All of that to say that I identify with a tradition of straight-taking, tough-minded Calvinists that do not view the world through rose-colored, liberal glasses. We are the guys that gifted the fledgling USA with republican government, with its separation of powers and a graded system of courts. King George III of England referred to the American Revolution as a “Presbyterian War.” In 1776, the Prime Minister of England Horace Walpole, upon hearing the news of colonial rebellion, said, “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson!” He was referring to the intellectual powerhouse behind the framers of the Constitution—John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister and college professor. The Presbyterian system is a brutally honest approach to governing that arises from a keen sense of the propensity of governments—actually government officials—to go bad quickly.
Presbyterians are also "whole-Bible" Christians. We take the law of God seriously. The God of the "Old Testament" is not some different, primitive, cruel deity, but the pre-incarnate Son of God. Jesus was Yahweh in the flesh. Regrettably, many American evangelicals consider themselves "New Testament" Christians. And by that they often mean that they come close to being pacifists, believe that "love" is something new since Jesus, think that being heavenly means being above the things of this world like business, law, justice, and government. That's just too messy, they say—Old Testament stuff. We're too heavenly minded for all that. We'll leave the world to others. Getting saved and going to heaven is all that really matters. Stuff like that.
But we Presbyterians believe that the Kingdom of God includes all of life. That Jesus is king not just over individual Christians in their private religious lives, but he has authority over every dimension of human existence—individual, family, work, church, government, and more. We like whiskey and use wine in communion, not wimpy grape juice. We believe Christians are called to serve the world by being faithful in their vocations, whether they be soldiers, policeman, fathers, teachers, professors, plumbers, etc. We also believe that humanity is fallen and the world is full of evil-minded people bent on self-centered domination of others. We pray for divine justice against evildoers like abortionists and terrorists. We support civil magistrates when they minister the wrath of God against evildoers with lethal force and capital punishment (Romans 13). We sing all 150 Psalms and that includes petitions that God would judge the wicked and deliver the oppressed (see Psalm 109, for example).
This is cask-strength, peaty Christianity and not some watered down, sentimental feminized brand of American Evangelical religion. Presbyterians don't gather on Sunday for worship and act like a bunch of high school girls at a rock concert, swaying this way and that, and singing syrupy pop Christian jingles with lyrics like "Jesus is my boyfriend and I love him so much." We sing Psalms and hymns. When we gather for worship we kneel to confess our sins, stand to receive the forgiveness of sins, and then at the end face forward to receive our marching orders from our Commander about how we are to "overcome evil with good" in our daily lives and make disciples of all the nations.
So where am I going with all of this? And what does this have to do with my shooting blog? Well, this:
What do we say to this? It's wrong on so many levels. It's pitiful and painful to watch and listen to. Piper has some good things to say about a lot of other theological issues. But on this issue he's talking pious nonsense and worse. So what exactly is wrong with Piper's pious opinions here? Let me write a list:
• his use of missionary martyrdom to draw conclusions about self-defense in non-missionary situationsOkay. There. I said what I needed to say.
• his thinking that it's just peachy for the government and the police to have all the guns
• his unbelievable notion that you don't want to kill someone unless you know they are going to heaven. News flash: the guys who are going to rape your daughter or threaten your life in your own home have forfeited their right to live. Period. God sorts out their future in the afterlife
• his womanly hesitation about defending his daughter with lethal force
• his ignorance of what is required when confronting an evil threat. The very idea that shooting a warning shot, or aiming at someone's leg, or hitting them with the gun is even remotely effective.
• his pretending he doesn't know what amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms
• his restricting the purpose of guns in the hands of private citizens to hunting
• his ignorant notion that the Supreme Court made some sort of novel ruling re: private citizens having the right to own guns in their home
• his acting like a weak woman and refusing to own up to the masculine duty of guarding and defending life with lethal force