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Pandemics, Plagues, And Natural Disasters Interview Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2020 1:00 am

Pandemics, Plagues, And Natural Disasters Interview Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 12, 2020 1:00 am

Lockdowns, economic chaos, sickness, and death—COVID-19 has changed us all forever. Agendas are flying as the press and politicians maneuver for advantage. The ultimate question: what is God saying to us through a deadly pandemic? In this message we open our hearts and minds to find out.

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Rain forests looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter of our lockdown economic chaos.

Thousands die over 19 is changed to solve forever agendas are flying as the press and politicians maneuver full advantage. The ultimate question what is God saying to us through a deadly pandemic.

It's time to open our hearts and minds find out. Stay with us from the church. This is running to win with Dr. Erwin looks her was clear. Teaching helps us make it across the finish line will point in our history here now is that students are this is Pastor Luther and I want to welcome you to a very special time here on running to win today. The next several sessions I've written a new book entitled pandemics, plagues and natural disasters, and I believe very deeply that this book is going to increase people's faith.

Help us to understand the Scripture is God's relationship to what's happening in our culture what's happened in the past so that our faith will be strengthened now joining me in the studio today is Larry McCarthy I need to say that Larry's parents were among the first to join. That is to say the first African Americans to join the Moody church many years ago at Larry. I'm sure that they never dreamed that someday their son would be on the pastoral staff and you been such a blessing and were so glad that you're on board now you have read this book so our intention here is to discuss it.

To find out whether or not God is directly involved in these things, how we can trust him in the midst of it. So Larry, welcome to the program Pastor it's always a pleasure to see you and thank you so much for having me. And you're right. My parents were certainly shocked at how God chose to use me, but they want by themselves and that there are legions of people who are also socks that I got called into service but my friend, it seems that I just recently read the church in Babylon, which I'm still trying to digest many of teachings and some of the profound insights you have bear in here is yet another book. So what prompted you now to write this one. While of course I was immediately prompted because of what was happening with COBIT but I also need to say that I have done some study of natural disasters.

Previous to this, and what I wanted to convey to people. Is this. There's so many pastors out there who say trust God in the midst of this while yes exactly we trust God, but they give the impression that if you trust God everything is going to turn out okay you're gonna get your job back. You'll be able to pay your rent. God will keep you from getting sick. I want to help people to trust God in the midst of unanswered prayer in the midst of difficulties, setbacks, and to go on trusting him and help them to understand how we can be trusted, even if we humbly confess that we certainly do not know all of his ways and what he is about.

So what I wanted to do is to increase people's faith to help them to understand the goodness of God in the midst of this confessing that I don't claim to be able to read God's diary and find out all of his purposes, but believing very deeply that even if we don't understand all of his purposes. His word is trustworthy. I think that that is so very very important out one other thing that is that to their false prophets out there and I read about some of them and they were saying you know the Lord revealed to me that this pandemic is going to be short, there's another false prophetess is God has given me authority over this pandemic. I need to also address those kinds of issues and to help them to understand that they don't have that kind of authority, you really come right out the starting block with this with your subtitle because you're right, everybody is saying something everyone has an opinion.

What is this person saying what is this news outlets and what are these people saying that you boil it down to what is God saying that's right. And as a matter fact you know that that's the subtitle what is God saying to us at that five of the chapters of this book, which is the main part of this book are devoted to what God says and I say in the intro that I have no private revelation. It's not as if God came to me and told me like he did one false prophet that this is going to be shorter than you think it is a word that I have authority over it. As I mentioned with the Bible in one hand and the coalbed and natural disasters of earthquakes and plagues of locusts and mudslides and hurricanes that have been pounding this planet for centuries with the Bible in one hand and the reality of what is happening in the other. That's the way in which I wrote this book and the five chapters that have to do with what God is saying are really from his holy Word. Pastor Levesque of this is you say what is God saying, but many people today would say he isn't saying anything and that's right. In fact, God is silent. It seems in view address. This year, so can you just talk about that just a little bit about the silence of God and how we should understand that that actually is the second chapter as you well know.

It's entitled the silence of God because I believe that the silence of God is the greatest mystery that you and I have to put up with the fact that all of these terrible things can happen. How a tornado can come to our southern states, or any of the states blow people away and destroy homes, take children and have them killed. Oftentimes in the parent survivor may be the other way around. That is the greatest challenge to our faith. So actually in that chapter I asked the question, does God really care or does God just say that he cares. I tried to deal with this very realistically because I know that there a lot of skeptics out there and by the way I wrote this book that if you have a skeptic in your life. I hope that you give this book to them because I deal with even later on in the chapters of how to answer somebody who is a skeptic and atheist who says well if that's the way God runs his world. I'm out of here. What is the best way that you can answer him so that's the heart with which I wrote it. Now in that chapter.

