This is what the prophetic voice of the Church needs to look like.  Watch as John Piper responds to President Barack Obama’s statement on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  Respectful.  Firm.  Poignant.

 

25 comments
  1. A great theologian once said, “[T]here isn’t a definitive biblical position on these issues… The Old Testament had much to say about sojourners within the land, but the Bible is also clear about obeying governing authorities.”

    Personally I fail to see how abortion is any different from capital punishment or any other kind of killing in the eyes of God. Even killing in self defense is an affront to the teachings of Jesus, but I don't see Christians getting worked up about murder in self-defense being legal.

    It seems like the law governing things like abortion ought to be utilitarian for the best interest of all people, and not decided based on certain people's superstition. Sin is between the sinner and God, and men should withhold their judgment.

  2. Who exactly is this great theologian?

    First off – capital punishment is instituted by God in the OT, and authority given to the government in Romans 13. Provided it is done justly.

    All killing does not = murder. The command is not to murder. Regarding your comment on Jesus' teaching you are taking his words about turning the other cheek out of its historical context, as well as, not looking closely at the text. He is talking about when somebody offends you (slap) not trying to pummel you to death.

    This is a social justice issue, the unborn do not have a voice. This particular sin is not just between the sinner and God.

  3. I don't find that interpretation of Jesus's injunction to “turn the other cheek” particularly compelling.

    The meaning seems very plain to me, when read within the context of the Sermon on the Mount, and the plain meaning and implications of “turning the other cheek” fits in quite well with “resist not evil,” “blessed at the meek” and so on.

    Moreover, we have multiple accounts to give us a clearer view of the “historical context” as you call it. Whereas in Matthew we see specifically a reference to the right cheek first then turning the left cheek, this reference to right and left is absent from Luke's account.
    From this we might infer that the side on which the person is hit is not particularly relevant. (If I have missed your point on this please let me know and I will address it more specifically). Simply put, this passage really wouldn't have been read much differently by your average man in the first century than today.

    It means precisely what it says: “Treat others they way you would have them treat you.” It seems to me to be quite disingenuous to use the wiggle room of uncertain “historical context” to escape the clear meaning of what Jesus said.

    Only God can judge who is innocent and who is guilty. When a human takes the life of another human on purpose, he was usurped the role of God. Intentional killing is always murder.

    It might be difficult to reconcile with our own cultural beliefs, which approve of self-defense murder, but God's morality is a much higher than any cultural belief, and personally I would never want to contort the teachings of Jesus to fit the norms of temporal society.

    By the way, that great theologian I quoted is none other than the eminent Shane Vander Hart!

  4. John Piper is a Prophetic voice in the Church. I truly , truly appreciate his ministry!!! Yes, I will pray for for President Barak Obama's heart to be changed!! I will pray for his salvation!! John Piper rightly points out in an earlier video that this world is fleeting and that the many sins we have in today's society are God's judgement already. The only part where I may differ is his perspective of Gov. Palin's past and possible future plans. When Missionaries from the United Kingdom (Eric Liddell Chariots of Fire) sailed west to bring the Gospel to to China, rightly or wrongly parents left many of thier young children back in the United Kingdom for safe keeping. I understand John Piper's personal feelings about a female commander in chief president, but the same could be said of ANY female U.S. Senator or a female U.S. Congresswoman who HAS TO CAST “The deciding vote” to send our men and women into harms way. She in effect would be sending troops into harms way. This would be true of Congresswoman Michelle Bachman Christian Conservative and Palin Supporter. This would be true of ANY female Gov. on the coastline who is in charge of the National Guard especially one that is right next to Russia and Canada. As a female Gov. of Alaska, you might need to send the National Guard into harms way to protect Alaska's (America's) border with Canada from rouge terrorists who want to do harm to oil production or worse!! As a female Gov. of Alaska you might need to ask the National Guard to coordinate some listening posts for what might be happening in Russia.

    I don't know much about Deborah in the Old Testament. How God viewed her or his plans he had in using her. Will have to study up on that.

    As always, on core issues of Christian Orthodoxy we must agree. On minor things it's possible to put by the wayside. Is the above minor?

  5. Now I remember from the “Emergent Church and Politics” post. I was talking about the economy, illegal immigration, etc. There is quite a comprehensive case for protecting unborn life throughout the Bible.

    Regarding the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount – I wasn't referring to the which side, but they type of hit… “a slap”. Which is really more of an insult. In the context of the passage he is dealing with retaliation, not self-defense. That was my point.

    I don't disagree with you that we are to be people of peace. And we are to demonstrate love. We are not to “resist the one who is evil,” (Matthew 5:39). Jesus gives several illustrations, but he also demonstrates moderation… a slap – don't retaliate, you can turn the other cheek, but it ends there. You can walk an extra mile, but not an unlimited amount of miles.

    It's like Jesus is saying, “put up with insult and even a moderate amount of abuse before you take someone to court. Let people have space to be human, to err. Do not take the attitude of an opportunist, perched to exploit every infraction.”

    Regarding capital punishment – I'd refer you to Romans 13:1-7… in particular verse four – “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he (governing authority) does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.”

    Murder involves premeditation. Also killing in the form of retaliation or retribution as an individual – not when the state does it, that is justice.

  6. I haven't heard his position on Palin. I am complementarian in my view of gender roles, especially in light of church leadership, but I don't equate that to civil service.

    I would have to disagree with him there as well.

  7. What a powerful and heartfelt words from John Piper!

    Obama has already signed an Executive Order that authorizes the giving fof ederal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information. Where does it state in the Constitution that taxpayer money can be used to fund international groups that promote the killing of the unborn?

    If Obama signs FOCA, he will be declaring war on the unborn as well as Christians and Catholics.

  8. I wonder if the new president was in the audience? IMO, Piper seemed to be preaching to the choir.. I doubt that it will make any difference other than to promote his own fame.

  9. Unlikely… I don't think Piper was trying to “promote his own fame.” I think he is incredibly passionate. He wasn't preaching to the choir, he was speaking to the President (or people who also share his views). Will it make a difference? Likely not with him, but it may change hearts and minds with those who attend his church or who watch this video.

  10. I re-watched the video Shane.

    What did he say that “may change hearts and minds with those who attend his church”?

    All I heart was a bunch of pseudo-religious rhetoric. I am sure that his entire message wasn't so full of rhetoric but this clip was filled with it.

    I don't know about you.. but if I were the president my response to Piper would be a dismissive one. Piper is just fooling himself if he believes that this clip would change anyone's mind.

    I listened to a pastor like Piper for 15 years and all it did for me is to cause me to despise people in the pro-choice movement.. maybe that is why I don't see guys like him as agents of change in our society.

    Sad that the pulpit in America has become just another place to hear the rhetoric of talk radio,

    All that said.. you know that I am pro-life.. I just do not think that tired old rhetoric will save babies.. it has not for the past 30+ years anyway.

    Hope this doesn't offend Shane.. just a different point of view.

    Hope your week has started well!

    Bob

  11. I thought of this when I read your reply Shane:

    “A friend is one to whom you can pour out the contents of your heart, chaff and grain alike. Knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

    Thank you for being a kind blogging friend!

  12. Listening to you guys here I'm wondering if there is anything really wrong with the occasional preaching to the choir. It's what pastors do every weekend, isn't it? I don't know that there was any expectation that the president would stop and immediately change his mind on this issue because of a few minutes out of one well known pastor's sermon. But I think the choir needs some preaching now and then. I know I do. I have to be reminded, on a whole host of issues.

  13. I don't think there is anything wrong with preaching to the choir, I do it every Sunday (well sort of – we don't have a choir, but I digress).

    I think what Bob didn't care for was that it was addressed to President Obama, but yet seemed to him like preaching to the choir.

  14. I can't say that I agree with you about retaliation being somehow sinless when the state does it, for what is the state if not made up of people? If the “Just following orders” defense didn't wok and Nuremberg and won't cut it on Judgment Day.

    I think pacifism might be the most important lesson Jesus has to teach us, and He did so when he died on the cross, when he bore far worse than insults without any effort to defend himself, indeed without any ill will and only love for his persecutors. It is important for people and governments to follow His example, in this regard particularly.

  15. It isn't retaliation, YHC, but justice when the State does it (provided their actions are just).

    I agree that we should love our enemies, and pray for them. Some are even called to martyrdom when being persecuted for our faith. But I think that is different than what you are talking about here.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Thousands Gather to Protest Global Warming

Speaking of climate change… HT: The Iowa Republican

Uniting People Around Defending Marriage is Bad, Causing Division by Changing Marriage Definition is Good

That is basically the meme in the media over the past couple of…

Should a Christian Live in the Dark & Disorder?

I’ve been reading a book called, I Became a Christian and All…