Just to recap, this is the quote from James Dobson that got me thinking about God, society, alleged judgement, and who gets to say stuff like this just for the heck of it.
I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me, and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.
There are a few additional facts that I want to point out regarding the expertise of Dr. Dobson. First, he is NOT a trained theologian. He holds a PhD in Child Development, and did attend a Christian university, but formal theological training isn’t among his long list of accomplishments. Secondly, he is NOT a biblical scholar. That is to say, he is not an expert in the exegetical or hermeneutical (meaning or determined message) process. Thirdly, he is NOT a pastor. This one might seem strange to some, because he has functioned “pastorally” in the lives of many, but he has never been ordained or deemed by any Christian community a “pastor”.
I don’t want to make a big deal about his qualifications for the purpose of attacking him on some sort of elitist platform. To say that just because someone doesn’t have certain letters after their name also means they can’t read the Bible correctly would be ridiculous. I’m just simply pointing out that he is a psychologist speaking about theological and biblical matters and so we should rightly ask, where his perspective comes from. We should always consider the source and ask if their perspective is informed by anything other than their own personal opinions. I’ve encouraged several people toward such a consideration when they tell me about some well-known pastor’s new book on some issue that doesn’t seem to fall under that pastor’s area of expertise.
When speaking about the judgement of God it’s helpful to remember that every time God prepares to judge a people group he sends a prophet a head of time with a warning. The prophet gives specific consequences that will follow in the coming days or years. Within the biblical narrative, God’s planned and executed judgement is NOT hidden from the judged people. The horrible events we’ve recently experienced as a country should not be so easily and callously equated to a black and white plan of judgement. Such a claim supposes to know too much and further stands to place unnecessary barriers between the Church and the lost world.