WHERE WAS GOD  ON SEPTEMBER 11?

by John Blanchard

ISBN 0 85234 508 9 Booklet 32pp

John Blanchard was asked the following question just a few days after September 11: ‘Where was God when the terrorists attacked America?’ The question is inescapable and the argument behind it goes back thousands of years. In this new evangelistic booklet, the author deals with this and the difficult question of pain and suffering before delivering a serious ‘wake-up call’ to the unbeliever.

This booklet is designed to be given to those who consider themselves to be atheists, agnostics or unbelievers and to challenge their views. It is based in part on a chapter of Is God past his sell-by date? by the same author. Co-founder of Christian Ministries, Dr John Blanchard is an internationally known Christian author, teacher and conference speaker. Nearly fifteen million copies of his publications are in print in forty languages.

Where was God on September 11? This is the question that many are asking. Behind it is the argument that can be summarized as follows:

  1. If God were all-powerful he could prevent evil and suffering.
  2. If he were all-loving, he would want to prevent them.
  3. Evil and suffering exist.
  4. God is therefore impotent, loveless or non-existent.

Others may be asking another question: to whom was God listening – the terrorists’ prayers or the victims’ prayers?

It is not easy to give an answer that will completely satisfy all those who are not merely venting their anger, but are genuinely looking for answers. One way to deal with such questions is to look at all the relevant factors and in doing so we can see the problem from a more objective perspective.

The events surrounding September 11, which have not ceased to reverberate in our minds after two years, and are unlikely to go away. They are not among the worst mankind has ever seen. Natural disasters (e.g., destruction of the entire city of ancient Pompeii by an earthquake in AD 62 and volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79; and one million dying when China’s Hwang-Ho River burst its banks in 1887); accidents, wars and pogroms – these have wreaked greater hoc and taken a far greater toll than September 11. Why should we think God owes us anything, even an explanation for what has happened. We owe our very life to Him. Our continued existence is due to God’s love and mercy: we continue wantonly to destroy the precious resources God made for our enjoyment. Natural disasters have come upon us as the result of the Fall. Creation was perfect until sin destroyed the pristine perfection of God’s work, both in man and in the rest of creation (Genesis 3:17-18). But one day there will be a restoration of all that was perfect prior to the Fall (Romans 8:19,22). "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Yes, we may live in a fallen, imperfect, cruel world. But by the grace of God everything will one day be restored and there shall be both a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21). By "heaven" is meant also our planetary system and the rest of the universe. Best of all, we shall find that the righteous will survive and inherit that perfect, pure and holy situation that has escaped us all this while. May God have mercy upon and help us all!

[You may get your copy at $2 from the Library. As we have very limited stocks, please place your order soon to avoid disappointment.]

(Reviewed by Dr Quek Swee Hwa)

CHAPEL

           Last week's chapel was taken by Rev. Ng Seng Chuan. The focus was upon the commemoration of the beheading of John the Baptist, traditionally observed on the 29th of August.

Rev. Ng began with a reading of Isaiah 55:6-11, pointing out how the power of God's Word through John the Baptist was to haunt the memory of King Herod for a long time.

We then sang a hymn which celebrated John the Baptist's role as a forerunner of the Messiah. This was followed by a short prayer, the "Collect for the Birth of John the Baptist."

The short meditation or homily was based on the story of John's execution as recorded on Mark 6:17-29. The speaker highlighted John's virtues as being those of courage and simplicity. We were exhorted to live more simply, possibly through giving accumulated wealth (if with some caution) to the support of Christian endeavours. We were also reminded to follow John's example of speaking the truth constantly (and this includes rebuking vice), and being prepared to suffer for what we believe in.

The service ended with a brief moment of personal reflection, and the singing of James R. Lowell's Once to Every Man and Nation.

Chapel next week on September 24 will be taken by Dr John Lim.

NEWS BITS

Bible Lands Study Tour. For those who keen to join Dr Quek as he leads a group to Egypt, Jordan and Israel, do register your interest by calling Serene at 63538071.

ADORATION, PRAISE, AND THANKSGIVING

I thank thee, God, that I have lived

In this great world and known its many joys;

The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay

And the cooling breezes in the secret dusk,

The flaming sunsets at the close of day,

Hills, and the lonely, heather-covered moors,

Music at night, and moonlight on the sea,

The beat of waves upon the rocky shore

And wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy;

The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,

The love of kin and fellowship of friends,

And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

I thank Thee, too that here has come to me

A little heartache and the loneliness

That comes with parting, and the word, "Goodbye,"

Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain,

When I discovered that night’s gloom must yield

And morning light break through to me again.

Because of these and other blessings poured

Unasked upon my wondering head,

Because I know that there is yet to come

An even richer and more glorious life,

And most of all, because Thine only Son

Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me —

I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.

 

Elizabeth Craven

 BLESSED BIRTHDAY TO ... 

Ms Ng Lay Kwan 15/9

Mr Samuel Kim Jong Seok 16/9

Mr Anthony Tay 16/9

flower pot

Mr Loh Mun Fei 19/9

Ms Lindy Tan 19/9

Dr Philip Satterthwaite 20/9

Mr Chan Wan Yhim 21/9

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This page is updated on 18 Sep 2003 by Mrs Jacob-Lee Pin
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