Skip to content

John Piper’s False God (2)

As already noted, for John Piper evil, suffering, and death are all ultimately determined and decreed by his god as part of his own plan for self-glorification. For Piper this is inestimably a good thing. Because God is God it is good for God to seek to magnify himself in all things. And, moreover the presence of suffering and death in the world adds to God’s glory in that through these events God’s wrath and justice are manifested in the world. This is a crucial point. God’s wrath against sin must be displayed through the inflicting of punishment in order for God’s glory to be seen.

And, since this god has determined every specific event of suffering—all for the sake of his glory—it follows that all human suffering and death that takes place is willed by him and brings him greater glory. Thus, for Piper it is of the utmost importance that, rather than blaming his god or being angry with him in events of suffering and death we ought instead to rejoice in the fact that through these displays of his wrath against sin, Piper’s god is glorified.

As such, then I submit that on Piper’s view of god it is actually immoral for Christians to be angry about suffering and death in the world. In fact, it is absolutely essential that Christians be delighted about it because anything that contributes to his god’s glory is worthy of delight. Thus, Piper is supremely inconsistent in his constant opposition to abortion. Piper’s god requires aborted babies in order that god’s wrath against sinful human beings. Remember we are all born totally depraved; the fetuses deserve what they get! However, Piper is utterly inconsistent about this, in his constant opposition to abortion:

Abortion is a God issue, and I think the first way you see that is in Psalm  139 where it says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (verse 14). And the language that is used is that a baby is knit together in its mother’s womb. Well who’s the knitter? The knitter is not nature. The knitter is God, which means that what’s happening in a woman’s tummy is that God is at work. God is making a human being.

Now, you don’t mess with that. You just don’t get in God’s face and say, “Let me at it! I’m going to take it out! I’m going to chop it into pieces.” You don’t do that.

And you don’t do it for God’s sake. God gives, God takes away, God makes babies. We don’t make babies. We put the pieces together through sexual relations and God causes a being that never was and now is and always will be to come into being.

In complete contradiction of his whole doctrine of god, here Piper says that in committing abortions, human being interfere with and circumvent his god’s own work, getting in the way of his god’s attempts at creating life. But how is this possible, since Piper’s god is ultimately in control of everything and, in fact, actively determines all events of human death and suffering for the sake of divine self-glorification?

The point of all of this is to again underscore how deeply demonic Piper’s  god is. Piper’s god loves to see people suffer and die because it glorifies him. Piper’s god needs and desires aborted babies. If Piper or his followers were to be consistent in their attempts to follow this god, they would praise him for every baby that is aborted. If they truly delighted in this god’s glory, they would sing songs of praise whenever a baby was aborted, whenever a bomb fell on a random home, whenever an orphan was denied care. All of these events of suffering and death glorify their god—they should love them.

The fact that Piper cannot be consistent with his view of god is just another sure sign of the false and demonic nature of the theology he espouses. And it constitutes yet one more reason why the false god of Piper should be abandoned in favor of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the Spirit comes to us “to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.” (Isa 61:1)

17 Comments

  1. Brad A. wrote:

    Halden, I have no problem with critiquing such notions as these, but not having read Piper myself, I’d appreciate a more extensive treatment of his actual writing. So far, other than the tornado nonsense, all we have of him on this blog is one quote following an Edwards passage and this bit above on abortion. I certainly agree that his doctrine of God as intimated by you is problematic, but I feel like we’re going on heresay and I’d like some more specific (and referenced) passages if we’re going to undertake a thorough critique.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    His website is replete with shorter essays and sermons that demonstrate the picture I’ve drawn here and elsewhere. As this is a blog, not a book or a treatise, I don’t really intend on doing exhaustive critiques of that nature, nor do I think they are necessary as anyone can see what I’m talking about fairly easily simply by looking at some of the essays on his site on the doctrine of God.

    Nothing here is hearsay, however. In every case I’ve linked to Piper’s actual writing on the topic. For those who think I may be misrepresenting anything, as I said his site is easy to navigate and bears out these points.

    For an article that does a good job at engaging the breadth of Piper’s published writings, I’d recommend Paul Louis Metzger’s “The Halfway House of Hedonism” in Crux 41 no 4 Wint 2005, p 21-27.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    But for just a little bit more, here’s a quote from Piper’s Desiring God:

    But when God looks at a painful or wicked event through His wide-angle lens, He sees the tragedy of the sin in relation to everything leading up to it and everything flowing out from it. He sees it in relation to all the connections and effects that form a pattern, or mosaic, stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all its parts—good and evil—brings Him delight. (p. 39)

    From what I can see, this claims that for Piper’s god, all evil events are part of his overarching strategy, which is his own self-glorification. As such these evil events bring Piper’s god delight. Piper tries to talk out both sides of his mouth on this, saying that God is still upset about evil, but this only accentuates the inconsistency. The overarching perspective is obvious. Evil is part of what Piper’s god delights to bring about because it glorifies him.

    To such a view, I say a loud Nein!

