ohn Piper continues to use his notable Christian influence to encourage believers to stamp out the racial diversity God created, and in particular to promote white genocide by interracial marriage and adoption. He has posted an excerpt from his book Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian in
AntiChristianity Today. The piece is called John Piper: I Was Racist with the tag line, How the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church went from a self-described racist to an adoptive father of an African American.
One of the purposes of his new book, Piper tells us, is to show how the gospel of Jesus Christ has an answer to both racist pride and white guilt. This should be kept in mind as we examine whether Piper has let the true gospel inform his present racial pride and (deformed) white identity.
Piper begins by telling us that his first 18 years were spent in Greenville, South Carolina and form the roots of his “racial burden.” A racial burden, of course, is not a bad thing when one’s heart longs for the survival of his race. But, as we’ll see, Piper’s conclusions about race relationships reveal that his racial burden is a heart that aches over the pesky existence of his own race that can’t be extinguished soon enough.
Piper tells us that the population of South Carolina in 1860 was about 700,000, of which 411,000 were African slaves. He then reminds us, “That’s a mere 150 years ago—only fifty-nine years before my father was born.” How this is relevant to racism is unknown–especially when we’re still awaiting his definition of racism. Next is this tear-jerking paragraph:
Ninety years later, when I was nine years old in Greenville, the enforced segregation was almost absolute: drinking fountains, public restrooms, public schools, public swimming pools, bus seating, housing, restaurants, hospital waiting rooms, dentist waiting rooms, bus station waiting rooms, and—with their own kind of enforcement—churches, including mine. I can tell you from the inside that, for all the rationalized glosses, it was not “separate but equal.” It was not respectful, it was not just, it was not loving, and therefore it was not Christian. It was ugly and demeaning. And, as we will see, because of my complicity I have much to be sorry about.
I have questions. First, is Piper upset at the indignity toward the white man through this enforced segregation? If the black man was equally free to use his initiative to grow and prosper his own communities, why all the fuss? Where were the whites who were upset that they couldn’t pee in the black man’s urinal? The reason for the fuss is that the goal of of equalitarianism is to amalgamate the races, not to make them politically equal. Jacobins like Piper are upset that the facilities were separate, not that they were unequal. Indeed, as Piper will soon witness in his own adopted child, the Negro is not equal to the white man in moral or intellectual capacity, and therefore political equality on the legislative books will never equate to actuated equality in cultural enterprise. Second, I ask which is worse: the enforcement of separate but equal facilities or the enforcement of whites to hire, live among, and fund certain classes against their will? Free association or enforced integration? Third, please tell me how a man who edited an anti-feminist book which repeats the argument that love and equality are defined not by emotion but by God’s law, can claim that something is unChristian because it is “not loving?” What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Piper then emotes that across the town’s racial divide was a black man named Jesse Jackson who was growing up in a flimsy little house on a tiny, grassless, rutted yard enclosed by spindly fences made from scrap wood and wire, and littered by bits of cement and broken bottles. I thought Piper said he had a solution for white guilt? If so, why is he exuding it? The reaction by a sane white man at this description of living quarters is: Clean up your property! The reaction by John Piper is for whites to adopt and marry into those families so that they can fund and perform the clean-up themselves. After all, it’s the white man’s fault. Following Franz Boas’ faulty historical accident theory, Piper’s promotion of interracial marriage and interracial adoption is quite simply the Christian restitution required of us all.
Our worlds were so close and yet so far apart. His mother, Helen, loved the same Christian radio station my mother did—WMUU, the voice of Bob Jones University. But there was a big difference. The very school that broadcast all that Bible truth would not admit blacks. And the large, white Baptist church four miles from Jesse Jackson’s home wouldn’t either. Nor would mine.
I sure hope Johnny had a hanky handy when he wrote this. (See this post and the comments for reasons why defining one’s church membership isn’t sinful.)
This was my hometown.
It was more than that, Mr. Piper–it was something like Christendom, and we long for it again. The separation of the races was the faith of our fathers, the universal practice of Europe and the Church prior to 1960, and the prescriptive and providential will of God. God uses racially distinct families/communities/nations to bring his great salvation to men (Gen. 11:6, Deut. 32:8, Acts 17:26-27), and this separation continues in heaven (Rev. 21:24, 22:2). Therefore, Piper’s gospel cannot possibly be the gospel. The breed of white man that yearns to trample the 5th commandment and terminate his family’s heritage is a novel kind, birthed of cultural Marxism, not the faith once and for all delivered to the saints; such theology comes from “Dr.” King, not the King eternal.
