We continue to deal with the Anabaptist theology of Dr. Piper


#3.) Next John gives us a series of passages from the NT where Jesus talks about coming suffering and persecution. Because the Lord Christ does not say anything about self defense in those passages (even though it is brought forth in a passage Piper neglects [Luke 22:36-38]) therefore the implication is that we should lay down and die.


Those passages are in a historical context. Jesus is speaking to his disciples about eventualities that will come upon them. Even if the message to the disciples was to “lay down and die” that wouldn’t necessarily mean that would be the message for all time and all disciples everywhere. The fact that the passages that Dr. Piper quotes (Luke 21:12-19, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 10:16-22) are not necessarily for all disciples at all times everywhere is proven by a differing counsel that the Lord Christ gave to His disciples in Luke 22:36-38

36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

The Lord Christ counsel the purchase of a sword in vs. 36 because unlike the previous, in-house missionary journeys to their fellow Israelites, the Lord Christ knew that He was now sending his disciples out into the hostile/pagan Gentile world and they would need to be prepared to defend themselves. Dr. Piper is reading the Scripture through his Anabaptistic – Pacifistic lenses and so he concludes what he concludes but Anabaptist theology is not God honoring theology.

Next Dr. Piper goes on to say that there is more of Jason Bourne in defense of others and self then there is Jesus and the Bible. He is a very clever man to come up with such alliteration. Then he implies that those who would defend themselves and others haven’t been regenerated, unlike people who will lay down and die when they are unjustly attacked by sociopaths with guns. Indeed, per Piper, self defense of others and self is as “common and easy as eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.” All Piper is doing here is demonizing his opponents.

Dr. Piper then insists that laying down and dying is the proper response to maniacs with guns shooting up the public square filled with unarmed and judicially innocent citizens. He implies it is impossible to bear witness unto Christ by defending unarmed and judicially innocent citizens against the attacks of madmen. If this is evangelical Christianity Piper and his ilk can have it.

Finally, on Piper’s point #3 he invokes the sainted and holy Jim Elliott and company who “refused to fire their pistols at their killers, while the spears plunged through their chests?”

Let’s keep in mind on this point that Elliott and company orphaned their children and widowed their wives with their behavior. A case could be made that, in acting so recklessly Elliot and company were in violation of the Scripture that teaches, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Second, Piper doesn’t and can’t know that if Elliott and company had defended themselves on that day the result still would have eventually been that the Auca Indians would have converted.

Third, there are countless examples of Christians being murdered where people didn’t convert. Stalin killed millions of unarmed Christian Ukrainians who didn’t fight back and Mother Russia did not convert. How many people were converted when Christians laid down and died when the shooter at Virginia Tech filled the facility with the dead who didn’t fight back? How many were converted when Christians died at Columbine High School when the shooters filled the facility with dead who didn’t fight back? Dr. Piper absolutizes the experience of Jim Elliott and company and suggests that if people defend themselves and others against the murderous intent of crazed gunmen then they aren’t as Holy, Righteous, and Noble as the Sainted Ecuador 5.

This is just pacifism on steroids and Dr. Piper needs to repent for writing like this and so misleading countless young people.

In his fourth “reasoning”  Dr. Piper offers as proof of pacifism the fact that Christ’s servants didn’t fight to keep Him from going to the cross (John 18:36). Dr. Piper seems to imply that we can’t defend ourselves because the followers of Jesus didn’t take up the sword to defend Him when He was about to die.


a.) When one defends others and one’s self, one isn’t necessarily trying to bring in the Kingdom with the sword. One is merely obeying the sixth commandment which esteems life as worthy of defending because it is the Image of God.

b.) Piper then appeals to I Peter for proof of the need to suffer. Nobody denies that there is a time and a place for silent suffering when God has placed us inescapably under such suffering. Having lived under that paradigm for years I gladly admit that there are seasons where God desires to bear suffering with grace. However, I Peter can’t be twisted into meaning that when maniacs show up at the local Boys’ High Schools basketball game and starts shooting up the place therefore all the Christians have to surrender because they love Jesus.

c.) Lastly, Piper assures us that if we conceal carry and return fire when a “Allahu Akbar Barker” shows up and starts spraying bullets in a crowded place that nobody will ask us for the reason for “hope that lies within us,” because, as Piper says, “they will already know” that our hope lies in our concealed carry weapons.

