Pat Robertson recently claimed that the Lord struck Ariel Sharon because he had partitioned Israel, God's holy land. Do you think he is right?

Note: For details of Robertson's statement, please see this article. His original statement: "He was dividing God's land. And I would say, 'Woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations or the United States of America.' God says, 'This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.' "

No, I do not think he is right. Certainly, building walls to separate Palestinians from Israelis is a tragic development, even if deemed inevitable by the authorities. General Sharon and others may have felt they had no choice; and yet while this choice may bring security to some, it also conveys deepest sadness to others. It is sad whenever we cannot make peace with our fellow human beings. Some of my fondest memories are with Christians in Israel, when Palestinians and Israelis sit together, sing and pray together, share their lives, embrace one another, and truly exhibit the love of Christ. In Jesus Christ, all things are possible. Walls are not erected; they come down. Alas, that is not the spirit of the world.

Personally, I think it unlikely that the Lord struck Ariel Sharon for the partition of the Holy Land. I doubt that Sharon is analogous in his political leadership to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4), Herod (Acts 12), or a host of other biblical characters punished for sins of presumption by direct divine judgment. Further, I question the evangelical consensus that modern Israel, reconstituted in the 20th century through political and military action, stands in a covenant relationship with God. (Just as I question whether America is now -- or ever was -- a "Christian" nation, somehow in a covenant relationship with God!)

Sadly, many people hear men like Robertson and equate his views with Christian dogma. It is not our business to make political or prophetic announcements where God has not spoken. By our words, and especially by our gentle, respectful, and irenic spirit, let us as Christians practice peace and radiate Christ.

Note: Robertson has since apologized for his incendiary statement.

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