I READ MICHAEL Smith's article ("Whose Kingdom?") in
the November-December 1995 Sojourners
with interest, but
found it to be flavored with considerable unchristian rancor.
Smith's derisive tone belays a juvenile distrust, if not masked
hatred, of anyone with authority and/or power. While I sympathize
with those who have been put off by the apparent lack of human
concern in the "Christian Right," I must also share
what may be a balancing perspective.
Smith paints Robertson as a power-hungry manipulator who "in
light of the New Testament teachings on the poor," might
be living a life displeasing to Christ. In Robertson's defense,
I would like to ask some questions: Why did you not mention the
thousands (or is it hundreds of thousands or millions by now?)
of dollars of aid that have been channeled to the poor and homeless
via Robertson's "Operation Blessing"? Why did you not
mention the millions who have come to faith in Jesus via his evangelistic
crusades in Central America and other poor areas of the world?
In defense of Robertson's wealth, was it a sin for many of the
patriarchs, like Abraham, to have riches? Smith's overabundant
references to large amounts of money controlled by Robertson and
his ilk are a childish scare tactic, "emotional reasoning"
that smacks of a theology that incriminates any with power or
Michael Smith's article focuses on how Robertson may be exploiting
the tax-exempt status of his ministries for personal financial
gain and to increase his political power. The key question in
this case is not how much wealth or power one has, but how it
is obtained and how it is then used.