This statement makes us much as sense as saying that when Piper puts his seat belt on when he goes out for a drive therefore no one will ask him for “hope that lies within him,” because they will already know that he does not have a hope in Jesus but in his seat belt.

Piper’s “reasoning” throughout this piece is just atrocious but it must be dealt with because what John Piper is trying to do is hard bake Anabaptist Pacifism into basic Christianity. We must approach Anabaptist theology the way that the writers of the Belgic Confession dealt with it and agree that we detest it.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.


  1. Rev. John Piper: Unarmed Christians for Jesus!

    Gary North – December 25, 2015
    Printer-Friendly Format
    The humanistic state needs chaplains. Its most effective chaplains in the United States are recruited from the ranks of the evangelical Protestants.

    I wrote about this in 1980, although I used Great Britain’s leading evangelical as the model. I republished that essay earlier this month: “Humanism’s Chaplains.” The timing could not have been better.

    John Piper, a widely respected Baptist theologian/pastor, recently wrote an article favoring unarmed Christians (and only Christians): “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” His answer was “no.” The Washington Post immediately picked it up, for good reason. The new headline: “John Piper: Why I disagree with Jerry Falwell Jr. on Christians and guns.” The Washington Post is, along with The New York Times, one of America’s two premier news outlets for liberal humanism. Inside the Washington Beltway, it is #1.

    He begins the article as follows:

    The issue is not primarily about when and if a Christian may ever use force in self-defense, or the defense of one’s family or friends.
    On the contrary, this is exactly what the debate is about. Rev. Falwell understands this. The parents who send their children to Liberty University — the largest evangelical university in the world — also understand this.


    Piper, a “New Testament only” theologian, does not bother to explain this passage: “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him” (Exodus 22:3, ESV). The language is too clear.

    Then what of Jesus’ words?

    And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough (Luke 22:35-38, KJV).
    Well, Rev. Piper just doesn’t think they are to be taken literally. Rev. Falwell does.

    I do not think that Jesus meant in Verse 36 that his disciples were to henceforth be an armed band of preachers ready to use violence to defend themselves from persecution. Jerry Falwell Jr. said in his clarifying remarks on Dec. 9: “It just boggles my mind that anybody would be against what Jesus told his disciples in Luke 22:36. He told them if they had to sell their coat to buy a sword to do it because he knew danger was coming, and he wanted them to defend themselves.”
    What are Rev. Piper’s reasons? The usual refrain for theologians facing an inconvenient text: “It is all symbolic! It is all figurative! It cannot possibly mean what it obviously says!”

    If that is the correct interpretation of this text, my question is, “Why did none of his disciples in the New Testament ever do that — or commend that?” The probable answer is that Jesus did not mean for them to think in terms of armed defense for the rest of their ministry. Jesus’s abrupt words, at the end of the paragraph, when the disciples produced two swords, were not, “Well, you need to get nine more.” He said, “It is enough!” or “That’s plenty!” This may well signify that the disciples have given a mistaken literal meaning to a figurative intention.
    How does he know that none of his disciples ever did this? He implicitly adopts this argument: we are never told in any text that they did it. This is the argument from silence — generally speaking, the least convincing of all theological arguments . . . or non-theological arguments, for that matter.

    The best Scriptural argument from silence regarding weapons is the fact that the man who had been robbed by thieves and left at the side of the road is not said to have carried a sword. The good Samaritan then picked him up and delivered him to an inn-keeper until he convalesced. I think it is reasonable to conclude that he was unarmed, possibly because his theology of self-defense was close to Rev. Piper’s. But I admit that this is a weak argument, however plausible, although not nearly so weak as Rev. Piper’s.

