Dr. Piper and His Insistence that Christians Should Lie Down and Die — Part V

Dr. Piper offers,

7. When Jesus told the apostles to buy a sword, he was not telling them to use it to escape the very thing he promised they should endure to the death.

 
[Jesus] said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 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. 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.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough [that’s plenty].” (Luke 22:35–38)
 
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 December 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.
 
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. Darrell Bock concludes,
 
Two events [are] commentary on this verse [36]: Jesus’ rebuke of the use of a sword against the high priest’s servant (22:49–51) and the church’s nonviolent response to persecution in the Book of Acts (4:25–31; 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 12:1–5). In fact, Acts 4:25–31 shows the church armed only with prayer and faith in God. Luke 22:36 sees the sword as only a symbol of preparation for pressure, since Jesus’ rebuke of a literal interpretation (22:38) shows that a symbol is meant (Fitzmyer 1985: 1432; Marshall 1978: 825). It points to readiness and self-sufficiency, not revenge (Nolland 1993b: 1076). (Luke, volume 2, page 1747)
 
What seems plain to me is that the uncertainty of this text (which I share) should not be used to silence the others I have cited.

Bret responds,

Those passages that Dr. Piper cites that are supposed to overturn the passage in Luke 22 Piper doesn’t like 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 “lie 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.

Dr. Piper follows up his eisegesis with more or arguing from silence. “The Apostles didn’t say anything about self defense therefore that proves we shouldn’t use self defense.” Can you say “fallacious argumentation?”

Dr. Piper complains about Dr. Falwell Jr. trying to use Luke 22 to silence other texts and then Piper turns around and tries to use the other texts to silence Luke 22 by appealing to the time honored evasion of “symbolism.”  On top of that there is the whole reality that Piper is trying to keep this debate in the New Testament. Dr. Piper does this because he knows that if the God’s Word in the whole of Scripture is allowed to speak on this subject his Anabaptist pacifism is even more dead on arrival than it has been seen to be demonstrated in this series.

Dr. Piper offers,

8. A natural instinct is to boil this issue down to the question, “Can I shoot my wife’s assailant?”
 
My answer is sevenfold.
 
1) 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. 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. This is remarkable when you think about it, since I cannot help but think this precise situation presented itself, since we read that Saul drug men and women bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1–2).

Bret responds,

a.) Everyone reading this should have pity and compassion for Noel Piper, Dr. John Piper’s wife.

b.) Note again how Dr. Piper goes out of his way to limit this discussion to the New Testament. This is all very Marcion of Dr. Piper.

c.) As I have shown in the first entry on this subject, the Reformed Confessions demand that we conclude that we shoot an assailant of our wife if that is the only means from keeping her from being maimed and killed. To not shoot such an assailant would incur God’s displeasure against us for being so cowardly in disobeying the 6th commandment.

d.) Dr. Piper, as I have demonstrated in previous entries, is in error, when he presumes that it is doing evil to those who intend to do harm to the judicially innocent, when we stop them from doing evil. It is not doing evil to them but is returning to them good for evil.

e.) In Dr. Piper’s last sentence above he, once again, argues from silence.

Dr. Piper offers,

2) 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.

Bret responds,

a.) Our primary aim in life is to glorify God. The 6th commandment, with the attendant Catechism explanations, demonstrate that if we do not defend life when defending life is possible we are defaming God.

b.) The fact that our primary aim in life is to show that Christ is more precious than life is itself reason to honor Christ by taking the life of the wicked who would take the life of my wife, daughter, or friend. Christ is glorified when the 6th commandment is esteemed.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
3) Jesus died to keep that assailant from sinning against my family. That is, Jesus’s personal strategy for overcoming crimes was to overcome sinful inclinations by giving his life to pay debts and change hearts. It is no small thing that Peter based non-retaliatory suffering from unjust treatment on the atoning work of Christ as exemplary: “To this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Bret responds,

a.) Dr. Piper does not know that the Lord Christ died to pay the debt of the assailant who is trying to kill a family member. If the Lord Christ did die for the debt of the assailant then Dr. Piper can be sure that when he fires his weapon to defend his wife, or daughter, that he will not inflict a mortal wound since God never fails to win His elect for whom Christ died.

b .) God’s personal strategy for overcoming crimes is for people to obey his law and the law in Exodus 22 clearly and unambiguously teaches self defense.

c.) Peter is writing a suffering people who have no recourse. Peter is not writing to recommend going out of one’s way to come under suffering.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
4) 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.

Bret responds,

a.) Here John’s Anabaptist pacifism reaches so far as to suggest that calling the police would be dishonoring to Christ.

b.) The only way the heart can be in step with the mind of Christ is by esteeming the law of God which requires, via the 6th commandment, self defense. Here John is divorcing God’s Word from the mind of Christ.

Dr. Piper offers

 
5) I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I would personally counsel a Christian not to have a firearm available for such circumstances.

Bret responds,

John might as well say,

“I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I, as a Anabaptist pacifist, would personally counsel that you make no provision to obey the 6th commandment.”

Dr. Piper offers,

 
6) 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.

Bret offers,

That’s big of John to allow that someone who defended his family from murder and mayhem, by way of self defense, might not be condemned by John Piper.

Dr. Piper offers,

7) Back to the first point, it seems to me that the New Testament does not aim to make this clear for us. Its aim is a radically transformed heart that lives with its treasure in another world, longs to show Jesus to be more satisfying than life, trusts in the help of God in every situation, and desires the salvation of our enemies.

Bret responds,

a.) And yet here Dr. Piper has spilled vast amounts of cyber ink to suggest that the NT does make matters clear for us. This statement is schizophrenic on John’s part.

b.) Self defense does not negate, as I have demonstrated in all these entries, the desire for a “radically transformed heart that lives with its treasure in another world, longs to show Jesus to be more satisfying than life, trusts in the help of God in every situation, and desires the salvation of our enemies.” I can do all these things and defend my pregnant wife and toddler children as in keeping with the 6th commandment.

c.) Of course with the way that John has crafted his #7 we see his Marcion like admission that the God of the OT was different than the God of the NT. What John is implying here, perhaps without even realizing is, is that the NT God has one aim while the OT God has a different aim.

Dr. Piper offers,

9. 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), 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.
 
God is our refuge and strength. (Psalm 46:1)
 
My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
 
You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. (Luke 21:17–18)

Bret Responds,

a.) Pretty soon, I expect Dr. Piper to go all John Reed on me and write, “Property is theft.”

b.) If John really believes this then why does he own anything? Is not his ownership of anything proof that he is not living “in such reliance on heavenly protection and heavenly reward that the world will ask about his hope?” Does John lock his door at night? Proof that he isn’t acting as a Christian. Does John lock his car doors? Proof he isn’t acting as a Christian.  Does John buckle up when he goes for a drive? Proof that John isn’t acting as a Christian.  Does John have a savings account? Proof that John isn’t acting as a Christian. Does John vote for the candidate he thinks will be best? Proof that John isn’t acting Christian. All these things that John is doing that is keeping the world from asking about his hope. John should be ashamed and riven with guilt.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
This article is about the people whom the Bible calls “refugees and exiles” on earth; namely, Christians. It’s about the fact that our weapons are not material, but spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4). It is an argument that the overwhelming focus and thrust of the New Testament is that Christians are sent into the world — religious and non-religious — “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). And that exhorting the lambs to carry concealed weapons with which to shoot the wolves does not advance the counter-cultural, self-sacrificing, soul-saving cause of Christ.

Bret responds,

a.) On the potential spirituality of guns see the 3rd paragraph of this entry,

http://ironink.org/?p=5915

b.)  John Piper must really not like the 6th commandment and the Reformed Catechisms that comment on it.

c.) Piper continues with his false dichotomy to the bitter end. There is no dichotomy between protecting the lives of the judicially innocent and advancing the cause of Christ. Indeed, Dr. Piper might be amazed at how people stand up and notice the cause of Christ once a few Christians step forward to defend their wives and families from deranged sociopaths with weapons.

Honestly, I hope that Dr. Piper.’s writing can be explained by his suffering from some form of dementia that is driving him to write this kind of drivel. I would hate to think that Dr. Piper honestly is in full possession of his faculties and so really believes this eisegesis. This kind of drivel is detracting from the really stellar work he did 20-30 years ago. 


Dr. Piper and His Insistence That Christians Lie Down and Die — Part IV

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves.

Dr. Piper offers,

4. Jesus set the stage for a life of sojourning in this world where we bear witness that this world is not our home, and not our kingdom, by renouncing the establishment or the advancement of our Christian cause with the sword.

 
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36)
 
Jesus said to [Peter], “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

Bret

a.) Jesus also came to die for the sins of His people. Does that mean that we likewise are called to die for the sins of people? Jesus also went about doing miracles. Does that mean that we likewise are called to go about doing miracles?

Of course the point here is that we are not called to do everything that Jesus was called to do. We are not called to born of a Virgin. We are not called to resurrect on the third day.

b.) Dr. Piper fails to explain how self-defense of the lives of the judicially innocent from the threat of the wicked is an example of trying to “establish or advance our Christian cause with the sword.” Dr. Piper fails to demonstrate that those who follow the 6th commandment in self defense means that we are trying to communicate that this world is our Christian home and is our Christian Kingdom.

c.) We could just as easily argue, in contradiction to Dr. Piper, that as Jesus came to establish His Kingdom in and over this world we should likewise seek to establish the Kingdom of God in and over this world.

d.) Dr. Piper then offers Scripture, completely taken out of context and misinterpreted.

For Dr. Piper’s mishandling of John 18:36 see,

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

The Matthew 26 passage has a very established context. The most we can prove from it is that we should not use self defense to protect people who are on their way to the Cross to die for the sins of the world. This is especially so, where elsewhere in the Synoptic Gospels (Luke 22:36f) the Lord Christ expressly instruct His disciples to carry a sword.

Dr. Piper offers,

To be sure, there are many ambiguities about being exiles on this earth with our citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20), while at the same time being called to serve in the structures of society (1 Peter 2:13). But no book of the Bible wrestles with this more directly than 1 Peter, and the overwhelming thrust of that book is this: As you suffer patiently and even joyfully for your faith, do so much good that people will ask a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).
 
I think I can say with complete confidence that the identification of Christian security with concealed weapons will cause no one to ask a reason for the hope that is in us. They will know perfectly well where our hope is. It’s in our pocket.

Bret responds,

a.) The fact that Dr. Piper admits there are ambiguities might mean that he should be a little less dogmatic on his pacifistic declamations.

b.) The fact that Christians will suffer — and should do so patiently and joyfully — is not itself proof against the fact that Christians are commanded to defend themselves when able. The way Piper is reasoning here, one would think that Christians should be required to seek to put themselves under suffering.  Peter’s book is speaking in the context of when suffering comes upon us. Peter is not teaching that all Christians must themselves seek out situations where they can suffer.

c.) Dr. Piper again makes the mistake of supposing that all because someone takes the 6th commandment seriously therefore that means that they are identifying with the tools used to esteem the 6th commandment.

d.) Given Dr. Piper’s reasoning one could as easily say, “I think I can say with complete confidence that the identification of Christian security with wearing safety belts will cause no one to ask a reason for the hope that is in us. They will know perfectly well where our hope is. It’s across our chest while driving.”

Does Dr. Piper wear a seat belt while driving? Well, clearly no one will now ask him for the reason of the hope that is within him.

Dr. Piper presses on,

 
5. Jesus strikes the note that the dominant (not the only) way Christians will show the supreme value of our treasure in heaven is by being so freed from the love of this world and so satisfied with the hope of glory that we are able to love our enemies and not return evil for evil, even as we expect to be wronged in this world.

Bret responds,

a.) Why would Dr. Piper suppose that self defense means that those defending themselves no longer have as their supreme value our treasure in heaven? All because we take the 6th commandment seriously it means that we are not freed from the love of this world?

b.) Why would Dr. Piper think, that firing a weapon in defense of the judicially innocent against the wicked, who would unjustly and without biblical warrant take the life of children and women, be an example of returning evil for evil?

c.) Why would Dr. Piper think that because we expect to be wronged in this world therefore we should do everything we can to facilitate being wronged in this world? When Dr. Piper is wrongly accused of some heinous crime he committed while doing counseling does he not defend himself against such accusations because he expects to be wronged in this world?

d.) I would insist, in keeping with the 6th commandment, that when we return fire upon evil men seeking to take the lives of the judicially innocent we are at that point most certainly not returning evil for evil but are returning good for evil.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38–39)
 
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44–45)
 
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11–12)

Bret responds,

a.) The “turn the other cheek” passage (Matthew 5:38-42), often cited to support an extreme pacifism, clearly addresses our reaction to personal insults and inconveniences, and not serious threats to one’s life, family, livelihood, or home.

b.) When justice, in the context of self defense, is visited upon the wicked who are seeking to harm the judicially innocent,  we are loving our enemies.

c.) Matthew 5:11-12 has nothing to do with this conversation. We can still defend ourselves and remember that we are blessed with others revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on the account of Christ.

Dr. Piper offers,

The point of Matthew 5:11–12 is that Christians are freed to rejoice in persecution because our hearts have been so changed that we are more satisfied in the hope of heaven than in the hope of self-defense. This is the root of turning the other cheek and loving the enemy. The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3). Or as Paul put it, “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8).
 
Jesus struck the note that the way his disciples demonstrate most forcefully the supreme value of knowing him is by “letting goods and kindred go, this mortal life also,” and calling it “gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Bret responds,

a.) Matthew 5:11-12 says nothing about the abjuring of self defense. This is complete eisegesis on the part of Dr. Piper.  I can be free to rejoice in persecution and reload at the same time.

b.) The steadfast love of the Lord lies upon those who esteem the 6th commandment.

c.) All because I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord doesn’t mean I stand by and allow women to be raped, children to be killed, and the judicially innocent to be attacked because I’ve concluded, by way of the grossest eisegesis, that the Scriptures teach Anabaptist pacifism.

Dr. Piper continues,

 
6. The early church, as we see her in Acts, expected and endured persecution without armed resistance, but rather with joyful suffering, prayer, and the word of God.
 
“Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29–31)

Bret responds,

a.) Dr. Piper continues to compare apples with hot pocket’s pizza. Of course it is the case when we have been stripped of all ability to defend ourselves we must entrust ourselves to the God of hosts who fights for us. However, all because we entrust ourselves, when completely stripped of the ability to use tools to esteem the 6th commandment, to the God of hosts who fights for us, doesn’t mean that when God has providentially provided weapons of self defense we should not use them. The Hebrew children could not fight against Egypt because they had no way to resist Egypt and they witnessed the God of Host be Warrior on their behalf. Later the God of Hosts fought through them and their weapons of which they now commanded.

b.) The Acts 4 passage and Dr. Piper’s usage of it is another example of gross exegesis. What could that passages possibly have to do with the propriety of self defense. Dr. Piper takes a unique historical situation and absolutizes it to prove that Christians shouldn’t defend the judicially innocent against the intention of evil men firing weapons.

c.) Doubtless there will again be times when Christians have to endure persecution as unarmed. One thinks of the Armenian Christians in Turkey at the turn of the 20th century. One thinks of the Ukrainian Christians during the Holdomar. But the reality of these persecutions doesn’t prove that therefore we should do all we can to make sure that we too come under the hand of the Satanists. Should God decide to place us in the kiln of oppression we should rejoice for great is our award in heaven. However, that is not the same as crawling in the kiln of oppression by our own idiotic reasoning.  

Dr. Piper offers,

In all the dangers Paul faced in the book of Acts, there is not a hint that he ever planned to carry or use a weapon for his defense against his adversaries. He was willing to appeal to the authorities in Philippi (Acts 16:37) and Jerusalem (Acts 22:25). But he never used a weapon to defend himself against persecution.

Bret responds,

This is called arguing from silence and is universally recognized as weak argumentation.

R2K Advocate Dr. Rev. Brian Lee and Planned Parenthood II

“But the command to not take a life is not a command to pass a law not to take a life. Nor is it a command to politically agitate or lobby for such a law. Such political activity could be understood to run counter to Paul’s command to church to “live quietly and mind your own affairs” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).”
 
~ Dr. Brian Lee, WSC grad & R2k disciple.

Dr. Rev. Brian Lee on the Abortion Videos

“Paul likewise told Christians living in Rome (under Nero!) that the governing authorities were appointed by God, and they should be subject to them. The only exception is when the state tries to force you to actively violate God’s law (and no, taxpayer funding for abortion doesn’t seem to qualify).”

~ R2k disciple,
WSC grad, Dr. Brian Lee

R2K, Dr. Brian Lee Quote Juxtaposed w/ Planned Parenthood Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pyuCWbnfmk

While our Congress considers cutting public funds to the world’s leading abortionist organization, it’s healthy to take a trip down Agnostic Memory Lane. This is a quote from Dr. Brian Lee and was culled from Iron Ink in a  piece refuting Dr. Brian Lee’s views.

 
“Shall we enact laws against abortion? Christians may, in our wisdom, decide it is best to do so. But neither the Church nor her preachers can say unambiguously that such laws must be enacted. She lacks the authority, and the wisdom, to do so. Perhaps such a law will backfire; perhaps it will lead to more abortions, to more deadly abortions. Perhaps it is politically unwise, though being morally just. If she bases her actions on what God’s word teaches, the church must remain agnostic on such questions.”
 
Dr. Brian Lee,
Latin Reader
Published by Reputable Academic German Publishing House
Good Friend of US Senator Sasse
WSC graduate and R2k disciple