“John Piper is Living in a Parallel Universe” — Ruth Tucker
As she discusses the error of couple’s counseling in her new book, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife, [*Affiliate link], Ruth Tucker addresses John Piper’s faulty teaching regarding domestic violence and abuse. She nails it (him), although she is kinder to him than we (Jeff C and Barb) would be. She has debated him personally in an academic setting.
Ruth Tucker writes:
But if I managed to survive without a lot of doctoring, I often wonder how women manage to survive the doctoring [i.e., counseling] accompanied by bad advice. I truly do not believe this happens intentionally. Rather such doctoring is given by those who truly believe it is the best medicine. I put John Piper’s counsel in this category. He writes:
Several years ago, I was asked in an online Q & A, “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”
One of the criticisms of my answer has been that I did not mention the recourse that a wife has to law enforcement for protection. So let me clarify with seven biblical considerations.
As others have pointed out, Piper’s confession ominously suggests that for several years, any wife following his advice would not have sought out law enforcement. In his lengthy clarification, he does not apologize to any woman who may have been gravely harmed by that oversight. Here is a representative piece of his clarification:
A wife’s submission to the authority of civil law, for Christ’s sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries. This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.
I often wish that John Piper, author of the bestselling book Desiring God [Note: ACFJ does not recommend that book.], would not share so much online. I like him. He’s actually a very kind individual. [Note: Once again, we would not call a person who brings victims into this kind of bondage, “kind”.] But it seems he almost sets himself up for criticism. [Note: One more interjection here. Yes, Piper DOES “set himself up,” but he does so intentionally for attention.] Indeed, there is something terribly wrong in even his clarification. He is asserting that a husband who demands that his wife “endure his injuries” is still the rightful head in the marriage. She must be submissive to him unless the authority of civil (not criminal) law overrules. How does civil law overrule without a court case? How does a wife seek civil protection and at the same time make sure “it does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband”?
It’s almost as though Piper is living in a parallel universe. He just doesn’t seem to get it. Does he have any understanding at all of the law or of tyrannical husbands? The only civil protection a wife can obtain in such circumstances is a restraining order, and until the matter goes to court, she would be expected to flee the dangerous home. There is no such thing as “civil protection” that arrives at the beck and call of a beaten wife and hangs around her home to protect her. And let’s not be naive. Is the abusive husband really going to give her permission to leave him and perhaps take the children with her? The scenario has no relevance to the real world and carries dangerous implications. [Emphasis original.]
Note — from Jeff C and Barb: Piper and people like him who give advice, thinking it is the best medicine, are still accountable — just as a physician is held accountable for malpractice.
[March 24, 2023: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to March 24, 2023 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 March 24, 2023 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 March 24, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (March 24, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
UPDATE Sept 2021: Barbara Roberts has 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.
*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
- Posted in: Unjust church responses
- Tagged: church response to abuse, dangerous views on abuse, divorce, John Piper, pastors, protecting victims
I see Piper, in his arrogance, as being much more concerned about protecting his own ego and the specific brand of “theology” (termed “Christian Hedonism”) he has developed, than he is about protecting anyone from harm….or learning to see a clearer view of God’s heart of love and redemption.
Joepote01, I agree with your comment. I’d go further to inquire if such a man could actually claim to really know the Lord?? His theology(ies) bears bad fruit. I’ve never seen a “Christian” man more in love with himself, with his own theatrically displayed voice when publicly speaking, or with his own words! Makes my stomach turn to have been seduced by “Desiring God” when I first read it. It took a re-read and others to cause me to see the false theology.
Excellent point….excellent questions, Better Equipped!
It sounds like your sense of Piper is similar to my own.
Someone having a different theological perspective from my own is not particularly disturbing, even when I see serious potential dangers in their perspective. It may be a very real concern with very real issues, but not necessarily sufficient cause to question their sincerity or their salvation.
Christendom is filled with varying perspectives on a multitude of topics. In a very real sense, there are as many different perspectives as there are unique Christian individuals. My current perspective is not the same as it was several years ago….so why would I expect anyone else to see things exactly as I currently do?
But with Piper, there seems to be something inherently intentionally deceptive and seductive in his writing. He uses common Christian terminology while seeming to assign new definitions to terms….using terms in ways clearly outside conventionally accepted meanings. Yet, he remains just vague enough to give the appearance of conformance….and to maintain plausible deniability if called out for teaching heresy.
Piper clearly does not recognize the evil in the heart of an abusive husband. Nor does he consider the right of every human being to flee from someone who intends to harm them. Even Jesus and Paul set the example for this! Until it was the appointed time for Him to pay the price for our sins on the cross, Jesus eluded those who would have arrested Him.
