John Piper
Author and Pastor Emeritus of Bethlehem Baptist Church John Piper

Liberty University Deletes John Piper Convocation Videos after Trump Criticism

By Bob Smietana

Liberty University removed a video of evangelical author and speaker, John Piper, from its website after the well-known pastor wrote a blog post that was seen as critical of President Donald Trump.

According to Christianity Today, Piper and Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear recorded a video conversation with David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development, in mid-October. The videos were posted online about a week later. 

The conversation was timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Piper’s best-known book, “Don’t Waste Your Life.” Greear also has a new book out on a similar topic, called “What Are You Going to Do with Your Life?”

On Oct. 22, Piper posted an article that was critical of fellow evangelicals for overlooking sins like boastfulness, vulgarity, and sexual immorality while focusing on issues like abortion and “socialistic overreach.”

The New Testament calls the former “deadly,” argued Piper. 

“To be more specific, they are sins that destroy people,” he wrote. “They are not just deadly. They are deadly forever. They lead to eternal destruction.”

Those comments led to pushback against the Piper video.

Lamb told Christianity Today the school’s interim president Jerry Prevo, who attended the White House ceremony where now Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was announced as the nominee, told staff to take down the videos. Lamb, who declined a request for comment, told the evangelical magazine the videos had become “a controversy we did not seek out or desire.”

In a statement, Greear told Christianity Today the conversation had focused on getting students involved in church planting and evangelicalism.

“Obviously, I am disappointed because the sole purpose of our conversation was to challenge Liberty students to consider how God wanted to use their lives in the Great Commission and to challenge them to give at least the 1st two years of their career to be a part of church plant in the U.S. or abroad,” Greear said. “As followers of Jesus, mobilizing ourselves for the Great Commission is the most important thing for us to do, and our commitment to Jesus and his mission is something we can all be unified around.”

News that the Piper and Greear videos had been removed came a day after the Liberty’s board of trustees announced changes in the school’s leadership model, including hiring a chancellor “to be the University’s spiritual leader to ensure it is faithful to its Christian mission” and making sure convocation speakers fit the school’s doctrinal statement

A video message from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, a former Trump critic who later supported the president, remains on the Liberty convocation website as well as comments encouraging students to vote and to pray for the nation’s leaders.

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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31 thoughts on “Liberty University Deletes John Piper Convocation Videos after Trump Criticism”

  1. Why is this an issue? Of all things to report on, you choose this? Of all days, of all the things that can and should be addressed, you put this out there. People can see through things like this.

    1. For what it is worth, Piper put forth several errors, logical fallacies, false accusations, and the like. He even went against his own stated principles (he wrote 16 years ago that God did not give us the “luxury” of not voting).

      So Piper can cast aspersions at Christians and the President, but can he be called out on his errors and sins?

      1. I must admit, Mr. Pipers article was convoluted and hard to follow, with some fallacious reasoning to boot. I respect his right to express himself though. He had some good points as well.

  2. Whether he meant it or not, Piper seemed to suggest Christians give the President a pass when it comes to his vulgarities and uncivil behaviors because he makes progress against abortion and other liberal priorities. I don’t know anyone who approves of the President when he goes off the rails, but it is undeniable that he has made inroads against progressive policies. Like in 2016, our choices were disappointing as they are now, but to just throw your vote away on principle means bad things happen when voting could of made a difference. We don’t have the eternal kingdom yet, so we do the best with our conscience and trust God. Which way will it go?

    1. Ann Bruce Pineda

      Well said. I have prayed all day for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done. He knows it’s a choice between two people: Donald Trump and kamala Harris. If Joe makes it to inauguration day I’ll be surprised. You don’t abandon the good – promises made and promises kept to Christians – to seek a perfect which doesn’t exist.

  3. Ann Bruce Pineda

    Piper is just an ad on the Tim Keller sermons I watch by the dozens. I wonder what Piper would have said to God about Samson. Lord, you shouldn’t let that vulgar guy save your chosen people from the Philistines.

