Op-Ed: Why Is the Fruit of John Piper’s Loins So Rotten?

Piper’s children are insufferable brats. Let’s avoid his mistakes.

And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins (Genesis 35:11).

Weak men make weak sons. From the beginning, as seen in Genesis 35:11 above (and countless other places), God’s design for the world is that his Covenant people bear fruit and from their loins, come generations that remain faithful to the Lord and are made great by his Providence.

The best preachers the world has ever had to offer – more times than not – have children who are living testaments to their faith.

In 1727, Jonathan Edwards married Sarah Pierrepont, and together they had 11 children. Edwards, known largely for his contribution to America’s “Great Awakening” and his epic sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, is noted as one of North America’s greatest theologians. But more than a preacher, Edwards was a father. Caring carefully for his children’s spiritual upbringing, his parenting had long-lasting fruit.

In the year 1900, Rev. Albert Winship reviewed the lives of the 1,394 descendants of Edwards. He also contrasted it with the descendants of a man named Max Jukes, an atheist, who had roughly half as many descendants. The results were startling. Of Edwards’ many descendants, he found one American vice-president, 3 senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 30 judges, 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 military officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 prominent authors, and 80 other public officials. And most importantly, they were almost all of them, solidly within the Christian faith. By comparison, Juke’s 540 descendants included 310 paupers, 150 convicted criminals, 7 murderers, 100 drunkards, and 190 prostitutes and still as godless as their patriarch.

The testimony of men is their children.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127:3).

Thomas and Charles Spurgeon Jr. were both examples of a godly preacher rearing godly children. Such is the rule, rather than the exception when it comes to great men of God. This, then, leads us to ponder exactly what is wrong with John Piper (besides his charismaticism, egalitarianism, social religionism, and over-all shameful wokeness and self-sabotage of what otherwise would have been a fine preaching legacy)?

Enter Abraham Piper.

As international news covered this week, Abraham Piper, John Piper’s eldest son, is a TikTok star with almost as many Twitter followers as his evangelical celebrity father. What is Abraham known for? His main schtick is tearing down his father’s ministry, denouncing the Bible, and dropping the F-bomb while savaging Christians (see below).

Then there’s Barny Piper, who has milked his dad’s fame for every drop, obtaining employment at Big Eva’s flagships, like Lifeway Christian Resources. From that perch, the snot-nosed preacher kid laubs grenades at conservative leaders from Twitter. His recent divorce seemed to not phase him or quiet his know-it-allism that you would expect from an entitled, self-absorbed, pampered brat hanging onto his father’s coat-tails to become a mid-level Big Eva bureaucrat.

Barny promised to help bail out Black Lives Matter rioters (his dad supported them also), fully supports lady preachers, and wrote a book, The Pastor’s Kid, gritching about his dad and how tough it was to be raised a Christian (his idiot father even wrote the foreword for the book, which lambasts him). His most notable Christian work is Help My Unbelief, which heralds and extolls the virtue of doubting God (literally).

Barny admits to having been a troubled youth and routinely in trouble with the authorities but seems to have become a Christian again just in time to get a job with various Christian ministries happy to have someone with the surname “Piper” on board.

These aren’t Piper’s only children. His eldest, Karsten, is a poet (go figure) and a songwriter. Neither, so far as I know, are insufferable snot-nosed crybabies and Social Justice Warriors like Barny and Abe, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either.

So for all of us who aspire to raise warrior children who don’t choke on their soy milk every time a fundamentalist fundementalizes, or won’t swoon on their fainting couch like iron-deficient housewives whenever they encounter genuine godly manliness, how do we avoid churning out kids who are wastes of human flesh?

God, of course, elects whoever he so wills, which may or may not include our children. But having children who are believers and not open to the charge of gross immorality are a requirement for pastoral ministry.

