[July 18, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
John Piper’s Christian hedonism has added an extra requirement to saving faith: the requirement of right affection, right emotion.
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith.”
—p. 69, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, Multnomah 2003.
But Scripture says, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. It does not say, “Abraham believed God and pursued joy in God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Piper has added to Scripture, and that, dear friends, is very very dangerous.
….All single-dominant-issue schemes tend to be blind to individual matters of deep concern. Their major preoccupation creates a kind of tunnel vision, and perception fails….
—Dr Peter Masters, Christian Hedonism — Is it Right?
By making the pursuit of joy essential to saving faith, Piper lays heavy burdens on people about their emotions.
When the pursuit of joy in God is urged on the victim of domestic abuse simultaneously with Piper’s no-divorce teaching, the victim is cow-prodded into a corner and made to lie on a bed of nails while trying to artificially crank up the emotion of delight in God — or at least the pursuit of it. This can only be done by a self-willed mind control whereby the victim tries to corral her thoughts and emotions to follow certain paths, such as ‘having faith in future grace’ (one of Piper’s favourite expressions).
The spiritual heaviness she feels because of the abuser’s sins is not seen as a natural vexation with evil and a healthy refusal to be content with living in proximity to the wicked, as Lot’s vexation was described by the Apostle Peter —
….Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless, (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) — (2 Peter 2:7-8 NIV)
— rather, she must urge herself to repent for her coldness of heart. By trying to conform herself to Piper’s theology, she sees herself not as someone who is being abused, but as a dreadful sinner because despite all her efforts her pursuit of joy in God has been in vain.
An insight into John Piper’s marriage (in his own words) — and a further lesson in mind control
When the person himself (or herself) has written publicly about their marriage, it is reasonable to quote their words. Here are some interesting words from Piper about his marriage. Emphasis (bolding of text) has been added by me. The excerpt comes from the article What God Requires, Christ Provides (January 1, 2004) by Justin Taylor and John Piper.
….why would a pressured pastor….devote time and energy to the controversy over the imputation of Christ’s righteousness?….I will explain why I have taken up this issue. My reasons are personal, but in fact they apply to all who wish to glorify Christ, contend for the faith, and edify the saints.
For the Sake of My Family: Marriage
I have a family to care for. My marriage must survive and thrive for the good of our children and the glory of Christ. God designed marriage to display the holy mercy of Christ and the happy submission of his church (see Eph. 5:21-25). Here the doctrine of justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ can be a great marriage saver and sweetener.
Marriage seems almost impossible at times because both partners feel so self-justified in their expectations that are not being fulfilled. There is a horrible emotional dead end in the words, “But it’s just plain wrong for you to act that way,” followed by “That’s your perfectionistic perspective” or “Do you think you do everything right?” or by hopeless, resigned silence. The cycle of self-justified self-pity and anger can seem unbreakable.
But what if one or both partners becomes overwhelmed with the truth of justification by faith alone — and especially with the truth that in Christ Jesus God credits me, for Christ’s sake, as fulfilling all of his expectations? What happens if this doctrine so masters our souls that we begin to bend it from the vertical to the horizontal and apply it to our marriages? In our own imperfect efforts in this regard, there have been breakthroughs that seemed at times impossible. It is possible, for Christ’s sake, simply to say, “I will no longer think merely in terms of whether my expectations are met in practice. I will, for Christ’s sake, regard you the way God regards me — complete and accepted in Christ — and thus to be helped and blessed and nurtured and cherished, even if, in practice, you fail.” I know my wife treats me this way. And surely this is part of what Paul calls for when he says that we should forgive “one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). There is more healing for marriage in the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness than many of us have begun to discover….
Now, in a healthy Christian marriage it may indeed be beneficial for a spouse to not think about whether the other spouse is meeting their expectations, but rather, to try to regard their partner the way God does: as complete and accepted in Christ, and thus to be helped and blessed and nurtured and cherished, even if, in practice, that person fails.
