Cherry Picking Amendments

I am no fan of the National Rifle Association. Having grown up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I have no first hand knowledge with weapons — either for self-defense or sport. My own politics tell me that if I am going to support the Second Amendment (and my right to bear arms), I should also be opposed to standing militias. Which I am. Hey now. The way I read the politics of England and British America is that the right to bear arms was part of a citizens militia where ordinary people would fight the battles of the nation — and so they needed guns. If I’m going to fight as an ordinary citizen today, I need either a rocket launcher or a drone. Conceal and carry that.

But I am intrigued by John Piper’s remarks about Jerry Falwell’s remarks on Christians carrying guns and how Piper is being picked up by some evangelical academics. This was a line that caught my attention since it has the ring of 2k to it:

the overwhelming focus and thrust of the New Testament is that Christians are sent into the world — religious and non-religious — “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3)…. 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.

I agree.

But then I had to wonder about some of Piper’s recent reflections about race in the United States and all the attention that he received for descrying the real bigotry that exists in this society. Did Piper adopt a spirituality of the church mindset then? Did he call for Christians to act like strangers and aliens or did he aid and abet progressive policy reforms that would make the United States a safer and more equitable place? Here is something the Minneapolis pastor wrote a year ago:

Jesus said that anger is motivationally equivalent to murder (Matthew 5:21–22). But he did not say the outcomes are equivalent. After murder somebody is dead, but not necessarily after anger. According to Romans 13:1–7, God put government in place not to remove the anger, but to keep it from becoming murder. He put the gospel of Christ in place to transform anger into love. This double divine work of government and gospel is also true in regard to lust leading to rape, greed leading to stealing, fear leading to perjury, intrigue leading to treason, and racial prejudice leading to racial injustice.

Laws don’t save souls. But they do save lives and livelihoods. And that matters for those of us who want to reach people with the heart-transforming gospel. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important, also.”

I wouldn’t but I could well imagine someone making the same point about citizen Christians owning and carrying guns. “Guns don’t save souls. But they do save lives and livelihoods.”

So I am once again left wondering about the selective appropriation of both the spirituality of the church and our nation’s Bill of Rights. Why single out gun owners but not also call American Christians to put no trust in Fourteenth Amendment (which is backed up by officials — some of them Christians — with guns)? Here are a few other places where Piper’s embrace of civil rights and repudiation of gun rights seems off:

Few messages are more needed among American Christians today than 1 Peter 4:12: “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Fiery trials are not strange. And the trials in view are hostilities from unbelievers, as the next verse shows: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings.” These trials are normal. That may not be American experience, but it is biblical truth.

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 1:7, 13; 4:13; 5:1). His aim is that we suffer well and show that our treasure is in heaven, not in self-preservation.

For Piper that’s a reason for Christians not to have guns, but would he have said that to African-Americans — “you need to suffer more” — who sought and seek equality under the law?

Or let me ask, would Piper say the same as this about civil rights legislation?

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.

I don’t think Piper actually puts his hope in the nation’s laws. But has he warned his fans and appropriators about the proximate or relative good of improved race relations in the United States compared to the real hope that animates believers?

And if Piper would not even call the police for the defense of his family from an assailant, why would Piper support laws to protect African-Americans from oppressors?

There is, as I have tried to show, a pervasive thrust in the New Testament pushing us toward blessing and doing good to those who hate, curse, and abuse us (Luke 6:27–28). And 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 remarkable when you think about it, since I cannot help but think this precise situation presented itself, since we read that Saul drug men and women bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1–2).

2) 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.

Maybe the problem is that of being the holy pontiff of Minneapolis. Sometimes pastors think they need to comment on everything. Often, even those with a curia behind them, can’t keep up with everything they say. If only every pastor and theologian had a Denzinger.


92 thoughts on “Cherry Picking Amendments

  1. Falwell directed the phrase “teach a lesson” to those who would seek to murder people on the campus of Liberty University (self protection). He DID NOT call for a posse to hunt down and kill all those suspected of involvement in the California murders (vengeance).

    Please pray that Dr. Piper learns to read.


  2. Darryl,
    You are behind the times. I have a solution for you right here. The combination of a gun and drone. So you can conceal and carry that.


  3. How ’bout we say it’s neither necessarily Xian or non-Xian to pack heat? But Piper’s every-last-secondism means he cannot but weigh in. And it takes seven points for him to (not) answer whether or not he would shoot his wife’s assailant. One hopes she and the assailant are patient and understanding.


  4. Piper is not a pacifist but a less consistent two kingdom person than Hart is. While Piper can still believe that “Jesus has nothing to do with it” when he’s talking about being cops and soldiers, he somehow thinks anti-racism is “Christian”. So why does Hart need to translate Piper’s pietism (or other persons’ pacifism) into a category called “the spirituality of the church”? Is the only way Hart can understand another w-v besides his own to make that other w-v use his vocabulary?

    Hart “cherry picks” this one idea of “the spirituality of the church”. To define the jargon, he would have to first define “the church”. But without definition (or even the history of the definition), Hart “frames” the other according to his own narrative.

    Yes, Piper is nothing if not ambivalent. In his Taste and See (Multnomah,1999, p3 25), Piper explains how Arminians are “Reformed” and how he himself is both Arminian and Reformed. “Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins.”

    But sometimes the word “ambiguity” is just another word for “contradiction”. Two kingdom is another word for sometimes I kill and sometimes I don’t. I kill as an American but not as a Christian. I want those who kill for me to do so not as Christians but as fellow human sinners. And etc.

