move over pat robertson: john piper talks gay tornadoes

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009

move over pat robertson: john piper talks gay tornadoes

the internet was sucked into a swirling vortex of crazy today: john piper blogged. oh, john piper didn’t just blog about any ol’ thing. he blogged about tornadoes. wait, not just any tornado. piper blogged about the gay tornado. you know, the one god sent to wipe out the 2009 assembly of the evangelical lutheran church yesterday in minneapolis. duh.

ok, a quick background might be helpful. over the last several days, the elca (evangelical lutheran church in america) has been convening for their annual assembly in minneapolis. the assembly has been highly publicized (and scrutinized) due to the controversial 5th session with one of the primary items on the agenda being, “consideration: proposed social statement on human sexuality.” (if you care to read the newly adopted social statement, you can do so by clicking here.) in essence, it’s a proposal to allow individual congregations to hire gays and lesbians in committed relationships as clergy. it’s no surprise, of course, that this has been getting a lot of mainstream press and, even more so, widespread debate in the blogosphere.

enter john piper stage left.

first, if you don’t know who john piper is, let me give a very brief intro. he’s what i like to call the “godfather of neo-calvinism.” my good friend mark driscoll loves him and all the other good little calvinist boys and girls are eager to do his theological bidding if the boss calls. kidding (sorta) aside, piper is the pastor at bethlehem baptist church in minneapolis, the founder of desiring god ministries and a general hater of all things emergent. 🙂 he, as referenced, is an uber-calvinist and, needless to say, is in disagreement with many of the theologies that i think are in line with living in the way of jesus. don’t get me wrong, disagreeing with me doesn’t make you bad or necessarily even wrong. maybe i’m wrong. what i am saying, though, is that i just fundamentally disagree with many of his viewpoints and, from my study and understanding, don’t align well with the things that jesus advocated such as atonement theories, gender equality issues and election. what i’m getting at is that many of the things that, honestly, drive me nuts about the points-of-view piper advocates are merely theological disagreements that i put in the category of “interpretational disagreements.”

but then there’s this.

where i draw the line is when people paint very broad and fallacious pictures of god. that’s what piper has done with his latest blog post.

in the post—titled, the tornado, the lutherans, and homosexuality—piper asserts, simply, that a tornado that went through minneapolis yesterday at the time of the elca’s afternoon session was sent by god to be a warning that if they approve this statement, they are going against the will of god.

so, to summarize, piper asserts that god whipped up a lethal act of nature that kills people, destroys lives and ravages communities because they were considering whether or not dudes who like dudes should be able to work for a church. after proof-texting several pieces of scripture to back up his claim, here’s his actual conclusion:

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.

so the tornado is a “gentle but firm warning”. hmm… you mean gentle and firm like a terrifying natural disaster? way to go, god. you really kept it real with that gentle but firm warning to those heathen lutherans. pardon my sarcasm, but this logic—much less the awful, terrible theology—is simply twisted. you know, i was going to enumerate the ways in which piper’s assertion is both logically and biblically fallacious, but i really believe that most people reading this are bright enough to connect the dots themselves.

pardon my thick sarcasm complete disdain, but this kind of stuff absolutely drives me nuts. i guess more and more, i’ve begun to be very self-critical when it comes to my criticism of these types of things. on one hand, i don’t want to be the guy who gripes about people like john piper constantly (or insert any name or any issue), but i also know that argumentation, so to speak, is a key mode in which i process things and communicate my point-of-view. call me a contrarian if you will. as i evaluate myself and my motives, i begin to understand more clearly that what i want to present in my life and, subsequently, on the blog is an alternative.

it’s an alternative to people speaking on behalf of god.
it’s an alternative to god-as-a-republican theology.
it’s an alternative to god hates gays.
it’s an alternative to judgmentalism and dogmatism.
it’s an alternative to the suggestion that god sends tornadoes to wipe out people who feel theologically compelled to include gay and lesbian people in serving the church—regardless of how i feel about the issue.

the point i’m making is that i’m honestly sick and tired of the likes of john piper and jerry falwell and pat robertson and mark driscoll (among others) being the predominant voices of christianity. there’s an alternative. there are voices of reason and there needs to be voices of alternative thought that speak out against mistruth. i hope to be one of those people.

ok, back to my storm shelter. god’s probably brewing up an earthquake or hurricane since i’ve disagreed with john piper christ.