Our fundamental and evangelical schools—and almost every other institution, especially in the South—were committed to segregation.
Precisely because they were committed to the gospel.
I was, in those years, manifestly racist.
As is the case with all who bemoan racism and seek to remold God’s social order into a single unitarian mud pie, Piper repeatedly mentions “racism” without defining it. All we can gather is that the desire to remain racially homogeneous is racist, which means that nearly all the world was guilty of the sin of racism before MLK set it free de jure. It’s now the job of phony pastors like Piper and Wilson to make this liberty de facto.
As a child and a teenager my attitudes and actions assumed the superiority of my race in almost every way without knowing or wanting to know anybody who was black, except Lucy. Lucy came to our house on Saturdays to help my mother clean. I liked Lucy, but the whole structure of the relationship was demeaning. Those who defend the noble spirit of Southern slaveholders by pointing to how nice they were to their slaves, and how deep the affections were, and how they even attended each other’s personal celebrations, seem to be naïve about what makes a relationship degrading.
As I recall, Piper’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood book refuted the notion that subordinate positions have less intrinsic value. But the rules change when the topic shifts to race, where now having a servant who knows her place as servant (Is a wife not to know her place as the husband’s help meet?) is demeaning. Of course, the scriptures say otherwise:
- Righteous Abraham owned slaves and had servants (Gen. 12:5; 16:1/21:9-10; 20:14; 24:2,9,35; Gal. 4:22).
- One of Abraham’s servants, Eliezer, proclaimed that God blessed his master with servants (Gen. 26: 35). Is God demeaning?
- God blessed Isaac with “a great number of servants” (Gen. 26:12-14,19,25,32).
- Jacob had servants (Gen. 30:43; 32:3-5).
- Job, a man who feared God and shunned evil, was really demeaning because he had many servants (Job 1:1-3,13-17; 19:16; 31:13), and that is degrading.
- Boaz had servants (Ruth 2:5,15).
- Wise Solomon acquired servants (1 Kings 9:20-21; Ecc. 2:7).
- Cornelius,who feared God and worked righteousness, had servants (Acts 10:7).
- Philemon owned Onesimus as a slave and yet Paul never rebuked him in a exhortative letter written specifically to him.
- Other first-century believers owned slaves (Eph. 6:9; Colossians 4:1; 1 Tim. 6:2). Yet, God says to treat them with justice in their status as slave (Col. 4:1) and even refers to slave holding members as “saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Collossee” (Col. 1: 2).
- Christ applauds the faith of a slaveholder after healing his slave and thus sanctioning his continued service. (Matt. 8:5013; Luke 7: 2-10).
- Paul reprobates and excludes from communion abolitionists like Piper. Paraphrasing Robert Dabney, in 1 Tim. 6 3-5 Paul exhorts Timothy to give proper moral instruction to servants, which is primarily the duty of subordination to masters, as to rightful authority; and if those masters were also Christians, then the obligation was only the stronger. (v. 1, 2). Paul continues: “If any man teach otherwise [such as abolition doctrine, or that it's demeaning to have a servant], and consent not to whole some words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (Defense of Virginia, p 185-6)
In addition to possessing Divinity and Doctorate degrees in the Bible, Piper seems to have a latter day pipeline into God’s more accurate definitions of “proper” and “demeaning” relationships.
Being nice to, and having strong affections for, and including in our lives is what we do for our dogs too. It doesn’t say much about honor and respect and equality before God.
Nor does social status have any bearing on equality before God. Again, that ontological equality does not necessitate functional equivalence is another salient point made in Piper’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Next is a sob story about how in 1962 Piper’s home church voted not to allow blacks into the services. His mother was the sole voice that voted against the resolution. He praises her (rebellious) decision to invite (black) Lucy’s whole family to visit church one night. When they arrived, his mom overcame the elders who were going to seat the blacks in the balcony, and “by herself took them by the arm and seated them on the main floor of the sanctuary.” Says Piper, “She was, under God, the seed of my salvation in more ways than one.” Because, after all, God wants you to rebel against your elders in a fashion so novel it would make all of prior Christendom turn in its grave.
Piper shares the beginnings of his social Marxist awakening. At an Urbana Missions Conference in December 1967, Piper heard Warren Webster, general director of the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society and former missionary to Pakistan, answer a student’s question during the question and answer period: What if your daughter falls in love with a Pakistani while you’re on the mission field and wants to marry him?
With great forcefulness, Webster said something like: “Better a Christian Pakistani than a godless white American!”
The perceived wrongness of interracial marriage had been for me one of the unshakeable [sic] reasons why segregation was right.
dewakening awakening continued when at seminary he read a 208-page syllabus by Paul Jewett called “Readings in Racial Prejudice.”
