I put a link to the earlier post on facebook and ended up with quite a lot of comments – exceeded only by the number I got when I said my son was my new favourite child. Most of them were, rightly, expressing shock and dismay (at Piper, not my parenting) but one brought up an extra question.
My friend wrote:
Good to think through the dilemma though. I have followed Piper on twitter and been uplifted by much. But I can’t ignore that thinking. . And where do I draw my line – if it were something unacceptable in my view but less maddening would I let it go! What are my absolutes?!
I’ve worked happily alongside many Christians over the years who don’t share all my theology, politics, taste in music/fashion/food, morals even. There are Godly people I love dearly with whom I simply will not engage in certain conversations – especially older people who have generously loved me but who come from very different Christian cultures. I don’t expect them to think as I do.
However, when it comes to leadership rather than friendship, I’m happy to draw lines.
Here are my deal breakers for Evangelical leaders:
- Anyone who suggests one’s politics are in any way linked to one’s chances of getting to heaven.
- Anyone who puts evangelizing the hungry ahead of feeding them.
I was going to say something about attitudes to women but I think it’s a much broader issue so I’ll say:
- Anyone who fails to acknowledge that their interpretation of scripture is coloured by both history and culture. If church leadership genuinely believed the Bible informs womanly behaviour today exactly as it did in the 1st century, the consequences would be unthinkable. See here for an example.
Which is related to:
- Anyone who believes that there is one clear and unquestionable interpretation of scripture. I have no desire for woolly uncertainty, (another kind of deal breaker), but I respect a leader who has the intellectual integrity to acknowledge that not all is black and white in the Bible – and who sees that it’s possible to examine the difficult bits honestly without fear of endangering anyone’s salvation.
- Anyone who would think, “She’s a liberal”, after reading the above. Big Big Deal Breaker.
And now it’s time to move on. Bless you, John Piper. (I leave those words in even though my husband told me to take them out.) I pray that you will one day explain how much you did not mean what you said in that video.