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Friday, January 13, 2006

Pat Roberson: Prophet or Embarrassment?

Rev Pat Robertson has come under considerable criticism for statements he has made in the past and recently. Typically these statements are made on his TV program which are often said by him to be inspired by divine intervention.

Years ago, I worked for Pat Robertson when he was first starting his ministry in Virginia Beach. What I did was of a technical nature working in his then, UHF station. This was a high school project associated with the audio-visual club of our school and in no way was associated with his beliefs or his Church. It was just a chance to learn new skills.

Being young and impressionable, I found it amazing how he and his followers would suddenly break out talking in tongues, then there were the prayer messages and his visions of people being cured of a variety of illnesses.

It was quite interesting to see the growing swell of support for his brand of Christianity. But I was not that impressionable to swallow the belief pill that he was dispensing. It was not my cup of tea, nor is the snake charming Christianity sects that can still be found in some rural areas, supposedly in Virginia and rural North Carolina.

The Virginia Pilot today has done an article on Pat Robertson. The title is "Pat Robertson, a prophet to his believers." In this article I found the following quote:

“I think his views originate in his theology,” said Vinson Synan , dean of the divinity school at Regent University, which Robertson founded. Synan called Robertson “evangelical with a charismatic emphasis.”
“He prophesizes . He speaks in tongues,” said Synan, an expert on charismatics, citing two of the most defining beliefs of charismatic Christianity. In addition, “Pat literally believes in the Old Testament testimony about Israel” and how it is linked to current events and the future “end times,” he said.

Pat Robertson had recently made the statement that God punished Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for giving Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.

I would like to state that he has now retracted that statement, and apologized both in public and to the family of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Rev Pat Robertson has done a lot of good, and in my opinion has done some things that do not sit well with me. Being a religious leader entails responsibilities, he has responsibilities to those who find moral guidance in what he says, and he has responsibilities on how he represents Christianity to others.

Some of the good he does comes from Operation Blessing:

Operation Blessing has provided nearly $500 million -- which includes Operation Blessing donations and matching funds from other organizations -- to assist nearly 130 million people in 50 states and 71 foreign countries.

Here, he has shown a better side of his efforts to help others rather than hurt. There are many things that I wish he just wouldn't do. And he has had his share of scandals, and misspoken words. Can the good he has done offset the bad? That is a question I still struggle with.


At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...


It is a tough call. Obviously he has done many good things and has a good impact on people, but he also has said many erroneous and ugly things as well.

I think Pat is human as are the rest of us and we all have weaknesses and fall short of the glory of God. We can only hope that he will stop making ridiculous statements that don't reflect Christianity at all. And that in the end, the good he has done won't be forgotten.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for your comment Melissa, it is a very tough call.

At 1:59 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Easy call for me. Pat is an embarassment to the Christian faith, to the Commonwelth of Virginia, where he is unfortunately based, and to the United States of America. The problem I see with Pat is that in many countries, they see him, and Jerry and Oral and others of that ilk, as the "Face of American Christianity". This casts a very bad light on American Christians, and really on American "anythings". Humans tend to stereotype and group people based on whatever limited exposure or example they have. Sometimes this is good, such as the "stiff upper lip" example that Winston Churchill set as "The British" response for things. Most of the time it is bad however. Look back to the 50's and early 60's at Nikita Khrushchev. His round little face WAS Mother Russia, at least to us Americans that did not know any real Russians. I know that my roomie of Italian heritage would not like to be characterized by "Il Duce"

No Pat is a black mark on America in the eyes of the world and I for one will be very happy when he realizes (if he ever does) that his ability to effectively lead a Christian group has been compromised by his mouth and he retires.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Good points, Jeff!

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These hard-line Christian leaders that spout off naming everything in the name of heaven & religion is an embarassment to America. They often speak before they think, and apologizes after the fact are not apologizes, just media to try to save face. It doesn't help. I have often been ashamed at being called Christian because of them.
Will Pat say Bush is doing God's work? Will he say Bush was appointed by God? America beware.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Personally, I think if Pat Roberson said that, Bush would be the first to disagree and everyone else would just shake their head and wonder...what's the guy gonna think up next?


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