    When Calvin talked about a “twofold kingdom”, was Calvin talking about “the spirituality of the church” or was Calvin talking about a Christian city state with one involuntary Christian church?

    If you would not kill a person to defend yourself from somebody you provoked, why would you kill a person to defend your wife from somebody she did not provoke? And what does either of these decisions have to do with “the spirituality of the church”?

    If Piper needs to also allow black people to suffer in order to be consistent in his practice of ‘the spirituality of the church”, why are other two kingdom folks allowed to insist on black people’s rights to self-preservation as Americans?

    If preachers should not comment on what other preachers say about guns, why should historians comment on what preachers say about other preachers who call Christians to lay down the cross and take up the sword? Is taking up the cross and putting down the sword acceptable for us who are “spiritual”, but not for other Americans?

    If a Reformed church over time ceases to produce Christian individuals with divided loyalties who become Christian police and Christian soldiers, has that church ceased to be Reformed? If all the persons in that church give unbalanced priority to the kingdom of heaven, without ever feeling called to kill people for the sake of other people, would this mean that they stopped “cherry picking”? if a Reformed person at all times (not only SOMETIMES) acts only in loyalty to their citizenship from heaven, do these persons by their nonviolence set aside the possibility of their still being Reformed?


  5. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
    CW, what do Piper and Michael Dukakis have in common?

    Cw the Unificator
    Posted December 24, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
    Wow, blast from the past. You are a certified historian.

    But they are different questions.

    Dukakis [for whom I voted anyway] simply blew the answer. In his defense it was a preposterous question he could not have been prepared for.

    The nature of the question was about retribution, not self-defense or defense of one’s family.

    [CNN’s Bernard Shaw] would ask Dukakis a crime question, a capital punishment question, but also a personal question. One that nobody in the world would dare to ask:

    What if some criminal raped and murdered Dukakis’ wife, Kitty. Would Dukakis still oppose capital punishment?

    There. He had it. By Shaw’s standards, it was perfect. And now he could get to sleep.

    Sophistic swine. It would take at least 20 minutes to answer the question of forgoing retributive justice in a principled fashion. The proper question–esp re this discussion–is whether Dukakis would kill anyone attempting such a thing.

    As usual, Darryl’s position on either question is concealed under many layers of fog, as evidenced by the contrast with Mark McC’s quite plain exposition. And in Dukakis’s defense, he could oppose capital punishment but still be quite willing to blow away anyone who threatened his family in a blink of an eye. That is the question that should have been asked, not Shaw’s trap.

    Whether one would want to find himself in a dark alley with only Darryl Hart at his back is another question. Would he be useless in a fight? Indeed, since one could likely run faster than the Bow-tied non-Avenger, but then one might find himself obliged to stand and fight and perhaps die so that Darryl could run away.

    DGH might be the last guy you’d want to be with in a dark alley–y’d be better off alone. [Interesting metaphor for Old Life…]


  6. It just might be instructive to peruse some Founding Era expositions on the Second Amendment, in order to understand just why it was so important to…religious people, let alone the defence of the new nation.

    Joseph Story, USSC Justice, (appointed by Madison) and Harvard’s first Dane Professor of Law, wrote his rather instructive “Commentaries on the Constitution”, where we find exegesis of the original intent:

    Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1890–91
    § 1890. The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers… .

    § 1891. A similar provision in favour of protestants (for to them it is confined) is to be found in the bill of rights of 1688, it being declared, “that the subjects, which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their condition, and as allowed by law.”2 But under various pretences the effect of this provision has been greatly narrowed; and it is at present in England more nominal than real, as a defensive privilege.3

    Now, Section 1891 does turn our heads, doesn’t it? English Protestants needed personal protection arms at the time of the “Glorious Revolution”… .

    Any thoughts?


  7. mcmark, you know this but I’ll respond:

    1. The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

    2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

    3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.

    4. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them. (CofF 25)

    Look, no guns.

    1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under him, over the people, for his own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evildoers.

    2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth; so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the new testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion. (CofF 23)

    Look, guns (to kill squirrels).

    Why do you think I would not defend myself if Mark Jones threatened me physically?


  8. Theme music for the post. Also, in my realm, many Christian teachers and leaders would say that Dr. Hart and I are not ‘men’ for not having a Winchester or a Smith & Wesson as our best friend and grafted extension of our left or right hand.

    Still, enjoy the Lalo Schifrin theme music (he’s still living).

    Merry Christmas to all.


  9. Guns, self-defense, defense of neighbor: not simple issues at all. Given that law enforcement can punish, but not protect, given that the malefactor who would kill you or your child will, if he can, likely do it to someone else, what is required and what is permitted? And most uses of firearms in such situations do not result in anyone being killed. Often the sight of the weapon alone ends the confrontation.
    Don’t refute the last 2 sentences. Of course, sometimes that is not what happens. The point is that it’s not a question simply resolved by remembering that I have no right to sacrifice even the worst neighbor to preserve myself. That’s true, but doesn’t settle anything.


  10. What does the ‘spirituality” of the church mean? Since there is an “visible church” which is also “spiritual”, invisible in the confessional context cannot mean “spiritual”

    Does “spirituality” mean that the authority of the one nonvoluntary church (not by individual “freewill) is enforced by the magistrates? Does “spirituality” mean that the one nonvoluntary church (not an association of individuals but families) is controlled by the magistrates? Does “spirituality” mean that the one nonvoluntary church (controlled by the Holy Spirit) never has a right to say anything to the magistrates (not controlled by the Holy Spirit) about race or guns?

