December 14, 2017

This Goes too Far

Last week I put up an excerpt from Pat Robertson’s controversial video in which he said he would advise a husband to divorce his wife with Alzheimer’s disease. You will note that I did not pass direct judgment on his comments, but merely described them as “strange” and “surprising.” I encouraged us not to pile on, but just asked what people thought about his words.

Well, people have certainly piled on. And I understand why. Here in America, where family-ness is next to (above?) godliness, to even bring up the possibility of divorce in a situation like that is totally unacceptable.

By the way, I too think it is unacceptable. Just a couple of days before, did I not write a piece about a man who loved his wife with Alzheimer’s to the end?

Pat stuck his foot in his mouth, period. It is my opinion after watching the piece that he was responding emotionally and sympathetically with a man who wrote in anguish that he feels his wife is gone and he is desperately lonely. In response, as he was trying to think and talk through the difficult situation, Robertson unwisely used the word “divorce” and didn’t back off from it. If this discussion had taken place in a Sunday School class or small group meeting, it would never have raised the vehement response that erupted. These are thoughts and feelings with which we wrestle. But Robertson is a public representative of Christ, who has a national audience, and who was being asked to give an answer. He should have chosen his words more carefully. Instead, with each sentence, he dug himself deeper and deeper into trouble.

Ok. So what?

So along come people like Russell Moore. He is quoted in an article about the controversy by CNN’s religion blog.

“This is more than an embarrassment,” wrote Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

What?

With all due respect to Dr. Moore, that has to be one of the most ridiculous over-statements I have ever heard. No matter what one may think of Robertson (and I am no fan, by the way), his unwise rambling remarks about a difficult situation requiring pastoral counsel in no way even approaches “repudiating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Is this the standard we’re going to hold people to now? Will we be encouraged to see every word that does not uphold perfect Christian morality as a repudiation of the Gospel?

Two unwise statements do not make for a helpful discussion.

Comments

  1. Such a statement only confuses people about what the gospel really is. I am glad that people such as Scot McKnight and Michael Horton are working hard to make people think about the definition of the gospel.

  2. I am not a fan of Pat Robertson or any tele-evangelist for that matter (although I will make an exception for RC Sproul – really like his grasp on Church history -even though it is from a Calvinist view). But lets put things in perspective- he’s an older gentleman whose filter is beginning to slip – meaning he is speaking before he is fully processing. I find myself doing it sometimes. And it is understandable that if he is going to be on TV he should have his filter in place – or step down from his current role and do special reports kind of stuff with limited air time.

    • Radagast- I like how you expressed that. I saw the same thing happening to my Father as he approached 90. Where he once had the mental agility to think something through before he spoke, as he aged he sometimes just sort of said things while he was still working through them. The thinking process slowed and the filter was no longer as firmly in place. The results sometimes seemed to be a contradiction to the values he expressed while he was raising us kids. I guess as someone gets older and the filter fades you find out about the conflicting sort of thoughts they have always had inside.

    • Robertson has been “slipping” for decades. This is not the first time he’s spoken without thinking; nor is it the first time he’s said something dumb and refused to back down (in lack of humility? Dunno).

      But we shouldn’t be quicker to offer him grace just because we think he’s losing it. Grace is, after all, undeserved. It should be offered whether he doesn’t know what he’s saying, or whether he does. Rebuke too; but grace too.

    • I agree. He is an old man who may be slipping.

    • Robertson has ALWAYS been like that! His “filter” is famous for the holes it develops, so this is no surprise. The question to be asked though is: Is Robertson speaking in the forum of a pastor or is he just “opining” ala O’Reilly?

      If he is in the place of a “pastor then he deserves the approbation, but if he is just a commentator, well, he’s just being injudicious and we shouldn’t give his statements much importance.

  3. “This is more than an embarrassment,” wrote Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Precisely how I feel about the SBC’s embracing and teaching and promotion and practice of patriarchal hierarchicalism (aka “complementarianism”). 😀

  4. We don’t take Pat seriously at our home. My daughter was 6 when, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Pat Robertson made his comment about the Haitian revolution and pact with the devil. She was in the room when I was listening to it. “What is that man saying?” She asked a few questions, became visibly angry and stated, “That man needs to watch where his mouth is going!” Pat Robertson has chronic foot in mouth disease. I think the only reason he gets air time is because he is so good at putting Christians look stupid.

    I am reading McKnight’s book now. I am only through about 3 chapters so I can’t believe I am going to make a generalized statement about his thesis. But, so far, it is pretty much that we are too focused on salvation and don’t make people disciples. Is it repudiating the gospel to suggest divorce when God claims to hate divorce and Christ taught against it? Would we be following the example of how compassionately met the needs of the poor, sick and disabled to suggest that divorce is acceptable? And, this man is already seeing another woman….

    So, yes, this is immoral and, in my opinion, doesn’t line up with the actions of a disciple. But, that is kind of the point of the membership/salvation/part of the in-I-am-going to heaven message that doesn’t take the next step of making people disciples.

  5. As for being a repudiation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, why not, if not believing the earth is only 6,000+ years old is also billed as that? Sheesh!

  6. I seem to remember during a presidential race how Robertson tried to avoid the title “TV preacher” in favor of “religious broadcaster.” This provoked some humorous jibes in the media, where in skits, a Robertson character would talk about how he had mowed lawns and done other things. But this current situation suggests that perhaps for all his faults, Robertson knew what he wasn’t.

    Offering moral advice of this sort on the air is always dicey. Are you trying to help the person in question, or instruct the broader audience? In many cases, you cannot do both well. (In many cases, you really cannot do either one well.)

    The chief error was to try to answer a question like this on the fly. In my own experience, such “I have a friend” stories have a tendency to be half truths, sometimes even when they come from honest people. Sometimes they’ve heard parts of the situation second hand. You could find out later that the friend seeing a woman was a rumor. Or that he had a string of women. The friend could be well-versed in the faith. Or a non-Christian. Everybody imagines a particular kind of situation as if they had firsthand knowledge, and then interprets the advice in that light. It’s a recipe doomed to failure.

    Wouldn’t a broad discussion of marriage have been more helpful to people?

    Truly Christian treatments of these questions are dealt with one-on-one. A TV answer wouldn’t have been Christian no matter how correct it was. God never instituted TV ministry by proxy.

