John Piper warns Trump's 'deadly' behavior will lead to 'destruction' in blistering post

Theologian John Piper gives a sermon at Passion 2020 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 1, 2020.
Theologian John Piper gives a sermon at Passion 2020 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 1, 2020. | Passion/Garrett Lobaugh

John Piper has issued a blistering condemnation of President Donald Trump, warning Christian voters that the president's “deadly behavior” will lead the U.S. to “destruction of more kinds than we can imagine.”

On Thursday, the influential pastor and writer published what he referred to as a “long-overdue” blog post in which he pondered the implications of the 2020 election. 

Without mentioning Trump by name, Piper said he is “baffled” over the fact that many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality, boastfulness, vulgarity, factiousness, 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.”

Piper, who pastored Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for almost 33 years, reminded Christians that "it is not a small thing to treat lightly a pattern of public behaviors that lead to death."

He pointed out that all of these sins are mentioned in the Bible and are “deadly” enough to destroy people and entire nations. 

“I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person,” he wrote. “This is true not only because flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures.”

“The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society.”

Piper questioned why some Christians seem to be sure they are “saving human lives and freedoms” by ignoring the destructive effects of a “self-absorbed, self-exalting” leader. 

He suggested that when Christians “act as if policies and laws that protect life and freedom are more precious than being a certain kind of person,” they are detracting from the message of the Gospel.

“The church is paying dearly, and will continue to pay, for our communicating this falsehood year after year,” he said. 

Stressing that there is “a character connection between rulers and subjects,” Piper cautioned that when a leader models “self-absorbed, self-exalting boastfulness, he models the most deadly behavior in the world.”

“He points his nation to destruction. Destruction of more kinds than we can imagine,” he emphasized. 

Piper acknowledged there is “devastation” on both sides of the aisle. Still, the pastor said he’s willing to vote for a “non-Christian” if he sees there to be enough overlap between the “visible outworking of his character and convictions” and biblical teachings. 

“I will not develop some calculus to determine which path of destruction I will support. That is not my duty. My calling is to lead people to see Jesus Christ, trust his forgiveness for sins, treasure him above everything in this world, live in a way that shows his all-satisfying value, and help them make it to heaven with love and holiness. That calling is contradicted by supporting either pathway to cultural corruption and eternal ruin.”

After publishing the article, Piper posted on Twitter that he "won’t be voting for Biden or Trump."

"That choice to 'write in' is relatively unimportant. But the reasoning really matters," he tweeted.

"When I consider the remote possibility that I might do any good by endorsing the devastation already evident in the two choices before me, I am loath to undermine my calling (and the church’s mission) to stand for Christ-exalting faith and hope and love," he wrote.

"I will be asked to give an account of my devotion to this life-giving calling. The world will ask. And the Lord of heaven will ask. And my conscience will ask. What will I say? With a cheerful smile, I will explain to my unbelieving neighbor why my allegiance to Jesus set me at odds with death — death by abortion and death by arrogance." 

While some polls have shown the president’s support slipping with white evangelicals, a poll from Pew Research Center taken last month showed that 82% of white evangelicals planned to vote for Trump.

This is not the first time Piper has spoken out against Trump; in 2016, he argued Trump was “morally unqualified” for the office, citing his “immoral behavior in the past, and his ongoing unwillingness to renounce it as evil.”

“The linking of the Christian church with the ruling political regime has more often proven to corrupt the essential spirit of Christ,” he wrote at the time. 

In January, he warned Christians against loving patriotism more than Christ, stressing that such affections should only exist “up to a point” and that Christians should “never give them absolute allegiance.”

“Never feel more attached to your fatherland or your tribe or your family or your ethnicity than you do to the people of Christ,” he wrote. 

Piper bemoaned the “many horrible indignities” that have occurred because Christians failed to realize that “we are more bound together with other believers — no matter their ethnicity or their political alignments or their nationality — than we are to anybody in our own fatherland.”

“In the end, Christ has relativized all human allegiances, all human loves. Keeping Christ supreme in our affections makes all our lesser loves better, not worse.”

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