John Piper blogs on the tornado and Lutherans/homosexuality

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by lynnie, Aug 20, 2009.

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  1. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    This is pretty amazing if you ask me. I wasn't sure what forum to post it in, but it's quite a picture of God's wrath against lawbreakers......

    The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality :: Desiring God

    The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality
    August 20, 2009 | By: John Piper | Category: Commentary

    I saw the fast-moving, misshapen, unusually-wide funnel over downtown Minneapolis from Seven Corners. I said to Kevin Dau, “That looks serious.”

    It was. Serious in more ways than one. A friend who drove down to see the damage wrote,

    On a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected...a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts—most saying they’ve never seen anything like it. It happens right in the city. The city: Minneapolis.

    The tornado happens on a Wednesday...during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The convention is using Central Lutheran across the street as its church. The church has set up tents around it’s building for this purpose.

    According to the ELCA’s printed convention schedule, at 2 PM on Wednesday, August 19, the 5th session of the convention was to begin. The main item of the session: “Consideration: Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.” The issue is whether practicing homosexuality is a behavior that should disqualify a person from the pastoral ministry.

    The eyewitness of the damage continues:

    This curious tornado touches down just south of downtown and follows 35W straight towards the city center. It crosses I94. It is now downtown.

    The time: 2PM.

    The first buildings on the downtown side of I94 are the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran. The tornado severely damages the convention center roof, shreds the tents, breaks off the steeple of Central Lutheran, splits what’s left of the steeple in two...and then lifts.



    Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.

    1. The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (like other sins) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.

    The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

    2. The church has always embraced those who forsake sexual sin but who still struggle with homosexual desires, rejoicing with them that all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith.

    Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

    3. Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.

    4. Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados.

    Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)

    5. When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.

    Jesus: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

    6. Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: 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.
     
  2. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    I have a difficult time (necessarily) inferring judgment from calamities. Piper may be right, but... I don't know.
     
  3. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    About 10 years ago in Salt Lake City we had a similar event happen. Tornados are not common in Salt lake. Well one August day a storm began to brew over the western section of the valley eventually turning into a tornado.
    As the tornado gained strength it moved across the valley to the downtown area where it collided with a homosexual nighclub. Though there was more damage to other buildings and areas of the city the area that was most damaged was the Avenues which is know for it's homosexual residents.

    Salt Lake City Tornado

    -----Added 8/20/2009 at 10:51:35 EST-----

    True it's not wise to say what the Lord's motivation is behind calamity. But Scripture does speak that calamity is a form of judgment and chastening.

    Job
    31:3
    Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?

    Amos 3:6
    Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?
     
  4. Berean

    Berean Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks. I hadn't seen that. Here's a short version from KSTP-TV in Minneapolis of what happened.

     
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I would prefer not to diagnose specific calamities with specific sins.
     
  6. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Earlier this summer a tornado ripped through my neighborhood causing a good bit of damage to some houses. I'm pretty sure they were not homosexual houses. Sinful, yes, but I don't think we can attribute the damage to particular sins. If tornadoes were judgment, I assure you, my house would have crumbled.
     
  7. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree Daniel that we have to be careful not to assert calamity with specific sins, however it is not unbiblical to state that calamity can be a form of chastening from the Lord.


    Deutoronomy 29:29
    29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
     
  8. cbryant

    cbryant Puritan Board Freshman

    A tornado can happen anytime, anywhere provided the right conditions all meet at once (hot and cold air colliding, the jet stream, high/low pressure, etc). The tornado would probably have happened regardless if the ELCA was having a meeting. Remember judgment doesn't have to occur in the form of a calamity or natural disaster. Romans 1 indicates (at least from my reading) that judgment can come in the form of silence.
     
  9. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Agreed. Though I think it is dangerous for us to talk about judgment when calamity strikes. That mindset easily leads to "Huh...I wonder what they did to deserve that"
     
  10. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Tornadoes happen when God causes them to happen. That is the only condition necessary.

    That God caused this tornado to strike when it did, where it did ought to give us pause.

    Nahum 1:3
    The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet.
     
  11. Jon Peters

    Jon Peters Puritan Board Sophomore

    Why is it always homosexuality that God chooses to punish? I think our own unbalanced view of that sin feeds our interpretation of the calamity.
     
