Friday, March 11, 2011

The Video That Made Me Weep - Rick Warren's Sermon At Desiring God (Part 16)

Wow, I finally finished wading through all the muck that Rick Warren dished out at last years (2010) Desiring God conference. And I was left bewildered and perplexed as to why John Piper (who I treasure as a great preacher and expositor) would invite Rick Warren to deliver the same old man centered moralizing that he has delivered for years in his books, sermons, and interviews. Not only that, I believe a strong case can be made that Piper actually breached his own theology (laid out in books like Desiring God) by giving airtime and kudos to someone who is the antithesis of the Christ centered teaching advocated so forcefully by John Piper over the years. But, after a complete train wreck of a sermon by Rick Warren, what happened in the following piece of video left me weeping and with a strong sense of betrayal.

The following commentary corresponds to the following video from 2:47 to 9:11

I just cannot believe what I just heard. Is there two John Pipers? And did Burk Parsons, who edits Tabletalk (which is an outstanding Reformed Magazine), check his brain at the door? What was going on there? Don't they realize the damage they can do by giving Warren additional credibility in circles where he should be shunned? Don't they realize that many faithful shepherds have lost their jobs because they would not abandon biblical exposition and embrace pragmatic "church growth" philosophy? These are the people who were looking to Dr. Piper to provide perhaps the only forum where, finally, the Purpose Driven guru might get taken to task. Piper is normally so clear in his teaching, but did the need for diplomacy turn him into an incoherent and confusing spokesman? If these guys won't put Rick Warren in a headlock, who will? I wish I knew the answer to all this. I still love John Piper and will always be grateful for how he delivered me from the yoke of modern man centered preaching to soar in the great sky of God being glorified in all things. But why he just dragged me back to the vomit I gleefully abandoned I cannot fathom nor answer.

I welcome any comments that may clarify this issue because I am completely at a loss. That was my vote for the saddest piece of video in 2010, and at that, I will gladly sign off from this series. Time to talk about other things that I do understand . . .

Go On To The Piper Warren Interview
Go Back To Part 15
Go Back To Part 1


Apeleutheros said...

I'm with you on this man, and this video left me speechless... in a bad way of course. It's like I don't want to believe it, know what I mean? But it's real and I'm just at an utter loss. I can only shake my head man, and my heart seriously hurts.

I've been anticipating and longing for Piper to open his eyes, see what's going, and acknowledge his mistake. I've been praying he will see it and I'm in dire hope that he might issue a statement admitting his mistake... no such thing, in fact only the opposite has occurred, so that goes on to the next thing:

Anyways, I missed some of your series on Warren's sermon, but when I get time I will go through it. But I wasn't sure if you'd heard that Piper plans on having a Desiring God conference 2011 at Saddleback. I thought it was some horrible silly rumor, but I was shocked to find out it was true.

I'm speechless. I've been among those giving Piper the benefit of the doubt but if things continue like this I'll have to begrudgingly part ways from a man I dearly and lovingly respect. Piper introduced me to a lot of great men of God such as Edward's, Luther, and Calvin. He was instrumental nursing me into a correct understanding of the gospel and of grace. It hurts...

...This is tragic for me, and if I wasn't so angry right now, I'd be weeping with you bro.

Anonymous said...

At first this was very depressing and disappointing. To some extent it still is because I love a lot off Piper's work, but after some reflection I am so grateful for God's perfection, for Jesus Christ's perfection, His perfect holiness. We trust in Christ not men. Thank you God.

Anonymous said...

Don't post on web -

Cameron you need to understand why people like John Piper has welcome him. He does not know in detail the things you know about Rick Warren. The bad connections, the new age leaders he is hooked up too, his core values, etc.

All he knows is that Rick warren seems controversial but seem to have something good to say. So he invited him.

You need to tell him and inform these leaders about these disturbing matters so they are fully aware of how dangerous is RW.

More leaders like Piper will get suck in like this cause they are just not aware. Leaders need to contact them and help them see why they are so dangerous..

These leaders are very busy and do not have time researching and digging out these theological issues and so they just fall prey. Or they do not know where to start or which sites to go too for information..

