Which is really the most tragic story?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    I believe in looking at applied theology. How does ones theology PRACTICALLY affect people in the real world. Too often we discuss these matters as if they really don't impact how we live, counsel and do ministry. Here is an example:

    Two true stories:

    Story 1: A house of a missionary is broken into their two children are kidnapped, taken hostage, abused in unspeakable ways and eventually killed. The children were professing believers and at their funeral their lives were celebrated despite the tragedy of their deaths.

    Story 2: A pastor has an unbelieving daughter who, despite his love, discipline and biblical instruction, has rebelled against her parents, the church and God. At the age of 18 she gets drunk and dies in a car accident never having repented or come to Christ.

    Both are admittedly tragic stories, but which do you think is worse and why? How does your soteriological views affect the way you counsel the parents of these children, or does it? If the Pastor of the dead daughter asks you, "Why are the missionaries children in heaven after suffering only a short time, while my daughter suffers for eternity in Hell?" How do you answer him?
     
  2. agedman

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    I think that most of us have had to face one or the other (perhaps even both) "stories" and for some it can be mighty close to home.

    An overriding issue is that the missionaries and pastor not be given advice but be guided by their own knowledge of Scriptures into truth that puts questions into Biblical principles.

    Both sets of parents will live with regret. Every time someone speaks of their own children, or asks about their child(ren), they will be forced to relive the tragedy.

    Both parents will suffer in that the suffering of the children before their death will haunt the parents despite the heavenly abode. The hurtful words and scars of lost opportunity will haunt the parents despite knowing that God is just.

    One can joy in the rejoicing aspect of the missionary celebration and empathize with the rebelliousness of a strong willed child, but behind closed doors, both parents will grieve and a huge strain on their ministry and marriage will need to be worked through. It will take many, many years - even decades.

    I am not certain that a soteriological view needs to be a part of the counsel. Nearly all views hold that Christ has the keys to life and death. Nearly all views have some eternal statement in which death and the grave is swallowed up in victory through the Lord Jesus Christ.

    It would seem important to remind the missionary parents that the light of their children was not and never can be put out by the vile actions of the corrupt - no matter how badly they suffered, the Grace of God would sustain and bring them into His presence with the martyrs crown(s). It would also be good urge them to keep their eyes turned toward others, and use the example to spur the believers to more fervency of the gospel, study of the Scriptures, and growth in the fruits of the Spirit.

    I would remind the pastor that his daughter did not live as an island. The influence and testimony of her life can serve as a warning to others who may walk that path. Using the tragedy as a springboard to remind others that they cannot play the fool and expect God to ignore them. Death is not held back by station, wealth and family, and that all will come to Christ and bow before Him.

    Very gently!

    He already knows the reason. As a loving father, he would even desire to trade places with her.

    So,by tenderly guiding him as a believer to recall the faithfulness of Christ to the believers, that nothing happens in the life of the believers but what the Lord has not directly authorized (that includes rebellious children and death), and that God does not expect us to understand or go through tragedy with resigned acceptance. It is acceptable to be angry, but not to sin.

    It would be wise to use techniques of both "talk therapy" and "reality therapy" (see Young, 1982 open letter to conservative christian parents) when visiting with either the missionaries or the pastor. Both need the talk time, and both need to keep the compass point in focus and not be lost in the pathos.
     
  3. Christos doulos

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    My friend. I believer the true gospel affects people in the real world. We have no one to blame if we reject the gospel. The pastor's daughter was 18. She must have the heard the gospel hundreds of times and yet sadly, she chose to reject it.
     
  4. Oldtimer

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    The thing is that we don't know what happened in the last moments of his daughter's life. The Bible tells us what happened in the last moments of the life of the thief on the cross.

    I attended a funeral a while back of a man, who in the end, drank himself to death. Out of respect for the family I won't go into details. Only enough to say that our pastor is firmly convinced this man came to Christ before he died. We have no way of knowing if the daughter did the same thing. At this time, only Jesus Christ knows her final destination.
     
  5. Christos doulos

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    Excellent point!! God is good, just and full of grace :thumbsup:
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    Both are equally tragic. I'm not saying this is you, but only someone who has never lost a child would try to rank which story was most tragic.

    First off, to the pastor who lost his daughter how I would answer would depend on when he was asking the question. If close to the time of her death, I would simply cry with him and love on him. Anger is a part of how we respond to tragedy. After a while, I would point out to him, that he knew why she was suffering in hell, if she did indeed go there. If he didn't, maybe the greater tragedy would be that he didn't know the Gospel enough to have clearly presented it to her during her time on earth.

    Saying that, I'm not a Calvinist, but God does indeed have control over the circumstances of our lives. Even a tragic death is a part of the all things that work together for good in Romans 8. I do not understand the dynamic of God's control, but i do rest in it because it is clearly taught in the Bible.
     
  7. preacher4truth

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    We can argue that the death of Christ, nailed to the tree for our sins to be tragic, the innocent dying for those who should justly die.

    The other two examples given in the OP? 1) Precious in the sight of God, and; 2) Just, respectively.