However, take this philosophy and apply it to someone who is being abused by their spouse and what you have is a recipe for inexorable misery for the abused person. There is no room for that abused person to think about how grievously their partner is failing on their side of the bargain. There is no room for complaint by the victim, and no room for the victim to even privately feel her own pain and fear. After all, The Wizard of Oz Piper or his lookalikes are telling her to regard her husband (her wicked abuser) as God regards him [cue the violins].
And of course, there is no room or invitation for her to consider whether her husband is actually a believer in the Gospel of Christ. No invitation for her to think about how God regards non-believers, and how He holds them accountable for their sins because they are not under the blood of Christ. No room for her to think about any of that at all: just a guilting, thought-blocking recipe that will keep her in the fog and misery of being controlled by that abuser.
The inversion of truth and denial of reality produced by this spiritual captivity can be profound. At this blog we talk about living in the fog of domestic abuse. Piper’s theological scheme thickens the fog to a pea-souper for victims of abuse.
[July 18, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 18, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 18, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 18, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 18, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
43 thoughts on “The compulsory pursuit of joy in Christian Hedonism = compounded mind control for victims of abuse”
Barbara – this is one of the best articles on Piper we have on the blog. Very insightful. I particularly value your finding of his own words and noting that surely they describe his marriage. I reject Piper’s description of marriage here. My wife and I have been married now for over 40 years and neither of us interact as Piper described. In fact, if we did relate to one another as he portrays here, I would most certainly not see our relationship as healthy.
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Thanks Jeff 🙂 🙂
I can’t count how many times I was told to look at my husband with eyes of faith so that I could see Gods completed work in him instead of what I was calling his failures. That definitely laid guilt on my shoulders.
“There is no room for complaint by the victim, and no room for the victim to even privately feel her own pain and fear. After all, The Wizard of Oz Piper or his lookalikes are telling her to regard her husband (her wicked abuser) as God regards him [cue the violins].
And of course, there is no room or invitation for her to consider whether her husband is actually a believer in the Gospel of Christ. No invitation for her to think about how God regards non-believers, and how He holds them accountable for their sins because they are not under the blood of Christ. No room for her to think about any of that at all: just a guilting thought-blocking recipe that will keep her in the fog and misery of being controlled by that abuser.”
Oh Barb, this just sums it up, doesn’t it? This is a Word of Faith kind of outlook that doesn’t allow for the consideration of the abusers’ depravity. Any request for help is viewed as a complaint and a lack of joy on the part of the victim.
Yes Ellie. It IS like Word of Faith teaching. Spot on, dear sister!
This article reminds me of my husband. My husband likes to smile a lot. But his smile is fake. It masks many years of pain that he refuses to deal with.
Early in our marriage he would complain to me that I don’t smile enough. He said I should smile more. This really bothered me that he couldn’t accept me for who I was (am). I felt that if I were to paint on a smile, it would be fake and dishonest, so I didn’t do it. This was a contentious argument for quite some time. Now I realize this was his attempt to control me emotionally. He was uncomfortable with the fact that my face reflected what my life had gone through (abuse/difficulties). The honesty of my face must have been difficult for him in stark contrast to the way he chose to deal with his pain by brushing it under the carpet and putting a fake smile on his face.
And the sad thing is he tried to make it a spiritual issue, just like Piper. I guess both my husband and Piper have many of David’s Psalms ripped out of their Bibles. How can they rightly acknowledge the depth of David’s emotions when they dismiss negative emotions in their personal lives?
Ugh… my stomach churns when I read this. My anti-husband used to try to force me to not only smile despite his constant emotional torment, but to hold his hand, and kiss him whenever he left the house or returned. I was to be the Stepford Wife at all times – big smile, ready to serve him, hold his hand, kiss him; no matter what he did or what he said. I just don’t know how I lived like that for all those years.
Yes, OW, he is trying to control you. My anti-husband wanted a smile plastered on my face all the time because he wanted me to look and act like everything was fine in our marriage so that he did not have to change any of his behaviors, and so that nobody would know what was going on behind closed doors.
