24 Comments

The Tornado, a Sign?


Browsing around the blogosphere earlier today I noticed there was quite a bit of controversy and discussion going on among Christian bloggers, concerning Pastor John Piper’s latest post at Desiring God, The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality.

Below is the message by John Piper followed up by a few comments and/or observations posted by those who questioned his claim of this being a warning from God.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts…

The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality

By: John Piper

I saw the fast-moving, misshapen, unusually-wide funnel over downtown Minneapolis from Seven Corners. I said to Kevin Dau, “That looks serious.”

It was. Serious in more ways than one. A friend who drove down to see the damage wrote,

On a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected…a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts—most saying they’ve never seen anything like it. It happens right in the city. The city: Minneapolis.

The tornado happens on a Wednesday…during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The convention is using Central Lutheran across the street as its church. The church has set up tents around it’s building for this purpose.

According to the ELCA’s printed convention schedule, at 2 PM on Wednesday, August 19, the 5th session of the convention was to begin. The main item of the session: “Consideration: Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.” The issue is whether practicing homosexuality is a behavior that should disqualify a person from the pastoral ministry.

The eyewitness of the damage continues:

This curious tornado touches down just south of downtown and follows 35W straight towards the city center. It crosses I94. It is now downtown.

The time: 2PM.

The first buildings on the downtown side of I94 are the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran. The tornado severely damages the convention center roof, shreds the tents, breaks off the steeple of Central Lutheran, splits what’s left of the steeple in two…and then lifts.

Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.

1. The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (like other sins) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.

The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

2. The church has always embraced those who forsake sexual sin but who still struggle with homosexual desires, rejoicing with them that all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith.

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

3. Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.

4. Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados.

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)

5. When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.

Jesus: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

6. 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.

Observations from one blog;

“That was not his (Piper’s) finest moment…”

“Someone I respect and love as a father in the faith has said something really stupid..”

“Didn’t Piper and the rest of us learn anything from the idiotic similar past pronouncements of the Jerry Falwells and Pat “Word of Knowledge” Robertsons?”

“I certainly sympathize with Piper’s position regarding homosexuality, but I think his theology is off here”

“So, God did not control the tornado? Where it touched down He did not intend? The steeple was a mere victim of chance and circumstance? Weather is chaos? Bridge collapses in Minneapolis are purposeless? God must use exactly the same means of judgment with every house of sin? Isn’t it true that the judgment upon some is immediate, while the judgment of others is delayed for sovereign purposes? Does this make one judgment less justified and righteous than another?”

“What I see here: Piper claims these Lutherans are greater sinners than the rest.”

“Whenever the forces of nature seem to be running amok on planet Earth- storms, earthquakes, viruses, droughts- we should be reminded of the Fall and feel chastised for our own sinfulness. Don’t be looking to the sins of the homosexual down the street. Be looking to one’s own sins.”

Last, a list of questions posted at one online ministry:

Why does John discern a divine motive behind a damaged church steeple but not behind any other damage this tornado caused? For example, the roof of the Minneapolis Convention Center was damaged by this same tornado. Was God sending a warning by having his judging tornado damage this building? Or what about the damage cause by the other four tornadoes that struck the Twin Cities area around the same time? A middle school in North Branch was badly damaged, for example. Was this school more affirming toward gays than other schools in the area?

-According to the National Weather Service, the United States is hit by about 1300 tornados each year, on average. Does John discern a pattern that these tornados tend to strike places that are more pro-gay, or even just generally more sinful, than others?

-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.

– John justifies his interpretation by claiming “Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados.” He supports this claim by quoting Mark 4:41 in which Jesus’ disciples ask; “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” What’s interesting to me is that the disciples make this remark in response to Jesus having just rebuked a threatening storm. If Jesus was already controlling all storms, as John claims, why on earth would he need to rebuke this one? Even more interesting, Jesus “rebukes” the storm by commanding it to be “quiet.” The Greek term used here literally means “to muzzle” or “strangle,” and its the same word he sometimes used when confronting demons. The implication is that, far from suggesting that Jesus controls all storms, the passage actually suggests that at least some life-threatening storms have a demonic power behind them…

As you can see, most disagree with John Piper’s assessment of the purpose behind the tornado.

