I Stand By My Comments on Pat Robertson

If you are new to my blog, welcome!! I think you’ll find things here to be thoughtful and passionate. You probably won’t agree with everything, but I aim to keep my thoughts sincere and authentic. I always welcome your comments and suggestions.

Yesterday I posted an open letter to Dr. Pat Robertson condemning his recent remarks concerning the earthquake and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. To my complete surprise, it created a small firestorm on the web with links to my post placed on Wikipedia, a news blog, on WordPress‘s dashboard, and from many different forums, Tweets, and search engines. Thousands of people have viewed it and several dozen have left comments which have been very diverse and at times quite colorful, too.

I still stand by my comments, without reservation.

However, I would like to clarify a few things:

1) While I fervently condemn Dr. Robertson’s comments, I do not condemn or judge him as a person and as a brother in Christ. I do not question his character or his faith, but I do seriously question his judgment. I wish him no ill will and pray that God would use him to be a blessing to the rest of the world with the gifts and influence God has given him.

2) While Jesus commands us to go one-on-one to those with whom we hold grievances, he also tells his disciples to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (In other words, be both good and wise.) Robertson’s comments were made publicly. They needed to be denounced publicly. Both the world and the Church needed to know that comments like his have no place within Jesus Christ or his Church.

3) I am not seeking to create division. As a leader in the Church, I must call out bad fruit when I see it, and that might create some division. So be it. However, I saw a greater danger in Robertson’s comments dividing a watching world from Christ’s Church, and I could not sit silently and allow that to happen. Also, I could not allow Christians and non-Christians to assume that his comments were at all representative of Jesus. They were not.

4) One can argue theology, the judgment of God, and consequences of sin all day, but still two realities remain. First, no one can state with absolute certainty the reasons why the Haitians or anyone else suffer certain natural disasters. Robertson’s comments were pure conjecture and completely unnecessary. Secondly, they were made in poor taste and timing. From a purely human perspective, why say something like that in the first place?

So, was it fair to tell Robertson to “shut up?” Well, if I said those same things, I hope someone would have the love and honesty enough to tell me the same.


Filed under Church Culture and Leadership, Cultural Trends, Politics

21 Responses to I Stand By My Comments on Pat Robertson

  1. Dear Pastor Chris,
    No amount of fire storming…no weapon…changes what is Truth. (and the messenger is not always popular) I still agree on your original statement and your follow-up statement. Many pastors (longstanding sometimes) are afraid of being politically incorrect when ‘calling out’ bad fruit…and we suffer…and confusion commences. I, too, am in the ministry…and in a time when mankind wants to make God in its image…I stand for the Truth. God’s ways are NOT our ways and no amount of speculation or presumption by our human, contaminated standards makes it so. Thank you, again, for your courage and obedience.

  2. It was also illuminating to see a group of young Christian Missionaries making a rapid exit from Haiti following the earthquake. As they boarded the aircraft back to the USA one of the group expressed her relief that they had been able to get a flight out. Presumably their so-called Christian mission is restricted to words not deeds, since they were not prepared to stay and help out with the suffering. Not in their job description I guess. And like Pat Robertson not a good advert for the Christian church either!

    • Barrywhit, I’m sure there are Christian missionaries there for many different reasons, some reasons more authentic and sincere than others. My own United Methodist tribe has had a consistent presence in Haiti and are continuing to stay with a lot more on the way, too. Other denominations can say the same. And those are a handful of Christians I am certainly proud to lift up as representative of Jesus.

