Piper’s Prooftexts

John Piper, a Calvinist, offers prooftexts to show that man does not thwart God’s will:

Genesis 50:20: Joseph says to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

Deuteronomy 29:2-4: Moses says to the Israelites before they enter the promised land, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes . . . those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.” (cf. Romans 11:32; Deuteronomy 5:29).

Proverbs 16:4: “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (cf. 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4; Romans 9:22)

Proverbs 16:9: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast in the lap, but every decision is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans of a man’s heart but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.”

Proverbs 21:1: “The King’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wishes.”

Isaiah 63:17: “Why, O Lord, dost thou cause us to stray from thy ways, and harden our heart from fearing thee? Return for the sake of thy servants, the tribes of thy heritage.”

Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.”

Jeremiah 32:40: In the promise of the new covenant God says, “I will put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me” (cf. Ezekiel 36:27; Jeremiah 52:1-3).

Lamentations 3:37f: “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?” (cf. Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6).

Philippians 2:12, 13: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

2 Timothy 2:24-26: “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Hebrews 13:20, 21: “Now the God of peace . . . equip you in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 17:17: Of the ten kings who wage war against the harlot (Babylon) it is said, “They will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute his purpose . . .”

5 comments

    1. I’m not sure what you are asking. Calvinists, like Piper, tend to think in terms of absolutes rather than generalities. They tend to take phrases, pull them from the context, and then ignore counter evidence to maintain the phrase as both absolute and meaning what they would have the phrase mean. This post is just listing prooftexts without value judgment on Piper.

        1. I wouldn’t disagree. Also Open Theists. That is one thing we need to stress in theology, that phrases can have equally valid and competing meanings. Context tells us what is the most likely meaning.

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