Piper’s black and white view of submission fails to take into account Paul’s command in 1 Corinthians 5:11 to not keep company with such a person. I often read this passage when I was still under the bondage of my church’s false teaching, and wondered why this applied to the church in general, but the wife of such a man was exempt from the instruction? She is not only required to eat with this monster, but to sleep with him?
Piper and his ilk are indeed responsible for those whose lives have been irreparably damaged by their false doctrine. I cringe whenever I hear otherwise good teachers quote anything written by Piper. To me, everything he says is tainted.
Me too. I have never liked him, and I didn’t know why. I thought perhaps there was something wrong with me because my son just loves him. I bought his book on marriage (okay it was really cheap at a garage sale), I can’t remember the name of it. I think I mentally blocked it. When I read of the “permanence” thing, and saw what my daughter and grandchildren were going through, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, or even what to think. It felt dark, and was heavy. I had a wrestling in my conscience, examining my own heart (of course), I expressed my concerns to the Lord. A while later I found myself throwing it in the trash with the recyclables. I thought maybe the recycled paper could be appropriated for something that wouldn’t put someone under so much condemnation. I never told anybody about that, but I hadn’t read your blog yet, so I didn’t know I had discernment. HOLLAH!!!
I am of the opinion that Piper is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And a side note, he creeps me out as well.
I’d agree except that John Piper is worse than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. John Piper is a wolf in shepherd’s clothing which makes him far more dangerous. And yes, he creeps me out as well.
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—an excellent way of referencing the danger.
Nicely phrased! I agree! And yes….he creeps me out, too. Reading one of his books is literally exhausting for me, because I feel I must maintain constant vigilance against deceptive wording to cover false teaching.
Is it too simplistic to think that his somewhat weird focus on the wife’s attitude towards her abusive husband is just meaning that she should take action to protect herself without desire for revenge, humiliation, or usurping her husband? If that is the case, I would agree with that. My husband’s abuse is not some kind of welcome excuse for my long-held secret desire to overthrow my husband to suddenly come out. (Sarcasm — the point is that I have never had a secret desire to overthrow my husband — just to not be abused.) I’m seeking reconciliation, although I am aware it is a long-shot. In fact, my pastor has counseled me that I should have nothing more to do with my husband, as in his experience, abusers don’t change. I agree with him to a point, but I am not there yet. I am able to give my husband more time for repentance. He is going to spend eternity suffering in hell for what he has done, if he doesn’t turn aside. I can give him more time. Therefore my motivations remain love-seeking and not rebellious.
However, your point still stands about the damage he has potentially done before his “clarification”, insisting an abused wife is still under her abuser’s headship, in not calling it a criminal offense, and more. Even if he meant what I am saying, why didn’t he just say it forthrightly, “Christians should never seek or delight in consequences / legal justice / punishment, etc., for the sake of revenge, humiliation, or hate. Instead they lovingly erect boundaries to protect the innocent and to lead enemies back to the right path”, etc.. This really doesn’t have anything to do with complementarianism or submissive femininity. This is just basic Christianity. So cloaking it in unique wifely submissiveness is not only pointless but seems like an incorrect and unhealthy obsession with complementarianism.
On a similar note, I recently sent a letter to Piper questioning some theological points of his “permanence view” of marriage in light of abusive situations. These are challenges I’ve never heard anyone else raise, so I’m curious on his thoughts. If I don’t hear back, I’m going to send it again. I want some answers from this man. I have benefitted from his teaching for years and I don’t think he just hates or ignores abused women. I could be wrong. If I get a reply, I will share it with you all.
Usually relationships break off because someone keeps offending or has wrecked the relationship in some way. Since it wasn’t you and he hasn’t changed, isn’t seeking reconciliation asking for more of the same? Why then should he change if you are wanting and willing take him back?
Hi, Heather Black (Formerly H), I’m glad you are seeing some flaws in John Piper’s teaching — to me that shows you have your own discernment and are not just swept along with the current of those who accept all his teaching. Good for you for sending him a letter questioning his Permanence View of marriage.
You are not the only one who has attempted to raise concerns with him before — not only concerns about his Permanence View of marriage, but his other theology as well. Many many people have attempted this already, including myself and the other team members at this blog, by writing snail mail letters to him c/o Desiring God Ministries, emailing him, tweeting him, publishing theological posts critiquing his teaching, publishing satirical posts about him, creating punchy YouTube pieces to show how foolish some of his ideas are….you name it, it’s been done.
I doubt you will get any reply from him. The closest thing to a reply I ever got was a form letter from one of his flunkeys at Desiring God Ministries, which said nothing of substance. But if you do get a reply, we would love you to share it here!
