Ashamed of the Gospel? Missed Opportunity at Virginia Tech
I’ve not said anything about the murders at Virginia Tech simply because so many others have, and no doubt will continue to in the months ahead. The depth of sin once more was revealed in all its horrible brutality. A deeply mentally ill young man was passed around, in and out of "counseling" situations, but never stopped and institutionalized. Why? I do not know. I’m disgusted by the blog posts, by pastors no less, who have decided to turn this situation into a forum on gun control, either pro or con.
I’m deeply troubled by one aspect of this situation: the abject failure of the Lutheran pastor on the scene there to say a clear word about our Lord Christ during the special service held on the campus and broadcast nationwide.
I’ll put it plainly: If you are going to participate in an overtly syncretistic service like this, a bad situation to begin with, then for the love of Christ [literally!], speak of Christ and the power of His resurrection! Here is an excellent commentary on the situation that I entirely agree with.
Ashamed of the Gospel? Missed Opportunity at Virginia Tech
By Frank Pastore
Sunday, April 22, 2007
test your knowledge of world religions. Below is the entire message
delivered by one of the four religious leaders at last week’s
convocation at Virginia Tech, in the aftermath of the horrible mass
murders that left 32 dead and 21 injured.
The test is simple: determine the religion being represented.
We gather this afternoon for many purposes. To weep for lost
friends and family, to mourn our lost innocence, to walk forward in the
wake of unspeakable tragedy, to embrace hope in the shadow of despair,
to join our voices in a longing for peace, and healing, and
understanding which is much greater than any single faith community. To
embrace that which unifies, and to reject the seductive temptation to
hate. We gather to share our hurts and our hopes, our petitions and our
We gather also to drink deeply of the religious streams
which have refreshed parched peoples for many generations. We gather
together, weeping. Yes, we weep with an agony too deep for words and
sighs that are inexpressible. But also we gather affirming the
sovereignty of life over death.
At a time such as this, the darkness of evil seems powerful
indeed. It casts a pall over our simple joys, joys as simple as playing
Frisbee on the drill field. We struggle to imagine a future beyond this
agony. If we ever harbored any illusions that our campus is an idyllic
refuge from the violence of the rest of the world, they are gone
forever. And yet, we come to this place to testify that the light of
love cannot be defeated.
Amid all our pain, we confess that the light shines in the
darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. We cannot do everything,
but we can do something. We cannot banish all darkness, but we can by
joining together, push it back. We can not undue yesterday’s tragic
events, but we can sit in patient silence with those who mourn as they
seek for a way forward.
As we share light, one with another, we reclaim our campus,
let us deny death’s power to rob us of all that we have loved about
Virginia Tech, this our community. Let us cast our lot with hope in
defiance of despair. I invite you to observe a moment of silence.
Difficult, isn’t it?
The message was delivered by Reverend William H. King, Director
of Lutheran Campus Ministries at Virginia Tech, and a member of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The video of the message
is available online.
Each of the four speakers were there to represent their
religion, to bring the message of comfort and hope rooted in their
faith tradition. The Muslim speaker read passages from the Koran in
Arabic and appealed to Allah, the Jewish speaker read from Ecclesiastes
3 while an assistant repeated the passages in Hebrew, the Buddhist
quoted the Dalai Lama, while the Christian did not even quote from the
Bible, nor mention the name of Jesus – the namesake of his religion.
What Mr. King said should be studied in every seminary in
America. It is precisely what not to do when given the opportunity to
bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus to those grieving the loss of
loved ones and struggling to make sense of the evil visited upon them.
The nearest thing to Christianity anyone heard at the
Convocation was the playing of Amazing Grace and the unison recitation
of The Lord’s Prayer. There was far more Bible coming from the pews
than being preached from the pulpit.
No wonder Christianity is so easily and regularly attacked on
college campuses. With advocates like this, who needs opposition? We’ve
got guys in our uniform playing for the other team.
Mr. King could have spoken the truth. He could have explained
why Christians are confident in divine justice, why we believe that
good will ultimately triumph over evil, why we know that there is life
after death for those that trust Christ. He could have explained that
Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins on the Cross that Friday long
ago, and rose bodily from the dead on Sunday to prove His sovereignty
over evil, sin and death.
In short, he could have preached the Gospel. After all, the murders were only a week removed from Easter.
But, Mr. King decided to do something apparently more important
in his mind. He decided to be politically correct and not offend the
members of his interfaith community by offering hollow words of
humanistic philosophy lacking any real substance, and by appealing to
various “religious streams” and by validating the search “for a way
forward,” he insulted those of us who actually believe Christianity is
true and other religions false.
In so doing, he denied his faith.
He offered those mourning no hope for the present nor any hope for the future.
He left the hearers dead in their sins.
A minister ashamed of the Gospel should not have been on that podium.