I might say. And maybe I'm a little bit ahead of you here Larry that we need to see this in perspective because although America has not been here before. The fact is that the world has been plagued by plagues and natural disasters and disease and pestilence since the beginning of time. Yes I will you know when I read that a lot of what was suggested in the first couple chapters is that when something that's completely new. We've never seen anything like this before. Yet you give many examples of other pandemics and disasters and plagues and natural disasters, and so was trying to balance that.

So can you help me understand when you say this is new, yet we've always had these things. What's unique about the situation now. I think that one of the unique things is that this pandemic was worldwide.

I mean, I don't know of any other time in history when millions and millions of people were told to stay at home and to keep their doors closed. In effect, so I think that that's unique, but the other thing Larry that I wanted to emphasize is that it's all very unique to us as Americans, yes, but it's not been unique throughout church history. I'd love to tell this because I want people to see this in perspective.

I think that is so important here is about 251 ADE and plagues are going throughout North Africa and what I'm talking about plagues. I'm talking about 20% of the population of villages dying. Nothing like cold, you know, perhaps 1% of the people who have it done.

I am talking about huge percentages here and Cyprian, who lived during that period of time. In effect, said that Christianity would've never spread throughout North Africa were it not for these disasters because Christians died differently than the pagans you know that the Christians they would have a funeral and they would rejoice as a matter fact in the book.

I quote Cyprian who says why should we weep over those who have gone ahead of us know they are in a better place. And so the pagans said these Christians carry their dead as if in triumph.

Where's all that hope coming from and you know back to COBIT for just a moment, that isn't the worst crisis that Christians have those that have died have gone to be with the Lord Jesus Christ at the later on. Of course, in one of the broadcast will be talking about the fact that the virus of sin is even worse than COBIT. Had we need to review deliverance there but to so I just want people to take a deep breath and realize that we can learn from the past.

Later on.

Also, I tell another story and I hope you asked me Larry about Luther well I will before before I asked about the you. This is the book is filled with so much historical references and an idea I was intrigued by that is I was just reading down some of the of the historical references that you make a point of talking about this earthquake in Lisbon, the well heard in 1735 and so since were talking about that, why would you include that discussion about the Lisbon earthquake in the context of what's going on in America in 2020. You know that is such a good question thank you so much for asking it because I had particular interest in the Lisbon earthquake. For this reason, it divided Europe on the one side, there were people who continue to believe in God.

On the other hand, it spawned a lot of skepticism, but let me let our listeners try to understand the drama here. Okay, it's all St.'s day.

The churches are filled with worshipers. 930 in the morning and suddenly this terrible earthquake comes and of course they are in the churches and they are shrinking and people from the outside ran into church thinking surely if I'm in God's house. I'm going to be protected, as all of the churches basically were destroyed and the people destroyed them.

As always, there's a difference of opinion as to how many people died but you know the estimate is somewhere between 20 and 30,000 people, and this affected Europe greatly. As a matter of fact pastors and preachers often referred to it now. Isn't this interesting, but on the one hand you have the Catholics and said it's because we have let up on our emphasis on Catholicism in the Protestant says it's because we are still too Catholic, which reminds us of the fact that when it comes to these events.

We have no right to try to pry into all of God's purposes, but the reason that I emphasize that is Voltaire. Voltaire, of course, was a very famous skeptic and it was the Lisbon earthquake that made him write a book filled with sarcasm and wit regarding the fact that God could not be trusted to have the best of all possible worlds. And there are historians who believe that this earthquake in Lisbon may have been the impetus for the eventual secularism of Europe because what happened is when they began to discover that an earthquake happens because there is movement in the under the crust of the earth.

You know, there these plates by then they began to figure that out.

They suitable.

We don't have to refer to God.

This is not an act of God.

This is purely an act of nature and by the way, in the next broadcast Larry were going to be discussing that. Is this just nature or is it God gives that's what's coming up, but the point is, they said we don't have to believe in God and Voltaire's point was why should we believe in a God who won't even protect his own people within a church to let them all die. And here were supposed to believe in a good and caring God. So what happened is as always, natural disasters, divide people on the one hand you have the people who come to their faith and said were going to go on believing God no matter what. On the other hand, you said there were those who said who needs a God like that won't even protect his own people, and so much of Europe drifted off into agnosticism and atheism. Huge, huge thing, and natural disasters do the same. COBIT even does that and glad you mentioned that the book you can use the illustration that Jesus takes a natural disaster to teach us some really important lessons and I'm always looking for practical application. When I read God's word and this is where this became very illuminating to me the natural disaster that Jesus talks about in the book to teach important lessons can you talk about that for now you know he comes to the end of the sermon on the mountain. He says something that all of our listeners I'm sure are familiar with. He said that there were two people each built a house one upon a rock one on the sand and here's the frightening thing on a beautiful Sunday or Monday afternoon.

The houses looked similar. You'd been going through the neighborhood.

