Why Does God Allow So Much Evil In His Name?

Dave Hunt 90x115T.A. McMahon 90x115by Dave Hunt                                  &                                 T.A. McMahon

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Question

“I think one needs no further proof that gods do not exist than the evil that has been done in their names. Some of the most devastating wars, the cruelest tortures, and the most hurtful prejudices have been in the name of religion. As for the Christian God, no doubt more innocent people have been tortured and killed in his name than in the name of any other god—and simply because they had a different religious belief from that of their torturers. How can you explain away this obvious evil in God’s name?”

Tom:

Good question, huh Dave? I mean right for today, especially with the rise in the concern that we have about Islam.

Dave:

Well, there is no doubt that much evil has been done in the name of this god or that god, many false gods and much evil has also been done in the name of Jesus Christ—waving a cross on their banners and shields, the Crusaders slaughtered Jews, Turks and so forth, in the name of Christ. What Islam has done in the name of their god Allah and is still doing is horrendous beyond belief almost. Suicide bombers killing people by the millions as they have beginning with Muhammad. Now we have to make some distinction, however. What the Muslim does, you and today it’s happening in Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, they have killed a couple of million people. He does it not only in the name of Allah, but in obedience to Allah. Allah said to pursue the infidels wherever you find them and kill them! He’s doing it in obedience to the teachings of Muhammad who said, “Allah has commanded me to fight against all people until all people confess there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” They’re doing it in obedience to the example of Muhammad. But the evil that has been done—

Tom:

Dave, let me just back you up just a second. Now, the objection to that is that these are just a few verses in there that are taken out of context, you can make the Qur’an and the Bible and any sacred book say what you want it to say. So, basically, somebody listening to you might say well, he’s just taking—distorting something.

Dave:

It’s not a distortion at all; we’re not taking just a few verses here and there. There are more than 100 verses in the — advocating violence to spread Islam but let’s look at the history of Islam. For example, the first Muslims were all Arabs. Islam had not spread beyond the Arabian Peninsula upon the death of Muhammad, and when Muhammad died much of Arabia—these are Arabs now, former Muslims—tried to abandon Islam. Abu Bakhr and his men, the first caliph who succeeded Muhammad, in the name of Allah following the example of Muhammad, they slaughtered tens of thousands of former Muslims—these are all Arabs now—forcing Arabs back under Islam. This was following the example of Muhammad; these people had been forced into this at the point of a sword. It was either confess there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet, or we kill you. He attacked caravans, villages—this is plunder, mayhem, murder. He planned 65 campaigns; he personally led 27. They killed tens of thousands of former Muslims forcing them back into Islam because Muhammad said whoever relinquishes his faith, kill him! They do it today in Saudi Arabia in Chop-Chop Square in Riyadh. It is the death penalty for any Muslim anywhere in this world to convert to any other religion. This is not some isolated thing or taking it out of context, this is the practice of Islam. In Nigeria, they are killing Christians by the thousands, burning down Christian churches and so forth. The suicide bombers know what they are doing; this is an honored means of enforcing Islam. In fact, Muhammad said, “The last day will not come until the Muslims confront the Jews and destroy them and the rocks and trees will cry out, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.” Today no Jew is allowed to set foot in Saudi Arabia. We can go on and on. So this is not some isolated thing. In contrast, however, this has not been the practice of true Christians. The disciples—

Tom:

Now, wait a minute! This has been a practice of many Christians down through history, but you said, true Christians, you’re making a distinction.

Dave:

Absolutely. You can’t just invent your own Christianity and you can’t call yourself a Christian unless you follow the teachings and practice of Jesus. The early disciples didn’t kill anyone, they were killed. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. We are told to give our lives for others. Christ taught us that we were to love our enemies, and pray for those who mistreat us and abuse us. Jesus, in John 15 said, “The servant isn’t greater than his Lord, if they have hated me they will hate you also.” He said, “Because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.” He didn’t say fight back. Jesus said to Pilate, “If my kingdom were of this world my servants would fight, but my kingdom is not from hence,” and we do not fight to spread Christianity. But the Popes fought with armies and navies until they literally controlled Europe. Charlemagne was crowned as emperor 800AD, Christmas Day. He fought with his armies to spread Catholicism. This is not Christianity! There is no way that anyone could justify that type of behavior from the Bible, from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Tom:

Dave, certainly the history of the Roman Catholic Church, with regard to the Crusades and the Inquisitions and so on, that may be obvious to many people, but what about the Protestants? One of the things that concerns me is that as you go through church history, and particularly at the time of the Reformation, they were doing the very same things that the Catholics were doing. They were attacking, they were killing, they were torturing, [and] they were burning at the stake other who claimed to be believers, Christians, because of what they believed. Now how does that square with the Scriptures?

