January 20, 2017

John Piper's Hypocrisy and Destructive Trump Narrative




I was very disturbed this morning to see a post by John Piper titled, "How to Live Under an Unqualified President"- especially considering the death threats, violent destruction, and anarchy being widely promoted for today’s inauguration, all based on a refusal to acknowledge DJT as a legitimate president. Here is a photo of a peaceful Trump supporter beaten bloody last night with a metal pole, and this link shows a photo of the stitches.


Piper's premise, defining Trump as “unqualified” to be president on inauguration day, displays an extreme lack of discernment and is extremely irresponsible, as it supports the inflammatory anarchist narrative that threatens to bring increased division and destruction upon the US. Piper writes,  "Donald Trump’s immoral behavior in the past, and his ongoing unwillingness to renounce it as evil, show that he is morally unfit to lead our nation."

The underlying irony and hypocrisy relate back to the fact that Piper has been promoting the idolatry of pleasure and hedonism from the pulpit, and is accusing Trump of these very same underlying faults. As a politician opposing establishment corruption and protecting basic civil rights, there were at least 10 reasons why many evangelicals, including very prominent ones, voted for Trump, as an alternative to other less desirable choices. Since Piper has chosen to throw in his hat along with all the others opposing Trump's legitimate presidency, I will offer my two cents in the hopes that Piper will use the same standards to judge himself and his ministry teachings as he is using to undermine Trump.

In 2014, I was struck by similarities between teachings of Victoria Osteen and John Piper, with regard to the idolization of pleasure. The post, “Newsflash: Osteen and Piper Agree on Christian Hedonism” - showed how quotes from both Osteen and Piper underscored the same faulty premise, that we should seek God for our own personal pleasure, as opposed to seeking God based on the scriptural counsel to please God and worship God because of who God is. John Piper went so far as to modify the shorter Westminster Catechism in order to support his premise. Scripture clearly shows that God is our reward (Genesis 15.1, Psalm 62.5-7, Philippians 3.8). And to lift up the blessings of God over God Himself is idolatry. Piper begins his rationale with a description of idolatry: "We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in." - and in various statements confirms that this is actually what he is actually proposing: "...we should pursue happiness, and pursue it with all our might." Contrary to this advice, we are called to pursue and love the person of God, not a gift from God, with all our soul, strength and mind (Luke 10.27).
 

Piper's motive may be to connect with a post-modern society that is pleasure obsessed, but that still does not justify the teaching of idolatry as a gateway to God. And he uses a false dichotomy to support his position. A spiritual person familiar with scripture does not do good "for its own sake" - but to please God. So Piper's dichotomy of either doing moral good for pleasure's sake or doing moral good "for its own sake"- is a fallacious argument. This problem is addressed at the Piper-Osteen article I mentioned.
 
If John Piper wishes to offer that Trump is disqualified for aspects of hedonism displayed in his life, I would offer that Piper should probably renounce the idolatry of hedonism that he has been promoting in his teachings. And we are advised by scripture to respect and submit to positions of legitimate governing authority: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (Romans 13.1 NLT). As opposed to supporitng this legitimate election in submission, Piper offers that criticism, so long as it does not "exhaust" us Christians, is acceptable: "Let us not exhaust ourselves bemoaning a Trump presidency." I have more respect for Christian leaders that ignore politics altogether than those that work in a means that appears counter-productive to any apparent positive political change.
 
President Obama displayed lawlessness and undermined the constitution, in addition to supporting Sharpton's racist cop-killing agenda. And warmonger Hillary Clinton supports last-minute partial birth abortion, primary election fraud, and other unethical and treasonous behavior, not to mention her support of Marxism and socialism. However, Piper for some reason has decided to focus mainly on the personal moral life of DJT as the most objectionable feature of all candidates.

The promotion of the narrative that Trump is not a “qualified” or "legitimate" president at this stage in the game is contrary to scripture and will simply cause division. Additionally, scripture advises us to avoid idolatry: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1Corinthians 10:14 ESV). If anyone believes that Piper calling Trump “unqualified” on inauguration day is in keeping with Romans 13.1, or if anyone believes that the promotion of subjective pleasure above the promotion of all that God is does not reflect idolatry, I welcome civil comments and discussion at my blog. If there is no adequate support for Piper's positions, and if he is unwilling to renounce his idolatry of pleasure and his undermining of a legitimate election, then maybe we should question if Piper is qualified as a valid teacher of scripture.