    “For their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of NATURE , or to the KNOWN PRINCIPLES of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation…they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.”

    “The civil magistrate hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses of worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.”

    Is the “visible church” more “spiritual” when these paragraphs are revised? If the “visible church” disintegrates into “voluntary congregations”, how can it still be “Reformed”?

    How are you going to defend yourself against Mark Jones if you are not man enough to carry a gun? Are you going to drop the “sweetness” of a very thick Banner of Truth book on him?


  11. In good company Dr. Hart – I am an ailurophile, but I defer to my wife and son as being the resident ailuro psychologists. We are joined by other ailurophiles……Leonard Nimoy, Marlon Brando, and many others…….


  12. Piper appears to be incoherent here, but you don’t need drones and rocket launchers to win a conflict anymore, as the Taliban has now outlasted the most powerful military in the world after 14 years with cheap radios, homemade bombs, and small arms. 4G warfare has shifted the power to decentralized partisans away from standing militaries.


  13. mcMark, spiritual means for spiritual ends (administered by people who are body and soul — but soul doesn’t die).



    Sort of. Speaks to magistrates in cases extraordinary.


    Reformed according to the word.

    I say to Mark, “boo!”


  14. Jet Fuel – but those same “4G” techniques adopted by the Taliban, ISIS, domestic terrorists, what-have-you, have also enabled a cowardly form of guerrilla “warfare” that has flabbergasted the major military powers of the modern world. Viet Nam was probably our first major experience against this kind of “poor man’s warfare” and it now has become mainstream.

    But around here in Chi-Raq the same kind of warfare exists between gangs – they just don’t seem to see it that way. Film maker Spike Lee said during a recent interview, “… Yeah (to gangs posting on Twitter). ‘I’m in front of your house, come and get me.’ That’s just crazy. And then here’s the thing: I have yet to fully comprehend the gang culture here. See, there were gangs growing up in New York, in Brooklyn. But the gang culture here? [Whistles] It’s on another level here. Another level…Back in the day, if you killed a kid, you either turned yourself in or you would be killed. Even though gangsters were criminals, they had a code. If you wanted to kill somebody, you’d wait till he was alone and walk up and shoot him. Today, squeeze the trigger of these automatic weapons and you’ve got all this collateral damage. It’s like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, all you other people who got shot. It’s just your bad luck you happened to be standing next to the guy I wanted to get.’ They don’t care if 50 people gotta get shot to get the one. They’re all right with that. These guys have nothing to live for, so their street fred is how many bodies they got…”

    So, what’s the difference between these cowardly shoot-and-run gangbangers and terrorists? Yet, we have a never ending stream of everyone from police to Leftists to do-gooder liberals who say that gun control is the only answer. How does that work? The Cook County president herself said that there’s a special place in hell for Reagan because of his “war on drugs” initiative. Well, if you can’t control the drugs and the right place to start reform is in the homes and ‘hoods (the source of the problems, according to her), then how are you going to control guns? At least give some of the citizenry a decent chance to defend itself.


  15. The general difference between gang wars and a “pure” 4G conflict is that the 4G warriors are trying to bring down the state through their actions and the gang members are typically fighting over turf, money, and blood debts.

    The methods to achieve their ends are similar, but their goals differ.


  16. John Fea thinks Piper has a point:

    Many evangelicals are fearful these days. I understand this. But unfortunately evangelical Christians have spent too much time over the past forty years seeking protection from the things that scare them through politics and politicians. This, I think, is the best explanation for why so many evangelicals are flocking to candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz–candidates who claim to be Christians but who behave, and promote policies, that run contrary to the teachings of the New Testament.

    Trump and Cruz are the natural result of the fusion of evangelicalism and GOP politics that began in the 1970s. Jerry Falwell and the rest of the so-called Christian Right is to blame, but so are evangelical ministers who have failed to provide the people in their congregations with teaching about how to consistently apply their faith in public life.

    First thought, if evangelicals put their trust in princes, then why bother with guns? The politicization of evangelicals, which I too lament, doesn’t seem to me to be what’s driving Islamaphobia.

    What makes more sense is the idea that we have been living with something of a security state for almost fifteen years since 9/11 and now it looks like immigrants from Islamic countries could flip to terrorism.

    Yes, Christians shouldn’t think government is going to solve things. But why is it unbiblical for believers to hope that magistrates will punish evil and reward good and so preserve peace and order?


  17. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink
    vd, t, wow, voting for Dukakis and defending David Barton. The mind fails.

    Dodged my question again, I see.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you thought it was worthy of a Christmas day post, but then you lost your nerve. What’s happening to you?

    Actually, I accidentally hit “publish” instead of “save as draft.” It will appear later.

    I’m flattered you went to all that trouble to embarrass me, but as usual you come up empty.

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter.


  18. It seems that the anti-gun position Piper promotes puts all hope in princes. He allows for Christian soldiers and policemen to carry, but not “ordinary Christians.” He basically says God has ordained the government for protection, not people. But was Paul thinking of the modern police state when he wrote Romans 13? I can’t imagine so, since government-funded police forces haven’t always been around. Furthermore, private security forces are not included in Romans 13 so I guess those are out too. Let’s not even mention private militias.


