John Piper: Love your neighbour as yourself

[July 15, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Matthew 19:16-22  (ESV)

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Kindly allow me to paraphrase this account.

And behold, John Piper came up to him, saying, “Jesus, is there any good deed I must do to have eternal life other than delighting in you to display your glory to the world?”

And Jesus said to him, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

He said to him, “Which ones?”

And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Piper said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “You are wrong: you have not loved your neighbour as yourself because you have taught wrongly. You have taught wrongly about the place of the law in the life of believers. And this has borne especially rotten fruit in your doctrine of divorce. You have told people that they may not divorce their wicked spouses and if they do divorce they may never remarry. You have laid heavy burdens on people that you would not lift yourself. You need to publicly recant these teachings, take your books off the market, tell the Desiring God Fund to donate funds to Christian victims of domestic abuse who are struggling to feed and house themselves and their children (if they are lucky enough to still have their children and haven’t lost custody of them via systemic abuse from the family courts), resign from all  your leadership positions, and come, follow me.”

When Piper heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had written a great many books and had scores of speaking engagements booked for the year ahead.


A little postscript. Here is a video of John Piper telling Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler that —

Doug Wilson….has people around him that are dumb!  [1:00 — 1:17]

I think [Doug Wilson’s] more consistent than some of the PCA [Presbyterian] followers are and I think he gets a bad rap from a lot of people who aren’t careful in the way they think….  [3:20]

Perhaps Mr Piper might like to go back and re-read Matthew 5:22:

….whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.  (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

[July 15, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 15, 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 15, 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 15, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 15, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

24 thoughts on “John Piper: Love your neighbour as yourself”

  1. THANK YOU BARBARA! I know we have to be careful of paraphrases but yours is so well done:-) The command to love your neighbour as yourself was so confusing for me as a young growing believer. I did not witness or experience this when it came to helping (loving) me when I attempted several times to get counsel about the truth behind closed doors. The leaders and their wives said they would pray and that was it! I then had to face them each time the congregation worshiped; smiling with my quiet abuser standing by my side. It was because of that consistent reaction and the preaching/teaching from the pulpit that I realized that I must be expecting too much; I must “trust God more” because after all He is faithful! Just keep smiling and praising God …

    1. Anon, These people were just as guilty with not loving their neighbor by offering prayer without action as the abuser was. I wish I had a nickel for how many times I heard, “love your neighbor as yourself and your spouse is your closest neighbor”. I loved my spouse, but he most assuradly did not love me even though all of the flowery words were there from time to time. I would still like to see JP come here and defend his position.

  2. John Piper, and his fellow New Calvinists, do not preach and teach theology. They interpret reality through philosophy. They also operate on a redemptive-historical narrative instead of a grammatical interpretation of Scripture. Words have no meaning when you allegorically interpret Scripture. The root cause must be dealt with instead of symptoms.

  3. Woo hoo! Go get ’em, Barbara!

    Though, that video alone makes it kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

  4. Preach it, sister. The Pharisees are everywhere. Not just Piper and his ilk, but any church that teaches that good marriages are easy, even when one partner is a narcissist or a sociopath. Why is it that premarital courses at churches never bring up the topic of character? It’s always about communication. It has never occurred to many of these authors and young pastors that there are actually entitled, self-centered people in our churches…people who should never marry.

    1. Janey – you are absolutely right. I have maintained for years that premarital counseling as we know it is a total waste of time. However, it becomes extremely profitable if the pastor would have the couple read one or two books on abuse and then inform them that they have the right to divorce for such violation of the marriage covenant. They might also have a chance to realize, through that reading, that their future spouse is someone to run from NOW!

      1. Oh, but Pastor, “you don’t want to open that can of worms”, do you?? This is what I have heard from the pulpit. I am in complete agreement with you. There are some young women I know that are getting ready to marry men who raise red flags high and proud. I am giving a variety of books to these women depending on their circumstance.

      2. Wow! Thinking back on 39 years ago when I was a new bride – if a book like that had been required reading, MAYBE I would have realized that I was leaving a verbally abusive father and running to a verbally abusive (but cute and young) husband. (Don’t think we DID have any counseling.) At just barely 20 when I walked down the aisle, marrying a veteran at 25, I had no idea of what I was in for. I AM grateful that the session of the church I finally moved to (as a separated woman) talked to the elders at the other church (PCA) and found out about his verbal abuse (to others other than me). A sexual issue from years previous is what earned me my “biblical divorce blessing” from the elders of the new church, although the letter I have first acknowledges the abuse I endured.

        Even the pre-marital counseling I went through for SECOND husband never addressed abuse. We struggled with the fact that the material was set up for younger first-time getting married folk – LOTS of the material didn’t work for already-raised-children people which took the focus off the material that WAS pertinent.

        For me, who was saved with Romans 8:28, I have to thank God for the positives of both marriages, which includes children from the first.

        But, wow – if only I had been educated about WHAT abuse looks like. Wow. Just thinking about how my life might have been different.

      3. Pre-marital counseling is severely lacking. I know that at the church I attend they discuss such things as what if you can’t have children, what if you loose your jobs, what if you have a disagreement, but no one asks what if abuse becomes an issue or points out that it could possibly happen. There is no screening for its potential. This sort of counsel really doesn’t do anything to protect these people from themselves.

  5. I guess I can’t expect this man, who seems to have all the answers, to know about abuse when many other decent people don’t understand or believe it. Even some counselors don’t get it. It’s too exhausting.

    I just found out I’m pregnant (again) from giving in ONE time this year to him because I wanted to get it over with so he’d let me sleep and leave me alone. It took nearly 3 years to get pregnant before so I just don’t know why God would let this happen when I was getting closer to leaving. I now must stay because i will eventually need his help as i grow and eventually getting to the hospital. Children are a blessing, I just wish I had more joy in my heart. I don’t want my unborn child to feel unloved or unwanted, if that’s even possible.

    1. Dear Happy2bHere, what a shock this must be for you! I can see how worried you are about it, and understandably so.
      I know you are not thinking of abortion, but there is a website run under the auspices of the Lutheran church which has a hotline to give support to women who are pregnant in difficult circumstances. Here is the link Word of Hope [Internet Archive link]

      I’ve looked over their site and they clearly have some understanding of abuse. So I think they might be a place where you can talk things over and get some compassion, even if you don’t feel you need or want any ‘advice’. Also, you might like to call a DV support service. They won’t pressure you into considering abortion; but they may be able to offer you support and options that might help you consider leaving your abuser and being able to manage the pregnancy and birth without his help. The problem with being dependent on an abuser for help (even such basic help as driving you to hospital when you are in labor) is that abusers, as we know, do not act in the best interests of others, they are habitually inclined to act in their own best interests only, and to only be ‘nice’ to others when it suits their own agenda.

      (((hugs))) from Barb

      1. Thank you Barbara, i appreciate your support and help. You brightened my day! I feel better now that im over the inital shock, just scared of what lies ahead. You’re right, if being nice fits into his agenda then it works out. I’ll look at the link and may contact the women’s center here in town. Thank you again

  6. hi Barbara, I know I’ve been silent for a loooooooong time. Truth is I lost my password for wordpress and just now got around to retrieving it. I’ve been following the blog, but haven’t been able to post. This was so great, I used to attend Matt Chandler’s church and in my town he is a celebrity. When I started learning here about John Piper I was very disturbed because I knew how much Matt Chandler looks up to him. So now I’m in the minority of the people in my town as someone who does not support his teachings, or those of John Piper.
    A big thanks to you and the others who run this blog for shining a light on the false teachings presented by false teachers so that abuse victims can find freedom.

    1. Hi Kathy, you’ve made my day! If I can help one person come out under from the false doctrine of Piper and his fan club, then that gives me great joy. There are others in your town who see through Matt Chandler and Piper. I shall pray that you can connect with more Christians who see through Chandler and Piper.

  7. I am late on this and behind the game, but can someone please explain, briefly, the difference between New Calvinism and the Federal Vision theology?

  8. These men make me SICK. Dirty little fundies. Scum of the earth, that’s what they are!

    Their abusive theology leaves many victims trailing in their wake and it’s HIGH TIME SOMEONE CALLED THEM OUT! THANK YOU BARBARA! WHAT A GOOD WOMAN YOU ARE FOR DOING THIS!

  9. John Piper, like all sadists, fails to make a critical distinction here:
    —Submission to your husband.

    Has got 0% crossover to:

    —Submission to a child of Satan trying to kill, steal, and destroy you (whether through beating you, choking you, or through merely slaying you with cruel false witnessing words).

    The crucial difference is this:
    —Your husband is your neighbour (and more!).


    —A child of Satan is….they’re on the other side, they’re an enemy of God, and here and now, they’re also treating you bad (you want the wife to submit to an enemy of God treating them bad?). (Even if they’re your husband, they’re first and foremost a servant of Satan, before they fulfil any other roles in life, the compulsion to sin against others compulsively rules them, like Cain – they must constantly go find something harmful to do to someone.)

