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John Piper

John Piper stakes out New Testament position on same-sex relationships in church

Pastor and author John Piper has weighed in on how churches should deal with same-sex relationships. He responded in podcast to comments by Pope Francis last December to allow priests to bless same-sex couples and a call by the president of Burundi to stone homosexuals.

“I think the New Testament directs us away from the kind of blessing that the pope is endorsing and directs us away from the mob rule or the official capital punishment that the president of Burundi is endorsing,” Piper said. “In other words, the New Testament is pushing us away from both of those steps. And I think the New Testament also gives Christians another way to disapprove and another way to love those that we think are walking in behaviors that are ultimately and eternally destructive.”

Piper said the actions for which the Old Testament called for the death penalty were the actions for which the New Testament called for excommunication instead.

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“When the New Testament deals with immorality like adultery or incest, which would have been a capital crime under the old covenant, the way the New Testament handles that is to excommunicate the sinner from the church rather than execute the sinner. In the church, the new people of God, which is not a political or ethnic or civil body, excommunication has replaced capital punishment in cases like this.”

Regarding the Catholic Church’s policy on blessing same-sex couples, Piper noted that while the Bible does call on believers to “bless” those who are hostile to their faith, “none of those uses of the word ‘bless’ is intended to signify an official or unofficial gathering in which you bring people together who in their hearts are celebrating sin.”

“The biblical commands to bless our adversaries, our opponents, our enemies are not a command to hold a service in which you extend a hand of blessing over those who are celebrating behaviors that lead to their own destruction and which God calls an abomination,” he said.

Piper warned Catholics about Pope Francis, saying, “he has espoused unbiblical thinking in other ways, not only on this matter,” citing as an example an incident in 2018 when the pontiff seemed to tell a child that his atheist father might be in heaven.

“Now, that’s very contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church and all other Christian churches have taught,” he said. “So, by all means, let us bless those who curse us — but not extend a blessing over a same-sex union.”


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