  19. Walton, how could Paul have in mind modernity when modernity hadn’t happened yet? And does it matter what Paul had specifically in mind when penning Romans 13? After all, he says there is no civil authority except that which God has established, which means if there are police states then God established them (so get in line). Still, he had Nero in mind, hardly a specimen moderns would affirm. He says nothing about having to like an arrangement (for that matter, nothing about having to dislike it), but if the choice is between Piper and Falwell, I’ll take Piper and hold my nose in places.

    Then again, it seems like part of Darryl’s point is that there could be an alternative between two religious celebrities and their pious opinions on popular topics. That’s a smart point and I second it.


  20. But, Tom, do you tote? Maybe you do, but if you don’t then my guess is that you’re the type to defend a theory about guns even though you have no practice (because it’s an ideology you’re all about). Sort of like what you do with Catholicism. Or what non-drinkers might do with Prohibition or non-smokers do with smoking laws. All of which is annoying as hell.


  21. Yeah, I forget that the “Paul wasn’t thinking of a ____ state” line is a favorite of the theonomists. And I did not mean it in that sense. My point is Paul cannot be saying “the gov get swords and citizens don’t” because there may not have been police to have swords. And private security could have very well existed then, especially if there were no police.

    Is the issue government/citizens bearing the sword, or Christians seeking protection at the end of a sword? Because to the extent that Piper talks about the latter, I tend to agree, more recently in light of:
    “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
    “Do not resist an evil person.”


  22. The first point, DG, is all about the role of government, which Piper immediately equates with police and a standing military, both of which have not always been directly associated with government. I just wonder if he would be saying these same things if police were private, like insurance.


  23. Walton, agreed about what Paul probably wasn’t saying about gov/citizens being armed, but there were Roman soldiers with swords. So there was “police,” just not beat cops as we know them.

    I’d like very much to know what Falwellians think Jesus means by “do not resist an evil man,” etc. When I hear them talk, I see no way for Jesus’ ethic to make much sense.


  24. Thankfully here in the UK guns are relatively rare with the public mainly restricted to using firearms for shooting what edible wildlife we haven’t already hunted out of existence in the countryside like wild boar. As an English man who also takes note of the Hutterite’s teaching on such issues derived from the New Testament, I am genuinely baffled and not a little disturbed at the thriving and passionate obsession I know of for guns and the second ammendment in the USA in certain very vocal and supposedly Christian circles. Why do ‘rednecks’ and right wing conservatives/theonomists have such a thing about weapons, hunting and the militairy? Can any one suggest a decent and objective book about this?


  25. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
    see vd, t? zrim think’s I’m smart.

    I’m beginning to have my doubts about what Zrim think’s


  26. Paul(UK)…Please see my post above, there is a lot more than “‘rednecks’ and right wing conservatives/theonomists have such a thing about weapons, hunting and the militairy?” support of the 2nd Amendment. Namely leading Harvard jurists who, with great literary aplomb, spelled out the legal doctrines.

    Actually, might be useful to read the whole book:

    Real history, reasonably priced (free).


  27. Paul, it’s an American sub-culture. Speaking of consistency, what can be interesting is how the Christian gunnies are also the ones quick on the draw to condemn being influenced by the culture, yet there they are aping and baptizing a sub-culture.


  28. dgh—What makes more sense is the idea that we have been living with something of a security state for almost fifteen years since 9/11 and now it looks like immigrants from Islamic countries could flip to terrorism.

    Ezekiel 18—the soul that sins shall die.

    Matthew 10:28 And you should not fear the ones killing the body,but not being able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him able to destroy both soul and body

    The end of “The Big Short” is sarcastic—“and so the result was that the magistrates refused to bail out the bankers who committed fraud and sent them to jail.”

    No, not what happened. What happened was the magistrates blamed not the rich bankers but the people who got the mortgages and the illegal immigrants. And used the tax money of those who had lost so much as a result of what the bankers did to make the bankers bigger and richer than ever.

    So you can say that the problem is not politics, because evangelicals have been more and more into politics since Eisenhower and Billy Graham, but the disenchanted are beginning to think that we have not yet begun to be as cynical as we need to be about magistrates who would continue to bail out the bankers while at the same blaming those “on entitlement” .


  29. I guess those pesky Brits have left a legacy of independent minded gun toters in the USA, but thankfully you don’t share our vast appetite for booze which leads to madness and mayhem over here.Thinking again about the big gun culture amongst right wing Christians, I am sure if John Rushdoony could see today how much his ideas on home schooling, creationism and Van Tillian philosophy have taken deep root in the USA he would be mighty pleased; I’m not. One of his avid disciples, Doug Phillips of the deceased Vision Forum, is still quiet though after his fall from grace. I would think a book could be written about the lessons to be gleaned from such a flawed para church ‘ministry’ which strangely had a strong following in supposedly Reformed circles.


  30. Though Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself,” we may still take a 2k approach and buy insurance. Just because buying insurance may be interpreted as worrying about tomorrow does not mean it is. Likewise, may we also tote though Jesus says, “Do not resist an evil person” and “sheep among wolves”? The Bible doesn’t say don’t tote.


  31. gullible means stupid

    cynical means intentional

    but I probably could deconstruct the difference

    criminal is criminal

    Matthew 10:28 And you should not fear the ones killing the body,but not being able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him able to destroy both soul and body


  32. Perhaps Piper, and others, should refer to WLC 135 wherein the the right to self-defence and obligation to protect the innocent are affirmed.

    Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

    A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence , patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behaviour; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.


  33. For what difference is there between provoker and provoked, except that the former is detected as prior in evil-doing, but the latter as posterior? Yet each stands impeached of hurting a man in the eye of the Lord, who both prohibits and condemns every wickedness. In evil doing there is no account taken of order, nor does place separate what similarity conjoins. And the precept is absolute, that evil is not to be repaid with evil. Tertullian


  34. Dr. Joel McDurmon—I hasten to add that Piper has written some great stuff which I admire and appreciate. I especially appreciate his Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian. But on this issue, I hope he can come to see what tremendous damage he is doing, and in what tremendous danger he is asking Christians to place themselves and their vulnerable loved ones.

    McDurmon–I would have assumed Lloyd-Jones was a typical two-kingdoms-type on social action, but I had no idea just how extreme he was. Well, here we are in 2015, and if you were to take Martin Lloyd-Jones’s name out of that piece and replaced it with John Piper, and if you replace the subject of the welfare state with gun rights, the 1980 article is just as descriptive and prophetic.

    David Van Drunen– “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” A common reading of this verse in my own Reformed tradition is that Jesus is about to clarify the Mosaic law in response to Pharisaical corruption of Moses.9 While this reading has the virtue of guarding against denigration of the Mosaic law, it is not an adequate interpretation of Jesus’ words. A general difficulty with this reading is that it fails to reckon with the radical, eschatological newness of the coming of Jesus and his kingdom so emphasized in the preceding texts in Matthew considered above. Matthew 5:17 itself reinforces this sense of eschatological newness. The first use of the key Synoptic phrase, “I have come,” for example, hints at Jesus’ heavenly origin (and hence his authority to say what he is saying) and indicates that Jesus is about to reveal a central purpose of his ministry.10 In addition, Jesus’ denial that he has come to abolish the law or the prophets indirectly offers further evidence of the spectacular newness of the kingdom of heaven: apparently what has transpired thus far in Matthew’s story has given some people the impression that Jesus has come to abolish something in the OT.

    More concretely, the way in which Jesus’ commands unfold in 5:21–48 is ultimately incompatible with reading them as clarification of the Mosaic law over against corrupt Jewish interpretation. For one thing, all six of Jesus’ “You have heard” statements either quote or paraphrase the actual teaching of the Mosaic law, not contemporary Jewish interpretation of it.11 Jesus presents his exhortations in comparison with those of the Mosaic law itself. Second, however much the first two antitheses are amenable to the view that Jesus is purifying the interpretation of the law, the last four antitheses cannot reasonably bear such a reading. Jesus does show the inward demands of the prohibition of murder and adultery in the first two antitheses, but whereas the Mosaic law prescribed procedures for divorce, oath-taking, just retaliation, and destruction of enemies, Jesus proscribes these very actions. To say, for example, that what Moses really intended by writing “keep your oaths” was that the Israelites should not swear at all strains the imagination. Jesus’ statement about divorce in 5:31–32, furthermore, cannot be an elaboration of the OT law since it presumes that the death penalty is not applied against adulterers


  35. Mark Mcculley
    Posted December 26, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink
    Gary North—Shoot the bastard. He is going to hell anyway.”

    I learn so much at Old Life. Heh heh. I esp liked the riff where Piper is a ‘New Testament only’ dude. Where is it in the Bible where Mighty Jehovah got (re-)Incarnated as Barney the Christosaur?

    Ooops, now Dr.Hart will accuse me of defending the Rushdoonians. Still hasn’t stopped dodging what he would do if his wife and home were attacked, though, or what you should expect if he were the only thing at your back in a dark alley.

    Anybody want to take their chances on Darryl Hart over Gary North? To whom would you entrust your wife and family?

    Mighty Jehovah or Barney?


  36. Mark,
    I noted Gary North’s nasty last line also in his response to Piper. It sums up much of his thinking and attitude, I would argue. It may equally represent the macho patriarchal attitude still thriving in conservative circles.


  37. That book of Piper’s ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ caused much consternation in my former church, but thankfully the pastor addressed it… encouraging the wives that being good wives/their faithfulness in raising their children/men being good husbands & fathers/working in their jobs as unto the Lord/was very pleasing to God…..versus going into the ministry/to the mission field as being ‘the height of righteousness’……..there have been some good things he has said, but he generally drives me crazy because he flies on ‘Charismata Airlines’ quite a bit.


  38. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 27, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you may want to work on your parallelisms:

    “Darryl over Gary North”

    “Mighty Jehovah or Barney”

    Just sayin’.

    Still dodging, I see. We expect nothing else.


  39. It’s always the same thing nearly every time

    Sheep who are prone to follow the flashy, impressive, showy, sensational – dare I say – spiritual (meaning, this pastor hears from God, or he is very pious, or has incredible faith……things follow this man, big church, revival, money, etc.)


    Following the Pastor who has been faithfully preaching God’s Word, the Gospel for the past 30-50 years, expounding the scriptures, faithfully ministering to his flock, and having such stability and soundness in all things, generally, identifying with the congregation in undergoing trials and suffering in humility…..


  40. Zrim:

    There are nearly as many guns in the U.S. as there are people. Further, right to carry permits are being issued in record numbers. The city of Indianapolis, IN had to SUBcontact out the fingerprinting of carry permit applicants because they were six months behind in forwarding the information to the FBI for background checks.


