Saturday, November 07, 2009

John Piper answers: Was Jesus tempted with homosexuality?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWivqRMVkHg

I was a bit amused at John Piper's ability to answer this rather easy question. Though he sort of gives an answer it misses the point as to be tempted is not the same as sinning. One can be tempted, but it is the acting upon the temptation that it becomes sin. Jesus was tempted on three levels by the devil.

Luke 4: 1. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2. where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." 4. Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.' " 5. The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." 8. Jesus answered, "It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" 9. The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10. For it is written: "`He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;11. they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " 12. Jesus answered, "It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " 13. When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. 14. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

1. Body = Turn the stones into bread
2. Mind = Throw yourself down from this steeple as God said He would send angles to protect you.
3. Spirit = Worship me (the Devil) and all the world is yours.


Each point was a test for Jesus. He had fasted and was hungry. Test God to see if He is real and will be faithful to His word and finally, worship the devil in exchange for all the world. The would cover about all temptations I can think of. Bodily pleasures, mentally believing one is too smart to believe in God, and worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.

Yet, the verse in question would not neceistate Jesus to be tempted to participate in homosexual acts.; Hebrews 4: 15. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. 16. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The humorous part though is that Piper seemed to miss or at least in his attempt to explained was not clear in his explanation that one sins because of one own evil desires. Now he stated that, but temptation works like this.

If I was walking through a restaurant and saw the tips left on a the tables for the waitress and thought for a second, "No one would know if I took it." and then took I was tempted then following my evil desires committed the sin of theft. Yet if I had the same scenario, and I did not take the money I was tempted but did not sin as I did not take the money. Though Jesus would say I committed the sin in my heart... which to me is the idea of recognizing that the potential for me to think and take the money is there.

Now a person may also walk through the room and see the money and not even have the thought cross their mind to take it. To me, I see that Jesus was like that. If He was "tempted" as we were, I do not think He struggled as we do to morally decide to act or not. Instead all the things that tempt us were present for Jesus to see and partake of, including homosexuality, yet, Jesus would not have giving the temptation a thought but only did as His Father told Him to do.

Piper was compassionate in his answer, but seemed to miss this as a simple question. It seemed to rather perplex him, which in turn perplexes me that a man held in such high regard as a theologian, could not easily answer a rather simplistic question on temptation.



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7 comments:

Hugo said...

I agree with your post :)

Blessings & Peace,
Hugo

rick said...

I thought his answer was excellent. I didn't read your comments as contradicting anything Piper said. I simply thought Piper avoided a simple yes/no answer because (1) of the beating people are anxious to give him either way and (2) as you note, a sufficient answer is beyond yes/no.

Net - I missed your issue.

iggy said...

rick,

I thought though his answer was theologically deep... though it seemed to wander off the point in my opinion, it was not practical as to what temptation and how it works works. He focused on what Jesus did on the Cross, but really did not deal with the verse that brought the discussion on. Personally Piper should be beyond fearing the beatings of others unless he has been so protected and surrounded by "yes" men that now he is out there and more people see and hear him will be more outspoken.

A sufficient answer is yes or no, but again, someone who is asking such a question is:

1. Dealing with the issue
2. Knows someone who is dealing with the issue.

Either way, the verse in question is used by both sides to show that Jesus may hate or accept homosexuality. Yet, still that did not hit the main point of the verse. I saw that there was a lack of foundation in Pipers answer he should have laid out before he went into the "Jesus became sin" part...

Many are struggling with sin and do not understand what temptation is let alone how it works. So when someone is asking such a question it seems that we as that body need to talk in more practical ways to help people, then as they are working through that, we can add the layers of theology they may also need.

My main issue is that Piper 1. put down the person who asked it by saying his question was not valid by saying it is "not an academic question". 2. That Piper seemed overly perplexed in answering a rather simple question concerning temptation. 3. Actually did not answer the direct question, but went much to deep for someone asking such a simple question.


Mostly I think the person may have just needed a hug.

iggy

rick said...

ok - cool, I agree on your comments, but I also appreciated Piper's ... I don't see the two 'angles' as contradictory. I've read and heard Piper speak in a caring manner on the topic so my 'presumption' was not that he was speaking down to the question but speaking beyond it to the help we need.

