John Piper Hates on Gays via Twitter

It’s bad enough when Christians sit silently by while LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) folks are marginalized, ridiculed, abused, raped or even killed for who they are.

It’s another when Christians actively engage in the exclusion of people based on their identity or orientation.

And then there’s John Piper.

It seems Piper has a Twitter problem. Maybe he doesn’t see it as such, because with less than 140 characters, he can stir up quite a storm of controversy. But but considering the damage that can be done with so few words, I consider it a problem.

First, there was the now-famous “Farewell, Rob Bell” tweet, basically bidding the bestselling author adieu when his book, “Love Wins,” dared to suggest that God’s love was big enough to ensure salvation for all.

Today, Piper decided to get specific about his disdain for members of the LGBTQ community and all Christians who affirm them by tweeting the following:

“The church that approves of homosexual relations has by that act ceased to be a true church. Wolfhart Pannenberg”

When I told my wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, what he posted, she suggested we shouldn’t even care what he says. He’s a voice of intolerance whose ignorance should be dismissed. Though she and I see eye to eye on most things, we differ on this one.

First of all, he has more than 250,000 followers on Twitter. And of course with the viral nature of social media, his reach is much broader than that. Second, he’s considered a prominent voice for conservative Christianity, sought and quoted often by the media. As such, he always seems ready to help reinforce the stereotype that Christians are narrow-minded, bigoted, hateful people who are more interested in being right and morally superior than they are in loving and serving their brothers and sisters.

Thankfully there are other, if not so prominent, voices out there to counter the intolerance. As an example, Roger Wolsey, a pastor, posted the following concise but clear message on Youtube:

Though it would be great if one affirming voice counterbalanced the negativity of another, but the net is still negative, I’m afraid. Some may hear the apology on behalf of Christianity. Some may even hear the claim that Piper’s brand of Christianity is not representative of all of us. LGBTQ people may be welcomed back to the table, time and again, but damage already has been done.

My friend, Matthew Paul Turner, posted a video recently from James Alexander Langteaux, author of “Gay Conversations With God,” that points to the fallout from such divisive rhetoric.

Be forewarned that this video does contain some frank, explicit language. So if you choose not to view it, the essence of what he says is that too many Christians do not seem to embody the values of the Christ they claim. And so, if this is what religion is about, we don’t want anything more to do with it.

The Foreskin from stu ehr on Vimeo.

I certainly can understand Langteaux’s pain and inclination to distance himself from a body that seems intent on making him “less than.” But I’m not content to sit back and let such voices occupy the floor while dissenters say and do nothing.

John Piper is wrong. His words cause damage. And though I could never go as far as he does to claim that his bigotry means he’s not actually a Christian, I strongly believe he has strayed far from the path laid before us by Jesus himself.

The only true antidote to divisive rhetoric ultimately is face-to-face relationship. So my hope is that those who read this post will not just appreciate it, comment on it or even share it; my prayer is that it is the impetus readers need to go out and find someone (or many someones) hurt and marginalized by some parts of the church and talk to them about their hurt. Offer a compassionate ear in return, and if accepted, a warm embrace.

We can prevail in this clash of ideals. But the revolution will not be realized entirely from behind a microphone. One person, one relationship, one story at a time, we have to continue to believe that Rob Bell was right.

LOVE WINS.

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Wayne Johnson

    I would like to see an honest and thorough discussion of the linguistic basis for the pervasive assumption that Jesus, God, or the Bible condemns The Gays. Ezekiel 49:16 and Isaiah chapter 1 both make it clear that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality but instead being a fiscal conservative. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were doing the same thing modern American Republicans do. So S&G is off the table, period.

    All that is left is Leviticus and a few passages by Paul. The word Paul uses (arsenokoitai) that is translated as “homosexual” comes directly from Leviticus 20:13. It is a literal translation from Hebrew “zakhar mishkevei” (man beds) to Greek “arsenokoitai” (man beds). For now, my impression is he just flat out got it wrong. I suspect he got it wrong because he was wrongly following the anti-gay prejudice of his culture and his time. To me, ”man beds” does not look like a reasonable phrase to pull out of the linguistic parsing of the sentence in Lev 20:13.