I actually expected to see more agree with him; but the above quotes, though from only one blog, are a fair example of what I also read elsewhere.

24 comments on “The Tornado, a Sign?

  1. Let me comment first by saying I love John Piper and his ministry. He is one of the most humble teachers I am aware of. He looks to nothing but to faithfully preach the Gospel and serve his Lord. That being said, I was not surprised by his comment, nor was I in disagreement. I can’t say that I was pleased by his comment because it is a sobering subject that is perverting and invading our churches like wildfire. It’s a stark reminder that we so-called Christians in America (and the world for that matter!) are more interested in making God conform to what is fun and comfortable to us rather than repenting of our sin and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in truth so that we can turn from sinful living and embrace a more Christ like lifestyle. Homosexuality is wrong and perverse. So is lying, coveting, lusting and bearing false witness. Does sin, even in an authentic Christian, have consequences? I believe it does. Is the consequence immediate and apparent to all who witness? I don’t think so. I think John’s comments are food for thought. It should make this church, and all believers, pause and ask ourselves, “Are we really making this decision to sacrificially please and serve our Lord, or are we making this decision to be more PC and open and affirming of everyone and everything, including blatant sin?” I can’t say, nor do I think John is saying beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was divine punishment on this church for their convention considering homosexuality. But do I think it could have been? Absolutely. That’s the thing about God’s sovereignty…we don’t always have an idea of how God is thinking and working. God reigns on the just and the unjust and has mercy on whom He will have mercy, in His own time and in His own way. At the very least, I don’t think it is wrong for us, or this church, to take a moment to re-think their decision and to pray to ask if what they are doing is motivated out of love of God, or love of the world. I actually loved the post by John Piper. Not because it “felt” good, but because it reminds me that we are fallen and imperfect but that we should be striving to follow after Christ and be more like Him. And should we choose to stifle and rebel the Spirit of Truth then there will be consequences. Will they be immediate in the form of a tornado? Maybe not, but they absolutely could be!

  2. Interesting, that 1. Cor 6:9 quote.

    German bibles (I checked a couple) use a word that’s best translated as “softy” where this quote says “homosexuality” (which itself is a rather new term)

    While this might mean the same (“adultery, idolatry, being soft” is a weird list), I wonder how certain the “homosexual” translation is, or how much it is interpretation.

  3. A further article from John Piper in response.
    “Clarifying the tornado”
    http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1968_clarifying_the_tornado/

  4. The problem here is that Piper is trying to be half of a prophet. He’s trying to tell us what God was thinking, but not even pretending that God revealed this to him. He’s just making it up.

    We live in a fallen world. Tornadoes happen. That’s life.

    Yes, God could use a tornado to get someone’s attention. If He does so, I’d expect either the message to be clearer or a prophet to stand up and tell us, in no uncertain terms, what God did and why.

    I’ve written about this before, and think it’s a very dangerous thing for people to start using God and His control over natural events for our own purposes.

  5. I was also surprised that so many were opposed to what John Piper said. I thought he kept what he said general enough that it would be understood he wasn’t branding homosexuality as the single greatest sin. For example, he said, “The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (LIKE OTHER SINS) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.”

    He also said that “all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith,” adding that “official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.” That’s true, and it would be true regarding any sin that the Church might condone.

    Before quoting Jesus’ words in Luke 13:4-5 regarding the tower of Siloam, Piper added: “When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.”

    Piper’s conclusion was also both general and specific: “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 [plural] 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.”

