Well, not so much if you’re still listening to the Dobson’s over at Focus on the Family/ Family Talk.
If that’s where you’re getting your info… well, God’s plan it would seem, is positively, absolutely… horrible.
Ryan Dobson, son of James Dobson, took to the “family talk” blog to tell us about how awesomely bleak our future is, saying:
“Why are so many Christians getting killed? Has His strategy for His church gone haywire? Are things out of control?
No, everything’s right on schedule.”
Now, I don’t want to make light of the legitimate Christian persecution in the world– that’s partly why I speak against the American persecution complex, as it detracts from real persecution such as the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to hang for being a Christian. (But who is now set to be freed thanks in part to folks like Amnesty International). When we set aside our self-centered persecution complex, we can actually have eyes to see that Christian persecution actually is an issue in the world today, just not here in the West. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell, the number of Christians killed for their faith each year is actually a staggering 159,960. We shouldn’t gloss over that fact.
But to say that this just means “everything is right on schedule”? What the heck does that mean, anyway?
Well, Dobson tells us:
“What about God’s plan for us—especially as it relates to dying for our faith? Do the Scriptures offer a clue?
More than a clue. All over the Bible you’ll find plenty of reminders that Christians are called to suffer for Christ— to share in His sufferings…
God’s plan for this world calls for a certain number of Christians to be put to death for the sake of Jesus. That number is not small. It’s huge. Enormous. God knows exactly who’s on that list, and how many names there are. Until that number’s reached—until all the names are checked off—the killing will continue.”
So there you have it– God’s plan is for an “enormous” amount of you to die. And until everyone on God’s list is dead, there is no hope.
Yikes… doesn’t exactly sound like “Good News” to me. But not so fast– it is good news to Dobson:
“That’s God’s purpose. That’s His 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.”
An “enormous” amount of people still left to die? Well, that’s just God’s “amazing” “good and perfect story”.
Ugh. Sounds like an utterly horrible story to me. If it were true, surely God would not be the author of it.
A better story, methinks, would be this one: humanity has a disturbing propensity to enact violence against one another, especially people that was see as being “different” than ourselves. God himself came in the flesh to expose this system for what it was and is– even allowing himself to become the victim of our violent tendencies. As a result, we now have the opportunity to radically change the world by living out his moral example of love– especially enemy love, and teaching others to live this way too. The good news Jesus promised Peter, was that if an organized body (aka “the Church”) would do this, not even the gates of hell would be able to stop it.
That’s the amazing, good and perfect story: that God himself became a victim of our violent system to expose our violent system and teach us a new way of living. Now, the story continues as he invites us to help reproduce this new Jesus-way of living so that it spreads to every “tribe and tongue”.
But the idea that God’s plan is to slaughter an enormously long list of people? That’s not a good story at all– sounds more like a Quentin Tarantino movie.