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My take on Haiti’s “Devil Pact” and the earthquake

Haiti palaceDuring my first trip to Haiti last February I became a little skeptical that the earthquake that shook the nation’s capital was nothing more than a natural disaster. There seemed to be too many spiritual ramifications to attribute it to a random act of nature, but yet I was still unsure.

During my second trip to Haiti last week I had many conversations with Haitian believers about God’s work in their country, Voodooism, and saw first-hand just how incredibly active the spiritual realm is there. Since that trip I’m certain that the earthquake was a physical manifestation of something huge that took place in the spiritual realm.

I could go into great detail about a lot of this, but I’ll try to give just an overview, 35,000 foot perspective.

The story you’ve heard about the people of Haiti and their pact with the Devil is true. Every Haitian confirms it. They sold themselves to the Devil for a duration of 200 years in exchange for their freedom from France. While they were freed from France, their spiritual bondage since then has been incredibly oppressive on all the people. Voodoo controlled almost everyone and everything, including some aspects of the physical creation around them. They lived their lives serving the evil spirits, spirits that manifest themselves in very real and tangible ways — not like ghosts or black smoke or something.

I’m told by many people who lived in Haiti and visited the country prior to the earthquake that there was a spiritual darkness over the entire country that was so heavy you could feel it. Some American pastors went to Haiti intending to serve for a week, but 24 hours later rescheduled their flights and left because it was so weighty. One Haitian told me that the Voodoo high priest of South Africa visited their country prior to the earthquake to learn a secret from one of the devils that resides there. When he flew in, the priest said he could physically see that the country was covered in a darkness of evil spirits unlike he’s ever seen before. He’s reported as saying that Haiti is the largest stronghold for Voodooism in the world.

That pact was made with the Devil 205 years ago, so last November about 250 Haitian pastors started meeting to pray for their country. They told God that the 200 year pact was complete and asked Him to do whatever was necessary to deliver them from the Devil. Two months later, the earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital, and instantly the heavy darkness was lifted. Haitians immediately cried out to God to save them and He did, both spiritually and physically. One teenage boy I met during the first trip said he was alone in his house when the earthquake hit. He looked up, saw the ceiling collapsing on top of him and knew he was going to die. In that moment he heard someone cry out to Jesus and he told me he instantly knew he needed Jesus to save him not only physically, but spiritually. He cried out to Jesus and immediately he said he felt something pick him up and move him safely out into the middle of the street facing his house where he watched it crumble in front of him. Many other Haitians have similar stories.

Since the earthquake, everyone who was in Haiti prior to the disaster says that heavy darkness is totally gone. Instead, it’s replaced by hope, joy, and Jesus! I know I certainly saw the joy, hope and love these people have for Jesus both times I was there. Last week more Haitians asked us for Bibles than they did for food, water or tarps! There’s a hunger there that is far more desperate for spiritual food than for physical food.

Voodooism, while still very real and present in Haiti, is rapidly declining. Many Voodoo priests have turned to Jesus. Most of the others have lost the control they used to have because they can’t cast evil spirits into people who are possessed by the Holy Spirit. They can still do their best to have the evil spirits physically harm and oppress the believers, but they can’t kill them and it still doesn’t take away their joy.

The church in Haiti has exploded since the earthquake. Churches are so full they can no longer meet in their buildings. Instead, they gather anywhere they can: in fields, on rubble, in streets, sometimes even shutting down traffic! The spiritual climate of Haiti did an instant 180 degree turn when the earthquake shook.

During the earthquake, it seems that the Lord protected many of the pastors when everything else around them crumbled. It’s not uncommon to walk by a community of buildings that are all flat except one in the middle. When I ask, “Who’s house is that?” the answer is usually, “Oh, that’s Pastor so-and-so’s house.” The house we stayed at last week is a perfect example: every building in his community crumbled except his. Not only is his house still standing, but it doesn’t have a single cracked wall, damaged ceiling or even a broken mirror. When you see it, it reminds you exactly of Jesus’ story about the man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).