  41. Paul, so what are you saying, gun culture isn’t a sub-culture? But bare numbers aren’t the only calculus of a sub-culture, and “sub-culture” isn’t a term of derision.


  42. It may not be politically correct but it is factually correct that not all sub-cultures are created equally. The hyphenated folks try to double up on the “identity politics” . The hybrids put all their eggs in at least two baskets at once.

    Carl Henry— “Would you agree that even if we might have only 24 hours or 48 hours, to withhold a witness in the political or any other arena is to withdraw prematurely from the social responsibility of the Christian and to distrust the providence of God’? Might he not do something even in the last few hours that he had not done before? The closer we get to the end time, isn’t it that much more important to address public conscience? Must we not press the claims of Christ in all the areas of society and remind people, whether they receive Christ or not, of the criteria by which the returning King will judge men and nations?”

    Lloyd-Jones— It seems to me that our Lord’s own emphasis is quite different, even opposed to this. Take Luke 17 where we read, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they, married wives . . . until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came . . .” You can’t reform the world. That’s why I disagree entirely with the “social and cultural mandate” teaching and its appeal to Genesis 1:28. it seems to me to forget completely the Fall. You can’t Christianize the world. The end time is going to be like the time of the Flood. The condition of the modern world proves that what we must preach more than ever is “Escape from the wrath to come!”

    But then on the other hand, the double loyalty.

    Lloyd-Jones— “I believe the Christian people –but not the Church–should get involved in politics and in social affairs… Because he is a Christian he must work for the best possible and be content with that which is less than fully Christian. That is what Abraham Kuyper seems to me to have done. I have recently read the life of Kuyper again and it is clear that his enactments as Prime Minister and head of the Government were almost identical with the Radicalism of Lloyd-George.

    Lloyd-Jones…”The Christian is not only to be concerned about personal salvation. It is his duty to have a complete view of life as taught in the Scriptures….For some strange reason one of the greatest temptations to a man who becomes a Christian is to become respectable. When he becomes a Christian he also tends to make money”, and if he makes money, he wants to keep that money, and resents the suggestion that he should share that money with others by means of taxation . Looking at history it seems to me that one of the greatest dangers confronting the Christian is to become a political conservative, and an opponent of legitimate reform, and the legitimate rights of people”

    mcmark—Whenever people say “Jesus was not here to promote political change”, there is some perverted truth in that—Jesus did not come to be another Caesar replacing Caesar. But Jesus is king and when He returns there is going to be the greatest historical and political change possible.
    Usually “the conservatives” are not saying “let’s not talk about politics”. “The conservatives” are saying we want more capitalism, we want the status quo or political change back to before there was any regulation the left—which is something very different from saying “let’s not talk politics”.

    I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.


  43. Tom Chantry with a 2K point to consider as well:

    That said, the problem with both these articles is that Piper wants to funnel every discussion of gun-ownership and self-defense through the filter of evangelistic encounter. That’s nice and gospel-centered (TGC is kicking themselves for not publishing this first!) but fails to recognize the rather obvious facts that not every Christian is a missionary, not every circumstance is evangelistic, not every moral priority is gospel oriented, and not all violence is murder. Do you see how many categories get blurred when Piper speaks? That’s a discernment problem: he can’t tell one thing from another.


  44. Ferguson’s and Sproul’s association with Doug Wilson is not the problem?

    if Edwards owned slaves, did he own guns? And if he owned guns, were they Christian guns or “sinner like other sinners” guns?

    John Piper, appendix, The Future of Justification (response to NT Wright) –It would be a mistake to
    use Romans 9:32 to deny that there is a short-term aim of the law that may suitably be described as “not of faith” as in Galatians 3:12 (“But the law is not of faith, rather `The one who does them shall live by them'”). I myself have argued in the past without careful distinction, that “the law teaches faith” because Romans 9:32 says that you don’t “attain the law” if you fail to pursue it “by faith,” but pursue “as from works.” But the distinction that must be made is whether we are talking about the overall, long-term aim of the law, which is in view in Romans 9:32, or whether we are making a sweeping judgment about all the designs of the law. We would go beyond what
    Romans 9:32 teaches if we made such a sweeping judgment, so as to deny that there is a short-term design of the law not easily summed up in the phrase “the law teaches faith” but fairly described in the words “the law is not of faith” (Gal. 3:12).

    Piper–One short-term aim of the law was to “imprison everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ would be given to those who believe” (Gal. 3:22). That is, the law functions,
    in a subordinate, short-term way, to keep people in custody, awaiting the fullness of time, which is a time of faith, as Galatians 3:23 says,”Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.” If, in some sense, “faith” had not yet come, but was “to be later revealed,” then it would not be strange to say “the law is not of faith” if the faith being referred to is the faith of Galatians 3:23, that is, faith in the Son of God who has come in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4).


  45. Confessionalists like Tom Chantry are more “separatist” than evangelicals like Piper and Horton?

    Before you buy the field with buried treasure hidden in it, are you morally obligated to tell the seller what’s up?

    Titus 1:11 It is necessary to silence them; they overthrow whole households by teaching what they shouldn’t in order to get money dishonestly.


  46. Darryl, sure, but maybe the term is wrong. My only point was that there is a gun and non-gun culture, just like there is an imbibing and teetotaling culture, none of which is a problem until they become baptized, which both Falwell and Piper tend to do.

    But don’t forget cats. Sub-sub-sub.


