Saturday, January 16, 2016




The ultimate Calvinistic paradox 

(hidden in classical Roman Catholic Church Mystagogy)

How do you reconcile the paradox of a loving God who wants all people to be saved, because He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but sovereignly chose not to save the majority of people, because it is his good pleasure to send them to hell? You don’t, because it is a mystery hidden in the secret counsel of God.
By the by, this infamous and mysterious paradox is one of the shameless seeds of unrighteousness that has come from the Roman Catholic Church, and very quickly found a niche in Reformed Theology in the writings of John Calvin..

Famous Preacher Becomes De facto Pacifist! – Don Boys, Ph.D.

"Reverend Piper's article is about un-Godly Christian pacifism where the soul-saving words of Jesus Christ have been perverted into suicidal agitprop which enables the triumph of evil." (BY RONALD R. CHERRY)

Acts 7:22-24-"And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. 
And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 

And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian"

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

 John Piper is a well-respected, almost revered, preacher especially in Reformed groups; but recently he ran off the rails resulting in a minor train wreck. He discussed “Guns and Martyrdom” using the 1956 killing of five dedicated missionaries deep in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador as basis for his blog. There is no doubt that that Ecuadorian event had a major impact on the world. The missionaries had guns yet only shot into the air not at the savages who were throwing deadly spears. All five men died in the piranha and crocodile infested Curaray River as it carried their innocent blood downstream into the jungle.

Dr. Piper reasons that the young men knew they were ready for Heaven but the savages were not so they basically committed suicide rather than take lives. But John is assuming that what the brave men did was the right thing to do; moreover that it was precedent-setting for all Christians to follow. That is two major leaps of logic.

Now I must add that there is no doubt God used that event to impress many hundreds of Christian workers to commit to missions. One of the widows and a sister of one of the men even went back to that heathen tribe and lived among them. Many in the tribe trusted Christ and two of the killers baptized the child of one of the missionaries in the river where the father died! After the son’s training, he ministered to the tribe who killed his father.

Their deaths impacted my life as a college student. And maybe what they did was God’s will; however, there is another side to this issue. Had the missionaries protected themselves and served another 30 years they might have reached multitudes more for Christ.

Whatever was “right” in that tragedy, it is no precedent for us today. We don’t decide “right” by human experiences. Lifetime principles are decided by the Bible.

Piper concluded that if someone breaks into his house the thief is “probably not ready for Heaven” so John would not use a gun to protect himself and his family! He ended his blog with, “I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun.” No doubt he is sincere but he is also senile! His explanation doesn’t explain his position.

The threat of being killed will deter many criminals. Criminals gravitate to “No gun Zones” and our homes should not be such. If a criminal is “not ready for Heaven” he had better not be found in our home. Piper is a Calvinist so why is there a problem shooting an intruder “not ready for Heaven?” I thought the elect were going to Heaven whether they wanted to or not.

Moreover, if you have children ten or twelve years old, can you be sure they are “ready for Heaven”? By not shooting the criminal, he may rape and shoot your children who “are not ready for Heaven”! You have sent your own child to Hell by such vapid thinking.

Piper obviously has placed the possible salvation of a rapist at a higher premium over everything, even the lives of family members. Therefore, to be consistent, he should demand the state do the same. No villain, no serial killer, or terrorist should be executed. That means anarchy. God commands government to execute criminals without regard for their souls. After all, society is at risk.
He said, “No, I am not a pacifist. I am not a pacifist principally, and I’m not a pacifist actively.” He believes hunting is permissible and cops should use billy clubs and guns to capture or kill bad guys. He believes in the military to counter aggression but he is confused as to personal protection. A homeowner should not kill an intruder; however the state can kill with impunity. He has fallen into the trap that many shallow thinkers have fallen into: the state can be trusted but individuals cannot be. He is really saying, “The state is the final authority. I bow to the state and submit to it.”
When asked if he would use a gun to protect his daughter, he answered, “probably.” Probably! John, your daughter and wife are going to be raped, maybe killed! Probably! When you took a wife you accepted responsibility to pamper, provide, and protect her.
He then asked whether he should shoot the bad guy in the chest, head, or leg. Or throw the gun at the bad guy. He opined, “And I believe that fathers should protect their children, even using force. But if they can avoid killing somebody, of course they should avoid killing somebody. And having a gun is a good way not to avoid killing somebody.” That is the epitome of fuzzy thinking.
Since each Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is unwise to value the life of a law breaker over one’s own life for the dubious prospect of the thief trusting Christ in the future. The odds are unlikely since most people choose to not trust Him. That means the practical pacifist sacrificed the life of his family and his own life without accomplishing anything other than feeding the morticians or maybe purchasing them a new hearse. It also may mean that the killer will kill others who “are not ready for Heaven.” Moreover, there is no guarantee that the criminal will get saved after the pacifist has spared his life at the expense of his own!
Piper said, “We don’t need guns in our houses.” He is wrong. It is irresponsible not to have a gun. A gun is like a parachute: if you don’t have one when needed, you won’t need it again. Moreover, I would rather have a parachute and not need it than not have one when I need it. Same with a gun.
He finally said, “Those who live by the gun will die by the gun.” But those who permit the bad guys to have guns and refuse to arm themselves may die by the gun carried by the thief or rapist who can’t even spell pacifist. But they can fire a gun!
Although Jesus tells his followers in Luke 22:36 to go buy a sword, Piper argues that Jesus did not intend for his apostles to have swords in order to use them to “violently defend against persecution.” Maybe they intended to use the swords to cut their meat, to open envelopes, and to trim their nails!

