Asking The No-No Question

Theologian John Jefferson Davis asks the question few dare ask — “Is the COVID 19 virus a judgement from God?” — with at least two twists.

First, he refuses to shame the curious. He even says: “That’s a fair and appropriate question.” How novel. Many supposedly sophisticated Christians — including evangelicals — poo-poo the query beneath the God-is-Love banner: “Our God is ever graceful and merciful and would never permit a plague.”

But, clearly, God does permit — and even inaugurates — plagues. Witness His stark promise to the ancient Israelites lest they rebel: “The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish” (Deuteronomy 28:21-22, NIV). And there’s Joel 1:4, where God threatens to unloose a plague of locusts.

But speculating over God’s wrath isn’t popular among many Christian intellects, so they frown and sigh. They’ll pat inquirers on the head and make them feel small. That abandons the issue to the likes of Kenneth Copeland, who said the virus is here because President Donald Trump’s opponents had “opened the door” in their displays of anti-Trump hatred — or to the Elijah List’s so-called prophets (see Robert Henderson’s March 10 statement: “I also understand that the intent of the devil is to disrupt the economy of our nation. This is what the devil understands he must do, to seek to deny President Trump the re-election”).

Thoughtful discussion would probe how our Lord handles the question.

Which brings us to Davis’s second twist. He points to Luke 13:1-5, which alludes to a forgotten incident in which a tower collapsed and killed eighteen people. Jesus mentions the victims and asks: “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” (verses 4-5, NIV).

The all-important point: The proper response to God’s wrath is personal and corporate repentance. No finger-pointing.

In allowing for the possibility that God is sending us a “wake up call,” Davis offers balance — and he doesn’t dis anyone who dares to ask the dreaded question.

, ,

About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: