Thursday, October 10, 2013

God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions

Consider the bumper sticker, “God bless the whole world; No Exceptions”

This slogan has been the subject of many blogs and Christian sermons. I'm not the first by any means. One blogger points out that the thought of God blessing everyone is probably not a biblical notion.[1] I have to agree.

God does bless everyone, in a general way. “... for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”[2] But notice there are categories of people in that verse: the evil and the good, the just and the unjust.

These are categories that are established and decided upon by God. Christians err when we take the role of the judge. It is not ours. But because God will never bless evil, He will not “bless everyone, no exceptions.”

Would you want God to bless the guy who had imprisoned and abused the girls for years in a cellar in Cleveland? What about the Boston Marathon bomber? A person whose error proves fatal to another? Would a rejected wife, whose husband is leaving her for another woman want to bless him?

You see,“No Exceptions” is not a philosophically consistent position. There seems to be a barb. Is it directed at people whose worldview recognizes exceptions? I mean people who view categories like evil and good, just and unjust. “No Exceptions” seems to be saying ''You're wrong. Live and let live. Don't judge.'

But there are clearly times and reasons for God or us to withhold blessing from someone.

In the Bible, we find a man named Achan. He disobeyed God and lied about it. He later confessed his wrong under duress, but he was clearly not blessed. “And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies.”[3] They were an exception.

A marketing company, Northern Sun, who claim a copyright on the  bumper sticker, have added a further explanatory statement on their “No Exceptions”order page: “Through unity and tolerance, religions can coexist.”[4] That's an idealistic slogan but it does not live where the rubber meets the road. Just ask someone who has suffered in the Muslim-Hindu communal riots of India, has been victim of the “Christian” Ku Klux Klan, or who has been imprisoned for following Jesus in China.

To be sure, religions must coexist and must be tolerant and respectful, or we descend into darkness. But we must not slide into a cookie-cutter 'unity' based on conformity or compromise. All religions are not the same. We must agree to disagree.

A God who blesses the whole world, no exceptions, is a God without any discernment. He has no standards. He would be as C.S. Lewis wrote, “a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’[5]

God bless the whole world, and lead us into Your truth.

[1]    A. L. Blair, God Bless the Whole World. No Exceptions, January 14, 2006
[2]    Matthew 5:45 (RSV)
[3]    Joshua 7:25 (New Living Translation)
[5]             C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain,(New York: MacMillan Publishing Co, 1962) 40

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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