What Would Jesus Shoot? John Piper on Why Guns and the Gospel Don’t Mix

John-Piper

There’s been a lot of interest this week in John Piper’s position on guns and the Second Amendment.

It stems from a video he did five years ago, that stems from a blog post he wrote five years ago.

The blog post was titled, Guns and Martyrdom.  In it, he mentions the 1956 murders of a group of Christian missionaries–including Jim Elliot–by marauding members of an indigenous Indian tribe in Ecuador.

In the video he did four months later, he refers to these missionary killings, and emphatically states that the way they handled their situation–shooting their guns into the air (risking potential injury or death to other folks in the area, but that’s another story and another ethical dilemma for another day) instead of firing directly at their tribal attackers–illustrates, in Piper’s mind, the true evangelical spirit and a genuine Christian approach to using guns in self-defense.

Which means NOT using guns at all in self-defense.

The “ethic” works like this.  If you’re a Christian who knows he’s going to heaven, and you’re faced with an attacker using lethal force against you, you have an obligation and an evangelical duty NOT to defend yourself–because you might accidentally kill him and, well, obviously your attacker (by virtue of the fact that he is attacking you) is not ready to go to heaven!

Is it just me or is this just a really unbiblical way of looking at it!

SANCTIFIED SUICIDE

Many have ruminated and commented on Piper’s pietism-driven, pacifist-retreatist position on guns and the Gospel and self-defense.

Before I give you my two cents’ worth, watch this…

There’s a lot to be disturbed about in Piper’s remarks.  Probably most disturbing of all is that millions of Christians AGREE with him!

That’s because millions of Christians are woefully unaware of the real history of Christianity and missions around the world, and the harsh realities of what happens whenever God’s church runs head-to-head against Satan’s counterfeit kingdom.  They’re unaware of what the Bible really says about weapons and warfare and evil and killing (vs. murder), and defending the defenseless and vulnerable and innocent against the heinous, malicious acts of the wicked and oppressors who would terrorize the weak through tyranny, intimidation and violence.

They seem oblivious to the fact that Jesus NEVER taught absolute pacifism and non-resistance in all cases.

They prefer a Christianity of niceness and non-confrontation, non-controversy, personal piety and silent devotion, as opposed to a Christianity of stalwart boldness, resolve and holy determination to combat evil and defeat evildoers in a spirited (and Spirit-led) defense and promulgation of the Gospel of reconciliation and forgiveness toward repentant sinners, and the foreordained advancement of Christ’s kingdom on earth.

No, that’s a bit much for them to stomach.  They’d rather just give this world and its “kingdoms” over to Satan, and focus on what’s really important–“getting ready for heaven” and remaining eternally vigilant for that most elusive of dispensational-premillennialism’s most cataclysmic events, The Rapture!

There are “unintended consequences” to embracing such a trendy, touchy-feely, biblically unnecessary argument against Christians using lethal force in self-defense against evildoers.   Besides being a DANGEROUS one, think of how man-centered and utterly lacking in faith and wisdom it is.

When asked if he would protect his own daughter if she were being attacked, Piper’s answer was–are you ready for this?–“probably.”  Probably?

“Gee, thanks, Dad!”

Think of how presumptuous and misguided this is.

Reflect back on those missionaries in Ecuador.

“We’re ready for heaven and they’re not.”  So, let’s just “help” God out a little bit here while we give a good “Christian witness” of love and forgiveness to these unconverted savages by letting them spear us to death while we have it within our power with these guns of ours to protect not only ourselves but also the poor people of this tribe that we’re ministering to.  Of course, doing so will probably embolden them and harden them further to turn their weapons against their fellow converted tribal members and slaughter them, too.  But, oh, well.  That’s the chance you take.  There’s always that risk of collateral damage whenever you “obey the Gospel.”  So, let’s just be passive non-resisters and allow these mass murderers to despatch us quickly so we can go to our heavenly reward, while they stay here (since they’re not “ready for heaven”) and keep on killing even MORE innocent people and needlessly create more widows and orphans and death and destruction after we’re gone, thus storing up even more of God’s wrath for themselves against the Day of Judgment.  After all, that’s the Christian thing to do.

In Piper’s world, none of this gets taken into consideration.  The idea that Christians have a duty to protect the innocent and defend them against evildoers, stopping them from doing OTHERS the same evil and harm that they seek to do to you.

That might not be such a bad “alternative” ethic. Sort of an alternate Golden Rule: “Do unto others–before they go and do unto others!”

Such is the theological short-sightedness and misguided application of Christ’s teachings and the Bible.  Piper and those who think likewise on this are not fully informed by God’s laws and ethics and statutes and commandments, which are infused into all of the teachings of BOTH the Old and New Testaments.

