“Christ, the Church, and Pat Robertson:” A Response By Russell Moore

September 19, 2011

On Tuesday, Sept. 13th, Pat Robertson responded to a chat-room question on his show, 700 Club.  The question read:

I have a friend whose wife suffers from Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t even recognize him anymore, and, as you can imagine, the marriage has been rough. My friend has gotten bitter at God for allowing his wife to be in that condition, and now he’s started seeing another woman. He says that he should be allowed to see other people because his wife as he knows her is gone … I’m not quite sure what to tell him.

Robertson clearly struggled with his response (see the 50th minute of the video here), which included the following statements:

They’re gone. They are gone. So what he says basically is correct, but—I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again. But to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her—

and

but you say “till death do us part,” this is a kind of death. So that’s what he’s saying, is that she’s like—but this is an ethical question that is beyond my ken to tell you. But I certainly wouldn’t put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship.

Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, responded two days later with this blog entry / response, saying, in part,

This is more than an embarrassment. This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn’t divorce her. He didn’t leave.  . . . But Jesus didn’t die for a Christian Coalition; he died for a church. And the church, across the ages, isn’t significant because of her size or influence. She is weak, helpless, and spattered in blood. He is faithful to us anyway.

and strikingly,

But that’s not what love is. Love is fidelity with a cross on your back. Love is drowning in your own blood. Love is screaming, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

Thoughts?

(For a secular response, check out this Slate article.)

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