Lutheran Pastor Sets Off Storm with Article About Texas Massacre. [VIDEO]

Lutheran Pastor Sets Off Storm with Article About Texas Massacre. [VIDEO]

Lutheran Pastor Sets Off Storm with Article About Texas Massacre. [VIDEO]

A young Lutheran pastor didn’t expect the rage at the article he wrote about Sunday’s church massacre. But the knives were out for him on Tuesday.

Hans Fiene, a pastor in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, published an article for The Federalist entitled “When the Saints of First Baptist Church Were Murdered, God Was Answering Their Prayers.” It’s a provocative title, to be sure, but in it Fiene expressed basic Christian beliefs about God and evil, especially in response to the knee-jerk social media crowd who ridiculed Christians for praying for. . . other Christians.

Pastor Hans Fiene.

Focusing on the words “deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s Prayer, Fiene said this:

When we pray these words, we are certainly praying that God would deliver us from evil temporally—that is, in this earthly life. Through these words, we are asking God to send his holy angels to guard us from those who would seek to destroy us with knives and bombs and bullets. . . .But we are also praying that God would deliver us from evil eternally. Through these same words, we are asking God to deliver us out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory, where no violence, persecution, cruelty, or hatred will ever afflict us again.

That’s pretty basic stuff for Christians. And, as a lifelong Missouri Synod Lutheran myself, I recognized the tenets I learned in parochial school and catechesis.

Pastor Fiene no doubt wanted to promote reflection upon what it means to be a Christian living amidst evil. Instead he got a shitstorm from the Left.

A writer at the “nonreligious” page at Patheos wrote an article called, “Praising God for Mass Murder.” In it he wrote:

It’s all nonsense. They pretend to believe it because it makes them feel better and it inoculates them from the scourge of ever questioning their beliefs.

Slate went even further and linked Fiene’s article with those of other Christian conservatives such as Erick Erickson, David French, and Matt Walsh. Slate’s title claimed, “The Texas Shooting Victims Were Praying to Be Killed.” No, they weren’t, and none of those writers said so, either.

But Raw Story threw out the biggest hunk of red meat with an article called, “God was ‘answering prayers’ of Texas victims by letting them get shot.”

The comments reflected unabated scorn and death wishes for Fiene:

So Hans would have no problem if a gunman put a bullet through his head so he could be delivered from evil and enter an eternity of righteousness and peace.

Hey Hans, your god knows there is a bullet with your name on it, it’s just a matter of time and I’m sure it’s fine with you.

Meme from comments thread.

And these:

Well I will pray Hans Fiene gets his face shot off!

I’m all for God taking every religious person immediately. The world would be a better place.

And, because Hans Fiene is a pastor with a German name in a German heritage Lutheran church body, someone blew the Nazi dog whistle:

There is absolutely no doubt that the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) – the ‘mainline’ strand of Lutherdom – would never condone such a remark by this right-wing Lutheran pastor. indeed, this right-wing Lutheran pastor happens to be a member of LCMS (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod). . . Whereas the membership of the LCMS is predominantly German-American, the membership of the ELCA is primarily Scandinavian-American and Finnish-American. . .

And they went on and on. As my husband said, the intellectual wattage demonstrated in that comments thread couldn’t power a 40-watt bulb.

Hans Fiene himself said, in a podcast on the controversy released on Tuesday, that this sentiment is part of ‘outrage addiction,’ which ‘makes us all stupider.’ These people are ‘chasing a dopamine release.’ Fiene also adds that ‘outrage addiction’ exists on the right, as well. Neither camp is exempt.

However, the media are quick to twist themselves into pretzels to defend one religion, and that’s Islam. They’re quick to point out how “extremists distort” Allahu Akbar. And they really want to let us know what that phrase, shouted by the terrorist in the killing spree in New York City on Halloween, really means.

You might also recall how CNN tried to claim that the terrorist was yelling, “God is Great in Arabic” when he mowed down his victims with a truck. Not Allahu Akbar.

But let’s not even try to understand a Lutheran pastor’s perspective on the Lord’s Prayer. Because. . . Christian!

Now no one can say why God allowed such evil to descend upon that little Baptist church in Texas. And while I’m still living this temporal life, before God calls me from the evil here to eternal life with Him, I can’t say, either. But perhaps Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his daughter in the Texas massacre, said it best:

“I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”

“Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding.”

I wonder how the fire-breathing anti-Christians would react to his deep faith in God?

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

31 Comments
  • Kate says:

    I appreciated Pastor Fiene’s article very much. I read it on The Federalist and frankly, needed it. As a lifelong Southern Baptist, raised in a church very similar to FBC Sutherland Springs, his words brought me comfort, reminding me that we as believers weren’t promised there wouldn’t be bad times. Rather, we were promised he, God, would be there with us when we go through them. We were also promised that when we died we would be with him in paradise. Those are 2 very comforting promises Fiene reminded us to count on in an evil world.