    I don’t know whether or not John Piper heard a direct word from the Lord that this tornado was a form of God’s judgment upon the ELCA proceedings, but the circumstances of that tornado were indeed bizarre. I live about two miles from where the tornado went through. The tornado sirens went off at 2:12pm, but the tornado had already gone through. There wasn’t even a storm at the time, no lightning, only rain. The conditions didn’t seem right for any severe weather, and that’s what the weather forecasters had also said earlier in the day.

    When I found out that the tornado hit at the precise time that the ELCA’s session regarding homosexual clergy was to begin, I made the same correlation in my mind. The tornado nailed that location, split the church steeple, and moved on. If it was a coincidence, it was a huge one, and it’s possible that’s what it was. Yet I wouldn’t discount the possibility that God meant for this calamity to make a statement. Either way, the truth remains for all of humanity that destructive weather will be the least of our concerns if we don’t repent before God.

  6. It is interesting that when Katrina hit New Orleans the sodomite community had scheduled another very large venue there. Evidently the previous one was an “in your face” display of vile acts , even upon the floats as they paraded by. Much was said about this, and, Katrina as judgment specifically because of this.

    The bible has a lot to say about this subject. Remember that Sodom and Gomorrah were real places, and the only cities to receive such direct punishment in such a spontaneous and direct way from the Lord….[ Fire and brimstone thrown down from heaven directly!”…] There is a precedent. We often forget the admonitions of the Word, and forget that He has not changed…even if we think so.

    consider this truth:

    “If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?”

    Amos 3 vs.7

    If someone has discernment, or has heard from God, how could he prove it? What if Piper heard, or sensed a prophetic attachment to this tornado? Is it so absurd? Personally, I tremble when I hear such things, for in other arenas the Lord has shown me that He is plum fed up with orgy filled Babylon in “Christian America.”

    Some think it impossible. i know better. I applaud Piper, in that he knew the flack that would descend upon him for such a statement….and I personally discern that he is changing. He now believes that God can directly speak to man, and also that the supernatural is alive today in the church, and by God if He so chooses. Sometimes a faith based heavenly mindset mixed in with the Fear of the Lord seems too much for a more material faith that must have it all down in black and white to believe.

  7. Thanks for the feed back guys…

    I was left with mixed impressions about John’s article–

    like reformed i love John Pipe and his ministry, so wanted to ponder on ‘why’ i had the mixed impressions before making any personal comment.

    I have no doubt that God sends attention-getting warnings through catastrophes, disasters, etc…even through what appear as natural events of nature, like storms, floods, etc. And judgment. The bible backs this up…

    BUT, and this is where my impressions were mixed, not all disasters, storms, tornados, floods, etc can be said to fall into that category.

    So the real question is–how do we know?

    Take something similar but different for instance: Christians being struck down with a life threatening illness.

    Many will automatically say “well, they must have hidden sin in their life, this is why this came upon them” -But we know this is not always true.

    The same can be said about Christians [or just people in general] experiencing storms, hurricanes, tornado’s, etc.

    Not all can be said to be specific warnings or judgments sent from God.

    As you can see, im still pondering on this…. 🙂

    • After all; It is his opinion; [ Pipers ]. It is not like he prophesied judgment, but i wanted to add, that there was a time in America when calamity came, that National days of repentance, and regional days of fasting, repentance and prayer were commonplace….along with the confession of SIN, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14 ; especially in times of famine.

      We even saw some of that after 9-11…but soon things returned to our normal unbelief.

      Now people say; “How do you know?”, rather than cry to God for mercy and restoration. Isn’t that how it’s always been?

  8. I love brother Piper. In this instance, I believe he stepped out too far in assumption.

    I believe God is sovereign over all. All is in His hands, even Satan. God afflicted Job by allowing Satan to afflict Job. When Job cerdited the affliction to the Lord, notice that it states that Job did not sin with his lips. IOW, he did not falsely charge God.

    When Christ rebuked the storm, it does not mean the storm was running willy-nilly without God’s sovereignty. In fact, Christ glorified God and confirmed Who He is by the rebuke. God allowed that storm there so that His Son would rebuke it. The same with pharoah. God raised Him up and hardened his heart in order to show His glory and make His name holy and known in the deliverance of Isreal.

