McAtee Contra Very Bad Dr. John Piper Baptist Pluralism “Theology”

‘This is a response to a very bad piece by Dr. John Piper. The whole piece can be located at the link below. Piper”s article is entitled, “Making Room for Atheism.” The blockquote segments are from Piper. My responses follow.

Our church exists “to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.” That is our mission. “All things” means business, industry, education, media, sports, arts, leisure, government, and all the details of our lives. Ideally this means God should be recognized and trusted as supreme by every person he has made. But the Bible teaches plainly that there will never be a time before Jesus comes back when all people will honor him as supreme (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

The passage in Thessalonians does not teach (plainly or otherwise) that there will never be a time before Jesus comes back when all people will honor Him as supreme. A careful reading of the text reveals that what Paul is teaching is that it is those at that time who are troubling the Thessalonians who God will repay with tribulation. The same Greek word “tribulation” is also used by Paul in Romans 2:9. In both cases what is being taught is that tribulation will be brought upon evildoers at the last judgment. The passage is dealing with ultimate bliss and woe connected with the Day of the Lord. Everyone agrees that all evildoers will suffer tribulation at the last day but that does not necessarily mean that there will never be a time before Jesus comes back when all people will honor him as supreme. Certainly B. B. Warfield, with his teaching on “Eschatological Universalism,” would take umbrage with Piper”s “exegesis.”

Piper is reading this passage through his premillennial lenses and arriving at premillennial conclusions.

So how do we express a passion for God”s supremacy in a pluralistic world where most people do not recognize God as an important part of their lives, let alone an important part of government or education or business or industry or art or recreation or entertainment?

Answer: We express a passion for the supremacy of God…

Piper’s first 4 ways of expressing a passion for the supremacy of God are excellent. Should the reader desire to note these he can access the link provided above. It is Piper”s fifth way of expressing a passion for the supremacy of God that leaves us in a train wreck.

5) by making clear that God himself is the foundation for our commitment to a pluralistic democratic order-not because pluralism is his ultimate ideal, but because in a fallen world, legal coercion will not produce the kingdom of God. Christians agree to make room for non-Christian faiths (including naturalistic, materialistic faiths), not because commitment to God”s supremacy is unimportant, but because it must be voluntary, or it is worthless. We have a God-centered ground for making room for atheism. “If my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight” (John 18:36). The fact that God establishes his kingdom through the supernatural miracle of faith, not firearms, means that Christians in this age will not endorse coercive governments-Christian or secular.

1.) In that first sentence above Piper wrote that a pluralistic democratic order is not God”s ultimate ideal but because it is the best God can do in a fallen world Christians should be supporters of a pluralistic democratic order.

First, this again assumes Piper”s eschatology. Piper assumes that where grace abounds sin abounds all the more, thus Christians must settle for a social order (pluralistic democratic) where the Lordship of Jesus Christ is challenged by the Lordship of the other gods. In other words, because God will never have visible and recognized hegemony in this fallen world, therefore we have to support a social order committed to making sure that every knee will not bow, nor every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Piper”s eschatology creates and insures the success of his defeatism.

2.) Christians can believe that God can conquer democratic pluralism without supporting the idea that such total victory of the already victorious Christ will come about through legal coercion. Piper marries his faulty eschatology to a faulty conclusion thus implying that anybody who is against democratic pluralism is for building God”s Kingdom through legal coercion. This is a logical fallacy. All postmillennialists believe that God will build His Kingdom here so that the knowledge of God covers the earth as the water covers the sea. No postmillennialist believes that will be done by the means of legal coercion.

3.) The second sentence in the blockquote above is likewise confused. Piper has gone from writing about social orders (the institutional framework upon which cultures hang and through which a people”s belief system is expressed) to writing about individuals. Certainly in a Christian social order that recognizes the Lordship of Jesus Christ there would be room for non-Christian faiths on a individual or personal basis. However such room for non-Christian faiths on a individual or personal basis would not be allowed to overthrow the Christian public square as informed by a Christian social order. The traditional Protestant view is that while Christ is the Lord of the conscience, non-believers cannot in any way openly practice nor promote false religion in order to overturn a Christian social order.

Second on this point, Piper”s observation is far far too broad. Would Piper contend that a Christian social order must make room for the non-Christian faith of Hinduism which requires widows to be burned alive with their dead husband? Would Piper contend that a Christian social order must make room for the non-Christian faith of Muslims which allow for Muslim male family representatives to kill female members of family for fraternizing with a male not in their family? Would Piper contend that a Christian social order must make room for a faith that requires smoking peyote as part of the worship service? Would Piper contend that a Christian social order must make room for a faith that requires temple prostitutes or ritual murder? Where does Piper”s tolerance end in terms of making room for non-Christian faiths? Why should these other faiths that Piper wants to make room for in his democratic pluralistic social order be constrained to give up their faith practice? By what standard will Piper appeal to in order to determine which other faiths must be made room for and which will not?

It is simply the case that all social orders are coercive to one degree or another. Would Piper suggest that those who disagree with his view of the proper social order be coerced to accept his vision of a Christian social order, or would he allow other visions of Christian social order that find democratic pluralism to be un-biblical the opportunity to overthrow his vision of Christian social order excellence?

4.) I find Piper, on this point, giving up on the Supremacy of God in order to pursue the relegation of God to one who is a option. All because it is true that individual conversion ought to be voluntary that does not mean that we should build a social order designed to make all the gods equal in the private realm but subservient to the God of the social order (the State) in the public square. Piper fails to realize that in his democratic pluralism social order that all the gods are ruled by the State god because Piper is empowering the state to make sure that the God of the Bible (as well as the other gods) do not have absolute supremacy. Piper can write all he wants on his desire for the supremacy of God but as long as he holds this democratic pluralism he is advocating for the supremacy of gods that are no gods.

5.) I wonder if, according to Piper, Christians should not endorse governments — Christian or secular –that coerce people to accept his democratic-pluralism as the ideal social order. (On Piper”s misuse of John 18:36 see the many articles written on Iron Ink on that abused passage.)

6.) All should keep in mind that what Piper is advocating here is the overthrow of historic Christendom for a Christendom that culture is most Christian when it does not hold absolute sway.

Dr. Piper writes,

“This is why we resist the coercive secularization implied in some laws that repress Christian activity in public places. It is not that we want to establish Christianity as the law of the land. That is intrinsically impossible, because of the spiritual nature of the kingdom. It is rather because repression of free exercise of religion and persuasion is as wrong against Christians as it is against secularists. We believe this tolerance is rooted in the very nature of the gospel of Christ. In one sense, tolerance is pragmatic: freedom and democracy seem to be the best political order humans have conceived. But for Christians it is not purely pragmatic: the spiritual, relational nature of God”s kingdom is the ground of our endorsement of pluralism, until Christ comes with rights and authority that we do not have.”

1.) In the first sentence above we see that Piper is fighting the idea of not allowing Christianity in the public square (his lament on secularization) by advocating that all religions should be allowed into the public square. But the result of all gods being let into the public square is the same as not letting any of the gods into the public square since the consequence of both no gods in the public square and all gods in the public square is that the State is the god of the gods since it referees how far the gods can walk in the public square. What Piper is advocating is the destruction of Christendom (as noted earlier) in favor of Statist(dom). Piper would defeat the religiously sanitized public square with the polytheistic public square. However, in both cases the state ends up being the monotheistic god. Where now God”s supremacy John?

The fight against secularization is not won by enthroning the state. The fight against secularization is won by Christian (ministers and otherwise) tearing down every stronghold that raises itself up in defiance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christian ministers should not be arguing that the public square should be filled with all the gods, but rather they should be arguing that Christ is Lord over all, including the State. Let the ministers of the State who desire for the public square to be “neutral” argue for a neutral public square.

2.) Why should Christian not want to establish Christianity as the law of the land? Who says that Christianity being the law of the land is intrinsically impossible? In Piper”s world is not Piper saying that we establish Christianity as the law of the land by making sure Christianity is not the law of the land?

3.) Why does Piper think that because the Kingdom of God is spiritual therefore it cannot incarnate itself in every increasing degrees into a social order? Where in scripture does it teach that the spiritualKingdom of God does not instantiate itself in cultures and social orders? If the Kingdom of God is spiritual and yet can effect individuals so that we have an expectation of what a Christian looks like why can the spiritual Kingdom of God not be spiritual and still effect social orders to the point that we have an expectation of what a Christian social order looks like? (It sure isn”t Democratic Pluralism!) It looks to me as if Piper is drinking from some kind of dualism well.

4.) Piper complains about repressions of Christians in the secularization process and yet what he advocates is certain to bring about the very thing he laments. The fact is that Piper is wrong about what he terms as “secularization.” What is going on is the advance of humanism in the public square and naturally humanists are, following their religious tenets, not going to allow for another faith system to challenge them. There is no secularization going on here. There is only the advanced de-Christianization of the West. \r\n\r\n5.) Piper talks about Christ coming with rights and authority we do not have. Is not Christ ruling now? Are not the Kings instructed to “Kiss the Son.” If Christ has authority now why should His people insist that His authority and rights are only future as if Christ isn”t exercising His regal rights now?

On this point Piper surrenders his quest for the Supremacy of God in all things and becomes someone who is advocating for a toothless god who must wait in line with all the rest of the gods.

The Bayly Brothers Are Indeed Out Of Their Minds

Tim Bayly,

Ron Paul is to national politics what R2K is to the salt and light of the Church. Both Paulites and R2Kites have never seen a battle they want to fight. So instead they come up with sophisticated reasons why Little Round Top is the wrong hill to defend and Colonel Chamberlain’s bayonet charge was over the top. The wrong man led the wrong troops in the wrong charge using the wrong weapons at the wrong time and the wrong location.

This has to be the most asinine thing I’ve read in a very long time. Bayly has found the Nirvana of perfect stupidity where sheer, utter lunacy is of such a high grade and refined variety that one can only weep at the site of purity of perfection. With the paragraph above the Baylys have gone from the stupidity inhabited by mere, though great demigods and have found lodging in the Inn of the sixth ignorance where demigods in stupidity are canonized as Sainted demigods in Stupidity.

But, these days that Inn is adding new wings daily because business is booming.

Ron Paul and Paulites have never seen a battle they want to fight?

Is Bayly unaware of Paul’s constant fight against the Federal Reserve? Has Tim never viewed the clips of Paul arguing with Ben Bernake or Alan Greenspan? What corner of the universe is Tim troglodyting in that he is unaware of Paul’s book, “End The Fed?”

Not only has Paul been fighting a epic battle he is fighting THE EPIC battle. Anybody who pretends to understand politics knows that money is the mother’s milk of politics. Because of the FED all of life and society has become political because it is all driven by large interests groups who are kept afloat, directly or indirectly by the FED. By Paul fighting the Money Interests he is fighting at the root all those battles that the Baylys are fighting at the periphery. Winning the fight against the FED would change EVERYTHING in this country from Abortion to the Homosexual Agenda to Mega-Churches. But the St. Baylys are too stupid to get this and so, in keeping with their approaching sainthood in Stupidity they hurl stupid charges at Paul and the Paulites that they don’t fight against anything.

Ron Paul and Paulites have never seen a battle they want to fight?

What about the Battle against Empire that all those who love Freedom fight? Ron Paul has his faults, to be sure, and I have chronicled them more than once on this site, but to suggest that his ongoing Battle against the Leviathan State has not been a battle just leaves the mundanely moronic with their jaws agape over the perfection of the moronic now dwelling in their midst. The Federal Government is a Behemoth that Paul and the Paulites want to slay and they are fighting to do so. The Federal Government continues to seek to accrue more and more power and sovereignty and Ron Paul has been fighting against that non-Constitutional and non-Biblical idea for decades.

St. Bayly continues with his tryst with irrationality,

In fact, watch these men closely and you find the only battle they’re willing to fight is the battle opposing battles. But of course, I use the words ‘battle’ and ‘fight’ quite loosely because both require courage. I don’t write this to demean them, but so readers will see the connection between their techniques, commitments, and character.

They’re the skinny boy in the corner of the schoolyard shouting “Nanny nanny boo-boo” at the real boys over on the baseball diamond trying to catch the ball, swing the bat, hit something, and run. Over in the corner of the playground with his back to the wall is R2K’s favorite cultural icon, Woody Allen, making jokes about how he refuses to play baseball because baseball is a stupid game with stupid rules played by stupid boys. But of course, he did try to play baseball once, and when the ball was flying toward his face, he misjudged where to put his mitt, he took his eye off the ball, and the ball hit him square in the face, and it really really hurt. He’s never forgotten it and now he makes fun of boys who play baseball.

All the boys who play baseball think he’s a coward, but he’s always surrounded by the other boys who got punched in the face with a baseball and decided never to play baseball again. They laugh at his jokes. Then there are the girls who never wanted to play baseball and don’t know a coward when they see one, and they think he’s kinda cute and sweet. They pity him for being an outcast and one day that pity will cause them to allow him to kiss them.

Here’s my modest proposal. Let the R2Kites go out and sidewalk counsel outside the abortuaries and write legislation against assisted suicide and lobby against the pornographers and run for appointment to the county planning commission and enlist in the Marines. You get the idea. Let’s see them do the good works they’re always arguing the church shouldn’t do because it’s not the right person at the right time in the right place with the right weapon. Then, when they’re awarded a Purple Heart for valor in battle, we may listen to them. But as long as they’re over in the corner of the playground making passive aggressive jokes and refusing to put a mitt on, let weaklings and girls pay attention to them.

Conceding that the squirrel Baylys do find a quality acorn occasionally here are two of the problems with the Baylys that explain how they can be right about bashing R2K but wrong about so much else.

1.) The Baylys are walking contradictions. On one hand they rightly rail against R2K but on the other hand they run theonomists and postmillennialists out of their congregations because the theonomists and postmillennialists take issue with amillennialism — the very foundation of the R2K they rail against. So, the Baylys are not systematic in their thinking and it shows (again) in articles like this one.

2.) The Baylys seemingly want the “ring of power.” I don’t want the damned thing. I want it cast into Mt. Doom. I want to see sphere sovereignty and subsidiarity re-established so that the power of the ring is no longer centralized. My issue with R2K is that R2K doesn’t believe that these different spheres can be Biblically governed and R2K believes that the Church, submitting to Scripture, should have no counsel in what these Biblically ordered spheres might look like. The Baylys issue with R2K seems to be that R2K is stopping them from grasping the ring of power. So while the Baylys and I might agree that R2K is horrendous theology, we are disagreeing with R2K for very different reasons. The fact that the Baylys can rail against Ron Paul and compare him to the Escondido boys is indicative of the Baylys discontent that Frodo Paul’s battle is to pull down Mordor on the Potomac. The Baylys don’t want to pull down Mordor on the Potomac, they just want to take it over and occupy it. The Baylys seem to think that all Mordor on the Potomac needs is just the right Captain to guide the ship of state.


The Baylys finish with a perfect pirouette of protracted puerility

Similarly, let Ron Paul stop running for national public office. That’s the wrong battle at the wrong time with the wrong weapons and the wrong man. The man who sits in the Oval Office needs to be a man who knows how to do and say something other than how very deeply he’s convinced that every battle is the wrong battle at the wrong place and wrong time fought by the wrong men with the wrong weapons holding those weapons in the wrong way. I mean, really! How can anyone not see what’s going on with this man?

He’s asked about things like sodomite marriage and murdering babies conceived through rape and the starvation of Terry Schiavo and all he can do is whine about how conflict is so very difficult and if we’d all learn to fight the way he does–ECPs and states rights and all that–the world would be a better place.

What can I say?

This is the kind of tripe you get from manly men who think Peggy Noonan is profound.

Paul’s position on abortion is wrong. Paul’s position on sodomites in the military is horrendous. Paul’s position on illegal immigration is disastrous but what people like the Baylys don’t get is that Paul’s intent to pull the foundations of Mordor on the Potomac down will change the whole landscape as it pertains to these issues. As we have had precious little success on these issues for 50 years with the current landscape it would seem that we would want to leave our insanity of doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results and vote for somebody who wants to give us a change of scenery.

Hat Tip to Darryl Hart for bringing my attention to this Bayly Babble.

Please Don’t Do Us Anymore Good

“The greatest organized wrongs which the civilized world has seen perpetrated in modern times, upon the well-being of mankind, have been committed under the amiable name of humanity. No despotic government now avows the ruthless purpose of self-aggrandizement and of the gratification of hatred and the lust of power; but its pretense is always the good of society, and the welfare of the governed.”

