Thursday, September 13, 2012

Print Page John Piper

John Piper is well known in Fundamental circles. He pastors the large Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Piper also founded and is Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is also the author of over 50 books. I don't doubt Piper is a sincere and saved Christian. He's been praised by fundamental leaders and presidents of fundamental seminaries. Calvinists especially take a liking to him, but here are 5 reasons why John Piper should be avoided.

7 Point Calvinist

Piper says he is a 7 point Calvinist. The normal 5 points are total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints which make up the famous acronym T.U.L.I.P.. None of those are totally Biblical (1 Timothy 2:4, John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:15). Five points are not enough for Piper so he adds two more:
"The "sixth" point, double predestination, is simply the flip side of unconditional election. Just as God chooses whom He will save without regard to any distinctives in the person (Ephesians 1:5-6; Acts 13:48; Revelation 17:8), so also he decides whom He will not save without regard to any distinctives in the individual (John 10:26; 12:37-40; Romans 9:11-18;1 Peter 2:7-8)." 
"The "seventh" point, the best-of-all-possible worlds, means that God governs the course of history so that, in the long run, His glory will be more fully displayed and His people more fully satisfied than would have been the case in any other world. If we look only at the way things are now in the present era of this fallen world, this is not the best-of-all-possible worlds. But if we look at the whole course of history, from creation to redemption to eternity and beyond, and see the entirety of God's plan, it is the best-of-all-possible plans and leads to the best-of-all-possible eternities. And therefore this universe (and the events that happen in it from creation into eternity, taken as a whole) is the best-of-all-possible-worlds."

What does Piper mean when he says he's a seven-point Calvinist?, January 23, 2006, Matt Perman
Charasmatic

Piper holds a charismatic theology. In a sermon on March 8, 1981 entitled Be Filled with the Spirit he preached the following:
"I want to stress here though, that I do not reject the validity of the gift of tongues for our own day. It is wrong to insist that they are a necessary part of the baptism of the Spirit; it is not wrong to insist that they are a possible part of that experience today." 
"And now after 20 years of Bible study and friendships with charismatic believers I will say with even more assurance: Let us not reject or despise any of God's gifts, including tongues."
In a  4/20/10 video post he said the following:
Question: "To turn to the miraculous gifts - tongues, healing, prophecy - where would you say the place for those gifts would be in the life of the church today?" 
Answer (John Piper): "What I think, whether it's the right thing to say - I'm not gonna die on this hill - they are most effectively and appropriately used in smaller groups, rather than Sunday morning. Sunday morning meaning, the large gathered body with lots of people, and lots of strangers, and the need for some kind of movement in the service, rather than the whole thing being devoted over to individual expressions. And so when I think of trying to do whatever elements of 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 are appropriate to do today, I would want my people to know I believe in those things, I want them to flourish in those things, and I would think spontaneously and in relationships, and especially in small groups, they would take the time and ask people, "Did you bring anything from the Lord tonight that you think we need to hear? You can use whatever language you want. You can say 'Have you got a word of knowledge for us?' or 'Got a word of prophecy?' And if you're scared of that kind of language you can say 'Has God impressed upon you in some way something that you think somebody in this room, or all of us, need to hear, from your walk with God?' And open yourself up to that, they may say something that just penetrates right through to the very core of somebody.... "
Rick Warren

As can be read in this article Rick Warren is someone to be avoided. That said, Piper invited Warren to the Desiring God 2010 National Conference.When talking about his inventation to Warren in a video he states:
"I do think he's deeply theological. He's a brilliant man. He wouldn't have the church he does or the Peace Plan, or all the influence he does and of course the greatest sentence in the Purpose Driven life is the first one isn't it? It's not about you, it's about God. The Glory of God. So I don't think he's emergent. At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound." 
“I believe Rick’s is a faithful heart. Listen to the clarity of his doctrinal commitments and hear the heartbeat of his love for Christ and those perishing without him” (DesiringGod.org, May 27, 2011)  
How can Piper speak so highly of someone who is theologically shallow and wishy-washy with his doctrine? Warren is brilliant when it comes to marketing his books and movements but that is not something we should desire. Piper is only hurting himself and his church by inviting such a man to speak at his church.

Infant Baptism

Even though Piper's church name contains the word Baptist he and his board of elders proposed in 2002 that the church constitution be amended to allow a candidate to reject believer’s baptism by immersion if he “sincerely and humbly believes that it would be contrary to Scripture and conscience--and not just contrary to family tradition or desires--to be baptized by immersion and thus to count his infant baptism or his adult sprinkling as improper or invalid.” This shows Piper's lack of conviction on believer's Baptism by immersion. Even though the change didn't take place it shows that Piper is not willing to take a stand on clear teachings of scripture.

Christian Hedonism

A final concern with Piper I will mention is his promotion of Christian Hedonism and those that have influenced him in this area. I won't get into much detail at this time but you can read a great free book David Cloud wrote on the topic. Essentially Christian Hedonism is man pursuing his own happiness  by pursuing God. His influences were men such as the Catholic Blaise Pascal and C.S. Lewis who denied biblical inerrant and believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration.

Conclusion

I have only mentioned a few concerns I have with Piper. There are others as well. With so many good teachers out there we should separate ourselves from the bad doctrines and fellowships that corrupt. We can still love Piper and we should pray for him. We just need to avoid his false teachings.

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