Oh, that John Piper…

Sorry if you are a fan of his, but I have to take issue with something he recently tweeted:

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A friend on Facebook alerted me to it, and linked to the following discussion of the tweet. I felt compelled to weigh in with two comments:

The topic of rape, in my opinion, does not lend itself well to sound bites and tweets. I have no idea if this tweet of John Piper had any sort of context or if it just appeared willy-nilly out of thin air — but that is the very problem of Twitter in general. John Piper spends far more time there than I do, and one would think a pastor/teacher of his reputation would know better than that. Well, I keep thinking that and getting disappointed, and maybe someday I’ll wake up, smell the coffee, and simply say, whether it’s him or others of his ilk, “That wasn’t surprising—he often says things like that. That’s just the way he is.”

In the meantime, since I am not fully conversant with Piper-speak, only tending to run across him when he’s spread some other doozy all over the Internet, I am left trying to stay charitable while puzzling out his meaning. It seems to me as if he is saying, with the words “united in sin” and “two distinct forms”, that rape is the male version and seduction the female version of the same sin. Perhaps he refuses to believe that women can rape since there is no such thing recorded in Scripture. But the Bible does describe men seducing women AND it makes a clear distinction between rape and seduction.

I am tempted to say something disparaging about celebrity preachers and their lack of scholarship. (I’m a preacher’s kid whose father set the bar very high in that regard, and it has taken me years to stop getting dismayed and annoyed that few people take Scripture as seriously as he does.) But instead, I think I’ll make this observation: when it comes to the topic of rape, most men simply don’t get it.

The blog author had used a definition of the word “seduce” that referred to coffee, which inspired me to add the following:

An addendum: Coffee is extremely seductive to me. When I am at my weakest, it sometimes seeks me out, like a smooth-talking cad, luring me in sensuously, promising me unspeakable pleasures and delight. Were coffee-drinking a sin, I could try to avoid its siren calls and delicious scent. If forced to be around it, I could pray for strength to avoid its enticements. I could apply the Biblical admonitions regarding how to resist temptation. It would be silly for me to frequent coffee houses and surround myself with cups of coffee.

The Bible contains advice on how to avoid falling for seducers. That’s because, no matter how overwhelming seduction might feel, we always make a choice to allow ourselves to be seduced. We don’t say no. Instead, we say yes. The Bible does not tell us how to avoid falling for rapists. There is a definite distinction.

I drink coffee willingly. Yes, I was enticed, but I am not a victim of coffee. Coffee has never forced itself on me against my will.

For a seduction to succeed, it requires two willing participants, both of whom have sinned. Rape, by definition, has only one willing participant (unless there is more than one rapist) and he is the only one who has sinned.

Very different sins.

If John Piper is a man of integrity with a high view of Scripture, we can expect, very soon, a profound apology and correction.

Call me cynical, but I’m not holding my breath. John Piper has deleted his tweet, although as of yet without explanation, so perhaps I should try to be satisfied with that.

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