Piper and those like him can choose whatever they please but they must give account for their actions. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord and I will protect them with the help of two good friends: Smith and Wesson.

(Boys’ new book, The God Haters was published by Barbwire Books; to get your copy of The God Haters click here . An eBook edition is also available.)

(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are and Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
To let someone murder when it is in your power to stop them is completely contrary to our moral sentiments. The problem is not that Jesus appears to be telling us to lie down and let evil overtake us. I don't think that Jesus is telling us never to respond to evil with force (such as in self-defense) or always to literally turn the other cheek when we are slapped. While it is sometimes appropriate even for individuals to use self-defense, it is never appropriate for individuals to seek to punish others.

John Piper on Guns: 

Suicidal, Arminian, Pacifist, and Statist

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

A video of John Piper’s opinions on gun ownership and gun control is making its rounds online.
His statements are fraught with manifold errors, all of which deserve disentanglement:
1. Piper follows the modern evangelical praise for Jim Eliot and his comrades who gained “End of the Spear” fame through their so-called martyrdom at the hands, and spears, of savages. I am not one to derogate the deaths of those men, to denigrate the grief and suffering endured by their families, or to downplay the salvation of the tribe following their deaths – but it is simply wrong to praise them. Their deaths were instances of sinful suicide, improperly valuing the natives’ salvation and improperly subordinating their family’s (and their own) well-being. The tribe’s salvation was another instance of God’s providentially sifting good out of evil, not of His utilizing an instrument characteristically productive of salvation.
Probably, Piper would likewise mimic modern evangelicals in their comparison of the death of Eliot and his men to the crucifixion of our Savior, seeing the latter as providing moral justification for the former. If Jesus underwent the worst sufferings for the sake of the vilest sinners (not only those who directly slew Him, but even the “worst of sinners” in different times and places), then shouldn’t we do the same for our enemies in need of the gospel? Shouldn’t we likewise accept persecution and pray to the Father, “Forgive them; for they know not what they do”?
But this is specious moral reasoning. The mission of Christ was very specific and for an immense moral objective: the glorification of God in the salvation of the elect. Taking away the sin of the world is a moral end which justifies a greater degree of endured violence than lesser moral ends, such as the contingent, uncertain salvation of a single intruder. While acting for the salvation of others is a worthy and noble purpose, it is not the same purpose as procuring the salvation of the church, and therefore fewer means are morally permissible in fulfilling that purpose. Jesus’s suicide (if it can properly be called that) was morally justified by the solemnity and loftiness of His moral objective, but the same cannot necessarily be said of just any suicide done for the purpose of a particular person’s salvation. The value of preserving one’s own is a high end that frankly trumps the concern we ought to have for the salvation of a violent, albeit unbelieving, interloper.
2. Piper’s intolerably high concern for human salvation gives him a false view not merely on the practical-ethical concern of violently resisting violence, but also on the doctrinal-theological topic of salvation itself: in particular, the error of Arminianism. The Arminian view of salvation includes the disposition of God to universally redeem all of humanity, which disposition is constrained by a logically necessary restriction on God’s power, namely, the inability of God to move the human will. While a disposition in God to universally redeem all of humanity is within the stream of Reformed orthodoxy – though many Calvinists reject it outright – all Calvinists understand God’s intention in salvation to be “constrained,” not by any restriction of power, but by a free concern for His own glory. God wishes to glorify Himself in the gracious salvation of the elect and the just damnation of the reprobate; thus He decrees for both to occur. But in Arminianism, God is understood to have a predominant disposition to save humanity, that is, a disposition to save humanity all-things-considered (whereas the few Calvinists who believe in a universal-salvific love within God understand it as all-other-things-being-equal). This predominant salvific disposition in God entails that He would be unwilling to foreordain the just damnation of any sinner, even if He were capable of doing so. Hence on Arminianism, God is characterized by a supreme, primal concern for human salvation, deeming it an incommensurable good, and subordinating any concern He might have for the display of His justice. Arminianism is thus humanistic, placing a value upon human well-being far beyond moral boundaries.
This view of God is manifested in, or at the very least implied by, Piper’s idolatrously high concern for the salvation of violent attackers. He has no use for deadly violence, whether deterrent or retributive, insofar as it is used against unbelievers – and thus he shows himself to value human salvation more than any possible purpose for deadly violence! Capital punishment, even for the most heinous of crimes, is off-limits. All war, even for the justest of reasons, is off-limits. Defending his wife and daughters from the most monstrous of rapist-murderers is off-limits.  Can a more dangerous connection between aberrant theology and distorted ethics be found? But if he consistently accepts a Reformed view of the divine will and the divine justice, not seeing God’s own creation, providence, and justice as motivated by a paramount concern for human salvation, then his impious premium placed upon human salvation will abate until reaching permissible proportions. As it stands now, Piper might profess to value the glory of God over human salvation,1 but he clearly does not value any demonstration of just violence – a central means by which God is temporally and eternally glorified – over human salvation in any circumstance. This is practical Arminianism. Anyone who values his own family’s safety below the salvation of a violent intruder values human salvation too highly and, ironically, “is worse than an infidel.”
