Friday, October 05, 2007

Is John Piper Bad?

A while back I posted about the John Piper is Bad video on Youtube. Now don't get me wrong, it's very funny - oh, how we larffed! But, in my original post I did take issue with Piper's statement. He said:

John Piper is bad....I don't just do bad things, I am bad. And so are you.
I'm pretty clear that I don't agree with this statement and since my fellow HTC blogger Stephen Barton has just posted on John Piper is bad, I thought I'd explain why.

First of all, Piper is clear that being bad is not just related to moral actions, it's a status: I don't just do bad things, I am bad. If Piper was speaking about man in his default state, no problem. People don't just do bad things, they are bad. Fine. But, Piper definitely personalises this to himself: I, as a Christian, have a status of bad. Or, I as a Christian, am characterised as bad. Now, Roget tells me that bad is a synonym of unrighteous. So, for Paul in 1C6:9ff:

Do you not know that the bad shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. NASB, but unrighteous replaced with bad

Three things here:

  • Paul says that those who are status-bad shall not inherit the kingdom of God
  • Paul is clear that the status-bad are those characterised by doing bad things
  • Paul is clear that the Christians he writes to are no longer status-bad: they have been washed, they have been sanctified (made holy)
What I'm not saying is that we don't sin. John (Apostle, not Piper, but I'm sure in fact both) is clear that although the life of God's people is characterised by righteousness, we do still sin. But, Piper would have been better saying that he still does bad things, but is not bad in status. Isn't this Paul's exact argument in Romans 6: the old man has been crucified with Christ? We are no longer status-bad, we have died to sin, we are alive to God. And it's not just Paul. Peter writes the same kind of thing in 1P2:24.

So, is John Piper bad? I would say no. And neither, if you have faith in Jesus Christ, are you!