I grew up in the Midwest and tornado season was terrifying. I have never been in one but when the conditions are right the air is ominous.
I was on my lunch break today and I went to the Weather Channel website to read a fascinating set of articles about the conditions that contributed to last week’s deadly swath of destruction. I got a Tweet so I clicked over to Twitter to see what was going on. I scrolled down the stream and noticed that John Piper was getting a lot of pushback. After reading his blog on how God used the tornadoes to kill people … I am left with some questions:
I have challenged Piper’s tornado theology (and suggested a better way to read the Bible) before and been told “You are mis-reading him. If you gave him the benefit of the doubt, you would see that he is really concerned about God’s glory.”
But in today’s post, he is saying exactly what I have been interpreting him as saying! Why do reformed folks think we are not getting his real message? Look, I get it – and I just don’t like it. Its not that I am misunderstanding him. I am understanding him and disagreeing. This is not semantics or rhetoric. We actually disagree on substance here.
It’s tough to be hard on somebody if they are consistent. But after reading Piper’s newest blog, I am a little bit turned around. He says:
Therefore, God’s will for America under his mighty hand, is that every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every person of every religion or non-religion, turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus rules the wind. The tornadoes were his.
He follows that up by saying “But before Jesus took any life in rural America, he gave his own on the rugged cross. Come to me, he says, to America.”
As I read Piper: Jesus sends tornadoes to punish the wicked. He also sends them to the righteous because they are righteous (to show this according to the blog). So here is my question: we are supposed to turn to Jesus because of the tornadoes, a turn to righteousness from wickedness … but then God causes tornadoes on the righteous too?
It is not just embarrassing, it is hurtful to lag this far behind and place this kind of condemnation on people who are really hurting and whose community is in ruin.
Our prayers are with the people in these towns – and I am sorry that Christian minister say those kinds of things at times like this. Lord have mercy on us – we need it.