A Response to John Piper
John Piper made a major mistake in late 2020 when he weighed into the US Presidential election with an article that emphasized the sinfulness of arrogance in a candidate that, at the same time, naively missed the reality of the arrogance of the worldview of the other candidate. Today we live with the results of that mistake as the US government overthrows all restraints in its promotion of ungodliness all across the nation and the world, from the murder of the unborn to the profanation of marriage, to the demand that we celebrate the destruction of male and female in our law. For some reason, Dr. Piper has a form of tunnel vision that causes him not to see (or to entirely dismiss) vital and important worldview issues that go beyond the moment of his spiritual vision.
This problem has arisen yet again with his promotion of the experimental mRNA vaccines being mandated by governments around the world in an article published by Desiring God on October 19, 2021, titled “A Reason to be Vaccinated: Freedom”. Dr. Piper says, “My aim in this article is to encourage Christians to be vaccinated, if they can do so with a good conscience and judicious medical warrant.” He states that his target audience are those who have not yet been vaccinated “because of fear of being out of step with people they respect, and in step with people they don’t admire.” His message for these people is this: you are free.
What is most problematic with Dr. Piper’s position can be expressed in relatively few words, so it would be helpful to dismiss the bulk of the article where we either have agreement, or where it is difficult to see the relevance of his presentation. Thus we can summarize a major portion of his article in his own words:
Christians are owned by no man — no society, no company, no clan, no family, no school, no military, no government, no political interest group. God alone owns us. And God alone rules us. We are not ruled by any man. We are free from all human ownership and rule.
Just how Dr. Piper would apply these sentiments is difficult to determine, but we would emphasize that God’s ownership of our bodies implies our own stewardship thereof, which is why many of us take serious issue with experimental genetic therapies with record-breaking reports of adverse reactions, including death, with no long-term studies relating to safety (cancers, fertility), for a disease with an average mortality age above life expectancy and a mortality rate of less than 0.5%. Piper goes on to say,
Our freedom does not make us brash. Bold, yes. Brash, no. There is a peculiarly Christian boldness — a brokenhearted boldness. Our freedom does not make us cocky. Courageous, yes. Cocky, no. There is a peculiarly Christian courage — a contrite courage.
It is hard to say if here the good doctor is reprising his article against arrogance from prior to the US elections as he makes no specific application. But we might observe in passing that there is arrogance and brashness on the obvious, open level, and then there is the arrogance of the secular worldview that actually leads man to believe he is wise enough, while remaining in rebellion against his Creator, to meddle with the very essence of his being (genetics). When such arrogance is joined with a lust for power and dominion, it becomes deadly.
So the bulk of the article, comprising numerous biblical citations about freedom, is not the issue. Instead, the problem is found in the section that reads like a Pfizer promotional advertisement, and then the application portion at the end. Thus we should consider the “facts” as Dr. Piper presents them.
Using the Wrong Fuel
The article has a section titled “What Fuels the Cooking Fire.” Here Piper presents the current, mainstream narrative found throughout Western media. To summarize: the vaccines are safe and effective, and the only people dying now are the unvaccinated. After citing all of five sources (none of which were actual medical papers, all of which were secondary media sources) he concludes that, “The team called ‘vaccination’ just made a first down, even if monkeys are holding the chains.” In other words, without even acknowledging the other side, Piper has concluded the dominant narrative is spot-on: the vaccines are great stuff.
The trouble with this is that Piper is simply wrong about the facts. Now, it is possible he, like many in our world today, does not want to deal with the reality of the control of the narrative by powerful forces. Perhaps he dismisses this reality as mere conspiracy theory. But the thinking person cannot help but notice that only one narrative is allowed free rein, while any questioning of that narrative results in censorship and cancellation. We all know that Dr. Piper’s article will be allowed by the “fact checkers” while mine is far more likely to be flagged, tagged, or deleted. So it is possible he simply has not done the extra work that is now required to dig past the digital firewall erected by the tech giants, in cooperation with Big Pharma (both entities have benefitted from the past two years to the tune of trillions of dollars), to get to the “rest of the story.” Nor do I wish to do a data dump of all of the counter-evidence in this article. Let me just point out the obvious.
