Piper Explains Warren Invitation in His Own Words- UPDATED- with video

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Greg Linscott's picture

John Piper wrote:
"I had mentioned some negative things earlier about the emergent church, I said the black community didn't get into it BUT the observation was the black community at least some of you, DID get into 40 days of Purpose. Uh Mainly from Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church and Rick Warren and Rick Warren isn't emergent, BUT maybe not totally separate and Mark Driscoll just preached there, and preached from the cross, and Rick was moved. And do I, what do I think about all that?

Well I put my cards totally on the table here, um I have invited Rick Warren to come to the Desiring God National Conference this fall. And he's coming. Now I will get a lot of criticism for this from my Reformed brothers, because... not because Rick Warren is openly non calvinistic or non reformed. I don't think he wears his theological distinctives on his sleeve, but would be probably theologically more at home with where I am than where an arminian is. I believe that. What makes Warren a problem, and I'm gonna... well, when I wrote him, here's what I said. And he'll probably watch this video too. I said the conference is called "THINK: The life of the Mind and the Love of God." I want you to come. You are the most well known pragmatist pastor in the world. I don't think you are a pragmatist at root. Come and tell us why thinking Biblically matters to you in your amazingly pragmatic approach to ministry."

"I want him to lay his cards on the table. I want him to tell us what makes him tick. Because he does come across in much of what he says and does as very results-oriented and pragmatic and not theologically driven, and yet, I met him for the first time last year at Ralph Winter's funeral in Pasadena. And we sat beside each other on the platform for three hours. I like him because he sings. He sings badly. And anybody who's willing to sing when they sing badly, I like em. And we were talking beforehand and he said to me 'I'm reading all the works of Jonathan Edwards this year. I pick a great theologian every year and I read all of his collected works. I'm on volume 17 of the Yale series of Jonathan Edwards' works.'"

"'You've gotta be kidding me. Nothing you've ever said would incline me to think ...' (laughter)

"So these guys are gonna go interview him tomorrow I think so you can quote some of these things. 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. And what makes him tick? Actively and doing church? I intend to find out. So. I like him and I'm frustrated by some of his stuff."

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Susan R's picture

Will this invitation continue to be viewed as an endorsement? Because this doesn't sound like a wholesale endorsement to me. But the idea that Warren is not emergent...? Didn't Warren write a glowing introduction for The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations by Dan Kimball?

Todd Wood's picture

I betcha y'all an Idaho spud that if Billy Graham was Rick's age and in Rick's shoes, John would have invited Billy to speak on the love of God at the DG conference.

gmetcalf73's picture

You do not need to study error to know error. The more of the truth you know, the more error, or what makes a man tick, will expose the error. As you well know, bank tellers and such as handle money, do not study the counterfeit, they study and handle the real. They are able to detect the fake because they know the real so well. We don't need to have Warren in a Conference to know what makes him tick. His "fruit" does enough talking.

Gregg Metcalf
Colossians 1:28-29

Charlie's picture

I think it's interesting who certain groups view as problematic. For example, I don't remember any uproar when Piper invited Doug Wilson to a conference (maybe I missed it?), but on a confessional Reformed website I visit there was an outrage. Wilson is a proponent of the Federal Vision, an aberrant theology absolutizing certain aspects of covenant and election and dabbling in deviant views of justification. I'm pretty sure the people on that site don't like Rick Warren either, but they might prefer him to Wilson.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
I betcha y'all an Idaho spud that if Billy Graham was Rick's age and in Rick's shoes, John would have invited Billy to speak on the love of God at the DG conference.
And if you think Billy Graham at Rick's age are apples and apples I have a bridge in the Sahara to sell you.

Todd Wood's picture

Doug looks like a conservative separatist holed up in the wooded hills of northern Idaho, waging battle with error and not even batting an eye over Hitchens' screech. Rick looks like a flaming liberal in California, wearing sunglasses and airjamming to anything under the sun.

Actually, Doug is the bearded, classical philosopher way over the top for his fellow brethren on his logical syllogisms and Rick - well - how is he suppose to know any better with his theological training. Aren't all Southern Baptists clueless?