So yes, he wandered off which I took as intentional and helpful but you perceived a different need and would have handled it in another way.

And perhaps the person just needed a hug as you say.

I don't know. But I see no inconsistency between your different perspectives. I don't hear either one of you saying homosexuality is consistent with Kingdom living and I don't hear either one of you condemning someone wrestling with temptation.

Thanks for the extensive response - helpful as always.

iggy said...

rick,

No sin is consistent with Kingdom living... yet we all sin. So the question is what should our focus be. Should mine be on Christ or my sins... or worse others sins?

To me there is no sin in Christ and when we are placed into Christ, that remains still true. The issue is when we begin to try to change behavior of someone and make it THE condition of their salvation... be that getting saved or continuing in their salvation. So if a gay person comes to believe, I see so many churches run them off when they fail. Yet I see churches embrace divorced couples and even place them in leadership positions. Why is one sin more damnable than the other? Or worse why is one sin more acceptable than the other? Both are tragic and destructive...

To me we (meaning me) have a lot of work to do in addressing the Gay community in love and acceptance. We accept God loves us were we are at, but seem to not believe that for the gay community as far as I see.

So though I may not agree with some of my friends as far as "gay is OK" I see the approach need be change drastically in the church towards the issue of homosexuality.

And still to be fair, many have the same view as me, and some of those who are seen as not having the same view may be being misunderstood... I still need to do an interview with Tony Jones and hope to in the near future.

rick said...

We're a long way from Piper now but I'm very interested in your last points.

"Should mine be on Christ or my sins... or worse others sins?" To this specific question - we are aligned, Christ.

"The issue is when we begin to try to change behavior of someone and make it THE condition of their salvation." I hope you understand that I am not saying that correct behavior is a condition of salvation ... and neither is Piper. We've both written that correct behavior follows from salvation but it flows after (James, etc.).

"continuing in their salvation" I'm not sure what you are saying here. True salvation results in repenting from sin. Are we successful this side of eternity, yes and no. No in the ultimate sense, yes in the maturing sense.

"gay person comes to believe, I see so many churches run them off when they fail" I haven't seen this and I haven't heard/read Piper saying that. In fact the opposite. But what we are talking about is not acknowledging sin ... or WORSE, as Jones states, "GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state."

"I see churches embrace divorced couples and even place them in leadership positions" ... divorced is often different because typically there's no undoing it. I see people in leadership caught in all manner of sin (including me). The difference is are they calling it sin and working toward holiness or as Jones, embracing it as ok? The latter I cannot accept.

"Why is one sin more damnable than the other? Or worse why is one sin more acceptable than the other? " Aside from Paul clearly stating that sexual sin is worse, let's say there's no difference. The difference is that I'm not aware of any group celebrating their sin and expecting us to condone it.

"To me we (meaning me) have a lot of work to do in addressing the Gay community in love and acceptance." AMEN!!!!

"We accept God loves us where we are at, but seem to not believe that for the gay community as far as I see" See my post on "God loves gays" ... I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. Does he love them in the same sense as He loved me while I was a rebel sinner? Yes. Does He not see their sin? He absolutely does - and it's not ok.

"I see the approach need be change drastically in the church towards the issue of homosexuality" AMEN!!!!

iggy said...

rick,I think you are taking my statements and attaching them directly to Piper... in fact if you read what I wrote I am only critical that he did not seem to be able to explain and address the verse in question in a practical way.

The comments you are addressing are more of a general overview of things I have witnessed and even participated in.

What I mean is that there are times a gay person will enter a "reprogramming" ministry and it will fail... but instead of seeing it that way those involved will say the person failed and abandon them. Sadly when the person then needs the church the most, they are seen as not being a real convert or really saved, thus I have heard some say, "these were like the seed that fell on shallow ground and grew fast but died", but whose at fault for the shallow ground? I am not even sure I know that answer, but the gay person then is held as "questionable" as to their salvation... and I have seen them either leave the faith or seek out those who will affirm them as "gay Christians"... and that is the mainstream Christians fault and loss.

I really recommend the book Love is an orientation by Andrew Marin. It is an eye opener.

Again though I think you are reading into my post that I am more critical of Piper than I really am...

iggy