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Christian Leaders React to John Piper’s Thoughts on His ‘Hero’ Who Owned Slaves

Christian Leaders Dismayed by John Piper’s ‘Approach’

Several Christian leaders see a variety of problems with John Piper’s tone and conclusions about Edwards.

“The problem with this approach,” said Bradley, is “it gives the impression that Edwards was infallible & his teachings are inerrant in need of defense.” Said the professor, “This sentence is shocking: ‘I do not know whether Edwards purchased the 14-year-old Venus to rescue her from abuse.’ We have accounts of Edwards commenting on beating Venus.”

Reformed evangelicals have a serious ‘I follow Apollos’ problem,” said Bradley. “Why can’t John Piper admit that JE has theological flaws? Why can’t he admit that the noetic effects of sin affected JE? If you believe in ‘total depravity’ then ‘wishful thinking’ is totally & biblically unwarranted and seems a bit semi-Pelagianism.” Doesn’t it?”

RELATED: Piper’s Former Church Faces Spate of Resignations Amid Claims of Toxicity, Abuse of Power

“All we have we wanted from the ruling class of white evangelism [sic] is an emphatic declaration that chattel slavery is an abomination, without any ifs, ands, buts, or whatabouts,” tweeted David Bumgardner, a minister at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. “The fact that this has not been resoundingly clear is an indictment on our leadership. Lord, have mercy!”

Bumgardner also responded on Aug. 16 with an article describing his journey of being impacted by Piper’s works and explaining his decision to “bid him farewell.” He and others see a connection between Piper’s views on Edwards and statements he has made that encourage the abuse of women.

Dwight McKissic, Cornerstone’s senior pastor, retweeted a thread from Timothy Isaiah Cho and drew a connection between Piper and the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) sexual abuse crisis: “Rather than accept the reality that his hero was a moral monster & child abuser, Piper would rather fantasize that his hero did these things for benevolent reasons. If the SBC covers up the abuse in our midst, in the name of ‘protecting the base,’ we’re also moral monsters.”

Cho, who is associate editor at Faithfully magazine, said, “This recent article by a leading voice in the broadly Reformed world is well within what I’ve come to expect in these circles when a Reformed ‘hero’ is discovered to be gravely on the side of injustice.” Cho went on to list nine “steps” that he sees as common reactions among Reformed believers.

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.