Well now it's happened. Desiring God 2010 has recently finished. John Piper's controversial invitation to Rick Warren shocked a lot of people including myself. While I am not surprised at the debate it has ignited, I am surprised at the silence (or lukewarm support) from others who could have benefited us with solid biblical critique . . . perhaps it is on the way.
There are certain observations that I was able to make that I am not hearing much talk about and it is for this reason that I will be discussing them in more detail in the coming weeks - so stay tuned. Rick Warren has exerted massive influence on the evangelical landscape over the last decade - probably even longer! This is a very big deal and I am deeply saddened over the fact that certain people have not taken the opportunity to take Rick Warren to task for some of his practices - not least of which his "version of the gospel", his handling of Scripture at times, and his chameleon like behavior when he finds himself in different camps and contexts.
There is some criticism/conspiracy theories concerning Warren's physical absence (he preached via video) from the conference. To those people I would say take the man at his word. We have no reason to doubt the serious health issues in his family that prevented him from coming. Let's put the best construction on what we can so that we can sound more like Bereans than bashers.
Secondly I want to point out that I love John Piper. His exposition of First John has been tremendously helpful in my grasp of the nature of true conversion. His book the Pleasures Of God is worth buying for the appendix alone. It is Piper who has helped me to fathom God's sovereignty and the operation of His two wills. His preaching has exhilarated me when it wasn't convicting me. It is John Piper's teaching that has played a major role in lifting me out of the mire of so much modern man centered preaching and elevated me to the lofty heights of viewing all things through a God centered lens fueled by the sufficiency of Christ's "propitiation". But when Piper indulges Warren's philosophy and pragmatism I feel like he is dragging me back to the vomit I so gratefully abandoned. The fact is I think Piper completely dropped the ball when he invited Warren. Reason with him yes, but don't invite the great modern purveyor of pragmatism as a keynote speaker to Desiring God. One of the great things many are losing sight of in this debate is that not only are many reformed thinkers in disagreement with Piper over this, much of Piper's own teaching is in disagreement with his (perhaps unwitting) endorsement of Warren and I will explain this in greater detail in the coming weeks.
But for now, if you are willing to give up the time, put your discernment cap on and chew over the message Warren presented at Desiring God and we'll come back and talk about it soon. I think this really needs to be discussed . . .