Barnabas Piper, son of John Piper, has sought to explain why participating in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day yesterday was “a bold mistake.” He views sodomy as “one of the most defining, contentious, and complex issues facing this generation of the church,” and since it is so combative and heated, he believes that fanning the flames of the conflict by offering such public promotion will serve only to draw battle lines and harden hearts, rather than “serve people of opposing viewpoints and lifestyles.” By making such strict distinctions, we are formulating a mentality of “us versus you,” which, according to Piper, is not conducive to winning people’s hearts. He says that it is not always wrong for moral beliefs to divide people, but it is nevertheless not “desirable” and should be a “last resort.” He concludes, “Marching on Chick-fil-A tomorrow like an army will produce nothing more than defined battle lines, and the result will be greater contention and fewer softened hearts. On both sides.” Barnabas Piper’s basic argument is that, if we wish to do good to the homosexual community, we do not want to alienate them and make them think of us as evil. Instead, we should be kind to them, love them, and serve them. He probably sees this as a great example of Christ’s injunction to “love your enemies” and win them over.
But there are a number of problems with this.
1. Homosexuality is certainly a contentious issue today, and it is also, for better or worse, one of the defining ones – but it is not complex. God’s Word is incredibly clear on it, and the arguments buttressing the liberal reinterpretations amount to nothing. By seeing it as complex, Piper actually works to sear the consciences of those who are seeking a motive to morally support sodomy. If the truth of the matter is unclear, then our obligation to believe the truth and act upon it is mitigated. But it is not unclear; Scripture teaches plainly that sodomites will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9).
2. The “us versus you” mentality is not necessarily a bad one to perpetuate. God has created a number of distinctions in this world, including families, nations and races, and He has also ordained for the moral-spiritual distinction between the church and the world to be manifested not only in the church’s sanctified holiness, but also in the visible sacrament of baptism. The Lord Himself commands us: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17). This separation is incumbent upon us, since the sodomites have separated first; in their rebellion, they are asking us to take their side and morally permit their perversion. The sides have already been formed by their sinful decisions, so the only question is which side we will publicly support.
Certainly, drawing a line in the sand will lead many homosexuals to become more belligerent and hard-hearted, but biblical preaching cannot be blamed for being the occasion of others’ rebellion. (God will still be glorified!) On the contrary, it would be the only way to awaken sodomites from their sin-induced slumber and pull them out of the fire (Jude 23).
3. The idea of “serving” homosexuals by not inciting any anger in them stems from a weak and vague understanding of love and service that seems to emerge from a more sentimental and gushy idea of love (one where the romantic love between husband and wife is projected into every other relationship) which seeks to make another person feel loved, but which does not necessarily seek the person’s ultimate well-being. The absurdity of this distortion of love is evident when we consider how any public condemnation of sin would be prohibited by Piper’s false idea of service. Even worse, any public defense of our most holy religion would be seen as unduly divisive and mean-spirited. Sure, Piper, tell that to Charles Martel as he waged war against Christendom’s enemies at the Battle of Tours. Tell him that it’s unchristian to buy a chicken sandwich.
4. The church today has utterly lost any semblance of the biblical doctrine of hatred, which gives license to antichrists to overrun society. If we love God and His law, we hate all who violate it and sin against Him (Ps. 139:21-22). This always can receive some qualification, for there is a sense in which God loves all and we ought to love all, but today the error consists of overemphasis in the other direction.
5. Piper’s arguments are thoroughly terrible and amount to an effeminate spewing of thoughts that are intended to retroactively rationalize one’s feelings. Piper’s premises entail patently absurd conclusions – that we should not condemn sin in any public setting, and that we should denounce all the efforts of our forefathers who defended Christendom – but he doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Soon enough, the feelings which work to condemn any public advocacy of Christianity will eventually lead to (and already, at this moment, involve) the abandonment of the beliefs altogether. If we are today concocting horrible reasons to bolster our feelings against the public advocacy of Christianity, then tomorrow we will simply abandon the belief altogether. By calling the public condemnation of sin a bold mistake (even in the minor and relatively inconsequential form of supporting a restaurant), Piper simply reveals cowardice.
6. The love and approval of sodomy in our culture and in the church – including the approval that comes in the form of mousily calling it a sin while never wanting to offend sodomites – is a disease that needs to be painfully expunged. The earlier we do it, the less painful it will be; the more we capitulate and provide terrible “we need to love them” reasons, the more we will be expected to be ever more penitent and obeisant as the egalitarian monstrosity advances. And whatever suffering we endure, we ought to take comfort in that it receives the gracious blessings of our Lord and King (Matt. 5:11; Luke 6:22).