John Piper blogs on the tornado and Lutherans/homosexuality

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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.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
I have a difficult time (necessarily) inferring judgment from calamities. Piper may be right, but... I don't know.
 

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-----

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

Berean

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

Across the street from the convention center, the storm damaged the steeple of Central Lutheran Church. The winds also tore apart tents the church had set up to serve breakfast to people attending the national Evangelical Lutheran Church in America convention. The convention was underway when the storms hit, so no one was in the tents, and no one was hurt.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
I have a difficult time (necessarily) inferring judgment from calamities. Piper may be right, but... I don't know.
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?
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
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.
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"
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
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.
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
THis blog, Marc Driscoll, Doug Wilson and so on... it is no wonder I hold Dr. Piper in of no esteem.
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?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I have a difficult time (necessarily) inferring judgment from calamities. Piper may be right, but... I don't know.
It doesn't matter whether this judment on the ELC or not. The tornado was a powerful reminder of what God is capable of. That alone should give sinners pause.
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."
 

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.
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.
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.
 

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.
 

Blue Tick

Puritan Board Graduate
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.
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.
 

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.
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?
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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Psalm 107

24These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.

28Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
.
 

SRoper

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

Sonoftheday

Puritan Board Sophomore
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.
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.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Didn't God punish Sodom and Gomorrah for their neglect of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49)?
Along with pride, idleness, abominations, etc.
Eze 16:49-50:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
 

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?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Peters
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.

Originally Posted by Blue Tick
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.
SRoper
Didn't God punish Sodom and Gomorrah for their neglect of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49)?
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.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.[921]
Scripture Proofs

[921] John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.... He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.... Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. 1 John 5:16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. Psalm 78:17, 32, 56. And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.... For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.... Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies.
 

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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
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.

• Isaiah 13:9
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Isaiah 13:8-10 (in Context) Isaiah 13 (Whole Chapter)

Ephesians 5:6
6Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
 

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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