Scripture points to the possibility of the earth physically responding to it’s Creator (Romans 8:19-21; Psalm 18:6-7; Psalm 114:7; Psalm 77:16-18; Jeremiah 10:10; Nahum 1:5 just to name a few). I think this earthquake was one of those times.

I know none of this is conclusive evidence that the earthquake was a physical manifestation of something that took place in the spiritual realm, but it does seem to be enough spiritual “coincidences” to point to it’s likelihood for me anyway. Many people in Haiti and some who have traveled there with me also agree. It’s possible that a 200-year spiritual darkness just coincidentally happened to lift at the exact same time that the earthquake hit, and I suppose it’s even possible that a massive revival could break out due to nothing more than the desperation of their tremendous loss (although that seems very unlikely). But even if that were the case, their joy and hope would be short-lived and not genuine, neither of which is happening.

God is working in Haiti and I am blessed to be a small part of it.


Posted on May 4, 2010

  • A fascinating and inspiring story, Tim. Makes me think of Nineveh's repentance in Jonah 3. Thanks for this.

  • I sometimes wonder at our current rate of speed in our own country how long it will be before God responds using harsher methods than what we're already experiencing. I'm praying while many serve in Haiti and other places and it makes an "impact" on them, they bring that impact home and apply it here and beyond. The benefit of short-term missions should go well beyond the people served during that short-term. An important principle we communicate at TIMS; "Short-term missions with long-term impact." Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts Tim.

  • Tim this is a great post. I had heard of Haiti's pact before the earthquake hit – I was praying this would be God drawing the Haitian's back to Him. So glad it seems that is what taking place right now.

    Brian I agree wholeheartedly with you. At what point will we learn that we desperately need to turn back to God as a nation and at what level does God have to let something happen to wake us up. On one hand I pray I'm around to see it yet on the other hand I pray I'm not.

    Thanks for the encouraging post Tim.

  • Tim this is a great post. I had heard of Haiti's pact before the earthquake hit – I was praying this would be God drawing the Haitian's back to Him. So glad it seems that is what taking place right now.

    Brian I agree wholeheartedly with you. At what point will we learn that we desperately need to turn back to God as a nation and at what level does God have to let something happen to wake us up. On one hand I pray I'm around to see it yet on the other hand I pray I'm not.

    Thanks for the encouraging post Tim.

  • GG'ma B

    God does continually work in mysterious ways "His wonders to perform"… So glad He is showing Himself mighty in Haiti.. and elsewhere.. I do fear for our country if we do not follow the Lord.. and so blatantly go against His laws and principles.. We dig our own graves.. May God hear and undertake..

  • dave

    Tim – I do appreciate your thoughts on this, and the other comments bear out that you're not entering this conversation lightly. So know that I've also taken some time to think before posting, as I guess I'll be the first to throw a wrench in the plaudits, as it sounds eerily familiar to the Pat Robertson assertion in the immediate aftermath of the quake. I think what happened is that the earth's tectonic plates shifted, creating a release of energy in the earth's crust that generates seismic activity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake). I do not believe that God acts in such an arbitrary or malicious way as to rely on legends and hearsay to devastate a country.

    What I find curious about your post is how it relies on unattributable conversations, gut feelings and a theology of a malicious God to explain why a poor and oppressed people are suffering, and it places blame on those folks. A few things about your post that bring up red flags for me:

    – "The story you’ve heard about the people of Haiti and their pact with the Devil is true. Every Haitian confirms it." This is a classic straw man argument. To some degree it equates to "every" American confirming that George Washington cut down a cherry tree and then 'fessed up to his dad. True? Most historians think not – that it's an apocryphal story designed to tout Washington's character and his Legend. Apparently he also never wore a wig but merely powdered his hair (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington).