“If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination… (Titus 1:6)

Ultimately lacking omnsicience, I do not know why half of Pipers’ sons turned out to be such awful humans. But I suspect…

I named my daughter Piper, after the preacher. I told him so and sent him an ultrasound of her while in the womb. He graciously responded. I took a selfie with him once in Minneapolis at a Desiring God event. And frankly, I regretted all of that when Piper invited Rick Warren to his conference, proverbially kissed his ring, pronounced to the world that Warren was orthodox (Warren laughably said his greatest influence was Jonathan Edwards, to which all God’s people said LOL), and gave Warren a firm endorsement.

Having listened to hundreds, if not thousands of hours of Piper’s preaching, I realized intuitively that his ring-kissing of Warren was not from the heart of conviction, but pragmatism. And at that moment, I lamented that there was a very evident disconnect between the Piper that preaches and the Piper who lives outside the pulpit.

But even that – his betrayal of Jesus by his endorsement of Warren – did not turn me into enemy status just yet. In order for that to happen, I had to read his abominable, weak-willed, and effeminate take on self-defense he wrote in 2015.

In the article, Piper provided some sophomoric and inept arguments for why Christians should be murdered, molested, sodomized, gang-raped, and kidnapped submissively so as to be a good “witness” for Jesus. To this day, that article from Piper is one of the most insanely idiotic, effeminate, gutless, and grotesque articles I’ve seen at Desiring God (although that list has been rising steadily since Desiring God abandoned the gospel for Social Religion circa 2017).

I responded to Piper’s bastardization of Christian ethics in the post, Why Some People Need a Good Killing: A Biblical Defense for Self Defense. Piper has always been weird, no doubt. His eclectic brand of buffet-theology, adopting from Calvinism here and Charismaticism there and maybe a little mysticism over yonder, makes Piper largely unreliable in any attempt to understand a systematic theology. But claiming to be Reformed (which of course, he is not), Piper should understand Covenant Theology and the principle of General Equity of the Moral Law (the universality of morality, and the general principles throughout the Old Testament that exist within Civil and Ceremonial Law, as well as various Positive Laws).

If that last sentence was confusing, “General Equity” means that abiding, universal, and eternal principles of right-and-wrong exist within the entire Old Testament – despite whatever dispensation of time or Covenant we are living under – because all of the Scripture is profitable for reproof, correction, and training (2 Timothy 3:16). If laws or demands given to Israel or individual people are no longer in force in the letter (like the Mosaic penologies), they still contain principles that harmonize with God’s standards of righteousness.

In short, what I pointed out in Some People Need a Good Killing, is that no serious person can read the full canon of 66 Books and come away with the slightest inkling that pacifism is anything but grievously wicked. Our God, after all, is the God of War (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Our God is the God who is praised in the Sacred Assembly as the One who trains our fingers to operate deadly weapons (Psalm 144:1).

But to make a single case-in-point, I’ll leave you a screenshot from Piper’s article that forever classfied him – at least to me – as untrustworthy and dangerous…

Piper’s answer to the rather uncomplicated question is sevenfold. Hell yes doesn’t take that long to say. But Piper, being typical Piper, flailed about with his characteristically limp wrists, beat around the bush for a thousand more words, and eventually came up with the answer, I don’t know.

Piper wrote, “This instinct is understandable. But it seems to me that the New Testament resists this kind of ethical reduction, and does not satisfy our demand for a yes or no on that question. We don’t like this kind of ambiguity, but I can’t escape it…”

He went on to claim that even calling the police to stop his wife’s rapist might be sinful, stating, ” I realize that even to call the police when threatened — which, in general, it seems right to do in view of Romans 13:1–4 — may come from a heart that is out of step with the mind of Christ. If one’s heart is controlled mainly by fear, or anger, or revenge, that sinful disposition may be expressed by using the police as well as taking up arms yourself.”

Piper then warned against having a firearm at all (in the context of saving his wife from danger)…

I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I would personally counsel a Christian not to have a firearm available for such circumstances.

And then, on the topic of his wife being ruthlessly assaulted, Piper wrote…

I do not know what I would do before this situation presents itself with all its innumerable variations of factors. 

