Why I Believe The Evangelical Church Needs To Stop Listening To John Piper (And Those Like Him)

This post has a been a LONG time coming. Years, in fact. I’ve been concerned by John Piper with increasing alarm as I’ve greater understood exactly what he teaches and just how pervasive it is. He is one of the most popular pastors in the world, and pastors who I respect, respect him. I first thought that I liked his theology and I just took a few issues with some of his conclusions, but as time has gone on I’ve realized there is something deep at the core of what he teaches that is fundamentally flawed to the point it brings death rather than life. And he is by no means alone.

Part of coming to grips with my view of his teaching was coming to grips that I don’t view faith through his lens, and because his lens is so popular, it’s easy to fear being put on the outside. I go to a good Reformed church, and I want to be accepted by my good Reformed community (after all, John Piper is SO reformed he considers himself a 7 point Calvinist!). Am I risking that by questioning the underpinnings of John Piper’s teaching? Maybe, but I know that I’m strong enough now to be honest with myself and others, and I believe that the Gospel itself demands those of us who see error speak up when we feel the message is being perverted. For me, it has come time to heed the words of Martin Luther who said “. . . to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

I have read many criticisms of John Piper (and made some myself). Any pastor as popular as he is will have his detractors: his views on women, his views on divorce, his views on the sovereignty of God, his views on domestic violence, etc. But I think his true error originates from a deeper place. A darker place. And it’s a place that is becoming pervasive in the church. A place the world sees and has learned to avoid because we are not safe to be around. He is just one such preacher of this lie: that human beings are not valuable.

To prove my point about Piper specifically, I will cite this article that he wrote about self worth. In it, while he admits that people have dignity because they are created in the image of God, he quickly dismissed that point as almost inconsequential (emphasis mine):

The imago dei is that about man which gives him the potential to be redemptively loved by God and to consciously depend in gratitude on God’s mercy. It is cited in unbelievers only in Genesis 9:6 (to justify capital punishment) and James 3:9 (where the implication is that we ought not curse man). It is not an important concept to the writers of Scripture, for they were not nearly so concerned as our age with what inheres in man. They were concerned not with who man was but rather whom he loved, obeyed, lived for. Man was fully man not when he fulfilled or expanded anything inherent in himself but when he ceased making claims for himself and took his refuge in God.

This is a crucial point- how we view human beings is a “launching theology”- so much of what we believe flows from it. In fact, I can think of no more crucial theology in all of scripture than this: that human beings are valuable. Everything hinges on it- it’s not a just a bullet point on the list of our redemptive qualities (to give us “potential” as Piper puts it), but it is the very reason our redemption happened at all. It’s the very reason for justice, for love, for mercy. It’s the reason that our scripture was handed down through men, and the reason for the most distinctive aspect of Christianity among all world religions: the Incarnation. There are many beautiful scripture, but this one remains one of my favorites for this reason:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

When Jesus became one of us, he demonstrated something that no imagined deity every would- that we were so valued in our humanity that he chose to become one of us. This cannot be missed. It’s everything. And while Piper might readily agree with his words that we are valued, he is quick to dismiss it as a secondary point in his teaching and wholesale with his conclusions. By the latter, I mean he comes to conclusions that can only make sense if you treat humans as unvalued (for example, the statement “In the New Testament the question about remarriage after divorce is not determined by . . . the ease or difficulty of living as a single parent for the rest of life on earth” that occurs in his position paper on divorce).

Recently, a friend told me he’d be interested to know why I thought people were leaving the church. Well, while I’m far from an expert, I think this is it. I don’t think it’s because of light shows and loud music, and I don’t think it’s for a lack of teaching the Bible. I think it’s a lack of valuing people just as they are. And the popular evangelical Christians making the most noise don’t show that they value people. They value ideas. They value theology. Or they value great music. Or they value social clubs. But when you get right down to it, people will sit in the pews and the church will preach at them that they are worthless. That they are worms who should be grateful for God’s attention. And then, even worse, we’ll show them this hatred. This is terrible and nothing like the way the scripture talks about faith, but it’s part and parcel for modern evangelical Christianity. Wonder why the “liberals” are so hostile to us? I don’t. I’d hate us too.

