Not long ago, I read Christianity Today magazine's interview with John Piper because I was keenly interested in what the leading Reformed Baptist pastor had to say about race and reconciliation within the church. There's no doubt that most of us are a part of racialized churches, Christian organizations, and institutions.
I noticed that the interviewer, Christine Scheller, deftly turned from questions about racial reconciliation and reconciliation with Rob Bell, to an even more personal question about reconciliation between Piper and his one-time prodigal son, Abraham, whom his church, Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, excommunicated.
Speaking about what transpired after the excommunication, Piper told CT:
From then on, for the next four years, he was walking away from the Lord, trying to make a name for himself in disco bars as a guitarist and singer, and just doing anything but destroying himself. We were praying like crazy that he wouldn't get somebody pregnant, or marry the wrong person, or whatever.
Although there has been some controversy about whether or not he should've stepped down from the pastoral role according to the scriptural guidelines set forth in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 and Titus 1:6, I found Piper's vulnerability and tenderness refreshing. Here's why: It reminds me that no one, not even the best "Christian hedonist" can guarantee that his or her son or daughter won't stray from the faith …
Tragically, many teens and young adults reject Christianity in part because of the spiritual dysfunction they witnessed within their own homes. (Abraham Piper notes this isn't the case with his parents.) Yet I know several exemplary Christian parents whose children have left the Jesus way. A few of these children have made ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more