Anne Graham-Lotz, the daughter of prominent evangelist Billy Graham, has come under fire after stating that God allowed the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California to happen so that Americans will be put in "situations where it would be hard not to cry out to Him."
"Our nation seems to be shaking its fist in God's face and telling him to get out of our politics, get out of our schools, get out of our businesses, get out of our marketplace, get off the streets," she said. "It's just stunning to me the way we are basically abandoning God as a culture and as a nation."
When God is omitted from the public arena, He "abandons us and he backs away and takes his hand of favor, blessings, His hand of protection away from us and he abandons us," Lotz said.
"We're struggling with our own pride or self-sufficiency. I think that's why God allows bad things to happen. I think that's why he would allow 9/11 to happen, or the dreadful attack in San Bernardino, or some of these other places, to show us that we need him. We're desperate without him."
Lotz, who recently released her latest book, "The Daniel Prayer," also slammed President Obama's transgender bathroom directive to public schools, calling it "silliness and craziness."
"There's most illogical rulings," she said. "The Justice Department is suing us for something that is just common sense. It's ludicrous, and to me it's evidence that God has backed away."
However, if Americans repent and pray, God will once again look favorably on the country, she said.
"He will begin to reveal the plots of our enemies and terrorists before they are carried out. Even the weather patterns, he can even control the weather patterns and protect us from the violent storms that are taking human life."
But, if Americans refuse to confess their sins and repent, God could send more terror, she warned: "If 9/11 didn't turn us to prayer like that, if San Bernardino doesn't, it almost frightens me to think what would it take to make us so desperate that we'll cry out to God and we'll get on our face and repent," she said.
Unsurprisingly, a number of secular outlets have criticized Lotz for her words, including the Right Ring Watch and Pink News. However, not just secular media disagrees with the evangelist: Christian Today contributing editor Mark Woods argues that Lotz's opinions are "completely wrong" and based on a "misreading of Scripture."
"This view of divine judgment reduces people to counters on a board rather than the precious souls, fearfully and wonderfully made, that they really are," he writes. "It panders to a conception of God as a brutal tyrant who will sacrifice the lives of his people for a perceived greater good, without a thought for their suffering and pain. The idea that God would deliberately cause or allow the deaths of 3,000 people in the World Trade Centre on 9/11 'to show us we need him' is monstrous. They are people, not object lessons. It would also be a miscalculation; as far as I know, there's no evidence churchgoing has risen since then."
He adds, "A better question is, 'What can we learn from this?' We'd realize that God does not will death and destruction on anyone. He doesn't desire the death even of a sinner. Everyone is equally loved by him, and he walks with us on our journey of healing, understanding and redemption. No one is sacrificed to point a moral or adorn a tale."
Meanwhile, Lotz has expressed hope that America's next president will bring back moral values into the government, and revealed she plans to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"I said that whoever was the Republican presidential nominee, I would vote for, and it looks like it may be Donald Trump," she told CBN News. "So I would find it difficult to vote for a Democrat at this point because of the platforms - so I will vote for whoever the Republican nominee is."
She added, "Anybody is redeemable. Our mission is not to change the world through the political system; our mission is to present the Gospel, to get on our knees and pray for those who are in leadership positions as we're commanded to do in the New Testament."