(tongue in cheek)

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Charlie wrote:
I think it's interesting who certain groups view as problematic. For example, I don't remember any uproar when Piper invited Doug Wilson to a conference (maybe I missed it?), but on a confessional Reformed website I visit there was an outrage. Wilson is a proponent of the Federal Vision, an aberrant theology absolutizing certain aspects of covenant and election and dabbling in deviant views of justification. I'm pretty sure the people on that site don't like Rick Warren either, but they might prefer him to Wilson.
Well Charlie, some did make an uproar but not many, you are right. The question is why? I believe it is because many privately agree with Wilson's aberrations and others simply do not have the constitution that is required to bring themselves to admit that Doug Wilson is an inappropriate choice because it will reflect poorly on Piper and on themselves in the mirror when they have to admit to some of their sycophantic following of Piper.

Secondly, Piper himself holds to a deviant view of justification so maybe many are not so surprised with the choice of Wilson seeing that he and Piper share this kind of departure from orthodoxy. As well, these men and many of their ardent students worship at the theological altar of Calvinism (figuratively speaking of course) and rare are sacred cows touched by those that have elevated them so.

As for Warren, he is outside the camp and is far more clear in his leftist and/or unorthodox theological expressions hence it is much easier and convenient for Piperetes (or is that Piperites...I forget Lol to object. But be assured you will get the opportunity to read as many apologists as can rise up here offer justification, minimization or obfuscation in attempting to do anything but admit the choice of Warren is absolutely unacceptable and reflects a facet of Piper they either have missed along the way or denied all the while.

Todd Wood's picture

A bridge in the Sahara is a lot bigger than an Idaho spud, for sure.

And I would acknowledge that Billy Graham, America's preacher, is different than Rick Warren, America's pragmatist in a lot of ways.

No leader is alike.

Todd Wood's picture

(To be honest, in the midst of all this discussion about aberrations and deviants and consistency, I would like to make a trip up north and hear Douglas Wilson in person. Actually, even more so, I would like to listen to his friend, Peter Leithart, lecture on the Trinity.

This has been a temptation of mine for some time.)

Joel Tetreau's picture

I'd be interested in hearing Warren on the topic mentioned by John. I actually relate to both sides of the pragamtist-idealist approach to ministry. I've come to the conclusion that I'm somewhat of an idealist-pragmatist-existentialish-Baptistish-Calvinish kind of a guy. The idea of a responsible and vibrant "pragmatism" (and I'm not convinced Warren is always "responsible" with his pragmatism) linked to and controlled by a responsible and healthy "theology" appeals to me. I like it....alot. Frankly, I'm not surprised by the move because bringing these two concepts together is very Puritan (which is consistent with Piper). Frankly over the years I've been turned off by the "idealist-only approach" to ministry as much (if not more than) the "pragmatist-only" approach.

BTW....I don't think you "Piper lovers" need to worry about John loosing his directional compass. I see this as a similar thing to what Calvary Lansdale used to do with it's leadership conference. You have different types of guys to come together to think about different approaches to a topic. Obviously Lansdale would only have fundamentalist leaders in. But the approach here is similar in an evangelical context. I also think there is good grace here in letting Warren speak for himself. Let him answer the questions instead of just accusing him of this or that.

I'll plan on getting the mp3's. But again....this is just me.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Jonathan Charles's picture

Maybe this has been posted on Sharperiron.org, but to get an idea of how much of a pragmatist Warren is, Saddleback is having Easter services at Dodger stadium Sunday with music provided by the Jonas Brothers. Maybe Mylie Cyrus will show up to sing "Party In the USA." I guess his target audience is now young teenage girls.

