UPDATE: I’ve been censored by the John Piper staff! I always consider it a win, when Christians resort to control tactics. No longer can they discuss, so they simply scamper away, or turn off your mic. As you’ll see, the content below is not hostile to John Piper, but it does judge his “logic.”
I gave this pastor a bit of slack, as they aren’t political. However, their message is equally dangerous. Pastor John Piper requires the listener to obey, rather than think. He’s one of these theologians that attempts to answer and defend the hard verses in the bible. Like many others, he falls to adding in fiction, opinion and other gaps to make sense of a senseless bible.
Here’s a classic example of the John Piper method. Someone raises the question, “some atheists tell us, if we follow the bible why aren’t we still killing gay people.”
Stop. First, no atheist is asking that. What they probably asked is, “let me show you that your bible is inconsistent. At one time it called for the blood of people who were gay, for children who cursed their parents, for women who weren’t virgins on their wedding night… How can you rectify this with your modern theology?”
At any rate, Pastor John Piper attempts to answer this. First he brings up a point that people who ask or raise such questions are confused. He says they have little knowledge in the bible. Well I’m certainly an acception to his rule.
Not only was I raised in a christian home, a young believer, and a believer up through my 20’s, I also was groomed for the so-called “ministry.” I walked away in 2004,but still remained compassionate to the faith. I was a buddhist, hindu, mystic, occultist and now I follow no one but my own intuition and spiritual exploration offers me through gnosis. By 2012, however, I began to see the faith become all political. By 2019, I gave up on it. I burned a bible I owned, spitting on the rot in the pages and offering the ashes to my freedom.
I know the bible better than most. Certainly I don’t fit his assertion.
He makes an analogy. He describes a book of warfare given to soldiers. In some chapters, the book of war explains how to kill, and in others how to deal with the enemy captives, and so on. He likens the different chapters to the different “flavors” within the bible.
What’s fascinating about his analogy, is that he unknowingly has made a connection to the blood and violence in the bible. It is unreasonable to think a real god of the universe cares who’s going to live in Israel. Or who should be killed or some “sin.” Why would the creator being care?
We can discover this easily. The more spiritually active we become, the less the world holds importance on our lives. Meditation, spiritual work, yoga, it all removes one from the physical self, and as we expand our spiritual thinking, we detach from the physical world.
Therefore, it follows, that a god that created everything is completely detached from the physical world and wouldn’t care who lives where, or who you take as a mate, or if a man works on the sabbath.
John Piper thinks that the bible is in seasons. It’s one, same god, but he operates different for different people. People were really bad then, so they got really harsh law. As they changed, god changed. Then he brings up the Jesus covenant. He counters with voice inflection that killing gay people is not christian at all.
Well here’s a few things to consider. The bible is inconsistent. Even within the New Testament it’s inconsistent. Consider Jesus who says that if a man doesn’t feed hungry he will be cast to outer darkness, in Matthew 25:35-46. Yet roll ahead to 2nd Thess. 3:10 and Paul says, “if a man doesn’t work, neither shall he eat.”
I’m not trying to be nit picky, but that verse by Paul, was used by a Tennessee representative to shut down programs for the homeless. Ft. Lauterdale Fl. actually outlawed feeding the homeless in public. Verses like that, are used against humanity.
American pastor Scott Lively, influenced people in africa with very strong anti-gay statements… which led, in some cases, to beheadings of supposed gay men. Uganda had an anti-gay bill up for voting in 2009, and although Lively denies involvement, it does seem to tie into his agenda.
Just last week a woman was filmed as she was lynched for being a “witch.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8119201.stm
People like this are easily twisted. The violence is already within them, they just need a reason to set it off. The Bible can give such people that reason.
If you argue that the bible was in seasons, but it was one god, then the question has to be asked… exactly what vile sin is it to work on the Sabbath? So much so that god had to teach people the harsh lesson by demanding they be killed?