The abuser’s command / demand for his victim to smile at all times. UGH!
Piper’s teachings in this area are horrendous and dangerous and you are right to call them out. Piper is a false teacher of large proportions and needs to repent. I pray that he does and God gets the glory.
Barb, This really is a very insightful piece. Thank you for pressing through Piper’s writings so faithfully and bringing this shocking statement to our attention:
“The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith.”
If this isn’t works righteousness, I don’t know what is! Not only that, this work he added is another of his self-proclaimed “radical” ideas, something that we don’t find taught in Scripture. Piper’s states that we need his secret teaching to be saved. If that is the case, then the picture he paints of Christ is cruel because for nearly 2000 years people have been damned until Piper’s teaching arrived. No thanks, Mr. Piper, to your secret teachings. Christ plainly said:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28
It is as if Piper is a professinal false doctrine writer for the church. Sadly, most churches love this guy and they are either doctrinally uneducated or too timid to adress this problem. When I was looking for a new church, I made a point to leave whenever any church I visited mentioned Piper favorably from the pulpit. God has blessed me for that and now I am in a church that has never heard of Piper, (and as a result, I don’t hear about him), and it is wonderful!
I attempted to address the problem of quoting John Piper or condoning his books on several church websites. I was told that even though Piper had flaws they felt it beneficial to not dismiss everything. I responded that this could be very confusing for a new believer – I was not taken seriously. Others would not even send back a reply when I wrote them of my concerns. Although sad, it has made it easier to sift out as to whose preaching/teaching I would like to sit under:-)
I made a statement to someone this week that perhaps we should stay away from many of these books and read our Bibles and let the Lord lead. The response I got was that if you read your Bible it is probably a study Bible and man’s interpretation is in the comments. There is no escape.
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith.
So much for Job. Poor Job was reduced to merely trusting. I’m pretty sure Jeremiah had his moments too, what with writing a book called Lamentations and all. Not sure how either of those books made it into our Bibles.
(I might one day learn not to be snarky, but…not today. ‘Cause…wow.)
Job needs to be quoted here. Chapter 19.
Then Job answered [his “comforters”] and said:
We see here very clearly a significant dearth of joy and in its stead a whole lot of complaining, lamenting, and even accusing God. All of this over the fact — unbeknownst to Job — that God is indeed quite pleased with him, if “My servant Job,” “no one like him on the earth,” and “blameless and upright,” “one who fears God and shuns evil” mean anything. And right in the midst of this we find one of the most amazing passages of Scripture in existence: “Oh that my words were written…forever!” (Yes, apparently God agrees.) “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” My goodness. Does this need any comment?
Well, yes. It does need one. God chose to honor Job’s faith which he kept in the midst of complaining, gave him what he wanted the most and wrote his words down. All of them. His friends’ too. And God’s response later — AND, the background of the whole thing!!! And then, if that weren’t enough, Job in the midst of his “blasphemous,” faithless lamenting, complaining accusations against the Most High, then he utters a prophecy about Christ to which Job attaches himself, in faith as plain as day, saying he KNOWS His Redeemer liveth and that he shall see Him in his flesh!!! Which is written down. In a book. Forever. Amazing!!!
This is not unfaith. This is faith God honored GREATLY.
Thank you, BIT. This is utterly and totally pertinent to this thread. And a great rebuttal to Piper’s foolish justification by works by emotional righteousness teaching.
I am sorry Mr Piper (or NOT), but I will use the corresponding face with the corresponding emotion, of which I have many. I refuse to put on a clown face smile to please others, especially celeb book writers that claim they are God called pastors. I am sure that David wasn’t always smiling when he was going through his many emotions in the Psalms nor did God think any less of him for it. This life is not all Pleasantville and God knows it. Pipers theories on marriage are just that, theory. He rewrites the Bible to suit himself. Why anyone even listens to what he and those like him have to say is beyond me. I want Christ to be pleased with me, but works righteousness isn’t going to cut it. I don’t believe for one minute that God is pleased with the mile high stack of books that Piper has written and the rewriting or His word.
Barb you did a wonderful review here. Well spoken.
On another note, can I change my B to an R. I have changed my name and having any reminder of X is……….I can’t even put it into words.
Sure Brenda, we will ask TWBTC to change the screen name on all your comments. It will take a few days I think as she is busy with other stuff at present. I’ll change it on this thread and TWBTC will change it on your earlier comments. 🙂
I have owned Piper’s book Desiring God but never read it and recently have learned about a number of his bad teachings. Thank you for this! So well put! It is not “Christ alone” is it for Piper?
I really enjoyed your post, Barbara. Ugh on just about everything Piper teaches.
I was just now looking up that post he wrote when he took his paid leave (although he protested, the elders insisted he be paid. Evidently Piper could not resist the elders and decided to “seek the Lord” regarding how much $$ to give back. How much?? Didn’t he just say he didn’t want to be paid? Why not give it all back all since he insisted on not being paid in the first place…UGH and double UGH!! That whole article just reeks of false piety – read the link to see what I mean), — paid 8 month leave to work on the garden of his marriage.
John Piper’s Upcoming Leave [Internet Archive link]
That reminded me of this quote from the above link from Piper discussing his need for a LOA to work on his troubled, non-joyful, yet supposed gospel representing marriage:
Sounds all pretty and nice, but it also sounds like a mega pride problem (species of pride) that had(s) been going on for a while. Ongoing character flaws sound innocent enough, but what does that really mean? Evidently his lack of joy joy joy (and pride) was bad enough to have effects not only on his wife, but on “everybody.” Bad enough to state, “In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending.” (And btw, I need 8 months off for that.) Bad enough to make a public post. Bad enough to take a leave. That sounds bad. Un-joyful, too.
Seems like being pride-filled and selfish is the opposite of JOY and of knowing that Jesus regards Piper’s wife as “complete and accepted in Christ — and thus to be helped and blessed and nurtured and cherished.” Where was Piper’s joy in his “gospel marriage” that he demands of others in order to show they have saving faith? Where was his saving faith?
Someone who teaches that one must have delirious joy in Christ cannot even “apply the gospel” to his own marriage and be joyful joyful joyful? I would think all that Christian hedonistic joy he is supposed to be having would have knocked all those species of pride right to the ground. Especially since his gospel is so entwined with marriage, why, how could he not be treating his wife like a queen when he is supposed to be full of joy/overwhelmed by justification by faith alone and dying to self (loving his wife) like Christ died for His church? According to him, that is supposed to wipe away marital troubles. Shouldn’t that include species of pride and ongoing character flaws (which could mean some pretty nasty stuff)?
I also noticed he gives a very generic I am sorry in his give me some leave statement – asking for a “spirit of forgiveness,” whatever that means. Oh, but be assured he is making “war” with his sins. Well, is he succeeding in the war? Or is it a continual war with the same stuff never going away?
Nope – that is too vague a statement to ask to forgive. It’s like saying…hey, I did some stuff wrong because, well, I always do these wrong things…you know…ongoing character flaws and all…but YOU give me a spirit of forgiveness and trust that I am doing my best, ok? That does not fly at my house. UGH.
Sorry for the rant. Something about Piper really sets me off—un-joyfully.
A fine rant, Diane. No need to apologize. 🙂
Me too, Diane. His marriage book was bad enough, now his kindof apology….all I hear is blah, blah, blah. If he really wanted to apologize he would have elaborated on those charachter flaws so that his church would have known what he was asking for forgiveness for. I also don’t think he tried real hard not to take his salary. Eight months sounds like one big all expense paid vacation to me.
