Piper's Guns and Martyrdom

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by martyrologist, Jul 7, 2008.

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  1. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Last week there was a little stir when John Piper posted his Guns and Martyrdom and James White replied.

    I was wondering what thoughts of this group were on this. I have a feeling, from the previous threads on the issue of pacifism, that the majority would fall in line with James White. But, in my opinion, White failed to properly discredit Piper's sentiments. I have no idea of Piper has given any sort of response; doubt it, doubt he would. But I have sadly seen many flock to the proclamation that I will love my neighbors but not my enemies...in spite of Christ's command. I'm truly looking forward to your thoughts and any possible dialogue on this.
  2. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    So I should quote John 3:16 to the man who breaks into my house to kill my wife and daughter?

  3. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    I think White adequately replied to Piper. As much as I like John Piper, he is being far too pacifist in his refusal to defend against, say, a man intending to rape his wife. It is far different to die in the service of the Gospel and to die because a crackhead has invaded your house. The former is noble, as its result logically can lead many to Christ (by not establishing malice with the natives) while the latter is not (since it bears no relevance to salvation and is a terrible harm).

    Yes, by not killing an intruder, you are allowing him more time for salvation, but doing so would be contrary to biblical mandates to defend your family. Additionally, as White pointed out, the "do not resist evil" passage is in reference to humiliation, not imminent physical harm.

    Also, to keep in line with the rest...:down:
  4. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Seth.

    So I should quote John 3:16 to the man who breaks into my house to kill my wife and daughter?

    Piper never said that, though; or anything similar. Nor have I come across any pacifists who would advise that. Have you?

    I take it by the thumbs down you would be against Piper's post.
  5. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Should I revise my post to say "So I should shoot my pistol into the air as the man kills my wife and daughter?" - either one (John 3:16 or a shot in the air) has the same effect: a dead wife and daughter.

    My thumbs down was meant to reinforce my disagreement with Piper's post.

    I second Joshua's post: it is a violation of the sixth commandment to allow my neighbor (in this case my family) to be murdered while I stand idly by.

    Funny thing is, Piper says "I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun." but that was exactly what I was intending to do with my stimulus check!

    H&P USP Compact 9mm
  6. mshingler

    mshingler Puritan Board Freshman

    "If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account." (Ex. 22:2 NASB)
  7. TaylorOtwell

    TaylorOtwell Puritan Board Junior

    So, for clarification...

    Would it have been right for those missionaries Dr. Piper mentioned to shoot the people who were trying to kill them? Why or why not?

    I mention this because I hear that we are responsible to defend ourselves and those with us, yet it is generally agreed upon that missionaries should not start killing those who are persecuting them. I'm trying to separate between when the act of defense is justified and when it is not.
  8. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    As much as I love John Piper - I agree with JW. Don't threaten my family or my home or you will become dead, indeed.
  9. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Mike.

    "If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account." (Ex. 22:2 NASB)

    Do we not, though, have the example of Christ to follow? So often we see Old Testament verses given as refutation of the idea of loving your enemy and/or using nonviolent resistance. What I'm saying is that I would have thought Christians would posit the teachings and examples of Christ's life and death for their argumentation and reasoning.

    I'm not trying to cop out or play the OT vs. NT game. I just thought followers of Christ would seek the imitation of Christ first. Plus, I do not believe the OT is prescriptive (but descriptive).
  10. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I agree. I'm a very peaceful man. Nary a violent bone in me, but you threaten my family...well...I change.
  11. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Ivan.

    So then you would say being peaceful is not a necessary aspect of being a follower of Christ (Christian)? Thanks
  12. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    I believe that we are always to choose the greater good. Since Jesus knew that through his passion and crucifixion, all of the elect would be saved, he had a nobler goal in mind. If we allow harm to befall us at the hands of an intruder, it is not towards any kind of salvific goal.
  13. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Josh.

    I can understand what you're saying. But, wouldn't that place the command of Christ to love our enemies and to pray for our persecutors (pretty sure he didn't mean "As you pull the trigger") into a category of Not Necessary? Thanks
  14. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Not to hi-jack the thread, but to treply to this:

    I already own a 9mm hand gun (Beretta 92S), so I wanted to stay consistent with the caliber. But, I am open to advice, and I appreciate this, Josh. No, I have not made my purchase yet (haven't received my check yet, either). There is a gun range here in town that let's you "rent" handguns so you can get a feel for them before making a purchase. I plan on doing this with a few different brands (Springfield XD, H&K USP Compact, etc) and calibers (9mm, .45, .40, etc) before making my final decision.

    While I've heard that the .45 ACP and .40 S&W have more stopping power than a 9mm, I've also read a few sites that disagree with that assertion. Some say that it doesn't matter what caliber you use - if you don't hit the brain or the spine, it won't stop an assailant anyway.

    And, Josh, if you'd like to start a new thread on this so we don't get too far off topic from the OP, please feel free. I've been meaning to for a while, but haven't gotten around to doing so.
  15. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    Isn't there a moral difference between those who religiously persecute and random bandits who could not care any less about your religious beliefs or the color of your skin or the accent you have - they just want to steal, rape, and murder as they see fit.