3. Piper claims not to be a pacifist, since he opposes only deadly violence, not all violence entirely. But such an idea is frankly absurd, as any permission of just violence must, to be consistent, permit some degree of violence to the death. Imagine Piper’s dream world, where the righteous do not utilize lethal violence, but only sufficient violence to achieve their objectives. Armed men come to arrest a convicted (and unbelieving) thief to take him to trial, and the thief resists. Should the men then inform him, “If you resist enough, not to worry, we won’t kill you”? Such a principle would constitute unbarred license for wicked men to overtake all of society! Should we expect God’s infinitely just and wise design of human society to include such an absurdity? Or should we instead concede that deadly violence is not sinful in every conceivable circumstance, and that deadly violence must be permissible if any violence is at all? Piper’s argumentation is implicitly pacifist, his protestations notwithstanding.
4. Near the end of his answer (around 4:15), Piper makes a rather sensible statement, arguing that we should not kill an attacker if we can avoid it. I agree with this statement, but its danger lies in what is unrevealed. First, he neglects to mention what his principled position is: specifically, that we can always avoid killing an attacker. He holds that opting for individual and corporate Christian suicide is morally preferable to slaying a belligerent unbeliever, and he thus denies that any circumstances can morally legitimize such a slaying. When he states that we should not kill people “if we can avoid it,” he is thus positing a useless qualification; he does not intend to convey that there are any situations where we can’t avoid it. For him, killing is always avoidable, so why would he state its avoidability as if it were a contingent condition?
Second, in the heat of the moment, great uncertainty looms over a number of contingencies: what the intruder intends to accomplish, how violent he is willing to be, how much a specific injury would harm him or slow him down, how much time one has to stop him, and so on. Due to these contingencies, and due to the high value of one’s own family, the benefit of the doubt should heavily lean towards the use of deadly violence. If there is an intruder in one’s home, then deadly force is almost certainly morally justified. Contrary to Piper, the immense uncertainty of the situation does not detract from, but precisely establishes, the moral propriety of slaying the interloper. This is why the Mosaic law exonerates a homeowner for killing a thief in the night but not in the day (Exodus 22:2-3), because the uncertainties in the event differ so largely between the two. Piper would have to pretend that fathers are given a huge list of alternatives from which they casually select their course of action, only some of which result in the intruder’s death. But the reality is that killing the invader is usually the safest option; the gravity and rapidity of the situation rarely permit lethal force to be evaluated as “avoidable.”
5. In principle, it is manifestly false that we ought to value salvation so highly as to passively murder our own families. But besides this revolting mistake in principle, Piper also makes a considerable mistake in fact. He has no idea whether a homeowner’s death will cause a greater chance of increased human salvation than otherwise. Certainly, the invader himself will have a greater chance of salvation than if he were killed on the spot, but other humans can be affected by the life or death of the parties involved. For example, it could very well be that, were the homeowner to survive the invasion, he would proceed to lead many other souls to salvation, souls which in God’s providence would not have been converted by a different means. Alternatively, it could be that the invader, if not killed that night, would go on to kill a number of other unconverted people, thus obliterating their chances of salvation.2 Or, to return to the example of Jim Eliot, the savages who speared his men, in witnessing their nonresistance, could have righteously interpreted their foreign religion as promoting weakness, cowardice, and a denial of healthy self-love, rejecting it on those grounds. (Similarly, it might have been that if Eliot’s men defended themselves, the remaining savages would have converted only due to the moral fortitude displayed in the men’s self-defense, and not otherwise.) We simply do not know how aggregate human salvation will be affected by our actions, so Piper is in error when he believes he is promoting human salvation in refusing to defend his family from an interloper.
6. While Piper professes a principled resistance to all deadly violence against unbelievers – again, because human salvation is an incommensurable good – he affirms an inconsistent double standard when applying the principle to the realm of civil government. He states his belief in deadly violence for cops and for the military, as if it were an obvious (and even pseudo-manly) fact that those guys should “take out” the bad guys; but he does not apprehend, or perhaps does not admit, his underlying statist presuppositions. The chief premise undergirding  “liberal” gun control propaganda is the moral superiority of the government over the populace, that the government can responsibly use arms but not civilians. Piper extends this statist sewage by maintaining not merely that the state alone should be equipped with weapons, but further that the state alone can permissibly use deadly violence. Civilians are forbidden in all circumstances from killing others, but not the state. This demands further reflection: if Piper holds that human salvation is such a momentous moral good that deadly violence is always forbidden, and if he simultaneously holds that the police and military are permitted to use deadly violence, then what is the conclusion? If he does not admit to contradiction, then no inference can remain except that the state is god. The disparate moral standards cannot otherwise be explained. The state is permitted to send people to hell, but civilians cannot use deadly force in even the direst of circumstances. “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the State.”
John Piper’s guidance on gun ownership is not biblical or Reformed; neither is it safe. May his false teachings be discarded, even spurned. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.


