A Plea To Job’s Friends In The Wake Of Evil

Had Job’s fellow Reformed pastors been quoted in the Washington Post, it would have sounded like this: these calamities only come upon those are doing evil.

Job has suffered these terrible calamites. Therefore, Job is at fault for this evil. The syllogism by many “Reformed friends” is the same. This kind of hatred only comes upon people who have been indoctrinated into white nationalism. The shooter attended a Reformed church and yet practiced this hatred against the Jews. Therefore, the blame must be with the church.

 

One of the worst things about the internet is that it has given to the most irresponsible of people the ability to publish at will. At any given moment there are thousands of pundits on social media with ready fingers to tackle the next big story. Whoever is first to weigh in, gets the spotlight. The bigger the story, the greater the opportunity to advance whatever has become the agenda of the day. In the process, it doesn’t matter if someone’s name is trampled underfoot, if a reputation is destroyed, or Jesus’ church is scorned, so long as the moment is used to exploit the situation with whatever is considered to be a threat to the culture’s dominant agenda.

The recent shooting at the Chabad synagogue is a one of these painful examples. The shooter, a member of local Reformed church, took a rifle and, in an action of pure hate, shot up the synagogue, killing Lori Kaye. Why did he make this choice when he was reared in a loving home and taught in a church that takes seriously the command to love one’s neighbor? Our culture wants answers—now. The family and church were quick to condemn the action and state positively their position on loving one’s neighbor regardless of one’s ethnicity.

It didn’t take long for fellow Reformed pastors to weigh in. In a Washington Post article dated May 1, 2019, Rev. Mika Edmondson is quoted as saying: “he was radicalized into white nationalism from within the very midst of our church.” Rev. Duke Kwon made the same claim: “He has, in some ways, been well taught in the church.” The author continues to describe Kwon’s views, “It wasn’t the white supremacist ideology taken from online chat rooms, totally foreign to the church, that chilled him most. It was the familiar theology, the parts where the writer showed he did believe what he’d been hearing in the pews as well…”

The premise of the article is that the shooter has been radicalized with “a certain stream of Christian theology” that shaped his worldview. Please read the article to see that in this context, the pastor’s comments are used in support of the idea that the Christian views the shooter received belonged to his radicalization. The shooter’s hatred of Jews and the subsequent shooting has some direct tie to white nationalism that he learned from the pew. The problem, therefore, is the church.

This syllogism should not be unfamiliar to us. One day some terrible things happened to Job. In one day, he lost his livelihood, his children, and his health. These were great evils that had fallen on Job. His friends all felt the need to explain and to blame, right away. Why had these terrible evils happened? Eliphazasked, “who that was innocent ever perished? those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (See Job 4:7-11). Bildad replied, “See, God will not reject a blameless person nor take the hand of evildoers (Job 8:20).” Zophar, “If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, do not let wickedness reside in your tents (Job 11:14).”

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