John Piper’s Tweets: Picking Apart Piper’s Peculiar Prattle

We’re taking a look at some of John Piper’s most recent tweets. What do they mean?

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We’re going to have a Piper Twitter fest today. I had originally planned to post only one tweet, but he’s been active on both of his Twitter accounts lately: @desiring God  and @JohnPiper.

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Ok, let’s first start off with one tweet in which I actually agree.  Actually, I think this is one we can use as a barometer to compare with the others:

 

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I think sometimes Piper must not think before tweeting. The following is what he tweeted on the same day the world was shocked to hear and see clips of a video in which a 26-yr Jordanian pilot was burned alive, set on fire by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It was very poor timing to tweet this:

 

 

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This is confusing to me because Piper believes that God is Sovereign and controls every molecule, so why would he suggest to pastors to use good vocabulary? Doesn’t that put the onus on pastors and contradict Piper’s beliefs that it is God who does this work? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m open to hearing your thoughts and criticisms.

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I’m sure the following would be comforting to parents whose child has a terminal illness (sarcasm):

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Oh yes, and this phrase would be perfect to include in a card to a woman who is currently married to an abuser, doncha think (more sarcasm)?

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Ok, and now we’re at the original tweet that was going to be a post of its own:

 

 

 

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So when David was thinking about killing Goliath, that was a sin?  When Adam and Eve saw each other naked in the garden, was that a sin? When Jairus was weeping because of his daughter’s death, was he sinning? When I’m taking a shower or doing the dishes and my mind is not on God, does that mean I am sinning?  When I’m with my study groups at college discussing relational databases or frequency probabilities, am I sinning? When you are eating a meal with your family and enjoying their company, are you sinning. Seriously, what does this tweet mean?

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John Piper has 702 THOUSAND followers and the Desiring God Twitter account that features John Piper quotes has 294 THOUSAND followers.

I imagine that most of these followers are people who believe his words, ponder them, and try to apply them to their lives.

Do you see how damaging some of these tweets could be if they were internalized, especially victims of abuse?

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258 comments on “John Piper’s Tweets: Picking Apart Piper’s Peculiar Prattle

  1. Randy,
    You are under the impression that Piper will defend himself or repent of anything. He doesn’t. He has been asked at other blogs to come on and have a Q & A. He refuses. He does not even respond to those requests. It appears that he doesn’t like to have his words questioned. Have you gone to any of the links that have been provided for you to see for yourself? I have read many of his books, listened to sermons, interviews and the like. There are many things that he says that are twisted scripture. It has been proven over and over again.

    Julie Anne puts out information on celebrity pastors and immoral ones that get away with it year after year who have large followings. It is good to be prepared to address false teachings. I can’t think of a soul that comes here that does not have a good grasp of what words mean, but you continue to allow yourself to write as if you know exactly what JP’s tweets all mean and better than others here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, Randy,
    You are going to be the judge of what is stupid and what is not. You are the only one who will judge whether or not you have wronged someone or not. I think you have put yourself in a lofty place of importance. You have been told today that you have crossed the line, but will not own it.

    What exactly is it that you feel Julie Anne lied about? Are these not the tweets of John Piper? I see some twisted scripture in these and how is it that enlarged vocabularies will keep us from experiencing God. There have been people who have very small vocabularies that experience God just fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Let me take a stab at this one, just for grins:

    “Sinning is any… action…” Including doing the dishes. And eating. Hence the word “any.”

    “From a heart that prefers anything to God.” This is the important part. And if you haven’t read a lot of Piper it’s not easy to get a grasp at what he’s saying. But what he’s doing is trying to understand these texts:
    “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (‭Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭23‬ NIV)
    “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭6‬ NIV)
    So “everything” in Romans 14 would include mundane things. And “impossible” in Hebrews 11 refers even to giving to the poor and curing cancer, if the biblical words are to be believed.
    The challenge, of course, is to actually try to understand that curing cancer might not be pleasing to God, if it’s done without “faith.” And that doing dishes, apart from “faith,” is sin. But they are indeed part of “everything” and “impossible.”
    So what is faith, apart from which “everything” we do is sin, and “impossible” to please God? Is it having prayed a prayer? Or walked an aisle? Or is it believing that God is who He says He is, that I am who He says I am, and having cast myself upon His grace and mercy, find Him to be my greatest treasure, and I prefer nothing before Him?
    That’s how I understand and I *think* he meant that tweet.

    Like

  4. JA note: I am allowing this comment by Randy. And will respond briefly.

    Julie probably will not post this but I want to say to you that if I have wronged you in some way, I will ask your forgiveness. It was not my intention to offend you, but I have to confess that the level of ignorance that I see expressed on Julie’s page is overwhelming.

    I don’t really have a dog in the fight between her and Piper. It is just that when I see statements that have nothing to do with reality, I can’t just sit by silently.

    As I have stated before, I can only think of two choices since Piper’s statments are crystal clear. Either someone lacks the theological ability to understand them or they are deliberately twisting them. I was trying to be kind initally and say that Julie lacked either theological or linguistic ability. I didn’t want to accuse her of twisting the truth [read lying–I know the American people are too gutless to use that word any more].

    If she is going to comment on what Piper believes, she needs first to understand what he believes.

    Like

  5. Joe,
    I have read a lot of Piper, more than I care to think about. Jesus is my greatest treasure. I would prefer to be living with him in glory than remain in this world.

    How do you address the tweet that God condoned the “murder” of Jesus. Jesus was not murdered, he gave his life willingly. Piper gives a false doctrine here.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. As I have stated before, I can only think of two choices since Piper’s statments are crystal clear. Either someone lacks the theological ability to understand them or they are deliberately twisting them. I was trying to be kind initally and say that Julie lacked either theological or linguistic ability. I didn’t want to accuse her of twisting the truth [read lying–I know the American people are too gutless to use that word any more].

    Randy, first you make a decent attempt to apologize, but then you personally accuse me of lying. At least you are consistent in your behavior.

    If she is going to comment on what Piper believes, she needs first to understand what he believes.

    Actually, no, I don’t first need to understand what he believes. I can post anything I like. He is a public figure in the Christian community and he has a responsibility to be clear with his words. Just because YOU understand him clearly, does not mean that all do. I believe his words can be wrongly interpreted and harmful spiritually.

    And, for the record, I do believe I have a basic understanding of his doctrinal foundation to know where he’s going with his tweets.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brenda,

    Here’s my take on the murder of Jesus:

    Peter said, “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭23‬ NIV)
    Also he said, “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.” (‭Acts‬ ‭5‬:‭30‬ NIV)

    So Peter squarely puts the blame on “wicked men.”

    Here’s the wonder of the mystery: Jesus did give Himself. He could have called for 10,000 angels, but didn’t. He lay down His life. But He wasn’t suicidal; He was killed by other people.

    In fact, Jesus said to Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (‭John‬ ‭19‬:‭11‬ NIV)

    It was a sin to betray Jesus. It was a sin to condemn an innocent man to death. AND, mysteriously, it was in the plan of God. The mystery is deep and wonderful!