Note: The image of Piper's post is a webclip from facebook and the image of the bloodied Trump supporter is a webclip of Gateway Pundit.

Related:

Five Heresies of Christian Hedonism

How can we Most Glorify God in our Lives?

Newsflash: Osteen and Piper Agree on Christian Hedonism


 
Tags: Piper's hypocrisy, Piper's doctrine, Piper's hedonism, Piper's idolatry, Trump protests, Trump supporter bloody from metal pole, anarchy, Christian support of president, causing division, Romans 13, Post Modern apostasy, Piper opposes Trump, Piper opposes president, Piper says Trump should renounce comments,

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Here I have posted John Piper's article on Inauguration Day undermining respect for the president and his questioning of his moral eligibility to lead:






How to Live Under an Unqualified President


Today we will inaugurate a man to the presidency of the United States who is morally unqualified to be there. This is important to say just now because not to see it and feel it will add to the collapsing vision of leadership that enabled him to be nominated and elected.
Not only that, but if we do not see and feel the nature and weight of this sorrow, we will not know how to pray for his presidency or speak as sojourners and exiles whose pattern of life is defined in heaven, not by the mood of the culture.

Why Trump Is Unqualified

Donald Trump’s immoral behavior in the past, and his ongoing unwillingness to renounce it as evil, show that he is morally unfit to lead our nation. So was Hillary Clinton because she approves of killing unborn children.
As of last April, Andy Naselli provided some of the facts about Trump’s immoral conduct:
  • Trump has publicly bragged about committing adultery.
  • Trump has mocked and disrespected women, the disabled, and even prisoners of war.
  • Trump has acted like a con artist (for example, Trump University).
  • Trump has acted like a demagogue, appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than rational arguments — notably in the debates.
  • Trump has acted like one who is shamelessly proud. He has boasted, “Nobody reads the Bible more than me.” Yet he said that he has never asked God or others to forgive him for anything.
  • “My main problem,” said Randy Alcorn, “is not that Donald Trump says what he thinks. . . . My problem is with what he actually thinks: especially his obsession with outward appearance, sexiness, superficiality, wealth, his own status and accomplishments, and his quickness to berate and insult people and seek revenge on his critics.”
Wayne Grudem, who finally advocated voting for Trump, wrote in October,
There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election. I previously called Donald Trump a “good candidate with flaws” and a “flawed candidate,” but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.
Then, in words that are almost beyond belief in a presidential candidate, the New York Times provided a transcript of Trump’s 2005 vile behaviors toward women (the shock value of which may be lost if you have not read his actual words). Note well: Trump has not, as far as I am aware, publicly renounced these behaviors as evil, but deflected the issue by talking only about the “language,” calling it “locker-room talk.” However, the main issue was not his talk. It was his immoral action asserted in the talk.

What Is Leadership?

As I understand the role of leadership in high public office, these impenitent and boasted acts of immorality disqualify a person from office. Here’s why.
1. A leader should lead. That is, he should set the pace, define the path, embody the vision, and inspire emulation. He himself should be what he is calling others to be. That is what it means to lead. Donald Trump is not such an embodiment of what we want the citizens of America to be. In important ways, he is the opposite.
“Few parents would say to their young people: strive to be like President Trump. That is a great sadness.”
2. A leader should be dependable, trustworthy, reliable. To invest someone with leadership is a trust. But Donald Trump treats language — the medium of truth — as a wax nose to be bent and molded to create a desired outcome, whether it corresponds to the truth or not. But where truth is treated with such indifference or contempt, the foundations of justice are crumbling. There is no recourse for the poor, if the powerful say that truth is what they say it is.
3. A leader should be a good example for our young people in matters of character and moral uprightness and civility. Few parents would say to their young people: strive to be like Donald Trump. That is a great sadness.
4. A leader should not model the success of immoral behavior, and thus further destigmatize and normalize evils which, if spread, will bring discredit and ruin to our nation. To reward Donald Trump’s immoral behavior with the presidency does just that — it says to our children, and to the world, that these evils are not that bad, and can be embraced with no great negative consequences.
5. A leader should be known for the virtues that make a republican form of government possible. Virtually all the founding fathers agreed that without a virtuous people, the rule of law and of representative self-government will not survive. Donald Trump’s character is not what they had in mind by “virtue.” It is, in significant ways, the opposite, and therefore his example contributes to the undermining of the republic.

