John Piper blogs on the tornado and Lutherans/homosexuality

Status
Not open for further replies.

Hungus

Puritan Board Freshman
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?
If I came upon a situation where 100 people were in a room. 50 heterosexual people and 50 practicing homosexual people which has been struck by lightning and only the 50 homosexual people were killed and the others uninjured I MIGHT feel comfortable proclaiming it as judgment against homosexuality specifically in that action, anything less clear and I would have to abstain from that judgment.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
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)?
Scott et al,

This is the angle that has been pushed by liberals and the so called "evangelical" left for some time. I hear it often even from within the bounds of the PCA. It is not a true nor complete picture.

First, in understanding the thrust of biblical narratives we see that the Holy Spirit has placed events in Scripture as he did in order to draw out emphases from certain events; they highlight certain things in the story. What is clear in Genesis chapter 19 is that God is highlighting the sexual sin of the inhabitants of Sodom. It is clear that the depravity in that passage is not of pride, greed, or even the inhospitable behavior involved, but the focus is upon the wicked sexual depravity in their midst, even so much so that these men desire to force themselves unwittingly upon heavenly beings.

Second, and this makes the issue much more clear than is ever admitted in most of our churches, Jude 1:7 is explicit in connecting the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah with sexual immorality and unnatural desires. Jude says that they serve as an example of eternal punishment in hell, because of these very sins.

Don't let the culture bully the thinking of the church. Sexual immorality, and explicitly homosexual desires and behavior, were the reason that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. It reflects the wrath of God against those sins, and it serves as an example of the punishments of hell (no matter how often one might hear the refrain "Well, let's not be so naive. Don't you know that the Bible speaks in metaphors?"). Certainly the pride and greed discussed in Ezekiel 16 are not to be omitted from their list of sins, but neither should that lead us to omit their sexual perversity from the reason for their destruction, in particular when the narrative of Gen.19 and the epistle of Jude place so much of an emphasis upon it.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
I have a difficult time (necessarily) inferring judgment from calamities. Piper may be right, but... I don't know.
I have a difficult time not inferring judgment from calamities. As was quoted previously, "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord has not done it?"

If you were in that church, then you can see judgment - an unusual occurrence striking at a time calculated to stimulate reflection on this very point. You can also see patience - no one was hurt. It might be that people in that room were opposing that measure and are called upon to repent of hypocrisy or self-righteousness or being yoked with unbelievers; but promoters of the homosexual agenda were called upon to repent by the fierce wind, and if they do not, this mini-judgment will be a witness against them.
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is a link to a blog post by Greg Boyd on the subject. If you are not familiar with Dr. Boyd, he is former professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary St. Paul, MN, author of many books, and Pastor of WoodlandHills Church in St. Paul.

Boyd is a proponent of the "Open View" of God's sovereignty (God knows all future possabilities, future events are not fixed reality in any way in the mind of God) and while I may disagree with him on this, the blog post on this Piper blog about the tornado may be of some interest to you.

Piper and Boyd have had open duologue and debate on numerous issues through public forum, blog, and book. I became familiar with them both during the years we lived in the Twin Cities.

Did God Send a Tornado to Warn The ELCA? Blog Greg Boyd (Christus Victor Ministries)

I am going to have to agree with Dr. Boyd on this one.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Didn't God punish Sodom and Gomorrah for their neglect of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49)?
No.

That's the problem with taking verses out of context. And if a full reading 44-63 doesn't help, Jude isn't exactly ambiguous.
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Boyd's "take" is wrong too. Homosexuality merely "not God's ideal"? :um: Boyd takes it too far the other way, by seemingly give calamity no purpose at all. :rolleyes: And the statement implying Christ had to rebuke a storm that was due to demonic influence? Whatever.™©® I'd expect nothing less from a heretical teacher anyway. Open Theism is no Christianity at all. If I were forced to believe one of the two, I'd have to go with Piper. Thank the Lord, though, I don't have to do so.
Interesting how freely a word like heretic is used in 2009, forgetting or not caring what kind of weight that word carried and the consequences of being labeled as such in the reformation era; many reformed brethren wearing the mark of that label as well.

At any rate, I agree with you that both positions are out of balence with the Scriptures perhaps, but clearly Boyd presents his argument with much greater efficiency that does Piper and I'm not sure Boyd is trying to make a particular point with regard to homosexuality.