    There are 3 key wrong things wrong with John Piper here:
    —He probably thinks everyone is your neighbour (wrong! not everyone is your neighbour).
    —He thinks submission means unconditional submission (all these children of Satan always somehow end up thinking in “unconditionals”, it’s weird, but it’s definitely a pattern with them all). (Unconditional submission is even worse than unconditional forgiveness.)
    —He does not understand the meaning of the word “abuse”. (This part is crucial, and I will expand this point specifically below.)

    How you understand the definition of abuse critically affects how you treat the subject of good and evil (i.e. morality). If you perversely regard “abuse” as “some tickling” or “insensitive words” or “they accidentally hurt your feelings now and then”, then John Piper’s approach makes perfect sense, then we need to grow thicker skin and grow more self-control and not expect a perfect world so much – we then need to submit to others and self-exalt less.

    BUT if “abuse” is:
    —Visible extensive bruising.
    —Choking, slamming against the wall, bashing heads against the wall, punching, threatening with a baseball bat, etc.
    —Sadistic delight in beating someone.
    —Verbal abuse said purely out of cruelty and nothing else.
    —Sadistic delight in saying hurtful words.
    —(Here is the biggest point.) Crazymaking – pain inflicted that has absolutely no justification at all, and is merely an excuse to release pent up pressure on loved ones (e.g. boss screams at husband, husband gets drunk, comes home and beats wife.).
    Then any good preacher must start with the words “we cannot know for sure, but your husband sounds like a child of Satan”, and take it from there.

    Now I know this sounds extreme, but we’re talking here about choking, slamming heads against walls, and concocting excuses to cause pain to loved ones, would you still regard the words “child of Satan” as extreme? If someone comes only to kill, steal, and destroy, should we merely call them an unbeliever?

    Let’s not forget that even the act of deliberately saying cruel things to innocent people purely to hurt their feelings through false witnessing is called “reviling”. No reviler will inherit the Kingdom of God, now if they’re not a child of Satan, what then are they? Saints? The saved? A pagan who does not yet believe in God is higher in the morality hierarchy than an abusive “Christian” husband.

    The problem with John Piper can be redefined as thus:
    —John Piper has no concept of morality (it’s all good, do as thou wilt, beat your wife as thou wilt).
    —John Piper has no concept of neighbour (if someone chokes you, slams you against the wall, pulls out a knife and threatens you, are they still your neighbour? Should you submit to them? Should you love them as yourself?).
    —John Piper has no concept of child of Satan, as such he treats everyone as if they are saved and a child of God (that’s why his extremely prosocial exhortations make no sense or common sense – because he discounted morality in everything he said here). (Frankly, John Piper reminds me of New Agers on YouTube, telling everybody that everyone is innately good and so we should unconditionally love everyone because everyone is good for us, it’s all love and light and fluff and kumbaya to them – and John Piper sounds exactly like them, but flavoured with Scriptural words – why is a Christian preacher sounding exactly like a New Ager?)

    Anyone who cannot identify a child of Satan after they have shown obvious kill, steal, and destroy fruits is calling evil good and bitter sweet. They are confounding morality. If they preach, they will only confuse and pervert the Gospel.

    At the very least, a wife with even a verbally abusive husband (note, abuse is not insensitivity, abuse is basically verbal sadism, we must differentiate between the two) should separate from him and not live with him so that he can’t kill, steal, and destroy her as easily as previously. To submit to someone who is trying to kill, steal, and destroy you is basically an exhortation to self-harm or self-destruction.

    There are two ways to self-harm:
    1) You do it to yourself, with your own hands.
    2) You know something or someone is harmful (e.g. the stove will scald), and yet you engage it knowing it will harm you (e.g. your husband will beat you whenever drunk, go to him and submit to his beatings tonight, let him choke you).

    John Piper is exhorting the 2nd kind of self-harm. If you know something is harmful to you (including verbal abuse), and you get told to go towards the harm, that’s egregious.

    Satan uses other people to destroy us. He doesn’t tend to come personally because we are not Job. And so Satan uses proxies in the form of human servants to harm and damage people, these proxy human servants are the devil’s hands and tongues. Which is why a reprobate’s hands and tongues cannot stop compulsively doing perverse, harmful things – it’s no accident. Knowing that the stove is hot, are we to touch it? Knowing that someone is malignant, are we to submit to them? Are we to cooperate with what the devil has planned for us?

    1. Leonard Chan commented (22ND FEBRUARY 2020 – 11:38 PM):

      Satan uses other people to destroy us. He doesn’t tend to come personally because we are not Job. And so Satan uses proxies in the form of human servants to harm and damage people, these proxy human servants are the devil’s hands and tongues….


      Actually, there were MANY good points in your comment, but the partial paragraph I quoted above REALLY stood out for me.

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