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Much Ado About Nothing

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When the biological appears diabolical

Author Katherine Stewart let Christians have it last Friday, at the least the “ultraconservative” ones, the science-deniers, and the uncritical thinkers. Laying the blame for the pandemic in part at our feet, she cites as an example the pastor who hosted the president last month at his church in Miami. “Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus?” he asked his full house. “Of course not.” Such conviction led many churches to gather together last Sunday for worship, a defiance defended as faithfulness, though as it turned out the virus indeed infects the righteous and unrighteous alike.

I’m sympathetic to Stewart’s concern that Christians are not listening to medical science, and I’m sympathetic to the pastor’s sentiment too. One year ago this week I stood in Capernaum, reading from Luke 4 about Jesus exorcising demons while in the very synagogue where he did it. I stood there with my late wife who was dying of pancreas cancer, its own kind of demon. Our tour guide, a non-religious Jew, suggested we pray for healing, given all the healing that happened here. As a pastor, I felt embarrassed—why hadn’t I thought of that? Where was my faith? Did I believe God would bring his people to his house and let cancer win? Of course not. But my wife did die.

Such questions haunt Christians, a chronic thorn in our theological flesh. We crave simple answers, the sort Stewart describes in political arenas as “a battle between absolute evil and absolute good” (which she resorts to herself, with her overly simplistic characterizations). We live in a day when everything gets reduced down into binary, either/or simplicity …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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