An Inconsistency in John Piper's treatment of Matt. 5
Allow me to summarize John Piper on Matthew 5:
21« You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’
22« But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
John Piper: we are to take this literally. Anger is a sin.
27« You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;
28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
John Piper: We are to take this literally. Lust is a sin.
33« Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’
34« But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
(haven’t heard Piper comment on this)
31« It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’;
32but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
John Piper: no matter the ramifications, this must be taken literally. Divorce/remarriage is a sin.
38« You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
39« But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40« If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41« Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
John Piper: this passage can’t be taken literally. It must be taken hyperbolically, because the implications would be too difficult to cope with. (See article on this topic here)
My point isn’t to debate pacifism at this point – but I find it very interesting (sad and shocking, really) that such a strong literalist like John Piper bends and waffles on this point. Especially when compared to his treatment of the verses immediately surrounding it, his discongruity on this verse is very pronounced.