    Like

  8. Julie,

    I have begun this comment to you three times now but I keep getting interrupted and I lose it. Trying again.

    Neither Piper nor any other Calvinist believes that it is unnecessary for us to preach the gospel and that gospel preaching is God’s work. That is why I concluded that either 1. You don’t understand what Piper believes and teaches, or 2. You have deliberately misrepresented his views. Since you say you understand what he believes, I am left with number 2. We believe we should preach the gospel as clearly, cogently, and forcefully as possible. There is nothing inconsistent with his statement and that belief. Though I might wonder about the tweet on other grounds, what you presented states a misrepresentation of his belief. Perhaps, you don’t understand what he believes as well as you think and we could retreat to number 1, but I don’t see a possibility for a number three. Perhaps you could suggest one.

    I agree that not all understand what he has written, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have written it. Most don’t understand John 3:16 either but would you suggest it shouldn’t be in the Bible?

    Like

  9. Randy,

    I see that JA has put you in the dog house already, but I’d like to point out one reason why I agree with that decision.

    In your comment at 11:11 a.m., you said:

    The problem with most “discernment blogs” is that their owners couldn’t actually accomplish anything for the glory of God if their lives depended.

    I have no idea whether you intended to include Julie Anne in this insult. But if you did, you have no right to do so. Julie Anne Smith has endured physical and spiritual abuse, and come through it with her sanity and faith intact. She has homeschooled her children, and already raised some of them to adulthood. People have come to her suffering and questioning the goodness of God, and she has listened to them and guided them to those who can help.

    You can correct her if you think she’s wrong, Randy, but you do not get to say that she has accomplished nothing for God, or His glory, or His people. She has already accomplished more than I could dream of.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Joe,

    If it were a matter of disagreement over doctrine, Imwould agree that I should show patience. It is the lies that are the problem. You know as well as I do that Piper doesn’t believe it is God’s responsibility to preach the gospel, but Julie refuses to admit she misrepresented him

    Like

  11. I just approved a few more from Randy. I’m removing myself from the conversation for the time being because I have family a birthday dinner to take care of and homework. You all can try to reason. I may not be quick to moderate Randy’s comments. And I am ok with that. 🙂

    Like

  12. Randy you said,

    “You know as well as I do that Piper doesn’t believe it is God’s responsibility to preach the gospel, but Julie refuses to admit she misrepresented him”

    One of the things I like about Piper is his passion for reaching the lost through the proclamation of the gospel. His book “Let the Nations be Glad!” ought to prove that point. But I also understand the sometimes violent reaction to Gods sovereignty, and how disdain for a person can cause you to hate everything he says.
    I won’t lie… I have my biases too. If, say Joel Osteen tweeted “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” I’d be suspect – not because the statement may or may not be true, but because what I know of his doctrine causes me to doubt just about everything he says. Shoot, if he tweeted that he had bacon and eggs for breakfast I’d probably switch to peanut butter toast and hashbrowns just as a matter of principle, ha!
    And though I agree with you in principle on a doctrinal level, it doesn’t do you, me, Julie, or anyone else any good that I can tell by being unkind. I know what it’s like to be reformed and be called unloving, unevangelstic, fatalistic, and the whole bit. And yeah, it’s not true. It’s a caricature. But throwing back things that are also a caricature at best – like saying you’re mentally incapable of processing truth – isn’t helping, that’s my point.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Joe,

    Thank you for your patience and courtesy in commenting here, and for offering your thoughts on Piper’s public musings.

    “Sinning is any… action…” Including doing the dishes. And eating. Hence the word “any.”

    “From a heart that prefers anything to God.” This is the important part. And if you haven’t read a lot of Piper it’s not easy to get a grasp at what he’s saying…

    I appreciate your attempt above to make sense of this tweet. I follow your reasoning and, to some extent, I agree with it. However, I’m not sure that everyone who has read from Piper would come to the same conclusions.

    For my part, this tweet had me scratching my head because of Piper’s professed views of complementarianism, and especially spousal abuse and the permanence of marriage. By his own words, he seems to think it’s a sin for a battered wife to put her own safety and well-being above her marriage. To me, that’s simply cruel and unreasonable.

    And that makes me wonder just how unreasonable Piper’s thinking is regarding this tweet. Are we allowed to concentrate on the tasks and pleasures that God gives us? Or do we have to be thinking and meditating on Him 24/7, no matter what we’re doing or feeling at the moment? His teaching on marriage is one reason why I suspected Piper meant the latter.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Joe Reed,
    How do you define God’s Sovereignty? I do believe that God is sovereign, but not in the Only the elect will be saved kind of thinking. If that were true, that would destroy what is preached in the Gospels are all false. John 3:16 would be a complete farce. God would have it that no one would perish. That is why he sent Jesus as the perfect sacrifice. God knows all and sees all. He knows what choices we will make and grieves for those who won’t accept Him. But he is a just God. The unbelievers who do not want Him now, won’t have Him later. That is why the Gospel should be preached in love. I believe the word forcefully was mentioned by someone else. Force never won anyone to Christ. His love wins people to Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Joe Reed you wrote: “It was a sin to betray Jesus. It was a sin to condemn an innocent man to death. AND, mysteriously, it was in the plan of God. The mystery is deep and wonderful!”

    I agree with this statement whole heartedly and it all is a wonderful mystery. I do not agree that Jesus death on the cross was murder as JP puts it. Jesus was not suicidal, He was sacrificial. He knew very well what he was doing and why. Those that sent Him to the cross were wicked. Did any of them repent? That is also mystery. We are not told. I tend to think just as one of the thieves that my Lord was hung between accepted Him, some of those that crucified Him could have just as well accepted Him later.

    The use of the word “murder”, is a shock jock use meant to stir thinking and even controversy. Well it has stirred controversy as you can see and I don’t believe that can ever be good for Christianity as a whole. Love is what Jesus is all about. I think you would agree with that. I see a lot of methodology and theological problems with JP. As for Joel O. I turn a deaf ear. There are plenty more on the screen and drawing big numbers that would also be on that list.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh dear, I see Randy made his debut here. He does that. We “just don’t understand”. We “never get their/his position right”, and so on. Nothing new. I heard this every day at ground zero for 10 years. If Jesus really that complicated perhaps they have it wrong.

    These guys make it very hard for the nice Calvinists out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Has it occurred to any of you that JP may not have tweeted any of these things? To me they look like statements that could have been lifted from his writings and tweeted by a staff member.

    Like

  18. As to that last tweet…it sums up Piper and his followers quite well. Just assume you are sinning by existing and thinking.

    I wake up and think of coffee. I am in sin.

    The tweet about God murdering Jesus is what should give us all pause. God never sins but He murders? Yet He tells us not to murder. And the fact that Jesus was murdered means He did not willingly make a sacrifice for us. It also means that Jesus would have to be a lesser Diety. That makes His death meaningless.

    Piper’s god plots murder and disease. Sounds like allah to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Serving Kids,

    “he seems to think it’s a sin for a battered wife to put her own safety and well-being above her marriage. To me, that’s simply cruel and unreasonable.”

