John Piper is at it again. Shortly after the OKC tornado, he made the following tweet (which was later deleted):
Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead. -Job 1:19
Just as night follows day, Rachel Evans promptly called him on it.
First, some thoughts on Piper.
This is not the first time he has done something like this. He’s developing a pattern. I really wish he would think ahead of time before speaking when people are hurting. It damages the witness of all believers. Pat Robertson does this thing too often as well. They remind me a tiny bit of those folks from Westboro Baptist who hold out their “God hates gays” signs any time someone dies. I do think Piper and Robertson are genuine believers, I’m not so sure the Westboro folks are (no one knows but God). However, they have similar attitudes towards suffering and their understanding of the wrath of God. I bet the Westboro crew is on their way down to Oklahoma right now.
As Christians, our job is to mourn with those who mourn. We are to help and comfort those in need, even when we don’t think they deserve it. It is not for us to assign blame.
Now on to Rachel Evans.
She takes things things too far. Although her post made some good points, she too damaged her Christian witness, placing her criticism of Piper in front of the fact that he’s a fellow believer.
Piper’s god is like an abusive father, filled with unpredictable rage. His family must walk on eggshells, afraid of suddenly enraging him. Should he be provoked, this god will lash out with deadly, earthquakes, tsunamis, violence and war.
Two things here:
First, this is not a quote Piper would agree with. Evans should not attribute a belief to Piper that he would reject, or to which he would at the very least give a nuanced explanation of. The most that can be fairly said is that from Evan’s view, Piper’s theology inadvertently leads to a misunderstanding of God’s character, and this misunderstanding leads to an inaccurate picture of God who is abusive, full of rage, etc.
The second thing is that she refers to Piper’s “god” in the lower case. She does this throughout the post. This implies that Piper worships a false god. Despite our differences, all Christians worship the same God.
Just like Piper, Evans needs to think ahead of time before speaking.
And I suppose I do too.