An apology to the people of New Zealand


As a New Zealander, I was deeply saddened to hear about the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit north Canterbury in the early hours of Monday morning. As a Cantabrian, I groaned with the thought of “Not again.”

In times of disaster it is natural to ask why. Why do bad things keep happening? And why Canterbury?

A seismologist will tell you it has to do with fault lines and tectonic movements. But according to one prominent pastor, these earthquakes were brought about by the sins of those affected.

After the destructive Christchurch earthquake of 2011 there were some who said God was judging the city for its sins. As a former pastor let me say that is simply not true. This is not what the Bible teaches.

The gospel declares that the sins of the world were dealt with once and for all at the cross. If God were judging Kaikoura or Christchurch for their sins, he’d have to apologize to Jesus.

“Sorry Son, I had hoped you would carry the sins of the world but you missed some in Canterbury.”


God doesn’t have to apologize but I do. On behalf of all Kiwi Christians, I want to apologize to those who have been hurt or upset by these judgmental and misguided remarks. To those who have lost homes and loved ones, know that our prayers and thoughts are with you. We weep with your loss.

In your time of hardship you may be tempted to think, what have I done to deserve this? You have done nothing at all.

You may wonder, have the sins of my past caught up with me? Nope. All our sins, past, present, and future, were carried by Jesus.

Or you may ask, why does God hate me? The truth is he loves you more than you know. He holds nothing against you and longs for you to know his love.

A scripture comes to mind: “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end” (Isaiah 54:10).

This has been a tough week for our country, yet I have seen the character of Christ modeled many times.

I have seen it in the father and son teams who took it upon themselves to open the road to Cheviot.

I have seen it in the Ngāi Tahu people who opened their hearts and their marae to accommodate and feed the homeless.

And I have seen it in the good people of Kaikoura who, despite having lost their homes and businesses, put the needs of out-of-towners ahead of their own.

You folks amaze us. You have lost so much and yet you continue to give and give.

You don’t need a big city blogger telling you about the sacrificial love of God.

You already know.


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46 Comments on An apology to the people of New Zealand

  1. Trevor Lovegrove // November 18, 2016 at 3:46 am // Reply

    Wonderfully put and so true.

  2. Well said , Paul! That pastor ,like so many, is mixing Old and New Covenant. You’ve taught me to see that from a mile away : ) If that pastor were corect , God would also owe the Cantabrians an apology for not zapping Las Vegas. Thanks again for showing us over and over again the gospel that changes hearts. We that know the truth need to keep exposing these people who think they speak for God but are instead grieving the Holy Spirit.
    Again, I’m glad you and yours are safe. We need your voice to continue exposing the lies and ignorance !

  3. Amen!!! God bless you guys!

  4. We are praying for the people of New Zealand at this difficult time.

  5. well said Paul

  6. // November 18, 2016 at 5:20 am // Reply

    Only a false teacher would say the NZ earthquake is a punishment from God. God is love and nothing can separate us from his love. Jesus has paid the price for our sin. I pray may everyone in NZ who are suffering be protected by our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

  7. Tricia McDonald // November 18, 2016 at 5:42 am // Reply

    Thank you so much

  8. Rowan Durward // November 18, 2016 at 6:05 am // Reply

    Thank you so much Paul for this truth .

  9. Diane Rogers // November 18, 2016 at 8:23 am // Reply

    Well done, this is the message that needs to get out there. Come on people let’s get behind Paul.

  10. Thank you Paul for reminding us of the New Covenant.

  11. Thanks Paul – for this post and many others. You are a blessing to so many Christians in many parts of the world. So my understanding of why earthquakes happen (and increasingly so) is first: because the bible said that this would happen more and more, second: the earth is “groaning” since the fall of God’s perfect creation…and this is why animals eat eachother, we have poisonous spiders etc…can you add to this?…However I think many people see the Haiti disaster(s) (as an example) as consequeces for Haiti being a centre for witchcraft…Some would argue that yes – Jesus has dealt with the sins of the world once and for all at the cross – BUT you have to receive this, and many in Haiti and other places have not received what the Lord has already done for them – so there are consequences – they are exposed to the enemy. I suppose it is a bit like receiving healing. Believe and receive…but those who do not believe and receive will not be healed…and in fact may end up sick and dying early (because of the fall and because of the enemy)…whereas if they were “in Christ” (saved) they perhaps would often divert sickness…So the argument is – if a nation is “in Christ” many natural disasters may possibly be diverted…Turn your back on the Lord and disasters are more likely to happen? The origin of the disasters is perverted nature (because of the fall) and the enemy. I am not 100% sure what I believe and often have this conversation with others without a definitive result…please help!

    • It is the enemy using science and technology via minions for their sacrificial rubbish and depopulation agenda. Agenda 2030. Georgia guidestones. Wake up world. I knew this was coming 2 wks ago but what will people do. Just laugh in my face. Awesome. But I learnt it all spiritually before I researched HAARP AND new world orda. Coming to us very soon.

