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Baptist Preacher Says Minneapolis Tornado was Message from God

By Chris Dade     Aug 20, 2009 in World
A Baptist preacher in Minneapolis is claiming that a tornado which damaged the steeple of a Lutheran church in the city's downtown area on Wednesday was a message from God to a Lutheran convention that was taking place near to where the damage occurred.
John Piper, Pastor at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in the city, is claiming that a debate being held at the biennial conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in the Minneapolis Convention Center, regarding the stance of the church on same-sex relationships, had attracted the attention of God.
According to the Pastor, says the Minnesota Independent, “Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados” and therefore, reasons Mr Piper, the weather that battered the heart of Minnesota's largest city on Wednesday afternoon was God exhorting the delegates at the ELCA convention to, in his words, "turn from the approval of sin".
The website of Minnesota Public Radio reports Mr Piper as saying: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
He then reinforced his belief that the tornado was some form of divine intervention by adding: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
Despite the ELCA convention being due to debate and vote by 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday on a social statement which would, amongst other things, effectively endorse same-sex relationships that were "chaste, monogamous and lifelong" disagreements amongst the delegates regarding amendments to the statement had occupied virtually the entire afternoon session. One particular amendment that reflected some of the divisions within the church read:This church regards the practice of homosexual behavior as contrary to God's intent for His children
Then, just as it appeared the discussion and vote would carry over in to Thursday, a delegate proposed that a vote be taken. In fact two votes took place. One calling an end to the discussion and the other on whether to approve or reject the social statement.
According to the Star Tribune 29 out of 1,045 delegates eligible to vote had left the convention center. Those that remained duly delivered the two-thirds majority that was required to approve the statement, which expressed support for same-sex relationships in which the two people involved display a strong commitment to each other.
Such was the closeness of the vote, just one vote was the difference between approval and defeat, that there was some disagreement as to whether, for example, the vote count was accurate. Finally though any attempts to prolong the matter were overruled for either not complying with the ELCA bylaws or for being "out of order", as defined by the parliamentarian of the convention.
All of which leaves supporters of another proposal, going before the convention on Friday, confident of victory. Needing only a simple majority to pass, and not a two-thirds majority, the proposal is that gay and lesbian ministers no longer need to declare that they will stay celibate before they are permitted to lead the church.
Nevertheless opponents of the statement approved today continue to be optimistic that they can prevail on Friday and defeat the measure to open church leadership to non-celibate gay and lesbian ministers in committed relationships. Rev. Mark Chavez is the spokesman for Lutheran CORE and, regarding his group's efforts to preserve what they consider to be the true doctrine of their church, he said:We knew this was going to be an uphill battle. But we're still here
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