    Neo-Nazis graffiti-ing synagogues with swastikas or various groups systematically burning churches because they are churches is extremely different morally than a local bandit wanting your TV and computer while robbing you at gunpoint.
  16. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks packabacka.

    I wouldn't limit Christ's example we are to follow so narrowly as that (toward a salvific goal); I believe he gave us the example for all aspects of life at all times. But, maybe more importantly in this specific instance, you seem to present the idea that you know what is going to happen when an intruder enters your home. Do you know you or a family member will be killed...or even hurt?
  17. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Only if that self-defense and the manner in which the 6th commandment is upheld happens to be by use of force, i.e. violent, lethal, harmful. I would consider that hatred.
  18. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    People didn't persecute Christ for the the sake of beating up on some random carpenter and His friends - He was persecuted because He claimed to be Yahweh.
  19. Dwimble

    Dwimble Puritan Board Freshman

    So then, should the stricture to "love your enemies" take precedence over the command to "love your wife even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her?" We must take the scriptures as a whole. We can't merely lift one or two statements out of them (I'm not accusing you of doing that) and then build an extremist philosophy of total pacifism, in a "what would Jesus do" sort of manner, as if it is a given that Jesus would never use physical force in any circumstance.

    Even our Lord himself whipped the moneychangers out of the temple.
  20. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    A very, very good point. Where is the line drawn? My question would be who has drawn the line? Who makes the decision that it's OK to kill these as they mere bandits? Who decides they don't get another chance to be disciples of Christ?
  21. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Well, if I see someone else with a gun, then there is an immediate and present danger, and I would not allow that without resistance. I do not know that I am about to be attacked, but it is likely.

    You're right about not limiting pacifism to salvific goals, but I still think that we are only to accept suffering if a greater goal is involved, most often of which is a salvific goal. As Theoretical said above, there is a moral difference between general criminals and religious persecutors. In the former instance I would most definitely react (since there really isn't a noble attitude regarding nonviolence in that case), but in the latter I would not react, in order to not incite malice towards Christianity and to help display the humility of Christ.
  22. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    Also, why would Christ command His disciples to buy swords in Luke 22:36-38?

    No one buys a sword to serve a "utility" purpose outside of violence to defend oneself or attack another. Knives have additional uses outside of violence, but swords are utterly impractical for anything besides killing and hanging on a wall.

  23. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    If others threaten a loved one of mine, then they are susceptible to justice. They have put themselves in that situation, and for that reason they have decided to not get another chance to be disciples of Christ.
  24. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

  25. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

  26. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    Should that not be the Lord's prerogative? In fact, isn't it? Vengeance is the Lord's, not ours. I would think especially if we do not know who the elect are.
  27. TaylorOtwell

    TaylorOtwell Puritan Board Junior

    So, what is the different from stopping someone from violating the 6th commandment in Peru when your trying to spread the Gospel (perhaps with your family), and stopping someone from violating it in your home? Both cases are self-defense. Many people even have their family with them on the mission field, is it o.k. to start killing people then? I don't have my mind made up either way, I'm just trying to understand this better...

    Also, for Piper's sake, he never mentioned "rape", "murder", "kill", "crackhead", "meth", etc. one time in the entire article.

  28. Dwimble

    Dwimble Puritan Board Freshman

    Once again...are you to place the love of your enemies OVER the love of and responsibility for your wife? I submit to you, that if you allow your enemy to harm or kill your wife when it is within your power to prevent that, then you are guilty of neither loving your wife NOR your enemy, but of loving your philosophy of pacifism above both.
  29. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I agree, so let's fashion bull whips and beat the tar out of people who are harming others by their wickedness (John 2:15).

    A man who does not defend the weak against the wicked is worse than a pagan who at least, by the light of nature, know that wickedness must be supressed and that our "testimony" is not being foolish and allowing a man to plunder our house. The 6th Commandment not only forbids the taking of life but also requires the protection of it.
  30. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor


    If I may say so in all respect, the sentiment below is the basic issue in this thread. When you state that "I do not believe the OT is prescriptive (but descriptive)" this reflects a certain way of thinking.

    The way of thinking is called anti-nomianism, and is, in my estimation, one of the most deadly errors, as related to Christ's teaching on civil law and sanctification. When we set up the Sermon on the Mount against the Law of Moses, we are doing exactly what Christ forbad us to do:

    17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    When you state that the OT is not prescriptive you are "breaking one of the least commandments", and are "teaching men to do so".

    If we set the commands of Christ against the OT, then we are setting inspiration against inspiration. God against God. This is a dangerous error, and I would urge you to reconsider this fundamental point. It is not that you formally reject the inspiration of the OT, but this assertion has the same effect.

    When Christ says to love your enemies, and then tells the magistrate to cut someone's head off, or frees a man from bloodguiltiness in cases of self defense, is He speaking contrarily to Himself? Recall, it was the Spirit of Christ that spoke through ALL of the prophets, Moses, David and Elijah included. Moses was Christ's mouthpiece, and therefore Christ the one who instituted "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burning for burning" etc. This is one of the most just laws ever created. If we think that the Sermon on the Mount was intended to set this or any other Law aside, we have misunderstood Christ and must re-read.



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