  12. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    THis blog, Marc Driscoll, Doug Wilson and so on... it is no wonder I hold Dr. Piper in of no esteem.
     
  13. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Did you read this blog? I'm no fan of Piper, but I'm curious what, exactly, in this blog post you take issue with?
     
  14. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If that is Piper's main point, then AMEN.

    But the world will read his article and think, "Piper says God is coming to kill the gays in His Wrath."
     
  15. cbryant

    cbryant Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not saying that events don't happen under God's providential control, please don't interpret my giving of how a tornado is formed as an explanation as to why it happened. Also, I am not saying that God cannot use natural disasters to pass judgment. The point I was making (probably not clear enough) was that judgment doesn't have to happen with calamity. It can happen with silence.
     
  16. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    John Piper isn't making a point about homosexuality, he is making a point about the visible church departing from scripture in a way that can actually lead people to hell:

    3. Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.
     
  17. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    I guess because God judged Sodom and Gomorrah severely for their sexual perversion. Perhaps this is why there's a greater emphasis on it the example of judgment in Scripture. Not only the Scriptural evidence but societal as well. Homosexuality to its logical conclusion is annihilationism. Homosexuality is a heinous sin and it does stir God's wrath.
     
  18. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior

    Justin Taylor posted some on this as well here.
     
  19. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeap I read the whole thing. What did I disagree with, the underlying message as it is ultimately espoused in point 6 and his methodology for generating his conclusion in point 6.

    So i guess if I take issue with both method and conclusion I can say I take issue with the whole thing.
     
  20. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Let's consider it a wake up call. :think:
     
  21. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    .
     
  22. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Didn't God punish Sodom and Gomorrah for their neglect of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49)?
     
  23. Sonoftheday

    Sonoftheday Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think has been pointed out, but I'll do it again. His main point is NOT that the tornado was God's wrath against homosexuality. He is saying this tornado was God's warning to the ELCA, in particular, and all Christians to stop approving of and condoning sin.

    I, like others here, do not think it is our place to link particular tragedies to particular sins. So I do not agree with how Dr. Piper definitively states the link in the article. However, I think it should be said "perhaps" this is God's warning..., or even "it is likely" this is God's warning..., but to simply say this is God's warning... I think he goes to far.
     
  24. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Along with pride, idleness, abominations, etc.
     
  25. brianeschen

    brianeschen Puritan Board Junior

    I don't understand why particular sins can't be linked to particular tragedies if God judges for particular sins. Do we not need to repent of particular sin and not some vague idea of sin?
     
  26. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Quote:
    If you study the passage in its context (in Ezekiel 16) that one was one of many of the effects of the cities’ rebellion against God, in addition to their perversion.

    As to why this kind of sin (sexual perversion) is “worse” than others, some of the reasons biblically might be that it was a death penalty offense in the Old Testament. It affects more than one person, it is contrary even to nature (against not only God’s special revelation [Scripture], but also his natural revelation- it is obvious by nature it is not normal), its spread would end the human race, God's creation.

    In one sense, all sin is equal in that it is worthy of judgment, even eternal death by God’s standard of perfect holiness.

    In another, all sins are not equal.

     
  27. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    There is a scientific explanation for this storm: the same as what happened in Salt Lake a few years ago -- wind can catch, like an eddy in a stream, creating a roll of wind similar to a wave on a beach. Any strong updraft above it, like you get with any good cumulus building up or thunderstorm, can pull the swirl up to form a tornado. Unusual? Yes, although more common in the west than the east. And these are next to impossible to forecast.

    From a theological perspective, I don't want to claim to know the God. Although it does seem that a church is in a particularly vulnerable position when it openly condones sin.
     
  28. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    It's helpful to understand that God does cause, send the storms.

    We cannot perfectly know His purposes as to why He does so.

    But, there is no such thing as coincidence. If a group appearing to profess or represent Him is doing so falsely, it ought take it as a sign to repent, relent... before the wrath which is to come.

     
  29. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    If this is supposed to be a board that respects Puritans, I'd say its time to reread The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Burroughs.

    I read it two decades ago and was amazed at what they called the judgment of God. Every plague, every fire, every calamity, every affliction- sent by God to deal with murmuring hearts and sinful people. So are the Puritans the ones who are wrong, or are we modern, scientific, "cooincidence" thinkers wrong? :think:
     
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