I was intrigued by an item in Christian Century news, entitled: Twisters not random, says Calvinist preacher Piper. Bob Allen wrote:
An author and preacher popular in Calvinist circles says it is no accident that recent killer tornadoes followed paths that ravaged some communities while others were spared.
“Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?” John Piper of Desiring God Ministries wrote in his blog on March 5.
Piper, pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, said it is wrong to ascribe power capable of causing an estimated $2 billion worth of property damage to Mother Nature or the devil.
“God alone has the last say in where and how the wind blows,” Piper said. “If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command.”
I was taken back a bit when I read this statement attributed to Piper:
Piper said he doesn’t know why, if God has a quarrel with America, he wouldn’t show his displeasure in Washington or Hollywood instead of places like Henryville, Indiana, but that “every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town.”
That sounded like an indication that Piper knew what God was up to in those storms, but the final paragraph of the news item put my mind at rest on that score:
“We are not God’s counselors, nor can we fathom all his judgments,” he said. “That was the lesson of Job. Let us beware, therefore, of reading the hand of providence with too much certainty or specificity. God is always doing a thousand things when he does anything. And we see but a fraction.”
But here is the question I am pondering: What made these statements newsworthy in the opinion of Bob Allen and the editors of Christian Century? Because I share Piper’s doctrine of meticulous divine providence, I found his comments a beneficial reminder, biblical truth that might be passed on for its edification value. But that is not the context of this CC item. It is news. Why so?, I wondered. I’m guessing it is because Bob Allen is not a Calvinist, but that he found these comments by Piper shocking, even given Piper’s humble recognition of our ignorance of God’s ways and reasons.
What do you think?