First off, I should just say that Pastor John would be the first person to say that he is not a superhero. Superheroes generally (1) save the day (2) with their own strengths and Pastor John makes no such claim to either. Secondly, I know that there are those who strongly dislike Pastor John (or at least his theology – I’ve read the comments) and I assume they would not approve of anyone describing him with such a glowing term. So can we agree on that? John Piper is not a superhero.
I should also add that Pastor John is in no way unique in what I’m about to say. He just happens to be my pastor.
But now that we are passed that, I will state that Pastor John is like many superheroes in that he has a weakness, a vulnerable spot, a way to get around his defenses when it comes to his theology. And I’ll reveal what this weakness is so that his would-be enemies can exploit it.
If you want to break down his systemic worldview of God and Man, if you want to blow a hole in the shield of his theology, the chink in his armor is that he claims to believe every word of what the Bible says. And his belief in the inerrancy of scripture gives those who would battle against him a tool that could be used to tear down a section of his stronghold.
To those who would exploit this vulnerability in Pastor John’s theology I suggest this: show him (or show the world) a Bible verse that proves his theology wrong. All you need is one Bible verse, a single biblical passage that goes counter to what he says, and Pastor John will be forced to retreat.
Do you see what I’m saying? Pastor Piper not only has a weakness, but he has chosen it for himself and it might be exploited by anyone who is willing to do a little Bible study.
So, for example, if a Piper Foe wanted him to back down on the issue of Women in the Pulpit, all that person would need to do is find a verse that says that Pastor John is being too restrictive – that he should find the concept of a Female Pastor acceptable. If you could do that, then you’d have him. Given his dependency on the truth of God’s word, he’d be forced to step away from his controversial belief.
Or if you think him wrong when it comes to homosexuality – there are more than 31,000 Bible verses, all you need do is find one that says that homosexuality should be counted as acceptable, and you could beat him. And here’s the beauty: you don’t even need to believe in the Bible yourself. Perhaps you reject all of the verses in scripture that say homosexuality activity is sinful; it doesn’t matter. Since Pastor John says he believes in the entire canon (presumably even the verses that go against his own personal feelings on any issue) you can force him to stick to his stated conviction, whether or not you personally hold to Biblical inerrancy.
Or perhaps you think that Pastor John’s reformed theology is a false shell that he has placed around himself. Well, that shell is a bubble that can be popped with a single contradicting verse. If you think that Bethlehem’s Affirmation of Faith goes too far when it states that “We believe that God upholds and governs all things – from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons”, then all you need to do to bring it down is find a Biblical verse where God said about any historical happening, “That wasn’t me who did that”
Like I say, Pastor John is far from the only pastor or theologian with this weakness. There are many out there and the person you are trying to prove wrong may be one of them. So rub your hands together, laugh menacingly and start mining the Holy Scriptures for nuggets of Kryptonite. They must be in there somewhere.
One word of warning though: watch out for ‘Fool’s Kryptonite’ – verses taken out of context. Pastor John can deflect those easily.