    Now add religious history, enslavement and the desire to control people to the mix and you have a powerful myth that works its way into a nation's psyche in significant ways. No doubt the French and Spanish slave traders wanted to (forcefully) convert African slaves and native Haitians to their form of Christianity, and voodoo was a mix of Catholicism, animism and indigenous religion, often practiced side by side with Christianity. So a legendary story about a small group of revolutionary priests enacting a voodoo oath binding an entire country for 200 years seems, to me, a stretch.

    In fact, Tim, Time Magazine has reported that if such a pact were made, the 200 years were up in 1991, since the legendary pact was made in 1791. The quake did not hit, as you stated, exactly 200 years after the pact, and it's too convenient to just say that God arbitrarily waited 19 years to incur this kind of wrath. (http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1953379_1953494_1953674,00.html)

    – "I’m told by many people who lived in Haiti and visited the country prior to the earthquake that there was a spiritual darkness over the entire country that was so heavy you could feel it." Because it's based on people's expressed feelings and perceptions I won't argue their feelings, but I suspect that for those of us with faith traditions that emphasize terms such as spiritual darkness, it's something that the discomfort of poverty and oppression could trigger. For those of us in other traditions, such language feels foreign, as we look to what the choices of the powerful have done to communities. In other words, spiritual darkness is everywhere if you look for it. So is grace and redemption.

    The real story here seems to be that in the midst of horrific suffering, people are seeing God at work and joining into God's ongoing story of redemption and grace. Churches are full, their members are serving their brothers and sisters and good news is being declared in the face of suffering. I love that churches in haiti are the safe places, just as I love seeing scores of posts from friends in Nashville letting folks know that churches are ready, willing and able to help anyone, anywhere through Nashville's own horror.

    I just think that attributing this mess to a malicious God wreaking havoc and suffering on a nation based on a legendary story reflects poorly on the real work that God and God's people are doing, and in fact distracts us from that very real and very ongoing work.

    Tim – I'm thrilled that you've been able to visit twice (I have not had that luxury of time or opportunity and have had to live vicariously through myriad friends' accounts), and your advocacy for the Haitian people, alongside many others who have been able to go is invaluable. And I appreciate that your thoughts are your impressions, but I feel that they tend to draw a line between the righteous Americans and the evil Haitians who needed utter devastation to bring them around. There's so much happening in that view that can be explored, but I for one would appreciate more of the stories of God at work in the present than blaming the haitians for what may or may not have happened in the past. Thanks.

    • Thanks for explaining your thoughts so graciously, Dave. I appreciate the maturity you showed here.

      You make good points, many of which are valid. However, you misquoted me and I think overall you misunderstood what I was saying. I am not saying that God caused the people to suffer, nor am I saying that God is malicious and caused this earthquake to happen either as punishment nor redemption. I'm thinking more along the lines that there was a spiritual struggle where the evil spirits that controlled the country were defeated, overthrown, and removed from the country by God's authority, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to move freely. When that happened, the earth and nature responded (plates shifting, etc.) to that spiritual release. I liken it more to the spiritual struggle that took place when Daniel's prayers were hindered by the Prince of Persia until the archangel, Michael, stepped in to the battle let the angels through to deliver the message from God (Daniel 10:12-13).

      While I understand that we what documented evidence of a pact with the devil, none will be found because their culture does not document things like ours does. We place value on that but they place value on oral tradition that's passed down through generations. Every Haitian I talked to confirms that the pact was real. Unfortunately for Americans, there were no journalists present nor a photographer.

      And regardless of when the 200 year pact expired, nothing changed spiritually because it wasn't until November when the Haitians started crying out to God to deliver them. It's not like the pact was set to automatically default back to Christianity on day 1 of year 201. God was waiting for the people to ask Him for deliverance. After two months of fervent prayer, the prayer was answered. I talked with many Haitian pastors and believers and all of them say that the earthquake was the answer to their prayers.