Dave:

That does not square with the Scriptures. Let’s take the example of the Anabaptists. Anabaptists, ana means baptized again, these were Catholics who got saved. They saw that salvation is not in a church, salvation is not in the sacraments, salvation is certainly not in infant baptism as the Church taught. They had been baptized as babies into the Roman Catholic Church and they had been told that this was their salvation—this made them children of God, original sin was forgiven and so forth. When they saw the truth of the gospel that you must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—this is all through the Bible, this is what Paul preached, this is what Christ preached. John 3:16, Christ is talking. In fact he says in John 3, beginning at verses 14 and 15, Christ says, “…As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness…”—that was a brass serpent raised on a pole—because the people had been bitten by these snakes, and so they put a likeness of it on a pole and God said, “If anyone looks to this, in faith, they will be delivered from this deadly venom.”

Tom:

This was a type of Christ who took the penalty for our sins.

Dave:

Right, from this deadly venom. In fact, it wasn’t that somebody else said it was a type of Christ, Jesus said, “…As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” And when the Ethiopian said, “Here is water; what would hinder me from being baptized?” Philip, the evangelist, said, “If you believe with all your heart you may be baptized…,” and these people believed. They came to faith in Christ as the One who had paid the penalty for their sins. They recognized that his sacrifice on the cross, he said, “It is finished. Tetelasti,” stamped on promissory notes and documents of the day, it meant, “paid in full.” So, they realized our salvation is because Christ who is God, who became a man through the virgin birth, lived the perfect sinless life, he took the judgment, his own infinite justice required; he paid the penalty in full—that’s how we are saved, by believing in Him and accepting Him as the one who paid the penalty for our sins. They got saved! They were transformed! The Holy Spirit came in, they were indwelt by the Spirit, they began to understand the Bible, they saw that what the Bible taught was contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church taught. The left the Catholic Church, but for being baptized as believers now, as the Bible taught, they were hated, persecuted, killed, burned, drowned and so forth, not just by Roman Catholics, but by Lutherans and by Calvinists, as you point out. Now this is not in obedience to Christ, or the apostles or the teachings of the Word of God. It is disobedience, in fact, the Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists, then and today, are in disobedience of the Word of God when they say—John Calvin for example said, “Oh, the surest way of knowing you are one of the elect is if you were baptized, even into the Roman Catholic Church…” as he was. He never tells us how he got saved again, and I would like to have a response from some Calvinist listening. We’re not trying to run anybody down but you know, Tom, you are a part or one of the organizers of the ministry called—

Tom:

Reaching Catholics for Christ.

Dave:

Reaching Catholics for Christ and you have conferences. I don’t think the ex-Catholics who come to these conferences would accept John Calvin as an ex-Catholic. He never told how he got saved, never in his writings do we find that, and he still relied on his infant baptism into the Catholic Church as proof that he was a child of God and one of the elect. So, what they did in persecuting and killing these people is contrary to the Word of God. Tragically, it still happens today.

Tom:

Dave, my reading of history I have a great concern here. I think it has been brought to the fore because of what we see going on today and it relates to this question. What about a church state? For example, in the executions that took place based on theology, whether it be the Reformers who had a difference of opinion with regard to baptism, what they did to those who held a theological view different than theirs. We could go to England, the Parliament now issuing statements, theological statements; this is really bad news because now the Church, so called, has the state to enforce its theology. That can lead to nothing but what this individual is complaining about.

Dave:

Well that was, of course, what the Catholic Church did. They took over, they ruled the world (the Popes did), and they used the state to enforce the Inquisition, for example. Catholics, technically, did not burn anyone at the stake; it was the civil authority who burned them. Now, some of the Calvinists say well, John Calvin, he wanted Servetus, they talk about Servetus because he’s the primary one, but there were many others who were burned at the stake, some of them quartered and their body parts hung up at strategic places around Geneva as a warning to others not to have an uprising against John Calvin. Well, let’s just go to Servetus. Servetus was burned at the stake for what? John Calvin brought the charges. He brought 39 charges. They found him guilty. The court found him guilty on two of them. They were both theological charges. One was, denying the Trinity, the other was, denying infant baptism, and you should read what John Calvin says, the sarcastic and really—

Tom:

Vulgar, you can’t explain it any other way, his vulgar language.

Dave:

What he says though about anyone who believes that you must be baptized when you get saved. Anyone who rejects infant baptism; he had some horrendous things to say about them. Now the Calvinist says, oh yeah, but John Calvin wanted Servetus, he was merciful—he wanted him rather to be beheaded. No, beheading was for a civil crime. Burning at the stake was for a theological heresy. So, Calvin wanted him beheaded so it would take the onus off of him, but the charges—

Tom:

Either way we are talking about somebody who holds to a different theological idea being killed for their belief by those who, again we’re not talking about the Catholic Church versus the Protestants here, we’re talking about within the realm of Protestants. I think of Menno Simons. Here was a man who began reading God’s Word then began preaching God’s Word. Then when he came among believers and there were differences in his beliefs, from his understanding of the Scriptures, than their beliefs—they wanted to throw him in prison—a fellow believer, so called. Dave, this is why questions like this come up, this person says, and objections that are valid at certain points.

