“This article is probably as close as you will get to an answer on how I will vote in the upcoming presidential election,” Piper writes in an article titled Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin: Pondering the implications of the 2020 election.
He explains he did not write the lengthy post to dictate how someone should vote, as he does not mention either candidate’s names throughout the entire piece, but his desire is to bring light to a neglected perspective that sways how he votes.
He used the word baffled when explaining how he feels about why so many Christians “consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only toxic for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as deadly.” Piper explains why he chose to include the Greek words for these toxic sins:
The reason I put those Greek words in parentheses is to give a graphic reminder that these are sins mentioned in the New Testament. To be more specific, they are sins that destroy people. They are not just deadly. They are deadly forever. They lead to eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9). They destroy persons (Acts 12:20–23). And through persons, they destroy nations (Jeremiah 48:29–31, 42).
Piper wants to “raise the stakes,” as he puts it, on the leadership that is modeled before us. Public behaviors that can lead to death are not something to be treated lightly, he says.
He makes the argument that it’s a “drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person.” Piper uses 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 15:33, 2 Timothy 2:16-17, and 1 Kings 14:16 to explain his biblical viewpoint. He states that for the last five years our society has been witness to this type of infection by saying, “Flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, and factiousness are not only self-incriminating; they are nation-corrupting.”
Piper Is Baffled That Christians Place Policies Over Character
“Christians communicate a falsehood to unbelievers (who are also baffled),” Piper says, “when we act as if policies and laws that protect life and freedom are more precious than being a certain kind of person.” Piper asserts that Christians communicate this falsehood year after year, and the church is paying for it. Although he doesn’t mention names, Piper alludes to the evangelical church’s (sometimes ostentatious) support of President Trump:
I find it bewildering that Christians can be so sure that greater damage will be done by bad judges, bad laws, and bad policies than is being done by the culture-infecting spread of the gangrene of sinful self-exaltation, and boasting, and strife-stirring (eristikos).
Piper Says Self Pride Is as Destructive as Pro-Abortion Policies
Piper is against abortion, and believes Roe vs. Wade is an evil decision. He calls Planned Parenthood a code name for baby-killing and ethnic cleansing, but he says, “I think it is baffling and presumptuous to assume that pro-abortion policies kill more people than a culture-saturating, pro-self pride.”
Piper asserts that a nation’s destruction comes from a self-absorbed, self-exalting boastful leader, more than we could ever imagine. Piper states that only a naive person would think a man who displays character traits that lead to death could also be pro-life.
Piper’s current views are consistent with his views during the last election. On the day of President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, John Piper wrote How to Live Under an Unqualified President. He stated then that he believed that Donald Trump was morally unqualified to be president and gave a list of reasons of why he thought so.
Piper Asks, “Has Your Preaching Developed Real, Radical Christians?”
In closing, the veteran pastor asked other pastors to reflect and think about imagining the collapse of the America they know. Painting the picture of a place where Christians will be fined, put in prison, exiled, and killed for what they believe, he asks the question, “Has my preaching been developing real, radical Christians?”
Radical Christians, he defines, as those who will rejoice in the face of persecution and not waiver when their faith is tested. Piper asked another question, “Or have you neglected these greatest of all realities and repeatedly diverted their attention onto the strategies of politics?” He expressed that one can inadvertently create a mindset that saving America is the most important issue in life instead of exalting Christ with or without the comforts and liberties America gives.
“My Way Need Not Be Yours,” Piper Says
Piper explains that his calling is not to tell someone who to vote for but to lead people to see Jesus Christ. He feels that casting a vote for either candidate is endorsing devastation, and he expresses that he and only he will account for who he votes for:
With a cheerful smile, I will explain to my unbelieving neighbor why my allegiance to Jesus set me at odds with death — death by abortion and death by arrogance. I will take him to Psalm 139 and Romans 1. And if he is willing, I will show him how abortion and arrogance can be forgiven because of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). And I will invite him to become an exile — to have a kingdom that will never be shaken, not even when America is a footnote in the archives of the new creation.
In a 2010 LifeWay Research survey, protestant pastors named John Piper as one of the ten most influential living pastors in the United States. Piper has written over 50 books, including the bestselling titles Desiring God Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, Don’t Waste Your Life, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, The Supremacy of God in Preaching, and many more.
You can read Piper’s entire article here.
Al Mohler, another prominent Christian leader, has expressed a divergent view from Piper’s. You can read more here: Evangelical Leaders React to Mohler Supporting Trump.