    So, all things are on God’s leash, however little we understand.

    I think the error is to assume we always know why God does a thing or allows a thing to be done. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, as the heavens are above the earth. If we are blessed to know something by God, at times we may perceive one or a few reasons behind an act. God, Who works ALL things after the counsel of His own will, is undoubtedly got many goals, directions, intents, etc in what He does/allows that we simply do not have the intellect, wisdom, or knowledge to ascertain.

    We are given a little to comfort us. We know He does all things for His glory. We know He works all things for the good of those who love Him. Without revelation of some type, it is difficult to really assume much more in any one thing than these. Perhaps hindsight, in time, may reveal a little more of what God was accomplishing. Perhaps something in the Word will reveal some of the purpose when something befalls.

    So, do I think God sent the tornado, just like every single tornado in history? Yes. It may be demons on a leash that carry out such a task, but God holds all the leashes. Nothing occurs that He does not allow to occur, even evil things. He allows evil to show forth His glory, His holiness, His righteousness, His justice, and His mercy. Some attributes of God could not be displayd to His creation unless He allowed things, even things He hates, to be or occur.

    But do I feel right in saying the tornado was specifically for warning/judging the ECLA? No. I do not know why God allowed it to be beyond getting glory for Himself somehow. Without a prophet to declare beforehand that God had a specific intent of warning or judgement, I merely speculate.

    • I think the error is to assume we always know why God does a thing or allows a thing to be done.

      Yes. And it can be assumption on our part, if we’re not careful–as you pointed out Brian.

      That word, ‘assumption’ reminded me of an incident on a prophecy board some years back. It was around the time when Billy Graham was suddenly hospitalized with pressure on the brain.

      There were many people at this board who automatically “assumed” it was deserved–that God had struck Billy Graham down in judgment.

      And that was the word which came to me–assumption. Assuming to know what God had not pointedly told/shown us.

      And then Job came to mind–not what Job said, but what God said TO Job, when He finally spoke:

      Job 38

      Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

      Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

      Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?

      Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

      Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?

      Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?

      Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?

      Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?

      Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?

      Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

      Job 40

      Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

      amen amen amen… we must be careful not to ‘assume’ ….

  9. Don’t you just love a tornado? 🙂

    Thomas, amen!

    Amo 3:8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

    I just happened to be listening to a recent audio of a man torn in heart about this ELCA decision. He is a life long Lutheran Pastor and a part of the ELCA. He is heartbroken about that vote!

    He told this story the other day about when he was in Africa some years ago walking along with some African Lurtheran men and saw a pride of lions laying on their backs, sound asleep, about twelve of them. There were remnants of a large water buffalo in the middle of these beasts of prey. These Lutheran men were about ten feet from this pride. He was frightened but his African hosts were not. He saw that there was an obvious fight in that the ground for fifty yards around the carcass and these sleeping lions was greatly disturbed. It appeared this bull put up quite a fight before dying and becoming lunch and dinner.

    He then said a most amazing thing about the roar of the lion. He was told by his African friends that day that a lion’s roar can be heard miles and miles away; it is so loud and verocious as in a cross between ferocious and vicious.

    What’s the point here?

    Well, again, as Thomas points out:::>

    Amo 3:6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?

    What we all should be concerned with is the verocious nature of this spiritual fight in these days all the while looking to Christ for the answer. We should settle it to set our eyes on Him, period, as more and more of this sort of thing overcomes portions of the Church around the world.

    Let me combine the verses in Amos 3:4 and 5 with some verses from Job and close with my own observation.

    Amo 3:4 Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing?
    Amo 3:5 Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing?

    The key points here are these, the lion “on a hunt” is not noticed or heard seeing he is a beast of prey. It is only after the kill that the lion will roar! A bird falling into a snare has causality and there has to be a bird first before the “trap” is sprung. There has to be a trap to catch the bird first! Someone has to exist to make the trap!