A. Carpenter's picture

I'll admit up front that I'm disappointed, but I've got to point something out - It's called the "Desiring God Conference." Now, maybe we've forgotten what that means, especially since our kinds of "conferences" usually end up being a string of sermons focused on stirring people up in areas where they already agree. But my American Heritage Dictionary seems to think that a "conference" is "a meeting for discussion" (1.a.) or "an exchange of views" (1.b.). I can't say that I have yet been to a conference that offered "an exchange of views" much less gave any room for "a meeting for discussion." Seriously, I have always wondered why "conferences" bear a striking similarity to revival meetings, with the possible difference of sermon content. Anyway, haven't the DG conferences always featured speakers who were a little off of the center that Piper has attempted to portray? Sounds like that approach might make for a healthy conference.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

RPittman's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Charlie wrote:
I think it's interesting who certain groups view as problematic. For example, I don't remember any uproar when Piper invited Doug Wilson to a conference (maybe I missed it?), but on a confessional Reformed website I visit there was an outrage. Wilson is a proponent of the Federal Vision, an aberrant theology absolutizing certain aspects of covenant and election and dabbling in deviant views of justification. I'm pretty sure the people on that site don't like Rick Warren either, but they might prefer him to Wilson.
Well Charlie, some did make an uproar but not many, you are right. The question is why? I believe it is because many privately agree with Wilson's aberrations and others simply do not have the constitution that is required to bring themselves to admit that Doug Wilson is an inappropriate choice because it will reflect poorly on Piper and on themselves in the mirror when they have to admit to some of their sycophantic following of Piper.

Secondly, Piper himself holds to a deviant view of justification so maybe many are not so surprised with the choice of Wilson seeing that he and Piper share this kind of departure from orthodoxy. As well, these men and many of their ardent students worship at the theological altar of Calvinism (figuratively speaking of course) and rare are sacred cows touched by those that have elevated them so.

As for Warren, he is outside the camp and is far more clear in his leftist and/or unorthodox theological expressions hence it is much easier and convenient for Piperetes (or is that Piperites...I forget Lol to object. But be assured you will get the opportunity to read as many apologists as can rise up here offer justification, minimization or obfuscation in attempting to do anything but admit the choice of Warren is absolutely unacceptable and reflects a facet of Piper they either have missed along the way or denied all the while.

I really have very little justification for taking up bandwidth except that I tend to agree with Charlie and Alex. It's not often that we see eye-to-eye and I couldn't resist adding my two cents.

RPittman's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:
I'll admit up front that I'm disappointed, but I've got to point something out - It's called the "Desiring God Conference." Now, maybe we've forgotten what that means, especially since our kinds of "conferences" usually end up being a string of sermons focused on stirring people up in areas where they already agree. But my American Heritage Dictionary seems to think that a "conference" is "a meeting for discussion" (1.a.) or "an exchange of views" (1.b.). I can't say that I have yet been to a conference that offered "an exchange of views" much less gave any room for "a meeting for discussion." Seriously, I have always wondered why "conferences" bear a striking similarity to revival meetings, with the possible difference of sermon content. Anyway, haven't the DG conferences always featured speakers who were a little off of the center that Piper has attempted to portray? Sounds like that approach might make for a healthy conference.
Maybe or maybe not. There are lots of possibilities. Many have not even been hinted. History teaches us that compromise often begins in small, undetectable ways and ends in full-blown concession. It's a hard thing to distinguish and nail down. The perfectly legitimate and laudable traits of toleration and cooperation are steps on the road that leads to compromise. On the other hand, there’s excessive narrowness, intolerance, and isolation. The balance is difficult to achieve.

Usually, the first steps to concession are so small as to be imperceptible. Yet, a small deviation of 0.01 degree angle is immeasurable at the starting point but it becomes an obvious error when extended over a large distance. If one recalls the history of the Billy Graham, young Billy was an up and coming evangelist in Fundamentalism when he hit the LA scene. No one saw the compromise coming as Billy drew together larger and larger groups of Fundamentalists. This was ecumenism but it was within the bounds of Biblical belief. When the outside world via the Hearst media began to take notice, young Billy’s head was turned and he sought bigger and grander things than narrow Fundamentalism could offer. This led to cooperation with Roman Catholics, Modernists/Liberals, and heretics such as Bishop Pike.

