I would love to see Mr. Piper with any remote consistency address the elephant in the room that so many other disciples of Jesus acknowledge. What is this elephant? The destructive militarism of Western nations that dishonors and demeans the lives of those who are NOT in the “in” crowd of the West.
It’s called contextual reasoning, or to put it more Biblically, authentic prophecy, to be honest about the negative effects of the oppressive violence of empires (of which the U.S. is the most powerful) that contribute to the violence of others in response.
If Mr. Piper and others of his ilk are silent when Isaiah and Amos would have been shouting, it should raise some important questions about whether their writings and speeches should be privileged the way they are by evangelical Christendom.
I am not seeking to justify ISIS in any way. We should not be silent about their rampant evil. Neither should we be silent about the recent unjustifiable actions of the West (by recent, I mean from the Shah of Iran to present day) particularly directed towards our Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters. The silence is deafening. The silence reveals idolatry.
Here is one simple, easily obtained bit of evidence that shows the hypocrisy of the West: “Hundreds of Civilians Killed in US-led airstrikes on ISIS Targets.”
It is painful to acknowledge a more full picture of the truth. Christians need not shy away from this pain, though. It is the pain of deep repentance from deep complicity with a system that has caused torrents of blood. We are to weep with those who weep: whether they are our next-door neighbors or our Global South and East neighbors. May God give us the strength and the courage to do so: especially as a consistent commitment to this path will lead to marginalization in Western culture. Rev. Jeremiah Wright encountered this marginalization and rejection in a selectively-quoted sermon in the runup to the 2008 Presidential Election where he proclaimed that Malcolm X was right decades before that “America’s chickens were coming home to roost.” Malcolm X said this about the scourge of racism, while Rev. Wright said this about the awful series of events on September 11, 2001. Listening to the broader context of the sermon, however, provides a deeply uncomfortable truth for Christians. We must confess that Rev. Wright is correctly following the symptom of 9/11 to a proper diagnosis of the cancer of Western militarism that subjugates and tears apart the bodies of those who do not comply.
We are not called to be chaplains of the Western system, but prophets of God’s global community, tearing down sinful barriers of nationalism, militarism, racism, cultural blindness, and other maladies. May we strive toward this embodiment of the people of God.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Os Guinness as an author and a disciple of Jesus, but he seems to fundamentally miss the point of discipleship sometimes I think. I’m going to quote from his excellent book The Call below, and you tell me if you see something that doesn’t make sense, cause I do. I’m intentionally not highlighting what I think are the inconsistencies, but I see one glaring one, and another maybe a bit less obvious. Let’s call this our mutual lesson in discipleship.
The name Moltke had resounded proudly through two centuries of Prussian and German history. Count Helmuth Carl Bernhard von Moltke had been Chancellor Bismark’s field marshal and the terrible, swift sword wielded in his crushing German victories over the Danes, the Austrians and the French. The field marshal’s greatest triumph, the destruction of the French Imperial Army at Sedan in 1871, had led to the capture of Paris and the creation of the German Empire.
So Helmuth James von Moltke, great-great nephew to the field marshal, was the scion of a famous Teuton clan and privileged to live at Kreisau, the grand Silesian estate given to his illustrious forebear by a grateful nation. But though brace and like his forebear a man of deep faith in Christ, his calling and his future lay in a very different direction.