    This citation from Job is longer, so bear with reading it to gain the full scope of it’s meaning:::>

    Job 18:5 “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine.
    Job 18:6 The light is dark in his tent, and his lamp above him is put out.
    Job 18:7 His strong steps are shortened, and his own schemes throw him down.
    Job 18:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on its mesh.
    Job 18:9 A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare lays hold of him.
    Job 18:10 A rope is hidden for him in the ground, a trap for him in the path.
    Job 18:11 Terrors frighten him on every side, and chase him at his heels.
    Job 18:12 His strength is famished, and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
    Job 18:13 It consumes the parts of his skin; the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
    Job 18:14 He is torn from the tent in which he trusted and is brought to the king of terrors.
    Job 18:15 In his tent dwells that which is none of his; sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
    Job 18:16 His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above.
    Job 18:17 His memory perishes from the earth, and he has no name in the street.
    Job 18:18 He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world.
    Job 18:19 He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live.
    Job 18:20 They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the east.
    Job 18:21 Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God.”

    Why does it seem strange that both God and the devil are attributed with storms?

    We see both in Scripture.

    The question John Piper raises, it seems to me is a right question about this terrible event by the general assembly of the ELCA.

    I remember years ago being in a Church at five a.m. in the morning. It was a Church in Kansas City. The prayer meeting started with well over 30 people. But within a short period of time, as the Spirit of the Lord filled that place, the numbers quickly came down to just five of us praying. There was such unity of Spirit and we were all of one mind and heart and soul that morning! It was powerful! God was on the move and He was leading that prayer meeting!

    I remember that God was manifesting His Presence in a most stark and powerful way. I was standing faced towards the wall about a few feet from it. My eyes were wide open. All of a sudden the wall in front of me became like a movie screen and I could see San Francisco and the surrounding bay area. I could see all four bridges spaning the bay. I could see familar landmarks on four sides, from the south to San Jose, east to Oakland, west to San Francisco itself and then the Golden Gate bridge and the north bay. I have flown in and out of SFO countless times and it was as if I was looking out a plane’s window on approach to land there.

    As the intensity of the Presence of the Lord increased I found myself praying to the Lord to “shake” the whole bay area. As this prayer “event” went for who knows how long I could hear the remaining others praying in a similar way. This went on for awhile and then the Presence lifted. We ended the prayer time and left.

    I caught a plane to Chicago. That evening at exactly 7 p.m. I was asked to pray for the dinner meal and just as I started praying we were suddenly interrupted by my friend’s mother. Dinner that night was at the house of my friends, couple in my Church there in Chicago. It was a brownstone and my wife and I were guests invited over for dinner. He converted it into one large house with upstairs and downstairs making the downstairs a comfortable place for his mother to live out her golden years. She was down stairs watching the “opening” of the world series between the Giants and the A’s on T.V. when the enormous earthquake struck the whole bay area! She jumped up from watching the T.V. hollering and climbed up the stairwell to the upstairs full of a panic at what was going on in San Francisco. My wife and my friend’s wife went with her back downstairs to calm her down and find out what caused her to become so emotional in a frantic. In a few minutes my wife and my friend came back up to tell us what all the fuss was about.

    I sat there silent knowing full well what just happened that very morning in Kansas City when this phenomenon occurred at that early morning prayer meeting when God showed up so powerfully. I realized that what we prayed is what happened later that day.

    So, all I can say is, after reading this here today about John Piper’s response to a tornado and the ELCA’s direction and over the last couple of days listening to the audio of this Lutheran Pastor talk about what is going on in Minneapolis over the decision to embrace homosexual clergy and the anguish in his heart over it and all the prayers he says he and many other Lutheran Pastors have prayed to God about it, I would not put it past the Lord to have answered their prayers with a tornado and doing so specifically at 2 p.m. when the vote was called for.

    On the other side of this storm phenomenon, I remember once here on the West Coast of California rebuking a massive wind and rain storm with 80 mile an hour force winds battering us and to my surprise it suddenly stopped and the weather became calm. That sort of thing has happened to me twice in my ministry. Each time it really has caught me off guard because as I recall it, both times it was more out of a burst of anger against the storm on my part that I rebuked it and things quickly settled down.

    I cannot explain these things other than to say I can attest from my own personal experiences in this Walk with God with His Faith, not mine, that storms can either be of God or the devils. We do have these two forces working against each other, you know?

    What is important though in all this is simply that God’s Word is exalted and They are glorified in all matters that concern Them and the Holy Christian Church, the Holy Dwelling place of the Most High!

    Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

    • Michael: Very well written and communicated, and powerful!

      My point is simply this: That the fear of the Lord is so depleted in America, through the watering down of the Gospel and intellectualizing famines and storms as “Natural”, and the “who knows?” mentality, that when a brother such as Piper even suggests that judgment came…[ “remember the tower of Siloam!” ] he is poo-poo-ed as radical and presumptuous.

      “How could he say this?”…..”He doesn’t KNOW!”… This kind of thinking is what I’m attacking!; not questioning prophetic reality. Of course it can’t be proven, and there is a possibility that he is wrong….maybe this was just suspicion or paranoia.; but the flood of unbelief does reflect the attitude of a church that has lost it’s FEAR of the Lord, which DOES reflect discernment and faith.

      For instance, No one with the FEAR of the Lord would believe anything but that the Lord Created the Universe, all life, all matter, all angels, and all people; It is integrally bonded with Faith. Without it, it is nothing to say that some primordial ooze woke up with supreme order and power, and constructed the vast complexities that we are and dwell among. How do you think God feels about this?

      “The question John Piper raises, it seems to me is a right question about this terrible event by the general assembly of the ELCA.”…..Michael.

      AMEN! AMEN!…This is my point. I would not bet my soul on Piper’s or on anybody’s discernment, but I too could see the Hand of the Lord in it, as I could see in Katrina, because of the FEAR I have of Jesus, and know that He does send warnings, and He does get angry!

      With all of the witness’s you had as you saw your vision of judgment on San Francisco, there must have been some wonderment, some awe. Wow! .. but most of the world never imagined that God could have been in the center. Just another geological event…earthquakes every day…..[ Just for interest’s sake, Isn’t it unusual that San Fransisco is the Sodomite center of America, and maybe the World? ] ..[ I have preached in the Castro full time to the Gays and lesbian community…]….

      Your prophetic Word proved it!…but so few heard it, or even less today would even consider it…” Who knows?”

      Very good article, Michael!. I see the warnings of the Lord becoming more prolific, and clear as we see the day approaching!

      Again, I applaud John Piper for putting his neck out for his convictions and Preaching them. I cannot, nor can anyone PROVE them, but the spirit of his prophecy was Godly, and I will not despise it. I tend to believe them, more than reject them.

      As your testimony proves, Michael, God still acts, and His hands are yet reaching out to rebellious man.

  10. Hi Jan,
    The job is going good. Thanks for asking. It’s been a while since I’ve commented, but not because I’m not reading, only because I have such a lack of time. Hope all is well with you and yours!

  11. Now people say; “How do you know?”, rather than cry to God for mercy and restoration. Isn’t that how it’s always been?

    Not always Tom…

    Much of the apostasy the body of Christ is being flooded with today has to do with false signs, words, and manifestations. ‘Think’ the NAR, for instance. Or what’s known today as the ‘new breed’…Though they are definitely not alone in promoting this.

    Its a season within the Church when, at least in a large part of the body, signs and wonders reign! And that includes the false ones.

    So, i don’t think its wrong for Christians to question, ‘is this a warning from God?’…just as it wouldn’t be wrong to ask the same question concerning prophetic words, signs and wonders, etc.

