Raging Hot

The bushfires raging around Victoria have created a most sobering week... more than 1800 homes lost, more than 180 people dead, thousands of people with traumatic near misses from the fire. It has highlighted to me what an interlinked community we have in Victoria... everyone I speak with knows someone, or knows someone who knows someone, who has been deeply affected by these fires. Even as I write now I can smell smoke and see the reddish-gold smoke-tinted sunlight as fires continue to blaze in the hills.

Amidst all the trauma and sadness and heroism and kindness and generosity, there has been a voice of gross insensitivity noted in the newspapers. Danny Nalliah, a Christian pastor known for "Catch the Fire Ministries", has publicly claimed that the bushfires are a direct result of God removing his protection from Australia in general and Victoria in particular because of our recently modified abortion laws.

One wonders the cause of the 80's Ash Wednesday and the 30's Black Friday fires according to this particular piece of logic. Danny biblical justification for his claim is a verse in II Chronicles 7:14, where Yahweh speaks to Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

I'll confess to the following rant on the "Catch the Fire" blog... see http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/2009/02/11/sydney-morning-article-re-media-release/#more-2220

My comment is awaiting moderation... well, we'll see...

Janet's comment:

I am really concerned about such (frankly) sloppy interpretation of scripture… we need much better from our Christian leaders, especially if they are going to speak on God’s behalf to the general public.

You have not included the context of the verse when quoting this, which is part of God’s covenant to Solomon in relation to the temple:

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered IN THIS PLACE. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

As Christians, we are under a new covenant… in a kingdom not of this world. To quote the covenant that related specifically to the temple, and to the Jewish people, and to the physical land of Israel, and claim that this definitely applies to non-Christian, Australian parliamentarians and the physical state of Victoria, to me is a breathtaking leap. I do not know where Danny studied exegesis, but it is a discipline that is well respected across Christian churches. The very first step of biblical interpretation is read the surrounding context… I think this is why his claims are being rejected outright not only by “secular” people, but by church leaders of virtually every denomination I can think of.

I think this statement will marginalise Catch the Fire Ministries from many Christians who might otherwise support it, and who are also grieved by abortion laws. A great shame.


AbiSomeone said…
Good on you, Janet...we have the same kind of ridiculous thing happen here -- like the guy who said the AIDS epidemic is judgment on the homosexual community. What about the women and children in Africa?

Or, the most recent was when John Piper said God caused the bridge in Minnesota to crash into the river ... for some reason I can't remember because I was too crazed for it to register, probably....

So much poor hermeneutics and exegesis out there ... God have mercy!

You all have been so much on my mind during this fire. Praying for grace and mercy for all.

Janet Woodlock said…
Thanks for stopping by Peggy... the Abbess has been very busy on her blog and pretty quiet elsewhere in the cyber world I note (though not in real life!)

I'm attempting to rein in my surfing a little, but I'm still a bit of a TFW addict!

It makes the message of Christ so confusing for everyone when people go public with their "Christendom empire on earth in my country" theology, rather than the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast theology...invisible, yet permeating everything. It can't help the task of mission when Christians sound so ridiculous.

I'm away from the danger zone, but as I said, the community is so interlinked everyone is impacted... my sister has been at her mother-in-law's at Healesville spotting out embers, my work collegue has been at Taggerty doing likewise, my prayer partner's son drove away from a 3 storey high wall of flame... etc. etc.

Have you changed your email address? I tried to send you something recently, but it bounced back.

Blessings on you...

Love Janet
Janet Woodlock said…
Well, my comment is still awaiting moderation, while the messages of support from later in the day have been posted. Hmph. Apparently they don't mind being told they're insensitive, and (of course) like being affirmed, but they're not sure what to do with an accusation of being unbibilical.

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