So I couldn’t resist after reading this article by John Piper. Please take a moment to read it. Piper’s Article
I love John Piper’s passion and pastoral heart. I love the theological influence he has had on my generation so when I come across an article like this one I just scratch my head. I think Piper is out of touch here. For the reader’s sake I want to make two simple comments regarding Piper’s article.
The Title… really?: Piper entitled his article How SHOULD Christians Think About Socialism. Really? He says in his article “In other words, Socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced.” In other portions of the article he paints the with a very broad brush that a Bernie Sanders socialism that takes away our freedoms. Hmm well the pushy title of John’s article seems to take away my freedom (or at least doesn’t acknowledge it). I feel coerced and forced by it. Whats wrong with the title How CAN Christians Think About Socialism, or What I Think About Socialism. Why is John so prescriptive here? I have a feeling many Christians would consider Democratic Socialism to be a reasonable political platform. According to Politico almost half of america would vote socialist. So why imply that I am running the risk of not thinking “Christian” if I don’t agree with your slapdash and uninformed opinion on this issue? The title of his article seems to imply that he has “ownership” of who’s in and who’s out. Maybe this whole socialism thing is a Gospel issue to Piper? Hmm sounds like socialist thinking to me… hmmm… removing the freedom to think freely in order to control? At least by his definition. As a gatekeeper of a particular brand of conservative Christianity Piper seems to think freedom is a good thing as long as you use it to agree with his particular interpretation of the Bible as it relates to this particular cultural issue. I cant go too far with my broad brush strokes against American political Christian conservatism though. It seems they are becoming more diversified. Liberty University recently allowed Bernie Sanders to come and speak at their school. I was very blessed to see them do this. Here is his speech.
Mistaking a Husky for a Chihuahua: Throughout the article Piper seems to mistake centralized socialism or Marx’s socialist mode of production for Democratic Socialism which is like mistaking a Husky for a Chihuahua or an Eagle for a Seagull. Countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Japan and Canada have all used and profited well from some form of Democratic Socialism. I agree with Democratic Socialist Capitalist” in his article “Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialist Capitalist”. I would go one step further and call Bernie Sanders an American Democratic Socialist Capitalist. Democratic socialism (Sanders is running as a democrat) with an american twist would be a wonderful third way for a country like ours to diversify democratically. Currently we only have two real options I would love to have three or four strong competing platforms.
I would consider myself a theologically conservative evangelical Christian. I affirm the authority of scripture. I affirm the apostles creed. I believe Jesus really lived, is the Son of God, He really died. He really rose from the dead and is coming again to make heaven and earth one. Im not sure the impending “heaven and earth becoming one”, “Lord of Heaven and earth”, King Jesus” government stuff is going to be a democratic exercise in individual freedom does John Piper? Bernie Sanders among other presidential candidates really has my attention and I see no great ethical conflict between the ethos of his political platform and my faith. Or maybe I should just say I don’t share Piper’s opinion.