require deep examination to be shown as a fleshly-inspired load of...nonsense...because he based it in a human lie.)

DJP said...

Andrew, you completely misconstrued my point.

Second sentence: "[Robertson] only exists because Charismaticism is accepted."

In a healthy church that defined its practices Biblically, there would be no Charismaticism. Charlatans like Pat Robertson would not be tolerated. They'd be required to put up (the Word, pure and only) or shut up.

In a healthy church, if a fraud like Robertson came along with his hondala-shondala and his "Oooh, oooh, someone in the audience has a canker" and his "The Bible has 94% of what you need to know" and his pop-offecies — he'd be shown the door, and denied a soapbox.

As I said: he exists because Charismaticism is tolerated.

No Charismaticism, no Robertson. No Charismaticism, no Hinn. No Charismaticism, no Roberts. No Charismaticism, no Copeland.

I could go on, but is that clearer?

thesgc said...

Hi DJP,

While I'd never want to interfere with someone taking Pat Robertson down a peg, and while you may have a point that Charismaticism has allowed a figure like Robertson to gain prominence, I don't think this specific incident has much to do with it. In this case, he didn't appeal to any supernatural revelation; he appealed to some bad history and an overly simplistic theology of judgment. Granted, his Charismatic beliefs probably helped him believe people could literally make deals with the devil, but then again that's a belief that long predates the rise of Charismaticism. Really, this could have been said by a good many conservative pundit-preachers, regardless of their stance on Charismaticism.

Sir Aaron said...

his Charismatic beliefs probably helped him believe people could literally make deals with the devil

To my knowledge there is nothing in Scripture that says a person cannot be contacted by Satan and then have two way communication. In fact, some commentators believe that a specific passage in Genesis refers to the sexual relations between demons and humans. Others believe that the spirit which was summoned on behalf of Saul, was a demon (as opposed to the actual spirit of Samuel).

So although I think Robertson's comments were atrocious, is it not technically possible to converse with demons and make agreements with them?

thesgc said...

Based on the temptation of Christ, we'd have to say it's at least possible for Satan to cut deals with people. However, my point is that a Charismatic is, in my estimation, more likely than a TeamPyro type to believe in any particular case that someone actually has cut a deal with the devil (as opposed to just granting the theoretical possibility).

DJP said...

But again, thesgc, you're missing my point. If it weren't for Charismaticism being "mainstreamed," Robertson would have no standing as a Christian spokesman. He'd have no base, and so he'd have no platform.

And apart from that, I think Trinian was exactly right:

You know, this is a pretty major event here, and very close to his predictapaloosa. Kinda weird that God didn't mention something about this to ol' Pat.

Yep. Instead of the usual ooooh and aaaaahhh gauzy nothings, you'd think "God" might've mentioned to Robertson, "Oh, btw. Tell all the Haitians to head off for the other side of the island. They have about two weeks."

Ah, but that would have been falsifiable.

And, thanks to Charismaticism, pop-offets aren't required to deliver falsifiable, inerrant prophecies.

DJP said...

PS — EVER!

Andrew Faris said...

DJP,

Thanks for the response, and I'm certainly willing to admit my own stupidity here, but maybe I don't see what point I missed.

My point is that you could find a number of good, biblical things that allow Pat Robertson (and Copeland and Hinn, for that matter) to go on, so pinning this back on charismaticism is just not helpful.

For example, if we didn't have public preaching, we wouldn't have these clowns able to have a stage in front of a large audience. If we didn't all believe that God can still heal people today (even in a way that charismatics and non-charismatics alike are on board with), we wouldn't have these clowns saying that they are healing people. If we didn't believe that all good things come from God, we wouldn't have these clowns. And so on.

So perhaps you see a link to charismaticism. I see a link to a terrible understanding of Scripture more generally.

Although, I should say that I most certainly wish more charismatics would denounce the likes of Pat Robertson.

If I'm still missing your point, I apologize.

Andrew

donsands said...

Excellent post. Well done.

And good thoughts in the comment-discussion as well.

I saw Pat say on his TV show: "There are 100 diabetics being healed by God right now in the name of Jesus. 100 diabetics being healed of their diabetes. Only make sure you check with your doctor, before you stop taking your medicine." (paraphrased, yet genuinely true statement)

He also claimed God told him it was a women who would be president in 2009, on Fox with Hannity.

This man needs to come to his senses, and come down from the prophetic fences.

DJP said...

Sorry; life has just been thus that I haven't posted the responses I meant to. Now, I will:

~Mark - Where do the Scriptures say that God no longer communicates with His people in a way that doesn't violate His written revelation?

Let me ask you this: Where do the Scriptures say that God doesn't communicate by code using the number of revolutions in the propeller on a beanie in a high wind in Fall in Rhode Island?

IOW, wrong question.

DJP said...

Andrew: I don't in the least mind you sharing your perspective. I don't get why you aren't getting mine. Maybe too many words?

1. Pat Robertson is only accepted as any kind of a Christian because Charismaticism has been unwisely mainstreamed.

2. No mainstreamed Charismaticism, no soap box for Robertson, no identification of Robertson as a Christian leader.

3. As a bonus: Robertson is typical of modern Charismaticism's perversion of the Biblical gift of prophecy, as Phil and I have pointed out at length and often. Slightly differing peas, same pod.

DJP said...

Just to correct myself: what Pat Robertson actually says is “Probably 95 per cent of all the guidance we need as Christians is found in the clearly understood principles of the Holy Bible” (The Plan, by Pat Robertson [Nelson: 1989], 114).