    • The parable of the Tares and the Wheat clears it up for me. God will not allow the angels to move against the tares until the wheat has been harvested because it might hurt the wheat. Jesus explains that we are the wheat.

  12. Job had this to say to religious “spokesmen” who blame calamities on the Lord: “. . . miserable comforters are ye all” (Job 16:2).

  13. This just made me cry but with Joy. Amen and thank you. God bless

  14. Thank you for saying so graciously what so many of us thought.

  15. Thank you for saying so graciously what many of us thought.

  16. Emmanuel Obi-yeboah // November 18, 2016 at 8:26 pm // Reply

    Thank you Paul for the revelation.these are words to live by.Emmanuel from Ghana west- Africa.

  17. Well said..just so sad to see some people prey on the sick and weak minded to fill their churches and their pockets…

  18. Sporting a title (‘Pastor’, ‘Bishop’ etc) or being “Prominent” isn’t proof against “stinkin’ thinkin’ “. There’s a lot of it about, but it stands out like the proverbial ‘Sore Thumb’ when it is given utterance with such hurtful effect at such a time as this. Regrettably, it is NOT a good witness to the truth. It IS witness to a religious/legalistic spirit influencing the ‘mouthpiece’.

    I trust that all those hurt by this ‘unguided missile’ will find it in their hearts to forgive the perpetrator; and that Christians among them will have the wisdom to know that it’s NOT a personal matter, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places.”

    That rash ‘Pastor’ needs deliverance from the influence of a religious/legalistic spirit and needs your prayers that he will find that deliverance and move on to the realisation of Romans 12;2 working in his life.

  19. Michael Pearcy // November 19, 2016 at 3:08 am // Reply

    I am perplexed however with the (literally) dozens and dozens of verses that deal with the sovereignty of God concerning the weather (just google “does God control the weather”). Not saying it is due to the sin of men, but still the weather is said throughout scripture that it is under the control of God. How do we then reconcile these verses that implicate God’s sovereign will over the weather?

    • There are two ways to see the word sovereign. The modern view which takes it as minute, constant control and the older one which simply treats it as meaning all-powerful. Yes God is all powerful concerning the weather. He has stepped in and done intense and serious things with it. However if God performed minute, constant control of it not only who He be murdering His own children for no reason whatsoever science would be unable to see any sort of pattern, system or rhythm to it. Yet we see predictable patterns and can explain it’s actions. And any sane reading of scripture shows that God does not just randomly kill those whom Jesus bled and died for.

      • Michael Pearcy // November 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm //

        Thanks Colleen. But my question centers more on the numerous passages that declares Gods hand and “control” of the weather both good and bad. I don’t find in those passages that weather just “naturally” occurs or is governed by natural circumstances, etc… They clearly are saying that God controls the weather. I am not trying to be controversial here.. I truly want to understand. I ask myself all the time… Do I take Gods word at face value or do I inject my own interpretations into the text. This to me is sometimes very difficult…

      • Michael Pearcy // November 25, 2016 at 3:38 am //

        It still is perplexing to me when you come across verses like these that cannot be brushed off and neglected… Either this is true or we must claim it to be false And from what I read in 100% of the bible verses concerning the weather is that God is in charge of the weather.. How do we view verses such as “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). I would love to understand otherwise simply using the bible as context and not what someone thinks.

      • I think we are not defining words the same way. God is in charge of the weather. But does scripture means minute, hands on, management? For example is God constantly directing the weather “Hmm, rain on this county, stop over there, snow here, hurricanes over there, drought down there and floods ups there every second of every day from creation until eternity? Or did God when He created the world institute natural laws and patterns that operate like a wound up clock, sadly influenced by sin decay and human additions such as pollutions, etc., only to step in and directly interfere with things such as the great Flood, no rain on Israel in the OT, Jesus calming the storm to mention a few things from scripture.
        To answer the question weather cannot be looked at in scripture alone by itself. It must be looked at in the whole picture which includes God’s character(all scripturally mentioned traits) and how things changed since Jesus came regarding the gospel, New Covenant ,etc.
        Could a God of love(defined 2 Cor 13) inflict innocent children down with starving to death from drought? Would a God who was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if a mere 10 righteous people resided there eradicate whole towns with tsunamis, earthquakes or floods where quite a few of His righteous one live? Why would God fight to spare Nineveh where innocents lived who did not know their right hand from their left go out and kill innocents with weather.
        We all know innocent children as well as truly born again Christian die in all kinds of weather and natural disasters. Does this fit with how scripture describes the character and behavior of God?

      • Michael Pearcy // November 27, 2016 at 6:06 am //

        Hi Colleen G – thank you for your kind reply… I totally get your point and tend to agree with it. I was recently in a discussion about this subject with a Calvinist who claims ALL weather, as shown in scripture, is “controlled” by God. I did a Google search “Does God control the weather” and came up with numerous verses that seemed to indicate that He does. Not just “sometimes” (not stated anywhere “sometimes”) but FULLY controls all weather events – even if they are “seasonal” & “natural” occurrences. Since I had nothing more to go by than human reasoning, I began to argue the same response that you gave me which is difficult to present to someone who wants to go by “only what the bible says.” So I have been wrestling with this trying to understand this more clearly.

