Over at Dr. James Dobson’s family talk, Ryan Dobson, son of James Dobson, recently wrote a piece seeking to answer the question: Why doesn’t God do a better job protecting us? Why have so many Christians around the world been killed?
On the basis of a text in Revelation 6, he argues that “God’s plan for this world calls for a certain number of Christians to be put to death for the sake of Jesus.” Of course, he doesn’t attempt to explain why God would want to have so many of God’s beloved daughters and sons killed.
“That’s God’s amazing, mysterious plan. And it’s all part of the good and perfect story He’s written for us, a story that will make Him more famous than ever when we finally see how it all plays out.”
How the brutal and violent deaths of God’s children at the hands of the powers that be can somehow be proclaimed as “part of the good and perfect” story God has designed for this world is beyond me. Dobson doesn’t offer an explanation. The reason, of course, is because this cannot possibly under any circumstances be construed as “good.”
I imagine God suffering with all God’s children who suffer and God hoping for a day when humanity will come to its senses.
But you see, for Ryan Dobson and his kind of Christianity, God has to be in absolute control of the planet—and so, we get these kinds of crazy assertions. No explanation mind you—just an assertion. Apparently, according to Dobson’s statement above, it has something to do with making God famous, as if God’s ego needed to be stroked and exalted.
Dobson says that when Christians “die in greater numbers than ever before,” as he apparently expects them too, “it’s not because God’s design has been sidetracked. No way. Rather, it’s because His plan is being fulfilled now more than ever.”
This is just one more example of why more and more thinking people are abandoning the Christian faith. Unfortunately, many are just leaving; they are not looking around to see if there are churches that offer something better—more credible.
Progressive Christianity offers a kind of faith that is not only credible (it is NOT science denying or narrowly exclusive or judgmental of our LGBT sisters and brothers), it IS also potentially transforming because we emphasize discipleship to the way of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels.
Our understanding of Christian faith is nothing to be embarrassed about. On the contrary, it is something to shout about. We should take every opportunity to talk to friends and colleagues about how our understanding and practice of Christian faith is inclusive, compassionate, credible, social justice oriented, grace-filled, and potentially life changing.
Maybe some of those who are leaving traditional expressions of Christian faith because they can no longer imagine the kind of God those versions picture, will see that abandoning the faith is not the answer. What they really need is a better faith.
Spread the word.