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      UPDATED: It's Confirmed: John Piper to Host Rick Warren at Desiring God 2010 (with video from Piper)

      Wednesday, March 31, 2010

      This is a sad day. I'm a little shocked but not much, honestly. It's sort of like the person you knew who was in the hospital for the past three years or so. You knew the end was coming soon as you slowly watched them deteriorate, but you just didn't know when. That's how I feel about John Piper's discernment after it has now been confirmed that John Piper has invited Rick Warren to speak at the Fall 2010 Desiring God Conference.

      Here's your confirmation from Piper, himself. In it, he shares this thought:
      "At root I think (Rick Warren) is theological and doctrinal and sound.”

      HT: CrossTalk Blog for the audio

      As I said in my Tweet yesterday, "If this is true, I cannot, in good conscience, endorse @JohnPiper again." You may now change that "If" to a "Since."  At this point, I'm sure that many of you will write me off as "fundamentalist" or whatever else, but I really don't care.  I believe that God is sovereign and all things work together for the good of those who are called and love Him, but, frankly, I can't help but feel a little discouraged today.  John Piper has wonderful, wonderful things to say, but I honestly feel like I would if I were to find out that my Dad was having an affair.  I can't imagine the two feelings being that much different.  Piper is looked to as an authority on Reformed Theology (which I hold to passionately as I believe it's true), and he just brought in the camp the the equivalent of the town prostitute to "meet Mom and the family" under the guise that "he's trying to help her by inviting her into our household to stay and mingle with the family." (That analogy may seem harsh to some, but those who have seriously invested time in investigating Warren and his double speak to sell himself whichever way he can to whichever group is available may realize that the analogy is not far off.) Yeah, right; let your Dad try that with your Mom and see how well that goes over.  If your Dad were to stay with the prostitute at the expense of the well being of the rest of his family because it's "in her best interest," it would say a lot about his priorities and character, would it not?  It's one thing to hold to God's sovereignty while things are going well, but it's quite another to hold to it and still see people you have respected as people with Godly discernment discredit themselves with decisions that undermine the Gospel like it's been revealed about John Piper today. 

      All this "wait and see" stuff I'm hearing from people who would rather rely on unsubstantiated optimism than already established facts is nonsense. John Piper invited a false Gospel to his conference and called it sound. What's left to wait and see?

      Please click this link to hear and read what I consider to be sound critiques of the Purpose Driven Movement and the cult-like tactics it employs in seeking to win a church culture over who is more concerned with being groupies in a land full of "Christian celebrity" than disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  If sound doctrine doesn't matter, I'm on board with Warren, too.  It's the easy way for me, and I'll probably even sell more books if I ever write one.  Unfortunately, for everyone who believes that a precher's popularity determines his credibility, theology does matter.  May God have mercy on this situation and bring repentance.   Piper, Warren, and those who condone this are sincerely in my prayers.

      UPDATED: Maybe the most concerning thing about all of this is the reasons why Piper has accepted Warren to instruct the body at Desiring God 2010. In this short video, Piper gives his reasons (none of which I found convincing in the least).


      ann_in_grace said...

      Lane, have you heard John Piper on this?
      http://www.benterry.com/?p=273 I think it is worth listening.

      terriergal said...

      Yes, he has, Ann. I posted that on his FB wall. The idea that JP can consider RW "Theological, and doctrinal, and sound" is preposterous. It only makes himself look way off base. There is NO REASON to give RW a forum here. People have been trying to reach RW for years and get him to 'lay his cards on the table.' He puts his cards on the table every time he speaks.

      What John Piper just nicely admitted is that RW is dishonest. But he was so nice about it that it makes it sound like it's not such a big deal to JP either.

      terriergal said...

      and ann, if you look in the post itself, it refers to that same audio.

      Zac said...

      let's all pray for this situation and see what God is going to do with it before we declare john piper, a man who has stood for reformed theology, biblical truth, and humility before a sovereign and holy God, to have lost his discernment. i have faith that God is continuing to use john piper for Godly purposes and ends, and everything we have seen up to this point (yes, ESPECIALLY including his self-imposed sabbatical) strengthens this belief.