Many of those who know me know that I think and talk a lot about the church’s response to domestic violence. I probably sound like a broken record to them because I return to the subject so often. But I have come to believe that this issue is a strong indicator that we’ve have some launching theology wrong- that there is a rotten core. Because even the world can see how bad it is when an abused wife goes to a person for help and is asked what her sin is. About how she provoked her husband. And told that whatever she does, she must not leave him. Only perverse minds raised on perverse theology could attribute such council to God, and yet it happens all the time. This is not a problem of a few misguided pastors out of their depth: it’s systemic, and it’s a problem at the root of what we believe, not the fringes. A truly Christian centered theology is going to START with “You are a valuable person, and this is not OK”. But domestic abuse is just one example that speaks to me- the results of placing low value on people show up all over the “ministry” of the church.

I believe the Bible is the only infallible source for truth concerning God’s relationship to man (and vice versa). That being said, sometimes we get away from the scripture and the truth is better proclaimed by the world than the church. Such is the case when Brene Brown delivered her famous Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability.
I’m not saying she’s not a believer, but she certainly arrived at her conclusions from research rather than scripture. And yet, her research bares out exactly how important it is to value people. She says that you can divide folks in to two groups, those who are unhappy and those who are happy, and the clear difference, the ONLY difference, is that the happy people believe they are worthy of love and belonging. Happy people understand that they are valuable. They understand they have the dignity that comes from being created in the Image of God (even if they don’t make the connection that the Image of God is the reason why they are valuable).

Brown lists many things people do to try to achieve love and belonging when they don’t believe they are worth much: over indulging, drug abuse, consumerism. The list goes on. And I think the church has become one more avenue for them try to achieve connection. People hurt for connection, so they come to us. And they hear the John Piper’s of the world tell them to not think much of themselves, and rather think much on God. They don’t establish connection or feel love or belonging. They just feel more of the same. And it might draw people in the way so many unhealthy things do as we try to prop ourselves up and achieve worthiness, but it won’t bring ultimate life.

Because, in the end, a low evaluation of self isn’t the Gospel. People don’t become worthy of love and connection when they accept Christ and enter the fold. Save for the few people among us who make connection impossible (psychopaths and sociopaths), people are already worthy of love and connection just for being humans. The scripture commands us to love widows, orphans, poor, and aliens. Many of these are people not of our tribe, not in the fold. But they are people who God loves, and they are people we should love.

Yes, the Gospel is that there is GREATER life beyond just love and connection within a community: there is ultimate love and connection with God as a son our daughter, adoption into the Kingdom. This is an unbelievable offer that we do not merit and only some receive by grace, but it is not the basis for love and connection. Those are human qualities, not believer qualities.

For too long we’ve listened to false teachers tell us that a low view of ourselves is the viewpoint of scripture. This results in so many distortions that our preaching sounds nothing like the language of scripture, and we don’t even realize it. I can no longer accept this kind of teaching in my life- it’s not Godly and it is not the Gospel. Until John Piper corrects his understanding of the nature of man, he is not worth listening to on any subject. It’s just too critical. I’ve often remarked that his answers about how to deal with domestic violence must mean he’s never actually worked with victims, because if he had and said these sorts of things, it would make him a monster. I still think that’s true, but I also think it’s his low view of human beings that allows him to say what he does. It’s tragic, but it’s a tragedy many are amplifying as they repeat it over and over again, often praising him for his “winsome” style.

We need to do better. We need to be a people that fundamentally view other people as worthy of love and belonging. As image bearers of God. As deserving of justice. Right now, so many people experience church as just another avenue where they can follow a plan to find acceptance, and that’s not what we are here to offer. Telling people who are hurting and in pain “you aren’t worth much” is just going to send them looking for a new drug, because this drug is as ineffective as the last.

No more.

We can disagree on a lot of theology. We can even disagree on important topics like gender equality. I might find your views oppressive and you might find mine too lenient. And those are conversations that we need to have- we can learn from one another. But what I will no longer tolerate is this idea that we must debase ourselves to fully magnify God. That isn’t humility (which is a fine quality), but rather asceticism, and asceticism may have the appearance of Godliness, but it has no real power to change us.

