First Person: "I was there in theater 9 at midnight ... some forty or fifty feet away from the man with the gun"

6078 reads

There are 30 Comments

Brad Kelly's picture

Terrible. What's next? The heroic tale of a Christian escaping a fire at a strip club? I wouldn't be thanking God if were her, I would be repenting.

Brad Kelly's picture

I was thinking of the movie itself.

Jim's picture

I probably disagree with you - not that it is a film I would opt to view (looks stupid! and I don't like films with a bunch of CGI). 

 

Thanks for answering

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

People didn't die because they went to see a movie, people died because a murderer decided to open fire with a loaded weapon.  And I don't think God sends mad gunmen to movie theatres to judge people for watching Batman movies.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I don't think Brad was calling this a judgement of God, just that this professing Christian was tarnishing her testimony by admitting she went to the movie.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dmicah's picture

Chip, how is this woman tarnishing her testimony?

More than a million people read her blog in which she shared the gospel and discussed the sovereignty of God in times of great tragedy. She was able to respond graciously with those who disagreed and criticized. That's an amazing testimony.

Brad Kelly's picture

And I don't think God sends mad gunmen to movie theatres [sic] to judge people for watching Batman movies.

Was the mad gunman then outside of God's control? Then God is not all-powerful.

Did God simply allow the mad gunman? Then, if God had the power to stop him but did not, God is still morally responsible. If I
"allow" my kids to play in the street and they get run over, do you think I will not be held responsible?

I don't think Brad was calling this a judgement of God...

I don't know, I think he might have been.

Jim's picture

I believe you are a Pastor ?

 

OK so you make this hypothetical hospital call to a church member in Aurora

  • She was at the theater
  • She was injured but will survive.
  • Her daughter was killed (I'm thinking of the 6 year old victim)
  • The woman has a paralyzing injury that has forever altered her life
  • It's a given that God is sovereign ("[God] works all things according to the counsel of His will") (Ephesians 1:11)
  • And the woman asks you .... "is this the judgment of God?"

What would your answer be?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

dmicah wrote:
Chip, how is this woman tarnishing her testimony?

More than a million people read her blog in which she shared the gospel and discussed the sovereignty of God in times of great tragedy. She was able to respond graciously with those who disagreed and criticized. That's an amazing testimony.

I haven't said what I thought, only that I think that's the direction Brad was heading.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dmicah's picture

Brad Kelly wrote:

And I don't think God sends mad gunmen to movie theatres [sic] to judge people for watching Batman movies.

Was the mad gunman then outside of God's control? Then God is not all-powerful.

Did God simply allow the mad gunman? Then, if God had the power to stop him but did not, God is still morally responsible. If I
"allow" my kids to play in the street and they get run over, do you think I will not be held responsible?

I don't think Brad was calling this a judgement of God...

I don't know, I think he might have been.

First we don't know that he is insane. The media & blogosphere is labeling him a madman b/c it's hard to admit what raw evil looks like. This man was not an independent agent outside of God's control any more than Adam was, but that doesn't mean God runs the world as a cosmic puppet master. Man is given freedom to act.  Yes, God allowed the gunman to make this choice. The man acted on his freedom and chose to act according to his nature. God is not morally responsible for man's sinful actions. Will God work and in and through the suffering, yes? Is this His judgment? Perhaps. But on what? If you can't answer the point of the judgment or the corrective steps necessary to alleviate future judgment, than it is not for us to label it specifically as His judgment.

Brad Kelly's picture

"Judgment" is obviously a loaded word. In the situation you presented-dealing with a professing believer- I would go with chastisement. If one believes that this event was ordained by God, and I do, than it must be something. So what is it? A blessing? God was involved. He did not simply "allow" it. So why did he send it? To judge unbelievers and chastise his children.

Staying with your proposal...

Should a professing believer take her 6 year-old to a movie that the world says is unsuitable for those under 13? If you are taking your 6 year-old to midnight showings of Batman what do you think the kid will be doing when she is 13? 

Should a professing believer go to film that is pretty much (from reviews I have read) 2 hours of murder and mayhem? Which particular quality of Philippians 4:8 does the film support or reinforce?

To a professing believer I would absolutely say "You should not have been there with your 6 year-old child. And God has mercifully granted you an opportunity to repent and to use this as an opportunity to make changes in your life that will glorify him."

