Some Christians have attributed the earthquake to God by suggesting that he is shaking the church. They draw attention to the name of the city and suggest that God is shaking Christ’s church. There are a couple of problems with this view. Hammering the entire city to speak to the church seems a bit unfair. I would challenge those who hold this view to tell the mother of three living in Aranui whose house has just been trashed that God did this to speak to his church.
God destroyed your home as a sign for the church.That seems too glib and does not sound like my God.
God sent this earthquake to wake up his church throughout the world.
Hammering the entire city to speak to the church seems a bit unfair. I would challenge those who hold this view to tell the mother of three living in Aranui whose house has just been trashed that God did this to speak to his church.
This view makes the people of the world suffer for the sake of the church. The gospel says it will be the other way round. Christians are supposed to suffer for the benefit of the world.
God does shake the church from time to time.
God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness (Heb 12:10).When his church falls asleep, God shakes it awake. However, he has a very effective way to shake the church without hurting the people of the world. Throughout the New Testament, God sent persecution when he needed to shake and refine the church.
Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith (1 Pet 1:6,7).
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1).
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out… The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord (Acts 11:19-21).God uses persecution to strengthen and refine his church, not earthquakes. This allows him to purify the church without punishing those outside the church.
The Holy Spirit is also skilled at speaking. God sent him to lead his people into the truth. Millions of Christians are listening for the voice of the Spirit. Thousands of pastors and prophets listen for his voice each week to bring a message to his people. If the Holy Spirit wants to speak to the church, he is capable of speaking directly. He does not need to speak through an earthquake in a distant city named after a college at Oxford University.
This earthquake could produce a dangerous complacency amongst God’s people. In a few years, the impact of the earthquake will be mostly gone. The worst affected will still feel the pain, but most people will have returned to life as usual. Many Christians will heave a sigh of relief and think,
I have come through the worst earthquake to strike this country.Having survived a serious earthquake, Christians could easily slip into a risky complacency about the future. This is not the time to be complacent. God is trying to get his people prepared in advance. He is trying to build a spiritual army of hard-core Christians, who can work together with the Holy Spirit to release his kingdom on earth. It would be sad if our experience during the earthquake lulled us into believing that things will be fine, if we carry on as we are.
It was scary,
but we survived.
We can cope with anything
that life throws at us.
This complacency is already emerging in the northwest of Christchurch.