If this line of thinking follows then does every catastrophe proceed from God's hand? Or must I interpret which ones do based on their physical proximity to meetings of liberal theology? If I stub my toe this evening, will it be the result of my lack of willingness to judge the homosexual for his sin more harshly than that which Boyd points out; the sin of the financially bloated American Church in neglecting the poor who Jesus commanded we consider?
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Open theism is aberrant to classic Christian orthodoxy, I agree. I have participated in the ministry of WoodlandHills, know the powerful work for the Kingdom that is done in that place, and while I may not agree with Boyd on this matter, I am ready not to burn him at the stake; even if only very kindly on a message board "electronic age" style

:flamingscot:

God either allows it or causes it, as with the book of Job. What is manner of such causality though? Is it always direct or sometimes passive in that some things are the natural product of living in a fallen world?
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Fair enough. You plainly attacked the non-Scriptural status of the Open View and not the man. It was a knee jerk reaction on my part. I respect Boyd, and he gets it very right on so many issues that I am perplexed why he has made such a strong stand for what will prove to be, I am sure, a passing non-classic view of God's sovereignty.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Thanks, Josh, for plainly stating the truth.

We are living in such a wimpy age in which it is seen as "unChristian" to negatively evaluate anyone's position on this or that with any degree of certainty. Folks, as Josh has said, Open Theism is HERESY, pure and simple. To teach, contrary to Scripture, and the confessions, that God does not in fact know anything of future events with certainty (let alone that God has not in fact decreed every single event which comes to pass EVER, which is the confessional position) is to teach heresy.

Greg Boyd plainly teaches a heretical view of God's interaction with creation. This cannot be denied, and should not be muzzled in some act of "charity". What good God is doing in Boyd's church is irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether the man is teaching heresy. He is, and should be clearly and plainly denounced for doing so.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Open theism is aberrant to classic Christian orthodoxy, I agree. I have participated in the ministry of WoodlandHills, know the powerful work for the Kingdom that is done in that place, and while I may not agree with Boyd on this matter, I am ready not to burn him at the stake; even if only very kindly on a message board "electronic age" style

:flamingscot:

God either allows it or causes it, as with the book of Job. What is manner of such causality though? Is it always direct or sometimes passive in that some things are the natural product of living in a fallen world?
Allowing vs. causing is not the question that Open theism wrestles with (and perhaps it was not your intent to imply this). Rather, open theism deals with the question of whether God even has the capability of knowing what is going to happen tomorrow in detail. Open theists like Boyd say, no, God does NOT with certainty know that - though he knows all possibilities, and he knows pretty well what's going to happen - but not with certainty.

This is plain heresy from the pit of hell.
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks, Josh, for plainly stating the truth.

We are living in such a wimpy age in which it is seen as "unChristian" to negatively evaluate anyone's position on this or that with any degree of certainty. Folks, as Josh has said, Open Theism is HERESY, pure and simple. To teach, contrary to Scripture, and the confessions, that God does not in fact know anything of future events with certainty (let alone that God has not in fact decreed every single event which comes to pass EVER, which is the confessional position) is to teach heresy.

Greg Boyd plainly teaches a heretical view of God's interaction with creation. This cannot be denied, and should not be muzzled in some act of "charity". What good God is doing in Boyd's church is irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether the man is teaching heresy. He is, and should be clearly and plainly denounced for doing so.
You plainly attacked the non-Scriptural status of the Open View and not the man.... I am perplexed why he has made such a strong stand for what will prove to be, I am sure, a passing non-classic view of God's sovereignty.
Lest it be misunderstood, I do mean and maintain that he's personally and publicly teaching heresy. What I don't mean is that it's a personal insult coming from me, but an objective fact according to objective standards. Open Theism is not simply a non-classic view of God's sovereignty. It is an all-out assault on the God of the Scriptures and a denial of His sovereignty. If that's the god he serves, it is not the God of Scripture. There's really no way to slice it any nicer. A man can be right on so many things, but if he's wrong on the very essence of God (i.e. His sovereignty, power, etc.) none of the other stuff matters.
Again, fair enough. I am not in dissagreement that Open Theism is heresy in that it is contrary to the confessions.

I am in disagreement with the general tone of the conversation with regard to our theological that so many of us are comfortable with. This week alone I waded through the "messiness" of more than 7 lives who came through the doors of the church looking for a place to sleep that night and/or food to eat that day. Meanwhile so much of the church sits in comfortable pews looking forward to the meal at potluck time, and the pastor better stay under an hour on the service so the food is warm... or we sit in our seminars which cost 250 bucks a seat or seminaries which cost 250 bucks a seat, per time seated... debating the finer details of supra and sub lapsarianism...

Meanwhile outside the doors of our churches the masses who hunger and thirst for truth, and often physical sustenance, are largely ignored by we who call ourselves followers of the Master of Mercy.

:oops::offtopic:

How many of his books have you read? How many of his sermons have you listened to or observed? I am of the impression that the recent resurgence in "confessionalism" is a backlash to the many woeful "heresies" found in the church in our day. I am fearful of backlashing in such a manner as to brand those willing to question MANY of the genuine problems in the church as heretics.
 

PilgrimPastor

Puritan Board Freshman
Again, fair enough. I am not in dissagreement that Open Theism is heresy in that it is contrary to the confessions.
Well, primarily in that it is contrary to the Scriptures. That being the most important offense.
I am in disagreement with the general tone of the conversation with regard to our theological that so many of us are comfortable with.
Can you please specifically point out which text you had problems with that had a perceived poor tone attached to it? It's one thing to be rude, or a jerk about something, but quite another to truthful, firm, and clear. The first is uncalled for, while the latter is demanded.
I am failing how this particular portion of your post has anything to do with out recent conversation. :scratch: Is this another caricature cast at those who talk and write about their theology. Certainly we would not pretend to know all of their activities outside of their theological discussions. That wouldn't be too charitable.

Zero. Why would I? What a monumental waste of time that would be. I'll leave that to the pastors and theologians that will be taking him on in debate via print. If I know he's an avowed open theist, I don't need to know anything else in order to find better books, by more able men, who write about the few subjects Boyd may get right.
I am of the impression that the recent resurgence in "confessionalism" is a backlash to the many woeful "heresies" found in the church in our day.
Are you calling Open Theism "heresy" or heresy? This is really important. It has no place in Christianity, nor any place on this board. Confessionalism is not a bogey-man that has a mind of its own. The enforcement of Confessionalism is the way to suppress heresy. It's the pervasive lack of enforcement which has falled on hard times and contributed to the diarrhea of heresies purported by professing Christians these days.
I am fearful of backlashing in such a manner as to brand those willing to question MANY of the genuine problems in the church as heretics.
The questioning of genuine problems in the church is not the problem. The problem is when someone has horrible theology and spends all their time on "social problems" of the church, while spreading a weak theology that's no good foundation for right practice whatsoever.
No need to defend yourself. It is I who am woefully off topic and rambling :) Blessings.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I didn't realize I was defending myself? :scratch:
Joshua doesn't defend himself. He just prevents people from making fools of themselves. :)

Seriously though, I think that all calamities could be considered punishment of sin. After all, if Adam hadn't sinned, would we have these calamities?
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
If tornadoes were judgment, I assure you, my house would have crumbled.
Exactly. I have a friend who is also from Memphis (where you guys seem to have lots of tornadoes. Anyway, a few years ago, there was a huge tornado that did a lot of damage to a local high school. A number of people proclaimed it the judgment of God on the public education system and that school in particular. They neglected to note that my friend's church (a conservative Reformed church taught by a PCA-ordained pastor that was across the street from the school) was also damaged extensively. Strangely enough, no one assumed that God was judging the church. (But maybe He was - who knows?)

Like Josh has said, we can't know the mind of God. And I think its risky and ridiculous to pretend that we do.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
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.
I think if you will re-read the passage you will find that the point of the passage you quoted is the exact opposite.

Jesus says do you think this calamity fell on them because they are worse sinners. No, it did not. You all will like wise perish

So unless we are specifically told that it was a judgment on those people form some specific thing, like Babel, we do not know.

We know God controls the weather and calamities. But Christians may be killed in a tornado as well as presumptuous sinners.

So calamity may be seen in general as one of God's temporal judgments on man and sin in general, but without revelation we can not say God did this to each one of those people because of their specific sin.


God can kill Christians right along with willful sinners. It is still judgment. It is still as a result of sin in a fallen world. But to go farther and make it specific we have no warrant.
It would be something a charismatic would do.

God told me to ....

Just as we know sickness can be from God to judge, to drive us to repentance, or it can not be a result of someone sinning.
"Who sinned this man or his parents. Neither but that the glory of God may be shown."

We cannot speak to these things with specifics and certainty.

We must seek to check our ego and arrogance against such proclamations.

Though we can still make the general warning that God does avenge evil, so beware, but only sometimes in this life, sometimes not until the judgment.

We Christians would do well to care more about judging ourselves.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
I blogged about this on Saturday. One of my five readers ( :p ) thought I might not have a traditional view of providence (I do) or that I might not be cutting Piper enough slack. I think I was. I just don't think it is wise or safe to claim to know the mind or purposes of God, when he has not revealed them.

Piper must have gotten a lot of similar remarks, because he clarified his post today, making his Falwellian pronouncement a good deal more general...and biblical.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Frankly, folks, I don't get the squeemishness over this one. Piper did not make a Falwellian nor a Robertsonian statement. He cited the Gospel incident about the tower and drew the same conclusion that Jesus did: you cannot know for certain if this was because of that, etc. However, calamity has a way of capturing our attention and the biblical response is to receive it as a reminder of the omnipotent one who stands as the ultimate judge of all the earth.

Off the record . . . as one who has been frustrated about mainline defections for years (as a lifetime mainliner), the photo was shockingly powerful imagery with or without the inferences drawn by Dr. Piper.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe it is important to not chalk natural events up to mere chance, or "natural causes," just because we might not be able to interpret God's motivations for allowing or sending such calamities.

God is Sovereign, and to resort to explaining events away scientifically or randomly, is to deny God's control over every element of nature.

I believe God caused the tornado.

Why? Is not for me to say.

But God caused it, and I bow before Him and pay Him heed by witnessing and acknowledging His great powers over all His creation!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top