Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gay-Bashing Tornado

So there was this tornado that smacked a Lutheran church in the US right before they were going to debate the issue of homosexual practice as being appropriate for ministers.

John Piper says God did it as a firm but gentle warning to Lutherans and indeed us all to turn from the approval of sin.

Read his own words here. Read everyone elses by googling Piper tornado.

By the way the insurance industry agrees with him that it was an act of God.

The legend grows.

Oh and for the record the Evangelical (?) Lutheran Church of America ignored the tornado and John Piper and voted in favour of removing the celibacy provision from their position on the ordination of gay ministers.


Rhett said...

"Brett's Blog: get all the John Piper coverage you could ever need right here."

I've been following this tornado in a tea cup. There are some interesting perspectives. Some I've enjoyed reading have been:

John Piper's original post -

John Piper's clarifying post -

Greg Boyd's (well know spokesman for open theism) thoughts -

And finally, Internet Monk's (who I always enjoy reading) rather balanced and occasionaly funny thoughts -

With all these links I hope I make it through your moderation.

It's an interesting discussion. I think it's pretty essential to read Pipe's clarifying thoughts. I wish he had thought to include these in his original post. He says that he thinks that the call to repentence and warning from sin is the "Tessage of every calamity (Luke 13:1-5). And every sunny day (Romans 2:4)."

It's really a philospohical tornado in itself, unless you are an open theist. If you're not, then while God might not be causing calamity, he is certainly allowing these things to happen. And if he can work all things into his plan and purpose (and indeed knows all things) then he has a purpose for allowing or not allowing individual things to happen. I try not to think about it too hard.

I have two issues with Piper's original post. The first is that it is a big step to saying that you have the correct interpretation for such an event in such a specific way, (if there is one to be had at all). The second is that it just lacked a certain pastoral sensitivity.

BJ said...

Who needs a blog when you can comment? I don't have moderation on this blog. Too much hassle to check it regularly.

I agree with your pushbacks on the original post. I actually don't find the clarification to be of much help at all. It deals somewhat with the first of your criticisms of Piper but it doesn't deal with the second much at all.

I have no issue with his interpretation of his cancer tornado to his own life. But again I think he goes too far in applying that to every person afflicted with some kind of tragedy. And I get that his theology influences him in needing to ascribe such things more directly to God and the countervaling views that in the end all hinge on "sovereign or not"?

Funny, I wouldn't have even seen this but for a random visit to Internet Monk! Internet Monk's comment was helpful:

"In my conception of pastoral care, there are things you can think and believe, and then there are things you say at particular times. In the neo-natal ICU, when a child is about to die, people are making these connections: God is punishing them, God isn’t there, God is wanting something from them, etc. I believe pastoral care doesn’t tell people why that tornado is in the ICU. It humbly clarifies what we know about God from Jesus and the Gospel."

I was saddened to learn of the Lutheran church's decision.

Rhett said...

Good thoughts - I found iMonk's thoughts probably the most helpful of what I read.

"Who needs a blog when you can comment?" - Too right. :-). And I find Piper's regular appearances here really scrath that itch I get from not being able to blog about some of the crazy things Brian McLaren says anymore. I guess it'll always be able to find a Christian saying something stupid, and even easier to find a Christian commenting on a Christian saying something stupid.

BJ said...

Who's Brian McLaren?

As for John Piper's appearances here? Think of my blog as a stupid index: if John sticks to his reformed knitting he won't grace the pages of this blog. If he bumbles around like he has been lately, he will.

But this is an equal opportunity stupidity blog. I let all sorts in.

Rhett said...

That seems fair. I look forward to future appearances by Tony Jones (pro-gay clergy) and McLaren ("gospel is child abuse"). Who needs Pyromaniacs (

Or is it simply "Reformed-Watch"?

BJ said...

Too funny.

Rhett said...

Who will watch the Watchmen?

BJ said...

Probably people with too much time on their hands.

Rhett said...

You mean blogging is time-wasting!?

BJ said...

I mean "watching the watchmen".

Blogging can definitely become time wasting. But then there are a bunch of things that could be categorised as "neutral" activities that fall into that trap.

Rhett said...

Ah, I see.