  1. Undoubtedly he does. Evidence for this would be a book Piper has authored, God’s Passion for His Glory, which is an introduction to and commentary on Jonathan Edwards’s The End for Which God Created the World. Edwards’s answer is, of course, God’s supreme concern for His own glory. That Piper could write such a piece and still retain these insidious practical errors which contradict the doctrine displays both his opaqueness and the abundant mercy of God in restraining errant consistency. 
  2. I of course am not implying that any of these parties’ salvation would be “left to chance” or uncertain from God’s point of view, but it is still important to note that God employs means in salvation, and thus that various counter factuals can be true or false (e.g. “If X were true, then he would not be converted”). Consider, for instance, Matthew 11:23.
Rebuttal of a Christian Pacifist
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and 
research purposes:

Reverend John Piper recently wrote an essay advocating Christian pacifism in the face of mortal threats to life and limb. The following is a detailed rebuttal.

"As chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, I want to send a different message to our students, and to the readers of Desiring God, than Jerry Falwell, Jr. sent to the students of Liberty University in a campus chapel service on December 4... The apostle Paul called Christians not to avenge ourselves, but to leave it to the wrath of God, and instead to return good for evil." Reverend John Piper

"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12: 17-21

It is not possible, nor does it depend on us, to live peaceably with Sharia-loving totalitarian Muslim jihadists, or with totalitarian Marxists or Fascists, because totalitarian control of the great mass of people by a small self-serving oligarchy, religious or secular, requires destruction of the people's God-given unalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. We did not overcome the disgusting evils of Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism by providing them with food and drink because the evil spoken of by the Apostle Paul was of a lesser order, i.e.: social enemies rather than totalitarian mortal enemies. It is not evil to oppose, resist and destroy evil, and will not be confused with repaying evil for evil in the minds of right-minded American Christians.

Reverend Jerry Falwell, Jr. has not called for Christians to arm themselves in order to enact vengeance against Muslim jihadists, or other murderers, rather he has expressed the intuitive, natural, God-given human instinct for self-defense and survival. Reverend John Piper has thus constructed a non-existent straw man, named it Jerry Falwell, Jr., and then attempted to rhetorically take him down.

"And then he [the Apostle Paul] said that God gave the sword (the gun) into the hand of governmental rulers to express that wrath in the pursuit of justice in this world..." Reverend John Piper

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13: 1-4

Unlike the tyrannies of ancient times, and unlike modern Fascist or Marxist Dictatorships or Islamo-Fascist Dictatorships, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, the United States was founded on the God-given, natural, unalienable, equal rights of His created people. The Apostle Paul correctly tells us to obey good government, i.e.: government which secures the people's natural rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but it is self-evident from both ancient and modern history that many governments become tyrannical and evil as they destroy the people's God-given human rights, and thus their God-given human dignity and value. Evil tyrannical governments are a terror to good conduct, are not instituted by God – as with Pharaoh of Exodus, and become God's enemy – not God's servant. Notice that the Apostle Paul qualified government as an institution which is not a fearful terror to the people, and a Godly servant to the people's good, thus we are not subject to evil rulers (evil governing authorities) which become an un-Godly fearful terror to their people, and a servant primarily of their own good to the detriment of the people's good. Resistance to evil tyrannical government will not incur God's judgment, rather the opposite, evil tyrannical government will incur God's judgment.

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God... I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Thomas Jefferson

"Any claim that in a democracy the citizens
 are the government, and therefore may assume the role of the sword-bearing ruler in Romans 13, is elevating political extrapolation over biblical revelation. When Paul says, '[The ruler] does not bear the sword in vain' (Romans 13:4), he does not mean that Christians citizens should all carry swords so the enemy doesn't get any bright ideas." Reverend John Piper

First of all the United States is not a Democracy because our Founding Fathers understood that democratic majorities tend to become tyrannical oppressors of minorities, so our nation was created as a Declarational/Constitutional Republic whose laws (Constitution) secure all the people's God-given unalienable human rights (Declaration). The American Republic, properly administered, does in fact deliver power to the people who, through their amendable Constitution, are the government. Therefore We the People do assume the role of sword-bearing ruler as in Romans 13, thus bringing just political power into compliance with Biblical revelation.