      Vicki said...

      You might also want to pray for forgiveness for calling a Christian brother a "town prostitute." Many unChrist-like and untrue things have been said about Rick Warren, and you've just added to them.

      According to my pastor, Rick Warren is a "modern conservative, evangelical Christian." That may not fit with your "Reformed" theology, but disagreements among Christians must be tempered with love and grace, not peppered with name-calling. I can't tell you how difficult that is for me, sometimes, but I have at least accepted it as the truth.

      Please also read in James about taming the tongue; I believe it applies as much to the written word as to what is said aloud. And consider this question: How many people who need Christ would take that step after reading something as unChrist-like, unloving and judgmental as what you said about a fellow believer?

      Disclaimer: I do not personally know Rick Warren, am not related to him, and have never heard him in person. I have no connection with him, at all, except in Christ.

      Ben Mordecai said...

      I disagree with Piper inviting Warren to DG, but I think you are WAY overreaccting.

      To "never again" recommend Piper on the basis of a conference speaker? To erase 40 faithful years of fruitful pastoral ministry over a Rick Warren invitation? That is just overdoing it.

      I think Piper is misinformed about the gravity of RW errors. I know that he is aware of many of RW's errors though, but he perceives him as a theological conservative whom he disagrees with, much like he would, say, a Presbyterian who he disagrees with over baptism.

      Either way, I'm going to keep recommending Piper despite this. People were up in arms about Driscoll and Wilson, and now it's Warren.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      @Zac: As far as I'm concerned, I've already seen what God is going to do: Allow Piper to invite a heretic. Therefore, all this "wait and see" stuff is nonsense. We've already seen.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      @Vicki, Warren is not a brother so the rest of your critique is invalid regardless of what your pastor says (with all due respect to your pastor, of course). Warren prostitutes the Gospel so I believe the analogy is valid. Thanks for your admonition of James. I'd like to advise you to read some more of Paul, especially Galatians. Also, the care about an unbeliever coming here and reading this is something I view completely different from you. If they knew what the issues were, the effeminate "let's all love and get along" nonsense would turn away anyone who thinks through things. If you really want to reach the lost, call a spade a spade, and you may enough respect from them that they'll look into what you believe more carefully rather than someone who appeals to emotivism to substantiate their claims. After all, if it's wrong to judge, why did you come here judging me?

      PS. This has nothing to do with Reformed Theology.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      @Ben, thanks for sharing your opinion. I take the opinion that you're way under-reacting. If it's not against your conscience to recommend Piper after this, no problem. You have to answer for that, so if you're comfortable with him allowing a person who doesn't preach the Gospel to preach at a conference, then more power to you. May you do well with your unsubstantiated optimism. I've seen all I need to see in this circumstance, and my conscience won't allow me to send people to his guidance any longer. It could be that I'm just the weaker brother, though...

      Lou Martuneac said...

      Brother Lane:

      I posted this Piper/Warren invite story yesterday morning.

      John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

      I really appreciate your posting this from Piper, “At root I think (Rick Warren) is theological and doctrinal and sound.”


      Warren embraces deliberate pragmatism of the worst kind; routinely misuses Scripture; promotes extreme ecumenism; redefines ministry in terms of social activism and accepts the worst sort of evangelistic reductionism

      IMO, whatever Piper’s reason for hosting Warren it is inexcusable.

      No one can understand or explain why Piper embraces Rick Warren except Piper himself. IMO, this is a huge disconnect from what Piper writes in his books. One must question that Piper believes what he writes in his own books.


      Lane Chaplin said...

      @"Anonymous": I don't allow completely anonymous comments on this blog. Be man (or woman) enough to at least include your name at the end of the post, and I'll let it through. Otherwise, don't bother. As James White says, people aren't as "courageous" when their name is associated with what they write.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      @Lou: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree completely.

      Josiah Ramos said...

      When Dr. Piper stands before God with the hundreds of possible thousands that he has led to Christ through the gospel, do you honestly think that God will discredit his ministry for inviting Rick Warren to a conference?

