In Defense of Pat

pastor pat

Well, in a contrarian sort of way.

But I have always found it curious how Calvinists pile on Pentecostals for being good Pentecostals and bad Calvinists. When Pat Robertson discerns providence that’s because he’s not a Calvinist, who, along with Calvin say that to do so is to “enter a labyrinth from which there is no hope of return,” and confess with Belgic 13:

“…And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits.”

The Pastor Pat’s of the world don’t subscribe to any of this. So what gives with all the condemnations of bonker-o-sity?  Aren’t they a bit like blaming dogs for not being cats?

What is actually more interesting is when neo-Calvinists like John Piper think they can discern the secret will and divine providence of God. For whatever reasons, that tends to get lesser airtime in ostensible Calvinist environs. Thankfully, those of a more paleo shade of Calvinist light up at least a sliver of the Reformed world when the neo’s show their quests for illegitimate religious experience.

It just seems to me that prying open the heavelies is prying open the heavenlies no matter who is doing it. True enough, theological error should be called out for what it is, but I also wonder why so many of us go somewhat ballistic when those so badly prone to it do what they have always done.  Somebody once said there is nothing new under the sun. I think he was really onto something.

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7 Responses to In Defense of Pat

  1. Lily says:

    Hi Zrim!

    I do like the way you think. As always, you have something good to say and I’m glad I followed your link here. It’s such a temptation to want to pry into things that do not belong to us. I speculated what God might be up to in a comment on the OldLife post.

    If you do not mind, I’ll repost my comment and ask if there is a difference between speculating and pronouncing? And if it’s ok to do one and not the other? Here goes:

    Predictable or lazy? I lean towards lazy since we all fail to do our homework and are all too ready to offer uninformed opinions. One of the things I found interesting about Robertson’s story was the way Reporter Jake Tapper handled it and how he put Robertson’s gaffe into context (article: http://tinyurl.com/yjyqyzk ):

    “Robertson’s tale stems from a legend that Jean Jacques Dessalines, who led the Haitian revolution against the French Army, entered into a pact with Satan disguised as a voodoo deity in exchange for a military victory, which finally happened in 1803.”

    I do not agree with Robertson, but he does not sound quite as crazy when Haitian myths are cited. Another good article that helps put Haiti into perspective is from an informative Times Online article from last May where a Haitians is quoted who believes that God has caused their suffering (article: http://tinyurl.com/ogxxu2 ):

    “Just why is Haiti in such a dire situation, so much worse than any other country in the Americas, and as bad as anywhere on Earth? Some blame the United Nations. Some blame the Americans. Some have theories about the collision of global warming with global capitalism. All are careful to point out that the Haitian elite deserves its reputation for being greedy, negligent and kleptocratic. “I think the Haitian people have been made to suffer by God,” Wilbert, a teacher, tells me, “but the time will come soon when we will be rewarded with Heaven.”

    After reading the Online Times article, I wondered if God in his ever lavish mercy allowed the earthquake so the West would finally come to the aid of the Haitians and relieve their suffering from deep poverty.

  2. Zrim says:

    Sorry, Lily, I’m a stickler on Dt. 29:29, Belgic 13 and ICR Book Three Chapter 21.

    All I know is that there was an earthquake. I can also tell you that I feel like a rubber-necking gawker watching the news lately, as in “We got the bubble-headed bleach blonde, comes on at five; she can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye; it’s interesting when people die; give us dirty laundry.” Don Henley is as insightful as John Calvin.

    No amount of human wisdom can begin to piece together what God has closed off to us. It is pure folly.

  3. Lily says:

    Please don’t be sorry. I asked because I appreciate your honesty. I did not know where ya’ll stood on that. I’ve seen enough tragedies that I sometimes am struck by the possible good the Lord might do through it and find it comforting.

    I didn’t understand the middle paragraph? Were you quoting a line from a song or movie?

    And thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it.

  4. Zrim says:

    Lily,

    No doubt that God means for good what others mean for harm. But our tradition treats, at best, as highly suspect and, at worst, demonic, any attempt to piece together what is known to discern the unknown and deeply hidden. Also, it is true that God is sovereign over both the extraordinary and ordinary–but it always seems odd when we think God is more at work in the extraordinary than the ordinary. When a mother recovers all three of her children, unharmed, from a collapsed school and says, “Now I know God loves me,” one wonders why she seems more inclined to say that then instead of after an ordinary day of routine safety and care.

    Middle paragraph, Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry,” (1982) the tabloidization of all news. John Calvin tells us not to pry into what isn’t for mortal knowledge, Henley raises his hand at the idea of tragedy as entertainment.

  5. Lily says:

    Zrim,

    You are so thoughtful to post the video! I’m sorely ignorant in this venue of music and I appreciate your help. This song is even more true today than when it was written.

    I heartily agree with you that we should not think God is more at work in the extraordinary than the ordinary. As a rule, I am not prone to wondering about God’s providence, but I do acknowledge that the extraordinary does get our attention, can challenge us to think, and can cause us to wonder, especially when evil is afoot. It is when tragedy strikes that I find I need to remember and ponder the goodness of God in all events.

    Perhaps if you understood that my children and husband died on three separate occasions, it might give context to why seeing God’s goodness in tragedy is important to me. When I see the pictures in Haiti, I have compassion for those people because I know what it is like to have my family members taken and to be bereft. I found that each death was harder than the previous one, so when I look at the sad history of Haiti and the latest disaster there, I find my heart aches for their long years of suffering. It’s hard to explain, but there is an almost wordless kinship that is common to find among people who have been bereaved or suffered unusual hardship or tragedy. I hope you never experience these things. As my widowed friends and I like to joke, we belong to a club that no one wants to join and we do not want new members.

    I find hope and solace in God’s character revealed to us in Christ because I know he loves us and has good purposes in tragedy even if we do not understand. I hope you understand that I’m not trying to defend any attempts to look into the hidden things of God and I am thinking about what you have said. I just have never thought it was sin to wonder about the good God might do as long as it was merely wondering so your view is a new concept to me. I hope this makes sense, I find it hard to explain. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to help me understand better. I appreciate all.

  6. Pat’s a loon and defender of loons, Tetzelians on steroid and amphetamines, Word of Faith wolves, and other enthusiasts, mesmerists and manipulators.

    That’s the short of it.

    I pay him little attention (re: doctrinal, worship, and piety), other than for research purposes on loondom.

  7. Sorry, going fast.

    Edit.

    “…steroids…”

    “…doctrine…”

    Otherwise, the content is rock-solid re: American loondom. TBN, CBN, Crouch Sr, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Bentley, Hinn, etc.–loons on steroids.

    Robertson’s in bed with all of them. Am tracking on these Tetzelians.

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