From late October of 2020, as word about the technology that is behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines came out, I have stated that I would consider use of these vaccine once three and five year safety studies had been completed. Prior to 2020, this would have been considered a sober, even mundane position to take. You do not do genetic manipulation at “warp speed,” especially when the threat you are seeking to counteract is one that almost always requires multiple co-morbidities and results in an age of death equal to or above life expectancy. But we do not have such data, and with how this one particular disease has been handled, we have good grounds to wonder if we will ever have geniune data in the future. The VAERS database, maintained by the CDC, has catalogued record numbers of negative results from the vaccines, so it is now regularly dismissed as “untested” (the irony is palpable) by the media. The amazing reality that we are now counting deaths with the Covid-19 as the same as deaths from Covid-19 has resulted in massively inflated numbers, numbers Dr. Piper repeats without comment, and uses in his final argumentation as well. The fact is we are playing with dangerous and unknown long-term impacts with these types of experimental1 therapies. Dr. Piper does not even acknowledge this reality.
It should be pointed out that if Dr. Piper had done some digging he could have discovered, for example, that Singapore is the most highly vaccinated location in the world. Yet, two days after his article was published online, the Guardian carried this headline: “Singapore hospitals risk being ‘overwhelmed’ after record daily Covid deaths”. Far more concerning is the report, also two days after the article, from the UK Health Security Agency in its Covid-19 vaccine surveillance report, Week 42, that “N antibody levels appear to be lower in people who acquire infection following two doses of vaccination.” What does this mean? It means we have foolishly jammed a narrow-spectrum “leaky” vaccine into the bloodstreams of billions of people around the world. Aside from the fact that this has never been done before, many are now seeing in the data evidence that this is one of the primary factors in driving new variants and in the rapid decline of the efficacy of the current vaccines (requiring an endless series of boosters and, eventually, regularly altered and new formulations). Many studies are now showing efficacy rates below 50% and dropping for these vaccines. But the UK report is even more dangerous. We are now seeing that the vaccines are inhibiting the natural ability to produce antibodies against not just the well-known “spike protein,” but against the shell of the virus as well. Our bodies provide not only a much more robust immunity (as all studies are showing, and which Dr. Piper misrepresented when he said natural immunity is “as effective as vaccination immunity” when it is actually 13 to 27 times greater), but it is a much wider immunity, responding to more of the structure of the virus. This study is telling us that vaccination degrades our natural immunity, leaving us even more exposed to future infection.
While they were loathe to admit it, the truth has been forced out of places like Israel and the UK: “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” is simply a false advertising mantra repeated by talking heads, whether journalistic or political. Though we use the euphemistic phrase “breakthrough” infections, the reality is, these are failures of the vaccine. As one doctor put it months ago, “We are vaccinating people for last year’s virus.” This is self-evidently true.
Surely the discussion of spike proteins and antibody production leaves most folks without a background in biology a bit bewildered. But we must realize that there is a reason why thousands of specialists and scholars have been writing statements and seeking to sound an alarm. Even if you lack a background in science, you must understand that we have never responded to a virus the way we have responded to this one. Wise and sober people must ask the question, “Why?”
So we conclude that Dr. Piper added the wrong fuel to his camp stove as he brewed up his article, and the result was more like salmonella than a pleasing aroma.
Making His Point
After the imbalanced, media-based set of facts was presented, and three sections of cited (but not really applied or interpreted) texts were given, Dr. Piper gets to his point, that of encouraging vaccination amongst those who might otherwise be dissuaded by the weight of the popularity of those who are raising an alarm (like Doug Wilson, specifically, I assume). He makes reference to us watching “hundreds of thousand of people die.” Yet, at least 85% of these deaths involved co-morbidities and were not due solely to the virus. Prior to 2020 no one would have understood this kind of calculation, but then again, prior to 2020, few ever looked at death numbers so as to have a context into which to place the current claims, either. His hypothetical person has “considered the short- and long-term risks of the vaccines as you watch millions get the shots” yet he made no reference to the now documented (though originally disputed, now admitted) short-term risks such as heart inflammation, blood clots, etc. He did not even mention the reality of the utter lack of long-term safety data. He refers to the “frequency of hospitalizations and deaths of those with and without vaccines” and yet only provided partial and inaccurate media-based numbers on this very important issue, ignoring the many other sources reporting large proportions, even now majorities, being amongst the fully vaccinated. As noted above, he errantly equates natural immunity to vaccinated immunity, when natural immunity is far more robust and long lasting.