What does have power is love. Acceptance. Meeting the broken where they are. Having enough honesty to admit our own brokenness. To build connection with others, understanding we all need it and all crave it, but that we have a better plan than WordPress, Facebook, or Twitter. We have the Kingdom of God on earth. There is no grater institution and no greater plan for humanity then this. Let’s not miss it. Let’s preach it and go crazy with how infectious it can be.

And let the John Pipers of the world catch up when they realize that they’ve had it wrong the whole time.

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About Jeff S

Programmer, musician, father, and lover of Jesus. I have a strong passion to see people free from abuse and religion misused so that they can find the ultimate empowered life in Jesus.
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19 Responses to Why I Believe The Evangelical Church Needs To Stop Listening To John Piper (And Those Like Him)

  1. Wendell G says:

    I also posted this comment on FB, so don’t feel obligated to respond both places.

    A good treatise. I have a question for you. How much do you think the tension between the “rules” in the Bible (even the New Testament) and the idea of grace work into this. Are we a people of extremes where the pendulum floats between the extremes of having to follow rules to be accepted, and extreme grace where everything goes because all is forgiven? Both the rule following and the grace are taught by Paul (and even Christ), so where do we find the middle ground?

    It is certainly hard to reconcile that we are worthy of love in the passage you brought out with Paul’s teachings that all of our righteousness is filthy rags.

    Perhaps people wrongly conflate righteousness with inherent worth?

    Like

    • joepote01 says:

      Wendell – I think you are touching very close to the right questions, here…and I also find myself often pointing out that we are not under law, but under grace.

      However, I am coming to view even this from a different perspective. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. The Law was given as a revelation of God’s heart and character. Likewise, Grace is given as a deeper, fuller, revelation of God’s heart and character.

      I have often marveled at John’s description of Jesus as “full of grace and truth.” We often see these as contradictory (law -vs- grace) and seek to find balance between the two. However, for Jesus it was not a balancing act. He was completely full of both grace and truth.

      How can this be? How can one fully and wholeheartedly uphold both Law and Grace without short-selling one or the other? By understanding that both Law and Grace are revelations of God’s heart and character. It’s not about law devoid of grace. It’s not about grace devoid of law. It’s about approaching each circumstance in life with a wholehearted pursuit of God’s heart. It’s about studying scripture, not to learn legal rules, exception clauses, and loopholes, but to come to know God’s heart…as Paul expressed it, to “know the mind of Christ.”

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  2. Jeff S says:

    “Perhaps people wrongly conflate righteousness with inherent worth?”

    I think this is very, VERY close. I think it’s more accurate to say, we are people who wrongly conflate righteousness with being worth human dignity. To say it differently, we are hardwired as humans to need love and connection, and in fact to provide it, regardless of how well we obey God’s commandments.

    You know the parable of the Good Samaritan? Outside of the scope of that parable was the righteousness of either the Samaritan or the beaten man, and Jesus goes out of his way to demonstrate that the concept of “neighbor” is across “tribes”. But we don’t look at the beaten man and think “he must have been following the rules enough to be worth helping” and we don’t see the Samaritan as a rule follower beyond this one example unless we extrapolate. The simple point was, if you see a need, meet it. Provide love and connection.

    I think Grace works because while we are valuable in how we are created, we are marred and distorted from our true destiny: to be a part of the Kingdom of God. And that’s the part the Grace addresses: our merits fall short and we are not good enough to be adopted. We can be given human love and acceptance, and even common grace from God, but until God redeems us, we cannot experience a full life. We can have happiness, but not fulfilled true joy.

    The thing about listening to Brown is, all those happy people are just as non-functional as the unhappy ones. They are still as broken and sinful (she doesn’t say sinful, but the idea is there), but they accept that the can be connected with just as they are and they don’t have to clean themselves up first. For them to find the Kingdom kind of joy still requires grace (something she wasn’t measuring).

    There is a place for rules in the Kingdom, because the rules guide us to honor God and have a better life, but I don’t think the rules are a pre-requisite for love and connection.

