Monday, January 23, 2017

On the President

John Piper speaks of President Trump as "unqualified". He declares him such on the basis of immorality. "Donald Trump’s immoral behavior in the past, and his ongoing unwillingness to renounce it as evil, show that he is morally unfit to lead our nation." It is only fair to point out that he says, "So was Hillary Clinton because she approves of killing unborn children." (For those of you who hold out hope that the rumors that Mr. Trump had become a Christian might be true, Trump says that he does not have to ask God for forgiveness. He doesn't have anything to apologize for.) The problem is not that Trump speaks his mind; the problem is the revelation of what is on his mind. And in the article Piper goes on to address why he thinks immorality disqualifies someone from leadership.

I do not offer John Piper's comments or articles to disagree with them. You can read what he wrote and decide for yourself. I offer them because we are facing a new American president. This guy is not a politician, a fact, I believe, that got him elected. I don't think most of those who voted for him did so because of his fine qualifications, his upright living, or his positions on essential issues. I think they did it because they were sick and tired of politicians ... and he is not a politician. Well, that and the large numbers of "Never Hillary" voters that would have voted for Donald Duck if he ran against her.

I offer Piper's article because I wish to remind Christians that Scripture is clear on the topic of government. "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." (Rom 13:1-2) Thus, for good or for judgment (which is also good), God has appointed the authorities that currently exist in our nation. This is not an endorsement. It is a statement of fact. We are required to honor the office even if we do not respect the officer. To fail to do so is to oppose not the government, but God.

I offer Piper's article because I want to urge Christians to remember what we are commanded:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-4)
Without embracing Trump's sin or his policies or even his successes, I urge Christians to pray. Pray for all people. Pray especially for those who govern. Pray particularly for our new president. Pray that he is granted repentance (2 Tim 2:25). Pray that God works so "that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." Pray that God will be glorified in what He does in this presidency. And pray for us, that we may not grow weary in doing good (Gal 6:9: 2 Thess 3:13).

Some are tempted to exult that "Hillary got hers." Probably not a good Christian response. Others are pleased to applaud that we have a businessman rather than a politician in office. The psalmist says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes." (Psa 118:9) Another group leans toward the terrified side -- "Disaster is upon us!" They think Trump is the worst thing that ever happened to this country. And if you're of the opinion that God has ceded His authority to Man's Free Will, you may well have reason to be worried. Believing, as I do, that the Bible is absolutely clear that God is indeed Sovereign, I would simply like to urge all of us to "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil 4:6), to "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." (Col 4:2) Prayer and thanksgiving and trust in God -- these are the things called for in our times ... in all times.

14 comments:

Josh said...

I am wondering about the Roman passage you have cited. Is there room for "righteous" resistance? I am thinking something along the lines of MLK.

Stan said...

I suppose you'd have to define "righteous resistance" before I'd venture an answer. I mean, I'm sure there are people who would say (for instance) the "righteous thing" to have done in World War II would have been to have assassinated Hitler. "See? Righteous resistance!" Civil disobedience is different. Voicing concerns is different. In fact, if we are to "honor the emperor" as Peter puts it, sometimes that does not include going along (as Peter and his fellow believers did in their day). But I'm not entirely clear what your version would include.

Craig said...

I've already seen folks who've never in their lives agreed with Piper on anything, jumping on this as a way to legitimize themselves.

Trumps lack of any discernible morality was the primary reason why I did not vote for him.

I have to note that the segment of the population who has been trumpeting the idea that there is no objective morality, certainly not a morality derived from scripture, is so quick to label Trump as immoral.

Of course these folks deny the existence of objective Truth and whine about fake news too...

Stan said...

The double standards are deep.

Danny Wright said...

