Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Soon - The John Piper And Rick Warren Controversy

Dear readers, just so you know, I don't live under a rock or in a cave. When John Piper invited Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at the 2010 Desiring God Conference, we could feel the explosion in the blogosphere from as far away as Denmark. I have had numerous requests to comment, but have refrained thus far out of my immense love for, and respect of, John Piper and his three decades of faithful labor in the Gospel.

My views on Rick Warren's theology and modus operandi are no secret. They are well documented on this blog. You are welcome to click on the "Rick Warren" label beneath this post and access all previous posts concerning him. But for now I would ask that we would operate out of zeal for avoiding bringing reproach on Christ's Name, out of zeal for the furtherance of the Gospel, and out of love for John Piper's ministry which has abundantly blessed many of us. What I would ask is that you watch the video below and privately express your concerns to Dr Piper by sending your e-mails to mail@desiringGod.org.

I also highly recommend the April 1st - hour 1 podcast of Wretched Radio where I think Todd Friel gives a very thoughtful and balanced overview of what has transpired. Stay tuned - although I am waiting for some more dust to settle, I will soon be posting on this issue and discussing it in more detail. Until then Christian brothers and sisters, remember that there can be a difference between sinfulness and stupidity - I should know, I have considerable experience in both camps!


Troy said...

"I totally believe in the necessity repentance, and am totally committed to the call for repentance, though I may not use the word as often as some may want me to."

This reminds me of your complaints about Hillsong a while back. There can be repentance without using the actual word...

Cameron Buettel said...

The problem that myself and Rick Warren's critics is not that he doesn't use the word repentance, although that is a problem. It is that he never teaches anything that even resembles biblical repentance in his gospel presentations. Try and find somewhere where he does - I would sincerely love to see it.

Troy said...

Here you go:


Cameron Buettel said...

Troy, I sincerely thank you for taking up the challenge. When I put it out there I was actually hopeful that someone would be forthcoming with an article/audio/video that I have not yet found. And you brought forward something I have not yet read. However, I have read the article and would raise four points:

1. This is actually a reverse of the criticism Warren perceives he gets - he uses the word repentance but defines it poorly with regards to metanoia's (the greek word for repentance) use in the New Testament. This highlights precisely what is going wrong in many modern churches, people are told to change their minds but not to turn from their wicked ways. Thayer's Greek Lexicon defines "metanoia" as "the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty ammendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds."

2. Rick Warren's attempts at the Gospel in the wider public forum as seen in Purpose Driven Life, and Warren's TV presentation on the Fox network are both devoid of repentance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI9EzMWZoag

3. You mentioned earlier about my criticism of Hillsong for the same reasons with regards to repentance. I hope you are not suggesting that you think Hillsong's presentation of the gospel contains repentance? There is absolutely no way it is mentioned or described anywhere - which is worsened by the fact that it directly contradicts the Hillsong statement of faith. And that is just one of many problems with the gospel according to Hillsong.

4. I explain repentance and faith in the fifth of my five part youtube Gospel series as turning away from sin and turning toward Christ. This is not to say that true Christians never sin, but if someone is living in continual wilfull sin then they are unrepentant and unconverted as stated repeatedly in Scripture (Hebrews 10:26, 1 John 3:8-9 for example) Have you viewed these videos? You are welcome to critique it.

glenn christopherson said...

Rick Warrens failures of doctrine ,ministry philosophy and alliances (CFR,emerging church and new age connections) are well documented;which makes Dr Pipers endorsement of him very difficult to understand.Also difficult to comprehend is why so many are willing to go "soft" on Piper.John Piper in this instance has shown woeful disregard for the gospel and the people who have already been damaged by the Purpose Driven jugonaut.My prayer is for God given revelation to all involved in this fiasco with godly repentance as a result

PastorMac said...

Don't you hate it when you read the "comments" that follow these kinds of articles and they become so hateful and polemical? As those who claim to be followers of Christ we should avoid this at all costs.
For my part, John Piper has eloquently represented (or been a voice for) the "reformed camp" for many years.
Rick Warren has been an eloquent voice for the more "dispensational camp" for many years. Is it an unhealthy thing that their ministries should intentionally intersect at some point? As a pastor in the "dispensational camp" I think not.
Just a thought that came to mind as I stumbled on this "blog" in search of something else... I don't know of a single mature Christian who, given the choice, would recommend to a seeker any other NT book than the Gospel of John. But if a failure to mention "mentanoia" is in a gospel presentation is to be the standard (or dividing line) between heresy and sound doctrine then the Apostle John need never expect an invite to Dr. Piper's conference (even posthumously), since his Gospel (written specifically for the purpose of evangelism: 20:30-31)never uses the word in question in any of it's forms... not even once...??? Personally, I believe, as John evidently did, that "pisteuo" (or it's noun form) it all that is required.

Cameron Buettel said...

Pastor Mac, I hope you can take the time to read through my critique of Warren's sermon.


I would also recommend you have a look at the posts concerning Piper's interview with Warren


The problem with Warren is not that he is dispensational or arminian - it is that he is a chamelon who continually says conflicting things to different audiences for the sake of winning them over. Furthermore, Warren has a disgraceful record of Gospel preaching in his books, tv appearances, and lectures (many of which were for the express purpose of Gospel proclamation).

Also, with regards to the subject of repentance. It is a subject continually absent from Warren's preaching - not just the word. Also there are 65 other books in the Bible other than John. Also, repentance is a very prominent theme in the 7 letters to the seven churches in Rev 2&3 which is part of John's corpus of writing. Furthermore, repentance is a prominent them in John's Gospel - telling the adulteress to go and sin no more is one clear example. Sometimes Scripture talks about the necessity of faith without mentioning repentance and sometimes vice versa. But a proper reading of Scripture harmonizing all of the text makes it clear that saving faith is a repentant faith. Warren does not preach repentance rightly.