    Without diving in too deep in a well I’ll drown in, what Piper said was concerning preferring anything to God, not marriage. I do think preferring safety to God is a sin. They are not mutually exclusive – I wear my seatbelt and do my best to drive on the right side of the road, and I don’t eat rotten food. That’s safety. And I also would tell my kids if someone is beating you up, get away. BUT… and here’s the tricky part, safety is a god in our culture. “Safety first,” we say. Safety is a hindrance to the spread of the gospel. The gospel is spread by the blood of martyrs, historically.

    Now that has nothing to do with an abusive marriage. Not going there, and really to say Piper is going there in this instance is reading something into what he said, is that fair to say?
    But I will affirm that if Jesus put safety before the will of God, He wouldn’t have been crucified. He would have called in the Angels.

    But let’s not forget that sometimes Jesus DID avoid danger. He walked away from it sometimes. His life was often in danger, and he “escaped” it every time but the cross. That wasn’t sin. But it WOULD have been wrong to skip the cross. Hence He prayed, with sweat like great drops of blood, “Not My will, Yours be done!”

    Like

  20. gracewriterrandy wrote about Julie Anne:

    “I could have said she is stupid and theologically and biblically ignorant. That may have been an ungracious way to state the truth. Frankly, I can’t think of a more gracious way to state the truth than what I stated. She plainly misunderstood/misrepresented what Piper was saying. I must conclude that either she suffers from theological or linguistic ineptitude, or she is was deliberately attempting to mislead her readers by giving giving the impression that he was saying something other than what he stated.”

    If you guys ever wonder what it has been like living at ground zero with rabid Calvinists, the above is a nutshell version of what one hears when they dare question the teaching of one of the exhalted Cavlinvist gurus or have any disagreement with Cavlinism. . You cannot swing a dead cat here without hitting one of these types in ANY evangelical circles. ANY. That includes NON Cal circles because they are there,too, trying to plant Calvinism in them. covertly.

    Seriously, the above is a very typical example of their argumentation.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Joe Reed,
    Being a martyr for the cause of Christ and being killed body and soul in marriage are NOT the same thing.
    As I have said before: go to YouTube and search “John Piper abuse” watch the video and tell me that he cares one iota about abuse in marriage and is very smug about it. If we women would just be a little more submissive and be quietly respectful of our husbands, everything is going to be ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Brenda,

    “He is a just God. The unbelievers who do not want Him now, won’t have Him later. That is why the Gospel should be preached in love. I believe the word forcefully was mentioned by someone else. Force never won anyone to Christ. His love wins people to Christ.”

    Totally agree. As to defining Gods sovereignty, I define it as whatever God wants to do, He does. Either God is sovereign over all, or something else is in some way sovereign over God. And I want a God who’s sovereign, not in any way subject. I know that causes problems, but it solves some other ones.

    As for the “murder” part, and it being a “shock” term, I say yes, it is a shock word. And it’s supposed to be. Jesus’ death was the greatest atrocity in the history of the world, because it was so unjust. And the Bible uses words like “killed” and “slain” (Greek word is “slaughtered,” in my mind more shocking) and “put to death” and “even the death of a cross.”

    Did any of those who killed him repent? Surely!
    “Now when the centurion saw what had happened [the crucifixion], he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” (‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭47‬)
    So he was guilty of carrying out an order to execute an innocent man, but forgiven by the sacrifice of the very man he executed. And in a very real sense, we all are, hallelujah!

    Like

  23. Randy,
    What difference does it make whether or not he sent the tweet or a staff member did it with his permission. HE STILL WROTE IT. Whether it was from a book, speech or sermon. The words are still his. Smoke and mirror tactics do not work.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Brenda,

    “Love is what Jesus is all about. I think you would agree with that.”

    There was no one more loving than Jesus, ever. Yet, He stirred up such controversy that after three years of preaching, His own people called for His death, and not quietly! So being loving doesn’t mean everyone will see you that way.
    And let’s face it, Jesus said shocking things:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭34-38‬ NIV)

    I often say that if that wasn’t in the Bible, I wouldn’t believe it!

    Like

  25. I know what Piper believes about abuse in marriage. I don’t agree with him – but I do know how he gets there. In defense of it, (and here’s me dying in that well), Piper is so focused on eternity that he is willing to call an abisive situation, and even marriage itself, a temporary arrangement, because the 50 years we’re married is really short in eternity.
    And I understand his desire to magnify the earthly permanence of marriage.

    That being said, you’re right – suffering abuse is not necessarily martyrdom. If I want to be abused I could throw myself in front of a truck and claim sovereignty, but I don’t, that’s foolish. I have four daughters. I don’t want them to spend their lives suffering abuse unnecessarily. I hope they live for Jesus and if they suffer abuse for the sake of the gospel, that’s one thing. But needless suffering is another altogether.

    Hope that helps

    Like

  26. “Has it occurred to any of you that JP may not have tweeted any of these things? To me they look like statements that could have been lifted from his writings and tweeted by a staff member”

    Hmm. His picture and name are on them so not sure why that woudl matter. Lots of xitan celebs use staff to do boilerplate stuff for them cos they know how they think.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. :”Piper is so focused on eternity that he is willing to call an abisive situation, and even marriage itself, a temporary arrangement, because the 50 years we’re married is really short in eternity.”

    This is a good point about Piper. But then that is only relevant to the elect who were chosen before Adam sinned. And it is not relevant to those God passed over. So that makes it a bit tricky in some respects.

    On the other hand, I believe Jesus Christ was ushering in the Kingdom here and now, too. We are to live as Christ now. And what we do here and now counts in eternity on the redeemed earth. As believers we would love justice, mercy, compassion, truth (even if negative) etc. We would not be running out to prop up those who protected child molesters and maligned the victims. Piper did this with CJ Mahaney. Not a great “eternity” position. But one that works well if you are elect and can do what you want…nevermind the victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Joe Reed,
    I find that passage in Matthew as being quite beautiful. Jesus/God is to come before anyone else. I would not give up my relationship with God for anyone and I continue to tell those family members who have not accepted Him in a loving way, not a push Him down your throat way. An example would be a recent trip to FL for my daughter’s wedding. There were near misses going each way. I had one daughter with me going down, the other coming back. At each close call, I referenced that God was with us all the way and it was His will that we made it through that experience. The sword that Jesus speaks of is the Gospel. Not everyone is going to accept Him and some family are going to despise you for it. That is their choice. I can’t stop it. What is missing is: your spouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Lydia and Brenda,
    Yay we found common ground!

    And regarding Piper and Mahaney, one of the things that’s always irritated me about Piper is his “sloppiness” in his associations. Sloppy is a kind word, I know. But he ought to know better.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. “There was no one more loving than Jesus, ever. Yet, He stirred up such controversy that after three years of preaching, His own people called for His death, and not quietly! So being loving doesn’t mean everyone will see you that way.
    And let’s face it, Jesus said shocking things”

    It was mainly with the RELIGIOUS leaders of His time and tribe. Their positions were threatened by His teaching because people were believing Him, following him around. He was drawing their crowds!. The Romans thought they were all “athiests” as in only having ONE GOD. They just wanted to keep peace because Palestine was a hot bed of zealotry because of the occupation.

