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Saturday, January 03, 2004

"Blab It, Grab It" elections: Pat Robertson resurrects divine right of kings

Back in the good ol' days, false prophets were stoned to death and left to rot on a dunghill. But as with all things, times change. From this story published yesterday:
Pat Robertson: God told him it's Bush in a 'blowout'
Associated Press Writer

January 2 2004

NORFOLK, Va. -- Pat Robertson said Friday that God told him President Bush will be re-elected in a landslide.

"I think George Bush is going to win in a walk," the religious broadcaster said on his "700 Club" program on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded.

"I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election in 2004. It's shaping up that way," Robertson said.

"The Lord has just blessed him," Robertson said of Bush. "I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him."

Maybe we should just forego the democratically-elected republic altogether, and wait for a white puff of smoke to appear over 1600 Pennsylvania from now on.

But then again, this is Pat Robertson we're dealing with here. The same guy who claimed that God told him to run for and win the presidential election in 1988. Who four years later said that George Bush Sr. would handily win re-election over Bill Clinton. A few years later in 1998 Robertson said that a hurricane would devastate Orlando Florida because of the shenanigans at Di$neyworld (the first hurricane of the season did strike... but it made landfall at Virginia Beach, headquarters of Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network). More recently Robertson asked his viewers to join him in prayer that Hurricane Isabel would spare their location. Instead it made landfall in North Carolina and went straight through Virginia Beach. And now, Pat Robertson is telling us that God told him that George W. Bush would win re-election this coming November.

I'm not gonna write about who stands the better shot of coming out on top this year, except to say that 10 months is an eternity in politics and anything can happen to tilt the cart. That said, whether he's right or not about the outcome of the election, I have many serious problems with what Pat Robertson stands for and is saying here.

If Robertson believes that it's God's will that George W. Bush be re-elected, then he must also be prepared to accept that it was God's will also that William Jefferson Clinton was elected - twice - into the White House. Nothing happens outside the will of God and to state otherwise would logically imply that some things are beyond His dominion, then more likely than not in man's realm of control.

Taking the implication further, it becomes that man can wield control over his situation, his world, even his God, merely by asserting authority over it. God becomes not a sovereign, but a servant and a slave. To some people, Christ is turned from the Way, the Truth and the Light into a mere talisman of power to be wielded in this passing world.

Pat Robertson is among the more prominent of the "prosperity gospel" movement, or what some people call "Name It, Claim It" theology. A close friend of mine has a better term: "Blab It, Grab It!" In a nutshell, prosperity gospel teaches that God has given the world, and everything in it, to those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That all a believer has to do is call upon the name of the Lord and whatever he or she claims power or ownership of, is given unto them.

We aren't promised material comforts in this world. In fact, Jesus told us to expect afflictions and persecutions, seemingly without end. That's the price we pay for following Him. We shouldn't even want to live a good life as defined by this world's standards... this world is DYING, for crying out loud! As believers in Christ, it shouldn't be just our calling, but our heartfelt desire to DIE a little each day ourselves, so that in surrendering to Him, He might be given the increase and live moreso through us. It's not in this world and its mere things that we find our life, but in Christ and Him alone.

That's not what Pat Robertson, and many like him, preach at all. What they're teaching can't even be called sincere Christianity. In many ways, it could only be described as a form of Gnosticism, with its obsession of things powerful and materialistic.

I do believe that God's hand is upon this nation... but it's also been upon all nations from the beginning of time. And God did something very unique with America that had never happened before anytime before in recorded history: he gave responsibility of a great nation not to a king or a minority of the powerful, but to the people... all the people. If George W. Bush is re-elected, it won't be because God has blessed him anymore than another candidate at all. It will be because the American people chose him, if they so wish it, but the freedom to do so comes from and is under the ultimate sovereignty of God. But what Robertson believes, apparently, is that we are creatures without free will, mere pawns on the chessboard of this earth. As if the Creator of the entire universe hasn't better things to do than parlay one political party against another on one tiny ball of dirt in the cosmos.

Hey Pat, we aren't here to win elections. We're here to build up the Kingdom of God. And He doesn't care what political party you're a member of.


Anonymous said...

Well, Bush did win, but it was not a landslide