What I do remember about this man ongoing is his wormlike interview where he states that a woman could be hit around a bit and she should be able to take that. That was perfectly ok and she should still continue her part of the marriage vows. I still want to go through the screeen and slap the tar out of him when I think of it and wipe that grin right off his face. I want him to know about what he speaks. A few slaps might wake him up. There are few people that I have ever felt that way about and have never done it, but sometimes the thought does come to mind. He knows nothing of what he speaks. My Mama always told me that if I don’t know what I am talking about I should just keep quiet. She was right. If Mr. Piper would have taken her advice the number of books written would have been very limited and perhaps none of them would have anything to do with God or biblical issues. He certainly would have never written a book about marriage or used the word hedonism anywhere regarding Christianity.
It doesn’t take much conversation about Piper to get my dander up.
“I still want to go through the screen and slap the tar out of him when I think of it and wipe that grin right off his face. I want him to know about what he speaks. A few slaps might wake him up.”
Now Brenda, settle down! Haven’t you read 1 Peter 3:3-6??? You are not displaying a gentle and quiet spirit. I couldn’t help bringing attention to those verses because countless times they were used to make sure I just kept quiet. Well, I’ve been quiet and much damage has been done – John Piper would be proud of me 😦
Anon, I understand. Having A gentle and quiet spirit are very good, but sometimes you’ve just got to speak up!! I am very sorry that these verses were used against you that way. I believe JP and other false teachers will answer for using scripture in this manner and not looking at the abuser. I kept quiet for years as I am sure you did. You know, “thou shalt not say anything negative against thy husband or to him”. Nothing got better, for me either. Oh, except for the divorce. That has made a world of difference. It is not the way that I would have had it, but became necessary. JP would not be at all happy with me. Too bad!!
Brenda, referring to my previous comment about “settling down”. I hope you know that I was teasing? Your forthrightness was so ‘right on’ and yet I know there are those who have pointed the finger at such boldness. I had meant to expose the abuse of Scripture against those who speak out against abuse.
Anon, Yes I knew you were teasing. I’m sorry if you thought otherwise. Hearing how scripture is used to keep others in line sets me off and I just have to stand up for injustice all over again. Anon, I always hated my name, Brenda, mostly because it means “the sword”. It’s just not a very feminine meaning. But, when I think about it, I think Mom named me correctly! lol I hear of scripture to abuse and my sword is drawn.
I’m not too surprised on his view because a church I previously attended seemed to teach along the same lines. If you’re not acting happy, realizing all your many sins, and involved in this or that, you’re not glorifying God. Exposing abuse = complaining. It’s difficult enough sitting in on sermons concerning marriage where much just doesn’t apply to my situation. I just keep thinking ok maybe for someone else and i dont nag him to do anything because I don’t want to engage conversation with him! I wish the other side of marriage could be addressed more. It just feels like they don’t believe marriages like ours exist. Glad you aren’t afraid to expose this person. He has quite a few books out there and it seems people like them too. I wish I’d have known about Love and Respect a few years ago.
Eds. note: Love & Respect: Biblical or Deceptive [Internet Archive link] by Mark Baker is a 12-page PDF that exposes the biblical error of the Love & Respect book by Eggerichs.
Happy, If I were to wish, it would be that I would have ran when the minister was 2 hours late for the ceremony. That I would have taken the time I knew I needed between relationships to get to know me and strengthen my relationship with God as I was working on when I met X. Pastors only want to preach on marriage as they see it. The perfect way, with maybe a one line sentence about abuse isn’t part of it. They don’t spell out what that means or what it looks like. Piper is at this point in time the worst as far as I am concerned. Quotes from his books come up regularly in sermons where I attend. The fact that this man uses the word Hedonism turns my stomach. It does not belong.
I found more Piper books at a book sale at a near by mall. There are 2 more that won’t be read by any unsuspecting person. I know I can’t collect all of them, but perhaps one more person will not be subjected to his hypocracy and false teaching.
Brenda, I wish you could have ran away too. I guess at least our eyes are open now. You could maybe use the books as a doorstop or pet piddle pad
Happy, Thank you for the suggestions. I especially like the piddle pad. : )
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit; it’s a result of salvation. But Piper has made joy a component of saving faith, which means he has added to faith. Why more people aren’t calling him on this I can’t figure out.
