Saturday, January 17, 2009

Piper: How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation

I have not posted much on the Presidential transition of power or the inauguration of President Elect Obama not because I'm not interested, but not well enough informed. I don't know most of the people who have been appointed to cabinet posts but most seem pleased with what he has done. I do think he has done a good job of tempering expectations - something every president elect must do or else disappoint supporters grievously.

I was, however, dismayed to see who Obama had asked to deliver the invocation at the inauguration kick off (not the actual inauguration event - Rick Warren is doing that - which is a different type of disappointment). Here's Piper's thought on it, and just a warning, they are harsh.

"At Barack Obama’s request, tomorrow in the Lincoln Memorial, Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation for the inauguration kick-off.

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.

The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

One more time: The issue here is not that presidents may need to tolerate things they don’t approve of. The issue is this: In linking the Christian ministry to the approval of homosexual activity, Christ is made a minister of condemnation."


Now my turn - I agree in substance with Piper, though I think he should be harder on the church and not as harsh on President Elect Obama. It's the church's job to lead and keep itself morally upright, not the secular state. Certainly Obama doesn't earn points in my book for selecting the gay bishop, but I have not come to expect much by way of moral leading or religious wisdom from the President. Obama is doing what successful Presidents do - trying to keep as many people who elected them happy as possible!

4 comments:

seg said...

"make christ a minister of condemnation"? really piper? this is just stupid. perhaps john's a little miffed at not receiving an invitation ...

Dan Waugh said...

while I don't like questioning motives, it doesn't sit as right with me either. The title is nonsensical to me. I'm appalled at the church for tolerating this, but why does a secular institutions approval of this apostasy surprise us or make the apostasy worse. It's not Obama who's linking Christian ministry with this sin, it's the apostate church!

seg said...

Yeah, honestly I don't really care about the motives.

And, even "the issue" doesn't stand out to me either ... we could be talking about anything, any sin issue...

It's that Piper asserts that Obama has the *authority* to "make Christ a minister of condemnation". What???

Who has that authority? Can the church even be a minister of condemnation? How? What does that even mean? Who is a minister of condemnation?

seg said...

(rhetorical questions, by the way)