  3. Hey Chris (and barrywhitt),
    I have been in medical missions for 15 years and have many friends who work in Haiti, short term and life long. I agree barrywhitt with your comment about those that escaped in that incident.
    But recognize their are teams that were on their way home that stayed too. This I know for certainty. Baptist Haiti Mission hospital had 2 doctors on staff but a team who was working elsewhere and heading home that day, stayed adding 16 to their staff for the emergency period (still overwhelmed them but 18 overwhelmed beats 2 overwhelmed – go God).
    Then there are those who are seeking to come home because they will be more productive organizing aid from here. i.e. not all coming out are a sad statement of faith.
    Chris thanks for taking a stand.
    In Christ
    Dennis McCutcheon
    Vine International serving in Guatemala

  4. Annie

    My thoughts exactly when I first saw the TV clip here in the UK. I hope the young woman interviewed will look back one day and realise what a poor advert her interview was for the Christian gospel. On reflection, I suspect that the group were some sort of Church or Bible College youngsters on a short evangelistic or choir trip , not real missionaries with any life experience or very many practical skills to offer. They could however have been able to help the local population shift rocks with their bare hands and/or donate blood, which must be in short supply. They all seemed to wear very clean matching red T-shirts, would that identify their college?

  5. Chris;
    I must say since yesterday I have been following this topic of yours and reading all the comments as they come in through. The experience has been somewhat of an eye-opener on the Christian Community here.
    Again, I am not a Christian at all. My views and expressed opinions come from a different area. Though, I certainly believe in God and have an active relationship with Him.
    Once again, I am in agreement with you and some of the others that has spoken out against the idiot. Some may not like what I have to say, but it is what it is.
    Many of us, those who are not Christian see people like Pat Robertson and a host of other who have the power to be on television and the national news. For right, wrong, or indifferent, these preachers of these mega churches with their thoughtless and calloused mindless words turn away a major majority towards your general faith in droves because of it.
    I believe that there was only one true spokesperson on an international level and that was Billy Graham, and yes, I read his book — Most excellent. He talked about the tragic mistakes he made in his ministry in the service of his faith and his remarkable relationship with his understanding of God. The book, his life and deeds shown that he was a man who strives after God and his personal interpretation of God’s will for him.
    To me and millions, perhaps billions of people have a high opinion of the likes of the late Billy Graham. I know that I do and after all he was a man, a simple man, and a blessed man that shown to the world by his actions and deeds that he was authentic.
    The Pat Robertsons of the world is not and the world will tell you so, and so does many in the Christian Faith. Yesterday in my opinion of tracking all the comments that I was able to form an opinion about some folks that claim they are Christian, and I don’t doubt or challenge their beliefs or understandings. Nonetheless, I felt that there were many who fell into the trap as Job did, of self-righteousness. As if their prayers were more justified and for a lack of a better word, more powerful.
    Sad. This isn’t how it works with my understanding with God. I believe your Jesus made strong mention of this with the Pharisee who prayed in public and talking about the white-washed tombs. The living dead to God.
    I am not “preaching” here, I am making an observation from a heathen if you would. I find it amazing, shocking in fact that as soon as someone logically comes against a loudmouthed idiot, and in my opinion, Roberts is just that, and for someone with grace and mercy such as you displayed that your brethren come against you.
    With this sort of animosity, resentment, strife, and discord shows a very poor witness to us heathens in the world in general.
    I apologize for this long comment, and I did not come here to offend any particular person. I think the truth aught to be spoken. God uses all people, all things, all devices to reach folks. After all, God is in the People Business and if the Book of Acts have any truth, any meaning, it is a verb driven book meaning that the Christian Community must do something, do good works, and like my Father, is in the People Business and all People without exception.
    Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see too much of this, or not enough and especially without any discord from within.
    Thanks again for allowing a heathen to speak here, and everyone — God Bless!

  6. Thanks for speaking out on this. The views of Pat Robertson seriously worry me sometimes & I never know if I’ve just got it wrong. It just feels out of touch with the compassion of Christ. The Mother Teresa approach feels more along the right lines to me. Love her writings.