Dave:

All were saying Tom, is you cannot justify it from the Bible. And if I say it to Muslims—I’ve been the on radio for example, and a Muslim comes on and he says, well, I’m a Muslim and I believe in peace—Islam is peace. I just simply say, look, you can’t invent your own Islam. If you want to invent your own religion go ahead, you’re welcome to invent your religion, but you can’t call it Islam. Islam is already an established religion with its prophet, with its scriptures, with centuries of history of its practice and Muhammad killed people. Anyone who would not submit to Islam, he killed them, it’s that simple! His followers did the same; Islam was spread by the sword. So you can’t deny history, you can’t deny the teachings of the Hadith, of the Qur’an, the practice of Muhammad and his followers. So, if you want to make up a religion, go ahead—you can’t call it Islam unless you follow what Islam is and has always been. And now I say the same thing to people who call themselves Christians. You want to make up a religion, go ahead, make up a religion, but you can’t call it Christianity because Christianity has been established. Now if you want to call yourself a Christian, then you will have to come in the narrow door. Jesus said, “I am the door, by me if any man enters in he will be saved, and he said, Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, few there be that find it.” You will have to follow the teachings and the practice of Jesus of Nazareth. To call yourself a Christian, when you do not do that, you make up your own ideas and you don’t follow the Bible and the teachings of Christ and his example—that is dishonest!

Tom:

Dave, this next question sort of moves us further into this whole idea: “I read recently a reprint from an old book which gave a story that I think ought to shatter the “faith” of any Christian: ‘A mother was talking to her little child of the murder of the Amalekites. She explained that in those days enemies were murdered, but revelation was progressive, and Jesus told us that we are to love our enemies and do good to them that spitefully use us. Said the little girl, ‘now I understand: that day was before God was a Christian!’” It seems to me that the Bible presents two Gods: the vengeful, warring God of the Old Testament, and the compassionate, forgiving, and loving heavenly Father of the New, who was introduced by Christ. How can you reconcile the two “Gods”? Dave, before you answer that I’ll tell you a little quick story. As a young believer and I was reading the Bible voraciously and of course, the New Testament I hadn’t read the Bible before. It was always around the house, but even as a Roman Catholic we had it sitting on our coffee table, the large one, but I never read it. So I was at a function, a social function, with a number of evangelicals and there was a pastor there, a young guy, and it came around to—well, we were talking about the Bible and I wanted to be intelligent and I said, well, you know what bothers me is that I like the God of the New Testament; the God of the Old Testament I’m not really sure about. And he was very nice, very gentle, but he asked me this question: He said, well, have you ever read the Old Testament? Which I hadn’t, I just picked up and this is what this is about. But go ahead.

Dave:

Of course, it’s the same God, there’s no doubt about that but let’s go to Mount Sinai, this is where the law was given. This is the law that pronounces the penalty for sin. Moses says, “Show me your glory,” and God says, “…I’ll make all my goodness to pass before you—I’ll proclaim the name of the Lord, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and merciful to whom I will be merciful, forgiving, and plenteous in mercy…” and so forth. This is the God of the Old Testament, this is Mount Sinai, and then, almost reluctantly he says, “But I cannot clear the guilty, the penalty has to be paid.” So he is pointing to his righteousness as well. You have the Psalms—“…I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, Great is your mercy and your grace…,” and so forth.

Tom:

All Old Testament teachings.

Dave:

Right, but the Amalekites are specifically dealt with in Genesis 15. God says to Abraham, “I’m going to give your people the land of Canaan, your descendants, that is yours forever, but I can’t give it to you now because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. The Amalekites were also a people living in this land and “Amorites” is sort of a general term that God uses for all of the Canaanites. These people are not so bad that I would be justified in giving you the land but in 400 years, God says, your descendants will be the slaves in Egypt and in 400 years the wickedness of these people—and God doesn’t go into the details, but we take His word for it and we accept that he is, shall not the judge of all the earth do right? The wickedness of these people, their corruption, and so forth will be so great that in my holiness and righteousness I will be forced to wipe them off the face of this earth. Now, there’s a big difference there.

The Bible doesn’t say that God commanded the Jews to go in and convert these people at the point of a sword, they were to be killed. It doesn’t say they were to take over the world. There is a specific land, it has boundaries, the boundaries are given for us from the river of Egypt, to the great river Euphrates, and it names the people that were living there and so forth. So, it was because of their wickedness that God had to do that. It wasn’t that this is a different God, this is the same God, a God of love and mercy and grace. This is the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and this is the one who sent him to be the Savior of the world. This is the one who, in fact, all through the Old Testament says, He is the Savior, there is no Savior except Him. So Jesus Christ is not what the Bible says and he said, I and my Father are one, that he can’t be the Savior if he’s not truly God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three persons. And only if that is true, could God save us, because when God died on the cross people say who is running the universe? The Son, who became a man, died, the Father and the Holy Spirit didn’t die. The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. This is God’s love and Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” He’s talking about the God of the Old Testament who is the same as the God of the New. This is a horrible misunderstanding but it’s a tragedy that many people are deceived by it, are troubled by it.

by Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon

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