I'm just a little flabbergasted that here, on this site, people would take issue with the assertion that there is no good- i.e. biblical- reason for a Christian to have been at that movie theater watching that movie: especially with her children.

 

 

Jim's picture

And I don't know who has

 

I'm just a little flabbergasted that here, on this site, people would take issue with the assertion that there is no good- i.e. biblical- reason for a Christian to have been at that movie theater watching that movie: especially with her children.

The case I cited is in this list

Ashley Moser, Veronica's mother, remains in critical condition at Aurora Medical Center. The 25-year-old was shot in the neck, and doctors are unable to remove the bullet. Moser also suffered a gunshot wound in the abdomen. She passes in and out of consciousness, Dalton said, and does not yet know that her daughter has died. Doctors said that Moser, who was recently accepted to medical school, will hopefully recover with some use of her hands, Dalton said.

I could not tell her that God is judging or chastening her.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Brad Kelly wrote:

"Judgment" is obviously a loaded word. In the situation you presented-dealing with a professing believer- I would go with chastisement. If one believes that this event was ordained by God, and I do, than it must be something. So what is it? A blessing? God was involved. He did not simply "allow" it. So why did he send it? To judge unbelievers and chastise his children.


The fact that something is not a blessing (as we would see it) does not make it judgment or chastisement. I think this scripture would be good to consider:

John 9:1-3 wrote:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Obviously Jesus wasn't saying that neither this man nor his parents had sinned, but that their sin was not the cause of this seeming judgment. Regardless of whether professing believers at that movie were sinning by being there or not, the shooting is not necessarily judgment or chastisement for those actions.

That is something God also made quite clear to Job's "friends" after they had judged him worthy of God's chastisement. In fact, he told those friends to repent. We should be careful lest we also fall into that trap.

Dave Barnhart

Brad Kelly's picture

Micah- I have no idea of his mental state. I was merely quoting the assertion presented to me. I do not really think his mental state is that important. What comfort is it to say, "Well he was crazy."?

Jim- but you are saying it. My point is that a Christian should not have been there in the first place. But everyone wants to find a way to get God out of the pickle he got himself into. Or try to explain that what they say they believe about God- that he is sovereign and all-powerful- is true...but not.

Dave (and somewhat to Jim's point)- do you really think it is "safe" to equate a person born blind, or a true innocent sufferer like Job with someone who made a conscious decision to engage in an activity that can at best be termed questionable? I think the man born blind and Job are radically different situations. In both cases we are assured that neither man did anything to "deserve" what happened to him. Did anyone that night deserve to be shot? Of course not. But it is not like they were out picking daises on a sunshiny afternoon after a church picnic. Guess what: when you are out past midnight with a bunch of people to enjoy 2 hours of violence, bad things might happen. Don't be surprised when they do.

Anyone- The thrust of my original point, and what has still not really been answered, is that a faithful Christian should not have been in that movie theater in the first place. Those who suffered from the tragedy cannot claim the innocence of the man born blind nor of Job. Can we agree on that at least? Is no one willing to say that a Christian should not have been at that movie? I've tried to answer the questions put to me and no one has answered the only one I am asking: "Should a Christian have been there in the first place?"

And I have no doubt that God will use this for his glory.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

dmicah wrote:

First we don't know that he is insane. The media & blogosphere is labeling him a madman b/c it's hard to admit what raw evil looks like. This man was not an independent agent outside of God's control any more than Adam was, but that doesn't mean God runs the world as a cosmic puppet master. Man is given freedom to act.  Yes, God allowed the gunman to make this choice. The man acted on his freedom and chose to act according to his nature. God is not morally responsible for man's sinful actions. Will God work and in and through the suffering, yes? Is this His judgment? Perhaps. But on what? If you can't answer the point of the judgment or the corrective steps necessary to alleviate future judgment, than it is not for us to label it specifically as His judgment.

