this post by John Piper.
Piper can marshal out all the proof-texts he wants to justify his position, but when I read his post, I recalled Jesus' position on disaster and judgment regarding 'sinners':
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
(Luke 13:1-5; NRSV)
Piper, and quite frankly all of us, would do better if we stopped labeling tragedies an act of God's judgment especially when it feeds into our own perceptions of who the 'sinner' is and who is not.
Furthermore, how do we label other tragedies of the past both distant and future? Do we say that those who went to work in the Twin Towers on November 11, 2001--some of them Christian, some of them not--was God's wrath being poured out on sinners? Or more germane to this example, what do we make of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005? Surely, there were some Christians included in the 1,500 plus casualities. Were they merely collateral damage for the sinners who needed to be taught a lesson by God?
We need to be careful and heed Jesus' warning: "unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."