      Like most Christian Americans, I too thought that we sometimes attribute too much credit to the spiritual realm for physical realities, but after my two trips to Haiti, it's clear that God and the enemy work in much more public ways that what we see in the US. In the US people need to be convinced that there is a God. In Haiti, everyone sees the spirits at work around them all the time — no one needs to be convinced. It's real there. It's a totally different spiritual climate than what we have here and it's a bit unfair to put our American prejudices on what is happening in Haiti. We all know God is bigger than that.

      But ultimately, I know none of this can be proven. I said that in my post. You're right — it is subjective and based on Haiti's oral tradition and my own experiences and theology. While that's enough evidence for me, others may choose to dismiss the spiritual implications I suggest here. If so, I promise there are no hard feelings. Definitely not worth breaking fellowship over. :) It's just my thoughts, nothing more.

    • Thanks for explaining your thoughts so graciously, Dave. I appreciate the maturity you showed here.

      You make good points, many of which are valid. However, you misquoted me and I think overall you misunderstood what I was saying. I am not saying that God caused the people to suffer, nor am I saying that God is malicious and caused this earthquake to happen either as punishment nor redemption. I'm thinking more along the lines that there was a spiritual struggle where the evil spirits that controlled the country were defeated, overthrown, and removed from the country by God's authority, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to move freely. When that happened, the earth and nature responded (plates shifting, etc.) to that spiritual release. I liken it more to the spiritual struggle that took place when Daniel's prayers were hindered by the Prince of Persia until the archangel, Michael, stepped in to the battle let the angels through to deliver the message from God (Daniel 10:12-13).

      While I understand that we what documented evidence of a pact with the devil, none will be found because their culture does not document things like ours does. We place value on that but they place value on oral tradition that's passed down through generations. Every Haitian I talked to confirms that the pact was real. Unfortunately for Americans, there were no journalists present nor a photographer.

      And regardless of when the 200 year pact expired, nothing changed spiritually because it wasn't until November when the Haitians started crying out to God to deliver them. It's not like the pact was set to automatically default back to Christianity on day 1 of year 201. God was waiting for the people to ask Him for deliverance. After two months of fervent prayer, the prayer was answered. I talked with many Haitian pastors and believers and all of them say that the earthquake was the answer to their prayers.

      Like most Christian Americans, I too thought that we sometimes attribute too much credit to the spiritual realm for physical realities, but after my two trips to Haiti, it's clear that God and the enemy work in much more public ways that what we see in the US. In the US people need to be convinced that there is a God. In Haiti, everyone sees the spirits at work around them all the time — no one needs to be convinced. It's real there. It's a totally different spiritual climate than what we have here and it's a bit unfair to put our American prejudices on what is happening in Haiti. We all know God is bigger than that.

      But ultimately, I know none of this can be proven. I said that in my post. You're right — it is subjective and based on Haiti's oral tradition and my own experiences and theology. While that's enough evidence for me, others may choose to dismiss the spiritual implications I suggest here. If so, I promise there are no hard feelings. Definitely not worth breaking fellowship over. :) It's just my thoughts, nothing more.

  • I think the most frustrating part of coming back from Haiti is seeing how open people's eyes are in Haiti to needing Christ, and coming back to the States and Satan really has people blinded. Hopefully I'll have a blog coming up on that soon, if I can take a softer stance on it.

  • I think the most frustrating part of coming back from Haiti is seeing how open people's eyes are in Haiti to needing Christ, and coming back to the States and Satan really has people blinded. Hopefully I'll have a blog coming up on that soon, if I can take a softer stance on it.

  • Great post Tim, really interesting.

  • Dave – I understand what you mean by a malicious God. Sometimes I have thoughts like that of my own…trying to figure out why God would allow bad things to happen. When I read through the OT I see God doing this a lot. God would sometimes wipe out entire cities of people including women, children and even the livestock. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the same loving God I serve did that. At the same time I don't question God in doing so. When God wiped cities out it was because they were failing to follow him.

