When Pastor John Piper speaks, he speaks with bold conviction. When John Piper speaks about local disasters, I listen carefully and critically. Especially when Piper’s Twitter update reads: “Tornados do have a voice. They talk to Lutherans. And the rest of us. They talk about sexual sin. Stay tuned.”
Yesterday a tornado hit downtown Minneapolis on the day of the ELCA Lutheran Convention. The topic of discussion: whether practicing homosexuality is a behavior that should disqualify a person from the pastoral ministry. Well, Piper believes that God decided to show up and offer his own “gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us.”
Piper’s interpretation of the sudden, unexpected tornado concludes with:
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.”
The last time disaster struck 35W downtown Minneapolis was when the bridge collapsed in 2007. John Piper wrote a provocative and controversial piece interpreting the event as a warning from God to drive people to repentance. He says in his article,
The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live.”
This interpretation of the bridge collapse that killed 13 people sparked a response by Pastor Greg Boyd who had quite a different interpretation of the tragedy. You can read his equally stimulating response HERE.
Well? What do you think about Pastor Piper’s interpretations of these two disasters? I am withholding my comments — for now anyway.
For more information on Piper’s and the Baptist General Conference’s views on homosexuality read this.