Beit Gamaliel

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What’s God Got to Do With It?

Pastor Rich Villodas posted  this to Twitter:

Many are wondering whether God brought COVID on Trump. I actually think God had nothing to do with it. The President has routinely disregarded the guidance recommended by public health experts. As a pastor, I say, leave God out of this. It’s dangerous theology to believe that God is the reason someone suffers—especially when that person is regarded as our enemy. *Sometimes* our suffering is a result of our doing. Plain and simple.

https://twitter.com/richvillodas

Today’s “pastors” are more life coaches than theologians. Notice Rich adds credibility to his statement by adding, “As a pastor….” Ironically, no scriptures are used here, either.

This isn’t surprising in today’s culture. We want to choose our own destiny. We want the power to captain our own ship. So what does God have to do with anything? Or should we take the advice of this spiritual giant, and just “leave God out of this?”

How much of my life does God get credit form? Only good things? Or are my mistakes an extravagant game of pin the tail on the donkey as I blame God for everything?

Let’s test Pastor Rich Villodas’ theology with a simple analysis. First, did God EVER send plagues upon people in the bible? Of course, this is an elementary question and hopefully, you are familiar with the SCORES of instances where God sent plagues to destroy people. He even sent snakes to bite everyone. He sends Israel into foreign captivity. Of course, these are Old Testament cases and we cannot see any instance where God destroyed people in the New Testament, right? Ananias and Saphira were both struck dead by God for lying. This was New Testament and long after Jesus died and rose again. So, the theory of old vs. new testaments fails in this case. God afflicted Paul with blindness. Later in his life, Paul was afflicted with something that he wanted to be removed, but God refused.

New Testament, Please?

The book of Revelations (if you want to believe it) warns that God will strike the earth with plagues in the last days. While I will not cite them, you can be a Bible scholar for an hour and look them up yourself: Revelations 6:8; 9:18; 9:20; 11:6; 15:1-8; 16:9; 16:21; 18:4-8; and 21:9). According to John the Revelator, by three plagues, 1/3 of all mankind will be killed (Revelation 9:18).

Leave God out of it

Modern Christianity struggles with the concept of sovereignty. In this regard, Christianity has become schizophrenic. We are ready to recognize God’s omnipotence. He is all-powerful but apparently does not exercise that power. Rather, He allows us the latitude to just do whatever and He just watches?  So Trump is the victim of his own stupidity? What about Peter? He was stupid. He actually pulled out a sword and lopped off the ear of a Roman soldier, a crime that would be punished by death. However, that was not Peter’s God-ordained destiny. Jesus reached down, picked up the ear, and reattached it; thusly, erasing any evidence of Peter’s crime. Amazing.

Theologian E. T. Quanabush used to quip, “Either God is sovereign over all, or He is not sovereign at all.” Sovereignty and omnipotence are similar but theologically different. One can believe God is omnipotent but chooses to not use His power to influence mankind in any way. That is simply not scriptural. Sovereignty is the active role of God in the world moving all of us to an ultimate plan. This is what Revelation is referring to. Paul eludes to it in Romans. God is working ALL things.

While I will concede that Mr. Villodas certainly has the right to declare God is not a part of this situation. However, I would warn, that it is equally dangerous theology to remove God as sovereign over the affairs of man. As James writes, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” It is at God’s will alone that every man rises daily to honor His holy name (or profane it). But in the end, we will all be rewarded or punished by our actions. At least, this is exactly what Jesus taught us.

May Mr. Trump turn his face toward the Most High, be humbled before Almighty God, and live.

Shabbot Shalom.

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