I was thinking that 'madman' is a generic term for someone who does something crazy. It doesn't mean that he is clinically insane, he's just nuts. 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

There are some behaviors that place us at risk, but attending a movie theater, a public school, or a McDonald's, regardless of whether one is a Christian, or whether a Christian should be there or not, does not fall under the category of risky behavior, whereby one might expect to be shot. Bored, disgusted, annoyed, nauseated, poorer- yes. Dead or severely wounded? No. 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Brad Kelly wrote:

Dave (and somewhat to Jim's point)- do you really think it is "safe" to equate a person born blind, or a true innocent sufferer like Job with someone who made a conscious decision to engage in an activity that can at best be termed questionable? I think the man born blind and Job are radically different situations. In both cases we are assured that neither man did anything to "deserve" what happened to him. Did anyone that night deserve to be shot? Of course not. But it is not like they were out picking daises on a sunshiny afternoon after a church picnic. Guess what: when you are out past midnight with a bunch of people to enjoy 2 hours of violence, bad things might happen. Don't be surprised when they do.


Although Job and the blind man might have been completely different situations from those in the theater, they are there as examples, so that God could make it clear that we cannot make an event out to be a pronouncement of God's judgment when we don't know that to be the case. God makes it clear to us that in both cases, what looks to be judgment isn't, because we are told that that is not the case. However, with both examples, the prevailing thought of the day was, OK, we see judgment -- the person being judged must have done something wrong. I think the question of whether the people were wrong to be in the theater is of less interest than the idea that they are being judged for that action. We simply don't know that to be the case.

While it is true that a man born blind could not really be seen to be at fault for his judgment (although we are all born sinners, and God knows us in the womb), there's still the question of his parents, as presented in scripture. They clearly were not perfect, but until Jesus declared their son was not blind because of their sin, they might have been asking themselves (and others, like the disciples, were definitely asking) what they had done to get God's judgment on them. Of course they had sinned in their lives -- did it lead to a blind son? Jesus said no.

If you think the other scriptures I mentioned do not apply, what about this one:

Luke 13 wrote:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Bad things happen to those right with God, and God allows the rain to fall on the unjust as well as the just. I know you think the people in the theater to have done something worthy of God's judgment. What about the Virginia tech killings of a few years ago? Were those 30 or so students at school recipients of a special judgment from God?

In a way, I think you are right to say "But it is not like they were out picking daises on a sunshiny afternoon after a church picnic. Guess what: when you are out past midnight with a bunch of people to enjoy 2 hours of violence, bad things might happen." It's true, bad things might happen to them. But they just as well might happen to someone like Job, or people on a church picnic. We'd like to give ourselves some comfort by convincing ourselves that what those people did was wrong, and they should expect bad things to happen, but since I'm not doing what they are doing, it won't happen to me (or it's less likely)... but it's not for us to say why those things happened. God made clear to Job that his ways are not our ways, and we need to come to terms with that.

Dave Barnhart

Brad Kelly's picture

but attending a movie theater, a public school, or a McDonald's, regardless of whether one is a Christian, or whether a Christian should be there or not, does not fall under the category of risky behavior

There is risk in everything we do.

Here we are forcibly reminded of the inestimable felicity of a pious mind. Innumerable are the ills which beset human life, and present death in as many different forms. Not to go beyond ourselves, since the body is a receptacle, nay the nurse, of a thousand diseases, a man cannot move without carrying along with him many forms of destruction. His life is in a manner interwoven with death. For what else can be said where heat and cold bring equal danger? Then, in what direction soever you turn, all surrounding objects not only may do harm, but almost openly threaten and seem to present immediate death. Go on board a ship, you are but a plank’s breadth from death. Mount a horse, the stumbling of a foot endangers your life. Walk along the streets, every tile upon the roofs is a source of danger. If a sharp instrument is in your own hand, or that of a friend, the possible harm is manifest. All the savage beasts you see are so many beings armed for your destruction. Even within a high walled garden, where everything ministers to delight, a serpent will sometimes lurk. Your house, constantly exposed to fire, threatens you with poverty by day, with destruction by night. Your fields, subject to hail, mildew, drought, and other injuries, denounce barrenness, and thereby famine. I say nothing of poison, treachery, robbery, some of which beset us at home, others follow us abroad. Amid these perils, must not man be very miserable, as one who, more dead than alive, with difficulty draws an anxious and feeble breath, just as if a drawn sword were constantly suspended over his neck? It may be said that these things happen seldom, at least not always, or to all, certainly never all at once. I admit it; but since we are reminded by the example of others, that they may also happen to us, and that our life is not an exception any more than theirs, it is impossible not to fear and dread as if they were to befall us. What can you imagine more grievous than such trepidation? Add that there is something like an insult to God when it is said, that man, the noblest of the creatures, stands exposed to every blind and random stroke of fortune. Here, however, we were only referring to the misery which man should feel, were he placed under the dominion of chance. (John Calvin, Institutes 1.17.10)

