Christian preacher and author John Piper is one of the few conservative Christian figures who doesn’t have glowing reviews of Donald Trump.
In 2016, Piper said both Trump and Hillary Clinton should “withdraw” from the race. Hardly a useful take. But his latest editorial for the website Desiring God explains how his voting process this year hasn’t changed.
Piper doesn’t say who he’s voting for… but he offers criticisms of Trump that many other conservative pastors refuse to admit:
This article is probably as close as you will get to an answer on how I will vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Right. Only God knows what may happen in the next days.
Actually, this is a long-overdue article attempting to explain why I remain baffled that 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.
So far, he’s right on the nose. The same Christians extolling Trump’s so-called “virtues” also derided Bill Clinton for his sexual sins. After this term, they have lost all rights to claim that “character counts” when it comes to choosing future leaders. For them, political power meant more than basic integrity, let alone faithfulness to Christian values.
Piper goes on to say (rightly, I must admit) that endorsing certain policies does not matter more than being a certain kind of person. In other words, it’s hypocritical of Christians to support Trump due to his promotion of certain social policies if they are not also committed to promoting positive social values in their own lives. That, more than anything, Piper says, is what has the power to change a culture and a society for the better.
But after that — it is John Piper, after all — it all goes south:
Where does the wickedness of defending child-killing come from? It comes from hearts of self-absorbed arrogance and boasting… It comes from hearts that are insubordinate to God. In other words, it comes from the very character that so many Christian leaders are treating as comparatively innocuous, because they think Roe and SCOTUS and Planned Parenthood are more pivotal, more decisive, battlegrounds.
I think Roe is an evil decision. I think Planned Parenthood is a code name for baby-killing and (historically at least) ethnic cleansing. And I think it is baffling and presumptuous to assume that pro-abortion policies kill more people than a culture-saturating, pro-self pride.
Most people likely wouldn’t consider abortion a good thing, even if, in some cases, it’s a necessary thing. The demand for abortion means that a pregnancy is unwanted for reasons that are both personal and private. But like many other conservative preachers, Piper can’t resist making abortion out to be the worst societal evil there is — more so, apparently, than separating refugee families at the border, or locking kids in cages, and watching people died while in ICE custody. Affordable health care for everyone is also an issue that doesn’t seem to concern Piper.
He fails to talk about why those are not pro-life issues that deserve our attention. He’s only “pro-life” until birth — or at least that’s what it looks like in this article. What’s more, he fails to elaborate on social policies of both political parties that work to increase or decrease the demand for abortion — something that could help sway many people who are still on the fence with their vote.
In short, Piper tried to answer the simplest moral question of our time… and failed.
I can’t say I had high hopes for Piper, who once told an abused wife that she should endure being smacked around “for a season.” Assuming he has the good sense not to vote for Trump, great. But by painting a caricature of what Democrats actually stand for, he may incidentally push his followers to vote for Trump anyway.