I encourage you to read some of the posts at this blog in which we have critiqued Piper and attempted to get him to rethink his ideas. Our tag for John Piper currently has 31 posts in it, so I’m only putting links here to the posts which I think would be best for you to start with. In the list below I’m also including a few posts and articles from other websites, and have indicated the source if it is not ACFJ.
‘Christian Hedonism’ — Is It Right? [Internet Archive link] — By Peter Masters.
John Piper: we are doing what you want Christians to do!
John Piper is Clueless, and Dangerous to Abuse Victims
John Piper’s Ignorance is Killing Children! [Internet Archive link] — From Emotional Abuse and Your Faith
A open letter to John Piper about his view on divorce
How John Piper’s theology allows domestic violence [Internet Archive link] — From the soulation blog.
Literary flourishes and Christian Hedonism: the pretty ribbon round John Piper’s pietistic asceticism (part 1)
The compulsory pursuit of joy in Christian Hedonism = compounded mind control for victims of abuse
Some humans are more equal than others: John Piper on spousal abuse and submission [Internet Archive link] — By Sarah Moon, at patheos.
John Piper’s “Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse” — are they helpful?
A Translation of Piper’s Clarifying Words
Translation of Superpastor Piper on his friendship with Driscoll
John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 1) — Piper’s teaching tactics and view of God
John Piper’s Erroneous Teaching on the Unpardonable Sin
John Piper: Love your neighbour as yourself
Domestic Violence, Christmas, John Piper, SGM and TGC [Internet Archive link] — From The Wartburg Watch.
Speaking for myself and my own experience, I felt the same way for many years. I finally reached a point of realizing her decisions, her salvation, and her eternal destination were outside my control and, therefore, outside my arena of responsibility.
There was no direct correlation between her relationship with me and her relationship with God. If God is able to draw her to Himself, He is just as able to do that without her being married to me as well. In fact, it is entirely possible (even probable) that she is more likely to choose the path of salvation following divorce than she would have remaining in that sham of a “marriage”.
Sometimes, divorce is the most loving choice we can make in regard to an abusive spouse.
“Restoration” implies restoring the past which implies that the theoretical husband was a good guy in the past. It doesn’t acknowledge those who were never good guys to begin with. His extra words don’t make sense in light of the fact that he preaches finding joy in God. How does he really expect women to find joy in his view of God? I suppose if she were able to mentally block her husband from her mind she could find joy in God, but normal people can’t fully do that because God created us to be affected by our environment.
It seems Piper believes that everyone is a Christian and negates any Bible passages that reflect how we would know one in fact is or is not Christian. It seems he is unable to carry the teachings of Christ through from the beginning of the Bible to its end. A simple explanation for an abuser is that they have not ever encountered God’s saving grace. They are lost and therefore belong to and work for their father, the devil! But Piper appears to want to insist without ever meeting these abusers that they are and should be treated as believers and also say it’s not that they are lost but rather that it is a personality or temperament problem.
The bottom line here is that Piper has stiffened his neck against any teaching that would help him discern good from evil — or abuser from a husband having a bad day — and desires to maintain that he knows everything because he puts himself and / or has allowed himself to be put in that elevated position.
This is nothing more than another reason why God is “upset” with the church. When leaders make themselves the sole authorities and become unteachable, refusing to listen to those God or those they consider beneath them, you’ve got the false church in the making because they follow man’s doctrines and teachings, not God’s. If someone is unable to understand truth or even humble himself to listen, then one has to question if the Spirit is in operation.
IamMyBeloved’s — a resounding “Amen!” As the Bible says, we will know them by their fruits. (It doesn’t say we’ll know them by their promises and platitudes.)
Thank you for posting this. Praying for opportunities to share this.
At the time of his arrest, confession and incarceration in prison for his crimes against all three of his daughters, my ex-husband was a staff member of a child-related ministry at Piper’s church. Although Piper had stepped down as pastor a year or so previous, this man was in ministry at the church for years during Piper’s time as head pastor. I mention this here because my ex-husband was also a wife abuser, but we did not pursue justice for those crimes, focusing instead on his sexual crimes against his daughters. I firmly believe the culture of Piper’s church is what drew this man to it, and I for a time was furious with the attitude that the church had toward victims.
I want to state that I am pleased with the efforts that church has made to correct and apologize for that attitude. They have publicly preached a Bible-based apology. They have held a congregational meeting to explain the new direction and they have rapidly put together a ministry specifically designed by experts to help those still trapped in abusive relationships. Although I do not think all is perfect now, I appreciate and want to shout out to this church a public thanks for their efforts to repair a broken place. Would this have happened if Piper was still at the helm? I do not know, but I doubt it.
