You may have heard about the escape of a number of exotic animals in Zanesville, OH. Reportedly, the owner turned loose a number of lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys and then committed suicide. The authorities were busy tracking down these dangerous creatures and by day’s end, all had been accounted for. Referring to this incident on his television program, Pat Robertson said: “God allowed those wild animals to escape because He wanted them to find gay people and bite them.” Seriously, he really said that. Robertson claimed that the Book of the Revelation describes such an event as a prelude to the rapture. Contrary to the warnings issued by local officials, Robertson said that no one had anything to fear “unless you’re gay.”

Here we have yet another high profile Christian making a remark that will result in worldwide ridicule. Sadly, Robertson is the kind of representative on which many base their opinion of Christianity. Let me be clear: this was a ridiculous thing to say and it has no basis whatsoever in the Bible. It is one more example of the theological bankruptcy and cultural irrelevance of contemporary Christianity. While our “leaders” set up themselves and our faith for public mockery, fallen man’s need and God’s gracious offer of redemption are shrouded.

Just a few months ago, another well-known Christian personality, Harold Camping, provided a similar opportunity for the world to scoff at Christianity and the Church. When his prediction of the end of the world proved to be inaccurate, to put it mildly, many assumed Camping would drop out of sight for a long time, if not permanently. No way. Camping has returned and just announced that his initial calculations were in error and, with a correction, he could now assure us that the beginning of the end of the world will commence on Friday, October 21, 2011. It remains to be seen if his followers will respond in fear and excitement as they did before.

Enemies of the gospel love to see men like Robertson and Camping behave so foolishly. It gives them another excuse to dismiss the Word of God with a laugh. It supplies plenty of ammunition to those who delight in attacking Christianity while pointing out all the absurd and irresponsible assertions of those they see as spokesmen for our faith. This kind of conduct contributes to the obstacles already faced by the Church as She seeks to fulfill Her mission. In time, I believe the gospel will triumph throughout the world, but it will be in spite of, not because of, the opinions, pronouncements, predictions, and teachings of men like Pat Robertson and Harold Camping.