Campolo denies Omnipotence of God

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by PastorSBC1303, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Check out the following from Dr. Al Mohlers blog:

    http://www.albertmohler.com/blog.php

    God and Hurricane Katrina -- Tony Campolo Denies God's Omnipotence?

    Posted: Sunday, September 04, 2005 at 9:33 pm ET



    Tony Campolo suggests that the Old Testament never asserts the omnipotence of God. Thus, he advises that we should not suggest that God could have prevented Hurricane Katrina from devastating the Gulf coast. Raising the question, "Why didn't God do something?," Campolo responds:

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad answers. One such answer is that somehow all suffering is a part of God's great plan. In the midst of agonies, someone is likely to quote from the Bible, telling us that if we would just be patient, we eventually would see "all things work together for the good, for those who love God, and are called according to His purposes." (Romans 8:28)

    I don't doubt that God can bring good out of tragedies, but the Bible is clear that God is not the author of evil! (James 1:15) Statements like that dishonor God, and are responsible for driving more people away from Christianity than all the arguments that atheistic philosophers could ever muster. When the floods swept into the Gulf Coast, God was the first one who wept.

    Campolo is clearly on solid ground when he reminds that God is not the author of evil. The Bible is consistent in asserting that fundamental fact. He is also right to warn of those would would dare to speak on God's behalf to explain why this disaster happened to the people of the Gulf coast. We have no right to speak on God's behalf in this regard.

    But here is where Campolo's argument goes off its wheels: Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.

    Well, Rabbi Harold Kushner did indeed deny the omnipotence of God. Indeed, he suggested that we should simply understand that God is doing the best He can do under the circumstances.

    This is just not the God of the Bible. Kushner's argument is one thing -- rooted in the Jewish redefinition of God's nature after the Holocaust. Campolo's revisionst theology is something different, and more dangerous.

    In the first place, we are not limited to the Old Testament. That is fine for Rabbi Kushner, but not for a Christian theologian. The New Testament expands upon the concept of God's omnipotence found in the Old Testament. Secondly, the Old Testament does affirm God's omnipotence. Our traditional term is rooted in the Greek language, but the idea is deeply biblical. Rabbi Kushner may believe in a limited God who does the best that He can, but compare this concept with Elihu's testimony in the Book of Job. Elihu, whose admonition of Job is presented as true instruction, insists that God is actually driving the storms for His own purposes:

    He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.

    "Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? [Job 37: 11-17, English Standard Version]

    The Bible simply does not leave room for the suggestion that God is doing His best under the circumstances. Nowhere is an event -- tragic or otherwise -- explained as due to God's inability to prevent what happened. Biblical Christianity does not find refuge in redefining God's power or in flippant interpretations of God's will. Instead, it points us to the fallenness of the created order and the created order's need for redemption. The Bible claims that God is both omniopotent and all-loving. The fact that these twin truths sometimes lead us into intellectual difficulty is no excuse for surrendering the Bible's assertion of unlimited divine power and authority. The problem lies with our limited understanding -- not with any limit on God's power.

    Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been his counselor?" [Romans 11:33-34, English Standard Version]
     
  2. Ben W

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    So Al Mohlers explanation is that the hurrican occured as a result of

    - the fallenness of the created order and the created order's need for redemption.

    Yet how many in New Orleans were redeemed in the first place? Why did the Lord smite His own people or allow it to happen?

    Its one thing to sledge Campolo for his answer, yet I dont find Al Mohlers argument any more so!
     
  3. Ulsterman

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    They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (Psalms 107:23-32).

    If that is not omnipotence over the sea I don't know what is. Campolo is an apostate.
     
  4. PastorSBC1303

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    Ben, surely you see that Mohler's response is nothing comarped to Campolo's. Anyone that doubts the sovereignty of God does not know the true God.
     
  5. Artimaeus

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    Gen 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?

    Apparently, some people think the answer is "Yes".

    Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

    I'm thinking, "No".

    God, through Jeremiah, says the answer is:

    Jer 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
     
  6. El_Guero

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    Al Mohler often speaks in very deep terms. Sometimes, I have to listen (or read) what he says several times.
     
  7. go2church

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    Was Mohler addressing Rabbi Kushner or Tony Campolo?
     
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    He was addressing Campolo's remarks.
     
  9. RightFromWrong

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    I use to think that God had nothing to do with evil till we did a study on Satan. I was told that Satan can do nothing to a Christian unless it first goes through God. THAT HE ALLOWS EVERYTHING that happens in our life. So to me that means he in a way causes it.

    Is this true ? I use to think that hey stuff happens just because we live in a fallen world. To unsaved and saved.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Would disagree with Tony's view, but not sure we have the full story on his position. Often we say things in sermons and articles that may not be in complete context.
     
