“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves link
Whenever I am about to write a post on John Piper's latest pronouncements, I get to feeling bone-weary. It seems that the more this teacher is on the circuit, the more rules and regulations he dreams up. Dogs can prevent us from glorifying God. Women shouldn't be police officers. Women should endure abuse for a night and not develop muscles and on and on and on.
The Pharisees caused the people to be burdened.
Jesus got that feeling of being worn down. He rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the laws for placing heavy burdens on the people.
Matthew 23:1-4 (Bible Gateway)
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (NIV)
People have asked me why people seem to like the rules of obedience as put forth by the Calvinistas. I think one of my former pastors nailed it. The Pharisees had a list of rules to follow. If people followed these rules, like not spitting on the ground on the Sabbath, then they were assured of their place in the kingdom of God. It was a long checklist or man made edicts. The Pharisees got to decide what the mandate were by fiat. Many of them made little sense.
What do I mean by cooking the books?
Many folks like a nice set of rules so that they *know* they are righteous. My pastor called this *cooking the books.*
See Mr Pharisee, I never Sabbath spit, I give my tithe, and I do think you are absolutely awesome.
Jesus really messed around with the books of rules. Adultery now was lusting in one's heart as well. The Pharisees were furious because Jesus had no respect for their conspicuous piety. In fact, He extended the rules way beyond anything the Pharisees could have imagined. And they couldn't could keep up with them. They would need to admit their fallibility and that didn't fit their style.
In front of the regular folks, Jesus made the Pharisees look like failures. He blamed them for the heavy burdens they laid on the people while calling them snakes. Jesus' people were exhausted and He came to free them from the oppressive rule makers.
John Piper's oppressive rules for friendship
More Than BFFs: When Friendship Goes Too Far was written by Kelly Needham. However, one can assume that this post is in keeping with Piper's ideology since it is posted on his Desiring God website.
Friends will disappoint you.
This is one of the few things with which I agree.
Only One can truly satisfy; everything and everyone else will disappoint. This includes even our best friends.
Of course, anyone in life will disappoint me at times and I, for sure, will disappoint others. Anyone who is a Christian should understand this.
Friendships, in Piper's world, are only same sex friendships. I disagree.
Since same-gender friendships are necessary for our spiritual health,
I have some friends who are men. One of those is the Guy Behind the Curtain. We talk about caring for elderly parents while he helps me with computer issues. His friendship is important to me since we can express our frustrations and share solutions to problems, etc. It is helpful to both of us to have these times. We occasionally go out to dinner with both of our spouses and have a great time.
It has become a running joke in my home that "Mom is on the phone with a guy she met on the Internet. She'll call you back shortly." There are some wonderful friends in my life like Todd, Eric, Boz, David and Ryan who have been such supports to me.
We should not find security in a friendship since this is dangerous.
I totally disagree. God will send friends into our life to give us some security in this world.
The disintegration of the family and blurred lines of gender and sexuality have left our society with less and less stability. What can you rely on if your sexual preferences continually change and marriage and family relationships become increasingly unreliable? Under these conditions, friendship becomes crucial. In fact, the world’s model BFF is, by all accounts, a functional savior — someone who rescues you from the instability and trials of life, someone with whom and to whom you belong, who is committed to you “forever.”
…Followers of Christ find many good things in friendship, but identity and security should never be among them. However harmless this may seem, allowing anyone but God to be your peace of mind and the joy of your heart is dangerous.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with deriving some security from a friendship. When my daughter suffered from her brain tumor, my next door neighbor, Karen, was always there to care for my other two children, make me a meal, visit me in the hospital, take me out to lunch, and be a shoulder to cry on. Yes, Jesus is my ULTIMATE security, but Karen gave me some security in this world. I do not know what I would have done without her.
A couple of years later, Karen's husband lost his job. He got another but made less money and Karen needed to.go to work. Her last child at home was six months away from starting school. I knew how I could help her. I cared for her daughter for those 6 months, giving a sense of security to her and a playmate for my daughter during the day.
Yes, we were joined at the hip and it was a wonderful thing for both of us.
Then there is Deb. She stood by me during the serious situation in my former church involving a pedophile. Not only did Deb support me, but she joined in our group that was fighting for honesty and took on the verbal barbs being thrown at us. She did not need to do that but she was my friend. That friendship turned into this blog. Within the context of our friendship, we developed our sense of justice and righteousness and how that should look in the church. We challenge each other.
Jesus is always at the base of our friendship and blog. But, as we work together, we find security in our friendship as we figure out how to deal with complex situations. We share books, meals, birthdays, movies, and plenty of laughs. My husband says he gets the biggest kick out of hearing Deb laughing on the phone about something we are talking about.
Could we get along without each other? Of course. Would we want to? Absolutely not.
Close same sex friendships might become sexual in nature! (Pounding my head against the wall on this one.)
This made me downright angry and further extends my concerns about the bizarre pronouncements that I occasionally find at Desiring God. There are some questions that help you *assess* if your friendship is not God glorifying™ because it is sexual in nature. The Calvinistas cannot resist turning everything into some sort of sexual sin, including friendship.
- Are you more physically affectionate toward this friend than other friends?
- Are you physically affectionate in a way that makes others uncomfortable?
- Do you have frequent sleepovers, often preferring to share the same bed?
There is a man made list of questions which are supposedly to help you see if your friendship is taking you away from God.
Here are a few more questions from the list of 16.
- Do you prefer to spend time alone with your friend, and are you easily frustrated when others join in?
- Are you hesitant, or even unwilling, to make plans (short-term or long-term) that don’t include your friend?
- Do you feel free to “speak for” your friend with others?
Now let's look at the conclusion of the author. Talk about ill-educated and downright ignorant assumptions.
If you answered yes to more than one or two of these questions, your friend likely is becoming, or has become, something to you only God should be. But take courage, Jesus is a capable and compassionate Savior to all who turn to him. No situation, however complicated it may seem, is too much for him. Owning our sin, and confessing it to him, is where healing begins.
That's it, folks. You now have a definitive list to cook the books when it comes to friendship. You must repent for your sin because Kelly made a list and said you should. 2 or more *yes* answers means you are sinning.
I had to laugh about the following question in that list.
Do you use nicknames or special language with each other?
Some of our friends on this blog have nicknamed us The Deebs. In a speech that I gave at my daughter's wedding I said, referring to Deb who helped me with the venue,
"You know that you have a close friend when people refer to both of you with one name."
According to Desiring God, we are well on the way to friendship hell.
Please, folks, do not pay attention to this sort of codswallop. It seems to me that John Piper and his BFFs are attempting to snuff out any joy in this world be it from dogs, friends, or women with muscles. This stuff is not Biblical. It is a modern day Mishnah and I, for one, do not intend to put up with such baloney.
The scrupulous details of the minutia of the law are easily seen in the Mishnah. This encyclopedia of Pharisaic legalism instructs the reader with incredible detail concerning every conceivable area of conduct.
Instead, reflect on this.
Matthew 11:28-29 New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
What is the Gospel?
We often complain about the overuse of the word *gospel*by Calvinistas. Their gospel seems to be a list of rules of obedience since we are now "free to obey."
Dr Scot McKnight did a 7:45 minute presentation on this matter. It turns out that the gospel is not a what but a Who and it does not leave me exhausted with a new Mishnah to follow. It is well worth the listen. I would love to hear what you think.