    1. Sounds like a simplistic interpretation of Samson and Judges. What is the book’s epigraph? “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges isn’t really prescriptive, Samson isn’t really a just or good leader, he’s actually meant to be seen as rather terrible. His actions are completely ruinous and deadly and do in-fact lead to his own death. God does use Samson for deliverance from the Philistines, but that’s beside the point in our time. We have our king in Jesus Christ, and it should no-longer be true of us that “every man [does what] is right in his own eyes.”

      Shame on you for flippantly calling “vulgar” what the Lord calls evil.

  4. Victoria Hathaway

    To align the church with an immoral leader is a form of allowing the end to justify the means. Never a good plan.

  5. In the first part of Pastor Piper’s blog, he cites Scripture out of context and displays a lack of facts regarding the two Presidential candidates. Thankfully the end of his blog displays biblical wisdom. Pastor Piper gives Joe Biden a pass on everything, but abortion. Joe Biden is guilty of every charge that Pastor Piper levels at the President. When a political platform (Democratic) promotes the killing of the unborn, it is altogether corrupt; Joe Biden has blood on his hands. Shedding innocent blood is something which God says he “hates”. (Proverbs 6:16-17).

    Martin Luther said that he would rather have an effective “Turk” as a ruler than an ineffective Christian. We are not choosing a pastor, but a leader who will effectively administer the laws of this land. We are all sinners and imperfect people (Romans 3:23), who elect sinners and imperfect people to lead us. Pastor Piper is throwing away a precious privilege and mandate by failing to discern the better of the two presidential candidates.

    As a Calvinist, Pastor Piper believes that Israel has been replaced by the church, but I believe that God’s pronouncement to Israel (Genesis 12:3) still stands. “I will bless those who bless you [Israel]; I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt”. Joe Biden is Israel’s enemy, Pastor Trump has proven to be a faithful ally of the Jewish people and their nation. America is in trouble because the church is in trouble.

  6. The NEVER Trumpers are at it again. We have 2 unbelievers (as far as I know) persons that want to become the next President of the United States. But somehow, one ALMOST gets a pass on everything (by Piper)…..while the other gets criticized all the way back to 1962 for a parking ticket. In a related note, Cindy McCain, widow of Senator McCain, voted AGAINST a fellow Republican (Trump) by voting for Biden. Can a house divided against itself, stand?
    Trump is the best bull in the Washingtonian cesspool China shop, but Piper and others, will vote against him, because he doesn’t fit the “moral” hero we expect him to be. Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

  7. God looks at the heart while man looks at the appearance.

    John Piper might have lived in the ivory tower too long. He admitted one time that he had neglected his own home too long while pursuing his preaching ministries, etc. Fame gives us an illusion of how smart and how noble we are.

    Recent evidence shows an almost unbelievable depth of sinful behavior in the family of the Biden household, including the candidate himself. Though the TV, facebook and twitter type of media cover up for them, there are many victims of their vulgar deeds. They can hardly be considered “moral”.

    President Trump has been changing in his life in recent years, though still imperfect. Somehow those of us Christians, who do not lift a finger to fight the corruption of the society or the injustice of the government, feel so pious and superior to a man who fights in the trenches to make things right for the common people.

    Piper’s comments did not show him to be a mature Christian leader. It reflects his arrogance. It has no place on the web platform at a Christian University. There are so many urgent needs in the country and in God’s kingdom we should pray about, no need to attack a leader who works day and night to help this nation get on a better path.

    1. Farmer, extremely well said. And many other before. Through this process, it is not at all surprising how transparently biased the MSM has been. At least they’ve finally arrived at the point where there is no hiding what is so obvious. LIke most on the other side of things, I’ve moved past that. Nothing surprises at this point with them. Though they get pummeled on ratings by Fox every night, their one sided poison has an impact.