    • Wayne Johnson

      (contd to break this into smaller pieces…) So the entire Biblical case for anti-gay prejudice is based on Leviticus 20:13, because Paul’s verses are based on his reading of Lev 20:13.

      My impression is thta Paul was simply wrong, and that it means something else entirely: “Men, do not lie with a man in a woman’s bed.” Not “as you lie with a woman.” I just do not see those words in the Hebrew text.

      But maybe I’m wrong. If I am wrong, and Lev 20:13 actually does refer to The Gays, then what it says is that ALL sexually active gay men are to be murdered in cold blood.

      In that case, the verse itself is flat out evil and wrong. If that’s what it means, then the entire religion is tainted, ruined, and worse than worthless.

      Anyone who would accept it is choosing to define himself as one who would murder people in cold blood in order to gain favor with an obviously evil being that may or may not exist.

      Regardless of what the text actually means, that *is* what Piper is saying about himself.

      And so is anyone who thinks it means The Gays. Either one does not think it means The Gays, or one is selling one’s soul to an evil being, who may not even exist, in order to gain profit for oneself. What good is that as a religion?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=743984713 Pam Lee

    Nice article, and I very much appreciate your point of view; however, I have to tell you, use of the word “queer” is totally inappropriate and offensive.

    • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

       How so? I’ve had extensive discussions with leaders and thinkers in the LGBT community, and am quite intentional about the use of the word “queer” to indicate that there is much nuance, diversity and even difference of understanding of orientation and identity, even withing the LGBT community. It has been a concerted effort of this community to reclaim this word and inhere it with a sense of empowerment and ownership. I’d be interested in other understandings.

    • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

       I probably should have added that the “Q” can stand for “Queer” or “Questioning.”

  • Geoffrey Mitchell

    Christian, I love ya, but I am with Amy.  How are you/we shocked with a fundamentalist thinks you are outside the faith?  It’s not like you/we view him as “in” the faith either.  

    • Geoffrey Mitchell

      Never posted here before and posted too soon!!!

      What I wanted to add is this: for me running down John Piper is a matter of stewardship.  I follow him on twitter, as do many who think he is so far off base.  But I can’t rebut everything he writes preaches, writes and says.  I need to preach and witness (not much of a writer).  Platform and influence are not the same thing.  I honestly do not read blogs much and find them to be the bottom feeder of communication (present company excluded).  There is so much drool that mostly gets the partisans fired up or ticked off.  I bet Rob Bell LOVED it when Piper tweeted that!  I know I would if my goal was to sell books. No such thing as bad press, right?  

      All that is to say, I could give a flip what Piper tweets.  Conservative fundamentalists and liberal fundamentalists delight in poking the other and rallying their base.  (Dont think there are lib fundies?  Go to a UCC or DOC assembly for exhibit A and B).  I can think of nothing better than to say so long John Piper and to all the others who think they have all the answers and think we just fall in line with their tweets!  

      • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

         Wouldn’t say I’m shocked at all. But I do feel a responsibility to call it out as wrong, and to encourage people to action in response. Otherwise we live into the old saying that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

        I know you don’t give him weight, but hundreds of thousands do and his claims should not go by without a response.

        • Geoffrey Mitchell

          Christian,

          I think Piper needs to put that in his John and smoke it. But lot me ask two questions about this that never get talked about:

          1st how should people who believe homosexuality is sin talk about it? That is, folks are not not looking for common ground, just as you are not looking for it either. What should be the rhertic of people who are as convinced it is sin as you are it is not?

          2nd I am coming to believe that people from non-Christian traditions are getting a free pass on their rhertic and action on sexual orientation. I don’t have a long list of links to share, but I see this as the great unspoken.