Like BG, success can be a major contributor to one's compromise. With our success-oriented culture, we are compelled to reach for bigger and better things. When the resources within our reach are exhausted, we must go outside our circle to accrue new resources even it involves a conciliation of beliefs and purpose. The past has demonstrated that successful ministries breed a thirst for success. Many times this involves enlarging one’s tent to include those outside one’s own theological perspective. Dare we call it compromise or do we call it open-mindness. Is it stretching our beliefs or is it a willingness to listen to others? How far can one go? My observation is that Piper has been enlarging his tent with Mark Driscoll, et. al. and now Rick Warren.

RPittman's picture

gmetcalf73 wrote:
You do not need to study error to know error. The more of the truth you know, the more error, or what makes a man tick, will expose the error. As you well know, bank tellers and such as handle money, do not study the counterfeit, they study and handle the real. They are able to detect the fake because they know the real so well. We don't need to have Warren in a Conference to know what makes him tick. His "fruit" does enough talking.
Yeah, I can think of many ways for Rick to tell us what makes him tick and what he says and what he does are the most telling. Furthermore, I apparently have a different view from Piper on what makes a man theological or a deep thinker. Reading Jonathan Edwards does not necessarily make one theological astute or a deep thinker. Although Piper's apologetic was perhaps self-satisfying, it sounded shallow and unconvincing. Admittedly, he doesn't know Warren's theological stance but he thinks that he knows based upon one encounter. Perhaps the real reason is that he likes the guy but that's not intellectual enough for Piper.

A. Carpenter's picture

RPittman wrote:
[Yeah, I can think of many ways for Rick to tell us what makes him tick and what he says and what he does are the most telling. Furthermore, I apparently have a different view from Piper on what makes a man theological or a deep thinker. Reading Jonathan Edwards does not necessarily make one theological astute or a deep thinker. Although Piper's apologetic was perhaps self-satisfying, it sounded shallow and unconvincing. Admittedly, he doesn't know Warren's theological stance but he thinks that he knows based upon one encounter. Perhaps the real reason is that he likes the guy but that's not intellectual enough for Piper.

But doesn't that kind of openness point to the kind of "conference" that I mentioned? I mean, when you admit you don't know exactly what someone thinks on a subject but invite him to come speak and tell you, that hardly implies that you endorse whatever the guy says. I catch your point about concession and the enlarging of one's tent (without necessarily agreeing about the motives behind it), and you could be right. But does conference imply concession? One has only to think back on Pastor Sweatt to realize that not everyone thinks so.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Charlie's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:
I'll admit up front that I'm disappointed, but I've got to point something out - It's called the "Desiring God Conference." Now, maybe we've forgotten what that means, especially since our kinds of "conferences" usually end up being a string of sermons focused on stirring people up in areas where they already agree. But my American Heritage Dictionary seems to think that a "conference" is "a meeting for discussion" (1.a.) or "an exchange of views" (1.b.). I can't say that I have yet been to a conference that offered "an exchange of views" much less gave any room for "a meeting for discussion." Seriously, I have always wondered why "conferences" bear a striking similarity to revival meetings, with the possible difference of sermon content. Anyway, haven't the DG conferences always featured speakers who were a little off of the center that Piper has attempted to portray? Sounds like that approach might make for a healthy conference.

Thanks, Aaron, I think you have a point. A phrase I heard a lot at BJU was "Platform fellowship." It's a really big deal to fundamentalists. In considering Piper's invitation, I think the movement Fundamentalists on here need to take one step back and consider what "platform fellowship" means to a non-fundamentalist. Whether right or wrong, non-fundamentalists don't seem to put the same weight on conference invitations or isolated speaking engagements that fundies do. If BJU invited Rick Warren to Bible Conference, that would mean something like, "We think this man is incredible, a visionary leader of Christianity, a faithful steward of God's gifts and calling, and a role model for all of you preacher boys." I significantly doubt that a DG invite means anything near that. I'm not saying that I'm thrilled about Warren or even that I think it's a great idea, only that an invite by a non-fundamentalist does not carry the same level of endorsement that fundy invites often do.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Pastork's picture

Charlie,

I was one who did criticize Piper for inviting Doug Wilson to speak at the Desiring God Conference last year. In fact, I wrote a blog article entitled "Disappointed in John Piper's Judgment About Doug Wilson." You can read it here, if you are interested: http://reformedbaptist.blogspot.com/2009/06/disappointed-in-john-piper.html

Frankly, I am not as disturbed by his invitation of Warren as I was about Wilson, but I am still disappointed at his penchant for aligning himself with or endorsing such men. Why does he seem to want to invite such controversy? I don't get it.