    It was the religious leaders who He called names and rebuked for their teaching, and heavy burdens. As to the Romans, Jesus was telling the oppressed average Jew to turn the other cheek and carry their bags an extra mile.

    Piper is just another Pharisee hawking Calvin as god. Ironically, even Pilate was uncomfortable putting an innocent man to death. But keeping peace in Palestine was more important so he easily caved to the religous leaders demands.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. And Brenda, I can totally relate to the relief and joy in being protected. The hard part of sovereignty is wondering what happened when my 33 year old cousin didn’t make it through and hit the tree and died. But I can’t believe it was a lapse of sovereignty. And I know that God wasn’t gleeful and giddy about it.

    Like

  32. “And regarding Piper and Mahaney, one of the things that’s always irritated me about Piper is his “sloppiness” in his associations. Sloppy is a kind word, I know. But he ought to know better”

    Piper long promoted Mark Driscoll. He was one of his mentors along with CJ. Did you knwo that because of that relationship, the Petrys (former elders at Mars Hill who were forced out for disagreeing) contacted Piper about the situation (which was horrible lies, etc) and heard nothing back from him?

    Piper knows exactly what he is doing. After all the scandals and Driscoll stepping down after bilking money and leaving MH in financial disaster you know what Piper said? Driscoll has some “flaws”.

    Sloppy?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Joe,
    I have lost loved ones, too. I buried my fiancée 30 years ago shortly before we were to be married. I buried a grandson at 9 months old and my daughter is unable to get pregnant again without divine intervention. Those things were hard and I had the “why” syndrome, but I know that I will see them both again. I hope you have that assurance of your cousin. God does make the bad into good, even though we can’t always see it.

    I do not believe in the “elect” although do know that God knows what our decisions will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Joe,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.

    Now that has nothing to do with an abusive marriage. Not going there, and really to say Piper is going there in this instance is reading something into what he said, is that fair to say?

    No, he’s probably not thinking of marriage here, but Piper has gone there before. His stated beliefs are that a Christian woman has no right to divorce her husband, even to protect herself. He hasn’t recanted that as far as I know.

    If he’s that unreasonable regarding abusive spouses, just how unreasonable is he capable of being in general? He might really think that unless I’m thinking of Jesus and nothing else, whether at work or play, then I’m sinning. If he doesn’t, then he needs to make that clear. Julie Anne was right to call him on that.

    That’s all I can manage before I go to bed. I have an early start tomorrow. Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Randy,

    2. Taken in context you folks may not have twisted his statements so badly.

    If those tweets need context that badly, then Piper (or whoever’s posting them) can provide it. Including a hyperlink to a sermon or blog post or book listing is easy. Julie Anne does it regularly, and you seem to think that she’s lacking in intelligence.

    What’s Piper’s excuse?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. “Force never won anyone to Christ. His love wins people to Christ.”

    Amen to that. Brenda. We’re told that God’s kindness leads to repentance, after all. (Romans 2:4.) No brand of brow beating or chest thumping will exceed kindness’ ability show people the good news of Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. My criticism of Piper’s tweets in JA’s pos, Randy, focused on the one about disease. If you read my earlier comment on that you’ll see find why I think he did not speak the gospel clearly in that tweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. 2. Taken in context you folks may not have twisted his statements so badly.

    If those tweets need context that badly, then Piper (or whoever’s posting them) can provide it. Including a hyperlink to a sermon or blog post or book listing is easy. Julie Anne does it regularly, and you seem to think that she’s lacking in intelligence.

    That’s just it, exactly, Serving. If your tweet cannot stand alone without explanation or more context, then you add a link to it. I do it all the time.

    For example, I just read Tim’s post. I don’t believe that the following tweet needs context, but because I want people to read more, I provide the link with the tweet:

    We know that Piper DOES has responded to a negative responses and will remove tweets (ie, the one about the tornado in Okalahoma – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/those-deleted-tweets). We know that he does know how to include links in his tweets as evidenced here:

    So, I can only conclude that he is careless with some of his confusing tweets and refuses to remove them or engage people about what he means. Being careless with 704 THOUSAND followers is just not cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I think it’s important to highlight Randy’s responses here. It has been shown on this thread that Piper’s tweets cause confusion. But he refuses to accept that because Piper’s tweets are “crystal” clear to him, Piper’s doctrine matches his and so Piper is automatically labeled as right and those who have questions, confusion, or disagree with Piper’s tweets are wrong and the bad guys:

    We have deliberately misrepresented his views. We don’t understand what he means. He accuses me of lying, false witness, of sinning, of not repenting. He resorts to personal attacks.

    But what is really interesting is his forcefulness in defending Piper and his accusations to anyone who disagrees. If Piper’s message is so right and so good, then wouldn’t he want to gently help those who are having trouble understanding it? Wouldn’t he want to help Piper’s message get out in a way that could be understood? If Piper’s message is so important, then wouldn’t it be worth that time spent in helping someone understand? If defending what you believe in resorts in attacking people, then I have to question if what you are believing is really so right.

    When someone doesn’t understand something, we try to find ways to help them understand. We do not attack. Randy, your behavior gives you away.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Piper functions largely at a merely cognitive level. He does not relate to people as people. He relates to them as as objects—specifically, as objects of God’s wrath and undeserved favor, as though God neither relates to nor wishes to relate to his image bearers on an emotional level. Perhaps this is why he views people as nothing more than God’s automatons.

    Even those who come to Piper’s defense typically do so on a purely intellectual level, to the extent that they seem to assume that to disagree with what Piper has taught them to think is to challenge their very worth. On one level, this is understandable. Those who cannot relate to others, and, therefore, to God, on the basis of what is True–which cannot be divorced from right relationship–may well tend to take refuge in mere propositional small “t” truth.

    But here’s the deal. Were it not that Piper is so influential, we cold pity him. We still can pity him, but not without reserve. While I am not qualified to diagnose, I dare say that any informed layman could legitimately suspect that Piper does to some lesser or greater degree suffer from some psychological disorder. His seeming lack of empathetic capacity (he admits as much at tinyurl.com/m8efram) would at first blush seem to point to narcissism.

    In Piper’s case, however, maybe it is a matter of being located on that part of the autism spectrum that was until recently called Asperger’s Syndrome. The article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome indicates that those who suffer from this condition exhibit, among other things, significant difficulties in social interaction (e.g. Piper’s need for marital counseling and his alienation from his own son). The article speaks of the “preservation of linguistic and cognitive development,” but also of the “atypical (peculiar or odd) use of language.”.

    Whether or not Piper suffers from some diagnosable mental condition, it seems to me that so much of what others see as being (persuasively) clever and erudite is actually so lacking in actual, intelligible, meaning as to be merely peculiar or odd.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Well, Julie Anne, I cannot say what is or is not motivating Randy, but if it happens to be true that his sense of self-worth is tied up in being a sycophant of John Piper, then criticizing Piper will feel to Randy like a personal attack, like he has no personal worth. Sometimes those who think their very worth before God and man is being attacked will respond with actual attacks on their perceived accusers.