Christians Don’t Need Qualified Government

Because I regard these as qualifying marks of leadership in public office, I regard Donald Trump as not qualified for the presidency.
But today he will become president.
This is not surprising from a Christian point of view. The Christian faith was born, and has flourished, under regimes less qualified to lead than Donald Trump. The murderous Herod (Matthew 2:16) and the Christian-killing Nero (Tacitus, Annals XV.44) did not thwart the spread of a faith whose King and power and charter are not from this world (John 18:36). The movement that Jesus Christ unleashed in the world, when he died and rose again, does not depend on qualified human government for its existence or power.
“The linking of the Christian church with the ruling political regime has more often proven to corrupt the essential spirit of Christ.”
 

The linking of the Christian church with the ruling political regime is not essential to the life and fruitfulness of Christian faith. On the contrary, such linking has more often proven to corrupt the essential spirit of Christ, who typically uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27), and whose life-saving weapons do not consist in media monopolies, commanding wealth, or civil laws.
Followers of Christ are not Americans first. Our first allegiance is to Jesus, and then to the God-inspired word of Scripture, the Bible. This is our charter, not the U.S. Constitution.

How Then, Under This President, Shall We Live?

1. Let us pray that God would grant the gift of repentance (2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18) and saving faith (Romans 10:1; Philippians 1:29; Ephesians 2:8) to Donald Trump and all those in authority.
2. Until God answers that prayer, recognize that God’s providence rules over the unrepentant kings of the earth (Daniel 2:37–38, 4:35; Psalms 47:9; 135:6). “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). Therefore, God can restrain the pride and folly of secular leaders (Genesis 20:6). Just as with the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:9), and the Persian Cyrus, God makes the rulers of the earth “fulfill all [his] purpose” (Isaiah 44:28).
3. Accordingly, let us go on to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and holy in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:2–4).
4. And as we pray, let us recognize that, even in unbelieving leaders who cannot do God-pleasing works of faith, there is the possibility of promoting “good” conduct, which is “good” in the sense of having the outward form of what genuine trust in Christ would do.
“The movement Jesus unleashed in the world doesn’t depend on qualified governors for its existence or power.” 
  

To be sure, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23), because when human conduct is not rooted in reliance on God, it is part of the very rebellion that ruins the world. Nevertheless, the apostle Peter teaches that even unbelieving rulers are sent by God “to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14). So, even though this “good” is not from faith, and therefore does not please God as the fruit of faith, yet it has the form of the conduct that would come from faith.
5. Therefore, even though it is not the main concern of the Christian church, and may not lead to salvation and eternal life, let us also pray and work this lesser “good,” as well as the ultimate good of faith in Jesus Christ, and the genuine love for people that glorifies our Father in heaven (1 Peter 2:12), who called us “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
6. Above all, let us commend to everyone, with every sacrifice necessary, “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and, if God wills, let us gather with more and more people, from every ethnicity and every class, into healthy, holy, humble, biblically faithful churches.
Let us worship together in beautiful diversity and harmony with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) the one true and living triune God. And let us love each other “earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22), and keep ourselves “unstained from the world” (James 1:27), so that the church becomes a beautiful alternative to “the corruption that is in the world” (2 Peter 1:4).
7. And let us work with all our might (1 Corinthians 15:10) and with overflowing joy (2 Corinthians 8:2) to take the greatest news to the peoples of the world, who have no access to the saving truth that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners from eternal death (1 Timothy 1:15), and give them everlasting joy with God (1 Peter 3:18; Psalm 16:11).
Let us not exhaust ourselves bemoaning a Trump presidency. There are peoples whose privileges of prosperity and possibility are vastly inferior to ours. Having been so loved by God to receive the gospel, we are debtors to them (Romans 1:14). Do not think of the molehill of moral and social disadvantages of a Trump presidency. Think of the Himalayan mountain range of blessings we have in Christ. Let this put fire in our bones for what matters most: the salvation of the world.
 

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