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  4. Halden wrote:

    Or try this one on for size:

    After the planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York, I was interviewed and people would ask me, “Where was God in this?” I said, “Well, God could have very easily blown those planes off course by a little puff of wind, and he didn’t do it. Therefore God was right there ordaining that this happen, because he could have stopped it just like that.” Everybody who believes in God should say that, because that is how powerful he is, as it was said of Jesus, “The winds obey him” (Matthew 8:27). And so just a simple wind by the command of Jesus would have blown those planes away and they would have crashed and 60 people would have died instead of thousands of people. But he didn’t do that. Why is it comforting to believe that?

    The answer is because there are 10,000 orphans who wonder if they have a future. Will they have a future if God isn’t powerful for them? I’m coming to those families and I’m saying when they ask me, “Do you think God ordained the death of my daddy?” I say, “Yes. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. But the very power by which God governs all evils enables him to govern your life. And he has total authority to turn this and every other evil in your life for your everlasting good. And that’s your only hope in this world and in the next. And therefore, if you sacrifice the sovereignty of God in order to get him off the hook in the death of your daddy, you sacrifice everything. You don’t want to go there.”

    The sovereignty of God, while creating problems for his involvement in sin and evil, is the very rock-solid foundation that enables us to carry on in life. Where would we turn if we didn’t have a God to help us deal with the very evils that he has ordained come into our lives? So yes, absolutely, I believe in the sovereignty of God and I believe in its comforting effects.

    Please take note: “Where would we turn if we didn’t have a God to help us deal with the very evils that he has ordained come into our lives?” Come again? If God wasn’t the one bringing down evil on us, who would we turn to for help? It doesn’t get crazier than that.

    Piper’s god is a crazy sociopath, not the God and Father of Jesus Christ. I don’t feel like I’m making any sort of stretch in saying that.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  5. Rod wrote:

    Halden,

    I have been keeping up with your series on Piper. I am an Open Theist, and so is the pastor I work for. Keep up the good work.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  6. Brad A. wrote:

    No disagreement here, Halden. Between my dissertation and class prep, I just haven’t had time to explore everything Piper (and our library apparently doesn’t do *Crux*). I wasn’t accusing you of hearsay (helps to spell it right), merely asking whether there might be a book review or something like that for those of us who are already swamped to easily access. Nevertheless, I’m certainly in agreement with you on what I’ve seen.

    In that quote, I don’t see a “strategy” engineered in advance, but such would be consistent with his hyper-Reformed perspective. It seems like the quote is pretty good until his last sentence (unless you’re an open theist): specifying that God sees even the evil parts as delightful is just plain strange, and not at all orthodox.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  7. Brad A. wrote:

    Nope, I’m with you there. That’s just frightening. Thanks for the extended quote.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  8. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Unfortunately Piper’s meticuluous providence is a staple amongst Classic Calvinists; although there is some nuance amongst the ranks. I remember having conversations at Multnomah Seminary, while I was there, that mirror Piper’s sentiment, exactly.

    This is what happens when someone mixes Thomas and the decrees with the God of the bible; we end up with a god shaped by evil instead of His own righteousness.

    I know that you are not misrepresenting Piper’s doctrine of God, Halden . . . the expose’ is good; although I would say that with your readership, you’re preaching to the choir.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  9. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Rod,

    Why would you want to be that? An Open Theist, you’re still submitting God to His creation; predicating His life by ours.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  10. Terry wrote:

    I think you’re right with your final statement, Bobby. Halden – have you posted anything at http://www.desiringgod.com? It’s very easy to take someone to task from the comfort of one’s virtual lounge. (Don’t get me wrong: I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said about Piper’s theology so-called. But in my view, your incendiary tone has sort-of presented to you the opportunity to say something far more directly to Piper.)

    I notice that Piper’s posted a follow-up to his earlier comments: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1968_clarifying_the_tornado/

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  11. Terry wrote:

    Another way of doing it, of course, is to write a paper setting out the problems with Piper’s position and sending it to a journal.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 12:36 am | Permalink
  12. Thom Stark wrote:

    Abortion is a God issue, and I think the first way you see that is in Psalm 139 where it says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (verse 14). And the language that is used is that a baby is knit together in its mother’s womb. Well who’s the knitter? The knitter is not nature. The knitter is God, which means that what’s happening in a woman’s tummy is that God is at work. God is making a human being.

    Now, you don’t mess with that. You just don’t get in God’s face and say, “Let me at it! I’m going to take it out! I’m going to chop it into pieces.” You don’t do that.

    I love how he appeals directly to Psalm 139, which is just two Psalms over from Psalm 137, which says: “O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”

    Right. I guess abortion is only evil if it’s a Jewish or a Christian baby.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  13. Halden wrote:

    [anabaptistfive]But of course “Christian baby” is an oxymoron.[/anabaptistfive]

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  14. Thom Stark wrote:

    :)

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  15. roger flyer wrote:

    Hi Rod-
    May I encourage you: You do not work for a pastor.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  16. Colin wrote:

    Really? That was a jerk-off reply. Am I missing something?

    Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  17. Bobby Grow wrote:

    I think Roger, meant; that Rod works for the LORD . . .

    Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

Switch to our mobile site