You and me both, KatWalk!
Ugh, I found this very hard to read. The more I read about Piper, the more I just feel nothing but anger and disgust. I labored under feelings of condemnation for not experiencing joy in God for many years, right up until I put my foot down and decided the kids and I were joining a church where, as my oldest daughter puts it, “They teach God who reminds me of Aslan.” Now that I’m no longer being berated for my lack of joy? I feel joyful. Amazing how that works.
It also reminds me of owing up with a narcissistic, abusive mother. I always had to have a sufficiently “pleasant” look on my face, or there might be hell to pay. She was never consistent, either. My natural resting face looks a little angry sometimes, so I ran up against all kinds of (usually false) accusations about the negative things I was obviously thinking about her. My husband has accused me this way occasionally over the years, and nothing flips my inner switch to FURY more quickly than being falsely accused that I’m thinking bad things when I’m not.
Amen, Marah. I can’t even count how many times I was called sour puss or simply asked why I look so mean or what am I mad about. In all actuality I was just fine until those types of comments came out. I went through a bad Rosacea time for about 15 years. I had large painful sores on my face. It hurt to smile, but inside I was smiling. I really caught it during that time, as if I didn’t already feel ugly enough as it was.
I have a hard time getting through even a paragraph of John Piper’s writings. I have to agree with Brenda R, I just hear a lot of blah blah blah. He strings together a lot of words that just don’t make a lot of sense to me. I have no idea why he is so popular. I love the Job passage though!
Oh, and the smiling thing, wow, that brings back memories. I did that so much when I was in an abusive marriage. It’s weird, it’s like I was lying with my face to try to keep trouble away. It always sends chills down my spine now when someone orders me to smile. It sends red flags up to me that I am being spoken to by an abusive person.
Maybe that’s what John Piper’s l-o-n-g books on “Christian hedonism” are really about. He’s ordering Christian sheep people to SMILE!
My daughter was repeatedly told to “smile” by her debate coach in homeschool debate. It was painful for her to go through that. Looking back I realize the coach was a member of Sovereign Grace Church. I wonder if Piper’s hedonism reigned there…
Luke 22: 39-46
So according to Piper and those who insist we are to be perpetually joyful, Jesus was way outta line here. “What’s up Jesus? Why aren’t you smiling? Can’t handle a little death and dying? If you were REALLY the Son of God you’d be able to tap-dance to the cross. What? You need angels to help you? It’s cuz you’re weak and faithless! Other people don’t have a problem being joyful all the time. Other people don’t run to God with every nick or cut. Get it together weakling!” And of the disciples: “How DARE you not be joyful every moment of your life! SLEEPING? REALLY? Do you think you can use the excuse that you are exhausted from sorrow as a way out of being garishly happy? If you REALLY loved God there wouldn’t be any room in your heart FOR sorrow!”
How GROSS and WRONG are these ideas yet apparently Piper thinks he is completely justified in torturing everybody with this insane notion. Painful.
Exactly. Some Christians want to be smiling all of the time to show how wonderful it is to be a Christian. We are no longer allowed to be human. I believe we should live differently, trying to be Christ like, but many forget or never learn what Christ was like. His human side had all of the attributes of other humans, BUT he overcame all temptation and lived life perfectly.
Put the appropriate face with the appropriate emotion. Happy-smile, sad-frown or even come to tears.
I don’t know John Piper personally but have read a couple of his books and went to his Mega Church once while in the area. I’m not impressed at all. Viewing his YouTube interviews I would have to say the man may enjoy the torture of other people as long as it isn’t him.
