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CRITICS ASK “WHERE WAS GOD?” IN SCHOOL SHOOTING
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it was just a little over a week ago we had that terrible shooting in the Coral Springs area of Florida. There’s now a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of people asking questions — “How did this happen?” “Why did this happen?”
One curious interview over the past weekend, MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt had a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, on and Pinker asked, “Where was God during the shooting?” Pinker said, “It’s not against religion –it’s certainly against the belief that God interferes with the laws of the universe and that, by praying to Him, we can make the world better. I think that’s a dangerous belief because it’s not true.”
DR. REEDER: Well, let’s take that on just for a moment. I always tell people the bumper sticker “Prayer changes things” — it’s just not what you should use. What you should use is “God changes things through praying people.”
LET’S GET CLEAR ON WHAT PRAYER DOES
The answer to him is, first of all, you have attempted to win the debate by changing the premise of Christian theology around prayer. We do not believe that prayer is the instrument — we believe that God changes things. And what God says is, “I change things through people who pray.”
1. MISSING: PRAYER
To this gentleman, I would say to him, if the man who perpetrated this violence had called upon God and said, “I am undone. I am in despair. I feel insignificant. I feel insecure. I want to come to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I don’t want to commit mayhem to try to become somebody — I want to come to you,” then the Lord would save him and grow him and change him.
And history is full of such people. God is in the midst of a guy named Peter, who denied Jesus three times and attempted to unjustly take the life of a soldier. God changed him to a minister of the Gospel.
There is a man such as Moses who was guilty of manslaughter and then God worked in his life and he became the leader of an emancipated nation, a man who was once guilty of manslaughter.
There was a man who was a religious terrorist — who, in the name of religion, killed Christians and destroyed churches. God made him a man who was perhaps the most effective evangelist and church planter that ever lived. His name was Paul.
If we believe like he seems to believe — that prayer is what saves us — then we are misled, but if we believe that God intervenes when we call upon Him, then we have abundant evidence throughout all of history.
2. MISSING: A FATHER
Where we really ought to look at is where were men when we needed them? This young man falls into a very distinct profile. The profile that he falls into is he was missing a father — not God the Father — what was missing was his own father. Even his adopted father had died and so he was being raised without a father.
Tom, if you go check the profile of these men, many of them young men, of these who have inflicted such carnage and death in their despair, you will find out a common denominator: They are fatherless.
And what is interesting is they are now in a culture that is attacking fatherhood all the way from the transgender movement to the redefining of marriage, to the depreciation of fathers, to the holding up fatherhood for ridicule on sitcoms. It is being demeaned, it is being derided, it is being redefined, it is being removed and the result is what you see.
A mother and a father lead their children differently. We began a whole ministry at Christ Covenant in Charlotte just for single moms so my heart goes out to them. But the reason my heart goes out to them is they are attempting to do an impossible task and that is be both father and mother. You cannot. A Father’s love and leadership in the life of a child is very distinctive, just like a mother’s love and leadership is highly distinctive.
That’s the first thing that was missing. It wasn’t God — God’s already given that prescription and God has given the ability to address that prescription.
3. MISSING: COMPETENCE OF HUMANITY
The other thing that was missing was the competence of humanity. Now, it’s, “Well, let’s go to gun control.” Tom, with all due respect, if I thought that was the answer, I would destroy every gun in the world.
Let’s remember, why do you have the Second Amendment? You have the Second Amendment because our founding fathers realized that people need to have the ability to protect themselves. And, therefore, the instrument of protection in those days was a rifle — they were securing the ability of their citizenship to protect themselves.
Police and armies cannot be ubiquitous and there may be a time you have to defend your family, you have to defend yourself and, by the way, you may have to defend yourself against a tyrannical government someday — that actually was what they were referring to because they even attached this to the right to put together a state militia — so that’s why it is there.
No one will ever remove the Second Amendment. Well what about gun control? Certainly, we ought to be taking a look at the lives of people and, if somebody has certain obvious affirmed issues of their character and lifestyle, then they cannot purchase a weapon. That’s common sense, people, control to access guns.
Would there be valid laws for people in certain situations not to have access to guns such as this young man with literally 39 calls to the police? That’s a no-brainer. And then, of course, were the warnings that were given to the FBI — if you see something, say something. Well, people saw something, and they said something and there was no response. Somewhere up in the leadership, which has become highly politicized, there were decisions that were made about what they were going to put their resources to and this should not have fallen off of the radar.
I appreciate the FBI has owned it, but this was preventable in the sense of this young man could have been restrained from access to these firearms and should have been restrained. When you have students going around saying, “If there’s a shooting at this school, we know who it is,” that ought to tell you enough that somebody should have been at least engaged.
Where is God? He’s right there. Let’s call upon Him and ask Him to heal our hearts, and minister to young men with the Gospel, and to open the heart of that young man to the Gospel and ask Him to work in a culture that would cease its efforts to retard the church’s ministry.
4. MISSING: FREE PRACTICE OF RELIGION AND MINISTRY IN CULTURE
My goodness, what would have happened if there had been a competent campus minister in that high school reaching out to this young man, and what would happen if we called upon the Lord and then opened the door for the culture to return to the sanity of a culture built upon marriages that are one man and one woman for one life, thereby giving children a father and a mother.
And then, again, the free practice of religion so that churches can step in to help without single parents having to fight so many battles in the culture and can help single parents with the various ministries that churches provide to those who are facing the challenge of raising a child in a fatherless or motherless home. That’s what needs to happen.
And then, to Mr. Pinker, finally, I would say the problem wasn’t where was God — the problem was we’re not calling upon Him in prayer. We are not opening the door for the ministry of the Lord throughout our culture.
And, thirdly, what was really missing was competency in the law enforcement, assistance of ministry into the life of families that house young men like this, and, finally, what was missing was proper security on the grounds of the school.
And, finally, what was missing is what is now missing in over half of the families because of the cultural elite attack upon marriage and family, in general, and fathers, in particular, was what seems to be missing in every one of these cases: a father.
May God grant the church to step into this abyss with the clarity of the Gospel of saving grace that not only saves men and women so that their security and significance is not found in carnage but in Christ, and may God grant the movement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to secure Godly families who stay the course in life for better or for worse and may God grant us churches that step into broken homes, whether by death or divorce, with ministries to assist the single parents who are facing these enormous challenges.
COMING UP TOMORROW: TRANSGENDERISM ENTERS INTO THE CHURCH
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I do want to return to the transgender story. Interestingly, the story has now entered into the church.
DR. REEDER: We have three news events tomorrow that give a lot of insights, again, into the absurdity of our culture, whereby we call obvious fabrications, statements of integrity.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.