  20. Very well said. Love your post😊
    My faith will not waiver, no matter how much the earth moves beneath me.

  21. Well said Paul. Many Christians don’t seem to understand that we are living in the Day of Grace and God’s judgement is on hold until the Final Judgement. For those who believe that all this is caused by God’s judgement I would suggest that they ponder the mystery of why God only seems to punish those who live on the Pacific Ring of Fire or in tornado prone areas in the Caribbean and the US Eastern Easter sea board. Strange how He never seems to punish the Australians, Canadians, Europeans, South Africans and most Asians

  22. Stephen Wickens // November 19, 2016 at 5:14 pm // Reply

    You are right. But! While Jesus paid the price for all, there is something each of us must do to avail of it. That is to repent, and accept what He did for us. Those who don’t repent have to bear the consequences of their sin, as they have rejected the sacrifice of Jesus. I am not here to defend or to oppose the statements which have been made in the media, but it is important for people to understand that while Jesus died for them, if they reject Him they cannot benefit from His sacrifice. The New Testament is very clear on the destination of sinners who do not repent. The list is quite long, but it does include liars, slanderers, adulterers, back biters, and homosexuals.

    • Hi, Stephen. The fact of the matter is that the sins of everyone who has ever lived or will live –whether gay, liar , adulterer , backbiter, or sin of any other stripe ( and for me , I’m not at the point where I can say being gay is a sin but a gay person is guilty of many other sins like any other person )– have been judged and God’s wrath was poured out upon our Savior Jesus for those sins. As Paul E. has said, The Father wasn’t punishing His Son. He was punishing the sins of the entire human race. Repenting means to change your mind about Jesus and what He accomplished for every person living, dead, and yet to be born. It does not mean to change your behavior –although your behavior does have natural consequences. But in no way does it have anything to do with your salvation. But as Paul E has also said, we aren’t talking about universalism here. Each of us must decide if we believe in what God has said about our pre- born again state and what He says He did to remedy it.
      Sadly , so many trip over the stumbling block no matter how high their IQ or level of education. But in summary , God has poured out His total wrath for sins already. There is none left. And an earthquake , tornado , or hurricane is not his vegeance for sin that has already been atoned for and forgiven.
      That’s why the true gospel without additives –borrowing from Andrew Farley– is SO powerful , freeing, and attractive.

  23. So glad you brought this up. I was concerned that either the sin of NZ was so great or that there resides a hyper Grace preacher leading so many astray with his hyper graceness that God had to target him with a quake but missed… 😛
    Insert tongue in cheek, of course I’m teasing my friend, but so tired of religion spewing this garbage that God is sending destruction. God punished the sin of all mankind past and present and future, once for all time in the Body of Jesus Christ on that Cross. Why then is God, according to tradition, getting so ticked and sending tsunamis to Asia, Quakes to various regions across the globe to punish or judge the sin Jesus already paid for? Religious tradition is so inconsistent and in error not understanding the New Covenant. God wants to get people alright, He wants to get em born again, filled with the Holy Ghost, healed and delivered and walking in divine protection and provision. God is good, that is the good news!

  24. God bless all affected in the destruction in NZ from the enemy! And God bless the victims in Haiti, as well as Syria and all the places where the devils hand is at work! pray for you. I thank God for the grace we are receiving holding back these things in Canada and the USA! I wonder some times if it is true that we who are protected (materially) and rich in things are not poorer spiritually? I know we who have so much seem to be lulled into a kind of spiritiuall poverty. I would not dare to say any of these people did anything wrong to deserve the devils attack. Maybe even they were doing something right. But does God have a way of balancing things so that those who have lost loved ones or riches are comforted in other ways?

  25. Well explained and deadly honest and the truth. In times of crisis Where’s Jesus? In the people this pastor talks Bout. Those people will have an over flowing cup. Pressed down shaken together and running over.

  26. Thank you Paul. I’ve been in this one church for 34 years and they also told us that it is God’s judgement and God’s way of getting rid of too many people on earth. Since we learnt the truth, we left that church. We now know that it is the devil who steals, kill and destroy (John 10:10). God is love!

  27. mba peter from Nigeria West African // November 21, 2016 at 9:54 am // Reply

    Well said, for those in NZ may the lord comfort them in Jesus name.amen

  28. Thank you for for your succinct comments, and reminding me of the wonderful and gracious God we serve.

  29. Peter O'Connor // December 10, 2016 at 7:08 am // Reply

    I too have been guilty of saying it (the ChristChurch quake some years ago) was a judgement from God, but have since tried to stepped back from that and even apologise to people I have said it to. Was most unhelpful. Maybe I have the gift of discouragement.

  30. John 10:10 – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I(Jesus Christ) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
    Cross reference: Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.

    And I am confused! Can you, or anyone please help me to understand: who initiates or creates calamity, disasters, earthquake…?

  31. Thanks Paul. Your gift in spreading the Gospel of Grace is a blessing!

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