The humanistic state needs chaplains. Its most effective chaplains in the United States are recruited from the ranks of the evangelical Protestants.
I wrote about this in 1980, although I used Great Britain’s leading evangelical as the model. I republished that essay earlier this month: “Humanism’s Chaplains.” The timing could not have been better.
John Piper, a widely respected Baptist theologian/pastor, recently wrote an article favoring unarmed Christians (and only Christians): “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” His answer was “no.” The Washington Post immediately picked it up, for good reason. The new headline: “John Piper: Why I disagree with Jerry Falwell Jr. on Christians and guns.” The Washington Post is, along with The New York Times, one of America’s two premier news outlets for liberal humanism. Inside the Washington Beltway, it is #1.
He begins the article as follows:
The issue is not primarily about when and if a Christian may ever use force in self-defense, or the defense of one’s family or friends.
On the contrary, this is exactly what the debate is about. Rev. Falwell understands this. The parents who send their children to Liberty University — the largest evangelical university in the world — also understand this.
“NEW TESTAMENT ONLY” CHRISTIANITY
Piper, a “New Testament only” theologian, does not bother to explain this passage: “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him” (Exodus 22:3, ESV). The language is too clear.
Then what of Jesus’ words?
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough (Luke 22:35-38, KJV).
Well, Rev. Piper just doesn’t think they are to be taken literally. Rev. Falwell does.
I do not think that Jesus meant in Verse 36 that his disciples were to henceforth be an armed band of preachers ready to use violence to defend themselves from persecution. Jerry Falwell Jr. said in his clarifying remarks on Dec. 9: “It just boggles my mind that anybody would be against what Jesus told his disciples in Luke 22:36. He told them if they had to sell their coat to buy a sword to do it because he knew danger was coming, and he wanted them to defend themselves.”
What are Rev. Piper’s reasons? The usual refrain for theologians facing an inconvenient text: “It is all symbolic! It is all figurative! It cannot possibly mean what it obviously says!”
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)