By J. Parnell McCarter



Western journalism is a good barometer of the intellectual and moral health of Western culture.  The mainstream coverage reveals just how vacuous Western intellectual thought has become.  There is no acknowledgement that God decreed this tsunami to happen, because mainstream Western thought either denies the existence of God, or at least denies God’s sovereignty and omnipotence.  When someone actually does acknowledge the obvious reality that God is sovereign- yes, even over tsunamis that kill thousands of people – most of the Western world stands aghast.  Such is what appears to have happened in response to comments made by Rev. John MacLeod in the Free Presbyterian Magazine.  Not only were many aghast at what he asserted, they twisted his words, ascribing to him opinions he never asserted.


Let’s consider one article covering the affair, that appeared at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42837 (excerpted below):

Sunday, February 13, 2005
'caused tsunami'


Posted: February 13, 2005
4:00 p.m. Eastern

A Christian minister claims the tsunami of Sunday, Dec. 26, killing at least 160,000 people, was direct result of "pleasure seekers" breaking God's Sabbath.

In the February issue of his church magazine, Rev. John MacLeod of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland writes: "Possibly ... no event since Noah's flood has caused such loss of life by drowning as the recent Asian tsunami. That so many of our fellow creatures should have perished in so short a time, and in so awful a fashion, was a divine visitation that ought to make men tremble the world over."

He continued: "Some of the places most affected by the tsunami attracted pleasure-seekers from all over the world. It has to be noted that the wave arrived on the Lord's day, the day God set apart to be observed the world over as a holy resting from all employments and recreations that are lawful on other days."

The tsunami, a series of tidal waves sparked by a subsea earthquake off Sumatra, arrived on Sunday morning, the day after Christmas, in countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

MacLeod said: "To rule out the hand of God in this ... is to forget that He is in sovereign control of all events. If the sparrow falling to the ground is an event noted, and ordered, by Him, how much is this the case when the souls of so many thousands are parted from their bodies?"

The 74-year-old minister, now living in the London area after spending 35 years in Stornoway, Scotland, concluded: "Do not worldliness, materialism, hedonism, uncleanness, and pleasure-seeking characterize our own generation to a great extent and does not this solemn visitation in providence reminds us that He remains the same God still? God is no idle spectator of what is happening here in time and treats men with the sharpness and severity in order that they may know their vices."

As WorldNetDaily reported, the issue of the when the Sabbath actually is has itself been in dispute for centuries, as many Christians believe it to be the first day of the week – Sunday – while other Christians and Jews believe it to be the seventh day of the week – Saturday.

MacLeod's comments are spawning a surge of reaction in the UK, including some harsh letters to the editor of the Herald newspaper.

·  "One wonders what sort of God this man worships and more, how he professes to know the mind of God. Are we to believe that in John MacLeod's distorted world, a divine creator would wipe out 100,000 innocent children as some sort of heavenly sign that he was unhappy that a few thousand European vacationers had chosen to relax under the very sun that the creator made? (Bob Buntin, Bridge of Weir, Scotland)

·  "I am sometimes tempted to take the reality of the devil literally, and suspect that his best work in Scotland is from the pulpit. How sad of the Rev. John MacLeod to propagate his nihilistic heresy. It must leave some readers scoffing at all matters spiritual ... ." (Alastair McIntosh, Glasgow)

Other churches are also responding to MacLeod's suggestion.

"The view that the tsunami was some kind of divine retribution is utterly alien to the Catholic world view," reads a statement from the Catholic Church. "Our belief is in a God of love, who suffers with us, not an avenging deity."

A Church of Scotland spokesman dismissed the comments about not observing the fourth commandment, calling the event a natural disaster.

A survivor of the tsunami had a more vehement reaction.

Alasdair Stewart, 51, nearly lost his life while scuba diving off an island in Thailand.

"I feel Mr. Macleod's comments should be treated with total contempt. He has no idea what we went through," Stewart told the Scotsman. "The man is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself."



