A sharp rebuke from Mark Connor , who is not Danny Nalliah’s Pastor, but is a Senior Pastor in Victoria, highly respected by Pentecostals and evangelicals, brings into perspective the latest ‘prophecy’ from Danny, who publicly stated the Victorian fires were judgement from God for new abortion laws.
Have you noticed that any time there is a tragedy or disaster in our world, some self-appointed prophet(s) starts to speak out and talk about the judgment of God? Someone suddenly remembers a vision or a dream they had. They start to casts stones and place all sorts of guilt on people.
[Danny Nahlia[sic] from ‘Catch the Fire’ Ministries is a classic example of this. Click here to read his public statement and here for a recent Sydney Morning Herald article where he is quoted. At times like this, Danny is an embarassment to the Christian church, as he does not speak on behalf of the majority of Christians and churches, let alone God]
I think we need to be very cautious in how we approach this. Who are we to say that these bush fires are the judgment of God? What about that person who died in a car accident last week, that person who died of sickness yesterday, or that couple who haven’t been able to have children? Are they too under the judgment of God because something bad has happened to them? Is any negative experience of human suffering an indication of the judgment of God? I think we are unwise to make such arrogant statements, as if we have God’s full perspective on life’s uncertainties.
In Jesus’ time, there were a number of tragedies that took place (see Luke 13:1-5). Pilate killed a some Galileans and mixed their blood with sacrifices (“human evil”) and then a tower (the Tower of Siloam) collapsed and killed eighteen people (“natural evil”). Jesus addressed these two current issues but he didn’t explain ‘why’ they had happened. What he did say, however, was insightful. He said, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
The truth is that we live in an era of grace, when God is withholding wrath so sinners can repent. Jesus himself said he had not come to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved. People condemn themselves by their unbelief, but the time of God’s judgement and final wrath is yet to arrive. When it comes it will be terrible, and woe to those who remain in the earth, but for now, at least, God’s long-suffering is accorded towards us.
Sadly, Danny, and Catch the Fire Ministries, appear to make it very difficult to express disagreement on their blog by being seemingly selective about comments. I and others I’ve heard of, have had comments moderated. These were reasonable comments, not rude or aggressive hate-mail, nor could they be considered persecution. As an experiment I once added a positive comment under the same blog name, and it got through!
Declaring yourself to be Prophet of God is a serious business. We live under the New Covenant, and no longer stone false prophets, as people were obliged to do under the Old Covenant, but we need to be certain that if our prophecies do not come to pass, we acknowledge the error, and be very careful about declaring ‘Thus says the Lord” without his full consent.
Catch the Fire Ministries are giving aid to victims of the fires, and this is commendable, but they need to understand how and when God releases judgement in this age of His grace and mercy.
Mark Connor is a sound voice with enough sense to point out the error, as he says:
Jesus makes it clear that when something bad happens it doesn’t mean that the person(s) affected by suffering are necessarily sinful or evil. Good and evil does not fall on people in some sort of vindictive manner. Jesus doesn’t say that these people are ‘under the judgment of God’ either. If he didn’t, why are we so quick to?