Piper's Clarification Is Another Tornado

For some reason John Piper was compelled to clarify his earlier comments about A Tornado, Lutherans, and Homosexuality (HT: Brian Leport).

If some of us thought Piper was misinterpreted, this time he leaves no room for misinterpretation:

God’s message to me in my tornado was essentially the same as to the ELCA in theirs. Piper’s full post…

John Piper is convinced that God sent that tornado against ELCA.

  • Here’s what Piper should have done: he should have allowed the ELCA leaders to do exactly what he did three years ago when he interpreted his cancer as “a tornado from God”.

Piper’s pen slipped again…

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31 Responses to Piper's Clarification Is Another Tornado

  1. v02468 says:

    All of these rants against Piper seem really ridiculous to me. He doesn’t clarify well, but the message behind it seems to say that a tornado in life is for everyone to turn from sin. That’s why he includes “to the ELCA and all of us” in his clarification. He pointed out the ELCA in particular, but turmoil and catastrophe can be for everyone to know Christ better and fuller.

  2. v02468 says:

    On his original post for instance, he never says the cancer was designed and given to Piper SPECIFICALLY for his sins. He just says that once you have it – don’t waste it. Same with a tornado – if it happens – don’t waste it.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2006/1776_Dont_Waste_Your_Cancer/

  3. Casey says:

    Don’t waste your blog post. 🙂

  4. John says:

    John Piper is a very good pastor and teacher with lots of good biblical teaching, and I listen to his podcast and read his books frequently. However, no one is infallible except God, which I am neither of “Paul or Apollos”. I would be careful in explaining anything that happens in our world as either a judgement or even a blessing from God. To be sure of the purpose of every act of God is to know the total mind of God, of which we are not privy. Let’s stay with the revelation that God has given us: the Bible. Everyone knows that we even have trouble understanding that!

  5. TC,

    This is not a careful reading. Piper’s point is that whenever tragedy strikes, God is always speaking repentance in it. I don’t see any biblical warrant for saying that we are disallowed from making that biblical observation, and that those who need to repent need to first observe that about themselves.

    JT

  6. Sue says:

    If Piper could not make a connection between his sarcasm about the (T)NIV and the tornado, then he has truly wasted this tornado.

  7. TC Robinson says:

    I agree TC – or else he could have applied the tornado specifically to himself/his own church, given that it came to his own city: No need to single out the church down the street.

    Matthew, Who’s to say that you’re not right, either?

    Sue, Did he actually do that?

  8. Sue says:

    Whenever you see things like parenthases, like that’s an editor’s effort to make it work? I wouldn’t of put ’em in. Verse 44 begins with the word “for” – if you have an NOV or TNIV you won’t see that. Its one of the reasons why you should get a more literal version.

    I wrote a letter today to one of the great supporters of the TNIV and I said “Look, I am building my entire sermon tonight on two words that are not in your text. What am I supposed to do?” Its a serious thing for me. So, I am sorry if you have an NIV or a TNIV, the “because” or the “for” isn’t there, you’ve got the word “now” – because they’re troubled, they don’t know what to do with “for” neither do I. But I am going to work on it. And the word “therefore” is not there either – you’ve got “when” ….

    And so on. If you listen to this clip it is sarcastic.

    The problem is that the lexicons and commentaries all support the (T)NIV. If he has referred to a commentary on connectives in John’s gospel, he would have seen that they often just mean, “and so the narrative continues” but he wants the connectives to always indicate cause and effect. This is the same fundamental fallacy that he is making with the tornado. He supposes that if two things happen in conjunction, there must be a cause and effect. This is his paradigm.

    But he does not necessarily connect these things to his own human fallibiblity. That is, when he and others signed the statement against the TNIV, this was worse than “raca” see Matt. 5:22. It was calling down their own Christian brothers and sisters.

    So, why don’t John Piper, and the other signatories, deal with the “raca” that they have committed first, and then talk about homosexuality.

    This is serious for me, because I left my church, first and foremost for this reason. I said that if the prominent member of our congregation who had signed the statement against the TNIV was not directly spoken to about this – and the ESV was acquired without peace being made with the TNIV first – then I would leave. And so I did. And that’s how I came to see that it was better to be in a church which accepts same sex blessing rather than living with “raca.”

    It was only after this that I had the conversation with my minister about his belief in Grudem. That came later, and simply clenched an earlier commitment.

  9. Scott W says:

    Justin Taylor writes:
    This is not a careful reading. Piper’s point is that whenever tragedy strikes, God is always speaking repentance in it. I don’t see any biblical warrant for saying that we are disallowed from making that biblical observation, and that those who need to repent need to first observe that about themselves.

