What Do We Tell Our Students About God and the Death of 200,000+?

Dr. Barrett Mosbacker, PublisherSoon after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I sent the following email to my teachers.  Great events (good and bad) present great teaching opportunities.

To Faculty and Staff:

There are times when a teachable moment presents itself that requires setting aside our planned teaching schedule. I believe the devastating earthquake in Haiti, combined with our relief efforts on behalf of the Haitian people, presents such an opportunity.

I would like for you to consider how you could help your students work through the death of probably 200,000 people and the near destruction of an entire city and God’s character, promises, and providence. If you believe this has merit, I would encourage you to consider the following:

  • Consider providing a means for students to share their questions, concerns, doubts, perspectives, etc., anonymously so that you have some idea of what your students are thinking and feeling. It is very important that your students feel the freedom to be honest without fear of reprisal or judgment.
  • Consider having them read through the attached and then helping them spot the logical and/or theological errors in the article.
  • Be careful not to provide an interpretation of God’s providence—it is very important to address this issue in general biblical terms with good biblical exegesis without definitively interpreting what God has or has not done in Haiti and why. For example, although we know that all pain in this world is ultimately the result of sin and the curse, we do not know that God specifically judged Haiti through the earthquake (per Pat Robertson’s comments).
  • Focus should be placed on how Christians should respond to such death and destruction.
  • It would be helpful to address God’s promised provisions for his people and the destitution of many Haitian Christians. For example, how does a faithful Haitian Christian who may have lost a child, a home, and all possessions respond to Matt. 6:25ff in light of the earthquake?
  • Some discussion could focus on our own national sins.

This is not a mandate; I am merely passing on some thoughts for you to prayerfully consider as you minister to your students. I suspect many of them have many questions, concerns, doubts, assumptions, etc., that they are not expressing but that need addressed for their spiritual welfare.

Thank you,

Barrett Mosbacker