    Then again, it could simply be that Randy is not sufficiently grounded in his own thinking that he must resort to insults. My own belief is that Randy’s positions are so indefensible that personal attacks are the only weapons at his disposal.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Gary wrote,
    “Whether or not Piper suffers from some diagnosable mental condition, it seems to me that so much of what others see as being (persuasively) clever and erudite is actually so lacking in actual, intelligible, meaning as to be merely peculiar or odd.”

    See, that’s sounding a lot like Randy, from the other side. Insult intelligence. Suggest a mental disorder. I happen to generally agree with Piper. Shall I tell my wife I too have been diagnosed as autistic, possible Aspergers?

    There’s better ways to interact, by both sides.

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  43. Julie,

    I need you to help me with a problem I am having with what appears to be a double standard here. It seems your expressed desire that people be kind and gracious only applies to those who are reading and commenting on your blog. If people aren’t here, it appears it is OK to malign them, misrepresent them, marginalize them, show contempt for them, etc. For example, I just read a comment someone made that is neither, kind, gracious, nor true, yet not a word of reproof was offered by anyone. This person wrote, “Piper is just another Pharisee hawking Calvin as God.”

    I am relatively sure you will deny this, but it appears to me that your posting of Piper’s tweets was an attempt to marginalize him by showing contempt for him and making fun of what he tweeted.

    You have accused me of defending Piper even though I have told you I am not. I am not even defending his teaching though I would be in agreement with much of it. All I have asked is that you state his beliefs and the beliefs of others you disdain accurately.

    I understand it is your blog and you may do as you wish, but it would be nice if you are going to ask one person to be gracious in their comments, you would ask everyone to follow those guidelines.

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  44. He does not relate to people as people. He relates to them as as objects—specifically, as objects of God’s wrath and undeserved favor, as though God neither relates to nor wishes to relate to his image bearers on an emotional level.

    Gary, I have noticed the same thing. People are sort of objectified or de-personed, in a sense.

    Except I do think Piper and his ilk do make appeal — significant appeal, even — to the emotions. I have listened to these guys preach and found them to create an emotionally charged atmosphere like unto the Charismatics in degree, but different in kind. Where the Charismatics tend to appeal to good/pleasant feelings, which they want to experience with intensity, Piper and his ilk create an atmosphere of intense fear. This emotion is their main currency. They make God emotionally unapproachable on any other ground than fear, and then demand we love Him or die. It is highly compelling and I think somewhat, for lack of a better word, addictive in a sense. They get high and get people high on the fear of God instead of “doing the stuff” (“power” evangelism, miracles, etc.) or the warm fuzzy God-is-my-boyfriend type of thing. Hence the shock jock value of some of Piper’s words and concepts like that “scream of the damned” thing, though I can’t remember if that was Piper or Mahaney. Wartburg has something on it. But in my experience it is very feeling centric, though couched in language of the head/frontal lobe. But they do want you to “feel” your worship, and the feeling they want you to feel is fear.

    I think this is another reason why some of these guys are so focused on condemning themselves, like Mahaney’s famous “better than I deserve” thing, though that is hardly unique to him. They are still searching for a feelings based connection with God, but it is a feeling of self loathing and fear. This is why love is (apparently) only an action to them and not a disposition of heart on God’s part.

    Anyway, it seems to me that they are not afraid of feelings at all, except good ones. Those they don’t like too well, I don’t think.

    As far as his marriage and alienation from his son, we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with him, or in his home. What people know is his public teaching and stage presence. Perhaps he does have Ausberger’s or something like that. But a man who traffics in fear couched in heady intellectual verbiage is not going to have a real easy time with close relationships, I don’t think. Nor do I find it surprising he has empathy issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. I am relatively sure you will deny this, but it appears to me that your posting of Piper’s tweets was an attempt to marginalize him by showing contempt for him and making fun of what he tweeted.

    Randy – I use this blog to point out questionable words by prominent/celebrity church leaders that could cause spiritual harm. You say marginalize and contempt. That’s your interpretation and it doesn’t bother me that you disagree with me. However, I believe the Bible has given us a responsibility to call out false teachers, to warn others when there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We are also to warn and protect others – especially the weak and oppressed. Many people who come to my blog have been spiritually battered. I view Piper as dangerous and will continue to do whatever I can to spread the word. This may not be your hang-out place, Randy. And I’m not going to continue to argue about whether or not I should have posted about Piper. I follow what I believe the Bible says and my heart. Me posting about Piper is not for debate, Randy. You’ll have to just deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Tim,

    Certainly you and Brenda understand the difference between preaching a message forcefully and forcibly bringing someone to salvation don’t you? I have read Peter’s Acts two sermon, and it seemed pretty forceful to me.

    Like

  47. Joe – I agree with part of your comment, yet at the same time, it’s not quite the same thing. Piper is a person of public interest. Trying to understand where he is coming from, how he can come up with his doctrinal or personal conclusions based on what we know of his life that he has openly shared is appropriate.

    However, it is not appropriate for Randy to insult people he is interacting with on my blog – people who are not in a position of authority to affect thousands of people. On this blog we have a rule that we debate topics and do not get personal. Randy violated that.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Yea, there are quite a few celebrity pastors who are into this forceful thing – they also word it as “authoritative preaching” and if you aren’t preaching with authority, then they’d probably question your credentials to preach.

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  49. Julie,

    I want to ask your forgiveness for showing you disrespect. That I see you and others showing contempt for those whose ideas they do not understand, does not justify my reaction. Will you forgive me?

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  50. Julie,

    Do you think ineffective and non-persuasive preaching if preferable? The Apostle wrote, “knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.” Somehow I always thought that was a pattern we should emulate.

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  51. Here’s a Piper tweet posted by Paul Dohse:

    I’m not sure if it’s going to post the actual picture so here’s the text:

    “The Bible says there are men who rape (Genesis 34:2) and women who seduce (Genesis 39:7). United in sin, distinct in form.”

    This is perfectly clear. I know exactly what he is saying and I believe I understand the point he’s trying to make.* And that is what concerns me.

    Can I “defend” what he’s saying and show how it’s Biblical? Well…errmm, sort of. :/ I mean, I see how he got there. However, all things are lawful but not all things are profitable. I can defend him (kinda), but I think it would be a very bad idea to even try and the thought of doing so makes me squeamish. On the contrary, I think he needs to be called out for this. Rape and seduction are not merely different in form. They are different in degree of damage, and that on a number of levels. Men do have power to avoid seduction. Their “no” is not taken away. Women don’t have the ability to escape forcible abuse of this nature. Seduction is a temptation that can be refused, rape is a violent assault the victim has no control over. The victim’s “no” is taken away by violent force. The difference is staggering and to attempt a moral equivalency as Piper does here simply because they are both sin is unconscionable. He doesn’t need defense for his clarity. He needs rebuke for his message. This is awful. 😡

    *I do not believe he is trying to suggest women who are raped had it coming because of being seductive, but I can easily see how someone would conclude that, especially with his use of the word “united,” and how I know these guys choose their words very carefully. I do acknowledge that I could be giving him too much benefit of doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Randy, who gets to decide what is effective vs ineffective. Do you judge by the heart of the one sharing the message or the tone?