"The Constitution of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press." Thomas Jefferson

"The people – the people – are the rightful masters of both congresses, and courts – not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow the
 menwho pervert it." Abraham Lincoln

It is irrational, and I would add immoral, to assert that our American Government has an obligation to wield the sword in defense of its people, but not the people themselves.

"It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately." Thomas Jefferson

"The apostle Peter teaches us that Christians will often find themselves in societies where we should expect and accept unjust mistreatment without retaliation... Peter's aim for Christians as "sojourners and exiles" on the earth is not that we put our hope in the self-protecting rights of the second amendment, but in the revelation of Jesus Christ in glory (1 Peter 1:713;4:135:1). His aim is that we suffer well and show that our treasure is in heaven, not in self-preservation."
 Reverend John Piper

"This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly." 1 Peter 2:19

Yes, of course, if we suffer injustice and sorrow because of our Christian faith we will be rewarded in Heaven, but that is not the same as passively allowing others, particularly those people comprising an evil government, to physically maim or kill us our families or our neighbors without exercising self-defense for self-preservation. We should rejoice if we must suffer or die as Christians, but we are not commanded by the Apostle Peter that we must suffer and die, or to passively allow the suffering and death of our children or neighbors at the hands of evil people such as murderers, Islamic Jihadists, other terrorists or evil government. Peter's aim is not that we should suffer well, but that we should suffer well if there is no way out – as always occurs under tyrannical governments devoid of a second amendment. The cure for suffering unjustly, whenever possible, is the overthrow of injustice and the establishment of justice, just as it occurred in our American Revolution.

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security." Thomas Jefferson

"Jesus promised that violent hostility will come; and the whole tenor of his counsel was how to handle it with suffering and testimony, not with armed defense... If we teach our students that they should carry guns, and then challenge them, 'Let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,' do we really think that when the opportunity to lay down their lives comes, they will do what Jim Elliott and his friends did in Ecuador, and refuse to fire their pistols at their killers, while the spears plunged through their chests?
 Reverend John Piper

"But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony... You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls." Luke 21: 12-19

Jesus was warning the twelve Apostles in Luke 21 that they would be persecuted and that some would be put to death for speaking His gospel, and that they should make the best of their opportunities to speak, and be prepared for the worst, but Jesus' last word on the subject follows in Luke 22 where he instructed the Apostles to buy swords for self-defense.

"When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" So they said, "Nothing." Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." Luke 22: 35-36

Reverend Piper expects the Christian students at Liberty University to lay down their lives when the time comes, i.e.: when a Muslim Jihadist or other terrorist starts shooting, stabbing or bombing, rather than exercise self-defense, and he has perverted the Word of God in so doing.

"Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword into the sheath.'" John 18: 10-11

"But Jesus said to him [Peter], "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword." Matthew 26: 52

Jesus did not admonish Peter to get rid of his sword after cutting off the ear of a solder sent to arrest Jesus. He told Peter to re-sheathe his sword, which means Jesus told Peter to keep his sword for its proper use of self-defense. Peter's mistake was to use the sword in an act of aggression when Jesus was arrested by the legal authorities; Peter was not using it in self-defense while someone was trying to murder him or Jesus. The legal officers who arrested Jesus carried swords too, but they did not strike Peter or Jesus with their swords, so it was Peter who used the sword in a wrong way, and Jesus called him on it, but Jesus did not tell Peter to get rid of his sword. Those who live by the sword through aggression often die violently, and justly so, but those who use the sword only in self-defense are known as our courageous heroes.

"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... 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." Reverend John Piper

Jesus knew that after his time on earth was done the Apostles and other followers would be placed in harm's way, and Jesus did not want them to die at the hands of their enemies prior to an effective spreading the His Gospel. Luke 22, 35-36 is the Christian 2nd amendment. Jesus expected His Apostles to carry swords in self-defense so they could carry out their God-ordained mission. I believe likewise that Jesus does not want us to die at the hands of the enemies of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness today prior to our own God-ordained mission to live and love, labor creatively and to speak the Gospel of Christ in our own day. Jesus was Himself a pacifist, but, despite the assertions of Reverend Piper, Jesus did not order us to be pacifists.

"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." Reverend John Piper

As Christians we have hope in eternal life thanks to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but that is no reason to abandon hope for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in this world. Our hope for the former is in Jesus, and for the latter in our love of life, family and neighbors, in our creative labor, and in our God-given ability and responsibility to defend these precious gifts from God.

"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... A natural instinct is to boil this issue down to the question, "Can I shoot my wife's assailant?... 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." Reverend John Piper

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away." Matthew 5: 38-42

"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

When Jesus instructed us to not resist an evil person and turn the other cheek, it is clear from the text that He was referencing social conflict, not life-threatening mortal conflict. Some Christians may be called to self-sacrificing pacifism – OK by me for them, but the vast majority of us are called to physically defend our own lives, and the lives of our families and neighbors. As Christians we are obliged to love our enemy, yet at the same time we are obliged to hate and if necessary destroy evil as it confronts us.