    He then offers nine arguments for why Christians should remain complacent sheep in a world of wolves. It is significant that in all but one, he refuses to address the issue of self-defense against criminals. All of the biblical references have to do with persecution based on state coercion.


    There is one exception. He knows it is the largest caliber weapon in the arsenal of gun rights advocates: Can you morally intervene to kill an assailant when he threatens your wife? He says no, you may not.

    A natural instinct is to boil this issue down to the question: “Can I shoot my wife’s assailant?”
    Notice, he calls this a natural instinct. In other words, this question and its cocked-and-locked answer are not the product of practical Christian theology, millennia of social theory regarding men as defenders of women, and training in the use of handguns.

    He offers seven arguments against this “natural instinct.” They all boil down to this: “Sorry, honey, but I am limited to calling 9-11 on my cellphone. But since it’s an iPhone 6, I’ll let Siri do it.”

    I am exaggerating. But I am exaggerating the wrong way. He is more muddle-headed than my exaggeration indicates. Maybe you should not call the police. After all, you may have the wrong attitude. He writes:

    I realize that even to call the police when threatened — which, in general, it seems right to do in view of Romans 13:1–4 — may come from a heart that is out of step with the mind of Christ. If one’s heart is controlled mainly by fear, or anger, or revenge, that sinful disposition may be expressed by using the police as well as taking up arms yourself.
    In short, better a raped wife — or a dead one — than a bad attitude.

    This is what passes for rigorous and practical theology in “New Testament only” circles.

    I assume that you are of a different opinion. You want to inflict pain on the assailant before he inflicts pain on innocent people — namely, your wife and you. You are spiritually short-sighted, he thinks. He writes:

    This instinct is understandable. But it seems to me that the New Testament resists this kind of ethical reduction, and does not satisfy our demand for a yes or no on that question. We don’t like this kind of ambiguity, but I can’t escape it.”
    He can’t escape it because he is soft-headed. He justifies his soft-headedness by invoking his role as a soft-hearted lover of Jesus.

    There is, as I have tried to show, a pervasive thrust in the New Testament pushing us toward blessing and doing good to those who hate, curse and abuse us (Luke 6:27–28). And there is no direct dealing with the situation of using lethal force to save family and friend, except in regards to police and military.
    So, the state — and only the state — is allowed to threaten violence. There is no legitimate concept of an armed citizenry. That is a lot of Second Amendment nonsense. It has no biblical standing.

    Christians must take the lead on this, he thinks. They must disarm themselves first. They must become role models. Meanwhile, they must become willing victims of evil-doers.

    My father was an FBI agent. Early in his life as a Christian, he asked his pastor if it was right for him to shoot someone who was armed and threatening immediate violence. His pastor gave him the best spiritual counsel I have ever heard on this matter. “Shoot him. He’s going to hell anyway.” (The pastor was Milo Jamison, the first Presbyterian pastor in the fundamentalist controversy to be thrown out of the northern Presbyterian Church for orthodoxy. There was no trial. They simply erased his name from the local presbytery’s records. That was in 1933.)

    This kind of clear-cut spiritual counsel is much too black and white for Rev. Piper.

    Our primary aim in life is to show that Christ is more precious than life. So when presented with this threat to my wife or daughter or friend, my heart should incline toward doing good in a way that would accomplish this great aim. There are hundreds of variables in every crisis that might affect how that happens.
    You may have heard the phrase, “He is too spiritually minded to be of any earthly good.” That would seem to apply to Rev. Piper. But, ultimately, any definition of spirituality that is of no earthly good is a bad definition. It is bad theology. It is the theology that humanistic power-seekers want Christians to adopt. “The state will protect you. You must not protect yourselves.” The primary function of humanism’s recommended spirituality is to disarm the faithful in the face of the corrupt. It hands over history to the enemies of God and to indecent men. The Washington Post is on board 100%.

