Rebuttal of John Piper’s gun article.

Greetings everybody. Recently I read an article written by pastor John Piper combatting the idea that Christians should have guns to defend themselves. Piper takes the stance that they should not, but from his article it sounds like he thinks Christians should never defend themselves. I was livid as I read the article and vowed I would write a rebuttal since all scripture he used were taken out of historical and grammatical context, twisted, and misused in order for Piper to make his own political point. I believe that this is irresponsible for a leader to do, especially one who people blindly follow.
There is an easy way to dismiss Piper’s stance in the simple understanding that he never addresses the topic at hand, ‘should Christians defend themselves’. The majority of references he uses are talking about not taking vengeance upon those who persecute you solely based on your faith in Jesus. However, a random act of violence is not driven by the faith of the victims. Piper uses those verses and twists them to fit his own agenda.
Because of this, his argument can’t be taken seriously as a response to his original question since it never addresses the actual point of self defense or self preservation. However, many people will not accept my conclusion simply because John Piper wrote the original article. With this in mind, I will go deeper into his own points and explain the misuse of scripture and the damaging ideas Piper proposed.
The first point that got me very upset was point number two. “The apostle Peter teaches us that Christians will often find themselves in societies where we should expect and accept unjust mistreatment without retaliation.”
On the whole some people might see this and think that it is good. Yet, what is troubling to me in his whole push for not defending yourself is that this whole point could escalate to enable an overreaching government. What would have happened if our founding fathers did what Piper is suggesting? They would have rolled over, accepted the tyrant King, and there would be no America. The only verses that Piper uses to back his point up are misused verses about how society will persecute you because you love Jesus. Pure persecution, nothing having to do with self preservation. It says nothing about bowing down to a tyrant with an overreaching government. This could easily be one logical outcome to what Piper proposes, and it is all founded on the misuse and twisting of scripture.
Point three in Piper’s article, “Jesus promised that violent hostility will come; and the whole tenor of his counsel was how to handle it with suffering and testimony, not with armed defense.”
This point is a very easy one. It can be reconsidered based on the context that Jesus was addressing religious persecution to a specific group of people in history, not random acts of violence throughout the ages. Based on what Jesus said, should we defend ourselves against religious persecution? Probably not. But that’s all we can say–Jesus never talked about self defense against random acts of violence. Because of this, John Piper risks being manipulative in misusing scripture which suggests not fighting those who want to kill you because of Jesus and using them to back up the unbiblical claim of, “you shouldn’t have a gun to defend yourself and loved ones against a random crime.”
Point five in Piper’s article, “Jesus strikes the note that the dominant (not the only) way Christians will show the supreme value of our treasure in heaven is by being so freed from the love of this world and so satisfied with the hope of glory that we are able to love our enemies and not return evil for evil, even as we expect to be wronged in this world.”
To an extent this is a good point, but should be taken lightly. What I mean is that we are still called to be useful here. There is no good in a Christianity that “loves God so much” that all they want to do is die so they can be with him, and think that nothing done in this world matters. To have this mindset is to have a flawed understanding of what Jesus has done. Jesus has made it so that we are always connected with the Father. We are filled by the Holy Spirit. We lack nothing. We don’t have to die to be with God, God is already here with us! One final note on this point: the verses he used were out of context and most talked about religious persecution.
Point six on Piper’s article, “The early church, as we see her in Acts, expected and endured persecution without armed resistance, but rather with joyful suffering, prayer, and the word of God.”
Again this whole point can be reconsidered because it doesn’t address the topic at hand–self defense against a random act of violence. This point only talks about religious persecution.
Point number seven, “When Jesus told the apostles to buy a sword, he was not telling them to use it to escape the very thing he promised they should endure to the death.”
Oh this one’s a doozy, because there is some truth in this depending on how you look at it, but the way I see Piper using it is pretty illogical. A simple reading of scripture and an elementary understanding of history will show that the apostles didn’t fight against religious persecution since that is how all of them died. But the question needs to be asked: Did the disciples use their swords against thieves if they got jumped on a desolate road? No one knows. It was never written down. Let’s go back to Piper’s point and try and use some logic here.