      However, what i continue to marvel at is the posturing by those with some amount of influence in the evangelical community who browbeat and attempt to shame those who would choose to vote for the incumbent and candidate of one of the two major parties (about 70 mil of us at last count). Christianity Today lit the fuse about a year ago with Galli’s famous swan song editorial (apparently supported by the CT board) stating, in effect, that supporting Trump was the moral equivalent of compromising one’s witness. He barely had time to hit send on his computer before he leveraged his 15 minutes of fame on MSNBC and CNN. The arrogance in that comment was breathtaking and ignited quite a response from many. I seem to recall a long list of signatures on the counter letter to his screed. At least CT can be forgiven for not having the knowledge of the recently revealed Biden family corruption.

      Piper doesn’t have that excuse. And now he is the most recent evangelical celebrity to claim the moral high ground by disparaging the orange man on the eve of the election as the greatest threat to American dignity and human decency since….who? What about Joe and the likely truth that he enabled his son to travel around the globe picking up bags of cash for influence with the man. No comments on that? Is Joe a misogynist? Is Joe a racist? There is real and verifiable evidence that both of those are true. Tara Reid has been airbrushed from history by a complicit media. The you ain’t black comment seemed pretty straight from the heart and a window into the man’s mindset. And Hunter’s laptop? Never a mention. But John Piper must speak his truth from his lofty perch, virtue signal to a certain subset of acolytes about what a Cretin this POTUS is, ignore the fact that the agendas behind the candidates are not comparable from a Christian world view perspective, and milk what little monetizable value his celebrity provides for him at this stage.

      Kudos to Liberty for doing what they did.

  8. Thank you, Bill and Victoria.
    And Linda, as far as viewing vulgarity as sinful and that being “myopic”…isn’t it more important what God says about sin than what we think? Humans are fatally bad at knowing good from evil.
    I am grateful for Piper’s unceasing devotion to God’s Word. And I’m disheartened by Liberty’s leadership. It’s censorship here suggests that it will continue to promote the worship of idols, even after Falwell’s departure.

  9. John Piper’s blog offered no objection to Joe Biden’s statement that eight year olds should be free to receive gender “transitioning” hormone “therapy”. To be silent about a candidate’s support for such an evil being inflicted on children is wrong, I think. Piper seemed unwilling to acknowledge that one of the two major party candidates *will* be the next president.

    1. Jennifer, apparently that quote has been shown to be false and/or fabricated, such as here: https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-afs:Content:9582957367

      More importantly, I have done a fair amount of study of transitioning and there really is no way to transition that early, other than to dress as the opposite sex, which for women we already fairly frequently. As far as the men most transition is female to male.

      There’s no real way to transition since puberty has not been reached. As puberty nears, hormone blockers can be used, although in my opinion they are too dangerous for children as they have killed adult women undergoing IVF and have caused children to have brittle bones.

  10. Yet another thread full of justifying and defending unrighteous behavior for righteous reasons. “But what about abortion” is not a reason to turn a blind eye to the abhorrent behavior coming from our country’s leadership. We also need to spend less time looking out a window (with our “what about Biden/Clinton/Obama/Pelosi/the liberals!” deflections) and more time looking in a mirror (and removing the plank from our own eye). Look at the chaos, hatred, and division around us. Remember, THE FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD. Why do you think God judged kings for their immoral leadership? He didn’t say “Well you aren’t their pastor or prophet so it’s ok that you are prideful/lie/cheat/bully.” We shouldn’t either.
    I fear another 4 years of justifying more of the same. I don’t believe for a SECOND that a Trump victory will lead him to stop blame-shifting, vilifying, bullying, and lying. He will literally be rewarded for his behavior….by Christians.

    1. Amen! All sins are the same. Abortion is a sin and so are the others mentioned by Piper. I am saddened by the comments here supporting Trump. Do you not see? Christians should not be aligned to either side politically. We should always be focused on the heavenly perspective. We are heavenly citizens living on earth not the way around.

      Colossians 3

      1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

      5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

      v.1-2 calls on all of us to set our hearts and minds on things above, to see things from God’s perspective. He has greater wisdom than we. We are sinners and by relying on our efforts or belief on who is the best candidate or best party, we remove God from the equation. That is arrogance and we must look deeply at what we truly believe. God or the Republican party. Our prayer should be that God’s will be done and that we trust in His wisdom, not ours. Have we truly committed ourselves to him or are we relying on human institutions and our wisdom to shape our world?

