John Piper On Women & Over-Investment in Politics

Came across a very interesting video from John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis and head of Desiring God, a nonprofit religious organization that advocates the “supremacy of God.” I’ve done some work for Desiring God and I always find them very interesting to deal with. Piper is intensely cerebral. Trying to edit and work with their copy is an immense challenge. I’m always trying to get them to use language normal people can understand.

And that’s all because Piper is smart. Very smart. Dude talks in heady concepts and lingo that’s hard to get your head around. I don’t always agree with all of it, but I often find it immensely challenging (his work on Don’t Waste Your Life is perhaps the most accessible and incredibly convicting [though I should note that I didn’t work on the DWYL web site!]).

I say all that because I have great respect for Piper and want to give some context of who he is before talking about this video.

So Piper made a conversational video explaining his heart and concerns about the 2008 presidential election. The nearly seven-minute video covers three basic topics:

  • Women
  • Race
  • Abortion
  • Over-investment in politics

His first point about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is easily going to be the most controversial:

“I personally think that it would have been better for her to stay at home with her disabled child, both for the good of the family and as a model for moms … I don’t think, Biblically, that a woman should be commander in chief.”

I’m curious if this kind of statement will take on the fury of Jeremiah Wright’s comments or even the statements from Sarah Palin’s pastors (freaky emphasis on spiritual warfare, condemning those who voted for John Kerry to hell, etc.). I doubt it. For one thing Piper is too well spoken and could actually explain his position to a reasonable standard (you may violently disagree, but his explanation will be logical and make sense). Though more importantly, he’s not connected to either candidate.

But I am curious. Many people would consider this statement to be sexist and I’m curious how our politically correct culture will react. It has been interesting to me that so many conservatives who have a more restrictive view about the role of women have been fully supportive of Palin.

Race & Abortion
Piper has good comments on race and abortion. He has a respectful tone, even though he disagrees with Obama on abortion, and I appreciate that.

Over-Investment in Politics
The bulk of the video concerns his view on politics that he further explains in this article (but I think the video captures it more succinctly). While the controversy over women will likely get more attention, I think this is the more profound. His view is that while we should vote and we should be involved, as Christians we can’t invest our heart and soul in the political process. If you’re going to be depressed on Wednesday because your guy didn’t win, you’re too invested. If you’re worried about terrible things happening because your guy didn’t win, you’re too invested.

His view on the sovereignty of God (cerebral, like I said) explains a lot of this and I think it’s a good perspective to have. Many of the hateful comments and outright lies I’ve seen from Christians during this election are a good indication that we’re too invested in it.

As a sidenote, the video gets especially uncomfortable when he talks about whether or not hard times are good for the gospel. The immediate question that comes to my mind is if people come to God through suffering, should we be praying that people would suffer? That’s a distressing line of thinking, though I’m probably not giving Piper due credit here (again, the sovereignty of God would play heavily into his explanation).

At any rate, a very interesting political video. And I’m hoping I can stop blogging about all of this soon. (Sorry if you’re tired of it, but it helps me process. Besides, no one said you had to read it.)

(link via jdblundell)

2 thoughts on “John Piper On Women & Over-Investment in Politics”

  1. Great summary.

    I think the question about hard times being good for the Gospel has rung true each and every time it’s happened.

    As Shane Claiborne points out, once we baptize the empire we tend to lose our focus, our passion and our zeal.

    Think about when Cuba outlawed people from meeting in churches. They forced the churches into the homes. Overnight the number of churches multiplied.

    I can’t help but believe the church was the strongest when it’s underground and persecuted. So I love that question about whether or not we should pray that folks should suffer.

    When Paul instructed Timothy to suffer for the Gospel (So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.) do you think he was referring to the same suffering – or was he referring to the individual suffering Timothy might face as a “minister of the Gospel?”

    Good stuff, way to keep the conversation going!

  2. That was definitely a sidenote in my discussion, one I’m not fully prepared to explain (i.e., Piper would explain circles around me, more so than he usually would).

    I just think it’s an interesting question that sounds incredibly callous. Piper was talking about the economic crisis: do we wish for a further crisis because it makes people more receptive to the gospel? Wishing/praying/hoping might be one thing (with God’s sovereignty in mind), but what about acting? I’m not sure where Piper was going with this, but it starts to sound disingenuous with the gospel.

    I don’t want to wish ill-will on anyone, but then again some times people need to hit rock bottom before they’ll change. Perhaps this is one of the contradictions of the Christian faith we just have to live with (like the already not yet)

    Anyway, I’m just thinking out loud.

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