  11. Pipedude

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    Seems goofy to think that God created the universe and yet cannot control it. But common sense is routinely smeared with the label "Greek philosophy."
     
  12. guitarpreacher

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    It appears that once again, in true Baptist form, we have someone being ripped for what somebody says they said/meant without linking to or otherwise providing direct evidence of what was actually said.
     
  13. Ben W

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    True, often we do only seem to hear the one side of the story, I was once on a website where Dave Wilkerson was being slandered quite badly, yet when it was suggested that we might email his church in times square and discuss the matter, the thread was shut down due to a fear that their defamation of him might be known.

    If we are going to critisize, I think that it is important that the persone be given the right of reply. Case in point Joel Osteen on Larry King, many people wanted to make links in relation to his supposed denial of Christ, yet few would admit that he had apologised for what he had done, and would provide a link to that apology, and I am talking more here about supposed "discernment" sites :(
     
  14. LorrieGrace

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    Is this the same Rabbi that was Michael Jackson's "spiritual advisor"?
     
  15. Andy T.

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    Since when do we care what Tony Campolo thinks? I mean, is this all that surprising?
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    Andy - some of us appreciate part of what Tony teaches. His books have very good thoughts and provoke a lot of us fundamental/evangelicals out of our comfort zone.
     
  17. Andy T.

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    Dr. Bob,

    I can get the same push from a guy like John Piper, but from an orthodox, biblical perspective.

    To each his own, though.
     
  18. PastorSBC1303

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    Here is the entire article that Mohler was referring to:

    Katrina: Not God's Wrath--or His Will
    The Hebrew Bible doesn't say God is omnipotent. When disaster strikes, he cries with the rest of us.

    By Dr. Tony Campolo

    Whenever there is a catastrophe, some religious people inevitably ask, "Why didn’t God do something? Where was God when all those people died?" Among the answers we might consider is the one that Martin Luther gave as his wife asked a similar question upon the death of their infant son. Luther answered, "The same place he was when His son died!"
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad answers. One such answer is that somehow all suffering is a part of God’s great plan. In the midst of agonies, someone is likely to quote from the Bible, telling us that if we would just be patient, we eventually would see "all things work together for the good, for those who love God, and are called according to His purposes." (Romans 8:28)

    I don’t doubt that God can bring good out of tragedies, but the Bible is clear that God is not the author of evil! (James 1:15) Statements like that dishonor God, and are responsible for driving more people away from Christianity than all the arguments that atheistic philosophers could ever muster. When the floods swept into the Gulf Coast, God was the first one who wept.

    There are still other religionists who take the opportunity to tell us that God is punishing America for its many sins. Undoubtedly, there are some al-Qaeda fanatics who right now are saying that Katrina is the hand of God, striking America for what we have done to the people of Iraq and to the Palestinians. Furthermore, there are Christians who, in the weeks to come, can be counted on to thunder from their pulpits that Katrina is God’s wrath against the immorality of this nation, pointing out that New Orleans is the epitome of our national degradation and debauchery. To all of this I say, "Wrong."

    The God revealed in Jesus did not come into the world "to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17) There can be no arguments over the claim that, for a variety of reasons, our nation deserves punishment. But when the Bible tells us about the grace of God, it is giving us the good news that our loving God does not give us what we truly deserve. Certainly, God would not create suffering for innocent people, who were--for the most part--Katrina’s victims.

    Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.


    In scripture we get the picture of a cosmic struggle going on between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. The good news is that, in the end, God will be victorious. That is why we can sing in the Hallelujah Chorus, "the kingdoms of this world [will] become the Kingdom of our Lord."

    Personally, I contend that the best thing for us to do in the aftermath of Katrina is to remain silent, and not try to explain this tragedy. Instead of asking "Why?" we should be asking, "What does God want us to do now?" The loving God calls all believers in the face of Katrina’s devastation to seek ways to express love in concrete ways towards those who have lost friends and family members; and to those who have lost homes along with most of their earthly belongings.

    In the Bible, we read this passage: "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (I Kings 19:11-12)

    Instead of looking for God in the earthquake or the tsunami, in the roaring forest fires blazing in the western states, or in the mighty winds of Katrina, it would be best to seek out a quiet place and heed the promptings of God’s still small voice. That voice will inspire us to bring some of God’s goodness to bear in the lives of those who suffer.



    Dr. Tony Campolo is an ordained minister and the founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. Professor emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, he is the author of 28 books, including 'Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God.'
     
  19. Alcott

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    It sure must be tough being God; no one to turn to when things beyond your control happen that make you cry. This guy's really sharp, ain't he?
     
  20. guitarpreacher

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    You know what - that's just pretty good stuff.
     

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