The Irony of Faith And Serving God

Evangelist Dr. Oliver B. Green (Feb. 14, 1915 – July 26, 1976) was the president and founder of The Gospel Hour (still on many Christian stations today) who loved good fundamentalist Bible theology and defended the King James’ Version of Bible. Rev. Green preached solid Baptist's truth backed by eternal salvation for all true believers and eternal Hell fire for all non-believers. (I used to listen to him in the early ‘70s on my way to college where, as a Christian, I majored in Bible.) His website states:

"Early in life it was immediately evident Oliver B. Greene was an independent Baptist. Through all of his ministry he carried the honor of being one who "could not be bought." In 1939, the 24-year-old bought a tent, and for 35 years he conducted revivals all across America, until failing health forced him to stop. Carefully kept records reveal that over 200,000 found Christ under his ministry.

Perhaps his single greatest campaign was in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where 7,000 professions of faith were registered. He held his last tent revival in Bel Air, Maryland (this tent was 100 feet by 300 feet).

Green died from advancing cardio-vascular failure. Towards his final years, he would complaint on his broadcast about the lack of circulation in his legs as he suffered from advancing Coronary Heart Disease: “It’s like my legs are on fire”. Despite all his prayers to his Heavenly Father, Rev. Green died at age 61.

Sadly, both of Green's only two sons suffered from birth defects. One son was born with only one arm (I helped change the avionics in his plane for one armed control).

On the other hand there was the famous liberal theologian, Rudolf Bultmann (Aug. 20, 1884 – July 30, 1976) known for his demythologizing the Kerygma (Proclamation) in the New Testament. Bultmann wrote Kerygma and Myth (1953) and latter Jesus Christ and Mythology in 1958. Bultmann stood for everything opposed to Fundamentalist Christianity and, by contrast to Oliver Green, he died a peaceful death at age 92 (just less than a month short of his 93 birthday in the very same month and year as Green. The ironic reality is that this non-Bible believer out lived God fearing Rev. Oliver Green by almost 32 years).

So if God does indeed bless those who bless Him and curses those who cruse Him (Numbers 22:6); where is the so-called Providential Justice? (Moreover, if God does not make mistakes; than just why were both Green’s sons born with birth defects?)

Thirdly, in the same theodicy of faith was apologist C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) whose Mere Christianity is often pointed to as a defense of the evangelical faith also died (when compared to Bultmann's death at 92) at 64; or at an earlier age just like Oliver Green.

Like the curse on Green's sons, Lewis’ wife, Joy died of cancer, after which he wrote (under a pseudonym) A Grief Observed in which he wrestled with the reality of his faith in Christianity.

So just how is this Theodicy explained?

Like the early Christian disciples (who also died at an early age (most meeting their end by martyrdom)), both Green and Lewis known as stanch defenders of the Christian faith, seemed to have been cursed and destroyed by the very “loving” God they apologetically defended!