    Thus neither are "more tragic" and the OP is begging the question.
     
    #7 preacher4truth, Feb 9, 2012
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  8. Luke2427

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    I honestly thinnk the Calvinist is best able to console these poor folks amidst these terrible tragedies.

    Six months ago I buried a 42 year old woman who was the greatly beloved daughter of one of my deacons and his wife and she was mother to a little Down's Syndrome girl of eight years old. She was also mother to two grown children and a new born grandbaby.

    She was a very sweet and precious lady and well loved in our whole little community.

    I was at the hospital when the cancer finaly took her. Her large family and numerous friends were all there. THE MOST COMMON PHRASE SPOKEN time and again through tears of mourning and tight embraces bore the only truth that sustained them. It was this: "GOD HAS A PURPOSE."

    Respectfully, what can the Arminian say? This serves no higher purpose. God never intended for this to happen. God is going to somehow work this out for your good, but he had no purpose in this event coming to pass. If it were up to your God this would never have happened- he could have stopped it, especially since he never intended it to happen and it never did serve a divine purpose- but he simply chose not to.

    That's not enough. The Christian must know that God has a purpose for every single thing that happens in this world. He must know that everything is going according to plan- God's glorious, holy plan.
     
    #8 Luke2427, Feb 9, 2012
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  9. webdog

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    Neither is more tragic? :confused: One child is separated from God for an eternity and that's not more tragic than being in His presence for eternity :confused: If anyone doesn't see the eternal implications in both scenarios and one as being more tragic than another, it's time to put the deeper things aside and go back to the milk.

    Calvinists can console both parents the best? What, do you tell the pastor that he loved his own child more than the God he serves? That as the Potter, he formed the pastor's daughter for destruction before she was even born?
     
  10. preacher4truth

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    Part of Romans 8:28, in that all things work together for good also comes the part "called according to His purpose" even when that purpose may seem to end in tragedy it is rather than this ending triumphantly, nothing happens accidentally to the child of God...and this:

    "Whether God has decreed all things that ever come to pass or not, all that own the being of a God, own that He knows all things beforehand. Now, it is self-evident that if He knows all things beforehand, He either doth approve of them or doth not approve of them; that is, He either is willing they should be, or He is not willing they should be. But to will that they should be is to decree them." - Jonathan Edwards.
     
  11. Luke2427

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    I don't understand the first question. Could you rephrase it?

    As to the second question, no I would not say that, no more than you would say that God cares more about people utilizing their free will than he cares about their eternal souls- that God planned in eternity past to create billions of people who he knew would not choose to serve him and thus be damned eternally, and that free will was that important to him that it was worth the eternal torment of billions of souls.

    You would not say that while this man was mourning and I would not say what you enunciated while he was mourning.
     
  12. webdog

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    It was in response to your statement that stated calvinists could console both parents the best

    I wouldn't say that because I do not believe any of that to be true, but most definitely the calvinist believes what I stated to be true. Huge difference.

    Again, a non sequitur as I would never say something so untrue as that. Now on the other hand, if you believe what I posted to be the truth you have the duty and responsibility to share this truth.
     
  13. mont974x4

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    The child in hell is the most tragic.

    That said, we must remember the Job's friends were doing a fine job of comforting him until they started talking. Sometimes the most effective pastoral care we give is just by being there. I have received a lot of great responses from people that I did little more than show up, hug them, and stand next to them during a difficult time. In their book "On Being a Pastor" Derek Prime and Alistair Begg reminded me that people are not likely to remember all my sermons, but they will remember my care for them.
     
  14. Luke2427

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    What about those statements do you not believe to be true and what are your alternatives to them?
     
  15. webdog

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    "God cares more about people utilizing their free will than he cares about their eternal souls- that God planned in eternity past to create billions of people who he knew would not choose to serve him and thus be damned eternally, and that free will was that important to him that it was worth the eternal torment of billions of souls."

    We cannot understand or comprehend how God works within or outside of time.
     
  16. webdog

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    :thumbs: :thumbs:
     
  17. Luke2427

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    But do you not believe that God knew who would choose him and who would not and that he went right ahead and made billions of people who he knew would not choose him- people he knew that if he made them the way he would make them and placed them into the circumstances he placed them that they would choose to not serve him and die and go to hell forever?
     
  18. webdog

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    He "made them"...or He allowed them to be born?
     
  19. Luke2427

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    He made them. He actually does the forming in the womb. By him are made all things that are made in heaven and earth.

    But I don't see how it makes any difference whether he made them or he made the process which made them knowing they would be made due to the process which he set up.

    If he knew that they would exist due to his design and he knew that billions of them would go to hell if he made them, even by processes, the way he made them and put them, even if by processes, in the circumstances in which he put them- you still have, as best I can tell, the same problem that you present the Calvinist.
     
  20. webdog

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    One doesn't follow the other. His creation is perfect, are you implying He creates less than perfection?
    ...and therein lies the issue.
    No, because your view makes them the direct cause, but that has been hashed by you and Skan more than I care to revisit it.
     

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