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God Is Not Responsible

Gregory Koukl
January 16, 1994
I had a caller yesterday that has called before from the San Francisco area who is very upset with Christians. The first time he called he suggested that money ought to be sent to organizations that would hire people with high powered rifles to kill Christian missionaries because they were destroying indigenous cultures. He also brought up the issue of Christians being the ones who have caused more death on this planet and more destruction and more evil, and the God of the Bible being responsible for that, than any other religion or group. The same issue came up again yesterday. Sometimes it's not necessary to go into all of the facts and figures which I attempted to do, at least in some fashion, with the gentleman yesterday. Sometimes it's enough to ask a simple question. What I'd like to do here is give you a simple question that you can ask someone who makes the same point.

It's not appropriate to finger God in this case and Christianity for crimes that are completely inconsistent with the teachings of Christianity and the commands of that God

The point is based on my contention and belief that people who committed crimes in the name of Christianity were not Christians. Now, some of you might be saying, that's easy for you to say. It's a way of getting out of the issue. It is a way of getting out from underneath the issue, but it's not an illegitimate thing to say. It's a very legitimate thing to say. The reason I know they're not Christians is because they're not doing the things the Scripture tells them to do, and they are doing the very things that the Bible tells them not to do. It's not appropriate to finger God in this case and Christianity for crimes that are completely inconsistent with the teachings of Christianity and the commands of that God just simply because the people who did these things said they were doing them in the name of God.

The person who is taking the easy way out is the person leveling that charge knowing full well that it's quite possible for someone to do something in the name of the other person without having that other person being involved at all. That, in fact, is the case here. I'm not trying to get around the crimes of Christendom because Christendom has committed crimes. But whether those crimes necessarily came out of a Christian world view is another thing altogether. My point is it didn't come out of a Christian world view because when you read the Bible you don't read the kinds of things that would lead you to these actions--witch burning, crusades, inquisitions.

By the way, this is in contrast to Islam where you actually have in the teachings of Islam itself the justification for Islamic jihad, or holy war, spreading the religion of Islam by force. You can point to a doctrine that leads to destruction and killing. You don't see that in Christianity so it's unfair to finger all of Christianity for that.

The question you can ask when someone makes the accusation that Christianity is responsible for all of these crimes is this. If you were a builder and you regularly sent out crews with detailed plans for building houses, and then another group went out and destroyed buildings and said they were working for you, would you be responsible? Would you be responsible for the destroyed buildings? The police come to you and arrest you for the destruction of homes and you say you have nothing to do with these people. The police say the group said they were working for you. But how do the police know they were working for you or not? Do they have any evidence that they were working for you? If the police have no written instructions from you, then the other people are impostors. It's entirely fair and reasonable for others who raise this accusation.

How do we know that these people are not Christians? Because they don't have the written instructions.

Unless they have written instructions from God to do the things they're doing then they are not from God, they are impostors. You cannot place the crimes on God's doorstep. That really is the key, by the way. How do we know that these people are not Christians? Because they don't have the written instructions. When you look at the written instructions it condemns them. John wrote in his first epistle that "we know these people are not of God because they do the works of unrighteousness." It's that clear.

It just points out that this objection is not only inconsistent with the facts. Christianity is not responsible for most of the killing, atheism is when you look at the great killers of history. It just is not a fair accusation of Christianity or God. The people who do these kinds of things are doing them contrary to the teachings of Christianity, not as a result of the commands of Scripture. So there's something you can share with somebody if they raise this issue once again. First, you can appeal to the facts. Apart from an appeal to the facts, it's also fair to say the people who committed these crimes just simply were not representatives of Jesus Christ. If they were they would have lived in a very different fashion.

  This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason.

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" God Is Not Responsible "
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Posted: Nov 9, 1996


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