Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coming Soon - Rick Warren And John Piper

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 . . .

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cameron, you may be interested to hear Chris Rosebrough's thorough critique of Warren's presentation. The bible twisting and subtle Pelagianism is astonishing, Though what is perhaps more astonishing is that Piper had no criticism of it!

http://www.extremetheology.com/

newtaste said...

T D Jakes and Joel Osteen at future John Piper conferences? Probably not ...

David Ford said...

Hi Cameron, sorry to be a stick in the mud on this, but Piper is an Amyraldist - A crypto Arminian, which is pretty deceptive given he drapes himself in the vestiges of Calvinism whilst denying its foundation...Limited Atonement. I am very cynical about Piper, because he is not only happy with an incomplete atonement, but also an incomplete santification - happily denying the belief for righteousness and its perfection which is the foundation of what has been declared for our forgiveness. He alternatively promotes a striving toward covenant keeping (works based performance salvation) rather than poverty of spirit, Godly remorse, repentance, and belief for a perfect righteousness. Given his preference for a will based salvation, I am therefore not surprised that Piper is a happy bedfellow with Warren. In fact I would go as far to say that Piper is worse than Warren, because at least Warren is open about his gospel reductionism, where Piper is insidious - sounding OK on the veneer, but with a dangerous undercurrent of works based performance and self righteousness. Personally I cringe when I hear Piper's poetry and his extensive redefinitions of key biblical concepts like faith and works, and ongoing endorsement of the writings of occultist CS Lewis. The piece by the Trinity Foundation "Pied Piper" nails his pedigree and heresy. Personally I hope he never comes to Australia this year to spread his misleading nonsense. Send us Paul Washer or John MacArthur any day! PS why on earth does not James White take the blow torch to Piper?
Regds
David Ford