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.