R. L. Dabney
The Crimes of Philanthropy
Vol. IV — Secular Discussions — pg. 53

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”

C. S. Lewis
God In The Dock

When any politician or bureaucrat promises that they are going to do something in order to help the citizenry at that moment the citizenry should remember all the past promises of politicians in history in order to lend help. The Bolsheviks promised to help the proletariat and 50 million dead proletariat members later they never did receive that help. The Black Republicans promised to help the black man and 150 years later some have argued that the average black man’s situation in 1862 was better than the average black man’s situation in 2012. Mao and the Communists promised to help China. 100 million dead Chinese don’t think too much of the help they received. Margaret Sanger, and her political water carriers, promised to help women and tens of millions of dead baby women later this doesn’t look much like help. In point of fact, it might be considered a good rule of thumb that whenever a politicians promises a program of “help,” the best action possible would be to vote against that “help,” if one values their lives.

The Roosevelt administration promised it was going to do good with the NRA but what happened instead was the federal government increased both the length and depth of the Great Depression. The Truman administration promised to help America by seizing ownership of American Steel companies in 1952 with the result that Truman almost had a National uprising on his hands because of his unconstitutional actions. Eisenhower promised good in operation keelhaul and millions of German POW’s died. Kennedy promised good to the anti-Castro Cubans and left them dying on the beech. Johnson promised good in the war against poverty, and poverty increased. Nixon promised good in price and wage controls and prices went up while wages remained stagnant. The Bush administration said it was going to do good with the “No Child Left Behind” Act and the result has been more children even more stupid then they were before children were left behind. The record could be piled up ad-nauseaum. The current administration in these united States says it is trying to help the American worker and the result is that the American worker can’t find work and does find that the creeping inflation is making him wish that he would quit being helped. The current administration said it was doing good by supporting the “Arab Spring,” in Muslim countries only to find that the Arab Spring, being taken over by the most extreme Muslim groups is in reality a “Arab Pestilence.” And now the Government wants to do good by providing contraceptives which I am confident will result in the “good” of mass sterilization.

Our Founding document understood all this and that is why it was a negative document restricting the “good” that Government could do by limiting it to very precise delegated and enumerated powers. The ratifiers of the Constitution understood that the best thing a Government could do was not do good beyond what it was specifically ordained to do.

We must cease looking to the Federal Government for good and strengthen ourselves, our families, our churches and our communities so that these subsidiary mediating institutions can once again be a means of how the God of the Bible does good to us. If the Federal Government continues to do good to us we will soon perish as a people.

American Federal Government As God

In the last week two happenings have transpired that render it perspicuous that the current American Federal Government sees itself as God walking on the earth.

The first happening was where our alleged President, B. Hussein Obama, performing at the “National Day of Prayer” Breakfast said,

““I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense,” Obama told the audience. “But for me, as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’ ”

Here Obama is invoking the words of Jesus to support his economic plan to increase taxes so that wealth can continue to be redistributed. The problem here is that in the text the Obama cites from the Bible the idea that Jesus is communicating is that the person unto whom much is given is going to be required much from God. The fact that Obama has the State being the agent who is doing the requiring from those who have been much given reveals that Obama views the State, and himself as the incarnation of the State, as having the prerogative of God. Bar explicitly saying “The State is God,” I can think of no clearer way for the State to say, “I am God,” then saying that it is the being who will do the much requiring of those who have been given much.

The second happening is the recent B. Hussein Obama ruling that Christian Charities will have their 1st and 2nd amendment religious freedoms stripped from them by being required to violate their Christian scruples, as formed by their Christian God, by being forced to provide contraceptives in their health care programs as dictated by the God state. Clearly what is being communicated here is that the God state is God over the Christian God in the public square. The consequence of this ruling is that the realm for private morality is being constricted by the God state as it insists that once what was considered a private contractual matter between employee and employer (whether or not contraception would be part of a health care package) is now no longer a private contractual matter between employee and employer and will now be constrained by the dictates of the Federal State God. We must realize that as the State-God expands its sovereignty by gobbling up the sovereignty of other spheres the result is that the distinction between society and state begins to be eliminated so that all that is left is society that is but a cog in the machinery of the Federal State God. Individual identity will be eclipsed as all citizens live and move and have their being in the State.

Clearly, the Federal State, is setting itself up as God.