I would love to hear him (Piper) speak on this situation, which he certainly is aware of, and see if it has changed his heart in the matter at all. If I had been supported instead of cast out when my own abuse was taking place, it is highly likely that the church could have helped prevent him from the damage he then went on to cause to three beautiful young ladies. I am horror struck by my own complicity in their harm by the way I had allowed my mind to be warped into believing I would be his only victim because I was the problem, a position reinforced by a church that told me there are NO reasons to leave a marriage, no matter what the cost.
What a horrible thing to have endured in the name of ‘C’hristianity. My heart goes out to you and your daughters.
Thank you, for taking a stand for justice and for speaking out.
Thank you for alerting us to biblical pastors and authors who do not uphold the safety of women and persist in erroneous thinking about keeping women living in the abuse within the home. I like what Warren Wiersbe said — any man who abuses his wife forfeits the headship in the home. He forces the wife to reject harm he intends for her and makes it necessary that she look out for her and her children’s safety, from harm that the abusive husband perpetrates on the family and the chaos he brings into the home. He says can you imagine giving birth to a baby and then bringing that beautiful gift from God, that baby home and putting her into the arms of a drunken, swearing, cheating man?
Yes, I can, it is hard to accept that the father of my child is so deliberately and intentionally destructive and evil and that I was tricked by him about who he was and what his intentions were.
The thing that jumped out to me about this quote was the phrase “restoration of his nurturing leadership”. It is impossible to restore what never existed. I doubt that most of the abused women on this site could give any testimony of their abusers ever having been nurturing leaders of the family.
Yes that idea of “restoration of his nurturing leadership” really makes me feel ill. I’m so, so tired of the foolish assumption that the “Christian” abuser actually cares for their victims. No, they don’t, and they never did. Victims know it and abusers know it too. What abusers also know is that in “Christian” circles they will get away with everything.
KayE — you and others have stated it very well.
What has me in a wrangle now is after all these years my abuser(s) don’t profess to be Christians, however, others scold me and insist I’m believing false doctrine because after all, “Once saved; Always saved.” This is true but were they ever truly saved? I covered up for them — no they were not truly saved and the abusers don’t care….the abusers know that their outward appearances of successful careers, etc. makes them acceptable to all.
Notice that the advice he (and others) assumes that “testimony” and “evidence” is necessarily words that are spoken, while ignoring a person’s fruits. Whether they intend that or not, such people are violating Matthew 7:15–20 [Internet Archive link] and allowing wolves to flourish and gobble the sheep.
One thing that concerns me is how that context — of us being ordered to know folks by their fruits — is followed by the parable of the sheep and the goats. I fear that means some of those referenced in verse 22, who are bewildered by their placement on the Day of Judgment, will be those who ignored fruits and heeded words.
Fruits matter. Words, less so.
Someone can respond with anger and defensiveness yet ultimately heed a justified rebuke; someone can respond to a rebuke with all the “right” words and yet not actually do anything. Which of the two embodies a right heart?
Yes! I agree. Well said, Misti.
Everyone seemed so incredibly offended by what I had to say and I’m not the abuser. Yet they love XH, even speak FOR him. He’s so believable and fun and he says everything so perfectly. Not how he was at home. Not who he is in secret. Not at all.
Thank you, but y’all know God gets the credit. 🙂
And someone saying “everything so perfectly” is a huge red flag. The only way to say things perfectly is by “reading” others and feeding them what they want and / or expect to see. The tactic isn’t only used by abusers — it’s also used by some victims as a protection mechanism, and by some monarch-butterfly types who play viceroy to get in position to yank victims out from under abusers’ noses — but the way it’s used and the context in which it’s used will differ amongst the types of people.
Yes indeed, testimony and evidence is not confined to spoken words. God’s Rules of Evidence are Often Misapplied, to the Harm of Abuse Victims
I so agree. Interesting to note that in this parable Jesus does not tell the goats to “go and sin no more”. No! There are no do-overs here. Perhaps the eternal punishment is precisely b / c there is no do-over, there is no going back. What’s done is done. How do you unscramble an egg? Also, as opposed to the sheep who acknowledge their own good deeds (“when did we feed you?”) the goats respond with no good deeds, but basically say “we didn’t know; we didn’t see you”. Isn’t that typical? The abuser claims the same ignorance, trying to escape accountability. Jesus clearly says here, “No deal”. The eternal punishment is the natural consequences of abusive behavior, of ignoring the need, of neglecting the duty of empathy & compassion. Jesus does not demand we “endure his injuries”. Quite the opposite: Jesus condemns the injuries, and declares eternal punishment. What planet is John Piper on?
I’m unconvinced that the “Go and sin no more” is applicable in the goat parable, because it’s about the Day of Judgement, not life here on earth. So there is no more life for a person to “go and sin no more” in.