I understand that he doesn't fully endorse the thinking or writing of such men and that he acknowledges serious problems with them, but then why would he give them such an opportunity to influence the people he is trying to reach? And how can his invitation to them be seen as any thing other than an endorsement? Again, I don't get it.

Just my two cents.

Keith

Aaron Blumer's picture

The gist of the video seems to be (I paraphrase) "I'm charmed by the guy and his contradictions intrigue me so I'm going to have him come and make a case for his way of doing things to thousands of pastors I have the opportunity to influence." It doesn't reflect really well on him.
I don't see anything wrong w/the logic of "This is about the mind and I want to see how he thinks," but you could do that in a conversation. Why do you have to put him in front of thousands under your auspices to find out how he thinks?

I accept the idea that JP doesn't intend the event as a "platform fellowship" sort of endorsement. But sometimes what something is is more than what we intend. I just don't think it's plausible at all to suggest that who JP brings to speak isn't extremely influential in the minds of many--especially young--pastors and other leaders, especially if you compare who has invited to who he could have invited. Say, DA Carson for example.
If pragmatism is really all that interesting and important to understand better, it makes sense to host RW, but really... what is there to figure out other than how in the world RW can read so much Edwards and still be so mixed up? Personally, I don't share JP's curiosity on that point.

Todd Wood's picture

It wouldn't happen on God's green earth that Douglas Wilson would invite Rick Warren to his conference, unless it was to debate. Their personal circles don't even begin to intersect.

Let's face it . . . John Piper is very broad in his Baptist circle when it comes to expressing his own personal appreciation for other leaders. And anytime a leader in a Christian circle acts out on his own circle of personal appreciation, the public circle is disrupted.

Douglas Wilson does not appreciate an "evangellyfish", but John seems to appreciate Rick Warren.

Mark Driscoll does not appreciate the fundamentalist (nor does Doug for that matter it seems), but wait till some future day when John out of personal appreciation invites a fundamentalist that neither Driscoll or Wilson would tolerate in a conference of their own. (laughing) Imagine that disruption.

Ok, I thought I was done randomly blabbing on this issue. So I had better call it quits. Smile

et

(Btw, Clarence Sexton can be disruptive to his Baptist circle, too. Hosting BJU preachers. Also, this guy preaches on the Calvary Chapel satelite network out here. What is up with this guy?)

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Charlie wrote:
A. Carpenter wrote:
I'll admit up front that I'm disappointed, but I've got to point something out - It's called the "Desiring God Conference." Now, maybe we've forgotten what that means, especially since our kinds of "conferences" usually end up being a string of sermons focused on stirring people up in areas where they already agree. But my American Heritage Dictionary seems to think that a "conference" is "a meeting for discussion" (1.a.) or "an exchange of views" (1.b.). I can't say that I have yet been to a conference that offered "an exchange of views" much less gave any room for "a meeting for discussion." Seriously, I have always wondered why "conferences" bear a striking similarity to revival meetings, with the possible difference of sermon content. Anyway, haven't the DG conferences always featured speakers who were a little off of the center that Piper has attempted to portray? Sounds like that approach might make for a healthy conference.

Thanks, Aaron, I think you have a point. A phrase I heard a lot at BJU was "Platform fellowship." It's a really big deal to fundamentalists. In considering Piper's invitation, I think the movement Fundamentalists on here need to take one step back and consider what "platform fellowship" means to a non-fundamentalist. Whether right or wrong, non-fundamentalists don't seem to put the same weight on conference invitations or isolated speaking engagements that fundies do. If BJU invited Rick Warren to Bible Conference, that would mean something like, "We think this man is incredible, a visionary leader of Christianity, a faithful steward of God's gifts and calling, and a role model for all of you preacher boys." I significantly doubt that a DG invite means anything near that. I'm not saying that I'm thrilled about Warren or even that I think it's a great idea, only that an invite by a non-fundamentalist does not carry the same level of endorsement that fundy invites often do.