    Those that mocked him, and prayer itself, can’t comprehend this simplicity because they aren’t believers. That can be changed. John 3:16.

    • Kim Quade says:

      John 3:16. It’s special to me because it was my confirmation verse.

      I’m afraid the hearts of these folks are way too hardened to allow faith to enter. Sad.

  • Warren smith says:

    I’m no theologian and I’m pretty much agnostic. But I spotted the obvious here- the killer was atheist. And these journalists were too stupid to see where that belief system seems to lead, even as they scoffed at that pastor.

    • David Lentz says:

      If anything the killer was atheist, not agnostic. An atheist says either that there never was a god or that god is dead. An agnostic holds that it beyond the power of mortal man to prove that a god either exists or does not exist.

      Not knowing that a god exist is not reason to murder one who does believe.

  • MIK says:

    I am Jewish so, obviously, my belief system is somewhat different. I must say that the pastor of the church at which this evil occurred and Pastor Fjense are amazing men whose witness for their respective beliefs is awe inspiring. My family and my mom in particular suffered horribly during the Holocaust yet my mom never lost her faith in our Creator. These men remind me that the greatness of this nation lies in individuals able and not afraid to profess their faith. They give me hope that this country, indeed a shining hill, can and will survive whatever tests lie before it.

  • Whitney Gann says:

    “Hans Fiene himself said, in a podcast on the controversy released on Tuesday, that this sentiment is part of ‘outrage addiction,’ which ‘makes us all stupider.’ These people are ‘chasing a dopamine release.’ ”

    Very astute

  • Athol Dickson says:

    Genuine Christians react to evil with expressions of faith in God because our faith is based on an innocent man nailed to a cross. We don’t pretend to understand why God uses evil for good, but in the end, we know that is His plan.

    • dagny says:

      God doesn’t “use” evil for good. He allows free will which often chooses evil to which good can be the free response. People get confused about thinking that God holds death to be an objective evil, which it is not except in the case of those who have not had a chance to be born and make any choices with their free will. Those people who were choosing him of their free will were physical victims of another’s free will but, their eternal lives will be quite different.

      • Immolate says:

        Thank you dagny. God doesn’t cause the evil. He allows it, because if he compels us to act against our own will, then how can he have children who choose to serve him? You also echoed something that I’ve thought about a lot: though God knows and understands our grief (Jesus wept), he doesn’t mourn our physical death, which is a promotion, but rather the suffering of those left behind.

        For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

      • wgmeisheid says:

        There are serous problems with your statement that can be biblically refuted. First you have Joseph’s statement to his brothers that what they meant for evil God meant for good (Genesis 50:20) and how in Job God takes responsibility for what Satan does to Job (Job 2:3). There are many other examples but these are very clear and not open to alternate interpretation.

      • GWB says:

        I have no intention of joining or instigating a religious flame war, but…
        The response to “use evil for good” is a common point of disputation. This is because there are a myriad of connotations for “use”.
        One implication is to be in control of the event or occurrence. A further connotation is take it one step further to be the equivalent of causing the event. On the other end is to see it as converting something to good.
        All of these connotations have their place in Christian theology. Their place in suffering theology is disputed.

        Dagny is right about who is at fault for the deaths and injuries – the shooter, the man who chose to perpetrate this act. And, backwards through him to the Father of Lies.
        However, God will use this tragedy to His glory in individuals’ lives. And, the lives of those who died in Christ are already immeasurably better. Philippians 1:21

      • Aaron Carlson says:

        Wait.. Death IS an absolute evil. There was no death prior to the Fall of Adam and Eve – and after the Return of Christ we will be raised and restored *bodily*…

        God uses evil and even takes our death and responds to it with resurrection, but it’s not His desire that any die.

  • Ding says:

    “I’m all for God taking every religious person immediately. The world would be a better place.”

    The shooter was an outspoken atheist.

    • Jeff Hall says:

      God has a duty for us to bring more folks to him. Wanting him to take us all now is just like saying we are too lazy to do the work he has given us. Not that the work will save us at all.

      • Immolate says:

        Agreed to a point. We are here to do his will, and that means leading people to the Lord. The purpose of a Christian is to make more Christians. However, we’re also told to look ahead to and be prepared for his coming. I think both are possible and not contradictory.

      • Ding says:

        You’re right. The point I was trying to make, however, was in my response to the quoted snark posted in the blog entry, i.e.: when God takes all His people home, all that will be left here are people like the Sutherland Springs madman.

  • Ask yourself in what way does our society differ from that in the 1950s. One difference is clear. Then, almost everyone understood what religious people believed.

    Now we live in a society where powerful segments have no understanding of religion at all. They grew up in secular homes with secular neighbors. They attended secular schools, particularly rigidly secular universities. Now they work at jobs where the few who might be religious fear to speak up.