    I *do* think there are people unworthy of love an connection- those who destroy other’s ability to love and connect with them. The pathological narcissists who are so unsafe that real connection is not possible. I think these are the people who have so distorted the image of God in themselves that justice demands we separate from them; their only hope is in the radical transformation of God to bring them out of such a state.

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  3. Hester says:

    The term I would use for the concept I think you’re getting at here is “human dignity.” Humans have dignity / value / worth that comes from us being created in the image of God. That doesn’t go away just because we’re now sinful, because we are still made in the image of God. What you might want to bring out in future posts is that this is actually used as a reason for treating people correctly in the Bible itself: James tells us not to curse men who are made in God’s image, God tells Noah that killing humans is different from killing animals because humans are made in God’s image. (Which actually would be important information in the moment since He had just told them it was okay to eat meat.)

    I actually find it kind of strange that Piper, etc. are downplaying image-based human dignity, since it’s the entire basis of their anti-abortion arguments. They’re gonna paint themselves into a corner if they’re not careful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hester says:

    It is cited in unbelievers only in Genesis 9:6 (to justify capital punishment) and James 3:9 (where the implication is that we ought not curse man).

    This almost makes it sound like he’s trying to minimize the fact that unbelievers are made in the image of God, and really glosses over the fact that most of the other references to the image are logically extended to include unbelievers too, like the big one right away in Genesis 1. I assume he’s counting Adam and Eve as believers here, but really, he’d never go claiming that the “humans were created male and female” part of that passage is a reference to “believers only” so huh?

    Like

  5. Rob McQueary says:

    How does your understanding of the depravity of man fit into this discussion?

    Like

    • Jeff S says:

      Rob, I believe that human dignity is not based on our ability to do good. So the point isn’t “I’m a pretty good dude- I’m worthy of love and connection”- it’s more “I’m a messed up dude, but I’m still worthy of love and connection because I was made in the image of God”. In fact, the point is that we can stop the unattainable treadmill of trying to make ourselves worthy, because we’ll never get there. None of us are cable of making ourselves worthy- we have to be vulnerable and admit that we are flawed, and from there we can begin to accept love and connection. And if we are truly graced, we can accept the Gospel so that beyond human dignity, we can actually receive the gift of eternal life!

      Like

  6. senecagriggs yahoo says:

    I’d say, we humans are not worthy, but God in His mercy has found us WORTHWHILE.

    Like

    • Jeff S says:

      I would argue that the two terms are almost interchangeable- however, “worthy” does perhaps carry come connotations I wouldn’t endorse. I was careful in this piece to always say what I believe human dignity is worthy OF: “love and belonging”. I think it’s pretty clear in scripture that God does regard love and belonging as a basic human right that stems from the his image imprinted upon us.

      But lest we get tripped up on terms, I gave some further thoughts a few months ago that should make my meaning clear: https://lovewithoutfear.net/2014/10/10/merit-vs-worth/

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  7. Nate says:

    I’ve liked to think of it as follows: if we have to make humanity look bad to make God look good, what does that say about our view of God? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dpersson7 says:

    Okay, you would not believe how much time I just spent writing a response only to delete it. My ranting led me to a conclusion I would like to submit for your consideration. I completely agree with you that entertaining a view of humanity that is tainted by an attitude of what I think is condescension towards others because they are sinners, is a toxic view because it is close to the truth. Yes we are all sinners, and I would say yes we do deserve the wages of sin, which is of course death. That is why this is so hard to dismiss at times because there is an element of truth in it. The error seems to be rooted, as you said, in an inaccurate view of God, who was characterized by Jesus himself as a loving father, a good shepherd, and the great physician, not an angry wrathful tyrant. Yes God could use our sin as justification to wipe out the human race, and yet he doesn’t because he is so good. His mercy endures forever. I also agree with you that the world has done a better job in addressing human needs especially psychological needs than the church has.
    I think, but I am not sure, that I differ on one point. That there is another contributor to this problem. One thing I have noticed over the last several years is that there is a certain mentality that I believe comes from our culture of valuing talent, knowledge, money, and power over love, that has crept into the church. I am starting to think that because of our tendency to “worship” celebrities; bad doctrine, double standards, and general bad behavior is tolerated, because certain speakers attract a following. I also think that is why it is easy to marginalize those that come into the church with problems or worse, “allow” them in, but treat them in a way that ostracizes them because they don’t have anything to offer. The depravity card becomes the rationalization for this, but the sad fact is, if people really believed what they were selling, they wouldn’t marginalize anyone, they would treat them with respect. They would actually treat people the way Jesus did. Anyway, I hope that makes sense. I would like to hear your thoughts. All of these questions have really led me to do some serious soul searching myself.

