A Response to Piper on Vaccines

There are 7 Comments

josh p's picture

James White has lost center. Piper's article was a gently worded exhortation. This is a political diatribe. It's tragic that a man of his gifts has retooled the factory for political purposes. 

Joel Shaffer's picture

The secular state is far worse than the ancient pagan context of Rome

When our "secular state" leaders burn Washington DC, and then blame the Christians and then start systematically killing them in a public fashion, then I'll believe that America's secular state is far worse than Rome (e.g. Nero setting Rome on fire, blaming Christians, and killing Christians by feeding them to the Lions and using them as torches to light his gardens). 

When our secular state leaders kill their wives, marry someone from the same gender, but then dress them up in drag to look like their dead wife (like Nero did), then I'll believe that America's secular state is far worse than Rome. I could go on and on about the gross moral depravity of Romes emperors and senators as Nero was only one among many. 

Its statements like this, that James White pragmatically justifies his sinful, toxic behaviors towards a non-believing culture and our post-Christian influenced government.

Nero did these actions quite publicly, yet Peter still commanded Christians to submit to the emperor, to governing authorities, and show proper respect to everyone. I Peter 2:13-17. He didn't tell them to  publicly fight back in a culture war against the moral depravity of the Roman Empire.  Rather Peter encouraged his readers to do public good works of service and live a holy life so that the pagans would see their good deeds and eventually glorify God (I Peter 2:12) and to slilence the talk of ignorant people (I Peter 2:15).

But if you completely revise history in your historical comparisons then you can justify your own evil behaviors and began functionally denying Sola Scriptura. Interesting that White often accuses conservative "elite" evangelicals of denying Sola Scriptura when they are open to CRT being used as an analytical tool, but when it comes to Christians submitting to the government when it comes to vaccines, lockdowns, and etc..., Scripture doesn't apply.   

 

 

dgszweda's picture

I have been following James White for the last several years on Twitter.  And in that time, he has lost complete credibility in my eyes.  He is supposed to be a Reformed Theologian that proclaims the truth, and instead he has become a full blown MAGA conspiracy theorist.  Many if not most of his tweets are way out in left field when it comes to vaccines or other contemporary issues.  While I am not in agreement with many of the things going on in American politics, it is not a tyrannical force unlike anything ever seen in history that must be overthrown at all costs.

Andrew K's picture

dgszweda wrote:

I have been following James White for the last several years on Twitter.  And in that time, he has lost complete credibility in my eyes.  He is supposed to be a Reformed Theologian that proclaims the truth, and instead he has become a full blown MAGA conspiracy theorist.  Many if not most of his tweets are way out in left field when it comes to vaccines or other contemporary issues.  While I am not in agreement with many of the things going on in American politics, it is not a tyrannical force unlike anything ever seen in history that must be overthrown at all costs.

Sadly, I have to agree.

I listened to him for many, many years, but finally quit during the past two years. What you mention as well as some of his associations have made me wish him a kindly good-bye.

A pity. I learned a lot from him.

dgszweda's picture

A few problems, in my opinion, with Dr. White's response:

First, a chastisement of Trump was not an acceptance of Biden, as Dr. White equates.  The murder of unborn babies is not greater under Biden than under Trump.  In fact, Texas just outlawed many types of abortion.  What Dr. White and others have so blindly asserted is that if you don't pick a presidential candidate that is against abortion than you are promoting abortion.  Yet abortion has declined year over year and stricter and stricter local and state laws continue to get passed regardless of where a president stands on the issue.  This is because this issue is more impactful at the local level than on the national level.  What Dr. Piper was pursuing was a chastisement for Christians to wake up to the sinfulness present in Trump and to renounce a type of deification that was taking place amongst white evangelicals toward Trump.

Second, Dr. White calls the vaccines experimental.  This is right wing and anti-vax language.  The vaccines were never experimental.  They went through the same evaluation process as any other drug approved by the FDA.  You may be warranted to say that you are not confident on the safety of the drug, but you are incorrect in saying it is experimental.

Third, Dr. White falsely calls it a genetic therapy and "meddle with the vey essence of his being (genetics) and "genetic manipulation".  Again another right wing and anti-vax sentiment, but one that is far from the truth.  RNA is a nucleic acid that primarily is involved in protein synthesis.  It does not impact DNA and it does not have the ability to enter the nucleus or manipulate genetic material.

Fourth, Dr. White goes down the rabbit hole of other anti-vax proponents and conspiracy theorists.  That somehow this is being influenced by Big Pharma, or other secret powers, and that the more than 99% of doctors who support the vaccine are somehow duped and that there is a very small set of internet sleuths who actually know the truth and have the "real facts".  He ignores the fact that multiple agencies and governments around the world as well as thousands of studies done by independent institutions to corroborate the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines is sufficient.  Instead he is cherry picking fringe articles to buttress his point.

Fifth, the most concerning aspect of his response is that it includes no Scripture.  Instead his argument with the Scripturally based outline that Piper provides is to provide a rebuttal to Scripture with conspiratorial ideas.  This to me is the worse aspect of this response from another theologian.  Dr. White is neither experienced nor knowledgeable on the material in his rebuttal and it therefore shows in the lacking of the response.  Instead his whole response is rooted in the fact that we must resist these vaccine mandates because we must resist governmental control.  Joel above so eloquently states that the NT's exhortation to Christians to obey and submit to government was at a time where government was significantly more hostile to God and Christians.  If they were to submit during those times, than what gives us a leg to stand on to reject and almost seek to overthrow the government today.  Scripture does not provide the basis or the leeway to resist government when an individual feels that their freedom is at risk.  Government at its very root infringes on freedom to provide what it has been instituted by God to provide.  This exact point that Dr. White is making, is why Christ specifically chose taxes as an example of how we should react to government.  And yet Dr. White misses this.  I would argue that taxes are just as freedom limiting if not more than a government who is issuing mandates around vaccines in order to protect the common good.

AndyE's picture

James White is supposed to be a careful apologist, and yet he used the VAERS database to claim the vaccine is dangerous?  He lost me right there.  He completely misrepresents what that database is all about and that is inexcusable from someone of his stature and in his position.  Why should anyone take his other apologetic research seriously if he is spouting such nonsense like he is now.

 

dgszweda's picture

AndyE wrote:

James White is supposed to be a careful apologist,     

What bothers me is the lack of any Scriptural support being developed by this side of the fence to push back on our command to follow government as an ordained institution from God for the safety and well being of citizens.  I have seen a few that reference quotes from different Reformers, but I have yet to see a well thought out comprehensive view on this.  There are definitely times in which we should resist the government, but I personally take a higher view of our need to obey government because of the significant importance that Scripture places on it.  Instead you see what we would expect to be sharp apologetist reverting to secular arguments that are many times inaccurate or false.