I think the real question is what platform fellowship means to those who are viewing the platform, whatever their personal position might be. The problem arises in that this appears to be at least a tacit and partial endoresement of Warren no matter where you might be viewing it from. All denials aside, if Piper disagreed, he would not be inviting Warren to inform his audience.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
The gist of the video seems to be (I paraphrase) "I'm charmed by the guy and his contradictions intrigue me so I'm going to have him come and make a case for his way of doing things to thousands of pastors I have the opportunity to influence." It doesn't reflect really well on him.
I don't see anything wrong w/the logic of "This is about the mind and I want to see how he thinks," but you could do that in a conversation. Why do you have to put him in front of thousands under your auspices to find out how he thinks?

I accept the idea that JP doesn't intend the event as a "platform fellowship" sort of endorsement. But sometimes what something is is more than what we intend. I just don't think it's plausible at all to suggest that who JP brings to speak isn't extremely influential in the minds of many--especially young--pastors and other leaders, especially if you compare who has invited to who he could have invited. Say, DA Carson for example.
If pragmatism is really all that interesting and important to understand better, it makes sense to host RW, but really... what is there to figure out other than how in the world RW can read so much Edwards and still be so mixed up? Personally, I don't share JP's curiosity on that point.

Aaron, some great points. I agree that if he wanted to better understand Warren, he should meet with him personally. I like a lot about Warren, just not those painful (to me) compromises. Unfortunately, because of those compromises, even the good things he says are often written off apiori.

"The Midrash Detective"

Matthew Christensen's picture

I'll post some quotes from Rich Warren talking about Christian fundamentalists.

“Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the
Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity,
and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all
actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no
large ones.”

- The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Event Transcript, Myths of the Modern Mega-Church, Monday, May 23, 2005

The 5 fundamentals Warren is referring to:

1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).

"Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by
fear. Fear of each other."

- Philadelphia Inquirer, The purpose-driven pastor, Paul Nussbaum, Jan. 08, 2006

Jay's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
Mark Driscoll does not appreciate the fundamentalist (nor does Doug for that matter it seems), but wait till some future day when John out of personal appreciation invites a fundamentalist that neither Driscoll or Wilson would tolerate in a conference of their own. (laughing) Imagine that disruption.

I think I'd rather not...but if Piper invites you, Todd, I'll tune in for that Smile

I think Aaron hit the nail on the head. I get what someone said about a conference being a place to stimulate thought and provoke discussion, but I'm amazed that Piper invited Warren. I probably shouldn't be, because I know he's got friends all of "christianity" [as broadly as you can stretch that term ], but I do think that he's taking a risk and inviting Warren not just because Warren will make others think, but because he wants Warren to think about what he's doing as well...note the "I want to challenge him" line in the explanation he gives.

I do think it's a poor reflection on Piper, and I don't think he should have invited Warren, but he'll answer for it to God, I guess.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bob T.'s picture

Perhaps we can get away from the disappointment and understand that Piper has a theology that has a less orthodox theology than Robert Warren. RW does preach a very strong gospel message in his church. Go online and watch a couple sermons at their website. I totally disagree with the pattern and presentation of Christianity in his book "the Purpose driven life." However, having been in his church and watched him on the internet, I was surprised at a clear and unadulterated gospel. Rick is on the conservative side of the Southern Baptist seminary. His church has the best followup teaching I have seen. Leads from the basics to the deeper study of the word. It is not easy believism, You must complete certain classes and pass an interview for salvation and church membership. It is a topical subject pulpit with a gospel emphasis. The various classes offered in the church offered in depth study in Bible, theology, apologetics, and Biblical teaching on various topics and issues. There is much stronger gospel presented and far greater in depth teaching than at most Fundamental Baptist churches. Check it out for yourself.