    I'm reminded of James 1:17, "Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, He never changes or casts shifting shadows." Most of the time we put the focus on the first half of the verse and assume that it has to look good and perfect to us to fit within the grid of this verse. What if we're wrong? What if in fact it doesn't have to look good and perfect to us to be of God and for him to see it as good and perfect? We KNOW that God never changes as the last half of the verse states – actually we like it becuase we can make it fit our theology better than believing in a God who allows bad events to happen to be the cause of his goodness and lead people into his presence.

    It doesn't have to look all nice and fluffy on our end to look like a perfect and loving God when something bad happens. He is mournful when things like this happen but he can orchestrate good through bad. He has time and time again and our God never changes. He's the same as he was in the OT.

    I don't type this maliciously but more as something to think through. I don't have it all figured out but what if God would allow a terrible disaster to happen to deliver people out of oppression? Would we STILL claim to believe in and follow this kind of God?

    I would hope so.

  • Dave – I understand what you mean by a malicious God. Sometimes I have thoughts like that of my own…trying to figure out why God would allow bad things to happen. When I read through the OT I see God doing this a lot. God would sometimes wipe out entire cities of people including women, children and even the livestock. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the same loving God I serve did that. At the same time I don't question God in doing so. When God wiped cities out it was because they were failing to follow him.

    I'm reminded of James 1:17, "Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, He never changes or casts shifting shadows." Most of the time we put the focus on the first half of the verse and assume that it has to look good and perfect to us to fit within the grid of this verse. What if we're wrong? What if in fact it doesn't have to look good and perfect to us to be of God and for him to see it as good and perfect? We KNOW that God never changes as the last half of the verse states – actually we like it becuase we can make it fit our theology better than believing in a God who allows bad events to happen to be the cause of his goodness and lead people into his presence.

    It doesn't have to look all nice and fluffy on our end to look like a perfect and loving God when something bad happens. He is mournful when things like this happen but he can orchestrate good through bad. He has time and time again and our God never changes. He's the same as he was in the OT.

    I don't type this maliciously but more as something to think through. I don't have it all figured out but what if God would allow a terrible disaster to happen to deliver people out of oppression? Would we STILL claim to believe in and follow this kind of God?

    I would hope so.

  • Thanks for sharing, Tim!

  • beel

    Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?
    (Amos 3:6)

  • This is such a cool and powerful article! I do believe a lot of things we are seeing in the physical realm are spiritual things manifesting in the physical. God tells us in the last days there will be earthquakes and natural disasters like never before, and we are definitely seeing that! Thanks for sharing!!

  • One word –> WOW!

  • I sometimes wonder at our current rate of speed in our own country how long it will be before God responds using harsher methods than what we're already experiencing. I'm praying while many serve in Haiti and other places and it makes an "impact" on them, they bring that impact home and apply it here and beyond. The benefit of short-term missions should go well beyond the people served during that short-term. An important principle we communicate at TIMS; "Short-term missions with long-term impact." Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts Tim.

  • Love this post Tim, thanks for sharing your experiences. I know you don't say these words lightly. If anyone in youth ministry would like to go back with me, I'm headed to Haiti in July, I have 5 more spots available if you'd like to see and feel what Tim is talking about first-hand.

    • Oh shoot, I meant to include that in this post! I'll get it in the next Haiti post instead. Sorry!

    • Oh shoot, I meant to include that in this post! I'll get it in the next Haiti post instead. Sorry!

    • When are you going back? I'd possibly be interested in some details of your trip.

      • Josh- here's the link. 4 spots left.http://adammclane.com/2010/04/22/go-to-port-au-pr

        High points: 7/19-25. Trip is with AIM. (same as Tim's) Cost is $390 pp plus travel. Open to adults 21 and over. Ideally, ministry individuals/couples.