  7. I’m going to re-post part of an email I sent to a freind of mine the other day. He wanted me to be a Bearean (from Acts) over what Pat Robertson and other say. Unofrtunately I have had some strained freindships due to what happened with my faith. Now my friend is a John Piper afficinedo and attended Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis. I visited once and went to church with him. This was in 2003 oe 2004.

    I don’t think many people in the church understand how offensive and hurtful comments by Pat Robertson and others can be. When I was an evangelical my family was Catholic. When Robertson (or someone else…) would say something they at times asked, “Do you believe this” or “Do you agree?” I don’t think many Christians know this because many live in bubbles. Thery are removed from the world. They seldom have contacts with the outside world, or friends. And I’ll state it here…when I ingested the fundegelcial kool-aide I was just as guilty. I certainly had no contacts or friends outside the church and circles I moved in. It was my connection to my family that helped show me how embarrasing stuff like this is. It’s a distraction and it does a great diservice.

    As I tried to explain to another person. Can you imagine what it must have been like if you were a member of Bethelhem Baptist and you were personally affected by the I-35 bridge collapse and knew someone who was killed in that sad tragedy? And then in this time or mourning you hear you pastor John Piper say that God allowed this to happen so that people can “fear him more.” If that’s not a major WTF I don’t know what is. On a side note I’d be willing to bet that in 30 years John Piper’s daughter will be the equivilent of Frank Schaeffer. A frustrated, disgusted person rightfully angry with evangelicals.

    But with an aging population, retiring baby boomers, I can’t imagine saying something like this about divorce and alzheimers. So with that in mind I tried to explain to my freind how the world will look at him because of statements like what Pat Robertson said. I didn’t like it when I was a fundy…but whether I liked it or not, sady it became baggage and I had to contend in dealing with his comments.

    ———————

    Tom-

    The biggest Christian schools in my backyard are Robertsons, Falwell and a couple of other in the same league. When I was a Christian I bumped into people who attended those schools at church. Not fringe churches…but mainline churches. I miss the days of having Wheaten, Trinity, of Moody in my backyard. When I met people from those schools I didn’t get a gut feeling that they were about waging the culture wars; whereas with Liberty or Regent I do.

    But I would also say the fallowing which you may deem offensive but I think is the reality of the situation. For many people Pat Robertson IS your spokesman. Whether you like it or not they are the ones the public sees on TV or in the press speaking out as “Christian leaders…” Many Christians I would suggest, while good intentioned, are living in bubbles and don’t realize this due to a lack of contact with people from the outside world. When I was evangelical the rest of my Roman Catholic family would hear what Robertson or others would say and ask me if I agreed with him. I spent more time trying to distance myself from his statements as a result. Back in 2007 I had a new co-worker in my office who I invited to church. He seriously asked me if Robertson was going to do the speaking and if it was going to be beamed in from Virginia Beach. So whether you like it or not many people in the outside world are going to lump you in with Robertson. It’s ugly and its crap…but that’s how it is. So yes Tom for many people in the world Pat Robertson sadly has become a measuring stick. And you will be measured against him.

    Now here’s another point of contention. I ask the following as well. Is his comments any worse than what John MacArthur, John Piper or Mark Driscoll would say? Remember when Driscoll blamed Ted Haggard’s homosexuality on his wife letting herself go…is that any different? I would say no. Christianity today is paralyzed with idolatry. Christians are good at identifying idols outside the church (alcohol, porn, etc…) but are blind to the idols inside the church. Superstar pastors dealing with narcissism because of the media publicity is an idol and many times its ignored. So when Christians buy every book John Piper writes and continue to go to his website at Desiring God and download every sermon, they are contributing to the idolatry in modern Christianity by stoking John Piper’s ego and feeding the problem

    I’m sorry if you can’t see that Tom I really am…. And I’m not trying to be difficult just pointing this out.

  8. Here in America, where family-ness is next to (above?) godliness . . .

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I too was surprised at the stridency of the reactions to this. People did far more than just point out that Robertson was terribly wrong in his advice. They questioned his larger mindset, mental capacity, overall moral compass and more. It was only a matter of time before someone questioned his faith as well. Clearly something hit very close to home for people.

    What we need to realize is that when we do this, we are making the gospel into not just faith in and following of Jesus, but faith in Jesus and . . . fill in your favorite litmus test …… perfect marriage, perfect family, creationism, biblical literalism, institutional fidelity, faultless teaching, etc. etc. Sometimes it’s overt; more often it’s subtle and unstated, but the tendency is definitely there.

  9. It has been a long and windy road — not to mention busy!

    But a real joy to come back here [even though 90% of you take me for a jerk] and read this…..

    Thanks Chaplain Mike.

    Ps. You’ll now find me here: http://razorsharptruth.wordpress.com/

    Looking forward to reading more!

  10. What good is the Gospel in a marriage if it is enjoyed selfishly as unconditional, but shared with others conditionally? The Gospel is all about this situation and I think the quote… “This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” is dead on. He is not attacking Robertson as a man only his pragmatic, watered down application of the Gospel to this particular situation.

    Mike I would appreciate an explanation of how this quote is in anyway unwise. I fear you have ranked Dr. Moore’s quote unfairly by comparing it in anyway to Robertson’s absurd representation of the Gospel and it’s implications applied to marriage.

    How is Robertson’s practical advice to this man concerning his marriage to his wife with Alzheimer’s not a “repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”? Isn’t loving someone in sickness and in health more than a vow? Is it not a mandate? If Robertson is condoning the repudiation of this mans marriage to his sick wife… by nature of paradox he is repudiating the Gospel which is a covenant based on loving God and loving others in the same way God has loved us.

    • Just a thought.

      You could say then that every time a Christian does or says something unloving, that it’s a “repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

      I spent 15 years at a Southern Baptist Church, and if I were to use Moore’s logic, then I would have to say that the gospel was probably “repudiated” at least a few hundred times there. Using this logic there are any number of things that the SBC has done that have “repudiated the gospel.”

      I don’t think than anyone here is saying that Robertson was wise (in fact I found it both embarassing and unhelpful), but what Moore said was silly hyberbole that doesn’t help or further a dialogue.

      One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to have any kind of rationale conversation with Christians, is we will often travel down this road of making everything black and white. Conversation and discussion become impossible when you forever risk “repudiating the gospel.”

      And yet, the Gospel stands today inviolate as something that is beautiful, wonderful and mysterious. In fact, if I was trying to be clever and a little whimsical, I might go as far as arguing that the very fact I am this screwed up, and have so many stupid things come out of my mouth, is not a repudiation of the gospel, but rather a confirmation, since Jesus came to save people like me.