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    • Jeff S says:

      I don’t disagree with you- in the post I was specifically addressing a disturbing trend and what I think is the root of the problems I have with John Piper, but it’s certainly not the only issue that plagues the Evangelical Church. I’ve written before (on another blog) about the cautions with celebrity pastors, and I think we have to be very careful about how we measure success.

      I was very pleased to meet with our worship pastor this last week and hear him say “Rod [our senior pastor] and I agree that our church rises and falls on how we treat the folks from Annandale”. By this he means that we have, as part of our church, a number of members from Annandale Village (http://annandale.org/). They are not the hip, together, powerful people, so they can be easy to overlook. But the thing is, they are a part of the community of the church, vibrant and loving, and they are not just people we minister to, but they minister to us. They are a part of us, not an appendage we sometimes care for.

      And of course, James dealt with this topic specifically:

      “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” (James 2:1-7 ESV)

      Definitely something for us to be wary of when the popular, celebrity preachers start talking. The rich and powerful often are the ones who oppress us.

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      • dpersson7 says:

        I understand your point. I went back and read both of the articles you linked to and I can see why you have concerns. After I finished both articles I thought: “Who can be saved?” The position paper on divorce and remarriage seemed to shut out anyone that has been remarried if I understand his reasoning. He seems to put people that have been remarried into a perpetual state of adultery in God’s eyes, regardless of the reason for divorce, unless the first spouse dies. The article spends the majority of the time building a case for not allowing remarriage, ever, unless death is involved. Even though at the end of his argument he says that if a person has been remarried, they should stay married to the second spouse. Remarriage is reduced to less than the ideal rather than adultery. I don’t get it. I can’t see how a person can be in a constant state of adultery in God’s eyes and still be a Christian. It doesn’t make sense to me. Is that his point and he just won’t come out and say it? At best remarriage needs to be regularly repented of, or the worst case scenario remarriage becomes the unforgivable sin.
        I can see how this line of thinking can subtly influence the Christian community to reject a person who has been remarried, or put a yoke on an innocent spouse that very few people could bear up under. I think in theory this sounds spiritual, but working it out practically is another thing.
        Sorry, I don’t mean to solely focus on the divorce and remarriage, but his position on that seems to reflect a narrow legalistic approach to Christian practice that could result in the condemnation of a person that remarries, even if the remarriage is for legitimate reasons. Again, like I said at the beginning, I can see why you have concerns.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff S says:

        It is, in fact, the divorce issue that put Piper on my radar. When I went through my divorce, my church took Piper’s position, which was very painful for me. Piper puts the institution of marriage over the welfare of individuals, and it’s quite painful if your marriage is a source of constant emotional suffering.

        I think Piper’s position is if you remarry and go “well, this was wrong, but I guess we’ll carry on now that we realize it’s a mistake”, then you’ve passed the test and can go on with life loving Jesus. People like me who believe their divorce was justified and released them to remarry, on the other hand, are at risk it seems. His position has the odd effect of creation single people who can never remarry because their ex-spouses remarried, so that option is no longer available to them. Poor single mother whose ex left her for a younger woman . . .

        To demonstrate the insidious nature of this, my pastor at my old church told me “If God wants you to remarry, he can take [my ex wife] at any time”. How is that kind of thing ever OK to say? Did he really want me to long for her death? (Probably not, but wow- what an implication!)