But yes, very true about the distinction between, “Huh? When did I do that?” and “But—but—but how were we supposed to know it was you?!” (And note how that latter response indicates an attitude of favoritism and keeping up appearances for those in authority over them.)
Oh, he’s quite firmly planted on Earth. That’s why his view is so consistent with pagan culture.
I’m not saying he necessarily is unsaved, mind you. Just pointing out that the entire “Woman as man’s property” thing is common in history and throughout the world. Considering how different and distinct Christians are to be from the world, you’d think that cultural biases that are prevalent or fairly consistent across pagan cultures would warrant the side-eye and a close examination.
I suspect that the narrow gate / wide way applies to presuppositions and beliefs in general, in life, not just to salvation.
The thing is, if a husband has hit his wife, why would her thoughts in the aftermath be about submission and continuing to preserve her husband’s headship? Wouldn’t your first thought be that you’re stunned when it happens the first time? And then, self-preservation? I have known wives who have been abused — I would say the biggest emotion I saw in them was fear and if there was any thought of submission it would be to protect themselves from more abuse. Mr. Piper’s advice seems cruel to me and I don’t think he likes women at all only he doesn’t realize it.
Her thoughts would be towards submission if she was trained “well” enough, to take the blame and responsibility to “submit” to her husband the way certain circles define it. In those same circles, a failure for her to respond “submissively” to whatever behavior would be seen as a failure on her part for being “hard-hearted” and her husband’s part for being a shoddy “head” or steward.
Just pointing that out.
I’m not sure when the statements by John Piper were made in the above post. But I remember back in April the church he planted had a sermon acknowledging how domestic abuse needs to be revealed and addressed and that it is very present. I also recall (but may be mistaken) that the Elders apologized for their neglect and oversight in this area.
I’m not trying to defend John Piper’s lack of knowledge or words in this area but hoping that between the time his statements were made and his church acknowledging abuse, that he has grown in his knowledge of it.
Yes, we are aware of Bethlehem Baptist’s acknowledgment. We did a post about their admission that you may like to read John Piper’s old church is admitting to fault in how it has addressed domestic abuse, and making changes.
We are hopeful that the church is now exposing the evil of abuse and one would like to be hopeful that Piper has “grown”. But more importantly one would like to be hopeful that Piper has repented, yet there has been no indication of that.
Repentance of something like this would require public confession and attempt at restitution. Lacking either — or really both — of those, there is no reason to believe Piper himself has repented, On the contrary, I imagine him tied to a chair with duct tape over his mouth, stomping his feet and trying vainly to tell those currently working to change the culture in “his” church that they have got it all wrong.
Maybe that’s just me. Honestly, if he has not come out publicly and shouted from the rooftops that he was wrong, pulling his books from circulation wherever possible, and trying to undo the damage his teaching has done, then there is absolutely no reason to believe he himself has seen the light. No “fruits worthy of repentance”.
Repentance would require humility, something not evident in him at any time I have seen a video of him preaching.
Valerie Hobbs has written a good review of Ruth Tucker’s book: Book Note: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife [Internet Archive link].
John Piper is easy to understand:
Children of the devil have natural sympathy for things that please their father and naturally react to defend wrongdoings of others with prosocial exhortations (i.e. the victim has to be prosocial towards the abuser, the abuser doesn’t have to do anything, they especially never have to repent towards the victim).
John Piper is a sadist and because of that, his emotions are all dysfunctional, he loves duping people into self-harm and prolonging pain because sadists have a fascination with other people in pain.
John Piper demonstrates that he has a fascination with other people being in pain (he has zero empathy and high sadism and high duper’s delight).
John Piper twists Scripture to justify his sadistic drives (the ol’ “I am smacking you for no good reason because this is all for your own good” refrain that all wicked people somehow naturally end up saying to all their victims). (Hence they always somehow are driven to couch or reframe abuse and iniquity as “something good for you”.) (It’s similar to victim shaming.)
People who grew up in dysfunctional families have no idea their families were dysfunctional.
They have no idea they are dysfunctional.
They go on to create a new dysfunctional family, replicating similar dysfunctional traits and anti-social behaviours towards their new family.
Dysfunctional people cannot understand dysfunction, they inevitably paint dysfunctional, abusive behaviour as “it’s done for your own good”.
Dysfunctional people have dysfunctional morality, they have inverse morality, this always results in strengthening the hand of the wicked and adding more weight of oppression on the victim.
Compassion for victims does not come easily for sadistic people.
Compassion for wrongdoers comes very easily for sadistic people.
Dysfunctional people have no idea they have dysfunctional morality, they tend to think they are highly moral people who always “know what is the right thing to do”.