    I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I would personally counsel a Christian not to have a firearm available for such circumstances.
    This is Rev. Piper’s version of Jimmy Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy. “The Crips thank you. The Bloods thank you. And Jesus thanks you.”

    I do not know what I would do before this situation presents itself with all its innumerable variations of factors. And I would be very slow to condemn a person who chose differently from me.
    I have spent over 50 years hearing arguments like his on the supposed illegitimacy of using of lethal force in self-defense, although never so silly as his arguments are. If this is too quick to condemn bad theological arguments, I stand condemned.

    Back to the first point, it seems to me that the New Testament does not aim to make this clear for us.
    On the contrary, it is quite clear to those of us who are not advocates of “New Testament only” Christianity.


    In a world of wolves, unarmed sheep are desirable morsels. Armed sheep raise the risk of being a predator.

    Or, in one phrase: “Shoot the bastard. He is going to hell anyway.”

    Printer-Friendly Format

  2. Thank you for these posts. Are you going to finish dissecting the rest of his article?

    Throughout the whole piece, John Piper establishes a false dichotomy between defending yourself with a gun and trusting Jesus. It’s not either/or. Especially in his 9th point, Piper allows that God does expect us to fend for ourselves in a way, (“Even though the Lord ordains for us to use ordinary means of providing for life (work to earn; plant and harvest; take food, drink, sleep, and medicine; save for future needs; provide governments with police and military forces for society”) and yet he drastically draws a line at self defense (“nevertheless, the unique calling of the church is to live in such reliance on heavenly protection and heavenly reward that the world will ask about our hope (1 Peter 3:15), not about the ingenuity of our armed defenses.”) without much of an explanation as why the line should be drawn there. Why is working to provide money for food, clothes, and housing not considered a contradiction to the call to live in “reliance on heavenly protection.” ~I think it’s much more trusting to stop working and depend on God for my meal. That way people will have no doubt as to where my hope is.~ In the Lord’s prayer we are instructed to ask God for our daily bread, but most of the time God provides that bread through providing a job that will pay for the bread. The job is the means to God’s provision that God established. Likewise, carrying a gun is also a means of God’s provision for my protection.

    I’m also reminded of the false dichotomy between corporeal and spiritual. The verse itself in every version I’ve seen does not use the words “physical” or “material.” Instead it uses “carnal,” or “of this world.” It makes sense that the not “of this world” would be similar to the way Jesus used it in His response to Pilate in John 18:36 in that it does not receive its power from this world. Our weapons are spiritual in that they are helping to establish a spiritual battle. Any object in a Christian’s hand can be a spiritual weapon. The laptops that were used to type out Biblical responses to Piper’s heretical views are spiritual laptops. A gun used to protect God’s people and the judicially innocent are spiritual weapons.

    1. Aimee … I hope to return to the last couple of Piper’s arguments.

      But until then, I want you to know that your response here made me want to stand and cheer!

  3. Grammar note: It should be that “Christians should LIE down.” Anytime the term is being used to refer to a person committing the action of setting himself on the floor in present tense, the word lie should be used. Lying is the participle. “Lay” or “Laying” should only used if there is an object or something that is being set down. For example if someone speaks of “laying his body down.” Because there is a word receiving the action (body) “lay” is used. However, if it were said, “laying down and dying” there is no word receiving the action, so it should actually be “lying down and dying.”

    Now, this becomes trickier when past tense is introduced because the past tense of both “lay” and “lie” is “lay.” However, the -ing forms always remain “laying” and “lying.”
    Present tense:
    I lie down. I am lying down.
    I lay my body down. I am laying my body down.

    Past tense:
    Yesterday, I lay down. Yesterday, I was lying down.
    Yesterday, I lay my body down./Yesterday, I was laying my body down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *