Tuesday, August 25, 2009

John Piper has a rare Strikeout

I love John Piper. Yes God ordains whatever comes to pass, but in human terms, Piper gets the lion's share of the credit for the resurgence of Calvinism among the Baptist youth. (I say that like it's a good thing, because it is a good thing.) His theology is sound, his sermons are tremendous, his books are, well, good—though a bit repetitive for my taste.

But just to show everyone has an off day, I refer you to this report on the Associated Baptist Press (ABP) which discusses the mini-tornado that hit downtown Minneapolis (Piper's locale) and damaged the Minneapolis Convention Center while the liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) was having its convention.

According to the ABP, Piper said that the storm was a "a gentle but firm warning" to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Piper is on solid ground when he implies that the storm was ordained by God. But his jaiket's oan a shoogly nail (what—you dinna speak Scottish slang?) when he states, as fact, that the storm is God's warning to the ECLA.

Piper might speculate as to why God ordained this storm. Or why he ordained a bus crash involving a church youth group. Or a fire at a church. But it is best to couch those arguments in general terms and admit that God's thoughts on any given incident are unknowable, and that we shouldn't presume to speak to His motives.

I am hoping the ABP got this all wrong—because it is so unlike Piper to commit even a mild version of a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell blunder.

Piper, according to the ABP report, elaborated on God's message to the pesky Lutherans:
"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."
But of course—that just as well could be described God's message to the Baptists, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, just to name a few.

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