Dysfunctional people never question or reexamine their own values, they are stuck with their perverse inverted morality for life.
Dysfunctional people will only abuse Scripture to justify their unrighteousness and iniquity, they will never use Scripture to examine themselves and to let Scripture interpret itself (hence dysfunctional people like John Piper is a ventriloquist, and Scripture is their puppet).
Hence when you read “desiringgod”, you are simply reading the traditions of men (i.e. the traditions of John Piper’s dysfunctional family and his dysfunctional mind), you are not reading the inspirations of The Holy Spirit (you are reading someone mangle Scripture to tickle his own ears).
For men will be lovers of themselves, … arrogant, abusive, unloving, … reckless, conceited, … having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these! 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (“…” is used to emphasise the words left in – not to subtract from Scripture – look at it as bold). (i.e. abusive people can have a form of godliness because they know how to make themselves sound holy and righteous by twisting Scripture and dividing the Word wrongly to justify wrongdoings and abuse and dysfunction.)
It’s the ol’ “I’m beating you for no reason for your own good”, but John Piper adds a Scriptural flavour to it too.
Wow, Leonard Chan, your comment is a tour de force! Thank you for contributing to this blog. 🙂
I had never thought of applying the word ‘sadist’ to John Piper, but you have made a very good case for it.
I completely agree with you that John Piper is emotionally dysfunctional. As I recall, his father was into the Bob Jones University form of legalistic theology. Not a healthy influence for anyone!
How someone reacts to an innocent person in pain tells us a lot about:
—their handling of The Golden Rule
—their personal interpretation of “love your neighbour as yourself”
—their idea of right / wrong
—how functional they are as a decent human being
How someone reacts to being told stories of wrongdoing and transgressions and people causing others pain tells us a lot about:
—how much empathy they have
—how naturally righteous (or not) they are
—whether they are a sadist (or not) and enjoy schadenfreude.
King David reacted with fury at the unrighteousness in the story of the lamb (because that was the correct reaction) —
Imagine how perverse it would have been if that part of Scripture instead read “and King David preached to Nathan that this a marvellous opportunity for the poor man to practice unconditional unilateral worldly Carl Rogers forgiveness towards the rich man”.
Well, John Piper (and many other unconditional forgiveness preachers like him) are doing precisely the opposite of what King David did.
A twist: King David told Nathan the poor man should unconditionally forgive the rich man, and then when Nathan pointed out that “the rich man was you! King David”, then David reacted with a relieved sigh! declaring “oh well, good thing we all let bygones be bygones, so I’m good.”
A twisted man-made philosophy: we should all automatically unconditionally forgive each other without repentance, that way wrongdoers never have to get convicted of sins, and victims have to double give (first they gave the only precious lamb they have, next they have to give unconditional forgiveness to the one who took away their lamb).
A twisted man-made philosophy: and the abusers double get (first they got the the poor man’s lamb, then they got an automatic pardon, now it’s all cool once again, the next time they take the next lamb, they expect the same red carpet treatment because this is how entitlement works).
Wow again, Leonard Chan. I take my hat off to you. I have never heard such a good discussion the story of Nathan confronting King David.
Please forgive me for not publishing your comments sooner. I have been preoccupied in the last few days with non-blog stuff.
I hope you keep commenting on this blog and sharing your insights.
Barbara,I forgive you. To be honest, I’m relieved to see my comments published. I tend to say harsh things when I take off my filter. And what I wrote here is very harsh. This often causes moderators to just delete my comments summarily. My comments are a bitter pill to swallow. And people have spit it out before.
And so I had been wondering if the same pattern that has happened to me before is happening here too (i.e. your comments are too harsh! delete!).
I find as I grow older, I don’t seem to be mellowing, my anger at those unconditional forgiveness preachers just seem to grow and grow. And I justify it by saying “you’re telling the poor man to double give, first his only lamb, next his dignity and sense of fairness as well….additionally the rich man double gets”, this always drives me into some kind of private fury thinking about the morality dynamics of unconditional forgiveness (i.e. is this what God truly wants? Would the modified story of the poor man double giving and the rich man double getting please God or offend God?)
Furthermore, let’s add more to the story: In my life experience when entitled people double get, the story doesn’t just happily end there with everyone reconciled, instead it makes the entitled more brazen, next time they will restart the cycle of brazenly multiple-getting again, and so unconditional forgiveness effectively encourages highway robbery -– this is not humility, this is teaching abusers to become even more entitled and teaching victims to become more and more codependent.
Thank you for your compliments.
