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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Unsaved People are Evil Regardless of What They Do

john piper
John Piper

Pastor John, hello! When something huge and good happens in a society — like a faulty government system is fixed, or slavery is abolished, or minorities are given more equal treatment, or anything of the like — is God secretly at work in that moment inspiring things to happen? What is God’s role in positive social changes?”

Christian Good

Well first, let’s be sure that we have a distinctively Christian view of the term “positive social change.” Whenever we’re talking about change among unbelievers, the term positive must always be qualified in our minds so that we don’t stop thinking like Christians and simply think like unbelievers.

Christians know that all so-called positive deeds done from a heart of unbelief, or disregard for the glory of God, or disregard for the eternal good of people, or disregard for reliance upon the mercies of God in Christ, those deeds — no matter how beneficial they are in the short run for our prosperity or health or freedom — still are acts of rebellion against God, so they are not positive in the ultimate sense.

I’m assuming that when Jim asks about God’s role in positive social change, he means change for the short-term benefits of people, like rising material standards of living and greater health and more safety and more freedom to act out our convictions, even if the short-term benefits for society are not accompanied by spiritual awakening or faith in Jesus. So, that’s the question I’m asking. What’s the role of God in those kinds of societal changes? That’s what I assume he’s asking.


Here’s my conclusion in answer to Jim’s question “What is God’s role in positive social change?”

God is always involved. He is always ultimate. He is always decisive. This of course means, as anyone would immediately infer, that he’s also ultimate and decisive over the so-called negative social changes as well.

God rules all things either by his positive agency, more or less directly causing things, or by permission, which is equally wise and equally purposeful, since God knows what everybody is going to do, and he permits them to do evil.

— John Piper, Desiring God, What Part Does God Play in Positive Social Change? September 24, 2018


  1. Avatar
    Michael Mock, who's clearly in A Mood

    So anything that isn’t done for God, even if it’s good, it’s bad. And anything God does or doesn’t do? Well, even if it’s bad, it’s good.

    Okay, then. Glad we got that all sorted out.

    I’m going to go out and do some bad things that have nothing but good effects now.

  2. Avatar
    Ed Maurer

    Bruce. I look forward to your posts every day. I must say that you manage to find and post some amazing and scary stuff. But this quote from John Piper Is the winner for complete and unadulterated evangelical bull shit. One of my last stops before bailing out of the church scene was a General Baptist church that evelvated ol’ JP to a level of esteem nearly equal to the supposed authors of the New Testament. JP gets crazier as time goes on. Keep the (non-)faith brother. You have been a world of encouragement to me for the past several years

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    ….because abolition of slavery is only good if everyone who fought for it did so in the name of Jesus but God was going g to do it anyway so that is good….but the human part was bad….

    What????? That level of convolution made my head hurt.

  4. Avatar

    I agree with the comment policy.

    Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are actually attracted to this Piperian bullshit? Quite frankly, I have avoided sampling the man, and now I am glad that I did. If anyone is interested, I have been beating the Kavanaugh rug over at my place. Just click on my name if you are interested. Quite frankly, it has all worn me out over the past two weeks—and yeah—I believe the women. Bye y’all!!!

  5. Avatar

    I have a family member who is head first into the Piper cult-and that’s exactly what it is- a cult. We hardly speak anymore. What a shame it is that people give over their ability to think and reason to these cult leaders

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