    The result is what’s detailed above—a firestorm of bigotry and ignorance. The most recent mass killing incident made matters worse. A church was attacked and the two men who hunted down the killer were both church-goers.

    And in this strange, mad world, religious people and atheists often find themselves understanding one another better than these secularized elites. Differ though they do on the essentials, they understand those essentials—in this case the tension between an all-powerful God and a world with evil. They may even find common cause in preventing the imposition of a single POV that’s not theirs.

    I can give an illustration. As far as I know, no religious group has ever tried to pass laws that would punish an atheist baker for not catering church weddings. Jews and Christians recognize his right not only to believe differently but to live differently.

    Not so these secularized bullies. They not only don’t understand other points of view, they loathe them and want to crush them out of existence. They hate what they do not understand and they do that despite constantly chattering about “diversity” and “tolerance.”

    • Brent Taylor says:

      Well said. I am close to reaching my 60th birthday and have watched most of this develop throughout my lifetime, escalating in speed and hostility the last 15-20 years.

  • Brent Taylor says:

    Mocking the Pastor really only demonstrates the conclusion one would reach when you believe it is this life and nothing else.

    Frankly, the real “stupider” argument should be pointed at these Christian bigots, speaking about subjects they know little or nothing about, as if they were the theological experts.

    And as Christians, we shouldn’t be surprised by the critic’s myopia and shallowness in reaching their conclusions. Jesus told us straight up that they are fools.

  • kzen says:

    “outrage addiction” or as I termed it, the outrage circle jerk…

  • Ed Vidal says:

    I look forward to listening to Pastor Hans Feine on the Lutheran Hour Ministries, radio broadcast on Sunday mornings.

  • GWB says:

    I’m all for God taking every religious person immediately. The world would be a better place.

    Wow, there is someone with an extreme lack of historical or philosophical knowledge.

    And, because Hans Fiene is a pastor with a German name in a German heritage Lutheran church body, someone blew the Nazi dog whistle

    Wow. I have a German nickname, and I put up with a LOT of crap in elementary school about it, and got called “NAZI” regularly. By middle school, even the slower kids had learned that was a really stupid insult.

    the ELCA [is] the ‘mainline’ strand of Lutherdom

    Only if you define “mainline” as “least Christian, because they doctrinally deny one of the chief tenets of Lutheran theology, the inerrancy and absolute authority of Scripture”. ELCA is the popular Lutheran branch with those people who really don’t like Christianity. (Disclosure: I am LCMS.)

    “I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”
    “Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding.”

    Amen, brother.

    And kudos to Pastor Fiene for a biblically based approach to the event.
    (And thank you, Kim, for bringing it to our attention.)

  • Reformed Trombonist says:

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

  • Ralph says:

    Years back I worked at Concordia University in Irvine, California. One student put ELCA into its proper perspective when she said that ELCA means “Every Liberal Cause in America”. When you have lesbian female pastors, and homosexual male pastors, that pretty much makes that statement accurate. The LCMS, Wisconsin synod, and the Association of Free Lutherans refuse to fellowship with the ELCA because of their very liberal philosophies, and their embrace of behaviors that are contrary to biblical principles. So it’s no wonder that an uber liberal from the ELCA would speak ill of Pastor Fiene. They are not main stream Lutherans. They are outcasts, and Martin Luther would not accept their position. He would forgive them, he would minister to them, but accept what they believe? Absolutely not.

    • Suburbanbanshee says:

      It’s also amazing how badly they misunderstand the history of German-American Texans. Most of those folks immigrated to the US because they were being persecuted for their faith by secularist rulers. They came to escape Nazi-like ideologies, they supported freedom for slaves, they largely sided with the Union during the Civil War (those who weren’t members of pacifist denominations), they did the same thing in WWI and WWII, and they have often been persecuted and physically attacked by Democrats down the years for pursuing these righteous positions.

      Okay, maybe they don’t misunderstand the history. Maybe they just have an instinct to hurt the innocent and the good.

      • Lynn says:

        I was deeply moved by Pastor Fiene’s words.

        I am a right-of-center ELCA Lutheran, of both Scandinavian and German heritage – one of the 43% of ELCA members who identify as or lean Republican (Pew data). I am not sure that divisiveness between ELCA and LCMS Christians, on this page and in the Raw Story feed, serves any of us well. May the peace of Christ transform our hearts.

  • […] another one of us Lutherans out here described the shitstorm that enveloped Hans in her article, Lutheran Pastor Sets Off Storm with Article About Texas Massacre. It’s a good article, as […]

  • The critics, and many Christians including Lutherans, do not see the intersection of prayer and Luther’s theology of the cross. Prayer suffers under the cross. It usually has no visible glory. Prayer endures in faith against horrible appearances that God, his Word, and prayer are all bad, wrong, and useless.

  • DickHertz says:

    Feine is a charlatan.

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