“So, all physical ugliness and deformity and misery points to the moral ugliness and deformity of sin and Satan,” Piper went on to say. Attempting to end his remarks on a note of hope, Piper said, “Christ is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, especially in our temporary ugliness.”
Piper’s Response Sparks Criticism
Piper’s theology of physical ugliness sparked a number of critical responses, particularly for the way he included people with physical disabilities into his discussion about unattractiveness.
Some responses were satirical in nature. One Twitter user said, “‘I groan because I know I’m being asked to speak to a sorrow that I’ve never tasted.’ Did… did Pastor John just humblebrag?”
“‘Your mama so ugly, God made her a picture of sin on this earth.’ — Young @JohnPiper probably,” another tweeted. Jason Deuck said, “John Piper finally getting to the theology of ‘you ain’t got no alibi’ huh?”
Other responses were more sincere in their critique of Piper’s statements. Erin Harding tweeted, “I really wish John Piper would try and tell me that my daughter was created disabled to be a visible representation of sin on this planet. The visible representation of sin comes from the eyes of those who consider her less than because she doesn’t meet a subjective standard.”
“I’m not a hot take guy. But as the parent of a child with a limb difference I want to add a thought to the conversation,” said Josh Reavis. “If we believe that God forms every person into his image (Jer. 1:5; Ps. 139:13-14) then there is no such thing as deformity.”
Another said, “‘God made you look this way so that people would have a visible symbol of how ugly sin is.’ Honestly, this is vile theology.”
“In which John Piper describes fellow humans created in the image of God as ‘hideous,’ and bemoans that he can’t relate with people that have been called ugly,” tweeted Lauren Chastain. “Please. I beg you. Make it stop.”
Another said, “I guess Piper never considered that maybe we are sinners and have created a view of attractiveness that’s based on a human-standard, not a God-standard? I doubt God has a scale of beautiful-to-ugly (unless it is in relation to the ‘beauty’ of someone’s spirit).”
You can listen to the full episode of “Ask Pastor John” here.