Thursday, August 20, 2009

John Piper and Tornado Interpretations

Ok, so this title is a shameless attempt to get people to read my blog. . . .but, now I've stated it, so it's ok (sarcasm) (this is what I'll do now instead of emoticons. . my wife thinks they are lame. . so I'll just let you know when sarcasm or humor is implied)

Today John Piper posted some observations on the Tornado that hit downtown Minneapolis yesterday during the ELCA national convention. Here it is. . . I encourage you to read it. Go ahead, you there, read it. (sarcasm).

The ELCA was ruling on the issue of homosexual clergy and Piper was drawing some conclusions about God's warning to them and all of us via the weather.

Today, every blog that I read has commented on this. Most have been negative towards Piper that he would try to interpret God's providence (or judgement). Most people think this is laughable, negative, judgemental, etc. . . that God would ever use the weather to warn, judge, or get the attention of humans. I even had a facebook argument (someone retweeted the story).

So, what's the big deal? Well, if Piper was trying to say "this tornado shows that God is definitely mad at the ELCA and was trying to warn them specifically to stop what they were doing, and I am a prophet, thus saith the Lord", then I would be appalled as well.

I think he was very careful to not say that. Now, was Piper heavy handed in his analysis of the Tornado? Yes, I can see that. But, look what he said in his conclusion:

6. Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and ALL OF US: (emphasis: Aaron) Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

So, this tornado, along with all natural disasters that affect us, serve as a warning and a call to repentance. Piper references the "Tower of Siloam" episode in Luke in his article, which I think is the right way to look at all natural disasters.

Lessons: 1) Read things carefully. . .one has to only look at the comments on Piper's blog to see how to overreact to something that someone didn't even say. .(what a wonderful skill to posess!!! (sarcasm)) sheesh. . . I won't even point you to some of the other blogs today.

2) Let natural disasters sober you and use them as a time for self-examination and perhaps a re-dedication to the Lord.

3) Beware the whacked out prophet types who try and draw SPECIFIC inferences from natural disasters. The secret things belong to the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29)

In conclusion, 9/11. . .was it a judgement of God against homosexuals and Roe v.Wade? No, I don't think so. Does that mean we dismiss 9/11 as having no purpose from God and that we should sober ourselves, learn from it, and repent of the sin in our lives(that goes for everyone, and yes, abortion doctors)? Yes, I think that's a mature, measured response.


Scott Lenger said...

"this tornado shows that God is definitely mad at the ELCA and was trying to warn them specifically to stop what they were doing, and I am a prophet, thus saith the Lord",

My reading, and nearly all of the 250+ comments on that post, presume that was exactly what he meant.

If that wasn't what Piper meant, he should have been more careful about it, or at the least, interjected/clarified his position to the 250+ commentors who, based on your assessment, misunderstand his intent.

aaron said...


You and I will have to agree to disagree on this. You're right, the blogosphere was abuzz yesterday on Piper's blog and many others. I found many comments on Piper's blog laughable.

I don't think you can read the piece carefully without seeing Piper's intention to not make specific inferences from the Tornado.

You obviously disagree with the last sentence,. . so there we are.

Thanks for commenting!