      • Josh- here's the link. 4 spots left.http://adammclane.com/2010/04/22/go-to-port-au-pr

        High points: 7/19-25. Trip is with AIM. (same as Tim's) Cost is $390 pp plus travel. Open to adults 21 and over. Ideally, ministry individuals/couples.

        • I'm glad you're going back Adam. If our summer wasn't so busy and I wouldn't be very pregnant by then I'd go again. Hopefully next Spring or Summer I'll be able to go back.

        • I'm glad you're going back Adam. If our summer wasn't so busy and I wouldn't be very pregnant by then I'd go again. Hopefully next Spring or Summer I'll be able to go back.

        • I'm glad you're going back Adam. If our summer wasn't so busy and I wouldn't be very pregnant by then I'd go again. Hopefully next Spring or Summer I'll be able to go back.

  • Eric

    I wonder if Nashville will be a different place after the flood waters go down? Thanks for sharing your 35K Foot view of what is really going on in Haiti after your second trip to that country. Very interesting stuff bro.

  • Like you I have been immensely changed by my trips to Haiti and experienced first hand the spiritual warfare that the Haitians experience because of Voodoo. When I was there the last time in 2004 I was listening to a message about how "we, modern Christians" do not practice or give any thought Jesus teaching about, what ever is bound on earth is bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. I thought nothing about it that morning but that afternoon we walk through the property of a Voodoo temple to get to a piece of property on the other side and it hit me. So I prayed that the Voodoo going on there be bound. A couple of days later a man came over to the mission I was staying at and told my friend that the Voodoo Priest at the temple took a small number of people and went in woods and would not come back and practice Voodoo while I was there.

    Like you I have been told by numerous missionaries and Haitians tell me of this pact with the Devil and that President Aristide renewed that vow in 2003. God can do what ever He wants to do and whether the earthquake was caused by it or the prayers doesn't matter in long haul but that the spiritual revival is occurring is all that matters. Thank you for your work and promotion of the people and plight of Haiti.

  • Like you I have been immensely changed by my trips to Haiti and experienced first hand the spiritual warfare that the Haitians experience because of Voodoo. When I was there the last time in 2004 I was listening to a message about how "we, modern Christians" do not practice or give any thought Jesus teaching about, what ever is bound on earth is bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. I thought nothing about it that morning but that afternoon we walk through the property of a Voodoo temple to get to a piece of property on the other side and it hit me. So I prayed that the Voodoo going on there be bound. A couple of days later a man came over to the mission I was staying at and told my friend that the Voodoo Priest at the temple took a small number of people and went in woods and would not come back and practice Voodoo while I was there.

    Like you I have been told by numerous missionaries and Haitians tell me of this pact with the Devil and that President Aristide renewed that vow in 2003. God can do what ever He wants to do and whether the earthquake was caused by it or the prayers doesn't matter in long haul but that the spiritual revival is occurring is all that matters. Thank you for your work and promotion of the people and plight of Haiti.

  • Great post Tim!
    Whether or not the pact really happened, God is at work in Haiti! Adam shared with us the other night that people were spontaneously giving their lives to Christ. Praise God! I saw something very similar to what you are describing in Thailand after the tsunami, only the Holy Spirit can be given credit for that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and experiences.

  • dave

    Thanks Chris. I'm not at all suggesting that God equates to puppies and roses (my hyperbole – not your definition), but the theology of destruction as a response to human behavior that may not be what God desires is fraught with peril for me. For one thing, it negates the concept of grace in a communal way. Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike – it has nothing to do with our assent to a faith or theology. Did Nashville get devastated this week because the thousands of churches didn't do their jobs? Was it because of its historic role in slavery?

    I'm very cautious to assign that kind of reasoning or justification to these things, particularly in a way that assumes valuing or de-valuing people based on their religious heritage, choices or traditions.

    Thanks again.

