John Piper was one of the first and the few white evangelical pastors to make a public statement on the controversial shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Not only is his passion for racial reconciliation informed by his self-proclaimed history as a Southern racist; it also fueled by his experience as the father of an adopted African American teen daughter. Piper is the author of Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, a book that inspired a public discussion about Race and the Christian at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in New York City Wednesday night. The Minneapolis, Minnesota, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church was joined onstage by New York's Redeemer Presbyterian Church pastor Tim Keller and Anthony Bradley, a theology professor from the King's College in New York City. Christianity Today spoke with Piper on Thursday about various kinds of reconciliation, including what it would mean to reconcile with someone like author Rob Bell. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You were one of the first and one of the few prominent white evangelical pastors to make a public statement about the Trayvon Martin case. You said George Zimmerman wasn't tested by police to see if he was intoxicated. Does it matter if Martin was not as wholesome as initially portrayed?
It matters for some I'm sure. As I've read those things and I've read what he was saying on his Twitter, when he called himself a certain kind of nigga', I thought: Would that alter what I've written? I read it carefully and I don't think I'd change anything. I knew as I was writing that I didn't have a lot of data. I didn't have a lot of data on George Zimmerman. I didn't have a lot of data on Trayvon. I didn't know what really ...1