Caught from Wretched Daily Update Archives August 25, 2009---
Local Atheist Disputes Piper’s Tornado Talk---in which Todd Friel mistakenly calls Dr. Boyd an atheist because Dr. Boyd unlike the calvinazis doesn't believe that God is the author of evil and all sin and then by the same reason punishes those for doing what God forced them to do in the first place:
Did God Send a Tornado to Warn The ELCA?
August 21st, 2009
On Wednesday, August 19, five small tornados formed in and around the Twin Cities. Included among the property damage was a broken church steeple. It just so happens that Central Lutheran Church was hosting the National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and that one of the issues they were discussing was their stance on homosexuality. According to John Piper, this is no coincidence.
In a blog that unfortunately managed to make it on the local evening news John offered “an interpretation of this Providence.” He claimed “[t]he tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin.” You can read his blog here.
Now, I appreciate John as a brother in Christ and respect him as a pastor working for the Kingdom. And I have no quarrel with his view that homosexuality should not be affirmed as God’s ideal. But when he publicly claims to discern a divine warning behind the behavior of a particular tornado, I feel I need to offer a public response, if only to remind non-Christians that not all Christians think like this.
Here are six questions and objections I believe John would need to address if his speculation about why a particular tornado struck a church was to be considered remotely plausible.
1. Why does John discern a divine motive behind a damaged church steeple but not behind any other damage this tornado caused? For example, the roof of the Minneapolis Convention Center was damaged by this same tornado. Was God sending a warning by having his judging tornado damage this building? Or what about the damage cause by the other four tornadoes that struck the Twin Cities area around the same time? A middle school in North Branch was badly damaged, for example. Was this school more affirming toward gays than other schools in the area?
2. According to the National Weather Service, the United States is hit by about 1300 tornados each year, on average. Does John discern a pattern that these tornados tend to strike places that are more pro-gay, or even just generally more sinful, than others? I did a little research, and it turns out that the place where tornados tend to strike the most frequently and do the most damage is in the Bible Belt, with Oklahoma topping the list. And, interestingly enough, it turns out that those states that have the most progressive stances toward gays (e.g. Massachusetts, Vermont, New York) are among the states that typically experience the least tornado damage. Doesn’t this fact by itself completely undermine John’s speculation as to why a Minneapolis church steeple was damaged?
I have an alternative interpretation of tornado behavior to offer. They have nothing to do with how pro-gay or how sinful people are and everything to do with where people happen to live. Tornadoes strike Oklahoma frequently because it’s located in a place where hot and cold air currents tend to collide frequently at certain times of the year. Much less frequently, the same thing happens in the Twin Cities. Why can’t we just leave it at that?
3. One has to wonder why God would single out the ELCA’s discussion of homosexuality as worthy of a tornado hit while by-passing so many other serious issues. To give one example, there are over 400 distinct passages encompassing over 3,000 verses in the Bible that address issues related to poverty. Compare this with homosexuality, a topic that is explicitly mentioned a total of two times in the Old Testament and three times in the New. On top of this, the most frequently mentioned reason God judged cities and nations in the Old Testament was because they failed to care for the needy. And, finally, if there’s any sin American churches fail to seriously confront, it’s this one.
Read more: Here.