I know what Piper would do. He would let his wife be raped, his children or grandchildren sodomized, and would cry in the corner like a worthless, effeminate poet. If you have not set your mind on defending your wife when that thing goes bump in the night, you absolutely will not have time to figure out what you’ll do in the moment of brutal violence. You will freeze and exhibit cowardice.

I cannot begin to express the contempt, disgust, and anger I feel toward a grown man who “does not know” if he would defend his wife from an assailant. No man with such moral unclarity is qualified to be either a husband or a father.

John Piper is anathema, and the Scripture says that he is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8).

Ultimately, it’s unknown how or why Piper’s children turned out so horribly. And might God be gracious to us, and let our children not shame us, as his have shamed him. But I cannot help but think that Piper’s effeminacy and pacificism have led to children who were raised in their own way and are now, not long departing from it.

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21 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Why Is the Fruit of John Piper’s Loins So Rotten?

  1. Despite holding to Reformed theology, I was never fond of Piper. This will sound superficial, but his voice grated on me, as it seemed insincere.

    I had no idea about his freakish views on self defense. Even Jesus didn’t turn the other cheek when He was struck while on trial, so there are obviously times not to turn it. But the notion that you can’t defend yourself or others is absurd in the extreme. Just one more reason to avoid Piper. Such a shame that he didn’t finish strong.

  2. I am sure this is John Piper’s greatest heartache in life. How shameful to speak in such a trivial and judgmental way.

    His son not following Christ does not disqualify him from ministry. This is tremendously sad and should make us feel sorrow. But instead it’s being exploited for someone’s gain.

    The article written against Piper is slanderous and sinful. Piper isn’t a heretic and we have the duty to maintain and promote one another’s honor in the church.

    Christians should not be attracted to this stuff.

    They will know we are Christians by our love. Love is the mark of the Christian, which is the Reformed position. Self-righteousness that doesn’t know love is evil and will be judged.

    These slanderous, false-righteousness websites need to be destroyed. And Christians shouldn’t be reading them.

    The person writing this needs to repent or he will be judged for every idle word.

    1. “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I’m curious as to how you would have judged the apostle Paul for wishing that certain leaders in the church “would even mutilate themselves” (Galatians 5:12), or how he told an outsider “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10). The Lord, Himself, spoke to religious people in such a way that they ended up hating Him for it. For example, He did not hesitate to immediately describe the Pharisees, to their faces, as “full of robbery and wickedness” (Luke 11:39) after He was invited by one of them—to lunch! They simply asked Him why He hadn’t washed His hands; instead of respectfully explaining why it wasn’t necessary, He immediately levied indictments against them. If you were observing that, I don’t doubt that you would have sided with the Pharisees in testifying that the Lord wasn’t being very loving or reasonable. When Jesus said His disciples will be known for their love, what He meant by that is obviously different than your personal take on what you think He meant by that.

      And Piper isn’t a heretic? How much time have you spent investigating this to lead you to this confident conclusion? Much time has been spent by some, such as Dr. E.S. Williams, carefully investigating Piper’s teachings that will lead one to conclude that Piper teaches antinomianism, among many other serious errors (https://youtu.be/kysc-tPiz10). The Lord Jesus made Himself expressly clear that He does not want anyone giving anyone a free pass, but He expects His disciples to put teachers to the test, and if they be found false, never to tolerate them (Revelation 2:2). Have you done this? Are you doing this?

    2. Well said. One must remember that at the end of the day, ALL MEN, including the author of this article, Piper’s sons, and Piper himself, are all on an equal playing field under God—all sinners, all falling short of the glory of God, with varying levels of belief. Some are saved, others not, and if one takes the Calvinist approach, they had no choice in the matter.

      So let us not judge.

      To spite others, as this article does, is the work of Pharisees.

