John Piper/Rick Warren Controversy

Posted: May 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

Desiring God recently announced that the upcoming 2010 Desiring God National Conference will feature Pastor Rick Warren as a speaker.  This has brought a huge storm down on John Piper’s head for his very controversial decision.  Below I am posting a video of John Piper explaining his reasoning for his decision if you are interested.  I am also posting a link to the Pyromaniacs website where, though they disagree with Piper more strongly than I think is necessary(they mention tempering their recommending John Piper to impressionable people-the people who need John Piper’s theological perspectives the most), they are more gracious than other blogs and comments I have read.

I for one think that what he is doing is potentially good.  I am certainly no fan of Rick Warren, especially after having read “The Purpose Driven Church” which just plain stunk.  It was utter garbage.  But that was years ago, and maybe he is different now, as many theologians do change their positions on key doctrinal points.  One main reason for me not being too bent out of shape about this is my trust for John Piper.  Though I disagree with Pastor Piper over a few issues, there are many things that he has opened up to me about God and the Gospel that have transformed my understanding and walking with God radically-in a good way.

One thing that I think  needs to be discussed and considered when coming to an opinion on this topic is the tendency of mature Christians to be very separatist in their thinking and acting toward other and sometimes young ministers(Like Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, etc.).  I believe this is a huge mistake.  These young ministers need an example and guidance from older and more godly men, and they are obviously reaching out for it.  How is it a good idea for John MacArthur and Phil Johnson to slap that hand away when it is reaching out to them for leadership? It isn’t. And that is why I am so encouraged to see so many young or immature ministers flocking to John Piper.  John Piper isn’t becoming more heretical, these other ministers are becoming more Orthodox!  That is what we want!  Though I DEFINITELY DO NOT ascribe to any ecumenical way of thinking, these men are not heretics and John Piper is not changing his theology for them.  Anyway, listen to John Piper and think and pray and judge for yourself…

The link for the Pyro article…

  1. BradleyT says:

    With so many good men to choose from, why choose Warren? (I don’t have 9 minutes to listen to his reasoning.)

    Then again, I could say, with so many good blogs out there, why link to Tim Keller’s?

    • Larry Walker says:

      As to your first question: If you won’t listen to John Piper and his reasoning, why would you want mine? I won’t be any better than Piper, plus it’s his decision not mine.

      As to your second question: Because Tim Keller is a godly man, a VERY solid theologian, and a gifted teacher. I love the majority of Tim Keller’s teaching(including the Sonship stuff), and I believe you, and everyone else for that matter, could greatly benefit by hearing what he has to say. I’m not alone in this, even our conservative Pastor can see some real value to what Tim Keller has to say. I’m curious how much you have read of Tim Keller’s writing? Or which sermons of his you have listened to? Give me a solid critique of him and I will give you a solid reply if there is one to be made.

      • BradleyT says:

        You have to understand almost everything I say is tongue-in-cheek (at least partially.) Lighten up!

        I am actually a lot more interested in what you have to say than what John Piper has to say.

        As for Keller, I have read some and heard some. I hold Sonship theology in very low esteem, as one friend of mine says “After going through Sonship, I can make it through anything with the Holy Spirit and Valium.”
        I don’t like that I read an article by him saying his church doesn’t ordain deaconesses, then watch a video of him doing just that. Well, he didn’t “lay on hands” but his wife was probably watching.

        I am REALLY tired of every sermon on the Prodigal Son trying to convince us that we are all the older brother. There’s a reason it’s called the parable of the prodigal son-some of us are prodigals!

        More likely, Caleb is correct is that we are all both brothers.

  2. Larry Walker says:

    Brad-stop thinking I am mad at you!!!

    I can’t imagine why what I would have to say would be more interesting or valid than what Piper says. The gist is that Rick Warren isn’t the heretic that he is portrayed as and he is interested in what he has to say. That is a SUPER CONDENSED explanation-don’t bother picking it apart, if you have any real questions, definitely refer to the video.

    About Sonship theology: I think it’s Biblical. Being careful with what you call Sonship theology of course. Just like hyper-calvinism is not calvinism, don’t mistake a hyper-Sonship theology with a proper view of our Sonship in Christ. As with all theologies you can lead one way too far, and I don’t think Tim Keller has gone too far in any particular area. Also, the Heidelberg catechism, Martin Luther, and Jonathan Edwards all speak in the same language that Tim Keller does(or rather, he speaks in theirs)in reference to Sonship theology. He frequently refers to all three. I would be worried that disliking Keller because you think he is a “Sonshipper” is a mistake in grouping together extremist with those who are being Biblical. Sonship theology is a beautiful thing and brings rest to the Christian if understood correctly.

    I am a little unfamiliar with the Prodigal Son sermons that you refer to, I have heard Keller say we are both, and I COMPLETELY agree, we are definitely both. We have a definite tendency to leave our Father, but we all also have self righteousness in our hearts.

    I would say there are two legitimate critiques of Keller and you hit on both, one via email, and one on here. They are the deaconess issue, and the evolution issue. I disagree with him on the evolution issue, though I don’t think that makes him a heretic or even someone not worth listening to. I do see some of his points on the deaconess issue, though I still fall in the camp of male only deaconesses-I am open to further study on it to be honest. I thought the debate between Keller and Duncan at General Assembly last year was pretty even. Keller made some EXCELLENT points that need to be considered, if anything to add balance. I am sure this is very disagreeable, but, there you have it. I do think that he needs to be very careful in how he is instating his deaconesses so as not to violate his word and his commitment to the PCA.

  3. BradleyT says:

    “I do see some of his points on the deaconess issue, though I still fall in the camp of male only deaconesses-I am open to further study on it to be honest.”

    Male only deaconesses, eh? Good luck getting THAT through General Assembly!

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