Apr 132018
 

I don’t usually write on the weekends…but sometimes I have to.

Mega blogger Tim Challies wrote an article today about the Humboldt hockey team tragedy.

 

 

For those of you who are unaware, a youth hockey team traveling to a playoff game was involved in a horrific accident and sixteen of them were killed.

It has deeply grieved the town, the country of Canada , and the whole hockey community internationally.

Why did Challies feel the need to write about it?

“As I have reflected on the disaster, there is a thought that continues to haunt me. It’s the thought of young people who have heard the gospel, but haven’t yet decided what to do about it. I know many people who are in the age-range of those players, people who are in their teens or twenties. Many of them have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but have not yet responded in repentance and faith. They haven’t outright rejected the gospel—they just haven’t decided yet whether or not they believe it.

This is not unusual for young people. It is not uncommon for them to hear the good news but to hold off, to delay, to wait for what seems like a more opportune time. They are young, after all. They’ve got years still, don’t they? Perhaps not. I’m sure every young man on that bus had dreams for the future. I’m sure every one was convinced he had time left to live. But he didn’t.”

So, grieving parents, grieving family, grieving friends, grieving country…not only did you lose these loved ones, a bunch of them probably went straight to hell.

Why…why…in the name of all that’s holy would you write such a thing before the funerals have even begun?

Why?

What kind of insane, insensitive, religious spirit would compel you to add to the unimaginable pain that these people must be experiencing?

What the hell is wrong with you that you would use a crushing national disaster as an opportunity for an online altar call?

When doctrine is your god, Jesus cannot be…

Challies, you need to watch this video a few hundred times…it’s the shattered chaplain of that hockey team trying to comfort a shattered flock…and he gets it right.

He gets it right because he weeps with those who weep…and he won’t stop weeping until his flock does…if then.

He knows Jesus as well as you know your doctrine…

  38 Responses to “This Isn’t The Time, Challies…”

  1. Ugh. That is so disgusting.

  2. It rattled me really hard…really hard.

  3. Perhaps this man could have reminded us that a long life is not a sure thing and everyone needs to ponder the question, “if a man dies, shall he live again?”
    That said….
    No one in the process of grieving the loss of a child or anyone else near and dear should be tormented. Thank you for speaking for the rest of us, Michael

    I join those who love the Lord and are praying for our neighbors to the north – praying also for the family of the young man who died trapped in his car this week also…. Too many parents grieving now… May God move among us in mercy and healing

    I, for one, wouldn’t even want to hear Challies’ apology… However, having grieved.the loss of one near and dear, some people – especially Christians – can say the most bizarre things

  4. Thank you, Em.
    Well said…

  5. And this is why I am no longer a church going evangelical ( or whatever ). As Canadians, we are in deep grieving because of this horrible tragedy, he needs to be quiet for a longtime and no longer speak of this. UGH!

  6. Alexis,

    Ironically, Challies is a Canadian…how he missed the grief of his country people is beyond me…

  7. Good message Michael! Well said!

  8. Expletives.

  9. Thank you, Dusty…

  10. Noelle, I had to edit myself with a heavy hand…

  11. What he wrote was so wrong on so many levels. It was cruel IMO.

  12. Tom,

    i agree…

  13. Hi angel voice, hope you are well!

  14. #6

    Tone deaf. Sheeeeeesh.

  15. The words and compassion of the pastor in the video are SO beautiful and beautifully spoken and shared….

    Thank you for this article…. and remember these families in my prayers…

  16. Sigh.

    We miss so many opportunities. We are not comfortable being silent and allowing the Gospel room to breathe…through moments of just “being”. These tragic moments, we want to rush in and give some assurance or some deep meaning to make everyone feel better…or at least to give a lesson to be learned.

    We just witnessed a family here bury their 5 year old girl. She was not supposed to live outside the womb. It has been a brutal 5 years. She never spoke, they are not sure if she was deaf. She was for the most part without expression…and yet the sanctuary was filled for her funeral. But her Dad was honest in his grief and in simply stating that sometimes things are brutal and painful and we don’t need to fill in the why and lessons.

    This tragedy was brutal. Sometimes we need to feel that…and as witnesses from the outside we don’t have the right to claim the tragedy as our own and use it as an illustration point.

  17. “This tragedy was brutal. Sometimes we need to feel that…and as witnesses from the outside we don’t have the right to claim the tragedy as our own and use it as an illustration point.”

    Perfect, Sarah…

  18. Paige,

    I thought the chaplain was wonderful too…

  19. I had heard of this hockey team tragedy, but am grateful for the sermon attached to the article above, from a pastor I do not know and a tradition I do not know.