      • Thank you for your comment DB Beem. I was taking what Dr. Moore was saying to mean that Robertson’s pragmatic legalism was displaying a contradiction in the mandate to love others as we have been loved. It seems that knowledge of the person who made the comment would help to clarify more of it’s context. I am not sure who Dr. Moore is but I have had enough experience with baptist fundamentalism to understand what you are saying concerning his Logic.

        Thank you for this comment…

        “I might go as far as arguing that the very fact I am this screwed up, and have so many stupid things come out of my mouth, is not a repudiation of the gospel, but rather a confirmation, since Jesus came to save people like me.”

      • You make a good point. I guess what i ifnd interesting is why a Minister would need to be taught that divorce is wrong. Then again if Christians are going to claim grace it’s situations like this that are opportunities to show it. For example Pat Robertson had an opportunity to show grace and missed that, Russel Moore had an opportunity to show grace and missed that.

      • DB,

        This~

        “One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to have any kind of rationale conversation with Christians, is we will often travel down this road of making everything black and white.”

        ~ is why it’s so hard to be gray on this journey.

        • Rebekah I was thinking as well It seems that Christians are very sensitive as well and many times incapable of discerning someones truth from their motives. So people wind up arguing motives and never hearing each other.

    • When we are talking about the Gospel, we must be careful about our language. If Dr. Moore had said, “This is an indication that Pat Robertson is not using Gospel-informed moral judgment here,” I could accept that. But that is a much different matter than the Gospel itself.

      • Mike thanks for your response…
        Repudiation is a legal term so I was thinking Moore was saying that Robertson in sounding full of grace was actually making the case for a legal Gospel.

        Again as I had mentioned above… I do not know Dr. Moore personally. So I am not able to grasp a personal context behind the quote.

        I felt that this mans marriage is a full picture of the Gospel and all it’s implications and that’s what hit me so hard about what Robertson said (and didn’t say)… so I was naturally inclined to Moore’s response. Because I felt that this issue transcended moral judgment and moved into the area of moral imperatives.

        But I always believe there is room for grace concerning this issue… with the understanding that there is a difference between those looking for moral license and those who have made a week moral choice.

        • Correct me if I am wrong…but isn’t the only time that divorce among Christians is permitted is as a response to sexuall imorality. And even then Christians have an opportunity to show grace.

          • I think divorce is never the best… seeing it as something that is permitted or not permitted can undermine the Gospels hope of Grace in life’s various complexities. Robertson seems to be permitting it here flippantly. I think Robertson should have said sit down with your elders and pastor and prayerfully work this through.

        • Able Baker, if I could add to it:

          Pat Roberston often shoots from the hip, and by now we should expect it. It’s good for TV ratings. I do think this was more serious than some of his ramblings, and his board of directors should have taken him to the woodshed for it. Shame on them if they didn’t.

          But Dr. Moore’s response was even more of a problem. Both of these men are Christian leaders, and “to whom more is given, more shall be expected” but Dr. Moore, as dean of theology at a major seminary, really blew it, and here’s why: he upped the ante and raised Pat’s error to the level of apostasy.

          There are at least three levels on the downhill slide: error, heresy and apostasy. What Pat said was merely an error. Not even a heresy (which could still be innocent) and nowhere near apostasy, which is willful repudiation of what is holy—and yet this is essentially what Dr. Moore accused of Pat Robertson. It’s a dangerous thing for a man in his position to say, both for the cause of Christ and for his own career. Dr. Moore himself should have been taken to the woodshed.

          And this isn’t even touching on whether Dr. Moore muddied the distinction between works of the law and the gospel of grace. But I think that’s been covered by others.

          • Helpful distinctions, Ted.

          • Did I miss something here? Is Dr. Moore saying that Robertson is an apostate? If he is I am totally In agreement with you. If he is saying that Robertson’s remarks are a repudiation of the Gospel he is playing fair and speaking his mind without slandering Robertson’s name.

            I was not aware that the term repudiated meant apostasy. I think Moores statement says that Robertson has made the Gospel null and void in this situation. If Moore would have said Robertson is a heritic who preaches an apostate Gospel I would agree with you… this would be wrong to say. But the quote below does not say that. Is it being subjected to some peoples personal opinions of Dr. Moore?

            “This is more than an embarrassment,” wrote Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

            • All I am suggesting, Able Baker, is that Moore’s language leads to unnecessary confusion about the Gospel. As I’ve said, I think it would have been wiser to say, “This is an example of someone who is not correctly working out the implications of the Gospel with regard to marriage.”

              Not as good a soundbyte, though.

      • Mike, thanks for the clarification. This makes a great deal more sense now. I hadn’t considered the full meaning of repudiation.

        Not sure if you’re going to see this, but what would a repudiation look like?

    • Abe,

      My thoughts exactly, but worded much better than I could have worded them.

    • As I see it, if you equate a view of marriage with the Gospel, that waters down Jesus’ very nature itself. I’m all for having the Gospel rub off in my family relations, but equating an “eikon” of Christ with Christ himself is idolatry. And a very common one in the church. If we take Moore’s statement out to its logical conclusion, Jesus didn’t really walk the earth and die on a cross in the first century, my marriage did. ??? What an absurdity! It doesn’t result in a high view of marriage, but a low view of the Gospel.

      I will say however, that the gist of Russel Moore’s piece was helpful to me and I thought it was great. And that strong rebuke was necessary.

  11. While poorly said, I actually saw a glimmer of Scripture in Robertson’s position. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to communicate something along the lines of Jesus’ explanation for why divorce was allowed by Moses, “because of your hardness of heart.” Matt. 19:8

    While he didn’t stick with it, it seemed that Robertson began with a focus that if that guy was going to continue down that road of bitterness toward God and seeing other people, it may be the best thing that he divorce his wife. Unfortunately, he followed up by talking about Alzheimer’s as a form of death. Had he not gone there, I could see some uncharacteristic grace in his statements, suggesting an alternative that is not God’s best, but is at least considerate for the vulnerable person in this scenario, his wife. He advised having the man ensure that someone would take care of her, a much better situation than a man who ignores his wife, possibly even abusing her through neglect, when he has decided to harden his heart to her and to God.