These readings were absolutely shocking. I had never seen or heard anything like this in my life…I could not read about the crimes of vicious hatred toward blacks and come away without trembling.
We’re not told what these crimes of vicious hatred toward blacks were, so it is difficult to evaluate the reference. We do know that whites lynched blacks during and after the reconstruction years as an alternative to letting black-on-white rape go unpunished. We also know today that one of the fruits of equality and enforced Civil Rights laws is that in a given year more than 37,000 whites are raped by blacks while less than 10 blacks are raped by whites. If Piper is aware of these shocking crimes, we’re sure he’s not trembling over them but rather explaining them away as the effects of poverty and drugs and stuff.
In Professor Lewis Smedes’ ethics class, Piper finally faced head-on the biblical question of interracial marriage He did a research project and wrote a paper called “The Ethics of Interracial Marriage.” In the margin of the paper on which Piper received an A-, the professor wrote:
This is a tough question, I think, especially at the present . It is extremely hard to see the positive effect of specific interracial marriages. Perhaps Black identity stress at present makes the positive effect of interracial marriage even less clear. I suspect we are left, for the present, with the burden of destroying discrimination while accepting the minimal of interracial marriage whose goodness has to be evaluated in terms of expediencies rather than absolute moral principles.
Though Piper wasn’t happy with Smedes’ “hesitancy to give a wholehearted affirmation to the goodness of interracial marriage,” he gives the professor a pass for rooting his position “in his desire not to minimize the struggle for the intrinsic worth of authentic black identity.” But Piper is clear on his own take:
That biblical study of interracial marriage that I did in seminary was for me a settling of the matter. I have not gone back from what I saw there. The Bible does not oppose or forbid interracial marriages but sees them as a positive good for the glory of Christ.
The next three paragraphs under the heading “In the shadow of Dachau” are really irrelevant to Piper’s own recovery from racism, but they afforded a nice opportunity to a) join homosexuals, liberals, communists, Jews, and every other anti-Christ in denouncing Hitler and Nazis as the paradigm of evil racism, and b) to irrationally connect a biblical love for near and extended family (kinism) with the view that whites are the “master” race who must conquer all others. About his visit to the infamous concentration camp, he writes:
Barbed wire, barrack rows, triple-decker trough beds, cremation furnaces and hanging rooms, the ostensible shower rooms—they are all there. This was the witness to the belief in the evolutionary superiority of an Aryan “master race.” Living in the literal and figurative shadow of such horrific effects of racism solidified the merciful reorientation of my mind.
Piper then boasts that from his self-righteous study window he can see the ethnic breakdown of his neighborhood, which is 24.6 percent Caucasian, 29 percent African American, 22 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Native American, 5.9 percent Asian, 7.4 percent other. How sweet, but we think he can do better. Why not migrate a few miles up the road to the infamous Near North Minneapolis which is 58 percent black and 12 percent white. Speaking of neighborhood demographics, I bet I know which of the three Bethlehem church locations Piper preaches from:
- 5151 Program Ave (73 percent White; 7 percent Black; 8 percent Hispanic)
- 501 Hwy 13 E #110 (71 percent White; 11 percent Black; 12 Hispanic)
- 720 13th Ave S (52 percent White; 34 percent Black; 3.5 percent Hispanic)
Piper claims that adopting a negress at age 50 was the answer to his wife’s prayer for a daughter, as well as the result of their taking long walks together “seeking the Lord.”
Nothing binds a pastor’s heart to diversity more than having it in his home. That was over fifteen years ago. In those years, we have tried to pursue as a church a deeper and wider racial and ethnic diversity and harmony.
Name one wicked “Christian” teaching that wasn’t discovered by “seeking the Lord”? By the way, I wonder if Piper was incensed at the (racist) higher prices of white kids and consequently offered the same amount for his purchase?
Had Piper instead sought the scriptures, he would have discovered that the only situation in which God countenances a foreign family member is when he/she is a servant, either bought (Lev 25:45), captured in war (Deut. 21:10-14; cf. 20:14), or inherited (Lev 25:46). And since the inheritance of one tribe could not be transferred to another (Num. 27: 1-11; cf. Num 36: 1-2), it stands to reason that a interracial foreigner cannot inherit.  This doesn’t matter to the Gospel according to Piper.