    I can honestly say that this pastor preached a beautiful sermon that addressed not only the mystery of suffering, but also the hope we have in Jesus. He held nothing back and in the context of the event, did a wonderful and faithful job of preaching.

    When a tragedy or death occurs, family and friends know it. They know something bad has happened and they know that in that event that we are not our own masters or in control. Thus, whether or not they are Christians, they know that life is fragile and there really is no justice by human standards.

    This pastor, in his sermon, addressed these issues in a biblical and sensitive manner given the circumstances. I thank God that this particular pastor was on the scene to give this sermon. God bless this community!

  20. So many wonderful comments to Amen on this thread. I made the mistake of turning on the pastor’s message just as I began my drive home. It’s not easy for one to operate a vehicle when one is bawling like baby.

  21. How much we need to know that those who represent the faith struggle as we do, too. I love how honest this pastor is. How much do believers and unbelievers need to hear the truth..that we will be challenged, and challenged in a way unanticipated, in our faith. Prayers and kudos to that honest chaplain and pastor.

  22. CK,

    I did the same thing…
    This community has responded well to this…

  23. Linnea,

    Blessings to you,my friend…

  24. “What kind of insane, insensitive, religious spirit would compel you to add to the unimaginable pain that these people must be experiencing?”

    This is who we have become. Too much emphasis on attracting and keeping the masses so we can continue to “feed” them. We’ve lost our humanity, which really means, we’ve lost our sense of the Incarnation.

  25. […] Why…why…in the name of all that’s holy would you write such a thing before the funerals have e… […]

  26. I’ve heard so, so many sermons just like this over the years. Sometimes it seems like religion is a cover for a profound lack of empathy. There’s a “concern for souls” that’s always in the abstract. Yes, they go on and on about ‘those souls’ out there but is there any empathy for the people they actually know.

  27. Shy1

    I can only speak for myself.

    I have experienced the death of both friends and family over the past eighteen months, including a family member that committed suicide. There is a profound sadness and a sense of empathy for the dead that I cannot reconcile, and it does not go away. I cannot carry the weight of ” ‘those souls out there,” it is, at times, seemingly too difficult to carry that weight for those whom I know.

  28. The problem with Challies is that he has spent far to much time in the orbit of Mohler, Mahaney, and The Gospel(tm) Coalition. He wants to be seen as a mover and shaker of the YRR ™ and have some of the celebrity spotlight.

    This why he is so callous in that post, why he took forever to speak about or admonish , if ever, the sins of Mahaney and others. Perhaps he should be reminded of the reaction of Jesus in John 11 at the death of Lazarus, or reminded of that section in Ecclesiastes 3.

    This is a time to mourn.

  29. One more thing…

    The death of a loved one (especially a close family member) is difficult to say in the least. Especially the effect of the death of a child on the parents. It is not how things are supposed to go, (i.e., the parents being older, are supposed to die first).

    If one of Challies’ kids were to die young like these hockey kids, I wonder how he would react if some blogger posted something like on the death of his kid. I pray to God he never has to experience that.

  30. #24 PstrMike

    “We’ve lost our humanity, which really means, we’ve lost our sense of the Incarnation.”

    You’re speaking the truth.

  31. This team chaplain is the kind of pastor I would want to have at a time like this. The kind I want to be.

  32. Sarah: “We are not comfortable being silent and allowing the Gospel room to breathe…”

    I really want to contemplate that statement for a while.

  33. Pastor Mike: “We’ve lost our humanity, which really means, we’ve lost our sense of the Incarnation.”

    And this one.

  34. lots of good comments on this thread. such a sad situation.

  35. I amen every statement on this thread, and Michael’s article. Sometimes it is best to shut up and cry.

  36. I have a Tower of Siloam Stopwatch™ that I set whenever a tragedy like this occurs, to see how long it will take for some evangelical chucklehead to trot out Luke 13, the Tower of Siloam, and “repent, lest ye likewise perish.” On this occasion, I didn’t even think to do that because it never occurred to me that someone would pull a Challies. But he did. And although he didn’t actually cite that particular scripture, it’s still awful. You know Michael, this might be an excellent point of departure if you ever revive the podcast *hint, hint.*

  37. Sports Illustrated has an article entitled “The Valley of Darkness” online at si.com that will offer what Challies could’ve/should’ve written instead. I recommend it highly.

  38. “Why…why…in the name of all that’s holy would you write such a thing before the funerals have even begun?”

    Because of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

    Where Everything — EVERYTHING — is centered around and only done to get them walking the aisle to Say The Magic Words and get their Fire Insurance Policy. And the more of them do, the more the Faithful Witnesses’ Brownie Points at the Bema.

    NOTHING ELSE MATTERS — “It’s All Gonna Burn…”

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