[Please take a minute and read this excellent article by Andrew Wilson.]
A Question for Piper’s Critics
Andrew Wilson / 8-28-13
The question is familiar, at least to anyone who has met a biblically literate sceptic: "How can God wipe out men, women and children in the Old Testament?" This answer, from John Piper, shocks many with its bluntness and its implicit theology: "It's right for God to slaughter women and children any time he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die." Eeek.
Unsurprisingly, that answer has produced expostulations of anger, astonishment and scornful criticism, not just of Piper but of Calvinism, inerrancy, biblical conservatism and anything else with which Piper is associated. Pete Enns shakes his head in pitying disbelief. Brian Zahn compares it to suicide bombing while shouting “Allah Akbar”, and says it entirely deserves the scorn sceptics will undoubtedly pour upon it. Many of us, intuitively inclined to give Piper the benefit of the doubt but nonetheless prompted to wince by the direct and robust way in which he answers, may find ourselves torn, either because we suspect he might be wrong, or (more uncomfortably) because we suspect he might be right but hope he isn’t. So without attempting to resolve or engage with all the issues here - and I’ve written or linked to numerous articles on this over the last year or so, as well as establishing my pacifist credentials on several occasions - here’s a question that Piper’s critics on this issue need to think seriously about. How many acts of slaughter constitute a mass slaughter?
“Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” (A