    I do know men who think only “authoritative preaching” is right. They say their heart is right – that their message is hard, but it is the loving truth/hard truth of the Gospel. I have seen their bully behavior. That appalls me. I never saw Jesus speaking to unbelievers like that in Scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Barn,

    It seems to me the point Piper is trying to make is that all sin is mortal or damning sin, but I think he must have had a major brain cramp that caused him to tweet something like that. I think you are right that it sends a wrong message.

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  54. It seems to me the point Piper is trying to make is that all sin is mortal or damning sin, but I think he must have had a major brain cramp that caused him to tweet something like that. I think you are right that it sends a wrong message.

    And how many people got that confusing tweet, Randy – people who highly esteem Piper and will sometimes question themselves as if they are having “wrong” thinking because, after all, he is a “reputable” leader.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Julie,

    My view is that God uses all different kinds of personalities to accomplish his work. It was said of one of the later Reformers, “He preached as if he was dying almost to have you converted.” My original point was that Calvinists should never think that it doesn’t matter how haphazardly we preach the gospel, since saving sinners is His work, not ours. There is nothing more nauseating than to hear a dead preacher, preaching to dead sinners the living truth. I think we are to preach as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on God, because it does.

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  56. So, we’re back full circle – – Piper’s words and his approach DO matter – – even if you say that that it is God who elects – we can still preach as if lives depend on it without being a bully and without being rude. There is enough scripture that backs up how we are to use our words.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Julie,

    I am not now suggesting, nor have I ever suggested that I agree with everything Piper believes, says or writes. I would not even defend the practice of tweeting theology, though I have done it myself. All I have contended for is a fair and accurate treatment of his views. Come on now, does anyone really believe JP worships Calvin as God?

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  58. This is how I used the word:

    forceful (ˈfɔːsfʊl)
    adj
    1. powerful
    2. persuasive or effective
    ˈforcefully adv ˈforcefulness n
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
    force•ful (ˈfɔrs fəl, ˈfoʊrs-)

    adj.
    1. full of force; powerful; vigorous: a forceful blow.
    2. effective; cogent; telling: a forceful plea for justice.
    [1565–75]
    force′ful•ly, adv.
    force′ful•ness, n.
    Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
    ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
    Adj. 1. forceful – characterized by or full of force or strength (often but not necessarily physical); “a forceful speaker”; “a forceful personality”; “forceful measures”; “a forceful plan for peace”
    forceless, unforceful – lacking force; feeble; “a forceless argument”
    2. forceful – forceful and definite in expression or action; “the document contained a particularly emphatic guarantee of religious liberty”
    emphatic
    assertive, self-asserting, self-assertive – aggressively self-assured; “an energetic assertive boy who was always ready to argue”; “pointing directly at a listener is an assertive act”
    Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
    forceful
    adjective
    1. dynamic, powerful, vigorous, potent, assertive He was a man of forceful character.
    dynamic NOT. weak, exhausted, faint, powerless, frail, feeble, enervated, spent
    2. powerful, strong, convincing, effective, compelling, persuasive, weighty, pithy, cogent, telling This is a forceful argument for joining them.

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  59. Julie Anne,

    It doesn’t seem to have occurred to most folks here that it is possible to eat the meat but leave the bones. I have probably never read a book I agreed with completely, but I have derived great benefit from many of them and some benefit fron most of them.

    I think JP is wrong about some of his beliefs and he would think the same about me, but that doesn’t mean he is anymore “evil” than the rest of us. We all say and do stupid things. We are fallible human beings. The first comment on this thread is “He seems evil.”

    Has God used him in the lives of many people? I believe he has. If you need to talk about the real bones in his belief system, go for it. I would rather enjoy the meat.

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  60. I disagree, Randy. I believe his tweets and his teachings could put people in harm’s way or or even result in death (spiritual, emotional, or physical). Imagine telling a wife to endure physical abuse which ends her life.

    Liked by 2 people

  61. Perhaps you have access to a statement of his that I have not seen. Just last night I watched a short video of JP answering a question about spousal abuse. He distinguished beteen verbal abuse and abuse that could put a spouse in physical danger or loss of life. I think I would need to hear more about what he meant about enduring smacking for one night. It took it to mean that once is too much. At any rate, his counsel was to take the matter to the church. Again I assume he was talking about a situation in which the abuser is a professing Christian. I don’t think he could have been any more emphatic than he was that the message of the Church to the abuser must be “This behavior is not OK.”

    What is the alternative? Are we really going to trust the corrupt U.S. Judicial system? I have seen in a many cases “up close and personal” in which a wife called the police. They put the jerk in a cell for the night, but guess what happened then. Now he is even more angry, and he comes home and smacks her again. Great! Let’s get a restraining order. What is she going to do, hit him with it? It is a piece of paper that means nothing.

    My advice would be different. Buy a gun and use it if your life is threatened. It is God’s prescribed remedy for those whose lives are threatened. And, you won’t have to pay a lawyer to get a restraining order for you.

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  62. Exactly, Julie. When Peter acted in a way contrary to the gospel and harmful to believers, he needed correcting and he took it publicly. Peter didn’t get a pass from Paul just because Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and had done great things in the church. And we know that Peter valued Paul’s insights and referred to him with great esteem later in his epistle. That’s how it works in the body of Christ, we depend on each other to stay in line with sound doctrine.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. “What is the alternative? Are we really going to trust the corrupt U.S. Judicial system?”

    I’ve worked in the judicial system for decades. It is not corrupt, and you defame the hard work of the judges and staff who do the job every day. Most people couldn’t handle a judge’s responsibilities for an hour let alone day after day, year after year.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. Good for you Tim. I am glad you have found that pocket of functional judicial justice. Your experience has not been mine. I meant no disrespect to judges or those who work in the judicial system. It is often not their fault. Sometimes it is. It is the system I find fault with. You know as well as I do that a restraining order is useless if a person’s life is in danger.

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  65. I have not found a “pocket”, Randy. I personally know hundreds of judges in my state, and have watched thousands of cases in court. Integrity abounds, not corruption.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Randy,
    “Come on now, does anyone really believe JP worships Calvin as God?”

    Yes. I do!! Watch his video on Calvin while on his “mission trip”.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. “Piper functions largely at a merely cognitive level. He does not relate to people as people. He relates to them as as objects—specifically, as objects of God’s wrath and undeserved favor, as though God neither relates to nor wishes to relate to his image bearers on an emotional level. Perhaps this is why he views people as nothing more than God’s automatons.”

    Well said, Gary. you have articulated what I have thought since some family members of mine went to work for and study with Piper quite a few years ago. their personalities were so altered, there was much concern within our family. after those years with Piper no one in their extended family knew the true gospel and were viewed at arms length as ignorant. whereas before they were very close with their family members. they could no longer see us as people with feelings who loved and were grieved with their attitude toward us. the most important thing to them was correct doctrine on every single point.

    that was when I started paying attention to Piper and reading his books. I also knew from them that he was raised in a sort of Bob Jones type of fundamentalism. he has a lot of appeal because he really promoted the fact that he lived in the inner city and was not interested in money. I know another minor celebrity who did the same thing and socked it away for retirement….then moved away when it would not be so obvious.

