John Piper and Guns: “Unwise”
Given the theology of mainstream Christianity, and the current political climate surrounding the 2nd amendment, one can expect to see Christian leaders give Two-Kingdom sound bytes against owning guns, or just advising others to not do so. Surprisingly, John Piper sounded more like a liberal in his words (now removed from YouTube) about owning guns. Now look, John Piper has some solid stuff on soteriology, however he presents the same schizophrenic views that Horton does. In one sentence guns are good because law enforcement officers can protect others and take down criminals (at the 4:00 mark).
“I’m not a pacifist. I believe there should be a militia, I believe there should be policemen with billy clubs and guns, they should take out guys that 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 house.” – John Piper, 4:00, “Are you opposed to people owning guns?”
One minute, Piper is all for guns and for the military and law enforcement officers using them to protect everyone else, yet he turns right around and states “We don’t need guns in our house”. How can Piper make these two statements? Here’s his logic.
In the linked video, Piper uses the condition of one’s soul as the standard for engaging a threat. If the person is not saved, then we shouldn’t kill them, since we want them to go to heaven. This definitely seems appealing to the shallow Christian that has no concern for society, God’s law, and maturity in Christ, since they still wear the goggles of “Hurry and get saved before you die”. Piper presents this logic at the 2:17 mark after telling the story of missionaries that were killed by natives.
“…we’re ready to go to heaven and these natives are not, so why would we kill them rather than being killed? So I thought, if somebody enters my house as a thief, he probably is not ready to go to heaven either.”
The logic seems sound, if the standard were up to pious Christians who almost desire to be martyred and persecuted. However, God’s law gives clear cut examples of how to protect yourself and your family, and it justifies taking the life of the one who seeks to take yours (Exodus 22:2 in regards to thieves). Ezekiel 33 seems to suggest that only a fool would see a sword coming, yet do nothing about it.
“The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.” Ezekiel 33:1-6
Nehemiah 4 gives several examples of Israel carrying swords with them for their own protection while they rebuilt the wall. The book of Esther gives another clear and specific example of taking another man’s life to defend his own,
“…saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods,” Esther 8:11
If the logic that Piper used in this video were true, then he would have no way to justify capital punishment, which he has stated that he affirms. Capital punishment is God’s law of retribution to those who have murdered, kidnapped, and committed other great sins. If Piper’s logic were true, then Christians would be free-game to criminals, since Christians won’t protect themselves against the lost. And yes, Piper affirms the use of force, but when the criminals have a gun, what other force can you use, especially when you seem to prioritize his life over yours and your family’s? Guns are a gift from God because it levels the playing field. No longer do people have to fear large brutes, armed with hammers and axes, because a gun can bring down any man.
What Piper does not realize is that he is speaking directly against God Himself. God was not concerned with the condition of the thief’s soul. The law of God was to put them to death, whether he was saved or not. Piper’s priorities are out of sync with God’s.
Piper’s statements are liberal statements. The liberals who want gun control say the exact same thing. ‘The government should have guns, but you should not. The military should have guns, and should take lives, but individuals should not.’ The standard Piper uses is arbitrary, because he gives no basis for why he believes it, except mere opinion. Even his understanding of Jesus’ words is a mold of the liberals.
“Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52
A lot of Christians see this as a command to pacifist, however Jesus tells the man to put his sword away, not because using it was wrong, but because there was no righteous reason for him to kill those who sought to take Jesus away. You cannot just kill someone. Jesus was being brought to testify for the crimes that the Jews had accused Him of; that’s no reason to take a life. Jesus’ point was that handling your problems by violence will only get you killed by the civil government, proving that Jesus Himself upheld God’s law of capital punishment.
Everything Piper has said in the video turns God’s law and the examples given to us, completely upside down. He presents liberal statements about who should and should not have guns and reveals the schizophrenic mindset of Two-Kingdom theology. This theology should be avoided, since it is un-Biblical, excuses Christians from their responsibilities of stewardship, and denies the law of God as being the best, most ideal law that all governments should follow, whether it be civil, church, or individual. Our responsibility as individuals is to protect ourselves and our families.