        If you want to read how I felt in the midst of this, you can read an open letter I wrote to John Piper about it all: http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/10/10/a-open-letter-to-john-piper-about-his-view-on-divorce/

        I actually wrote that without an intention to send it or make it public, then months later decided to allow ACFJ to publish it anonymously.

        Since then, I’ve seen other errors from Piper- my divorce issue is not the only thing he’s gotten wrong, and I now strongly believe his multiple errors stem from a low view of human beings.

        Like

      • Wendell G says:

        Man, it has been so long since I took Koine Greek, I would have some trouble verifying it today, but maybe Joe or another pastor who might have had training and uses it more can verify it.

        I remember when I was an associate pastor, our senior pastor and I were struggling with a controversy over the church constitution on how we would handle divorce. Half the committee took the approach of Piper and the other half were more conciliatiory.

        When we were discussing the passage about remarriage is committing adultery, my senior pastor brought up the point that in the Greek, the tense of the phrase commits adultery was a single instance, not a continuing action and that God did it that way so as to not condemn a remarried person to living in perpetual sin.

        Now I hadn’t been exposed to the divorce for abuse topic back then, but thinking about it now, it makes sense. Even IF the remarried person committed adultery, and if the tenses are correct as explained by my senior, then Piper’s view does not even have support in the original language! It is a cruel and inconsistent view that actually violates the law of non-contradiction in logic. To remain consistent, then Piper would have to not accept into fellowship anyone who is divorced and remarried for any reason. He would be bound by his own belief system to condemn such people as unsaved and having committed the unpardonable sin because they remain remarried to their second spouse; however, he does not even give them an escape route to divorce the second spouse to end the continual commission of adultery.

        I somehow am having trouble finding in Scripture where blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is equated with remarriage after divorce….

        Like

  9. Patrice says:

    Jeff S, recently I’ve only had time to read comment sections, not write in them, but you linked here from TWW and I just had to say how lovely this is! I am still not fond of the depravity bits that you leave lying around 🙂 but that we are of great value because we are in God’s image, yes indeed!

    And I agree that it is a fundamental repellent in US Christianity.

    I will read this again. Thanks!

    Like

    • Jeff S says:

      Thanks Patrice. I’m still somewhat Reformed, so there will be marks of that 🙂

      To clarify what I believe, I don’t see the idea that we have been fatally corrupted by the fall as being at odds with the idea that we are valuable. I do believe the notion of “Total Depravity” has been twisted into a new meaning it didn’t originally have in the minds of the Reformers, so I tend to stay away from that language.

      The scripture does say that all have fallen short of the Glory of God and deserve death; however, the Bible ALSO commands us to do justice on the basis of human dignity. This is where I feel like modern day Calvinism runs afoul. It’s easy to focus on the first bit and go around talking how depraved we are and how we deserve hell, but the scripture spends a great deal of time talking about rewarding righteous behavior and elevating the oppressed. I just don’t think our language and emphasis matches that of scripture.

      I tend to think of it on two axis. There is the vertical axis between God and myself, and on that axis justice means I deserve death for my sin. But there’s a horizontal axis between myself and other humans, and on that axis justice means elevating the oppressed and punishing the wicked. The scripture does a fair amount of time talking about “righteousness” people, and I can only assume that this means on the horizontal axis, in relation to other humans, because none of us is righteous on the vertical axis (as scripture clearly states).

      To focus on the vertical to the exclusion of the horizontal is to ignore a huge amount of scripture that focuses on how we are to relate to one another. While the greatest commandment is to love God, the second, to love one another, follows very closely. I think Piper’s great weakness is to ignore (or at least minimize) the horizontal axis in the name of glorifying God; but we can’t ignore the second greatest commandment and claim to be glorifying God.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hester says:

        I think Piper’s great weakness is to ignore (or at least minimize) the horizontal axis in the name of glorifying God; but we can’t ignore the second greatest commandment and claim to be glorifying God.

        Totally agree. A contributing sub-problem is that a lot of people only talk about one greatest commandment (love God). They completely forget the entire second half where “love your neighbor” is set equal to “love God.” Maybe this shows where their priorities are? (I know I heard Doug Phillips make this omission and look how toxic his theology is.)

        Liked by 2 people

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