“Sadist” is a very strong word. I’m effectively declaring that John Piper is wicked (there, I’ve said something even harsher). But I’ve been privately studying morality for a while now, and I’ve found that the one single defining factor of anyone that everyone should be wary of is that they are immune to other people in pain (i.e. they somehow cannot have empathy). And so I’ve learnt to carefully watch how someone reacts to others in pain. One reaction that enrages me the most is someone with a callous, dismissive reaction to a victim in pain (it has to be a victim, an abuser in pain doesn’t count). Being callous and unsympathetic to a victim in pain is bad. But to exhort them to then unconditionally forgive the abuser is just plain rubbing salt in the wound. Now it’s double pain.
And everyone here can intuitively attest to that.
Hearing people tell you to unconditionally forgive is double pain. It makes the pain of the initial transgression just that much more worse. You wish you never spoke to such secondary abusers like John Piper, you’re much better off wallowing in and dealing with your own pain privately, you don’t need a third party to come over with salt. John Piper strengthens the hand of the wicked and adds more oppression to the weak and orphaned with his twisting of Scripture.
The story of how King David reacted to being told that “it’s you! you’re the bad guy” is intuitively satisfying. If we modified it and made it into “and so the poor man unconditionally forgave the rich man, and they all lived happily ever after”, it sounds oddly offensive to my moral senses….
(The original version of the story provides closure, the modified, unconditionally forgiving one causes cognitive dissonance instead.)
Having said all that above, I must add some clarification. We shouldn’t hold onto bitter feelings towards our abusers. Scripture tells us not to hold onto bitter feelings. We are to bless our enemies and pray for them (hard to do, but commanded). BUT, to disingenuously re-word all this as “forgiveness” is egregious. Forgiveness cannot be separated from repentance. Fine, don’t be bitter, but don’t call it forgiveness, don’t pervert Bible words. Any exhortation not to be bitter towards our abusers is fine, but to call that forgiveness crosses the line into:
Leonard Chan commented (17TH FEBRUARY 2020 – 9:57 PM):
For me, ^That is the most effective way I can find to communicate AMEN to the many good points in your comment.
Sometimes there are benefits to staying up past my bedtime to read the new comments. 🙂
The key to dissecting all sadists is entitlement versus degradation.
Sadists and anyone who enjoys the idea of others being in pain always somehow end up thinking that abusers are entitled leeway. And hence unconditional forgiveness naturally springs from this entitlement philosophy (i.e. people OWE the abuser something, and what they owe is forgiveness – therefore you have to give it! because you owe them!).
The complement of this is that sadists like to add further degradation to their victim, because they like to milk victims for more pain and more humiliation and degradation even after the first round of abuse. And so how do we milk someone for more pain? Through psychic abuse, in other words, emotional abuse.
They all say that emotional abuse is much much worse than physical abuse. Then they will inevitably add that “….this is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced this yet….”. Emotional abuse IS harder to explain or appreciate than physical abuse. And yes, it actually cuts deeper.
What John Piper and other unconditional forgiveness pastors of his ilk are actually doing is just simply emotional abuse. They are simply doing two things in one act:
—Feed the entitlement of the abuser by giving them even more than what they’ve already taken.
—Be an accessory in the crime of your own further degradation beyond the initial acts of abuse.
But all these covert sadists need to cleverly hide their true motivations….and so how to do it? The trick is to appeal to prosocial justifications. The Christian prosocial justification, invented recently by stealing from humanist psychologists like Eric Fromm, Carl Rogers, as well as all the self-esteem, humanists, and positive psychology educators is unconditional forgiveness. This is a recent invention that perverted Christians stole from the psychology / humanist movement to carry out emotional abuse.
When you call it “just forgive your abuser, Scripture tells you to” (a lie – Scripture mandates repentance first), it sounds a lot better than their true motivations, which is “just cooperate with degrading yourself further by letting me perversely guide your behaviour through gaslighting”.
Additionally, if you look beyond Christianity, you will see the exact same psychic abuse or mental abuse going on, but under a different guise, Chinese culture does the exact same thing, but worded differently, under the guises of:
—Filial piety, obey your parents, parents can never be wrong (a very bad combination if you also happen to have a paedophile parent).
—Obey your elders, your elders can never be wrong (very bad if some elders are reprobates).
Chinese filial piety and automatic compliance with authority, how different is that to unconditional forgiveness? Nothing. Same thing, differently worded justifications, different cultural settings. Just mental abuse plus gaslighting you into cooperating with even more rounds of degradation.
Having said all that, forgiveness is not a bad thing. But it has to be correct forgiveness, not John Piper / Carl Rogers forgiveness. Forgiveness without repentance is basically a practice of perversion.
Likewise, filial piety and respect for authority is not a bad thing. BUT we must also have the leeway to recognise that some Chinese parents are very bad people, and filial piety in combination with bad (not bad as in inadequate, but bad as in paedophilic, etc.) parents is very very bad, likewise with respect for authority.
