Quoting Quiverfull: Explaining Self-Editing?

by Tony Reinke from John Piper’s Desiring God – “Those Deleted Tweets”

Monday night, in the wake of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma, John Piper posted two tweets at 11:00pm (CST). Both tweets quoted the first chapter of Job. He first cited Job 1:19, and then Job 1:20, and they were posted together consecutively:

  • @JohnPiper: “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
  • @JohnPiper: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Job 1:20

Later he decided to take down both tweets.

Many of you may be unaware these tweets appeared online, but some have made what we think is unfair criticism based on misinformation worth briefly addressing.

The impression given by online sources is that only Job 1:19 was posted, an isolated tweet some critics have thought “crude” and “insensitive,” thereby neglecting the most important point made in the second tweet, of Job’s response, and why our sovereign God is still worthy of worship even in the midst of the most unimaginable suffering and personal tragedy.

Job 1:20 not only comes in the direct aftermath of a storm, but also holds out hope and comfort to Christians directly affected by tragedy today, reminding us that trust in God and worship of God are always right, even when we are kneeling in tears in the rubble left by a tornado. Job wept and he worshipped. God’s sovereignty over his suffering provided the basis of his grounds of worshipping God in the suffering (see chapter 1 in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God).

As Pastor John has said in a sermon,

Satan proved to be wrong. Job did not curse God when he lost his wealth and his children. He worshiped and he blessed God. And so the superior worth of God became evident to all.

Job’s steadfast response becomes for all Christians a model to follow in enduring suffering (James 5:11).

Sadly, by citing only the first tweet, Job 1:19, online critics muddied the point.

Why the Tweets Came Down

Different motives were assigned to Pastor John for deleting the tweets. What he told us was this: “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.” He also said,

When tragedy strikes my life, I find it stabilizing and hope-giving to see the stories of the sheer factuality of other’s losses, especially when they endured them the way Job did. Job really grieved. He really agonized. He collapsed to the ground. He wept. He shaved his head. This was, in my mind, a pattern of what must surely happen in Oklahoma. I thought it would help. But when I saw how so many were not experiencing it that way, I took them down.

Whatever final conclusion you draw about the tweets is between you and the Lord. But we wanted to take a moment to address misinformation online as you make your own conclusions on the matter. We appreciate those of you who have come to Pastor John’s defense online, but our sense is that this isn’t a matter worth debating. Our purpose in posting here is simply to provide you with more information.

Comments open below

 

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • Guest

    “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.”

    Right, right. Tweeting something in the wake of a tragedy that didn’t affect you, that makes it all about you and what makes you feel better instead of asking the question “what can I do for others?” will likely backfire in your face. Of course, the real victim in this is Pastor John, not the people in Oklahoma who “just didn’t get it”, isnt’ that right?

  • KR Taylor

    I have not yet come across a single person who saw 1:20 when the tweet(s) were still live. I also saw 1:19 when it was still live, and looked at it several times b/c I was so apalled. I never saw 1:20, and never did anyone else.

    In fact, 1:20 did not come into play until this faux apologetic was posted. Not even the defenders of the 1:19 post ever mentioned 1:20.

    It seems likely that Mr. Piper has now lied to cover his insensitive and callous tail.

  • Lolly

    “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.”

    Chances are, when you take a tragedy and make it all about you, and what makes you feel better instead of asking the question “What can I do to help others?” it’s going to backfire in your face. Of course, the real victim here is Piper, right?

  • Madame

    It was insensitive or even cruel. If I had lost my home or my family, I wouldn’t find reflecting on how God allowed satan to do that to Job in any way comforting. If you want to comfort, go and help the people who lost everything. Go offer a shoulder to cry on, love them, be the love they may very well be doubting, but don’t tweet what seems uplifting to you, sitting in your intact home, with your intact family.

  • Kristen Rosser

    Even if this was what John Piper actually meant (which really WASN’T clear from his tweet or tweets), telling people who are in intense pain from the loss of their children, “why can’t you be saintly about it like Job?” is harmful in the extreme. Even Job’s friends had the sense to just sit beside him in silence for a long time before they started talking.

  • Saraquill

    It would have been much better to tweet a donation link to the Red Cross or other relief organization.

  • aim2misbehave

    Even *if* his assertion was true, he should’ve been aware of what the 1:19 tweet would look like out of context.

    I know some people who saw the 1:20 tweet, but they didn’t realize it was supposed to be two parts of one thing, and a number of them also found it to be pretty insensitive.


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