    When Pat said, ‘Well, yeah, if you respect that vow…” I didn’t take him to mean that he had no respect for it, but that the man had proven a lack of respect for it. If anything, Pat jumped right over the Sunday School answer of, “Your friend needs to repent and stick it out” and went right into the mucky part of actually living in a fallen world. To me, that was the strange thing.

  12. I respectfully disagree, Chaplain Mike. Robertson’s thoughts are indeed a repudiation of the gospel. The family is one of the most basic & most intimate ways we express our faith. Robertson’s advice is in direct opposition of our vows/creeds.

    • I am going to insist on this: Robertson’s words are most definitely are NOT a repudiation of the Gospel. They are, as I said above, an example of a lack of Gospel-informed moral judgment. That is not the same as the Gospel itself. I want to say this as forcefully as I can — we must not add anything to the Gospel. If people are not living out or speaking properly about its implications, that is cause for concern, but that is not the same thing as denying the Gospel. Otherwise we are all heretics.

      • If the Gospel makes two one and Roberston’s Gospel understanding counsels one to become two than it IS most definitely is a refusal, especially by public authorities, to acknowledge a contract or debt.
        1. Robertson brings the whole thing back to a poor decision to say a certain phrase within the wedding vow. This would be legalism.
        2. Robertson does not hold to the vow in sickness and in health as an especially important aspect of marriage. (I would assume and only can assume his poor regard for the wife probably has something to do with a health wealth and prosperity paradigm)
        3. Bringing these together could easily show us that even though Robertson might not be aware of it he has repudiated the Gospel by adding conditions to it’s unconditional covenant nature.

        All of this and I have not been critical of Robertson only what he is saying.

        • (1) Robertson is wrong about marriage in this statement.
          (2) Marriage illustrates the Gospel.
          (3) Marriage is not the Gospel.
          (4) To make a wrong statement about the illustration is not the same as repudiating the reality it illustrates.

          I have already said that Robertson did not use Gospel-informed thinking when he made his comments. That is as far as I am willing to go.

          • Mike I appreciate the conversation.

          • Abe,

            In case you haven’t followed this blog much, and I don’t say this with sarcasm or as a back handed compliment to Chap, you are dealing here with a lot of folks, Chap Mike especially, who have an iherrent Lutheran reaction anytime they feel the “gospel” is misapproprated in any sense.

            Austin

            • Austin, I like to think of my reaction more as “Pauline,” though I don’t want to appear condescending.

              Seriously, all I’m trying to do here, Austin, is distinguish between the Gospel and the implications of the Gospel. It is in no way meant to downplay the implications of the Gospel — of course they are important, and I think I’ve said quite clearly that I think Robertson blew it here. But there is so much confusion in evangelicalism about how to distinguish the Good News of Christ from its implications that the message often becomes (and I exaggerate for emphasis) — unless you believe everything in the Bible just like we do and hold all of our socio-cultural opinions, you can’t possibly be a Christian. That is the bigger issue, and why it is essential to guard the Gospel message.

          • CM – I finally understand what you are saying here. I was back and forth on this topic but that post clarified it for me. I agree with you 100%.

          • This is precisely what I was trying to say to someone in a discussion we were having about Moore’s statement the other day. Of course, I waffled endlessly and struggled to find the words to articulate it and probably ended up confusing the issue further. Thank you for putting it so simply.

          • Austin,
            I am new here and I guess I will learn more about this “Lutheran Reaction” you are talking about. 🙂

    • I respectfully disagree, Chaplain Mike. Robertson’s thoughts are indeed a repudiation of the gospel. The family is one of the most basic & most intimate ways we express our faith. Robertson’s advice is in direct opposition of our vows/creeds.

      Then why does Jesus say that in order to be His disciple one must hate one’s own family (Luke ch 14 vs 26), and that He came to divide family members and set them against each other (Matt ch 10 vs 35)?

      • Context… Eric. If the context of this is in regard to all disciples and not just those within the immediate context than it contradicts many other sayings of our Lord and the disciples.

      • Relevant. Jesus most definitely insists on a higher allegiance to himself than family. This would suggest that Jesus is not the same person as one’s family member.

    • Many fundys have made marriage and family idols today. That is what is worshipped. and that is what they have embraced.

      • Yes. I frequently want to remind them that they are not Mormons and eternal family is not a tenet of historic Christianity.

    • Robertson’s advice may be in opposition to the wedding vows (i.e. “in sickness and in health,” “for better or for worse”) but against no creed I’m familiar with. In what way does divorcing your wife repudiate the Trinity, the resurrection of Jesus, or even the communion of saints? And even so, the creed isn’t the gospel.

      I agree; what Robertson said doesn’t resemble Kingdom thinking in the slightest. It looks far more like the priest and Levite who ignored the robbery victim in the parable of the Good Samaritan. But lots of Christians ignore the poor and needy all the time, and they’re still saved, and can still claim a relationship (though a sucky one) with Jesus. God’s grace is radical like that.

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Pat stuck his foot in his mouth, period.

    He seems to do that a lot these days…

  14. David Cornwell says:

    When I read what the media reported Robertson said, I was very ready to send judgement his way once again. Then I read a piece on “Slate” that actually looked at the context of what he was trying to say, and had to back off. He said it poorly, but the media, as usual, took a sound bite and ran with it. Hyped, out of context statements, “the” news these days.

  15. Hi all,

    Just when you think it couldn’t get stranger then it does 🙂 this is like a circus. It’d be funny except I suspect Moore is dead serious. Oh man, we have so not learned Christ at all.

    We need grace all of us!

    Yuri

  16. I don’t support Robertson, and he NEVER spoke for me when I was Evangelical, nor did Bakker, Roberts, TBN or any of the other yahoo’s out there blathering on and on…

    But what’s missing here is the capacity for humans to rationalize things like this, I sat through a Kent Hovind series on YEC, the pastor only showed the parts he felt were instructional. I noticed that at one point Hovind mentioned concentration camps and I asked what *that* was about, I was told that some of the other tapes where ‘objectionable’. That was at my fundie best, so I went with it. But even given how nutty Hovind was, what still shocks me is that a Pastor, of a Church. Full of believers, still PLAYED THE VIDEOS!!!

    I actually walked out of a church that was going to play Cameron and Comforts series on witnessing, because not one person on the elder board had critically viewed the videos. They all took the word of the Pastor, I challenged once, and then gave up. I’m not picking on Cameron and Comfort (although I think their style of ‘Witnessing’ is best left to door to door salesmen), but the fact that no one even objected, checked or validated before they let it in.

