The Glory of God Leads Piper Astray

by Dave on February 19, 2012

in General, Theology

The younger Piper has posted about the Jeremy Lin phenomenon.  While I don’t have a problem with a basketball player being a Christian, here is an example of how the Calvinist stance in the world of seeking the “glory of god” goes astray.  I could not post a reply on his site, but was able to post this reply on Justin Taylor’s blog.

Barnabas Piper was onto something, but then he went wrong.

Yes, he was totally right that it is OK for people to compete while supporting the dignity of their opponents. He says “The truest forms of competition are not those which seek to humiliate another person or self-aggrandize.” I was on board with this.

He starts to go wrong with the attitude saying “But tension does not correlate to contradiction.” I believe Barnabas is now pushing the envelope, because a tension necessarily means that there is a tension, that there is friction, that there is a problem here or at least the warning signs of a problem. But Barnabas says no to that.

The pinnacle of the error comes at the end

“He is required to pursue excellence in the profession of basketball. Excellence is what all followers of Christ are called to pursue no matter the endeavor. God gave us talents and we are called to use them – for his glory, not our own.”

Really. Christians are supposed to be excellent no matter the endeavor? Clearly Barnabas would not support your endeavor being abortions, right? Or how about it being killing? Or, let’s say, misleading people with bad theology?

If using our talents in this world to their fullest is excellence regardless of the endeavor glorifies god then you have one sick god.

The endeavor is the thing that identifies alignment with god, not the outcome. Barnabas misses the boat.

What I see time and again is that this orientation around seeking to glorify god routinely ends up being a way to glorify the follower.  Barnabas is not right on this.

Having said all of that, I have nothing against Lin playing basketball, if he plays fair.  But to say his playing is something that promotes the glory of god misses all the things that Jesus said about who is blessed and who is not.  Barnabas Piper is wrongheaded in this.

Using our talents for to their fullest glorifies us.  Using our talents to promote god’s purposes glorifies god.

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