|Moore Cemetery: Photo by Billy Hefton, Enid News|
Rachel is a person who relates to an individual in the midst of suffering. Doug Wilson and John Piper are theologians who wish to teach an individual in the midst of suffering. What Doug and John can learn from Rachel is this: People don't care what you know until they know that you care. Jesus first gave a cup of cold water and accepted the woman at the well where she was before He ever addressed any confusion in her theology. John Piper and Doug Wilson don't have a theological problem, they have a relational one. They summarize all tragedies, including the Moore tornado, like this: "If disaster befalls a city, it is from the hand of God" (Amos 3:6). They see cities, not people.
Of course, Doug Wilson and John Piper express a concern for people in their writings. Doug writes, "The sovereignty of God is a hard shell case that carries and protects the tender heart." Doug is unintentionally miscommunicating what he believes. It is a fact that sometimes tender hearts are broken, and those broken hearts do not fall outside of God's sovereignty. Doug means to write, "Belief in the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is a hard shell case that carries and protects the tender heart." I happen to agree with Doug's message, but I greatly disagree with Doug's methodology. You don't shout at a city that a tornado is a display of God's holiness, majesty and justice in order to protect the tender heart of an individual; you sit down with that individual who lost his or her home (or loved ones) and show compassion and mercy and then you help them restore what was lost. After you show them mercy, you then have earned the right to teach them how God will work all things for good to those who trust Him.
I guess I'm saying one of the wisest things a theologian can do in the midst of tragedy is to shut up his teaching until he shows up in mercy. You don't change someone's theology until you connect with them relationally. Calvinists need to start seeing people, not cities.
I have never met John Piper, Doug Wilson or Rachel Evans. I know all three through their writings. All three have a great deal to offer the body of Christ. Rachel maybe can learn some theology from John and Doug, but I'm of the opinion its more important that these two men learn something relationally from Rachel.
Postscript: Since I posted the above this morning, I was made aware that John Piper acknowledged taking his tweet down and that he gave an explanation for why he did. He writes: "The reason I pulled my tweets from Job is that it became clear that what I feel as comfort was not affecting others the same.” Maybe this post will help explain to him why.