    When I was working through reformed theology, I studied Calvin closely, and when I started asking hard questions about some of Calvins decisions in Geneva, they got glossed over. There are Catholics who get angry if you say a Pope was a dirtbag (and there have been a couple, just ask Martha), every single religion has this problem. No matter how much you point out the truth, people who are inclined to this style of what I call ‘Thin Christianity’, will simply rationalize and keep going. Giving money, defending bad theology and generally getting angry that anyone questions their leaders.

    It’s human nature after all…

    The sad part is that there are so many today who are just as bad, and countless hordes of mindless drones who defend their every position, no matter how bad. I feel Eagles pain, and I respect his position, I think this kind of circus nonsense, drives a great deal of people to atheism. I’ve been there, I came back, but it was ‘Christians’ who forced me to question in the first place.

    -Paul-

  17. Seems to me the comment “This is a repudiation of the Gospel” is all too common when we Christians disagree about something. And the problem is this: the sum total of non-negotiables in our faith is pretty small, but we insist on adding to those until the Gospel, which is actually simple and elegant, becomes this huge, shaggy, beast. A beast which, incidentally, varies in size, shape, and composition from Christian tribe to Christian tribe, if not believer to believer.

    Case in point: I did a Q&A on salvation last night at my church (I’m a UMC pastor). To prepare, I went to a few FAQs online, just to get an idea of the range of questions I might be asked. Much to my surprise and chagrin, I discovered on one site that Methodists aren’t saved because we’re Arminian. Wow. I guess I didn’t know that TULIP was one of the non-negotiables of the Gospel. Must have missed that in scripture. On another, I found that Roman Catholics aren’t saved because they venerate Mary. Does that really cancel out “calling on the name of the Lord” per Romans 10? On another site, I learned that those who listen to female preachers are in danger of hellfire because all female preachers preach a health and wealth gospel, which of course — you guessed it — repudiates the real Gospel.

    I’m being a little disingenuous here. I’m not surprised at all to find those viewpoints expressed, I’ve been doing this ministry thing for a while. It’s just disconcerting to see it in black and white on my screen, put out there as if it’s … gospel truth.

    How big and bulky does the Gospel have to be? How much other stuff is inexorably tangled up with it? Our viewpoint on marriage? Homosexuality? Abortion? War?

    And we wonder why the Church is weakening in the West. Our shallow, uncharitable, uncivil disunity is a disgrace. Literally.

  18. “…a man who wrote in anguish that he feels his wife is gone and he is desperately lonely.”

    He probably felt that pointing this man to the cross would have seem trite, cliche, and uncaring. He probably wanted to say more to show that he listened and cared. I wouldn’t call it a repudiation of the gospel; rather, I would call it a misunderstanding of the gospel. If he in typical pentecostal understanding views the gospel in terms of altar calls, then proclaiming the gospel probably seemed out of context. But a view of the gospel has hope in spite of the absence of all hope – something applicable to the saved and unsaved alike – then perhaps the gospel would have seemed appropriate. Even the gospel of Job would have been more appropriate: sit down, shut up, and listen.

    But at least Pat avoided another false-gospel: give Jesus your loneliness and despair, and you’ll never walk alone again; all tears will be wiped away (I recently commented about a contemporary worship song which basically states this). Evangelicals have a hard time with existential loneliness and despair. You can be in the middle of a crowded room or in the happiest marriage and/or family on earth and STILL feel alone. This is the human condition, not a lack of faith. Estrangement and non-being are part of the fall. We all feel that haunting loneliness in the face of our nemesis, death. It isn’t as simple as sticking Jesus in your God-shaped void. So, I empathize with Pat for not finding the words to say, and the typical evangelicalism understanding of the “gospel” would have been of little help. But I believe the answer can be found within the faith, in the words of Brother Lawrence, St. John of the Cross, and even Luther. But in this gospel context, even suggesting finding comfort in the arms of another woman is a real head-scratcher.

  19. If that’s the ONLY thing Russell Moore said your view could be justified. But we’re missing context here. Here’s how he developed his point.

    “The marriage union is a sign, the Apostle Paul announces, of the mystery of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5). The husband, then, is to love his wife “as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). This love is defined not as the hormonal surge of romance but as a self-sacrificial crucifixion of self. The husband pictures Christ when he loves his wife by giving himself up for her.

    At the arrest of Christ, His Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who He was. He didn’t divorce her. He didn’t leave.

    The Bride of Christ fled His side, and went back to their old ways of life. When Jesus came to them after the resurrection, the church was about the very thing they were doing when Jesus found them in the first place: out on the boats with their nets. Jesus didn’t leave. He stood by His words, stood by His Bride, even to the Place of the Skull, and beyond.

    A woman or a man with Alzheimer’s can’t do anything for you. There’s no romance, no sex, no partnership, not even companionship. That’s just the point. Because marriage is a Christ/church icon, a man loves His wife as his own flesh. He cannot sever her off from him simply because she isn’t “useful” anymore.” (Emphases mine)

    So in THIS context his statement / opinion makes sense and I can’t see how it’s “unwise”.

    (John From Down Under)

    • JFDU — I read the whole article, and I don’t think I’m taking Moore out of context at all. To repeat what I said before: Marriage is an illustration of the Gospel and not the Gospel itself. What Robertson failed to do is apply the Gospel to his moral thinking about marriage as Scripture does. It does not mean he “repudiates the Gospel.” It means he has failed to accurately express its implications for the marriage relationship.

      He was wrong. He did not reject the Gospel. We must not go around accusing people of that when it’s not the issue.

      • Chaplain, I think I could take you more seriously if you didn’t insist on continuing to conflate “repudiate” with “reject” and “contradict”. Words mean things, dude.

        • John, here’s what the dictionary says. I think I’m within bounds.

          re·pu·di·ate
          verb (used with object), -at·ed, -at·ing.
          1. to reject as having no authority or binding force: to repudiate a claim.
          2. to cast off or disown: to repudiate a son.
          3. to reject with disapproval or condemnation: to repudiate a new doctrine.
          4. to reject with denial: to repudiate a charge as untrue.

        • Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.

          repudiate

          3.b. To reject as untrue or unjust.

    • I don’t buy this kind of reasoning.

      A. Here is the Gospel.
      B. Here are a bunch of implications of the Gospel (according to me.)
      C. You disagreed with one of the implications.
      D. Therefore you’ve repudiated the entire Gospel.

