In the middle of the latest Piper kerfuffle I have a singular thought; let Piper defend himself. There would be, of course, many objections to this thought and I will try to reason through them with you. My intention is not to lambast Piper but rather to help myself and others think through our response to defend our heroes. Here are few of the possible reasons that people feel impressed to defend Piper. As an aside, if you’re not aware of Piper’s rescinded tweet following the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, there are plenty of places where that information is available. Also, if you are looking for someone defending Piper’s comments, you will certainly find those in abundance as well; now, back to the post.
People will never accept his explanation.
This may certainly be the case. There are many who dislike John Piper, and no matter what he says in defense of himself, it will fall on deaf ears. However, the logical train of thought leads me to ask, “If they won’t accept Piper’s answer, the man who actually made the statement, then what gives us the audacity to presume they will answer anyone else’s.”
People just don’t like John Piper.
True. However I would just point you to verses in Philippians 1 when Paul states that he is happy that the Gospel, the saving grace of Jesus, is being preached; by some who disliked Paul. If we expend our efforts defending the statements and contrary viewpoints of those we admire and respect we won’t be sharing the love of Christ, just our opinions.
People are attacking a man of God.
And … do you presume that your pen is what is needed to stop such an attack. As the internet and social media continue to evolve and become an integrated part of our daily lives, we have seen this happen on numerous occasions. Unfortunately in many of the cases we have seen some of the accusations against high-profile Christians proved correct. Ouch!
Where then is our witness? When we have staunchly defended someone, insisting they are right, how do we then assure our neighbors that God will forgive them? My point here is that if the grace of Christ is not enough to cover the ignorance, ineptitude, and insolence of a believer then how are we to proclaim it will cover the same things in an unbeliever.
What Piper said is true.
Yes it is, but it is uncharacteristic of the love that the Lord displayed towards those to whom he ministered. He fed 5,000 and yet only a few women attended his crucifixion. Scripture tells us that he healed ALL who were brought to him. He healed 10 lepers and while we usually focus on the ungratefulness of the nine we should never fail to see the grace of the Savior who healed those who would not thank him.
Piper’s theology was correct; God sent the wind. I do believe he deleted what he said because he realized that the time was not appropriate for such a statement. Let’s let him tell us that, not his followers.
Now, if we are going to part ways, I would presume that this is the point. It is my belief that we so staunchly defend our heroes because the church has bought into the Western Culture ideal of heroism. We believe that these men and women should be seen as undefiled in the eyes of others. I believe this is wrong and will give you a few short thoughts on the subject.
God is not dependent upon a particular person or personality.
This, friend’s, is the truth. I read just last week where a young pastor said that two of our SBC seminary presidents were irreplaceable. This type of thinking promotes a type of hero worship that leads us to believe that we must defend these men at all costs. Please show me that in the New Testament. Even in the Old Testament, David, a man after God’s own heart, abandoned his throne to spare the lives of those who were his followers when Absalom sought the kingdom.
I know the YRR crowd think that what Piper does is absolutely vital and necessary, but if they truly believed in the Sovereignty of God I don’t think they would cling so tightly to him. Billy Graham, Dwight L. Moody, Adrian Rogers, , ; we could go on and on. These are good men, they have a reputation of godliness, but God’s work is not dependent upon that individual and we should stop acting as if it does.
Defense of our heroes is many times self-serving.
It allows us to justify our anger when we can whip someone for insulting Piper. It encourages us to be passionate and we are passionate people. God created us with passion but that passion is to be in submission to Christ. I pray that our passion for the salvation of souls and the growth of believers will become so great that we will stand like Paul in front of Peter and contend with each other for the actions that bring an insult to the work of God’s grace in lives.
Do we need Piper to be right so that we can continue to read his materials and allow his materials to become our Holy Spirit? I have often said, and fully believe, that it easier for us to follow man than it is for us to follow the Holy Spirit. This is why many spend five minutes consulting a text from Scripture and eight yours studying what our favorite commentator wrote. I enjoy books written by Godly men, I’m in the process of reading more than 10 at this present time. It is infinitely easier for my flesh to consult the writings of men over the teachings of Scripture.
We then are comfortable in labeling ourselves. I watched a blog war erupt this past week over a theological issue. Would you like to know what was ultimately being fought over? The argument eventually centered around the fact that one man could not stand the idea that another man shared the same label as him on a certain theological stance. He wanted to label him differently. For what purpose I cannot fully presume, but in the case of defense of our heroes I am afraid that there is a great deal of what Paul spoke against in 1 Corinthians 1 & 3.
In closing, let’s let some of these folks answer for themselves. It is sad that men, who have become famous because of their words; Al Mohler, John Piper, Ergun Caner, Richard Land, C J Mahaney, and many, many others, very rarely answer directly for their words.