  • I am left humbled by God…and amazed at His power. He's a God of second chances. I believe that God can radically shake a nation to their knees, and I think what you wrote about and the situation in Haiti is Him doing so. Thanks for sharing, Tim.

  • Dude, this is incredible. I love how this isn't conjecture or opinion. You're just sharing what Haitians have told you in-person. Love the story of the boy who cried out to Jesus as the quake hit.

  • Jon Gallagher

    Thank you for your good work.

    But I profoundly disagree that a just, loving God would side against slaves seeking to free themselves. I do not believe that Satan was an abolitionist.

    As far as the timing of earthquakes, since I have lived through the San Fernando, the Livermore swarm, Whittier Narrows, Loma Prieta, and most recently the Baja quake, I either have horns and a tail, or I live in a subduction zone along the Pacific margin of the North American Plate (aka California).

    Haiti is in a strike slips zone in contact with that same pate at the north eastern margin of the Caribbean Plate (seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_Plate)

    God and faith don't need fear and folk tales for a foundation. The people of Haiti need to create a modern society where proper governance, including building codes, takes the place of ignorance, oppression, superstition, and violence.

    • I don't think anyone disagrees with you, Jon. No one said God was siding against slaves or that Satan was an abolitionist.

    • I don't think anyone disagrees with you, Jon. No one said God was siding against slaves or that Satan was an abolitionist.

  • Jcgr81

    I love how people keep sighting wikipedia articles as their evidence :)

    • dave

      Oh, and Jcgr81 – lots of non-wikipedia posts detail how it's every bit as reliable (and more quickly corrected) than traditionally cited resources like the Encyclopedia Britanica

  • dave

    Tim – thanks for your response. Apologies if I took you out of context – that wasn't meant. I was just responding to how I read some of your messages, and I perceived it as you saying that the quake was God's way of responding to a legendary pact made 219 years ago. don't want to get into he said – she said, and the bulk of it was more about the view of how God acts in, through and around these things.

    I don't doubt that our cultural frames allow us to see spiritual things differently, though I'd submit that things like hate crimes and targeted discrimination have every bit as demonic a core as a service to conjure up spirits. And seeing an abused child get a new lease on life and hope every bit as miraculous as a building left standing amidst the rubble. I can celebrate and mourn them all. But a great reminder to see beyond our cultural lenses – a big thanks for that.

    Oh, and Jcgr81 – lots of non-wikipedia posts detail how it's every bit as reliable (and more quickly corrected) than traditionally cited resources like the Encyclopedia Britanica:)

  • Good stuff, Tim! It is so exciting to hear good reports from Haiti. I loved my time there and can't wait to go back.

  • Good stuff, Tim! It is so exciting to hear good reports from Haiti. I loved my time there and can't wait to go back.

  • Tim, it's difficult for American Christians to understand this concept. Christians all over the world would agree with you though.

    My take on this, from a Biblical perspective, is that bad things sometimes do happen as a result of our sin (even some natural disasters). But not every natural disaster is a result of this (Luke 13:1-5).

    The Scriptures talk (Romans 8) of the earth groaning under the weight of the curse and humanity's sin for the second coming of Jesus Christ. I believe that some sickness (1 Cor. 11:29-30) and some natural disasters are a direct result of our sin. In a deep sense, it is God judging us because He set up the rules in the first place, but we can look at it another way. God, in his unexplainably great mercy, gave us His Word to show us how he created us to work. If we break the rules (rules set by Him, but also in a sense rules as they must be – because they are straight from the character and nature of God – these are the fundamental, unchanging rules of the universe) … If we break these rules, we only hurt ourselves, because we are trying to work outside our design. So in a sense it is God's punishment, but in a more real, practical sense – we have punished ourselves, we have brought pain ourselves through our sin.

    We can ask the question, why would a good God allow some people's sin to cause a natural disaster that causes pain and death on others who are innocent? However, we can see this same principle at work as a result of all various kinds of sin – terrorism, murder, sex trafficking, sexual sin, etc. is the sin of one person or group of people that often causes pain and death for many (sometimes immediately, sometimes not until it is "fully grown" – James 1).