      Why do we conflate A and B? We glue and paste and nail and tack stuff to the Gospel until it’s a big gooey sticky mess, then when someone finds part of it unpalatable, we point the finger and accuse them of rejecting the Gospel. Pat was wrong. He wasn’t being apostate. At least not in that specific instance.

      • @ Venialis

        I didn’t get from Moore’s article that he intended to paint PR as an outright apostate who denied Christ. Rather his criticism is against the statement that Robertson made, not his individual standing with Christ. RM’s critique is not as broad as you make it but narrow to the point of PR’s response to the interviewer.

        Equally, I could argue that the entire church growth movement that is all about “what YOU can do for God” as opposed to “what GOD has done for you” IS a repudiation of the gospel in both philosophy and practice. Yet I would not go as far as labelling all church growth movement advocates as apostates of the Christian faith.

        • Again, and then I’m done.

          Robertson was not repudiating the Gospel. If we must use the word, he was repudiating some proper implications of the Gospel with regard to marriage.

          There is a difference.

        • Unless I misunderstood Robertson, he offended on two counts. One, he suggested that it might be better to divorce than become so bitter that one loses one’s faith. Questionable pastoral advice, to be sure, but not a repudiation of the Gospel. Two, he suggested that an Alzheimer’s patient is essentially dead, so it wouldn’t really be divorce. Perhaps that’s PR’s opinion, and if so, he’s really, really wrong, but it’s not a repudiation of the Gospel. To repudiate the Gospel is to reject it as untrue.

  20. On a completely unrelated note, is the “share and enjoy” next to the social media connections a reference to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

  21. St. Paul tells the Ephesians that the mystery of marriage refers to Christ and the Church in order to wrap up his teaching on marriage. Paul’s teaching is not only an illustration of the gospel. He is giving us an imperative regarding marriage, which is mutual submission–and he is telling us that the standard of a man’s love for his wife is that of Christ for the church.

    Pat lowered the standard. Paul didn’t say, “love your wife, ’till she loses her mind… this is a great mystery, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church”; he said “love your wife… this is a great mystery, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church”. If we lower the standards for marriage, we confuse our understanding of the gospel and we permit sin; we can no longer say that the mystery of marriage refers to Christ and the church.

    Moore’s article was as strongly worded as he could make it. It’s primarily a warning to the church. He’s not just picking a fight with Pat Robertson. He is being pastoral. He leaves no room for one to believe that Pat’s comments fit with the teachings of Scripture.

    You may be within bounds to say Moore’s wording is too strong. Moore is within bounds to choose the word he chose, because in this case I’m sure it’s in line with his reading of the gospel (not to mention Paul’s reading of it). Shall pastors never use black-and-white terminology? I think a little more grace is in order. But then, what would we blog about?

    • “If we lower the standards for marriage, we confuse our understanding of the gospel”

      This is what I’m talking about. Are the Gospel … and every implication that follows from it (in our opinion) an interconnected whole, such that if we get one part wrong (in your opinion) or disagree on one part, we therefore repudiate the whole? I think not, and this is a good illustration of why we have 1 billion denominations. Say you believe in irresistible grace. I don’t. Therefore must one of us be repudiating the Gospel? What if we both love Jesus and have an authentic relationship with Him? Is it not possible for us both to have saving faith unless we agree on every point of a bazillion point Gospel (including all its implications for marriage, sexuality, war and peace, alcohol, dancing, etc etc etc)?

      I overstate my case to be sure, and I intend no personal disrespect in my reply, but getting back to Chaplain Mike’s point, the implications of the Gospel and the Gospel itself are not one and the same.

      Pat didn’t repudiate the Gospel. He messed up, plain and simple, and embarrassed the rest of us (again). I’m sure he had no intentions of lowering the standards for marriage. He was conducting pastoral care on TV which is pretty ridiculous to start with. Caveat emptor.

      When you say a little grace is in order, I assume you’re also referring to Moore, not just Chaplain Mike. I think Mike’s being pretty gracious.

      • Pat’s intentions don’t enter into it. Moore’s talking about the danger of his words. Moore never addresses PR’s intentions, only what he believes to be the consequences of agreeing with the words he spoke.

        As to the issue of grace–I am not speaking of Moore. No grace should be shown towards Pat’s words. I am speaking of the freedom to speak against Pat’s words using a whole range of negatives. You could say they are kind of bad, very bad, or totally bad, and be in line with the Scriptures. So I see where Mike is coming from, but I don’t see a reason to voice the disagreement. Being a long-time reader, it makes me sad to see it here.

        • He didn’t say they were kind of bad, very bad, or totally bad. He said they repudiated the Gospel. The question is, can you say “This is a repudiation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” and be in line with scripture? I believe that’s where Chaplain Mike’s coming from. If Moore had avoided hyperbole and said something like, “These remarks are ill-considered and could cause considerable harm if taken seriously,” we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. Perhaps we should reserve “repudiation” for comments like those made by United Methodist Bishop Sprague, who denies the Virgin Birth and bodily Resurrection of our Lord.

        • Mike, I decided not to put my thoughts about Robertson’s words into writing. Many did, and I thought it was actually too obvious and not very interesting to simply join the chorus.

          So I’ll say it here: I can’t tell you how strongly I feel against what he said, not only from the perspective of biblical teaching, but also from my own experience. As a hospice chaplain I deal with couples and families all the time who are dealing with situations like this. The very thought of someone considering his suffering wife “dead” in order to gain freedom to pursue another relationship is as abominable a spousal act as I can conceive of. And yes, such counsel is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. Robertson showed a severe lapse in sound judgment in even allowing this question to be asked on the air and addressing it in a sound byte manner. And it was downhill, from bad to worse, from that point on.

          Having said that, it is essential that we not let Robertson’s critics off the hook when they speak in ways that may cause confusion about the meaning of the Gospel. I feel just as strongly about that. If we start mixing up the Gospel with its implications, we will end up with bad news, not good news.

          • You don’t oppose what Robertson said because what he said violates Christian morality. You oppose what he said because it contradicts the spirit of the Gospel. How can a statement which contradicts the spirit of the Gospel not also repudiate (the spirit of) the Gospel? i.e.:

            con·tra·dictVerb/?käntr??dikt/
            1. Deny the truth of (a statement), esp. by asserting the opposite.
            2. Assert the opposite of a statement made by (someone).

            The statements which Robertson made deny the truth of the spirit of the Gospel, and you’ve said so yourself. You have joined the chorus. You’re singing the harmony, but you’re calling it a different tune. Kinda confusing.