Judaism grew up, Christianity hasn’t
The actual answer to this question doesn’t even invoke christianity. 4,000 years ago, Judaic law was strict and did have punishments for killing children who curse their parents, killing women not virgins on their wedding night, etc.
However, Jewish people changed as they let go of the literalism of their scriptures. Even at the time of Jesus, we can see this change. When Jesus helps the man into the pool, he is accused of “Working on the Sabbath.” According to Jewish scripture (exodus 31:14-15) that’s a crime punishable by death. yet the critics don’t call for his death over this. They use it as an opportunity to cast doubt on Jesus, but not kill him.
The idea of killing someone for working on the sabbath was already dropped from Jewish society. AND YET, at that time, they still killed people, for “crimes” of adultery. As society evolves, so does Judaism. Literalism of their scriptures is replaced with rational thinking.
If you attend Shabbat dinner with Jewish friends, they retell bible stories. You will note that rarely does a modern Jewish person see the bible as a literal document. Stories of the plagues of Egypt are turned into metaphors and analogies, not literal judgements on a society. In other words, they secularized.
Islam’s Quran has the same stories from the Old Testament. People often say, “it’s a violent book,” and it is… only it’s the same stories and law of the OT, which is equally violent. The difference in Islam, is that some Muslims still take the OT as literal – as we see in the Middle East. Many people in the Middle East still kill a man for being gay. So the difference in why a Jewish person doesn’t kill gay people today, but the faith did 4,000 years ago and/or someone in the middle east still does, is not a “season of god” but the secularization of the faith.
The more evangelical and literal the faith, the more one will take it literally – to dire consequences.
Christians are the ones with the problem. They want to take the bible literally. Yet they can’t, legally. Consider that the political churches of Europe drove many a war over christian “values.” Even in America women were killed for being “witches,” and gay men killed. So where is that “season of grace?”
The reason most Christians today, do not run around killing people, is that we have secular laws forbidding it. That’s the real creepy aspect of christianity. For as much as you sell it as a love doctrine, it’s been used as a tool of political entities for 2,000. Constantine militarized the faith. How many people died for his “dream of conquering the world in the symbol of the cross?” The Roman Catholic church was harsh and brutal to many people. The protestants were utilized by powers to launch wars against others. Local leaders fed fears of outsides, and women, so they could be burned as witches.
If this change in killing people was due to god’s seasons, then you have a logic problem. 1) Judaism was already evolving prior to the crucifixion. No longer did they invoke capital punishment for working on the sabbath. 2) Post crucifixion, these harsh literal punishments were still done. Those two data points removes the idea of “seasonal” change in how god related to “man.” It attempts to give a reason to contradictions in your bible, but it doesn’t change the reality of why people did/do things. All of that violence is a result of cherry picking bible verses literally. If you continue to cherry pick and drop into the OT to condemn people for being gay, then the whole OT become viable, along with all it’s terror and vile.
What if the bible was written by men…?
Let’s stop assuming the bible is “all good,” and start analyzing it. What were the people like in the age the old testament was written? We know they had animal sacrifices, sometimes human sacrifices. Most cultures were founded in blood. Everything out of Canaan was violent. Women were thought of as objects, as were children. Slavery was a staple.
Every point I just made, also just happens to reflect the god of the Old Testament!
What were the people like in Rome? Rome was a violent land, but not as violent as the lands 2,000 years before Rome. Rome still had slavery, but had rules of conduct for citizens. Debate and logic were present and there was less killing in the name of the gods.
We seen at that time period the thought and teachings reflected an age of reason, logic and compassion. While Rome wasn’t compassionate per se, it was a time period were ideas like that were more common than 2,000 years prior.
It seems the bible changes, depending on the time period… in other words it reflects the ethic of the land it’s written in.
It seems more logical to me that the real problem here is that the “god” of the bible is not god at all, but a way to excuse the laws of men.
If the salvation message is born from that, then it carries the taint of the past.