I hope that solves your confusion of why John piper has invited such a heretic.

Again you have information Pastor John piper does not have so what he hears about Rick warren seems reasonable. He gives neutral ideas that seems acceptable and uses Bible verse to back it up. So people just accept it and don't see the danger of what he is trying to do to their mind and hearts! Again this is why Piper just allowed him in.

If Piper knew what you know he would not allow him in.

I suggest you try and contact John Piper and tell him what you found.

Anonymous said...

Don't post -


David Ford said...


In know that you have a lot of regard for Piper, but I can't help feel that your discomfort with this whole Warren fiasco at Desiring God is revealing what your spirit has already discerned about Piper and his tag team. Let me contrast this very simply. There is a gospel being presented here that is self reliant, striving, organised, performance related, and completely consistent with Piper's 4 point calvanist framework that requires participation of our own will and evangelical covenant keeping to qualify for "Future Grace" as Piper puts it. It is in essence self righteousness by definition. The spirit of the real gospel is best illustrated by this short segment just posted by Heartcry.

Piper and Warren's gospel is striving and covenant keeping, (Which is why they are so friendly) whereas Washer's is repentance and faith for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. As Ravenhill used to say, there are only two types of people in this world, those that are Dead in Sin (in this life), and those that are Dead to Sin (in this life). I know Piper wont hear this one... This is what they should be talking about, not purpose driven lives to fake real righteousness (which can only be gained by genuine brokenness and remorse for sin, abhorrence of the flesh, fear of God, daily repentance and faith for the Righteousness of God by the Holy Spirit).

Dave in Brissy

Rene Vester said...

Cameron you hit the point clearly with this question:

"Don't they realize that many faithful shepherds have lost their jobs because they would not abandon biblical exposition and embrace pragmatic "church growth" philosophy?"

Piper should have said from the start of, I got a video sent from Warren. "I've seen it, and it was unbiblical, purposedriven, and without the gospel. Therefore I cannot put it up. I have to protect the sheep for stuff like this, and I apologize even inviting Rick Warren."

Instead he did the opposite, and it is was like the worst nighmare for me in 2010. Except it wasn't a dream. I'm so glad that people like Todd Friel and James White had no problems telling this was a trainwreck of a sermon. And that Piper had stepped over the line.

Cameron Buettel said...

David, the problem with Piper is that his handling of this issue flies directly in the face of his own theology so clearly outlined in his books Desiring God and The Pleasures of God. In these Piper makes an excellent defense of limited atonement, or as I prefer to call it, particular redemption. It was actually Piper who converted me from 4 to 5 points.

You make a lot of good observations but you may want to go back and recheck your sources on this issue. Piper is a staunch advocate of every letter in TULIP.

And the issue with Warren is a big problem even before we get to the Calvinist debate. Calvinists and Arminians would both agree that Warren does not preach repentance. Stott is an annihilationist, Packer signed the ECT document, and Piper commends Warren - these are three of the many mysteries of the universe that make my brain explode!

gandalf said...

Hi Cameron,

You wrote:

"In these Piper makes an excellent defense of limited atonement, or as I prefer to call it, particular redemption. It was actually Piper who converted me from 4 to 5 points."

Do you know the saying that, if a calvinist cannot any longer support limited atonement but keeps the other four points, he probably ends up as an universalist?

But do not worry too much about John Pipers own course, I do not think he is wandering towards "Purpose Driven" in his own thinking and teaching.
That still leaves the question open if certain decisions about events and speakers were wise or foolish...

David Ford said...

Hi Cameron,

It appears Piper is a real chameleon on this. It is more likely that he holds to a form of particular atonement, but I would be sure that this associated "election" is all subject to covenant keeping in keeping with his prior books such as "Future Grace". I would say that there is no confusion with the word. We are not saved by covenant keeping, but by mercy and grace, not of anything in and of ourselves - including will and so called "decisions".

Piper is on tape with this below...

Host:"So Piper, just be simple a minute, do you believe Jesus died for all people? Just give us a straight out answer."