            • Sorry to have confused you. I realize I threw another phrase in there that muddied the waters.

              1. The Gospel message is the message of Christ that brings salvation.
              2. The spirit of that message involves the kind of love by which God loves us.
              3. The implication of that message is that we who are so loved ought to love others in the same manner. One relationship in which this should be seen is that of marriage.

              By saying what he did, Robertson showed that he was not (at least at that moment) thinking through the implications of the Gospel and honoring its spirit. He was not repudiating the Gospel message per se, but he was failing to let it inform his moral judgment when it comes to the marriage relationship.

              If we don’t make that distinction, we may end up saying (as indeed many Christian groups effectively do) that a person must have right opinions of every Christian moral teaching (which all grows out of the Gospel) in order to be truly accepted by God, and that people who commit sins like divorce can’t possibly be Christians.

          • Ha, Google’s 4th definition of repudiate is: “(esp. in the past or in non-Christian religions) Divorce (one’s wife)”. Moore is more clever than I thought. I say let him have his poetic license.

  22. I’m normally kind of a fan of Dr. Moore. For a Baptist, and a reformed one at that, his stuff is usually pretty good. He’s one of the few I can bear to listen to anymore. But it’s quite possible that he’s been hanging around Al Mohler a little too much, when he starts making such drastic black and white statements like this one. Reformed Baptists love black and white, and hate grey. I almost became one…

    …but if you’re going to be a Baptist at all, read Dr. Moore’s writing on the Lord’s Supper. As good as it gets for that tradition.

  23. how anyone is surprised by anything that comes out of this guys mouth is beyond me. hes been making ridiculous statements for the better part of his life.

  24. Yep… people are crazy. (especially church people!) Haha
    Why did either of these men said these things when they are supposed to view things in the light of what Christ has revealed to us?
    I don’t know… but it just reminds me to always inspect what I say, do, and think so that I can catch some of the stupid things that I do.

  25. I’ve found following this thread somewhat frustrating. To those who are criticizing Chaplain Mike for calling Moore out on his “repudiating” statement: which part of Pat Robertson’s remarks repudiates / rejects the Gospel? Is the “maybe it would be better to divorce than let your bitterness drive you away from God” part, or the “Alzheimer’s patients are dead for all practical purposes” part? Where do these statements, absurd as they both are, deny the Incarnation? The Atonement? The Resurrection? Salvation by grace through faith? The Second Coming? John 3:16? 1 Corinthians 15? Romans 10?

    I think the following syllogism:

    1. Christ is the Groom, the Church is the Bride of Christ is the model for Christian marriage
    2. Pat Robertson’s comments were an offense to this model
    3. Therefore Pat Robertson is repudiating the Gospel

    is an invalid syllogism. 1. and 2. are beyond question. The problem is 3.

    Is 1. an essential part of the Gospel? I don’t deny that it’s true, but I don’t find Paul bringing up the marriage analogy in Romans 10 or 1 Corinthians 15, for example, two places where the Gospel is pretty well summarized. Does “Gospel” include everything that is true in the Christian faith? Or is the Gospel the core truth that is the gateway to all the rest?

    And what if we disagree with one another on things that go beyond those core truths? Does that mean that one of us is necessarily repudiating the Gospel?

    The whole discussion leaves me queasy. I’ve taught evangelism for 16 years. Have I been doing it wrong by not insisting that not only must a person accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, he must also assent to every other doctrine of my church as well as all the scriptural images and metaphors underlying those doctrines?

    What else repudiates the Gospel? Does Rob Bell’s speculation in “Love Wins” repudiate the Gospel? Does “The Purpose-Driven Church” repudiate the Gospel? Does “The Shack” repudiate the Gospel? Does Wesley’s “Christian Perfection” repudiate the Gospel? Does Vatican II repudiate the Gospel? Does TULIP repudiate the Gospel? Do the 95 Theses repudiate the Gospel? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Robertson made some really ill-conceived remarks. Period. Can we save accusations of repudiation for the truly egregious heretical stuff that really does strike at the core of the Gospel?

    • “Repudiation” can be a momentary lapse. If Moore believed that Robertson had apostatized, he would have said so explicitly. But he said nothing of the sort. “Apostasy” is the word that’s reserved for the stuff that outright denies the gospel, and if people like Moore don’t use that word, you don’t have to get too worked up. They’re not being as mean as you think.

    • You nailed it. I know I’ve been unusually adamant on this tonight, but one area where it is essential to be careful is with regard to the Gospel message. One of the great weaknesses I see in modern day evangelicalism is blurring the distinction between the Gospel and its implications. We leave church thinking that what it means to be a Christian is to be a person who looks right, acts right, and votes right. I certainly want to grow in Christ and experience spiritual formation, but I learned long ago that being a Christian means being a person who never can get it right, whereas Christ did, on my behalf.

      • In a nut shell or my dynamically equivalent translation of the interview I heard this type of dialogue going on during the interview…

        Question from Robertson to the man with a sick wife…
        “What is the Gospel here in this situation?”

        Answer from Man with sick wife who is obviously seeking license not understanding…
        “I know I know… Love God and Love my wife?”

        Robertson responds…
        “No Jesus died on the cross for you, he forgives you and Loves you even when you fail”

        I think Robertson told a man who was seeking license something that repudiates the Gospel and I just want to make it clear that I think the point is being missed by some here but clearly not Mr. Moore. I have definitely gained a clearer understanding of your point Chaplain Mike. I appreciate your distinctions of clearly saying there is Gospel and there are implications that grow out of the Gospel. I actually agree with you 100% on that.

        I think I just heard something different from Robertson that I can share with Dr. Moore.
        Dr. Moore’s statement in my opinion for several reasons…
        1. He did not call Robertson a heretic or an Apostate. (You cannot hang him with what you think he implied.)
        2. Just like the Gospel has implications that are not the Gospel itself so does Apostasy Dr. Moore I am sure does not think implications or illustrations of apostasy make someone an apostate.)
        3. I am convinced the hurting man with the sick wife was seeking license not simply understanding. Robertson gave him license. Repudiate is to reject as having no authority or binding force. In rejecting the authority of the Gospel, which cannot be separated from it’s mandate to love God and love others, in this situation Robertson either intentionally or innocently repudiated the Gospel.

        but he clearly called out a public ministers offering of license in place of the Gospel… Love God like Jesus loves God… Love Others like Jesus loves others.