Piper could stand to read (and embrace the contents of) a few good Reconstructionist books.  Like Institutes of Biblical Law.  Like Backward, Christian Soldiers, like The Theology of Christian Resistance.  Like just about anything written by Gary North, Gary DeMar, David Chilton, R.J. Rushdoony, Kenneth Gentry, Greg Bahnsen, James Jordan, Joel McDurmon and a host of others.  These writers and teachers are NOT infallible.  Their books and teachings contain errors.  They disagree with each other.  But their works are path-breaking and eye-opening and theologically rigorous as far as seeking to faithfully apply the Bible and orthodox Christianity to all areas of life.

In addition to a thoughtful study of the Ten Commandments — from a theonomic/pro-nomian point of view! — Piper could also benefit from a more careful reading of the U.S. Constitution, especially the first Ten Amendments.

That might help him to remember which one of the Amendments has something to do with the right to keep and bear arms.

Calvinist Renaissance in China: Everything’s Coming Up TULIPS!

This article appeared in the London Guardian more than three years ago, but it seems to be making the rounds again online among Reformed and conservative readers.  At least, that is how I came across it (a Facebook post by John Lofton!).

This is good news for those of us on the Calvinist side of the ledger.

It’s even better news for those of us on the postmillennial side of the Calvinist side (we knew it had to happen sooner or later).

And it is still BETTER news (thought not totally unexpected) for those of us on the Calvinist-postmillenialist side who also view it as perhaps God’s hand initiating the beginning stages of reconstruction of China on a biblical foundation.

Now, before the non-Reconstructionists out there get out their long knives and keyboards and poise themselves for counterattack against what I just said, let me clarify, I am only saying that I am GLAD as a Christian and as a Calvinist to see this new development in the spiritual evolution (so to speak) of the people of China.

Obviously, it is better for the Chinese to embrace Calvinism than communism.

And that’s the really GOOD news here.  The Great Leap Forward has finally changed course and become the Great Look Upward!

The writer brings out some stark contrasts between the resurgence of Christianity in China and what has been going on in recent decades in Latin America and Africa.  Here, it is the elite, the highly-educated, the well-heeled, who are experiencing widespread conversions.  There, it is the poor and less educated, mostly.  Here, the movement is an intellectually and philosophically (and even rationally) driven one.  There, well, it is not.  As a result, here, the movement has gravitated towards the “unemotional” virility and theological robustness of Calvinism.  There, the movement has gone in the direction of Pentecostalism and experience-and-emotion-driven Christianity.

But, there’s something more at work here, the writer says.  Something more relevant to the political plight of the Chinese people.

Calvinism isn’t a religion of subservience to any government. The great national myths of Calvinist cultures are all of wars against imperialist oppressors: the Dutch against the Spanish, the Scots against the English; the Americans against the British. So when the Chinese house churches first emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution in the 80s and 90s “They began to search what theology will support and inform [them]. They read Luther and said, ‘not him’. So they read Calvin, and they said ‘him, because he has a theology of resistance.’ Luther can’t teach them or inform them how to deal with a government that is opposition.”

Aha!  So, when the Chinese went looking for a spiritual replacement for the empty promises of communism, they turned to Christianity for answers, and specifically, they turned to Augustine and Calvin.  The communists did such a good job of clearing the religious landscape, they left fertile ground for the seeds of their own destruction to be sown to the next generation.  So, now…

“The youngsters think it is very cool to be Christian. Communism has removed all the obstacles for them to come to Christianity.”

Good job, commies!

But wait, there’s more.

The most conservative estimates of the new converts to Christianity is 500,000; there is a new church built every month. Calvinist Christianity has a culture of phenomenal industry. Calvin himself, in his time in Geneva, preached every day and twice on Sundays: shorthand writers at the foot of his pulpit took down 108 volumes of his sermons, though most of these have been lost and his reputation rests on the books and pamphlets that he wrote himself. In China now, this kind of Christianity is seen as forward-looking, rational, intellectually serious, and favourable to making money.

“Forward-looking, rational, intellectually serious, and favourable to making money.”  Sounds good to me!

There are really only two statements in this article that I take exception with:

“Calvinists despise pentecostalists.”  No, we don’t.  We only despise their theology!

“Although Calvinism is shrinking in western Europe and North America, it is experiencing extraordinary success in China.”

Shrinking in North America?  Really?  He should ask the Southern Baptists and the rest of the evangelical world here about that!

Read the entire article here.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/may/27/china-calvin-christianity?fb=optOut