I wonder what would happen if someone were to slip Mrs. Piper copies of Ps. Jeff’s and Barb’s books? Or Lundy Bancroft’s? And what would happen if she felt much joy before the Lord reading literature that finally made sense to her? Would seeking that kind of joy in finding freedom from the (possible) fog like we’ve experienced be okay for her? (Possible fog- I don’t want to go to far here, if she has never come out with any accusations or claims of bad things in her marriage.) But, would she be free to seek her joy in reading such eye-opening, Scripturally based books? (Lundy’s book excluded, of course since he doesn’t claim to be born-again as far as I know. But he does land awfully close to God’s word on so many points.) What if she found joy before the Lord in freedom from false teaching? Would that be okay?
Also about empty apologies vs. true repentance – Piper’s words:
[Eds: Here is that quote from Piper. It comes from his March 28 2010 announcement of his upcoming leave. We are pasting here the whole paragraph. Source: John Piper’s Upcoming Leave [Internet Archive link] ]
“I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry.” I’ve heard ‘sorry’ before. “Sorry. Sorry sorry sorry SORRY! I SAID SORRY! DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME? I’ll keep saying sorry if it gets you off my back! So stop talking about it, okay?!” Uh-huh…. Sorry. Sure.
“Since I have no one deed to point to…” His wife has never pointed out anything that may have hurt her? Just the bolded exchange above in the original blog tells me in Piper’s own words that they have had exchanges about feelings of being devalued and criticized. So I assume she has had to have brought things up. But he says he has no one deed to point to. Was he not listening to her?
“I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness…” i.e. ‘I ask you all to forgive me. Let me off the hook. Give me a free pass. I am not telling you that I am crushed for my sins. I am not saying to you I will work tirelessly to make up for any damage I’ve done to you or to my wife. I am not saying to you that only I am responsible for the hurt I’ve caused and I refuse to shift blame to anyone else. I am not saying to you that you have the freedom to inspect any aspect of my life in order to hold me accountable and that I will remain an open book for as long as it takes – forever if necessary. I am not telling you that the offended party (ies) have every right to feel hurt by what I’ve done, and that they should. All I’m saying is that I want you to treat me with a gentle spirit of forgiveness, while I DON’T confess to any “deed to point to.”‘
“I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.” translates to: “I am privately going to work on stuff. With no accountability to anyone or transparency.” Yuck. I think most of us have heard this before. “I’ll work on that.” “Yeah, I know. I lose it sometimes.” “I TOLD you I’m working on that, so stop bugging me about it!” “Uh-huh. I agree (counselor’s name here). I have stuff I need to work on. Nobody’s perfect. But SHE…” “If you would only do X,Y,Z … or stop doing X,Y,Z, … then I wouldn’t have to do these things … and our lives would be better.” So I just need to stop you from making me mad. That’s the war I’m making. And it’s not really “with my own sins.”
I don’t have a lick of respect for John Piper and was floored when he came out with needing to make some sort of changes with his wife, Noel. Noel Piper has written a couple of books of her own. It’s been several years since I read them, but I am fairly sure that she was close to being on the same page with him.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think JP is truly repentant otherwise his so called Mission Trip would not have been to the holy groups of John Calvin instead of going where there were truly people in need where he might get his hands dirty. Maybe Mrs. did see some of the fog lifting. I doubt seriously that JP will ever seek any true counseling. He will only have his own cronies say, John you are doing just fine the way you are.
Brenda R- Thanks. I wasn’t sure about Noel Piper’s books, stated policies, etc…
I was just speculating… Well, not really speculating, but trying to follow JP’s theology through to it’s conclusions if situations were to arise.
For instance, what I was saying was: what would happen if Noel found ACFJ’s website or others like it? What if she read the Unholy Charade, Not Under Bondage, the Dr. Simon books, and Why Does He Do That? What if the pursuit of truth of God we “normals” find here opened her eyes and brought her joy before the Lord? What if she had a change of heart from the false teaching she’s been steeped in, to the truth that abuse targets need aid, support, and rescuing from bondage marriages? How would that then work in JP’s theology? What if she finds the truth brings her joy and it compels her to advocate for the down-trodden targets of abuse? What if she finds real joy and becomes passionate before the Lord in helping women and children that are bruised and battered in their souls? What if those destructive marriages end because of the abuse that’s gone on and women and children find freedom and start finally experiencing their “joy before the Lord”? According to JP’s theology world, Noel’s finding this joy is what affirms her salvation or is even a part of her salvation process.