"The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil." Proverbs 8:13

"Hate what is evil..." Romans 12:9

It is one thing for a Christian clergyman to advocate self-sacrificing pacifism for himself in the face of mortal danger, but quite another to advocate or force pacifism on others against their natural God-given will to live. No one on Earth has the authority to tolerate, through pacifism, maiming injury or death to their own family or neighbor at the hands of murderers, terrorists, Muslim jihadists or tyrannical government; that is not only cowardly and un-Christian, it is evil. As Christians we are under Divine obligation to provide, not only food and shelter for our families, without which physical harm would ensue, but also to provide safety from violent physical harm. Both the New and Old Testaments provide us with a resounding "yes" to the question posed by Reverend Piper: "Can I shoot my wife's assailant?"

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8

Neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD."Leviticus 19:16

As Christians we are obliged by God to physically and courageously defend our families and thereby eschew the cowardice of un-Godly pacifism. Do not allow the Christian church to be perverted into the pacifist suicide cult advocated by Reverend Piper.

"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... 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." Reverend John Piper

"When they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name."Acts 5: 40-41

There is more than a hint that the Apostle Paul carried a sword for self-defense since Jesus, setting a precedent, commanded the other twelve Apostles to do so the night before His crucifixion. Unlike Peter who cut off the ear of a solder sent to arrest Jesus, we have no indication that Paul, after his conversion, used his sword unjustly outside of self-defense.

Early Christians were mostly helpless and disarmed subjects of a totalitarian Roman Emperor, not free men and women living in a Constitutional Republic dedicated to securing the people's life, liberty and creative pursuit of happiness, so we should not use the example of early Christian martyrs as a blueprint for present day America. These early Christians were unable to avoid persecution; they were defenseless serfs born with Roman saddles on their backs, but we are not. The injustice, persecution and tyranny of old Rome, and of Medieval Kings, has been overthrown by our Founding Fathers. As Americans we now have the protection of our Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights by the grace of God.

"All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God." Thomas Jefferson

"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... It is an argument that the overwhelming focus and thrust of the New Testament is that Christians are sent into the world... "as lambs in the midst of wolves"... 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."
 Reverend John Piper

Reverend Piper's article is about un-Godly Christian pacifism where the soul-saving words of Jesus Christ have been perverted into suicidal agitprop which enables the triumph of evil.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Are You Opposed to People Owning Guns?

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Are you opposed to people owning guns?
(This question stems from the last lines of a blog post John Piper wrote titled "Guns and Martyrdom.")
The context of my comment was that the missionaries in 1956 who were martyred in Ecuador—Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youdarian, and Peter Fleming—were all speared to death, but they had guns. (This came out through research, and I saw it in a documentary.) And they shot their guns in the air as the spears were going through their chests. They could've saved their lives by just shooting horizontally, but they didn't. They shot in the air because they decided earlier that they were ready to go to heaven but these natives were not. So why would they kill them rather than being killed themselves?
In relation to that, our Supreme Court just declared that the Second Amendment right to bear arms includes not just the right of a militia to bear arms, but the right of a person to have a firearm in his house.
And as I contemplated those two events—the missionaries' decision and new decision of the Supreme Court—I thought, "If somebody enters my house as a thief, he probably is not ready to go to heaven either." So then I just ended the blog with, "I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun."
I've never had one. I've never owned a firearm. I had a pellet rifle when I was little and I killed squirrels. But I'm sort of ashamed of the way I killed squirrels, because I didn't eat them or do anything with them. I just felt it was cool, and I don't think that's a very wholesome thing.
No, I am not a pacifist. I am not a pacifist principally, and I'm not a pacifist actively.
Somebody wrote and asked me, "Would you protect your daughter if you had a gun?" I wrote back a one-word answer, "Probably," and what I meant by it was that the circumstances are so unpredictable. What would you do? Shoot the guy in the head? Or shoot him in the chest? How about the leg? Or just throw the gun at him, or hit him over the head with it? Of course I'm going to protect my daughter! But I'm not aiming to kill anybody, especially an intruder who doesn't know Christ and would go straight to hell, probably. Why would I want to do that if I could avoid it?
So no, I'm not a pacifist. I believe there should be a militia, and I believe in policemen with billy clubs and guns who should take out guys who are killing people. And I believe in a military to protect a land from aggression. And I believe that fathers should protect their children, even using force. But if they can avoid killing somebody, of course they should avoid killing somebody. And having a gun is a good way not to avoid killing somebody.
We don't need guns in our houses.
And I'm not against hunters. Don't get on my case about that, saying that Piper doesn't believe that you can have bows and arrows and rifles, etc.
And I'm not going to get in your face if you have a gun lying in your drawer. I just think it's not very wise.
Those who live by the gun will die by the gun.
Thumb author john piper
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