      Too many of us set our minds on things here and we get lost in the chaos. Folks, did you listen to Biden’s speech last night? Scripture was quoted! I don’t have a bone in this fight but that was refreshing!

      v.5 addresses all that John Piper calls out. Do we see this in the President? YES.

      It is not my place to judge him, but here’s what he said on the topic of him seeking forgiveness.

      https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/politics/trump-has-never-sought-forgiveness/index.html

      He can’t even remember seeking forgiveness, yet claims to be a Christian. How can that be?

      I wholeheartedly stand by Piper’s blog. That is what we should be.

    2. MH, I am totally with you. We cannot turn a blind eye to this.

      We as Christians, are ineffective in preaching the gospel because so many of us do not lead a transformed life but lead a life bereft of the beauty and character of Christ.

      “There are 5 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian.
      Most people will never read the first 4.”(Rodney “Gipsy” Smith)

      I am so very saddened by my brothers and sisters who continually support the president without question.

  11. Response from Wayne Grudem : http://afa.net/the-stand/culture/2020/10/wayne-grudem-responds-to-john-piper-about-voting/
    Also, from Al Mohler and Wayne Grudem:
    This is a link to Culture-Wise Church Webinar: A Gospel-Centered Approach to Leadership During the 2020 Elections- a “thoughtful discussion with some of America’s best thinkers, theologians and pastors on how Christians should engage this election.”
    https://www.flfamily.org/updates/culture-wise-church-webinar

    and

    https://townhall.com/columnists/waynegrudem/2020/08/08/letter-to-an-antitrump-christian-friend-n2573909

  12. I think anything John Piper writes is worth reading. I appreciate him a lot. In this case I am critical. Much of what he wrote about not voting for Trump is poorly reasoned, at times fallacious, and even seems to have poor exegesis. I’m even concerned he might be guilty of the sin of slander to some extent. How does he know President Trump hasn’t repented of sexual immorality? If he did have evidence or a reason to accuse him of this I would think he would include that in his blog. I would have posted this on desiringGod.com but comments are not allowed. I was going to write out a longer reply here until I read that by Wayne Grudem, which is truly amazing, as was what he wrote about Trump in 2016. I couldn’t do a fraction of as good a job as he did. I would just add that not only does voting for Trump not transfer any of his sins or imperfections to the voter or anyone else in the country, it does not cause any of his sins or imperfections. A person’s vote does potentially cause a candidate’s policies to be implemented, with all its good or evil. A person’s vote does not cause a candidate’s character to be the way it is any more than it endorses a candidate’s character failures. To be realistic with what John Piper wrote and to be consistent, it seems like his standard is that Christians cannot vote for a sinner, which effectively means we can’t vote. I fear there is an element of conforming to the spirit of the age in this blog. Did he ever write this about President Bush and his pride and boasting? What about Bush’s invitation to Iraqi insurgents to blow our young American soldiers and Marines to pieces? Trump’s conscience would never allow him to do such a thing anymore than it would allow him to support ripping newborn or preborn babies to pieces, as Obama and Clinton were perfectly ok with. Donald Trump is the most moral president we have had in decades.

  13. M H wrote: “Too many of us set our minds on things here and we get lost in the chaos. Folks, did you listen to Biden’s speech last night? Scripture was quoted! I don’t have a bone in this fight but that was refreshing!”
    You don’t have a …… “bone” in this fight?
    Did you ever read part when the Devil quoted Scripture while tempting the WRITER of those Scripture in the desert?
    How about when the Devil MIS…quoted Scripture, deceiving Eve, bringing CHAOS to the world we live in?
    Orange Man (Trump) = BAD…..
    Biden (Bought by China/Ukraine though his son (a crack head and possible child rapist) = good a MORAL for the next President of the United States……after STEALING the elections.
    The Chavez/Maduro effect has been brought to America.
    Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

    In Defense of the faith,
    Uwe
    (Jude 3)
    Post Tenebras Lux

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