A friend sent me this video clip of John Piper in which he says, “Jesus doesn’t love everybody the same way.” I know this is a fine point. Piper might say Jesus does love everybody, but not in the same way. Fine point. But I couldn’t resist the cartoon because I think Piper is complicating things. I believe love is love.
This threw me back to my Bible College and Seminary days where the love of Christ or the love of God was diced up into a million different kinds.
There was love for God’s people, a different kind of love for those who are not God’s people, a different kind of love for people God hates. I couldn’t keep up.
Now there’s “intercessory love” according to Piper. In other words, as he says, Jesus prays for people he really loves, like Peter, and doesn’t pray for people he doesn’t love. Well, he does love them apparently, but in a different way, like Judas… who as a result isn’t in Heaven. (Well… no… it’s more complicated than that. You see, Jesus prayed for Peter because he knew Peter would return after he rejected Jesus, but he didn’t pray for Judas because he knew Judas wouldn’t return after his betrayal. So why pray? But he more than knew, he predestined Peter to return and for Judas not to return. You follow?)
This is why I drew this cartoon. We can no longer seem to say with theological accuracy, “You are loved!” because this could actually mean, “God loves you so much that he’s going to respect your decision to not believe the same way I do and send you to hell.” I kid you not.
I’m not ridiculing this theology. In fact, I love Reformed theology. Barth is my favorite theologian. I think Barth was on the cusp of a significant theological breakthrough that would have developed a comprehensive and universal theology of the Spirit, as he had wished. I’m just trying to point out how many theologians seem to delight in making something everybody should understand… love… into one of the most complicated ideas in the world!
It’s becoming quite obvious, finally, that our theologies are more a reflection of ourselves, our fears, and our fantasies, than that which we pretend to speak of.
(This is why, at The Lasting Supper, we just try to love one another simply. Please join us! Good food and fellowship there.)