In an article written by Derek Oulette about why John Piper doesn’t go far enough with racial diversity, I had this response, I wonder what others think:
“It seems that Piper doesn’t have enough to account for real diversity (though he may not understand why) because it seems for him that the Gospel has nothing directly to do with diversity since it only addresses the soul of the person. In the revivals of the 18th century, which Piper is an avid reader of, the contact point for the Gospel was the message of justification by faith alone – i.e. there was no need to contextualize the Gospel and so the whole person was ignored and only their soul was addressed.
Once the soul was fixed by the Gospel then the whole person would follow = Reaganomics proposed this through Trickle Down Economics. Give the Rich a break and their ability to create jobs and a stronger economy will trickle down to the the rest of society. This is a similar dynamic when conservative theologians view the soul as the most important aspect of the human being to be “saved.” If you get the soul fixed, everything will receive it’s “trickle down” effect and receive the implications of what good the Gospel does to a soul. It seemed that since the soul is “transcultural” there was less of a need to address the embodied cultural aspects of a person or community’s lifeways as it related to sharing the Gospel.
Piper seems to follow this line of thinking and has preached that the Gospel, when preached, has a “magical” power all unto itself that the preacher cannot effect because the Gospel has a stand alone power that goes out to those who hear it – just because it is the message of salvation. Though this sounds good, it allows the preacher to ignore the cultural and embodied nature of the person they are preaching to be seen as a necessary component in how they shape their message in order to contextualize and inculturate the message – thereby ultimately divesting the responsibility for real ethnic and cultural diversity within a community.
That’s a harsh critique for him, but it seems to be true. When it comes to method – “If God is on your side, then you don’t have to count the bodies – literally.” I wouldn’t have such a problem with how he preaches except that he’s forceful and exclusive – if you or I don’t hold to Reformed doctrine, then we are on the outs or farther from the center than he is and it doesn’t seem that there is much discussion otherwise. Posture is just as important as positions when it comes to how we carry our theological convictions.”