  3. Protestia, you continue to abuse words, which are connected to serious, sobering truths, and employ them in a wicked, worldly way. “Hell yes” is yet another example. You are speaking like the world which abuses the word “Hell” in that fashion because it does not believe what the Bible teaches about it. Hell is a place of eternal destruction, a place beyond the worst thing that could ever enter into anyone’s mind, a place that causes unclean immortal spirits to tremble. But you have no problem throwing it around like it’s nothing, content to strip it of its sobering reality, and to use it for cheap emphasis. You have publicly praised Pastor Albert Martin. He often lamented the abuse of words like “Hell,” rightly indicting those who speak like that as worldly, and calling into question their commitment to holiness. You need to repent. Stop talking like the world, stop immersing holy truths into the muck of this world, clean up your speech! Stop stubbornly refusing to amend your ways! Be humble and turn from your profane utterances!

  4. “Ultimately lacking omnsicience, I do not know why half of Pipers’ sons turned out to be such awful humans.” You should have stopped there.
    You ask, “Why is the fruit of John Piper’s loins so rotten?” I would ask the same about your heart.

    I hold no brief for JP. I was enamored with him when I was young, but haven’t listened to him in years, and for many of the reasons you mention. I, too, wrote in refutation of his piece on self-defense. But if you wanted to write a critique of Piper, you should have done that, and left his kids out of it. And if you were going to write about his kids, it should have been with a broken heart, not with this heart of stone. I would not wish such children on my worst enemy. You seem to delight in the opportunity it presents you. This is unworthy of one who names the name of Christ.

    1. “But if you wanted to write a critique of Piper, you should have done that, and left his kids out of it. ”
      Why can’t the author write about both? It’s not as though JP and his kids are mutually exclusive topics.

      1. Because he had absolutely nothing to contribute in regard to Piper’s kids or his parenting. He said it himself. “I don’t know why…” So he uses Piper’s prodigal kid as a jumping off point to criticize everything he doesn’t like about Piper, none of which has anything to do with his kids. You want to critique Piper? There’s plenty to critique. There’s no reason at all to bring his kids into it when you admit you don’t know anything about it. That’s just pouring salt in the wound.

  5. On the one hand you blame Jon Piper, then also point out that God may or may not have chosen them anyway. You cannot have it both ways. Its either door one or door two. I contend that the reason his kids are screwed up as well himself is because of the false doctrine of calvinism. God in his sovereignity, has given us free will. I have taught my children to stay away from ISMS. Calvinism, catholicism, protestantism, judaism, conservatism, liberalism, cessationism, the list is endless. As for me, I am quite simply a believer in the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua/Jesus. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”.

    1. So is it safe to assume that you disagree with Spurgeon when he said that “Calvinism is just a nickname for Christianity?” So whatever you call your religion, do you think it will ultimately lead you to pass through the narrow gate to life or the wide gate to destruction in Matthew 7? You make it sound like you believe in a system of self-salvation that Jesus only made possible could’ve resulted in the salvation of no one. So who exactly is the Potter and who is the Clay?

  6. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
    The publisher stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, pacifist, effeminate, weak, or even as John Piper.
    I have firearms and respond to hypothetical situations with eager promises of gunfire.

  7. What are we to make of RC Sproul Jr. and all the controversies he’s been caught up in before his father died and since? That’s even more troubling to me.

    Given the strong points made in the article above, what should I do with my pastor, who I have reason to believe is solid, occasionally cites from something Piper has written or spoken about during his sermons, which makes me cringe a little bit as if he doesn’t know about the troubling things about Piper, both professionally and pastorally?

  8. Although I believe we ought to judge a tree by its fruit, I would be careful. How many “good” children are required to be considered a good father or parent?

    I don’t know of any of the patriarchs who modeled perfect parenting or would be considered worthy by our modern standards of writing a book on how to raise strong godly children.

    Abraham (of the Bible) had a child with another woman that he ends up abandoning.

    Isaac raises sons who are deceitful, vengeful, and never unified.

    Jacob has a children with multiple wives who murder, fornicate, and end up lying to their father for nearly two decades about the “death” of their brother.

