The Church and the World: Homosexuality, Abortion, and Race with John Piper and Douglas Wilson

All the hot-button topics were on the table Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis. Bethlehem College and Seminary hosted a dialogue on Christ and culture with John Piper and Douglas Wilson, moderated by Joe Rigney. The video is now available.

Early on, the conversation turned to slavery, racism, and Wilson’s controversial stance which sparked a lengthy online debate with Thabiti Anyabwile just months ago. Piper, who closely followed the entire debate, offered his seasoned reflections on the interchange.

Wilson shared about growing up in segregated Annapolis and how his father trained him to hate the discrimination. He also gave the backstory to his provocative book Black and Tan, and Piper offered six reasons for his ongoing association with Wilson — including, “Doug hates racism from the core of his gospel soul.”

The dialogue then transitioned to abortion, and later to homosexuality, its prominence in America, and how the Church can vocally oppose the pro-gay agenda without alienating Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction.

The full conversation is captured in this two-hour video — and see the detailed timestamps below for the bits you might find particularly interesting.

Setting the Stage

0:00:00 • Hellos, intros, and prayer.

0:04:02 • Should moral chaos in America make us panic?

0:09:15 • Should moral chaos in America make us passive?

On Slavery and Race

0:16:06 • Douglas Wilson’s position on slavery and racial reconciliation.

0:21:10 • John Piper’s takeaways from Wilson and Thabiti Anyabwile’s 111-page blog discussion on slavery and race.

0:22:53 • Six reasons the risk of partnering with Wilson is worth it for Piper.

0:26:55 • Wilson on whether his presence jeopardizes racial reconciliation.

0:30:12 • Wilson on the Anyabwile debate.

0:31:57 • The backstory behind Wilson’s book Black and Tan.

0:36:42 • Piper on making emotional connections in reconciliation.

0:39:20 • Piper on growing up in segregated Greenville, SC.

0:40:38 • Wilson on growing up in segregated Annapolis, MD.

0:42:58 • Wilson: The key to all reconciliation is God-centeredness.

0:45:50 • Wilson: We need to receive hard truths from African American brothers, and be willing to offer them.

0:46:56 • Why do African American Christians vote for pro-abortion politicians?

0:54:48 • Abortion as the slavery of the 20th century.

0:58:26 • Is the slavery/abortion link insensitive?

On Opposing Postmodern Sexuality

1:03:02 • Do you care about your reputation in debates? And how should Christian leaders address controversies (bold offending, cowardly retreating, non-offending edification)?

1:16:13 • Where is our culture on homosexuality? Where is it headed?

1:17:48 • Wilson: The central problems of culture are worship problems.

1:23:02 • Piper: How to be an effective idol-blasting Christian.

1:24:33 • Piper: I don’t know where culture is going. Collapse? Revival?

1:26:01 • Wilson: God’s kingdom progresses from triumph to triumph via apparent disasters (the cross).

1:28:06 • Why Piper avoids sodomy language in the homosexual debate.

1:35:06 • Why Wilson uses sodomy language in the homosexual debate.

1:39:48 • How to attack cultural apostles of homosexuality without alienating Christians struggling with same-sex attractions.

1:45:22 • Piper: Be slow to judge the heart of a Christian speaking online.

On Preparing for Persecution

1:47:35 • If persecution is coming to America, how should the Church ready herself?

1:53:26 • Piper closes in prayer.

Tony Reinke (@tonyreinke) is a content strategist at Desiring God, blogger, the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015), and hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Karalee, and their three children.