    The Book of Job attacks head on the simplistic theology that extrapolates that since God judges sin, then calamity in one’s life means that one must have sinned to incur this calamity. Job maintains his innocence in the face of the simplistic theology of his righteous friends. As we know, in the end YHWH asked for the intercession of Job to stave off YHWH’s judgment of Job’s friends. They were the ones who were adjudged by YHWH as insolent and presumptuous, not Job. YHWH is bigger than our limited understanding which we draw from our experience and our attempts in our own minds to think YHWH’s thoughts after him.

    Conversely, the Psalms often reflect on the vexing observation that the wicked not only go unpunished but they prosper in their evil schemes. Thus, it is a dangerous thing to “theologize” about these matters, as Job’s friends found out or becoming cynical and unbelieving because of the persistence of natural and human evil and YHWH’s seeming absence in the face of it.

  10. Sue says:

    It isn’t clear but the first two paragraphs were my transcription of the beginning of Piper’s sermon clip. How could anyone not see this as sarcasm? Okay, I am sarcastic also, but I don’t have quite the following that he Piper has. 🙂

  11. TC Robinson says:

    The Book of Job attacks head on the simplistic theology that extrapolates that since God judges sin, then calamity in one’s life means that one must have sinned to incur this calamity.

    Scott, Job friends all over again. Thanks for confronting us with Scripture.

    Conversely, the Psalms often reflect on the vexing observation that the wicked not only go unpunished but they prosper in their evil schemes. Thus, it is a dangerous thing to “theologize” about these matters, as Job’s friends found out or becoming cynical and unbelieving because of the persistence of natural and human evil and YHWH’s seeming absence in the face of it.

    Piper or no other moral has the appropriate credentials to thus speak. But only the One who spoke from the whirlwind (Job 38:1).

    Once again, you’re spot on.

  12. Sue says:

    The sermon was delivered on the Sunday. But this clip was extracted from the sermon and uploaded on the same day as the tornado.

  13. TC Robinson says:

    Sue,

    I got you. Interesting, though. 😉

    TC, don’t you think Jesus should have allowed the people in Luke 13 to interpret what happened for themselves? But he didn’t. He said, “Unless YOU repent….” I don’t see anything different from what Piper is doing.

    Nathan, Don’t you think Jesus had the necessary credentials to speak Luke 13 to the people that day?

    I’m driving down the road and tree limb falls on my car, but I’m able to escape unharmed. How should I interpret the incident?

  14. TC Robinson says:

    Nathan,

    Or the tree that crushed my car is a reminder that “all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22, NLT).

  15. Jerry B says:

    Wow! Thought Piper was a bit deeper then “God angry, God send lighting” mentality.

  16. Nathan says:

    “Sin, my friend. But must I always conclude that a falling tree means that I must repent of sins in my life? This notion has the stench of Job’s friends all over it.”

    Yes, but in Job’s case, when his friends accused him of sin and he upheld his innocence, he was telling the truth. In the ELCA’s case, their sin is blatant. If they were to claim they are “blameless and upright” they would be lying.

    So:

    1) God subjected the creation to futility because of sin.
    2) God subjected it in hope that we would repent.
    3) The ELCA needs to repent for any endorsement of homosexuality.
    4) The tornado (and all catastrophes that the ELCA becomes aware of, whether they happen in MN or elsewhere) should remind the ELCA of its need to repent, because of points 1 and 2.
    5) The tornado’s particular proximity to the ELCA meeting should make them particularly more aware of God’s hatred for sin than a tornado in China, which would likely not rouse their emotions as much.

  17. TC Robinson says:

    Yes, but in Job’s case, when his friends accused him of sin and he upheld his innocence, he was telling the truth. In the ELCA’s case, their sin is blatant. If they were to claim they are “blameless and upright” they would be lying.

    Nathan, from your above comment, you’re declaring for certain that you know that God sent that tornado as a judgment against ELCA. Incredible!

  18. TC Robinson says:

    It seems perfectly legitimate to say God’s design in a particular act is sanctification.

    Chadd, yes, I believe from time to time God uses certain acts for our sanctification or to point us in that direction.

    On another note. Do you think Jonah went overboard in affirming with pagans that the storm was because of him? (yes, I know John Piper is not Jonah)

    Divine revelation says God sent the “great storm” and that Jonah took blame for it (chp. 1).

    What does this have to do with Piper’s comments?

  19. Chadd Sheffield says:

    Nothing except it seems like Jonah made a pretty confident assertion as to a tempestuous providence. (and I don’t think Jonah had access to the book of Jonah as divine revelation at the time.)

    I reckon the only difference here is Jonah is a prophet and Piper is not?

  20. TC Robinson says:

    “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” (Jonah 1:12, TNIV)

    Chadd,

    The book of Jonah may not have been written but Jonah knew that it was his fault. It is safe to say that such was revealed to Jonah in a manner akin to Paul (Acts 27).

    And you’re right about Piper.

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