    Even the beloved King David had horrible sons. The atrocities are too long to recount here.

    But what is even more telling is that even the perfect all powerful Father, God himself, had children who rebelled. Unless you are a universalist, some children rebel against their Heavenly Father and never repent … even though he is a perfect and almighty Father.

    But in all this there is one common thread. There was at least one faithful offspring that continued the line. Something must have been done right.

    Merely making mistakes does not reveal the character of a man. Rather it is what happens next that is far more telling. As my father would tell me, “The difference between a novice and master carpenter is not that one makes mistakes and the other doesn’t, but that one knows how to repair their mistakes.”

    What I would like to know is the type of relationship that John has toward his unbelieving children. Is he indifferent? Or does he intercede and weep for the soul of his son because he desires all his children to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth?

    I may not take parenting tips from Piper, but I still think there are plenty of good biblical nuggets that have been worth gleaning from Piper.

  9. I completely agree that the Bible endorses violence in many situations, especially in war (which is what Pslam 144:1 is referring to, not merely a generalized right to “self-defense”). That said, some “serious people” have come to a contrary conclusion on that over the millennia. I think they are *wrong*, but I can’t say that perhaps they haven’t been called to pacifism and I certainly wouldn’t disfellowship someone over that belief.

    Also, note that your anger works against you in this piece. I think there are legitimate criticisms of Piper ( a lot of them), some of which you mention, but anger makes your arguments weaker, not stronger. Anger is a sign that you are not being rational. Anger might be more persuasive for some, but only if they are also not very rational. God gave you Reason and the discernment to see that there is something wrong with Piper’s theology, so use that Reason and stop hurling epithets like “effeminate” as if ad hominem attacks count as arguments.

    Assuming you are Reformed you should realize that no bad parenting on the part of John Piper caused his children to be unsaved. If any of Piper’s kids are not among the elect, then nothing John Piper could do could possibly have changed that. If they are elect, then same thing. No “works” of Piper’s make any difference.

    God saves children, not parents.

    1. “If any of Piper’s kids are not among the elect, then nothing John Piper could do could possibly have changed that. If they are elect, then same thing. No ‘works’ of Piper’s make any difference.”

      And you’re among the elect, no doubt. How special for you.

      What an utter obscenity your belief system is. It should be beneath the dignity of a human being to believe such things.

  10. One thing that Piper has successfully done is gather many, many ardent female (typically middle aged, divorced or longing to be divorced) supporters that defend his honor at every opportunity online. I know; I’ve encountered them.

    Let’s also not forget his cover for the argument that ‘David raped Bathsheba’. I think his longing for female approval goes back to his earliest years. As I understand it, his father was an itinerant preacher and was hardly home. So he was essentially raised in a single mother household. The effeminacy is understandable, but unacceptable from a minister of God.

  11. What an ascerbic, un-Christ-like, hateful, judgmental, and supercilious article. The hypocrisy and self-righteousness here is on another level.

    Hearing that the author named his own daughter after some random preacher, and then deigned to let the preacher know about it (“Hey, John! I named my daughter after you!”) made me throw up in my mouth.

    What pitiful, idolatrous brown-nosing. It’s exactly the type of ring-kissing the author accuses Piper himself of doing with Rick Warren. The lack of awareness of the author’s own hypocrisy is astounding.

    “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

    In the end, this piece is nothing more than typical Christian ego-inflation, looking to discover specks in their enemies’ eyes while not seeing the beams in their own.

    Christ would be utterly ashamed.

    Take the beam out of your own eye.

  12. This is just sad. You obviously spend your lives lashing out at those who aren’t conservative enough in their theology or who you deem to be preaching “false doctrine” in order to stave off your own doubts. I’d suggest you seek out competent therapists, but I doubt you’re capable of the requisite level of self-awareness.

    Conservative evangelical theology is an obscenity to begin with, and Reformed theology occupies its lowest rungs. Your subculture is a toxic combination of narcissism, self-loathing and psychopathy.

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