  47. Probably. I’m in that sub-dog-culture where we personify our dogs in various ways but deny they have souls. At last count, there are only 8 of us.


  48. Tom Chantry—One of the hallmarks of the Federal Vision is a deviant view of baptism, which places Baptists in a unique position as FV-detectors. Listen closely to how a paedobaptist critiques the Baptist position, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what his affinity might be for the Federal Vision heresy.

    Tom Chnatry—I am no expert in Dispensationalism, but I do know that it has many forms. Some Dispensationalists uphold traditional Protestant teaching on the moral law – at least to a point. Radical Dispensationalists – like the New Covenant types – do not. Protestant theology – Lutheran, Reformed, and Baptist – once taught that the moral law of God is universal and unchanging, that it is found throughout the Scripture but particularly elaborated in the Ten Commandments. No one who teaches that the Christian ought to render obedience to the Commandments could be called antinomian. Anyone who denies this in part or in the whole would be, to some degree or another, an antinomian.

    So now that we know that all non-sabbatarians are “antinomians”, the next thing to know better is that people who play “ecumenical” with antinomian baptists are also antinomians.

    David Engelsma– Reformed theologian Robert Godfrey minimized and veiled the fundamental issue between Reformed theology and the Baptist theology. Godfrey tried to reduce the issue to the historical Anabaptist errors of Menno Simons’ heretical view of Christ’s human nature and of the right of revolution against ungodly rulers. Godfrey was at pains to deny that the chief issue in bygone days was the Baptist rejection of infant baptism with its error regarding the relation of the old covenant and the new covenant.

    Engelsma— Godfrey tries to minimize and detract from the real issue so that he and his likeminded ecumenical confederates can have close, warm ecumenical relations with the so-called Calvinistic Baptists. The Belgic Confession, which is authoritative for such as Godfrey, insists that the issue between the Baptists today, as in the past, and the Reformed is not a wrong view of the human nature of Christ or Anabaptist revolution but the Baptist rejection of the baptism of the infants of believers, whose sins Jesus washed away with His blood as much as He did for their parents.

    Engelsma– The Reformed criticism, therefore, of Baptist theology is not historically qualified, as though the criticism disappeared with the disappearance of the wilder Anabaptists. When the popular Calvinistic Baptists of Great Britain show up at Godfrey’s ecumenical meetings, Godfrey is conscience-bound at some point to confront them with the testimony of Article 34 of the Belgic Confession: “We detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers…” If he refuses to do so, he betrays the Reformed religion.”


  49. Why put Doug Wilson on the naughty list? Wilson agrees with Mark Jones and Daniel Fuller about justification according to works? And Doug Wilson is not against owning guns. Cherry picking..

    Unlike John Piper, Doug Wilson is not politically incorrect to all Fox News watching theonomists.

    To avoid the command of Romans 12 (leave the wrath to God), some argue that Romans 12 is only about the after-the-fact wrath of God (administered by Muslims and atheists alike) and not about “before the wrath” violence. Instead of working onlywith a theory of punishment which “satisfies justice” they also have a “humanitarian theory of punishment” which is not according to justice but for the greater good and which they find “useful” .

    “I kill to stop killing”. I take up the sword so you won’t take up the sword”. They are armed and threatening immediate violence against anybody who is armed and threatening immediate violence



    Doug Wilson—“One time John Piper was asked about some of my doctrinal monkeyshines, and he replied that he thought I was mistaken. But he also added that it was just the kind of mistake that he would expect a Presbyterian to make.”

    Doug Wilson–“I may or may not own multiple guns that the authorities may or may not know about, and I also decline to reveal when I might or might not be willing to carry, or under what circumstances. ”

    Doug Wilson–“Another way of measuring commitment is to ask a dedicated Christian what truths he would be willing to kill for. And you can take this same kind of standard… and bring it into the fellowship of the church. What kind of truths would you be willing to excommunicate for?”

    mcmark—Do the Confessional “Reformed Baptist” churches who informally don’t welcome non-gun owners also formally excommunicate members who switch sides on the issue? Or is the exclusion of these pacifist freaks only a result of the freaks’ lack of catholic tolerance for disregard of the Sermon on the Mount? As long as non-elders were learning what “one covenant, different administrations” means, the church could be patient?


  51. As one theocratic “heir of the reconstructionists”, Doug Wilson instructs 2k folks—“Contemporary Reformed Christianity does not want to allow the special revelation of Scripture to be allowed to speak to the unbelieving world…. the exclusion of natural law results in the same temptations toward compromise, but simply enticing a different group of folks, using different bait.

    Doug Wilson—“Our Reformed elites don’t want to fight about same sex mirage, for example, because they don’t want Leviticus to apply to the public square. The recons don’t want to fight about it because biblical law is our only standard, down here inside our ecclesiastical cubby. Outside is anarchy, so they can do what they want. The difference between the two groups can be summed up in this way — one wants to keep Jesus out of it and the other wants to get Jesus out of it.”

    Doug Wilson–“Let’s start with what Wikipedia calls disambiguation. The separation of church and state is a separation of two governments in the world. Civil government is one thing and church government is another. The separation is actually supposed to be a financial one, meaning that tithe money should not be collected by the civil magistrate in order to be dispensed to established churches with nitwit bishops. It should also mean, if we had our thoughts gathered about us, that ministers of the gospel ought not be allowed to hold civil office unless they first dimitted their office as ministers. Separation of church and state, historically understood, is a separation-of-powers doctrine, and not a let’s-exile-the-church doctrine.”