Contrary to the headline title in the article above, Rev. Macleod did not assert that “Sabbath-breaking caused the tsunami.”   Rather, he asserted the following: “To rule out the hand of God in this ... is to forget that He is in sovereign control of all events… Do not worldliness, materialism, hedonism, uncleanness, and pleasure-seeking characterize our own generation to a great extent and does not this solemn visitation in providence reminds us that He remains the same God still? God is no idle spectator of what is happening here in time and treats men with the sharpness and severity in order that they may know their vices."   Rev. Macleod simply raised the possibility that one factor in God’s decree of the tsunami might have been to punish those who were desecrating the Sabbath by unlawful activities on the day.  Rev. Macleod did not pretend to have some special insight into the secret counsel of God, based upon what he wrote.  But Rev. MacLeod correctly pointed out that God decreed the tsunami to happen, even as God decrees everything that happens.  There is nothing that happens, that is not foreordained and decreed by God.


The article displays the false religion entertained by so many Western Christians, who deny fundamental tenets of true Biblical religion.  The statements by the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland reveal their denial of Biblical truths concerning predestination and divine justice.  And their statements are simply indicative of common Western misconceptions.  Even many Muslims know better than that. 


God’s decree of all things does not, however, deny secondary natural causes.  As the Westminster Confession so aptly puts it, “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”  God is sovereign over plate tectonics and other natural factors that led to the recent tsunami. 




Note: Below is my response to one set of objections, that were aired on an email list:


Larry, don't confuse the headline of the Worldnetdaily article with what Rev

MacLeod **actually** wrote.  Please show me where in what Rev MacLeod actually

wrote that he said "Sabbath breaking caused the tsunami".  That headline twists

Rev MacLeod's **actual** words.  What Rev MacLeod asserted was:


- The tsunami was decreed by God.


- It was no mere accident that many died from the tsunami; God was sovereign

over their deaths and the destruction of the tsunami.


- We should be asking why God might have decreed such destruction.  Often it is

to punish sin. One *possible* factor was to judge the Sabbath desecrators that

were out playing on the beaches that day.  It is a great sin to be doing such.



- Evil doers should be especially warned by such temporal judgments as the

recent tsunami.


Please show me what you disagree with any of the above assertions.


Your example of the incident of the tower falling is not really analogous,

because there was no obvious connection between the tower falling and the death

of those inside.  But there is a *possible* connection between a tsunami on the

Lord's Day which destroys people playing on beaches and the death of those

playing on the beaches on Sunday.  They were in the wrong place at the wrong

time, just like those Argentine nightclub attendees were in the wrong place at

the wrong time when so many of them got killed in the recent destructive

nightclub incident.


I think it would be wrong to assert that the sin was the cause of the event, but I think it would be naive to dismiss the *possibility* that was one reason God brought it to pass.


- Parnell McCarter








Quoting Larry Bump <lbump@bright.net>:




> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "Jason Robert Schuiling" <jrschuiling@yahoo.com>

> >

> > As little as my opinion is worth I for one would commend Pastor

> > MacLeod. It is most doubtful that Sabbath-breaking would be the sole

> > cause of such judgement, but we must not forget that Sabbath-

> > breaking is very much part and parcel of gross idolatry. God has

> > esteemed to put the observance of his holy-day so highly as to make

> > it one among the four commandments summarizing our chief religious

> > duties, we should not take it less lightly than he has.


> The point is that there are so very many possible sins that it is silly to

> narrow it to this.  Someone promoting their hobby horse (not to minimize the

> sin) to a root cause.


> If Yahweh were prone to visit violations of the Sabbath Ordinance in such a

> fashion, where was the meteor at the Super Bowl?  Sins of this sort would be

> more likely to be punished in an ostensibly Christian land, rather than one

> where the Gospel has never held sway.


> The commercialization of paedophilia, idolatry, etc. are better motives, if

> one were prone to pick which sin was being punished.  It is *not* within the

> role of the Church, nor her officers, to assign such a ranking or motivation

> to the Lord, absent revelation.  That is the point.


> Larry