Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation." John Piper May Have Written His Most Important Post This Year

Note: Yes, I have not posted here in quite a while. I've been using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to connect about Christ in real time. But there are moments like these where our need as Christians is so urgent, and someone speaks a message we need to hear and reflect upon, that I am compelled to share it. I hope it serves you well.

My friends who belong to Christ, I plead with you to quietly read and ponder this. We cannot deny or evade the harsh reality that we have no fellowship with either the Republican or Democrat candidate in this election. Yet our hopes and ambitions for what politics and government can do have gripped our hearts so tightly that we have been pulled into a sea of idols and we are in desperate danger of clinging to one to keep our heads above water. John Piper has written something I have longed to read from a sound teacher of the Scriptures for a long time. This is, above all, a heart check to test whether you really and truly are devoted to Christ above all. You may still vote either way, or vote a third way. But how you let it grip your heart, and how much you cling to the outcomes of this election, have an eternal influence on your soul. Be for Christ, all the time, all the way to the end. Elections will come and go. Governments will come and go. Christ is our Rock, now and forever.

John Piper is wrestling well with this reality:
Here are four reasons I am immensely grateful to John Piper for publicly sharing his heart about this election:
  1. He makes it very clear at the beginning and further down that he isn’t insisting every Christian must reach the same conclusions he does. We need more of this: Romans 14-15 and 1 Corinthians 8 emphasize that the church cannot be healthy if we don’t love and support each other in spite of differing convictions and consciences. Christians can disagree about voting without treating each other as fools or traitors.
  2. Piper gives so much encouragement here to Christians who are agonizing over feeling trapped into voting for one of two candidates, both of whom are fraught with moral problems. It is possible to choose not to vote for either of them because your conscience won’t let you, and still be a faithful Christian and citizen. I am grateful that Piper demonstrates how a Christian may honor God by choosing not to vote for either candidate. We hear too much simplistic pressure that we must vote for a candidate “who can win” no matter what. Brothers and sisters, if you use your chance to vote as a means to honor Christ by refusing to support candidates whose actions lead to spiritual ruin, that is also a faithful work of Christian citizenship.
  3. What Piper has done here is to help us course-correct in our attitude about public sins. He is not saying President Trump’s sins are worse than those of Democrat candidates. He is saying sins on both sides are deadly and lead to cultural and spiritual death, so we should treat them all with gravity and avoid minimizing or excusing them.
  4. Perhaps most importantly, he reminds us that our greatest priority is how we display and honor Christ and live out the gospel. This is supremely important compared to any political goal, but we easily compromise it when we are so urgent about winning an election. Politics is a riptide that snatches people and pulls them along even when they are careful and have the best of intentions. We need teachers who will help us step outside the frenzy of elections and political causes and remind us that these things are not the greatest priorities God has given to us. It does not all depend on the outcome of this or any election. God desires us to be faithful witnesses to our neighbors far more than he desires us to accomplish anything by voting. Be wise in how you conduct yourself in front of those around you, and ask yourself what they most need to see from you. Lord, help us here.
Here are two excerpts. Please read the whole thing.
"When I consider the remote possibility that I might do any good by endorsing the devastation already evident in the two choices before me, I am loath to undermine my calling (and the church’s mission) to stand for Christ-exalting faith and hope and love.

"I will be asked to give an account of my devotion to this life-giving calling. The world will ask. And the Lord of heaven will ask. And my conscience will ask. What will I say?

"With a cheerful smile, I will explain to my unbelieving neighbor why my allegiance to Jesus set me at odds with death — death by abortion and death by arrogance. I will take him to Psalm 139 and Romans 1. And if he is willing, I will show him how abortion and arrogance can be forgiven because of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). And I will invite him to become an exile — to have a kingdom that will never be shaken, not even when America is a footnote in the archives of the new creation."

On the dilemma of character versus policies, Piper has made a point we keep overlooking:

"Where does the wickedness of defending child-killing come from? It comes from hearts of self-absorbed arrogance and boasting (James 4:1–2). It comes from hearts that are insubordinate to God. In other words, it comes from the very character that so many Christian leaders are treating as comparatively innocuous, because they think Roe and SCOTUS and Planned Parenthood are more pivotal, more decisive, battlegrounds.

"I think Roe is an evil decision. I think Planned Parenthood is a code name for baby-killing and (historically at least) ethnic cleansing. And I think it is baffling and presumptuous to assume that pro-abortion policies kill more people than a culture-saturating, pro-self pride.

"When a leader models self-absorbed, self-exalting boastfulness, he models the most deadly behavior in the world. He points his nation to destruction. Destruction of more kinds than we can imagine.

"It is naive to think that a man can be effectively pro-life and manifest consistently the character traits that lead to death — temporal and eternal."

Lord, help us listen and cling to you. Please make our hearts wholly true to you, above all and through all. Amen.