A Biblical Response to John Piper’s Denial of the Right to Bear Arms

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

John Piper has posted a response to Jerry Falwell, Jr’s. call for Christians to arm themselves and his provision for students to carry arms on the Liberty University campus. Piper’s position as outlined is about as close as one can come to individual pacifism without saying so. His response unfortunately ignores much of the context of the New Testament passages it cites, and ignores the Old Testament entirely. As such, I not only view it as unbiblical and disagree with it strongly, I think it would be dangerous and unloving for Christians to accept in society.
At the outset, Piper gives a qualification to illustrate he does not intend to give a comprehensive argument against self-defense in general, but he quickly undermines that qualification, and with each successive point, his position grows progressively absolute. He writes, “My main concern in this article is with the appeal to students that stirs them up to have the mindset: Let’s all get guns and teach them a lesson if they come here.” He wants to narrow the argument: “The issue is not primarily about when and if a Christian may ever use force in self-defense, or the defense of one’s family or friends. There are significant situational ambiguities in the answer to that question.”
While he never addresses these “significant situational ambiguities,” he keeps mentioning them while at the same time making broad, general statements like this: “The concern is the forging of a disposition in Christians to use lethal force, not as policemen or soldiers, but as ordinary Christians in relation to harmful adversaries.” That’s a very broad position which entails that unless they are agents of the civil government, Christians ought not to use lethal force at all. Thus, while he says he wants to leave that issue to the side because of its ambiguities, he immediately posits a policy which answers it in the negatively definitively.
Dr. Piper continues in this vein through the entire piece. And I think he feels his own inconsistency here, for he immediately sets up the contrary position as a straw man: “Does it accord with the New Testament to encourage the attitude that says, ‘I have the power to kill you in my pocket, so don’t mess with me’? My answer is, No.”
Simply put, nobody argues for this. This is not the position of Christian leaders who are trained and informed on the biblical view of defense. Not even Falwell, Jr.’s borderline-intemperate remarks are well represented by such an extreme position. To represent the pro-self-defense position this way is irresponsible on Dr. Piper’s part.
Piper then follows with nine considerations which he believes backs up his position, and one of these is broken into seven parts. I will not take the time to address them all at length, but only those couple that I believe are most central to his position. (Some of my more comprehensive biblical arguments can be found here and elsewhere.)
Piper’s primary argument is that Romans 12:17–13:4 prohibits private Christian individuals from engaging in vengeance. The power of the sword, the text says, it clearly left only to the civil government. And even though in a Republic like ours the people are the government, Paul did not envision “that Christians citizens should all carry swords so the enemy doesn’t get any bright ideas.”
While it is true that Paul (and Jesus, Matthew 5:38­–39) instruct against personal vengeance, and that the power of the sword belongs to civil government, this does not mean that God’s people are absolutely forbidden in any and all circumstances from self-defense of their lives or property, or especially the defense of the lives of loved ones and neighbors?
It is here that Piper’s problem resides most clearly in his understanding and use of Scripture. By abstracting passages like these not only from their historical context, but virtually any context, he absolutizes them to teach that citizens must always be passive before thieves, robbers, rapists, and murderers, and by extension terrorists, invaders, and tyrannical governments.
But is this how we handle Scripture?
No. First, Piper does not deal anywhere with clear Old Testament passages that instruct in both principle and practice that God’s people have the right even of lethal self-defense. Readers ought to be familiar with Exodus 22:2: “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guiltiness on his account.”
The principle is that when an attacker attacks in a lethal situation, that attacker may legitimately be met with up to lethal force. The “no vengeance” principle is here overridden by exigency. It was for this reason that Jesus told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane to put away his drawn sword. It was not, as Piper alleges, because we are pilgrims who have no right to use swords. It was because Jesus was intimately familiar with the Old Testament principle: the moment you reveal yourself in public as a lethal threat, you make yourself a target for a lethal force defense. This is exactly why Jesus said what He did: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).
Likewise, when King Ahasuerus granted the captive Jews the right to defend themselves against attackers it included the right “to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil” (Esther 8:11).
The Jews knew that the Scriptures allowed them the right of self-defense already, but they knew spoiling the attacker was across the line. So when the time came, they openly defended themselves: “the Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying” (Esther 9:5); but note: “they did not lay their hands on the plunder” (Esther 9:10).
This law and example are clear, and they are not rescinded by New Testament teachings. Indeed, while Christian pietists like Piper may be tempted to say the “No vengeance” principle is a New Testament principle which does away with the Old, the truth is just the opposite. To establish that principle in Romans 12:19–20, Paul quotes two Old Testament passages: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” is quoted directly from Deuteronomy 32:35 (the Old Testament law!). The following statement about loving your enemy is taken directly from Proverbs 25:21–22, which is itself based again upon Old Testament law (Exodus 23:4–5).
So it will not suffice to argue that the “No vengeance” principle is a New Testament improvement upon the Old. That principle is itself an Old Testament principle.
