My Thoughts On Barnabas Piper’s Podcast Interview – Divorce Minister

David Derksen

The Wartburg Watch posted another* piece on Barnabas Piper’s divorce as he continues to talk about it (click here). Barnabas Piper is the son of celebrity pastor, John Piper.

*Previously, I wrote a piece on this situation as well (click here).

In this post, I want to address to things from a recent podcast where Barnabas Piper freely talks about his divorce (Click here). Just as TWW warns their readers and I will reiterate here, these podcast interviewers have no problem utilizing profanity. (The recommendation from The Wartburg Watch is to start listening from the twenty-eight minute mark.)

As I listened to the first few minutes following minute mark twenty-eight, I felt anger rising in my gut…

Barnabas Piper speaks about his fear or concern about the evangelical culture treating the divorced with stigma. Yet he never directly addresses the elephant in the room:

His father’s “hard-nosed,” anti-divorce stance has done much to prop up and give “legitimacy” to said stigma within evangelicalism!!!

This is a stance where John Piper EXPLICITLY teaches that adultery victims are not allowed to divorce. In fact, John Piper states an even harsher view regarding divorce:

“I don’t think the Bible allows divorce and remarriage ever while the spouse is living.” -emphasis in original here

Let me translate the theological implications of that statement:

It means a Christian who divorces–for any reason–is going against the Bible’s teachings and is thereby sinning! 

To put it mildly, such teaching from John Piper, Barnabas’ father, attaches stigma to those of us who are divorced.

And it is not like this was a view John Piper held decades removed from today. John Piper was promoting this rather extreme and stigmatizing position as recently as 2009!

Yet none of that is acknowledged. In fact, Barnabas Piper does nothing to engage the morality question regarding whether or not his divorce–or any divorce for that matter–is sin.

And are we to believe he is unaware of his father’s very public teachings on the matter of divorce and their impact on the evangelical Christian world?! If not, why does he fail to comment upon those specific theological views then?

That discussion omission strikes me as disingenuous at best.

Another observation:

For someone who admittedly teaches leadership development to churches and esteems the “inerrancy” of Scripture, I find the lack of Scripture citation conspicuously absent in the conversation of his divorce.

While Barnabas Piper claims the interest in his life is likely merely born of voyeuristic interest, I have another–more charitable–reason people may be paying attention:

People are reasonably expecting a teacher of church leaders to apply the Bible to his own life’s tragedy. They are trying to make sense of what appears to be theological dissonance.

And specifically, they are wondering why his famous father, John Piper, was allowed to caste them–i.e. the divorced–as sinners simply for being divorced for whatever reason, and why Barnabas Piper gets a pass on getting divorced now morally?

Make an argument.

What’s the theological justification for why this divorce is not sin, or if it is, why is it okay to continue putting out Christian books and teaching leadership to churches?

Where is it written?

Here is an opportunity to provide a corrective to bad teaching on divorce for Christians…if Barnabas Piper believes it is such. 

He can fight back against that stigma with theological argumentation.

True, he does not have to do so. Yet I would appreciate him not playing dumb about how his father’s teaching on such matters have made life more difficult for divorced faithful spouses in the evangelical world.

Republished with permission from

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