I'll just admit it up front: from their articles, I have a hard time understanding what the RAANetwork is about. They have a statement of purpose, but, as I say, I'm focusing on the articles. Where are we going, I wonder, when I see pieces like this, and this, and this? Does that all bring us together in an Ephesians 2 and 4 way, lifting up what unites us in Christ through His work on the Cross?
But I follow them in Twitter, in part because I dearly want to see Biblical truths spread all over, including those areas where historically it has not been well-presented and well-known. For that reason, Monday my eye was caught by their tweets about Pat Robertson.
Pat Robertson has been making ridiculous statements on global television for decades. http://t.co/wBqyhyiKun
— RAANetwork (@RAANetwork) October 20, 2014
Pat Robertson is what happens when we rely on the wisdom of man rather than God. http://t.co/TqsrJWmVMP
— RAANetwork (@RAANetwork) October 20, 2014
For one thing, I — are you sitting down? — was a bit taken aback at how bare-knuckled it was. Deserved, appropriate... but just a bit surprising to me.
"Pat Robertson has been making ridiculous statements on global television for decades." OK, well yes; again, amen. Ngare points at Robertson's "record and reputation for being flippant, bigoted, and all other words that describe a serious lack of wisdom or discretion," and asks whether we really should "be wasting our breath and time reacting to his latest episode of verbal diarrhea?"
"Latest episode of verbal diarrhea"? Ouch; absolutely true, and needs to be said. You go, bro!
Then Ngare (again truly) observes that one would hope a 84-year old would be mellowing and maturing — more "nuanced"! — and yet Robertson "only seems to be getting worse." Indeed.
Then Ngare goes on about Robertson's regular practice of popping off answers and rants and musings on an array of topics without even an attempt at deriving them from Scripture.
So: true, true, true... but what does Pat Robertson's follies in this regard have to do with Reformed folks, or the RAANetwork's statement of purpose? Robertson isn't Reformed, makes no claim to being Reformed. I'm still puzzling that out.
However, that said, I must quickly add once again that I'm always glad to see a Christian brother warning about Robertson. I myself have a long, long record of doing just that, and far less gently than Cornell Ngare (to his credit, no doubt). Just see this, and this, and this, and this, for starters.
In the first of those, I get at what I am suggesting Ngare is missing, and where I think he's just a bit wide of the mark.
I think Pat Robertson would categorically reject Ngare's accusation. Robertson would say that he seeks God's wisdom constantly—and he gets it, directly, by God's personal revelations to him.
You see, Pat Robertson is a Charismatic. He is a man who has written generously that "Probably 95 per cent of all the guidance we need as Christians is found in the clearly understood principles of the Holy Bible." The other 5 per cent? Well, that's where you need Pat and the other Charismatic leaders who have a hot line to God.
Paul's question in Romans 4:3a seldom seems to be Robertson's first question, 2 Timothy 3:15-17 doesn't inform him much, and Deuteronomy 18:20 doesn't seem to sober him up to any measurable degree. The hard fact of a completed Canon is just a "and-then-that-happened" thing in the landscape of his thinking.
It's this progression which is as unpopular as it is irrefutable: without (A) Pentecostalism, (B) Charismaticism (however you shade those two), and most crucially (C) the Open-But-Clueless crowd of Reformed-and-other enablers, Robertson would be without a platform. He'd have no one to listen to him. Once he started popping off and saying things that can't be warranted by Scripture, Christians would turn away en masse, and he'd be talking to the mirror.
This is the consequence of not truly affirming and embracing and heralding a robust doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. This is the consequence of winking at the Charismatic movement. This is the consequence of Reformed folks like Wayne Grudem and Vern Poythress and the others coming up with rationales to save face for Charismaticism's 100 years of straying and of failure-to-deliver.
Just take one example, only one: Robertson's internationally-famous record for false prophecies. Just take this one: here we see Pat Robertson and Michael Brown's BFF Benny Hinn, where Robertson says in so many words that God told him that Mitt Romney would win the Presidency.
Don't rush past that. There's no way to soften this. Sniggering, giggling Pat claims a word from God. Michael Brown's good buddy Hinn says "I trust God's voice." So both equate Pat's private revelation with the august voice of God, that voice which brought the universe into existence out of nothing.
Yet note again, Hinn says "I trust God's voice," and Robertson chuckles "Well, we'll see."
Words fail me. Almost.
Now, this clearly was a false prophecy. Can't we agree on that? That, or (I speak as a fool) God was wrong. So, remind me: what are the consequences for delivering a false prophecy?
- In Israel, it would be death (Deuteronomy 18:20).
- In the church, surely it would be excommunication.
- In this day of Grudem and Poythress and other enablers of modern pop-offecy... nothing. No consequences.
What Christ's church really needs is a revival-level, massive embrace, and living and systematic proclamation of the sufficiency of Scripture.