Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Theological Deprivations

The theological wasteland that is modern fundamentalism is enough to make a pastor just walk away from it all. A famous, well-followed pastor recently quoted the following from Job:

“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.” -Job 36:15

Well, that's all well and good. But Elihu, one of the 'friends' who plays the villain in the story, is the one who says this. Now, it is true that Elihu is not specifically rebuked at the end of Job, and this is what one of the pastors followers pointed out. But it is all but impossible to draw the conclusion, as this person did, that therefore Elihu is 'one of the good guys'.

Elihu's theology is nothing more than a more sophisticated version of everything the 'rebuked' friends said. Elihu is clearly, clearly in the same boat as the rest of them. The fact that he is not addressed at the end of the story is an editorial mistake, nothing more. The above quote is directly refuted over and over again by Job. Job DENIES that suffering is good, in any way. That is the point of the entire Book. It is beyond frustrating to see someone respected pull the above line out of the context of the entire book and to make the book therefore mean something other than it does. I cannot tell you how agitated it gets me.

The entire point of the Book of Job, repeated by the CLEAR hero of the book over and over again, is that there can be no 'justification' for suffering when alternatives to suffering clearly exist. Suffering does not make 'sense', in that it can be offset by some greater good. That is the entire point of the book. It is everything Job is aimed against. To quote one of the interlocutors as the 'good guy' is to miss the point of everything, absolutely everything in that book.

Check, over, man, game over! Argh!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Josh. The theology of Suffering Is Good For You and its cousin, the theology of You Deserved It Anyway have done tremendous damage over the millennia. To have anyone still supporting it is sad indeed. Though I cannot share your professional outrage, I'll share in your frustration that this persists.