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June 22, 2012


I really like what Piper said, "Which of our beliefs about what is good for the common good should be put into constitutional law?" If only our own President and VP would approach such monumental decisions like this. Many of their arguments for favoring same sex unions were purely emotional (I have great staff who are in committed same sex relationships..., they are good people, we've progressed) such blatant disregard for nearly 300 years of law. This issue doesn't even have to be a biblical one. As with everything God says is not good, there are reasons for it. We not only as Christians but responsible, concerned democratic citizens need to think seriously about the laws that will affect our society as a whole, not just make people happy.

I actually had a completely different view of what Piper said, and I got it from his own writings. In the post you linked above, Amy, he says that he has no public position on the marriage amendment - that the Star Tribune got that right.

Piper writes:
"The part that they got right was that I did not give a public endorsement for any legislation or candidate."

My full take on that statement that he made - not what the media wrote, but his own statement - is here:

In that post, I argue that it is good for pastors to be ready to give arguments and evidence against positions that the Bible says are wrong. He doesn't have to have his church endorse anything, but he should be able to give his opinion with some evidence that will be compelling to people who do not accept the Bible as inerrant.

As far as I can tell, he seems to only quote the Bible when discussing same-sex marriage, which doesn't seem to me to be persuasive to people outside the church. Does Piper have an argument on same-sex marriage that would be persuasive to non-Christians?

The best I found was this post that he wrote:

But I don't think that argument will work on non-Christians. If people say they oppose gay marriage, then I would expect them to oppose it effectively. We do what works. To stop gay marriage, we pass marriage amendments. To pass marriage amendments, we must persuade a majority of people in our state. The majority of people in Minnesota are not inerrantists. Piper needs to do better.

Sorry the links did not work. Let me post the links to my post and then Piper's post again.

My post:
John Piper declines to endorse marriage amendment

His post:
John Piper post on homosexuality and tornados

The basic point of this post - that we must be cautious when we read things before we pass them on, especially from the media - is an important one. I fully agree on that. It's awful when you pass something along and then realize it was all wrong!

But while I read both Piper's sermon and his response to the article, it does seem he's a bit unclear. (Or maybe I'm the one who is not fully understanding his position.)

His view seems to be that the focus of pastors should not be telling people how to vote, but that their focus must be to teach the Word in a way that their people will learn how to think biblically, and then they will vote and make other life decisions from that Christian worldview. Do I have that right?

At the same time, not taking a stand on public policy issues such as this one IS taking a stand. As WinterKnight has pointed out in the first article, if you are in a position to take action but do not, how does that show that you truly believe what you say you believe?

When it comes to SSM, Christians are in the defensive position. This is a battle that was brought to us by the culture, not the other way around. While I agree with Piper's approach that pastors need to focus on teaching the Bible to their people and not get completely sidetracked by political issues, when there is something political going on, they should take a stand. I don't see why it has to be one or the other.

I greatly respect John Piper. But it seems he's made an already complicated, confusing issue even more so.

Maybe I'm incorrect about this, but I assumed that Piper's reluctance to tell folks how to vote on this issue comes from the so-called
"separation of church and state", the violation of which could cause his congregation to lose its tax-exempt status.

Mr. Piper is right the whole gospel is centered on
the relationship with Christ and his gift of
salvation for all. This relationship is shown in
a family context. Shown in the relationship of
husband and wife. God made marriage as a special
relationship for a man and woman to enjoy in God's
love and caring.

Carolyn - why would you assume that?

Do we really need John Piper to know what is right?

@ Louis Kuhelj

We don't. But he is a well known and influential pastor, so we can't dismiss his weighing in on this issue as unimportant.

(I don't like this emphasis on certain pastors either. But they are there and they do have an influence whether we like it or not.)

It seems to me, that we can engage in Information Activism (WK's point) without engaging directly in Political Activism (Piper's point).

Although I agree with John Piper about churches not engaging directly in the political process; I also agree with WK that equipping the saints should involve Scripture plus any other truth relevant to the discussion.

When I read John Piper's post, his stance is crystal clear. All of his statements in points 7 and 8 are predicated upon and assume that people have actually read what he has written in the paragraphs preceding it when he says things such as "Marriage is the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman pledging life-long allegiance to each other as husband and wife. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex “marriage.” That is clear in God’s word." That "second mistake" he talks about depends upon the above-mentioned quote. To me, at least, his stance couldn't be any clearer.

Carolyn, pastors and churches that are 501c3, like any other IRS charitable organization, can indeed advocate for certain legislative positions, (for example, laws that prohibit murder, prostitution, slavery, torture of animals, and so forth. They can advocate or resist zoning laws and city and county supervisor decisions that affect the local church.). What they cannot do is endorse and promote the election of a particular candidate. Churches and other charitables can point out the immoral acts of a particular candidate and they can commend the moral acts of another as long as the focus is on the moral issue and stops there. All laws are inherently moral expressions ("you can't legislate morality" is an oxymoron, and it would definitely be immoral to drive 90mph the wrong way down a one way street), and pastors can and should address moral issues and the doctrinal framework behind them for their members as stewards of the right to vote.

501c3's can engage in the political process in various ways as long as it is a minority of the charitable work of the organization.

I hope that helps.

I think the bottom line is that same-sex "marriage" should be illegal, just like incest. Regardless of what any pastor, notable or otherwise, says.

I heard a different take on this yesterday 6/25 on a twin cities radio show that I'm somewhat inclined to agree with. As I understand John Piper clearly and thoroughly gave his Biblical position on gay marriage. Very well done I thought. What he didn't do was to tell his congregation to vote one way or the other on it. That's where the radio show presented a rather scathing disagreement.

Pastor Brandon is rather passionate but I do understand his point.

Provided my link works you'll hear it from about minute two to minute seven of the program.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to remember: when ... someone in the media talks about Christians or Christianity, don’t immediately assume the picture he's painting is accurate ...

Let's be honest. This rule is rarely followed. The reader's assumption about the accuracy of the report is in direct proportion to his dis/inclination to approve of the person(s) being written about.

What's really sad is that Christians are usually worse about this than the general populace. Disapprove of a fellow believer? Take everything negative written about him as gospel, even when you know it's a blatant lie. Preach it from your pulpit, or write it up in your blog. Do whatever you can to further disseminate the false information.

Oh, and of course, when someone of whom you approve is written about falsely, be sure to complain about the "MSM".

I find the best argument against SSM is a completely secular one. It's pointless to make a religious argument to some one who does not share your religious views. I follow Dennis Prager on this. The discussion of marriage is not over what is in the best interest of those wanting to marry, but what is in the best interest of children. Period.


-What's really sad is that Christians are usually worse about this than the general populace.-

I'd be interested to see what data you used to come to this conclusion.


"We don't. But he is a well known and influential pastor, so we can't dismiss his weighing in on this issue as unimportant."

Why not? I should think that the weightiness of something is based on the nature of the topic, not the personality that happens to weigh in on it. After all, isn't it a kind of genetic fallacy in reverse to give more importance to a topic on the basis of its origin? How is that any better? Doesn't that just show another kind of questionable bias?

"(I don't like this emphasis on certain pastors either. But they are there and they do have an influence whether we like it or not.)"

I don't like it for a particular reason. It is because it creates a kind of personality cult that I don't much care for. It smacks too much of what some repressive regimes gravitate toward. It totters to close to the edge of that kind of problem for my liking.

@ Louis Kuhelj -

We should, but we don't. I don't like the cult of personality any more than you do, but ignoring it doesn't seem to be helpful either.

I wish I could say I have a solution to this matter, but I don't. All I have is my observation at this point.

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