        • A couple of corrections i apologize…

          Dr. Moore’s statement in my opinion (STILL STANDS) for several reasons…

          This was left over from editing and I forgot to cut it out… Sorry.
          (but he clearly called out a public ministers offering of license in place of the Gospel… Love God like Jesus loves God… Love Others like Jesus loves others.)

        • I am appreciating this discussion, Able Baker.

          What I question is your statement that the Gospel “cannot be separated from its mandate to love God and love others.”

          Here is where I will be a Lutheran. If the Gospel “includes the mandate to love God and love others,” then we are all lost.

          If on the other hand, the Gospel is all about what God in Christ has done for me and nothing about what I do for him, then this Gospel can lead me to love God and love others, it can enable me to love God and love others, it can cause me to look at God and people differently so that I can love them; in short, if the Gospel transforms my heart and mind so that I see its implications for my relationships, which prompts me to love God and love others, then we are talking about a Gospel I recognize. And this is where I insist we keep our language precise.

          In your statement, however, you also said, “Repudiate is to reject as having no authority or binding force.” I think if we translate Dr. Moore’s words in that fashion then you and I are pretty much on the same page. But my point is that if we have to parse language like this, and have as many back and forth discussions over the matter, then Dr. Moore was not being as clear as he intended, and thus left himself open to the criticism I and others have given.

          • Chaplain Mike I do appreciate this discussion as well. I appreciate your ministry here it has challenged me.

            Jesus did not merely feel for others and choose to save them based on divine empathy which he could have done. He could have loved us into reconciliation without even condescending to our level.
            He communicated to us in thought and action. Chaplain Mike I see your Gospel paradigm (only concerning this issue) in thought wins the side for the husband of the sick wife but in action it looses the side for the sick wife. When we remove the legs from the Gospel we have nothing. If God says he loves me but does not show it I have no Gospel. But God said he loved me and showed it.

            You said… “What I question is your statement that the Gospel “cannot be separated from its mandate to love God and love others.” Here is where I will be a Lutheran. If the Gospel “includes the mandate to love God and love others,” then we are all lost.

            The desire to Love God like Christ loves him and to love others as Christ has loved others is apart of the gift of the Gospel. This is apart of the great work of the Gospel within me. I am learning what it means to become loosed from self and bound to Christ.

            • “The desire to Love God like Christ loves him and to love others as Christ has loved others is a part of the gift of the Gospel. This is a part of the great work of the Gospel within me. I am learning what it means to become loosed from self and bound to Christ.”

              Well said. I heartily agree, and I hope Pat Robertson and others who fail to see the Gospel’s implications for their lives will let it do this work in them as well.

    • I’m glad you kept at this, Venialis.

      And what comes out of the false syllogism is not just a faulty intellectual position. It’s darkness and despair. For all of us are guilty of actions that are out of line with the Gospel. As Edmund Schlink has said, “In presenting the wealth of effects of divine grace in regeneration and new obedience, the status of man is again called into question.” His point is that after conversion, we have deeper knowledge of the truth and the aid of the Holy Spirit—yet we still sin. He speaks of how even in the Gospel, the Law is revealed. We should love as Christ loved us. But we often don’t. Sin is revealed as being worse than we thought. But there’s still good news. When someone comes in and speaks of the cross we bear, and ends there, they’ve ended with the Law. That’s a bad ending. A pastor might do this with an unrepentant individual. But a Christian preacher or teacher should not do this in a public forum. Dr. Moore did so.

      And there is another danger of teaching in this fashion. When someone singles out a sin for special condemnation that few are likely to be engaged in, it means that most listeners get to leave feeling like sin is something only other people do. We don’t have to identify with the sinners. In fact, we will probably feel more righteous if we don’t. This is injurious to the listeners. If the Law is being preached, it should be preached to everybody to drive them all to Christ. It should not be preached as something attainable, either. Even the man who stays with his wife to the end has not kept the Law. There is no one righteous, no not one. When the Law has been preached, the Gospel should follow.

  26. Matt Purdum says:

    Moore is completely out of line. Robertson needs to step down. Profoundly weary of websites and preachers who calim that anyone who disagrees with them — about anything — is a “false prophet.” Profoundly tired of those who build websites to decode secret homosexual messages in children;s cartoons — and think they are serving Christ — while their neighbors go homeless. Profoundly tired of “Christians” who think it’s ok to drop napalm and cluster bombs on little kids, provided they are brown-skinned and on the other side of the planet. Tired of the whole Christian-industrial complex. Really, really fed up with the whole thing. Seriously.

  27. Good comments all, but let me take this down a slightly different track (or rabbit hole perhaps). What about the married couple? Let me explain. My father died as a result of complications caused by an early and rapid onset of Alzheimer’s that manifested itself in violent behavior sever enough for the state to commit him to a mental hospital under 24-hour supervision.

    If he could have foreseen what he would become, he would have begged us to smother him with a pillow, or at best institutionalize and forget him. How do I know this? Because he told me precisely that years earlier and then made me his Attorney in Fact, thereby giving me responsibility for his ultimate fate (and no, said “complications” did not involve me smothering him)

    My point is this; we praise the long-suffering spouse that stays with the dementia patient until the end, often sacrificing years of their lives in the process. It may seem flippant to simply walk away from someone, and every case is different, but can we no at least accept that in some cases the needs and coping capabilities of the healthy spouse and the wishes of the sick spouse override our desire for them to live according to our moral compass?

    • Your comment reflects why Robertson should never have attempted to give a quick answer to a mailed-in question on a TV show.

      • I totally agree. I think this mess is what happens when someone tries to ‘pastor’ without any relationship at all to the person they are advising.

    • Wow. I think I’m showing early signs….apologies.

      “Severe” not “sever”

      “can we not at least” not “can we no at least”

  28. I’d be curious as to how someone would counsel in this manner in the light of Hebrews 13:5-6. Seems to me that someone should model the One who made him and place his faith that He will work it out for good.

  29. Pat Robertson is a vile human being, he has been a vile human being for years. It is just when he mentions marriage that some people notice how vile he is.

    • Read everything above Donalbain and be healed my friend 🙂 LOL

      • He has called for nuclear weapons to be used in the USA. He agreed that gay people were to blame for 911. He has supported Charles Taylor. He has long promoted the oppression of gay people. He is vile.

  30. add this to a history of ridiculous statements by this man. this one ranks right at the top of the most shameful.