He then provides one of the most disappointing lines in the article: “You have pondered the likelihood and unlikelihood of conspiratorial conjectures.” Without defining his meaning, or providing examples, Piper does us no favors. Is the recognition of the cooperation of Big Tech and Big Pharma with the extreme leftists in political power resulting in the transfer of literally trillions of dollars of wealth a “conspiratorial conjecture”? Are the banishments from social media of medical experts who are warning about dangers fictional? We are not told.
Let us be clear. If one examines all of the information and decides to take the risk (and it is a risk), that is their decision, and there should be no condemnation. On this we agree. But it is the huge elephant standing in the room staring at all of us like he is in the middle of a Gary Larson cartoon that must now be addressed.
That is One Really Huge Pachyderm
The common element that joins the “arrogant tweets” article from 2020 with this current piece is the fragmented worldview problem that accompanies Dr. Piper’s view of himself in a prophetic context. Though I do not know John personally, I know many who do, and a common element of their interactions with him is his “prophetic aura.” He sees himself in a prophetic role, and as such, is unconcerned about how his current emphasis may be seen by others. The well known incident of his changing his assigned topic at the Shepherd’s Conference years ago because he felt compelled to do so is illustrative of the mindset. It is part of his zeal and passion that we all love and admire. But, with all due love and respect to Dr. Piper, I must say it likewise often results in the kind of scattered, disconnected presentation we find in this current article.
Dr. Piper completely missed the reality of the connection of the governmentally mandated, “take these or lose your job, your business, your freedom, your children, your life” vaccines and the rest of the current rush into global secular totalitarianism. How can this not be a part of one’s calculations? We all know this jab will not be the end of the series. The “boosters” are already being administered. Once one submits to the first in the series, upon what basis does one object to the next, and the next? Upon what basis do we define “public health emergencies” in the future? The CDC has already, at the very same time they are in control of our lives and livelihoods regarding Covid, proclaimed the use of transgender pronouns a “public health” issue.
It is undeniable that the vaccines are not a solo issue. They are coming to us after mask mandates and church closures and pastoral imprisonments and before the next onerous demands from governments drunk on the power that inevitably comes from the rise of secularism. The secular state is far worse than the ancient pagan context of Rome (which was bad enough), for by its very definition it must be ultimate in all things as there is no Creator. Why Piper does not see the role the vaccines play in the overall demands of the newly empowered totalitarianism I cannot say, but it is not the first time he has missed the role a particular element plays in the whole. Mean, arrogant tweets are, in the overall scheme of things, significantly less important than the fact that the Biden regime is intent upon forcing your children to celebrate drag queens and likewise just as intent upon taking control of every aspect of your life to force you to live in denial of the lordship of Christ. What Piper has missed, badly, is the role these vaccinations play in a much bigger, much more basic movement into a technologically based, chemically and medically controlled secular totalitarianism. That elephant is intent upon staying, and until we are all intent upon removing him from the living room, he will continue to create soul-destroying havoc for all. Oh that John Piper would stop examining the tip of one of his tusks and help us all with the bigger issue.
1 Yes, they remain experimental. The FDA approved the Pfizer jab without public comment, fundamentally altering the entire process. Video exists of Anthony Fauci in 2019 (Milken Institute found on CSPAN2) lamenting how long it would take to get these kinds of vaccines approved. Given his own role in the Wuhan lab, gain-of-function funding, etc., the reality of the situation is clear.
Note: I have written a fuller statement on the basis for Christian rejection of vaccine mandates here: https://standwithwarriors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Statement-on-Christian-Faith-and-Mandated-Experimental-Medical-Procedures.pdf