John Piper on Preparing for Nuclear Doomsday: Death Is Not the Worst Danger, Christ Is True Shelter

(Photo: Screenshot/DesiringGod)Theologian John Piper explains what it means to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Christian author and Reformed theologian John Piper has warned that as some prepare for the dangers of a nuclear doomsday due to North Korea, they need to remember that Jesus is the one true shelter.

Piper said on his desiringGod.com website on Friday that the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea is prompting some Christians to wonder how they can prepare in the event of a disaster.

He insisted, however, that believers need to remember that dangers and risks are "normal for the Christian life, not exceptional."

Piper pointed out that scores of Christians throughout the Bible, such as Paul, faced great dangers and suffering, but chose to find refuge in Christ's promise of a heavenly kingdom.

"Major efforts at self-preservation are inevitably going to obscure to the world the basic message of Jesus — namely, Matthew 16:24–25: 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it," he said.

The preacher warned against devoting much effort and money on creating an earthly refuge. He also said that while Scripture allows believers to flee or to stand and suffer when danger comes, Americans do not need "more encouragement to flee."

"So when it comes to what I want to emphasize (what I'm doing right now), I preach stay," he stated.

"Pastorally and prophetically, flee is just not the need of the hour. I don't think we need to encourage Americans, saying, 'Oh, you really should stop being so risky. You really should stop suffering so much. You really should stop so much self-sacrifice. Let's all be more self-protective in our bunkers.' I think pastorally and prophetically the need is almost entirely in the other direction."

The theologian warned that giving the impression that death is the worst thing that can happen to a believer "misrepresents the value of Christ."

"If we are really doing all our self-preservation out of love, what about the people who are going to die eternally for lack of the gospel? Are we taking the same steps as seriously to preserve them for eternity? Bottom line: How can we make Christ look like he really is — the supreme treasure of our lives?" he challenged Christians.

Several other big name pastors, such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California, have also noted that people have great fears on their mind.

"We had Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma. Some have called the latest, 'Irmageddon.' Add to this, we have new threats almost every day from the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, to destroy us with nuclear weapons," Laurie wrote on Wednesday.

"Why is God allowing all of this to happen?" he asked, before exploring the different ways God may be trying to get people's attention.

Best-selling author and preacher Max Lucado of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, said in October that the threat of North Korea and various other disasters affecting the world today are causing heavy anxiety in a lot of people.

"Where can we turn? First of all, don't beat yourself up. Don't feel anxious about being anxious. We all worry at times. Even Jesus experienced anxiety. The night before his crucifixion, he was filled with dread. I think we can take our cue from him. When Jesus felt anxious he turned to prayer," Lucado wrote.

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