I do differ with RW on many relationships and associations. Also on some of his theology. Understand that much of what JP does comes from a moderate Evangelical outlook. He is no Conservative evangelical. His pushing of the Puritan Calvinism has been accepted by many of the younger generation. Many attempt to vehemently defend John Piper ignoring many of his clear statements that present an over emphasis on election, the application of God's sovereignty, and double justification. His view on defining faith and the assurance of salvation is Puritan in historical sources and not in accordance with the European source Calvinism. and the evolved Reformed theology. Since JP left Fundamentalism when young and attended New Evangelical and Neo Orthodox schools, he should not be expected to have an exclusionary view of conference speakers. Some just want Calvinistic emphasis. However, an emphasis away from that may be useful to many.

One should not be surprised at inviting Rick Warren to this conference. I light of JPs moderate evangelicalism, it is not a bad choice.

Jay's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Perhaps we can get away from the disappointment and understand that Piper...has a less orthodox theology than Robert Warren.

Bob, you lost me as soon as I read this. To disagree with Piper is one thing, but to say that Piper's theology is worse that Warren's? I don't think so. Have you read any of Piper's books or listened to him preach?

--edit--
This is what Michael Horton says about Warren's theology (From [URL=http://www.sharperiron.org/filings/4-1-10/14449 ]another SI Filing[/URL ]):

Quote:

At the same time, I believe that his [Warren's ] message distorts the gospel and that he is contributing to the human-centered pragmatism that is eroding the proper ministry and mission of the church. Judging by The Purpose-Driven Life, Pastor Warren’s theology seems to reflect run-of-the-mill evangelical Arminianism, especially with its emphasis on the new birth as the result of human decision and cooperation with grace. There are also heavy traces of Keswick “higher life” teaching throughout the book. None of this disqualifies him from being an evangelical statesman. After all, much the same can be said of Billy Graham. After pointing out how difficult it is to define an evangelical theologically, historian George Marsden famously surmised that it’s “anyone who likes Billy Graham.” Today, perhaps, it’s anyone who likes Rick Warren.

Obviously, Rick Warren believes that he is simply translating the gospel in terms that the unchurched can understand. However, the radical condition of sin is reduced to negative attitudes and behaviors and the radical redemption secured by Christ’s propitiatory death and resurrection are reduced to general and vague statements about God giving us another chance. His central message seems to be that you were created for a purpose and you just need to fulfill it. Even at Easter he can say, “…And of course, that purpose now becomes greater — and in fact, I think that’s really what the message this week of Easter is, is that God can bring good out of bad. That he turns crucifixions into resurrections. That he takes the mess of our life, and when we give him all the pieces, he can — God can put it together in a new way” (”Larry King Live,” CNN, March 22, 2005). I heard him say on a network morning program last Christmas that Jesus came to give us a mulligan, like in golf—a chance for a “do-over” in life.


That doesn't seem to agree with any point of Reformed theology that I've ever heard of.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

Part of the reason RW is so controversial--and JP's choice is so controversial--is that RW as a figure and a conference-speaker choice brings more than one burning theological issue into focus.
We have non-Calvinists who oppose JP because of his reformed theology
We have non-Calvinists who oppose RW because of his lack of separation and (to a lesser degree I think) pragmatism
We have Calvinistic folks who oppose RW b/c of his lack of reformed theology as well as his pragmatism and lack of separation
etc.

So there is a separatism axis, a calvinism axis and a pragmatism axis (and no doubt some others). Hence, we have folks who allege that Piper's view of justification is "[URL=http://sharperiron.org/filings/3-31-10/14433#comment-11983 ]deviant[/URL ]" and that Warren's theology is more orthodox than Piper's. It's the calvinism-arminianism axis coming out there.
(Personally, I find it very hard to see how RW's theology is better than Piper's even from an Arminian POV... and I think I understand Arminianism pretty well)

Fundamentalists may largely agree in being non-fans of RW, but they have widely varying reasons for that and, as a result, widely varying responses to Piper's conference choice.

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