    I think everyone should read Lifton before they take Piper too seriously. I do not know if anyone else has noticed this or not but Piper loves it when people are talking about him and trying to figure out what he means…..he leaves them craving more. I have been following him a long time and I believe he does it on purpose. I think it is part of his act and feeds his ego.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. Randy asks, “What is the alternative? Are we really going to trust the corrupt U.S. Judicial system?”

    Well, get rid of the word corrupt, and, yes, we are going to trust the U.S. Judicial System to aid victims targets of hostile spouses. Every time. Not only will remedies be crafted to fit the circumstances (protection orders, decrees of dissolution of marriage, maintenance and support orders, property and debt division, custody orders and, if crimes have been committed, time behind bars), but the remedies are available and effective.

    Are we going to trust the typical organized church? No, almost never. IN the first place, churches just cannot provide the protection and relief that is available through the God-ordained civil authorities. What CAN an abused wife expect from a typical non-liberal Church? Demands that the police never be called. Admonitions to forgive and submit. Instructions to stay with the abuser and keep on taking it–until death is the result in extreme cases. The kinds of churches that are often the subject of this blog will never permit the married-in-name-only spouse to avail herself (sometimes himself) of the very thing God prescribed, which was a certificate of divorce–which under our law translates into a court-issued decree of divorce. Which, again, just are not available through a church.

    Oh, and even in those circumstances where John Piper will grudgingly recognized the necessity of divorce, he would not permit the wronged partner to remarry. Yes I’ve read his book.

    Courts may not work perfectly in every instance, and I will allow that there is the occasional miscarriage of justice, but at least concerted efforts are exerted at all levels of government to see to it that the courts are effective, available and, increasingly, affordable. Churches on the other hand? When it comes to spouses who have been robbed of all that life ought to be, beaten down and often beaten up, and sometimes even stripped naked in the course of forced sex, church leaders don’t just pass by on the other side of the road. The join join the offenders in their assaults, and then join them as bosom buddies as they travel on to Jericho.

    Liked by 3 people

  69. Lydia,

    I find it interesting that Billy Graham started at Bob Jones and transferred to Wheaton. John Piper started at Wheaton and moved on to somewhere else. Unfortunately, it would seem that time spent at Wheaton does not fully protect one from the siren call of Liftonesque evangelicalism (also know as fundamentalism, but there is another thread discussing that).

    What do you think? Is Piper guilty of what Lifton’s “loading the language,” which I understand to mean interpreting or using words and phrases in new ways so that only insiders can understand? Is part of the appeal of Piperism that one can feel special and included simply by figuring out how it is exactly that Piper is using words?

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  70. Randy,
    I have found in abuse situations that I would far rather go to the police than the church. The church wants to put a bandaid on the open wound and say now everything is alright and we really don’t want to hear about this further. Or they want you to go to marriage counseling which is not recommended for abuse situations. The injured spouse is not free to speak in a combined session for fear of what will happen when they go home. Can a person walk through a restraining order? Of course they can, but in most cases it gives them pause to think about the situation and stay away for a while.

    When JP talks about the wife talking sweetly to a man who wants her to have group sex, I want to throw up. It is ridiculous advice and she should hand him his walking papers for even bringing up such a heinous act. Being an abuse survivor, I find his chuckle at the question disrespectful to all of us who have survived and a desecration of the graves of those who did not survive. Just because an abuser claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean they are. They certainly do not have the heart of Jesus if they are treating their family in that manner.

    JP has a permanence view of marriage. It is not biblical. When a man hits his wife, keeps her from her family and friends, does not allow her no to be no, demands submission, etc., he has broken the covenant of the marriage vows. He shows her no love. I could write a book here, but I don’t believe for one moment that it would make any difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Oh, and even in those circumstances where John Piper will grudgingly recognized the necessity of divorce, he would not permit the wronged partner to remarry. Yes I’ve read his book.

    Gary, I don’t believe that Piper (or Voddie Baucham) ever recognize the necessity of divorce. They would say to permanently separate, but never divorce. I got into this with Voddie Baucham via e-mail and he has a sermon up at sermon audio about this.

    Brenda: I changed your name on the one comment and removed your other comment. All is well.

    Liked by 1 person

  72. Tim, I’m not familiar with the essay you mention. I do recall that Screwtape Letters makes reference to a department (or some such) in Hell that is dedicated to the task of changing the commonly understood meanings of words. My own opinion is that the commonly understood meanings for save and faith are corrupt. It isn’t too difficult to communicate the idea that to save means to heal and to make whole, in addition to rescue from punishment.

    The minions of the abyss have had greater success in getting us to accept the idea that faith means really really believing, and nothing more. When I stumbled over the part of my wedding vows where I plighted my faith to my wife, I was pledging to be faithful to her, and probably to trust her, and look to her and only her for all that is appropriate to receive from only one’s spouse. To believe in Jesus means much the same. There can be no faith without faithfulness. And it is faith/trust in and faithfulness to a person, not a set of doctrines. I suggest that the word fealty is fairly well suited to communicate the Biblical sense of the word or words we translate into English as faith.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. I’ll have to see if I can locate The Inner Ring.

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  73. Is part of the appeal of Piperism that one can feel special and included simply by figuring out how it is exactly that Piper is using words?

    That’s a good question.

    There is an insider feel to his language, for sure. I wonder, though, if the point of that is to create insiderism, or is it to create new definitions altogether intended for all to use? I mean, is he embarking on a massive reeducation program of sorts for the masses? A sort of Piperian Newspeak.

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  74. “I don’t believe that Piper (or Voddie Baucham) ever recognize the necessity of divorce. They would say to permanently separate, but never divorce.”

    Well, they at least recognize that one can separate. Other than that, it is fairly difficult to see how they would treat women any different than slaves. Really, their view of marriage looks very much like involuntary servitude. How very handy for abusive husbands.

    Well, off to read The Inner Ring, which I have located.

    Liked by 2 people

  75. Julie Anne,

    I’m curious about something, and maybe you’ve already done this somewhere and can steer me in the right direction.

    When I read the term “abuse” here, what exactly does it mean? Who determines what is and isn’t abuse? Murder I get – death either is or isn’t. Theft is more or less black and white. Same with adultery.
    But what about abuse? Is it true that every time I’m offended I’m abused? Or if I offend, am I abusing? Physical abuse seems a little more clear, sexual abuse is clear, but emotional abuse seems so foggy to me. I know it exists – I’m not denying it. But is it possible to be abused and not know it? Or to think I am and really am not?

    I hope you know from my other comments I’m not stirring up trouble or being weird, I really want to know if there is some objective definition to work from. The reason I ask is because Piper here seems to have a rap as being potentially abusive in these tweets, and I’m just not understanding how. I understand them differently than many commenters here, I see that!