    Doug Wilson–“Now this is something you can only do when both the civil government and church governments are explicitly Christian. When the magistrate and the minister hold their several offices distinctly, but they are both doing so under the authority and by the leave of Jesus Christ, it is possible for them to be separated in this way…. Because they both know that Jesus reigns, and they both know they are under His Word, they can speak sense to one another..

    Doug Wilson— “The two kingdoms does not refer to the division between church and state — and still less a division between church and a secular state. As understood in classic Reformation categories, one kingdom is visible all across the waterfront. The visible kingdom includes the photographable parson, the tangible and pious dairy farmer, and the three-dimensional sheriff. The invisible kingdom includes the interior lives of all three of these gents, not to mention the interior lives of all the other saints all over the place. The separation of church and state is not the same thing as separating morality and state…. Nor is it the same thing as separating God and state. Before the nations submit to baptism and instruction in everything Jesus taught, they are still under natural law.”


  52. Matthew J Tuininga —-“One of the ways in which modern advocates could strengthen the two kingdoms doctrine is by further emphasizing and clarifying its fundamentally eschatological character, particularly in light of the fact that the two kingdoms are often confused with two spheres into which life is to be divided. It may be that part of the problem is a conflation of the two kingdoms doctrine with Abraham Kuyper’s concept of sphere sovereignty.”

    MT—“Kuyper’s spheres denote different areas into which human life under Christ’s lordship are to be divided. The spheres do not designate the two advents distinction between this age and the age to come. As such, the concept of sphere sovereignty is a sociological concept that is… different from the two kingdoms doctrine. We confuse the two when we think of the two kingdoms as two spheres (because they denote two governments) but forget that they also denote two overlapping ages. ….As 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5-6 make clear, Christians cannot turn everything they do into the kingdom of God….


  53. Looks like Mr. Wilson holds to the original definition of the word “Secular”, and we can rediscover that exact concept in Webster’s 1828 dictionary:

    “1. Pertaining to the present world, or to things not spiritual or holy; relating to things not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body; worldly. The secular concerns of life respect making provision for the support of life, the preservation of health, the temporal prosperity of men, of states, etc. Secular power is that which superintends and governs the temporal affairs of men, the civil or political power; and is contradistinguished from spiritual or ecclesiastical power.”

    Originally, this was one Christian world view that bifurcates to two spheres, the spiritual with an eternal goal, and the temporal, with the just management of our life in the physical existence of the world made by the Creator. The Founder’s were both secular men in their government offices, and also quite often leaders in founding foreign mission boards, the American Bible Society, etc. Elias Boudinot a prime example… .

    The modern “Redefinition” of the word “secular” to mean “not religious, or not connected with religion” as found in Macmillan’s on-line dictionary is the culprit in the mis-interpretation that is used in the demands that the “Church” or of any influence by it in any way in matters of law be strictly enforced. But of course, where did those ideas of law to prohibit murder and stealing first come from in British / American jurisprudence?


  54. I may be straining at gnats here, as I take it your introductory paragraph is not your main point (that I take to be the apparent inconsistency of Piper’s arguments on different subjects). However, I’m a bit baffled by your quick outline of thoughts on the Second Amendment.

    You write, “My own politics tell me that if I am going to support the Second Amendment (and my right to bear arms), I should also be opposed to standing militias.”

    But as someone neither familiar nor comfortable with firearms (as you say), I am not sure what political motivation you would have beyond rule of law – in which case should you not support standing militias? I take it as given that “army” and “militia” are not (entirely) synonymous in the 18th century context, let alone today’s. The amendment, after all, while specifying that the right to bear arms is protected, clearly envisions the militia as in some way inextricably joined to that right, a defense against (one might say) “enemies foreign and domestick”.

    Similarly, you suggest, “If I’m going to fight as an ordinary citizen today, I need either a rocket launcher or a drone.”

    Certainly to fight tanks or planes, one needs counter-measures of similar force, counter-measures an “ordinary citizen” likely won’t have access to. But to fight infantry – one needs only have infantry weapons. In my (relatively limited) reading on the Revolution, I note that the colonial militias were quite light on the “heavy weapons” of their day – when they had to fight an actual war, they had to go get (“steal” or “liberate” as you prefer) cannon from British-held forts to fight on an equal footing.

    Taking one thing with another, while the “right” protected by the Second Amendment may “not be abridged”, I see no great difficulties with understanding the “arms” thus born to be today by analogy no more deadly than semi-automatic (perhaps automatic) weapons and grenades – I understand it as having bog-standard, mass-produced infantry weapons in view. The kind part-time militias might plausibly be trained to use.

    I’m not entirely sure what you were trying to establish by your introduction anyway (if anything, beyond sketching some personal feelings), but these two points struck me as problematic.


  55. Jonathan Frank, I think my point was to note the tension between support for the Second Amendment and a big military (standing army). If we protected the rights of citizens to bear arms because we need them to fight wars of national defense, great. Or if we revise the rights of citizens to bear arms because we have a standing army stationed all over the universe, great. But the Second Amendment does not make sense of where we are today.


  56. Posted December 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm under “Cherry Picking Amendments:”

    “… Alberto, I want a drone to transport mmmmeeeEEEEE…”

    Apparently they’ve developed something like that now. Anyone in particular you’d like to either program the destination location or have a the remote controls?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.