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Bad Theology Watch — Who Speaks on God’s Behalf?

Sadly there is no shortage of Christians ready to offer an inside tip on the purposes of the Almighty. Instead of standing silent before the humbling mystery of the Divine will, these souls are ready to hurl judgment upon their neighbors.
Alan Cooperman of The Washington Post reported Sunday that some Christians are ready to speak on God’s behalf. Steve Lefemine, an antiabortion activist in Columbia, S.C., was looking at a full-color satellite map of Hurricane Katrina when something in the swirls jumped out at him: the image of an 8-week-old fetus. “In my belief, God judged New Orleans for the sin of shedding innocent blood through abortion,” said Lefemine, who e-mailed the flesh-toned weather map to fellow activists across the country and put a stark message on the answering machine of his organization, Columbia Christians for Life. “Providence punishes national sins by national calamities,” it said. “Greater divine judgment is coming upon America unless we repent of the national sin of abortion.”
Further: In Israel, Christian journalist Stan Goodenough was struck by the juxtaposition in recent days of Jewish settlers being removed from their homes in the Gaza Strip and Americans being forced out of their homes in New Orleans. “Is this some sort of bizarre coincidence? Not for those who believe in the God of the Bible . . .,” he wrote in a column for the Web site Jerusalem Newswire. “What America is about to experience is the lifting of God’s hand of protection; the implementation of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel.”
Even more: In Philadelphia, Michael Marcavage saw no coincidence, either, in the hurricane’s arrival just as gay men and lesbians from across the country were set to participate in a New Orleans street festival called “Southern Decadence.” “We take no joy in the death of innocent people,” said Marcavage, who was an intern in the Clinton White House in 1999 and now runs Repent America, an evangelistic organization calling for “a nation in rebellion toward God” to reclaim its senses. “But we believe that God is in control of the weather,” he said in a telephone interview. “The day Bourbon Street and the French Quarter was flooded was the day that 125,000 homosexuals were going to be celebrating sin in the streets. . . . We’re calling it an act of God.”
Cooperman also provided details on some Muslim responses to the hurricane, but I’ll let someone else deal with that. Our Christian responsibility is to deal honestly and directly with the evidence of bad theology in our own midst.
Without doubt, God is sovereign and in control of the entire universe — including the storms. Yes, human sin is the explanation for the brokenness and calamity that has befallen creation. God does punish sin and holds humans accountable. God’s wrath is even now being demonstrated in the events of human history, but not fully. We await the Day of the Lord when God’s purposes will be fully accomplished.
Furthermore, abortion and homosexuality are deadly sins that corrupt a nation. National decadence and our progressive acceptance of sins is our national shame. The law of the harvest still applies. We shall surely reap what we have sown. And yet, we have no biblical right to claim that we know what this storm means.
Those who would dare to make such claims should remember God’s rebuke of Job’s friends, who readily told Job why God had sent such suffering.
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. [Job 42:7-9, English Standard Version]