I don't keep up with Piper. But I'm wondering if he's had the same thing to say, including names, for the last 24 years, 16 of which saw rabid pro-aborts and anti-Christ policy wonks. If he did, then stop reading this now. If he didn't, why? It seems that a lot of Christian "leaders" have come out of the closet to bash or praise Trump, by name, which is a new thing. It's been code talk till now. Phrases like, "Yes the country has taken a bad turn." which both liberals and conservatives could agree with for entirely different reasons. The minister gets his pat on the back for speaking up, and he doesn't have to deal with political division. But now that all seems to have changed. In my opinion, especially after all I saw this weekend, if you want peace, it's probably better to appease the liberals.

Stan said...

Truth is I think Piper has kept pretty quiet on politics over the years. He took a lot of heat a few years back when his state was voting to redefine marriage and he didn't say anything (except to preach a series of sermons on the sin of homosexual behavior and the like). I think he's commenting on THIS president because SO MANY people are opposed to THIS president. (So many were also opposed to the alternative. This was destined to be one of the most contentious presidential conflicts in history.)

But I'm confused. You are saying that Piper should not be calling on leaders to be moral or on Christians to pray? Or is it that those who don't speak up all the time ought to always keep their mouths shut? He didn't praise Trump and he didn't exclude Hillary in his commentary about "not qualified", so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Craig said...

Yes.

We must enforce intolerance to demonstrate our tolerance.
We must exclude to demonstrate how inclusive we are.
We're simply dressing up enforced conformity and pretending it's unity.

I think Orwell would have had a ball with these folks. Either that or moved to an off the grid deserted island.

Since one of the official women's march speakers broke down the "Hitler" door. I feel like I can say that the women's march had certain elements that are somewhat comparable to many of the NAZI rallies in the 30's as well as just a touch of socialist demagoguery thrown in for fun.

I'm not accusing anyone of actually being a NAZI or Hitler, just pointing out that there are some identifiable similarities in the form with which both groups operate.

If the above is somehow too controversial, then edit or delete as you see fit.

Danny Wright said...

I'm just wondering where's he's been for the last 24 years. Why has he decided to speak up now? Since when did popular opinion determine when he should speak up? I guess he was safe on Trump and Hillary, he could bash both at the same time and still keep the peace, which is the main thing, evidently.

Stan said...

Your ire with Piper is noted, Danny.

Stan said...

I am wondering, though, Danny, which part of his arguments you take issue with. Or was this just an ad hominem complaint?

Danny Wright said...

I don't take issue with Piper. I like him. I've read his books. I'm not even irritated. I'm just wondering why has he all of a sudden decided to get political and void his opinion?

Danny Wright said...

I guess it is my opinion that if these leaders, including Piper, would have bothered to instruct in the area of politics, we wouldn't even be discussing which moron won the election.

David said...

Perhaps it is because of the 24 years that he's spoken up. And I don't think his point was to decry the immorality of Trump or Clinton, but to encourage us to pray for them even if they are evil and to have faith that God is in control, even of our degenerate leaders. We have had so many years of unpalatable options for president that he's simply reminding us of God's goodness.

Stan said...

"I guess it is my opinion that if these leaders, including Piper, would have bothered to instruct in the area of politics, we wouldn't even be discussing which moron won the election.."

I think you're being optimistic, thinking that if every (godly) pastor taught every congregation biblical thinking on politics that the vote would be changed. I don't think that all the Christians in all the good churches combined could change the fact that the majority (the rest of the people) are overrun with sin and "sinsanity" (the craziness caused by sin). But I understand what you're saying.

I think that Piper is always in "pastoral mode". He responds to problems. He sees someone who has lost a loved one and wishes to provide comfort and direction. He sees Christians all tied up in concern over this new president (more so than any other, I think) and he wants to provide comfort and direction. I don't recall a prior election when there was this much uproar over the elected official, even in the time of the Obama era. I think Piper is reacting to that. And I don't think he's complaining about the elected leadership. (He would have the same opinion, for instance, of Obama as morally unqualified.) He's urging Christians to look to Christ. That's something Piper always does.