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  76. I wouldn’t consider offending someone as abuse. When I think of abuse, I think of someone uses their position, or an assumed position of authority over someone inappropriately or in a way to control them. I also believe that people who twist Scripture to mean what they want or use their own opinions as “God’s way,” can be spiritually abusive.

    His carelessness with his words, because of his status as a well-respected authority/pastor can cause great harm to people. Some will have a crisis of faith because of the flippant way he talks about human suffering.

    Take a look at this tweet:
    ” The ugliness and desperation of every disease is meant by God to show us the ugliness and desperation of our sin.”

    To me, this tweet paints God out to be evil – almost like God gives us or allows us to have horrific diseases to force us to see how sinful we are. Since we know Piper believes that God controls every molecule, this seems to imply that God planned disease to happen.

    That makes one logically ask the question: what kind of loving father plans for his children to have diseases or suffer through catastrophic events?

    You can extend that thought to: God allowed my rape or my abuse to happen?

    See how far you get with that thought in talking with a rape victim.

    I know there are some Reformed folks who read/post here and a many of them have problems with Piper’s wording. It’s like his haven is in suffering. It’s easy for him to sit in his cozy house and tweet about devastating tornados, diseases, and human suffering, and talk about how glorious it is. (One of his favorite words.)

    If we look at a pastor’s role – to reflect Christ – to guide people to Christ, if they are leading people away from Christ by their words, their own ideas instead of scripture, yes, that can lead to spiritual abuse.

    We already mentioned his stance on abuse/divorce. Although that was not the subject of these tweets, one can surmise that some women, trying to be godly, will heed his words and remain in an abusive marriage (for a season – as he says) and it could cost them their life. I would view this as spiritual abuse. God would never want a woman to be left in harm’s way. This is his opinion and putting his spiritual spin on things in an authoritative way, so yes, I would consider those words to be spiritually abusive.

    I hope that explains it a bit, Joe.

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  77. Thanks, most helpful.

    Suffering is such a difficult subject. It exists, and it’s hard to reconcile with an Almighty God. I won’t drag this thread through another circle other than to leave these texts,

    Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended [by God] for their faith… (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭35-39‬ NIV)

    So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ NIV)
    Anytime we talk about bad things and God wanting or not wanting them to happen, we have to at least do something with these difficult texts. And don’t read that as me saying stay in an abusive relationship. I’m just saying suffering in general exists – cancer, miscarriages, and Christian women being raped in foreign nations because they are Christians – and we know God sees it, we know He is able to prevent it – so what do we say when He doesn’t? How can we explain it? God didn’t want it to happen but he’s so committed to your abusers freedom that he refused to stop it? That’s my dilemma

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  78. Joe,

    You might want to check out the definitions of abuse at http://www.churchexiters.com/spiritual-abuse/. Along the same lines see the definition at http://cryingoutforjustice.com/, where the element of the abuser’s sense of entitlement is highlighted.

    These definitions tend to emphasize those relationships in which the abuser has power over his victim. While this may be the ordinary situation, one can imagine circumstances where it is not true. For example, if an ordinary congregant who is not in a place of church authority to slanders and shuns another congregant, for whatever reason, they are abusing.

    Often times pastors, or maybe I should say “pastors,” will heap shame and blame on a wife whose husband is cheating on her, refusing to support her, physically assaulting her, or even “just” verbally degrading and tearing her down. In such a case, both the husband and the “pastor” are engaging in abuse.

    My position is that, as between Christians, every attempt to exercise coercive authority is abuse. Only love is permitted. As between Christians, authority is appropriate only to protect, never to have one’s own way.

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  79. Joe,

    Surely the best resource on the question why God permits suffering is the Book of Job. But be prepared to be disappointed. Others may see more clearly than I, but what I get from Job is that we don’t get to demand an answer to the question of suffering. Nor do we get to assign blame to God. To trust Him, to align ourselves with Jesus in trusting obedience, even in the face of suffering, is part of what faith is all about. I am convinced good is brought from all suffering, at least for those who obey, without which there is no faith.

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  80. Randy, you said: “Come on now, does anyone really believe JP worships Calvin as God?”
    Well, yes, actually, I do. He gets all emotional over Calvin, to the point where it is simple outright idolatry. I would go so far as to say that I have grave doubts that Piper has ever been genuinely converted to Christ; indeed, he bears every mark of the likes of a Simon Magus.

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  81. Ah yes, Simon Magus. Acts 8:9-24. Attempted to purchase position and power within the early church. Hence, the word simony. Ties in with the C.S. Lewis essay to which Tim points us, “The Inner Ring.” http://www.lewissociety.org/innerring.php. We might translate the essay’s title into American English as “The Inner Circle.” Oh what compromises we are prone to indulge in order to be admitted to the in crowd.

    What has Piper sold in order to be admitted to the ranks of Evangelical/Reformed stardom (Mahaney, Mohler, Dever, Driscoll…)? Some would say that, in sticking with his gang, refusing to call to account, Piper has sold his integrity. Lewis warns us of such pitfalls. I submit that the Bible also warns us against the pursuit of a place in the inner circle: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44 ESV)

    Salvation belongs to those who believe. John 3:16. It becomes a salvation issue. As is not unusual, I must be careful lest I condemn myself.

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  82. Thanks, Tim. Checked out your blog article, although I confess I didn’t play the Jackie Wilson video. There is much to contemplate here. On the one hand we appear to be created with a God-given need for connection, so that it is no more sin to need and receive love and acceptance than it is to eat. See e.g. http://brendafindingelysium.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/connection-as-remedy-for-addiction.html where it is suggested that connection is the remedy for addiction. On the other hand, just as we can become gluttons where food is concerned, so also we can become addicted to the pursuit of social status.

    My suspicion is that the pursuit of admission to the Inner Ring (or Inner Circle) is a good deal more related to the topic spiritual (and other) abuse than is immediately apparent. For one thing, I expect spiritual abusers use our need for love and acceptance to manipulate, and that the manipulation is much more effective where it’s targets are on the outside wishing they were on the inside–as well as when the targets are, or believe they are, on the inside and fear being sent into exile.

    Much to think about. Thanks.

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  83. Gary your paragraph on spiritual abuse/manipulation and our desire to be on the inside (or to stay there once admitted in) is what C.S. Lewis explored at length in “That Hideous Strength”, the third installment of his Space Trilogy.Much of the story revolves around the horrible inner ring trying to take over everything. It’s my favorite of the three books in the series, and is somewhat like a novelization of what he’s getting at in his essay “The Inner Ring”.

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  84. Tim, what do you think? Would it make sense to just dive right into “That Hideous Strength,” or would it be better to reread the volumes in order? I read Lewis’ Space Trilogy some 40 years ago, and don’t at all recall whether or to what extent one volume builds on the previous volume/s.

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  85. I’ve re-read them more times than I can count, Gary. I always start with the first and read my way through. The story arc is rich, and they build from start to finish so powerfully.

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  86. Pingback: Why are Women More Eager Missionaries? John Piper’s opinions miss the mark. | The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors

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