    Those who point to the New Testament as a change in the wrath of God must still remember that Jesus preached on hell more than anyone else, and also need to recall the foundational stories of the early Church, such as God striking Ananias and Sapphira dead in Acts 5 and later Herod the Great in Acts 12. While these occasions were rare, they did happen from the foundation of Christianity.

    It's interesting, being a passionate Church historian, I was surprised to find in my studies of the early Church and also throughout much of Church history, believers had a clear understanding of this idea from Scripture – but it seems in the US (more specifically our generation), we are lacking in the ability to comprehend this.

    Where preachers might go wrong with this theology, is generalizing a whole country or region as "devils." This we can be sure, is not true – as Tim's shared about the incredible Christians there too.

    What we can know is that God takes the evil, the pain, even natural disasters and the results of mankind's sins and can turn them around for the good and for his glory (Romans 8:28). Love this video I watched the other day of revival breaking out in Haiti following the quake –http://www.youtube.com/evangelistmatt#p/f/0/v5vEn

  • Hey Tim,

    Just want to say that I appreciate you writing this and also I appreciate your gracious loving answers to some of these people who are speaking out of cultural lenses that know nothing about Haiti. I don't mean that disrespectfully….I just saw how Robertson's comments got taken out of context by tons of people who had never been to Haiti and knew nothing about it. They had a concept of God that got offended and entered the ring swinging, never stopping to consider that they might not have a complete picture…or even seeking to have a more complete picture.

    It reminds me of some of the straight-forwardness and simplicity and Biblical knowledge of the pastors here in Haiti who were kind of confused that Americans even had issues with this earthquake thing, for they would say, 'Every time I see an earthquake in the Bible it comes from the hand of God, not satan.' They acknowledge that the rain falls on the just and unjust, but have no problem in accepting that God has a longterm view of it all, and 'escape from suffering' can sometimes mean escape from what God is at work doing through that suffering. I heard these comments from pastors who lost wives and children, but though they grieved, they knew that their loved ones were 'delivered', and that those who had been left behind were here because God still had purposes for them here- and they wanted to attend to them.

    Anyway, it strikes me as a bit odd how opinionated and forceful and 'experts' we Americans can be about a country and people we only know through a Time magazine article.

    Thank you for giving a more complete picture, and thank you for the wisdom and graciousness with which you've responded. When I read some of the entries I was ready to respond, but after I would read your response, I could rest easy, for I could see you continued to walk in truth to sometimes manipulated or misinformed accusations. Actually, it wasn't even 'misinformed' at times, but 'under-informed' and that is one thing that can't be taken from you- you have seen and lived it- so you speak out of a position of reality rather than dogma.

    Okay, no more blog writing for me now and back to loving the Haitians here. They have so much to teach me.

    • Hey Melinda! It's great to hear from you! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

      And thank you so much for taking the time to meet with our group in Haiti and invest into them. I appreciate the example you set for them and the testimony you share of God's work in and through you. And especially thank you so much for all your prayers for us on both of my trips!

  • Chad

    Tim (and others) –
    Here's some other info that might help in this discussion: http://www.blackandchristian.com/articles/academy… – is writing by a Haitian Christian who does not believe in the "curse" and has found no evidence of it
    http://www.etpv.org/1998/haiti.html – Joel Jeune of Haiti writes of the cancelling of the curse back in 1997: "We took communion together and applied the blood of Jesus to the land under that same tree where the blood of the pig had been shed. We canceled the satanic contract and broke the curse. We consecrated the place to Jesus Christ as a prayer centre, claimed Haiti back to God forever. After the day of fasting, prayer, marching, and the big crusade with many thousands attending and many decisions for Christ (including some of the witch doctors) we went back to Port-au-Prince rejoicing."

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