He would have also discerned that interracial adoption, like interracial marriage, arrogantly redefines the borders that God has established (Gen. 11:6; Deut. 32:8; Numbers 34: 1 ff.; Acts 17:26-27) and the ancient landmarks that our fathers have set (Proverbs 22:28; Deut. 19:14; Deut. 27:17). Such a practice implies that nations are borderless and bloodless, and suggests a telos of one race under a one-world government. This doesn’t matter to the Gospel according to Piper.
Had he reflected upon a little practical wisdom he would have discovered that many blacks don’t approve of whites adopting blacks. They think it psychologically harms the children, robbing them from their racial identity and the very meaningful value of having parents that look like them. Indeed, according to one study, transracial adoptees were at least 2 to 3 times more likely to have serious psychiatric and social maladjustment problems than their siblings and the general population. Not that it matters to the Gospel according to Piper, but consider anecdotes like this one:
The older I get, the more I realize I can’t avoid being Korean. Every time I look into the mirror, I am Korean. When I look at family pictures, I feel that I stand out. I guess it shouldn’t bother me, but sometimes it does. Even though I may seem very American …I want to be distinctly Korean. I know I’m not in terms of having all the Korean traditions, but I don’t want people to see me and say, “Because she grew up in a Caucasian family, and because she is very Americanized, she’s white.” That’s not what I want anymore. ~Janine Bishop
Just as you can’t completely amend racial-intellectual capacities (also here, here, here, and here) or fully nurture away racial-moral proclivities, you can’t trick a black child from eventually noticing and yearning for his race. What else would we expect, for example, if an Englishman were to adopt into his family a black child who is 109 times less related to him than a Dane is?
I am not writing this book as a successful multiethnic leader. I am not successful…I write because of truth I see in the Scriptures, convictions I have in my mind, and longings I feel in my heart.
His scriptural case is embarrassing, his mind is misguided, and his heart is irrelevant. If the ethic behind a conviction or feeling is morally right, it must be right for everyone within a similar situation using the same application. But universalizing interracial marriage or adoption would inevitably destroy God’s ordained racial diversity. And if that happened, the Pipers of the world could adopt no more blacks to propitiate for their sin of being white; and they would search in vain for homogeneous white families to nauseate with white guilt. But then again, there would be no more white Pipers and no more white guilt, for all has been made (a tannish) new.
I believe that the gospel…is our only hope for the kind of racial diversity and harmony that ultimately matters. If we abandon the fullness of the gospel to make racial and ethnic diversity quicker or easier, we create a mere shadow of the kingdom, an imitation. And we lose the one thing that can bring about Christ-exalting diversity and harmony.
Here we agree with Piper that it is the gospel which defines the only kind of racial diversity and harmony that matters. But that gospel is Trinitarian, not Unitarian which is the implied social model of Piper’s theology and practice. Transracial families yield more transracial families until they finally yield one homogeneous mass devoid of the former racial diversity that God assigned. But Christ-exalting diversity and harmony come from obeying the triune model in which the one and many are equally ultimate and the one does not swallow the many. Just as the one faith didn’t erase the many tribes in the old economy, so too in the new administration the many races may equally worship the one true God.
But Piper and other pastors who promote racial genocide ultimately think that the gospel annuls the right and duty of tribes to preserve their existence and health. Not only does their view rescind what God once prescribed, but it makes what was once moral now immoral, not simply unnecessary. For Piper, it must be that our forefathers who practiced the Trinitarian model of race relationships were either ignorant or bigotted. But since we know that their practice was theologically informed, Piper’s judgment is itself a form of ignorant bigotry.
While transracial families are growing among Christians, the overwhelming majority of Spirit-filled believers today are making the natural, homogeneous choice of their racist fathers. But if interracial marriage and adoption is natural: a) why the need for Piper and others to promote it? and b) are we to believe the Spirit has failed to sanctify the church from its existence? How is the new covenant better (Heb. 8:6) if it is one of racial cleansing? Yet another question that doesn’t matter to the Gospel according to Piper.
Contrary to his intentions, Piper failed to deliver the cure for white guilt as his call for a more diverse church can only increase it when issued to a largely segregated institution. He also failed to show how his gospel can cure racism as it in fact necessitates a fated extinction of the diversity he so prizes. Even more ironic is that whereas Piper used his “racist mouth” against blacks as a boy, now as man he uses his ministry against all races, and is thus still a racist.
-  Race and Reason See p. 9 ff for a refutation of Boas’ theory.) ↩
-  Another good article to read about such things is First Word’s “The Prima Facie Case for Holocaust Research” ↩
-  Even though Abraham’s desire to adopt Eliezer of Damascus in Gen. 15 was hypothetical and not prescriptive, I take him to be a foreign brother a la Leviticus 25:35-37. ↩