And that’s the critical flaw to see through them. They have no leeway. Unconditional forgiveness gives no leeway for justice, fairness, or righteousness. The senseless form of filial piety or respect for authority practice by Confucian Chinese society likewise gives no leeway for justice, fairness, or righteousness. Under such a climate, only the interests of the reprobate are served.
If you’ve ever experienced what I write below:
—The abuser does something unconscionable to push your buttons.
—Finally they succeed and you go off at them.
—Then they play the victim and accuse you of lacking in compassion for them.
—And you think to yourself “what compassion?” They push my buttons until it exceeds my longsuffering, and when I finally react healthily and righteously, they turn that against me.
You will see the same gaslighting game being played out in other ways, through other words, through other religions, cultures, and narratives.
This echoes unconditional forgiveness.
Children of Satan always defend the wrong things, and they always somehow end up defending their own kind. They instinctively justify wrongdoings and wrongdoers, and they naturally pooh pooh justice. They display a predictable pattern of hyper-mercy that always makes a joke of justice and morality. Their presence always ends up magnifying injustice and strengthening the hand of the wicked. They increase iniquity wherever they go.
The wrongdoer doesn’t need more compassion.
The wrongdoer doesn’t need more unconditional forgiveness.
What the wrongdoer needs is more light exposing the darkness of their intentions.
They need more people accusing them harshly.
They need more rebukes.
They need more judgement and condemnation.
Unconditional forgiveness, ignoring abuse and wrongdoings, preserving their image and letting abusers get away with it all without confrontation violates Ephesians 5:11 – John Piper (and others of his ilk) are exhorting that we actively practice disobedience against the Bible with a fabricated form of worldly forgiveness that perverts Biblical forgiveness.
But all these also happen to be precisely what fellow children of Satan don’t do towards other wrongdoers, you know whose side someone is on when they only strengthen the hand of the wicked and add further oppression on the weak and the orphaned.
In Buddhism and New Age, the word “compassion” has been abused to serve the entitlement of abusers.
In secular humanist psychology, the word “forgiveness” has been abused to serve entitlement and human cruelty.
Then when we get to Christianity, famed for its talk on sin, transgression, and righteousness, you’d expect better, especially because Christianity sets itself apart from other thought systems; you don’t expect it to go the same way as Buddhism, New Age, Humanism, and psychology. But then along comes unconditional forgiveness preachers like John Piper who pervert Christianity to do all the same worldly things the world does. When Christianity conforms to Buddhism, New Age, and Humanist psychology, what is left that differentiates it? This hyper-fluffy new form of Christianity is 100% worldly and is increasingly indistinguishable from other Postmodern ideologies and worldly woke religions. Where is all the talk of sin and Hellfire? Isn’t abuse sin? Don’t abusers go to Hell? Shouldn’t preachers be screaming that from the pulpits (putting the fear of God into the unrighteous, making them sweat while sitting on the bench)? Instead “unconditional forgiveness” has replaced “Hell” in our perverse new forms of mutated woke Christianity.
You judge someone by their fruits.
Why are unconditional forgiveness preachers automatically in such ready agreement with Buddhism, New Age, Humanism, and psychology?
Those doctrines are supposed to be worldly doctrines.
Christianity is supposed to be not worldly. Then why does John Piper make it so identical to all the Postmodern, moral relativism doctrines flooding secular narratives?
Why are unconditional forgiveness preachers like John Piper making their new woke, hyper-fluffy Christianity bear the same fruits as all these other worldly thought systems? What am I supposed to say when I judge the fruits of John Piper Christianity?
Hi Leonard Chan,
I have made the corrections you submitted in another comment to this comment. I am only tacking on this reply to you to let you know any faulty corrections to your comment are my error, not Barb’s. 🙂
Reaching Out (Moderator. In case you are unaware, I am Barb’s behind-the-scenes assistant. 🙂 )
Hi, Leonard Chan, I’m curious….if you feel comfortable doing so, would you please tell us how you came to understand the errors of ‘John Piper Christianity’. Have you been spiritually abused yourself? Or abused in other ways and then spiritually abused when you sought help from church leaders?
I agree with much of what you have said the errors made by ‘unconditional forgiveness preachers’ and that their teaching is a mutated form of Buddhism, New Age, and Humanistic psychology.
If you don’t want to reply publicly, please feel free to email me. My email address can be found here.
I am also considering featuring some of what you have said in a stand alone post at this blog. Would that be okay with you?
Leonard Chan, thank you SO much for your comments. So much to think on. I only have time now to say ‘thank you’ and ‘^That’ to saying it like it is:
Thank you, Reaching Out.
You’re welcome, Gany T..