The fallout from pre-election criticism of President Trump by popular pastor and author John Piper continues. Shortly after Piper’s election post went viral, Liberty University removed the pastor’s convocation, citing “a controversy we did not seek out or desire.”
Piper’s post implored Christians to lower the value of issues such as life in their vote, and instead consider the candidate’s ego, tweets and prideful boasting which he called sin. He warned voters of “the culture-infecting spread of the gangrene of sinful self-exaltation and boasting and strife-stirring.” He later stated he would not vote for either party, stirring criticism of those that said the life of unborn babies was at stake.
The post appeared a day after his Liberty University convocation with Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear and David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development. The convocation did not focus on a political agenda and marked the 20th anniversary of Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life.”
Interim Liberty President Jerry Prevo made the decision to take down the videos, and school spokesman Scott Lamb called the timing of the post “an unfortunate coincidence.” Lamb also said that the videos might be placed back online after the election season finishes.
Greear disagreed with the decision and explained that the “sole purpose of our conversation was to challenge Liberty students to consider how God wanted to use their lives in the Great Commission.”
Piper and his post stirred controversy and conversations in evangelical circles. Charlie Kirk, a conservative political activist who partners with Liberty University, criticized Piper for being “a fool when it comes to this stuff,” and chided the pastor to “stay out of this space” because he has “no idea what he is talking about politically.”
Matthew Boedy, professor of rhetoric at the University of North Georgia, however, accused Kirk of hypocrisy. “So to Kirk, the preacher must stay out of politics, but the politician and his pundit can wade neck-deep into the church,” he said. “Now that is some theology. And some political power.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice