Daniel E. Johnson, a retired pastor and author of When You Ask Why, was interviewed regarding the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. New Leaf Publishing Group offers the transcript to you in hopes that it will bring you peace and help you to answer a few of the questions we face in times like these.
Your book addresses the question we all asked after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings – Why!? Why would God allow this to happen to innocent children? How do you answer this question in When You Ask Why?
Parents, pundits, politicians--and defenseless children--have asked the question a thousand times: "Why does God allow bad things to happen?" Think about that question. If God did not allow things to happen--good things and bad things--we would find fault with Him for imposing restrictions on our freedom. And, really, would the pain go away if the tough questions were answered? Former pastor and prolific author Warren Wiersbe said, "God is not standing at the end of a syllogism, nor is peace of mind found at the conclusion of an argument." A better question than “Why does God permit evil to roam freely in our world?” is “What kind of God is He?”
On page 49/50 you state -“The enemy induced Eve to question God’s essential goodness, and we’ve been doing it ever since.” Please expound on this powerful quote.
We blame Him for accidents, misfortune, tragedies. Whatever our theological persuasions, and however difficult life's problems may be, let us not malign God. It is the character of a thief to steal, to kill, and to destroy. It is the nature of God to give, forgive, heal, and restore.
As a retired pastor, you’ve had the opportunity to walk with many people as they deal with death and tragic events. What words or actions have you found to be the most helpful?
A father whose college-age daughter was found dead in her room, found solace in the fact that "God is in the trenches with us, fighting the very same evils we fight in this world." He believed that God is a good God. There is evil in our world and we will go to our graves with unanswered questions. The important thing is that we take these questions to the only One who knows the answers to life's dilemmas, He "who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
How would you counsel a family after the loss of a young child in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting?
We are convinced that God does not cause the tragedy and terror that stalk the earth. No one is shedding more tears in Newtown tonight than God Himself whose character, intention, and love were never more accurately depicted than on that day long ago when a Cross was planted on a hill outside the walls of Jerusalem. There God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. On that Cross, as throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus set Himself against, sin, disease, poverty, fear, and death.
You can find Daniel E. Johnson’s book, When You Ask Why, in digital format for $0.99 now through the end of January 2013. New Leaf Publishing Group’s mission is ink on paper to touch eternity and bring balance to the body of Christ. New Leaf prays that this book and Ken Ham’s How Could a Loving God? will minister the truth of God’s Word and His nature to the hearts and minds of Christians and skeptics alike.