In an update to my last post, I report with a sad heart that ELCA adopted the proposed report on human sexuality on Wednesday. In a vote that required a 2/3 majority, they got exactly that: 2/3. One more vote against and the measure wouldn’t have passed.

But that’s not all that occurred in Minneapolis yesterday. It appears that a tornado just happened to form at just the same time that the session with the vote on the human sexuality report was about to begin.

And it just happens that the tornado moved downtown, oddly enough, right to where the convention is taking place. It fell upon the convention centre’s roof and significantly damaged it. Across the street, Central Lutheran (the church where worship for the convention is taking place) was also struck hard. Here the tornado split the steeple. As you can see in the picture below, taken from John Piper’s blog, the cross of Christ has been left hanging perilously from its previously firm foundation.


The metaphor is poignant: if we remove the church’s Scriptural foundation, on what will the message of grace stand?

Now I don’t think we should go around suggesting that every natural disaster is sent as a specific judgment from God for specific sins. Jesus makes it pretty clear that this kind of thing doesn’t just happen to people who are “worse offenders” than anyone else. It can happen to anyone, anytime because we are all sinners (Luke 13:1-5). But in this case, I think it’s fair to say that if the tornado was just a “coincidence”, it still seems to be a divinely appointed one.

John Piper might, just might, be right in his conclusion about this particular incident: “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.”

What we can do is praise God that a full 1/3 of the voting members at ELCA’s convention refused to vote in favour of the resolution. However far that church has fallen from its original Lutheran roots, there still appears to be a sizable minority who remain committed to the Word of God as the ultimate authority. Let’s keep them in prayer.


For more pictures of the destruction wreaked by the tornado, view Central Lutheran’s website here.