But the question isn't one of risk. Do you really so no moral difference between going to McDonald's or a public school and going to a movie like Batman? The movie is rated PG-13 here is what that means generally:

PG-13 — Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. A PG-13 rating is a sterner warning by the Rating Board to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them. A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. The theme of the motion picture by itself will not result in a rating greater than PG-13, although depictions of activities related to a mature theme may result in a restricted rating for the motion picture. Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.

As to the newest Batman film,

...the MPAA has branded Dark Knight Rises with a PG-13 Rating, citing “intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language” as the basis. That puts the film on a par with both The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, as both were likewise classified PG-13 in part for having “intense” action/combat sequences.

The sum of my argument was and is that Christians should not have been attending that movie.

Dave- if you cannot perceive the difference between John 9, Job, and Aurora Colorado I don't really think I have anything else to offer. I believe the people in the movie theater were sinning by taking pleasure in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:32). Therefore I believe that John 9 and Job are completely irrelevant to their situation.  The Va Tech shooting is another matter. I am not dealing with generalities or hypotheticals. I have only been discussing the Aurora Colorado shooting.

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

There isn't the same amount of risk in everything we do. That's absurd. 

I don't think the main question of this thread and this incident is (or should be) whether or not a Christian should attend a movie with a PG-13 rating, because there is no difference between watching it on tv and watching in a theater, so that question would become "Should a Christian watch a PG-13 movie EVER?" And therefore-  if someone is sitting in their living room with their family watching a PG-13 movie, and a bad guy breaks into their house and kills them, God sent the bad guy to judge them for watching a movie? 

What's He gonna' do if someone watches something that's rated R- burn their house down and blow their ashes into space? 

Greg Long's picture

Brad, what about all the other Christians watching PG-13 movies? Is God letting them off the hook?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Greg,

Are you suggesting that God chastises all His children at the same time in the same way, for the same sins or different ones?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Long's picture

How did God chastise this Christian? She and her daughters didn't get shot.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Brad Kelly wrote:

Susan,

For a moment I thought you might actually be getting somewhere.

For a moment I thought you were going to address the issue. 

PLewis's picture

One of the young women who was killed in the Colorado theater shooting was a local who had graduated from our local high school.  She had relocated for her job - but prior had attended a BIG church here.  Her memorial service is later this week ..

 

Also on the Friday she was murdered - another young lady ( a younger teen) was at the beach and died in a boating accident.. She attended the same high school and the same church.

 

While this church is not "fundamental" I believe it's a pretty decent place ( but more "mega churchy" than I like ) .. It will be interesting to see how their pastor handles these funerals .. Two tragedies happening on the same day ..

 

This past spring my son's dearest friend - a "boy" of 23 who basically lived with us on weekends passed away - right in front of our church .. at a church function.  He fell out of a tree when he climbed up to get a football for some little kids who threw it up there.  What was the judgment there?  Where was the sin?  Throwing a football in the church parking lot?  Climbing a tree on a beautiful Saturday evening?  Who was the judgment on ?  The little boys?  Dale?  The church for allowing "fun" to happen?  

 

Back to the original post - we sometimes put ourselves in situations that we shouldn't .. YET this woman felt God's presence .. that is powerful to me.  

 

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Greg Long wrote:
How did God chastise this Christian? She and her daughters didn't get shot.

Greg,

You didn't answer my question, which goes to the heart of a basic assumption you seem to be making here. Several believers caught in the same sin at the same time, together even, do not always receive chastisement in the same way at the same time (or at all). Your question is irrelevant to the discussion. If you believe seeing this movie was wrong, you can investigate the chastisement angle. If you don't believe this  movie is wrong, then considering God's chastisement, in any way, would be ludicrous. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Long's picture

No, that's not the issue at all. The issue is, can we know, or should we even speculate, as to whether bad things that happen to Christians are a result of God's chastisement or not. 

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University