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More on the tornado God didn’t send against the gays

Greg Boyd has a good and even-handed rebuttal to John Piper’s raving comments about how God sent a tornado to warn the Lutherans not to accept gay clergy. Boyd should be respected for taking this kind of measured and rational tone with something as ludicrous as Piper’s claims. I’m sure I could take some sort of lesson from him. . .

Here’s just one of his points:

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.

In light of this, wouldn’t you assume that if God was going to send warnings and/or inflict punishment with tornados he’d strike some of the many American churches and denominations that condone, if not Christianize, greed and apathy toward the poor? Yet John would have us believe that God had his tornado skip past these churches (and a million other punishment-worthy locations, like child sex-slave houses) in order to damage the steeple of a church because the people inside were wrestling with issues related to homosexuality. If John is right, God’s priorities must have radically changed since biblical times.


  1. Thom Stark wrote:

    I thought Boyd was quite sarcastic and did a great job of making Piper look like an absolutely scary imbecile. He may have just left in the subtext better than you did, but I don’t think he was any nicer to Piper than you were. His preface that Piper is a “brother in Christ” didn’t do much to counteract what he went on to say. He basically said Piper was a hypocrite and was completely out of touch with the Gospel.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  2. Bobby Grow wrote:

    I hadn’t heard of Piper’s statement, until now. What’s wrong with folks like Piper? Why do they feel compelled, like Pat Robertson and Falwell, to speak for the LORD like this? Is it because they see themselves as modern day prophets, who when they speak, it must be “Thus saith the LORD . . . ”

    Ridiculuous! And I think Boyd’s response is good . . . even though I don’t agree with some of Boyd’s “Theology Proper.”

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Well, either way I’m for it.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  4. Brad A. wrote:

    He got my two earlier points exactly. Piper plays fast and loose with Scripture in this case, and does himself in with his own selective exegesis. Boyd’s point 5 about Jesus rebuking the storm is great, too.

    (Btw, I didn’t read him as sarcastic, but sincerely questioning the thinking of somebody who is rather well respected as a pastor.)

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  5. roger flyer wrote:

    Even better for Boyd, he has take a lot of heat from Piper; bordering on Piper calling him the ‘h’ word.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    Yeah Piper despises Boyd and barely treats him civilly anymore, even in public forums from what I’ve heard.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  7. Derek wrote:

    Ah, gotta love Boyd. When talks about this issue and many others (eg nationalism) he is great fun.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  8. Derek wrote:

    By the way halden, i would love to hear your two cents on Boyd’s theology. He is quite influential on evangelical theology in America today, and i don’t think i’ve heard you comment much on his thought, at least outside his disdain for Piper and Constantinianism. Hopefully it doesn’t have to go in the “insanity” folder, and especially (o the horror!) the “American Sedan” category.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  9. I am no priper fan but no boyd fan either. I suppose God doesn’t take screwing sheep very seriously either since he only mentions prohibiting it a few times.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  10. Uh? Hmmm. What?

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

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