Remember the opening quote of this blog:
What then does John Piper’s theology world do with that? As a ‘godly’ husband, does he support her joy? He wants her saved, right? He would want her joy in the Lord to carry her through to eternity as part of her salvation, right?
And remember, he’s permanently married to her, right? Does he then have to give her freedom to advocate for the hurting? Because she’s now using her “saving” joy in the Lord and joy found in truth to work to rescue people from domestic abuse (which might break up marriages). And it is this “joy in the Lord” which affirms her salvation, or is even a part of her salvation process – according to him. So she is now working out her salvation, right?
OR… does JP then have to control his wife’s activities (in this speculative stream of thought) – reign her in because of marriage must be permanent, even for the targets she wants to help? Does his “joy in the Lord” found in keeping his ministry and his headship in his marriage (the two are synonymous since marriage permanence is such a key part of his theology world) become justification for keeping her in line to keep his ministry together as is? Does he feel entitled use his “headship” in a position of power and control? Piper’s ministry is what’s giving him “joy before the Lord’, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. So does his “joy before the Lord” trump her’s? What happens to either of their salvations, if they are not seeking their “joy before the Lord?” Do they lose it? Does the theology say that one of them was never really saved?
Really, what I’m trying to say all boils down to… What if real truth creeps in to JP’s theology world – especially if it was through those close to him? First of all, like the Hobbit’s trolls, the theology crumbles when light dawns. A favorite verse comes to mind here.
Second, if JP’s theology world crumbles, or becomes increasingly hard to hold together with the dawn of truth, what happens? Well from my personal experience, and the experience of many others I’ve read here, if we try to speak truth to people who feel entitled to power and control (especially speaking to those who use God’s name to justify their entitlement), the power and control usually ratchets up so that order and the facade are maintained. But the growing vigor and strictness the entitled one puts in to keeping things and people in line can’t help but eventually be exposed. People start to see a problem with his behavior, his ministry, his demeanor even outside the home. Or someone tells. This then will demonstrate his desperate need for more power and more control, because the facade is crumbling. God’s Truth just has a way of doing that – exposing the heart of false teachers as they work harder and harder to keep their slick facade’s plaster smooth, while the house beneath crumbles.
Push a doctrinal system to its logical conclusion an what do you get? If you get a ridiculous or ludicrous result, if one part of they system clashes with another part and subsumes or destroys it, it is clear that there were flaws in the system.
So often, such flaws have arisen because one aspect of the scriptures has been overemphasised at the expense of others.
This description alone is disturbing to me. The wife’s side is happy submission. The husband’s side is showing holy mercy to the wife. Please tell me if I am misreading this. Am I just being triggered by my own experience where my anti-husband would actually tell me with contempt on his face how he was showing me mercy and grace in our situation. This was not long before the all-out financial abuse and final giving over to an accusing spirit that comes out rapid-fire in almost every conversation. Before that, however, when he would exercise more self-control in his blaming and accusing and not control as heavily as when he put all our joint money in his name, he [claimed he] was showing me mercy and grace. There was something about the way he said it, as well as his clearly communicated beliefs, that made it obvious he sees himself in Christ’s position in a blasphemous, idolatrous way. Mine has clearly said that he goes to Christ, and we (the kids and I) go to him. It sends shivers up my spine. So when I read this description, I can see the mind of those men who see themselves as the “god” of the home, showing “holy mercy” to their weak, easily deceived, desirous-of-controlling-them-and-needing-to-be-kept-in-check (for their own good, of course), basically more sinful, bad wives. Aren’t they magnanimous? This just really triggered me, I guess.
Thanks STL, I hope church leaders and the staff at Desiring God read your comment and wake up! I’ve given up hope that John Piper will change, but maybe some of those who were bewitched by his teaching will.