You disable that house just looks as nice as that house but what distinguished them is when the rains came and the floods came in Jesus that the wind blew yes one house that was built upon the rock stood the one that was built upon the sand. It of course collapsed and the point that I'm making there is that crisis really does reveal character crisis either reveals our faith or crisis also can destroy our faith and what I wrote the book about is to try to help people to understand the importance of believing in God. Now next time were going to talk about the fact that God actually has spoken and is not silent like some people said, but certainly he's oftentimes silent, people have looked around during a time of natural disaster and says I have no reason to believe that God is on my side, but they still kept on believing the point that Jesus is making is that natural disasters divide people and will be talking about that later in one of the broadcast will be talking about how do we deal with the atheists and so forth. But you know Larry, I don't want to skip Luther reason. The reason I say that is because, as you may know, I've had the privilege of leading tours to the sites of the Reformation.

I been in the house were Luther and his wife Katie lived many times in fact, one time I actually opened the cupboard where Katie would've kept her dishes. I asked the tour guide if I could do it and I think I had this step across the rope, but he said yeah go ahead so I can't forget Luther okay it's 1537 if the plague comes. So the question is do we stay or do we leave so Luther wrote an essay about it and I mentioned that so that people understand that the church of Jesus Christ is been in these crisis times before Luther's answer basically was this if you have no responsibilities in Wittenberg. You can leave we won't judge you. It's a matter of conscience get out of town if you want. If you're a magistrate or if you're a pastor you're obligated to stay and he and his wife Katie took sick people into their own home, and Luther, and cared for them and Luther's view was this that if I die while I am doing good to these people. I will have died a good death because greater love hath no man than this, but that a man lay down his life for his friends.) So what Luther did is he. He stayed and he took the risk. Even though his electorate, the Elector Frederick played such a large part in Luther's life urged him to leave because Luther was famous he had written many books and by 1537.

You know he was news all throughout Europe. Luther said no I'm good to stay and I have to add this, you know, people often ask me what should the role of the pastor be during covert right yes ring out COBIT 19 will he answers this that I always give pastor your people need you more now than at any other time.

And while it's important to shelter in place while it's important to obey in all the guidelines that we are handed down and even his businesses began to open, as all of us know their new restrictions and things going on so we obey all that to the extent that we can, but at the same time, we should not play. It's so safe that we don't get involved in people's lives. And of course that's easy to do today in a day of technology, especially spend an afternoon making calls, call your people stay connected yes and Luther would say you know if you die you'll die a good death. In effect, next time will tell you why I'm so confident that COBIT is in God's hands, but that's in our next broadcast. I really appreciate that so much particular perspective that the crisis reveals character and shows her weaknesses. It shows who we really are, but but there's this employer here within the household of faith. When the crisis comes. It doesn't just pull down who is obedient to the word or is it something else about ourselves. Even her weaknesses. This revealed here homeboy.

I think that God has multiple reasons why he takes us through trials.

Sometimes it reveals our character. Sometimes it really challenges our faith. In fact, one of the last chapters in this book is entitled. Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. Yes, I think our faith is greatly challenged and in one of the broadcasts I'm going to give you an illustration that just tore my heart out regarding a mother who kept on believing even though she lost an 18-year-old son in the midst of the rubble in Haiti. I mean really, so I think that there's a number of things going on. It also reveals her weaknesses but also Larry. It gives us an opportunity to minister to others and to be able to say to other people, you know what we're going through this, but as the sign says we're in this together. What my friends I've had this interesting discussion with my good friend Larry he's on the pastoral staff here at the Moody Church in the book that we're talking about is pandemics plagues and natural disasters and of course as you might guess in this discussion were only hitting the highlights but I want people to understand. I think this to myself and perhaps I've said this about other books that I've written that I I would say this this book calculates what I deeply believe about God's sovereignty faith that we should have in his word and the fact that he can be trusted in the most trying and difficult times. If that weren't true, we wouldn't have any martyrs would be Larry man, you know, because martyrs said I don't have to hear a voice from heaven. You know I can. I can go to the stake and I'm not hearing anything from heaven, but I'm cleaving to his word and I believe that his word is trustworthy even though I can't see even though I look around and I don't know why God doesn't help me and delivered me. I'm gonna go on believing no matter what, so the title of the book is pandemics plagues and natural disasters. But the subtitle is very critical.

What is God saying to us. Five chapters on what God has to say. Now next time were gonna look at one of those chapters and will find out that God says I am in charge. Trust me you don't producer that was with roots or with Larry McCarthy introducing pandemics plagues and natural disasters. Next time I run into when what is more comforting the belief that somehow covert and natural disasters are happening sort of independently of God there and he's just watching or is it more comforting to know that he is in control, which incidentally is the title of this chapter. To me that's much more comforting to know that I am in God's hands and you know what it means. If COBIT is out of God's hands, and I am out of God's hands. Yes, so don't miss our next project Esther Luther's new book on pandemics, plagues and natural disasters will be sent as our gift to you as you support going to win with your gift of any amount. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 18 218-9337 or write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online rituals RTW that's RTW

This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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