Piper:"And I’m not going to play politics, I’m not going to answer another question. I’m going to do this.

Before I answer it, I’m going to force you to define for all people, I’m going to say, now just tell me exactly what you mean and I’ll answer you, because I dont want to answer in a way that would cause you to misunderstand.

What do you mean by for all people?

Now I think I know what most, is it okay if I use the word Arminians? just, just most people who, who are having a hard time, they’re not all Arminians, having a hard time with Limited Atonement. That is the atonement that effects something special for a limited group.

I think I know what they all mean, and I’m going to quote Miller’s Erikson’s theology because I think he’s right. He says:

“God intended the atonement to make salvation possible for all persons. christ died for all persons but this atoning death becomes effective only when accepted by the individual. This is the view of all arminians.” closed quote.

If that’s the view of all arminians I totally agree with it. No qualifications. So if you say “did christ die for all people” and I say “what do you mean for all people?” and you answer “I mean did he die in such a way so that anybody anywhere who believes will be saved by that blood.”

I say “absolutely he did.” That’s John 3:16 pure and simple. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son in such a way that whoever believes will not perish, I believe that totally without qualification. Every individual person on planet earth who believes in Jesus has their life covered by the blood of Jesus. so you preach that, you stand up on Sunday morning and you say christ died in such a way so that anybody in this room who believes, your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.

(John Piper – Acts 29 conference – The Whole Glory of God – Imputation – Impartation of His righteousness – Part 2)


David Ford said...


I have further concerns with Piper,
the first of which is that he apparently holds to Replacement Theology.

Whilst this is pretty common amongst evangelicals, I find this is completely in keeping with the Arminian view of atonement that he is on tape supporting (as it by extension denies the election of Israel as they failed to keep the covenant given them) which also applies to the new covenant in Piper's world.. All of this has
its roots in denial of a perfect atonement and imparted righteousness in this life which has emasculated large swathes of the intent of the word, and turned his theology IMO into a Catholic Works based religion which thinks it is forgiven when it does not even seek to attain to the very thing declared for its foundation...the Righteousness of God availed to them by the faith of Jesus Christ. This is not about observance to the law it is about being someone on a daily basis by daily regeneration. In summary, I see his belief system will not allow the elect to be sanctified but rather places them on probation to their evangelical obedience (ie salvation by striving) maintaining in them a delusion of comfort and peace with God when there is none because there is little room for Godly remorse and repentance, and certainly no belief for, and receipt of the Spirit of Righteousness.

Separately, and finally, (and this may sound right off the wall), I've always been very uncomfortable with Piper's obsession with CS Lewis, who was a known occultist, and whose warped theological views are well documented here:

In the end, you've gotta ask yourself the question, has listening to Piper inspired and transformed you to more godliness & perfection in this life, & fruit meet for repentance, or just given you some knowledge?

All in all I think Piper is all Theology and no expectation for practical regeneration, but rather offers a treadmill that goes nowhere. I think he's someone to take a very wide berth from.

In Christ

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, my view is that Piper has answered why he is embracing Warren and others with dubious doctrinal views. When defending why he asked Warren to DG, he stated that "Warren is a man of God. He wouldn't have the church he has and the peace plan etc if he wasn't".(rough paraphrase)
In the current video he states, You don't have to be Rick Warren to buid a "successfull church"
Obviously Piper is equating "big' with "blessed of God". This thinking is rife amongst preachers and pastors (I know from personal experience and I once Pastored a relatively large church in Australia)It is the subtle shift in eccesiology that births a multitude of sins errors and heresies and ultimately leads to Rome. After all who has a bigger "church" than the Pope?
Mega church pastors often feel they have more in common with other celebrity preachers than they do with the simple faithful people of God. Doctrine becomes not the defining issue but numbers. I predict (and hope I am wrong) that Piper will become more ecumenical as he imbibes the intoxicating worldly influence of Warren and other compromisers.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this video.
I am not sure if it is my settings in my browser or not, but is there a way you can set the default so that the video on this post does not automatically start?
Sam Hendrickson

Anonymous said...