  7. You have given me hope that Christianity can return to it’s roots of following Jesus’ true teachings and not those of it’s so called leaders. I’m not a Chrisian but I do believe in Jesus and follow his teachings & strive to live as he did. I fall short as do we all but that is reason he paid the price on the cross for us. To show us by example that the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven is through the action (not feeling) of LOVE
    Unconditional acceptance
    & Forgiveness

  8. Mike Chaney

    I am so proud of you, but not surprised. You have always been a straight-shooter and tell things the way they are (which is one of the things that makes me proud to know you as a friend and brother in Christ). You said what so many of us were thinking – that comments like Pat Robertson’s do no good, but definitely do harm to the image of Christians around the world. Thank you for being there and having the courage of your convictions.
    Your brother in Christ and Music,

  9. The reason that Haiti and other countries suffer natural disasters is absoloutely known. Science is full of explanations on what happens to the planet earth such as weather patterns (hurricanes, floods and tornadoes), plates that move (earthquakes and tsunamis). These have all been proven and require no faith.

  10. Dear Chris
    I basically agree with the content of your post, and the previous one. However, your way of putting your views across has made me think again about how we go about “speaking the truth in love”. On balance, although I agree with you in spirit, I prefer the approach taken by Donald Miller, on which I blogged at http://tinyurl.com/ye565wn.
    That said, there is value in speaking one’s mind, and none of us has it all figured out – least of all me.
    May God bless you in your ministry.

  11. jdrourke

    Clearly, you’re a principled man, Chris, and you are not looking to slam anyone for the sake of doing it. It would be nice if brothers like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson would follow your lead. I don’t think there is anything wrong with questioning people’s character when they repeatedly show a lack of it. This is not the first time Pat Robertson has said bombastic things through his program. And when people are literally fighting for their lives, judging them at that time is wholly inappropriate. I agree with your post from the other day and I commend you for this one. I think we can make points through humor and modesty, and we can truly help people – as Jesus wants us to – without being judgmental at the same time.

  12. george singleton

    bottom line, this is another great example of why Pat Robertson has run FAR MORE people away from Christianity than he has ever brought to it. I am not a prophet, but I have to believe that Jesus is not happy with Pat and his big mouth for the past 30 years.
    I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall when HE gets to the mercy seat and has to hear from the Lord how wrong he had it all these years.

  13. A writer for the Huff Post had somewhat of a stronger tone is his rebuke of Pat Robertson: “Go to hell, Pat Robertson!” here is the re-pot from one of my blogs:
    My walk with God has proceeded to deepen through the years in spite of the fundamentalist edge of the Christian religion. It has been most unfortunte in my life hat I have wathed the Christian Church alienate tens of thousands of other spiritually hungry souls with their narrow doctrines of hatred, racial biotry and then, well, there is Pat Robertson.
    As a gay Christian, I just flew solo thru the years and forged my ow faith. I believe deeply in my savior Jesus. I just don’t believe as much in the kooked out modern veins of funsamentalist religiosity that has sprung up aound him. Were He to see what has come of the record of His life, His agony would e so deeply prfound. Is it no wonder, He foresaw all of this and promised to return.
    Wouldn’t you too want to clear you name from all association with comments like the ones Pat and others make from time to time?
    The spiritually poor in Spirit on this world deserve better than that fom so called religious leaders who are more laughing stock than anything else…
    …makes me want to consider seminary. No, seriously.
    Chase Hunter
    my blogs

  14. Hi Chris, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts on Pat Roberston, and how clear and unapologetic they are. Though I’m not associated with the church in any way, it’s very good that someone in the church is willing to tell it how they see it. There are extremes in any religion, or any body politic, and of course the media (who I don’t reject in the slightest) will always pick up on these and sensationalise them for their own purposes – they’re in the business of news and ratings so the nutter element will always help with that. But balance and thoughtfulness always come through in the end, at least one can only hope. So here’s to thoughtful opinions expressed in a solid though respectful way. Cheers, Nigel

    • Thank you, Nigel! Yes, there are certainly extremes in any religious system. It struck me that many of the same people who attacked my comments on Robertson probably would want the Islamic community to firmly renounce extreme voices within Islam.

  15. Annie

    I thought this was quite a good piece of journalism re the Pat Robertson/Rush Limbaugh stories on Haiti.

  16. JosephOne

    Ah well. God bless everyone anyway.

  17. Thank you for your post about this! I was really disturbed when I heard what he had said. The tradegy is so sad to begin with but to blame the people in pain is equally tragic.

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