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John Piper NPC meme Christian Nationalism

John Piper vs Christian Nationalism

John Piper is one of the most influential pastors in the United States. In recent decades, this influence has been to the detriment to the church, as he has gone woke and is soft on pressing cultural issues. The last time we reported on John Piper was when he peddled the unsafe and ineffective Covid jabs. Yet Piper will take a bold stance against role playing in marital relations. Most recently, John Piper has emerged on the issue of Christian Nationalism to say that it is incompatible with historic Baptist teachings and not worth pursuing.

Dr. Joe Rigney was a professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary, where Piper serves as Chancellor. He was recently on a livestream with postmil theonomist, Joel Webbon, which is a good indication that he is also supportive of the Christian Nationalist cause. This week it would turn out that he has switched sides and gone over to the Presbyterians.

Bethlehem College and Seminary released a statement on the amicable split between Joe Rigney and Desiring God’s seminary. Note: Desiring God is a larger platform than The Gospel Coalition. In it they discuss the three reasons that Rigney was no longer a fit.

1. His position on baptism and how the children of believers fit into the covenantal scheme of Scripture has developed to the point where infant baptism is an open question, such that he cannot with full confidence sign the Bethlehem College and Seminary Affirmation of Faith on this point.

2. His position on the relationship between Christianity and civil government is not at home with the historic Baptist emphasis on the separation of church and state. The point here is not that Bethlehem College and Seminary has a creedal position on church and state. Nor is it that “separation” between church and state means the absence of influence. The point is that President Rigney’s more recent emphasis on a hoped for eventual Christianization of all of society, including the civil government, has put him significantly out of step with other leaders of the school who would warn against the use of civil authority to establish Christianity as an official religion.

3. Consistent with President Rigney’s political philosophy he leans toward a view of cultural engagement that could be described as Christendom-building. This involves a foregrounding of culture-transformation to a degree that other leaders have felt does not reflect the emphases of the New Testament, and is out of proportion to other values the school represents.

It would seem that Christian Nationalism and the lack of Baptist development on the theology of civil government in an post-Christian or pre-Christian society have in part influenced Rigney’s views on baptism itself.

For what it’s worth, Piper’s statement correctly states that Bethlehem has no position on the civil government in its Affirmation of Faith. From that statement alone Christian Nationalism is compatible. Additionally, the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith opens the door to Christian Nationalism. And the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 speaks to a Christian society and along the lines of the government not establishing a preferred denomination, which is in line with historic Baptist practice. However, the idea of Christianity not being an official state religion appears to run counter to 1689 and to some degree, a Christian society is a de facto underlying premise for the BFM2000. (We’ll do a deeper dive on this later.)

With respect to his future, Dr. Rigney has communicated the following: “My family and I are currently praying and considering a number of options for our future, all of which would enable us to continue to spread a passion for God’s supremacy in all things.”

Rigney’s statement was also included whereby he doesn’t talk about baptizing babies but instead talks about Christianizing nations.

It’s clear that Baptists have some work to do in developing this area of theology. Additionally, John Piper’s Anabaptist leanings are things Baptist need to forgo, as the Anabaptist were persecuted for being bad citizens at a time when Europe faced the existential crisis of the Ottoman Empire. Most Baptists today value citizenship, and so did many in the past. It’s time for Baptist to get to work.

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One Response

  1. When this nation was founded, the states had official state Christian denominations. To my knowledge, no Baptists opposed. And that was changed during reconstruction, at which time government at all levels became limited by the Constitution, where as originally designed it only limited the federal government.

    I don’t know what all the man has said, but those who are overreacting to talk about Christian nationalism should be careful not to speak contrary to God’s Word. The Lord is not willing that ANY should perish (2 Pet. 3:9). John 3:16 says whosoever.

    We should want what the Lord wants. We should hope that all will come to repentance. And that includes every soul in the United States. Should that happen, this would be a de facto Christian nation.

    It is not an ends justifies the means deal. We cannot sin in the process. But we absolutely should hope for it.

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