But this means we must realize it is perfectly reconcilable with the rest of the Old Testament law which, despite including the principle against personal vengeance, also make allowances for self-defense and lethal force when appropriate. The two principles are not at odds; they are perfectly in accord as they apply in different situations and contexts.
Thus, it is here where Piper’s view of Scripture seems to be molded and shaped by pietism and an unacceptable neglect of the Old Testament which together would leave Christian families defenseless before violent attackers. This reflects the kind of New Testament-only heresy which creates the pietist-humanist alliance—a capitulation and neglect on the part of Christian leaders which leaves social issues to the whims of Bible-hating liberals who are all too eager to accept the gift. I won’t stand for it. Read the Old Testament basis for your New Testament principles, and then accept that that basis demands the balance of the Old Testament as well except where explicitly replaced.
But Piper is shockingly consistent with his New Testament-only position of defenselessness, and it is here that his argument get most troubling. He argues that one retort to his position will boil down to, “Can I shoot my wife’s assailant.” What should be a no-brainer biblically speaking, Piper calls an “instinct” and offers seven points on his way to answering “No.”
I was shocked and appalled that Piper is so anti-gun and anti-defense that he expects Christians to stand by watching their wife or children being assaulted, raped, or murdered before their very eyes without reacting in defense. He doesn’t like to accept that his answer is “No,” and even says there is no direct answer, but then again immediately makes it clear: “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 ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Why would the God of the Old Testament give clear guidelines for self-defense in such cases, but suddenly in the New Testament retract them and give that right only to a handful of government agents who can’t get to the scene any more quickly than an average of 10 minutes? What love is this?
People let’s be clear. Police, for what good they do, do not protect you from criminals, rapists, and murderers. Police more often than not show up late and write reports about what happened before they got there. Your wife’s best hope at this moment is a gun in her husband’s hand. That would be the most Christ-honoring item that could be on the scene.
I am shocked and saddened as I read Piper’s defense of this position. When viewing his wife being raped, he would contemplate within himself: “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.”
NO. There is only one variable in this situation: the angle at which you shoot the rapist in the head.
There is one principle at play here, and it is another Old Testament principle repeated nine times in the New Testament: love your neighbor as yourself. How is it showing Christ’s love if we allow someone’s to be raped or murdered before us and do nothing? There are no variables here. The love of neighbor compels every person to protect innocent life and to level criminals who have made themselves a lethal threat.
If Paul said that a person who merely doesn’t provide for their family is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith (1 Tim. 5:8), what in the world do you think He would say of a guy who sat contemplating pious platitudes while his family was beaten and slaughtered before him?
Piper continues applying his principle: “I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I would personally counsel a Christian not to have a firearm available for such circumstances.”
I would counsel Christians to listen to someone who has not made the love of Christ a meaningless abstraction. Arm yourself Christian. Love your neighbor as yourself.
In closing, Piper hits upon a theme he mentions several times. He argues that we are pilgrims in this world, and that Jesus told us to expect “violent hostility.” We should just remember that we are lambs among wolves, and that our lot is not to shoot the wolves but resign ourselves to be devoured.
Let’s just say that this was part of the truth when the disciples were facing a persecuting government where armed resistance would have been not only futile but would have been met with government force as sedition. But as I have made clear here and here and elsewhere, the “pilgrim” motif of the New Testament was a temporary phenomenon for that generation until the persecuting authorities of the unbelieving Jewish culture were destroyed. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the disciples had arrived at the Zion that Abraham sought, and it was not something they should wait to expect until after they died.
Even if it were the case that we are still in a “pilgrim” situation, it would still not invalidate the abiding aspects of the love commanded the Old Testament consistent with self-defense. Christians have the right to self-defense, home-defense, and the defense of relatives and neighbors.
To say otherwise is to neglect too much of the Bible, and indeed that’s what Piper’s article actually does: it neglects the context of what it quotes and neglects the Old Testament entirely. For that reason, and for demanding Christians stand idly by while criminals attack and murder people, even family, and indeed even to check introspectively one’s heart even before calling the police for help (!)—Piper’s position is dangerous to society.
Further, it is indicative of those who categorically reject the Old Testament as informative of the New. It is symptomatic of pietistic (closet) Christianity, and those “two-kingdoms” types who say the Bible has nothing to say to the public square. It’s time to abandon all of those positions and adopt a robust biblical worldview that puts the love of God and love of neighbor into practical action in the ways Scripture commands and illustrates—and that includes the right to bear arms and the right to self-defense.
Like I said, we have not dealt all we could with Piper’s comments, but these hit the core of why his position is unbiblical. It is divorced from the context of Scripture and denies what the Bible teaches regarding something as central and foundational as loving your neighbor. His views are pietistic. Where the Bible speaks to such areas of life, he ignores it, and subverts the principles by transforming them into issues only of abstract love of the individual contemplating him own heart in the prayer closet. I say we let the Bible speak to all of life like it does, and then apply it wherever it speaks. And be well armed and trained in arms while doing so. (And find a seminary or college that will allow you to do so.)


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