Pastor’s tornado tweets stir up a theological debate

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Screenshot of speaker John Piper's Twitter feed (

Screenshot of speaker John Piper's Twitter feed (

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(RNS) Popular evangelical author and speaker John Piper regularly tweets Bible verses, but two verses tweeted after the Oklahoma tornado struck some as at best insensitive and at worst bad theology.

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  • Prof. Carole Fontaine

    The story of Elijah’s encounter with God on the Holy Mountain in 1 Kings 19:11-13 is a passage with a better response (not everyone in ancient times ‘got it right’!):
    God ‘meets’ Elijah in a “sound of well-honed Silence” (Heb., ‘qol d’mamah d’qqa’), not in a fire, an earthquake or a mighty wind that splits rocks and mountains into pieces–“…but Lord was not in the wind!” (v. 11b), says the Scripture.
    We’re not just worshipping some old Weather God out of the ancient Near East who throws tantrums in storms; we have a theology of a just and loving God who hears even slaves (Exodus 1-2) and foreign women (Exod 16, 21) when they cry out. JOB is about the REJECTION of retribution theology: life is just too messy for that. The disciples ask Jesus in John 9:2-3, “Rabbi, Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.”
    God does not will the chaotic events or the evil that comes from them: the Lord wills the Good–the compassion, care and sacrifice–that we are able to bring out of them. The Bible has lots of ideas about how to understand God’s actions in a time of trial: we should feel comfortable taking the most humane and divine one because we all know the Great Commandment: Love one another as God loves you! Looking for someone/some thing to blame and punish: how about the values that make protecting our school children ‘too expensive’ when we easily spend money on things that benefit adults??
    Prof. Carole Fontaine, Biblical Scholar; author, “With Eyes of Flesh”: the Bible, Gender and Human Rights”; translator, New American Bible, rev. edition; Religion Editor, World Book Encyclopedia.

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  • trekie70

    Wow, I think he might have edged out Pat Robertson for the quickest idiotic response. I don’t have the exact times of each man’s stmts but they would have to be close together.

    If the Wikipedia article Piper is accurate, this guy is a real character. He actually publicly thanked God for being afflicted with prostate cancer. I’m not sure who is crazier, him or Robertson.

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