          • Geoffrey Mitchell

            Folks who do not have common ground on the issue and are not looking for common ground is what I meant. Ie they have discerned and discerned differently!

          • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

             I’d guess most of them don’t frequent my blog :-)

          • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

             On #1. Folks can express that view. And I can express dissent. Piper, however, is claiming because I disagree with him that I’m not a Christian.

            On #2. I agree this is a concern as well, and it can tend to include treatment of women and children poorly in the name of God. But I don’t consider myself immersed in another religion enough to speak as a person of that faith. I’m a Christian, so I speak mainly about Christianity.

      • Anonymous

        Yes! UCC and DOC assembles are full liberal fundamentalists! I went to a DOC church and I got mugged by the pastor’s husband! Thats right, he gave me a coffee mug filled with candy!! IT WAS CRAZY! ;)

        • Guest

          Sounds like rhetoric to me!  Some go to churches and get raped, literally, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good overall example when talking about the faith of an entire demonination.  Your post is full of bigotry. 

        • Christian Piatt

          I think I know that guy…

  • Matt

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr

    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

    Thanks for speaking out Christian?

    Cheers

    Matt

  • Anonymous

    You’re so right, Christian!  We all need to reach out and give of ourselves, let our neighbors know that we care.  One-on-one is the most effective way.  Not preaching, but listening and responding thoughtfully.

  • Frank

    It’s not bigotry to believe (with good reason) that God does not condone homosexual activity.

    • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

       That’s not all the message said. He claims that any church that doesn’t align with his position on this is not Christian/is not a church. That’s bigotry.

      • slaveofchrist

        It’s not Piper’s position, it’s God’s; because it is the truth. look it up. That doesn’t mean hate the LGBTQ, it just means don’t be a hypocrite. If you’re going to be a christian you can’t just ignore the commandments of God that you don’t WANT to obey. Telling someone they’re sinning and that God will punish them is a LOT more loving than telling them to keep sinning by saying what they’re doing isn’t wrong. It IS wrong. I love my Gay friends, but I pray and weep for them all the time.
        All John Piper is saying is that a Christian (if they are a true christian) will continue with God’s help to get rid of the sin in their lives, and if they’re not doing that then they need to ask THEMSELVES whether they’re actually a christian or not. He makes perfect sense. And he is one of the most loving men of God out there.

  • James Langteaux

    Wow Christian, this is a beautifully written blog.  And thank you for including my video.  For the record, I am a follower of the true Christ – the one who loved and served and gave to the very last drop.  I just don’t want to be associated any longer with the Christian brand – which no longer resembles the original.  Gay Conversations with God – actually invites the gay reader to be more like Jesus and offer forgiveness to those who may call themselves Christians but have brought about so much pain, heart ache and ridicule.  And although I don’t claim to have all the answers on the topic, I do know that if my brothers and sisters stop giving God the finger and start giving him their hand, real relationships will develop and authentic love will begin a powerful transformation!  That is exciting! 

  • Ricky

    Why are you so intolerant of John Pipers view?

    • http://www.christianpiatt.com/ Christian Piatt

       I call to account those voices which marginalize, degrade, alienate and relegate others to “less than” status because of who they are. It’s damaging, mean, and not Christ-like.

  • Americaneto

    The fact that you have a “reverend” as your wife, says at all ……Go read your bible please!

  • John Flower

    I hate when People marginalise axe murderers, especially when they’re on the job! We should sit, watch and listen to the cries of their heart while they’re chopping away, and find out why they’re doing what they do.
    And please people, hate on those who do not share views similar to yours. Hate the John Pipers of the world! Heck, hate all the Johns of the world! John Piper, John the Baptist, John Bunyan, John Lennon, John from across the street, John Lee Hooker, John’s buddies Matt, Marky and Lucas.
    Please do as I say, or else you’re from a leftist rightwing Marxist gay hate straight loving splinter group, and most probably on your way to hell, albeit a lovely hell, filled with donuts, cola and KFC.

  • Guest

    dude in the video just wants to hock his book.


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