The apostles are sitting with Jesus. Jesus tells them if they don’t have a sword to sell their cloak and buy one. When they come back Jesus says, “glad you sold the only thing that could keep you warm at night to buy a sword. Now that you have a sword, I NEVER want you to use it no matter what.” According to Piper that’s basically how it would have played out since they were not to use the sword to defend themselves against anything. This is downright foolish! If you’re always to be peaceful and never defend yourself against anything, you need a cloak so much more than you need a sword. But Jesus was very adamant about his friends owning swords (which today would be similar to owning an assault rifle.) so we must come to a logical conclusion about this. I believe the logical conclusion to this sword passage is that they expected religious persecution and knew not to fight it. But they also had a mission to spread the gospel to people, and if thieves on the road tried to kill them before their mission was over I believe they were to use their sword. This, I think, is a logical understanding of this passage because it understands the difference between religious persecution and random crimes. It makes no sense to believe that the disciples were commanded to sell their cloaks and buy swords only to never use them.
Point eight in Piper’s article, “A natural instinct is to boil this issue down to the question, ‘Can I shoot my wife’s assailant?'”
This one I fumed at because his answer is SEVENFOLD! I will be blunt on this one. As brother and a newlywed I was very upset to see that someone would have this passive viewpoint about protecting their family and loved ones entrusted to them by God. As a newly married man I am very passionate about this. When I took my vows I was signing up for better or worse which means that if my wife is being attacked I wouldn’t be afraid to act in order to protect the treasure God has given to me.
Piper goes on in his sevenfold answer to say this: “I realize that even to call the police when threatened — which, in general, it seems right to do in view of Romans 13:1–4 — may come from a heart that is out of step with the mind of Christ. If one’s heart is controlled mainly by fear, or anger, or revenge, that sinful disposition may be expressed by using the police as well as taking up arms yourself.”
I completely disagree with Mr. Piper. God has created us with emotions and emotions are not evil. If God-given emotions cannot play any factor in protecting our loved ones and the sanctity of our marriage, then I have a problem with your point. Besides, God has given us the police to protect us. They can’t do their God-given responsibility if you do not give them the information they need. Doesn’t matter if you are afraid or angry. They need the information to do their God-given role in society. To not call the police is to risk the same crime falling upon another innocent person. It is irresponsible and unloving to refuse to call the police for whatever reason.
To finish I believe that we as Christians must listen to the Spirit on this topic. No one can tell you what to do or what not to do. Whether that is “go out and buy a gun” or “don’t buy a gun,” this answer can only be found when you look to the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Listen to Him, that is the whole point as to why He was given to us. He’s there to guide us. Not a blogger, not a pastor, and not a parent. Listen to the Holy Spirit–if He tells you that you should probably have a gun to protect yourself and your family you should buy a gun. If He tells you that you don’t need a gun then you probably don’t need to go out and buy one. The take away here is to listen to God, and his answer for what you should do may not be the answer for what someone else should do. Because of this don’t force your personal answer down other people’s throat. Educate them and let God show them their own personal answer to this question.
In conclusion, Piper’s whole article must be reconsidered based on his misuse of scripture and lack of address on the actual issue. His arguments do not hold logical value. There are dangerous arguments that, if accepted, could encourage an overbearing government. Some points produce passive unloving husbands, and his article attempts to take the role of the Spirit in pushing a person to accept one view of thought. We all would be better off listening to what the Holy Spirit tells us.
I suggest that everyone reading this not blindly follow what I am saying. Do the research yourself. Read the pro’s and con’s of owning or not owning a gun to protect yourself. Pray to God for him to guide you on this issue and do what He, not anyone else, tells you to do.
I have posted links below of the original Piper article as well as another rebuttal someone wrote.
~Templar of Truth
Piper’s original article.
Another rebuttal.

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