Thursday, 12 February 2009

On being self-righteous

As a callow youth, early in my days of ordained ministry I was occasionally aware of older clergy looking at me wryly when I was pontificating. In those days I would often think they didn't like enthusiasm (often true) or were resistent to change (also often true).
But I also recognise that sometimes they may just have thought I was stupid and/or naive (often true!)
Hence a previous post (here) does at least allude to the fact that, as the song says, "Regrets I have a few!" - particularly the naivety of not realising that when ever you think you clearly understand what God is saying that you need to be cautious.
I sometimes say that the real problem for me is discerning when "The voice of God!" is really the "voice of Stephen". An exercise in self-validation.
So I am cautious about saying this or that is God's voice. I am wary of those who do likewise.
One such is Danny Nalliah, a Victorian pentecostal pastor, who stated that he believes God revealed to him in a dream that Victoria would be punished for passing abortion laws last year. he has drawn the construction that these awful fires are that punishment (some comment on Wikipedia here)
He has, rightly in my opinion, been roundly criticised (see here and here )
That Jesus repudiates this cause-and-effect sort of theology is evident in a number of different places in the gospels.
That all preachers need to be cautious about their own Messiah complex is less well understood.
I say to all non-Christians. We are not all like this.
The quiet faithful pastor of Marysville, Norm Hart and his wife are now without house and church. They are not being punished by God, for other people's sins.
God most certainly did not allow hundreds of people to die and be injured in order to vindicate Pator Nalliah's view of the world.
God bless those Christians (and others) who see that the best witness is to stand alongside people in the midst of trouble; and not to make self-righteous capital out of it.

2 comments:

AV said...

I say to all non-Christians. We are not all like this.

I say on behalf of non-Christians: we know.

stephen clark said...

thanks for that!