    We know, because its been posted here at the blog numerous times, that these folks at the Elijah List, the NAR, Clement, etc. “see” something in any and everything: if they get a hangnail they’ll see a spiritual ‘sign’ in it and end up giving out a ‘prophetic word’ about hangnails. AHAH…

    And that’s not to say [at all!] that John Piper has done that concerning the recent tornado–no.

    Only that its understandable in today’s spiritual atmosphere, that many would not automatically accept someone saying it being from God.

    It may very well have been. If so, the Evangelical Lutheran Church was warned.

    I read something tonight about the vote they held to lift the ban that prohibited sexually active gays and lesbians from serving as ministers.

    To pass it needed two-thirds [majority] …it passed with
    66.6 percent

    Only 33.3 percent voted against it.

    • I think of Paul’s words; 1 Corinthians 1:12-14

      What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

      Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,

      It is a phenomena in our church Universal to follow after a great leader, like a Paul, Apollos, Luther, Calvin, or Wesley. The effect is always the same; apostasy;… for the following of man, always leaves you separated from the ONE HEAD of every believer…..Jesus our Lord and Head.!

      Luther would be amazed what men had done to the movement he started, but man needs a tangible hero and idol to hold onto .

      PJ: we are on the exact same page….please see my RE: to Michael above. We never take prophetic insight as Jesus’ words, except by faith…and Cor. 13, states ; “PROPHECIES SHALL FAIL!”

      The other side of the coin is also sure. God is alive, and yet judges sin and rebellion! He is to be Loved, as He is to be FEARED!…and judgments still are in his hand.

  12. A rather interesting video has been posted on YouTube regarding this tornado and its possible significance:

    Just FYI, the creator of this video was even more adamant than John Piper was about the connection between the ELCA’s vote and the tornado.

    The website of the Lutheran church next to the Minneapolis Convention Center has also put up some before and after photos of the tornado damage:

    [1] http://www.centralmpls.org/news_2009/tornado_082109.php
    [2] http://www.centralmpls.org/news_2009/crossdown_082109.php

  13. You’re welcome. I forgot to mention that I was alerted to this YouTube video by an emailing from Andrew Strom’s ministry this morning.

  14. Wow! Imust be living in a cave because I’ve heard nothing about this tornado. But how interesting that it occurred where it did, under the conditions it did, and at the precise time it did. I’ve tried to put my thoughts in order regarding this event, but as usual, will have a hard time expressing those thoughts in words.
    I tend to be a skeptic, my natural mind always seems to want proof. But in this case, I don’t think I need nor want that proof. The fact is that God COULD have been sending a message, just as he sent Pharoh messages in the form of plagues thousands of years ago. And we all know that God hardened Pharoh’s heart. That’s a terrifying prospect to me – having one’s heart hardened. So I am taking from this story a reminder to repent for my own sins, and to try to do better in praying for others, and a prayer that my own heart will not be hardened.
    Not that it matters, but personally, I tend to think there were too many coincidences for it to be mere coincidence. And I am surprised they didn’t tremble with fear at the opportuness of that tornado, and surprised that the motion still passed!

    • Lisa

      my youngest son and I are going through the Bible, reading it together. Yesterday’s verses, Psalm 36 rang within me as I read your response.

      This for me is so hard to comprehend and embrace. I just don’t want to believe this about myself or others but without God’s “intervention and Grace” none of us would be saved from certain eternal damnation.

      Here’s that portion of Psalms 36 I thought about as I read your response above:::>

      Psa 36:1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD. Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
      Psa 36:2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
      Psa 36:3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
      Psa 36:4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

      and

      Psa 36:12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

  15. >>”without God’s “intervention and Grace” none of us would be saved from eternal damnation.”<<
    Beautifully put, Michael. I know it is hard to comprehend and embrace, but how merciful He is to occasionally remind us of that fact!
    I, too, thought Psalm 36 was very fitting.

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Teaching Sound Doctrine & Glorifying Christ

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