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John Piper cautions against “political flag waving” in election year

As the election season heats up, author and pastor John Piper cautions Christians against what he calls “political flag waving.”

In a recent episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Piper, who currently serves as chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, responded to a question from a listener regarding the distinction between speaking truth into political flag-waving.

Piper outlined six characteristics of what he termed “bad political flag waving”, including party allegiance over moral principles, merging moral stances with political affiliations, placing undue hope in political solutions for societal issues and taking biblical teachings out of context to justify partisan agendas.

“Bad political flag waving means foregrounding partisan politics in settings where they do not belong – for example, in Christian worship,” he said. “Making the case for a party’s political platform belongs, for example, at the national convention of the party. That’s where you can wave your flag properly, but not in Christian worship.”

Piper also addressed separation of church and state, explaining that although Christians should partake in societal discourse, they must avoid using governmental power to impose religious beliefs.

“No human government should ever use its biblical right to wield the sword to enforce a religion or to oppose a religion as such,” he said. “And the reason I used the phrase as such is to distinguish that bad action of forceful establishment or forceful maintenance of religion from the good action of creating laws that might fit the morality of a religion but not at all be part of prescribing or proscribing a religion as such.”

Piper spoke on political matters during past election seasons, including in 2020 when he explained why he could not support either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Although he did not mention them by name, he compared both Biden’s support of “baby-killing” policies, “sex-switching” and “socialistic overreach,” and Trump’s “unrepentant sexual immorality” and “unrepentant boastfulness.”

“I will not develop some calculus to determine which path of destruction I will support,” he wrote at the time. “That is not my duty. My calling is to lead people to see Jesus Christ, trust his forgiveness for sins, treasure Him above everything in this world, live in a way that shows His all-satisfying value, and help them make it to Heaven with love and holiness. That calling is contradicted by supporting either pathway to cultural corruption and eternal ruin.”

Critics, though, have complained that warnings against the eager participation of Christians in politics seem only directed toward white Christians. Those critics point to Democrats, including President Joe Biden, who regularly appear from the pulpit of Black churches with stridently partisan campaign speeches aimed in services that appear more like political rallies.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

 

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