      Do you honestly think that Dr. Piper's ministry will no longer be effectively used by the Holy Spirit because of this? I mean... Honestly?

      Do you really think that Christ has written Dr. Piper off? If not, then why would you?

      If you do feel that way, I pray that you have read 1st Corinthians 4:1-5. It would be a shame for you to publicly discredit a faithful man of God when you have no means to judge his intentions.

      If on the other hand, you cannot absolutely say with 100% confidence that Christ Himself would discredit the rest of John Piper's ministry... I think you might not want to do so.

      I will say this... Although I am sure it will not penetrate the callousness of your fundamentalism...

      I was a born again believer for 7 years before I understood the riches and depths of the gospel. I was pragmatic and often times legalistic during that time as well. However, it took someone who was willing take me under their wing and teach me the scriptures before I truly understood the multiple facets of the Gospel. Now, I see the glorious depths of all that Christ has done for me, while back then I only saw a portion of what I see now.

      My point is this... Could it be possible that Rick Warren might be a believer? A misguided believer and a poor theologian, yes. But could he perhaps be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and have a pure heart... Yet not understand the depths of the gospel?

      I mean the guy has to be on to something... He had Mark Driscoll preach at his church and he agreed to speak at the DG conference.

      Maybe Dr. Piper has a deeper and much more pure motive than you would give him credit for? Maybe in his prayer time the Lord has spoken to him concerning this decision?

      Maybe it would be foolish to discredit the ministry of a man who has stood for strong biblical convictions for many years, often times exposing himself to an enormous amount of criticism from the flaming arminians in this country.

      Maybe Piper isn't a fool, and maybe Christ would't write him off just yet.

      Maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't either?

      David Watson said...


      It's me. @anonymous. I hope you will post my comment this time. As I said in my last "unpublished post," I am not one to get on blogs, but I happened to stumble upon this one from facebook. All things considered, I just chose anonymity because I have no idea what kind of "hyper calvinist" might start trying to send me their fundamentalist emails, trying to "defend the gospel."

      As I said before, I wonder how many people you are currently leading to Christ, how many churches you are planting, how many young disciples you are training, how many people have responded in faith to Jesus because of your laying the life down for the gospel? Perhaps because I don't know you, you can and will say, "A lot."

      But perhaps if you are honest, you will admit, "Not nearly as many as John Piper."

      Therefore, I think it is utterly ignorant to write the ministry of a faithful man who has preached the gospel faithfully for 40+ years. Also a man who has brought us such theological riches as the Pleasures of God, God is the Gospel, and Desiring God.

      The honest truth is that his ministry is and will be far more effective than this silly little blog of yours that you most likely run from your laptop in your bedroom.

      The honest truth is that Christ will most likely continue to use John Piper to faithfully articulate the gospel to hundreds more people before he dies.

      It is really sad to me that a young man would devote their time to trying to "warn" people about heresy on a cheap blogspot account and call it ministry.

      Please sir... Get over your psychotic orthodoxy and evaluate why you are truly writing this blog.


      David Watson

      Lane Chaplin said...

      @David: Thanks for coming back and signing your name to what you wrote, but seeing as you have nothing more to offer than the logical fallacies of the appeal to popularity and the ad hom to appeal to, I'm afraid you don't present much for me to interact with. Take care.

      Kehinde Omotayo said...

      @ David Watson - continue to serve John Piper if you so wish, I would rather serve Jesus Christ. And the Lord receives our service whether it is from a silly little blog that you run in your bedroom or at big conferences in front of thousands.

      What is so amazing to me is how foolish Piper sounds on this video. Just as foolish as his decision to sign up Rick Warren.

      Does he not see that he has disobeyed the Scriptural command to show love and not cause your brother to stumble by inviting Rick? Does he not see the kind of trouble he has caused in the hearts of many by merely associating himself with a pastor as theologically inaccurate as Mr Warren?

      As Lane said earlier, I cannot in good conscience support JPs ministry unless he repents of this act.

      Zac said...


      I definitely hear what you're saying regarding being alert. I guess what I'm talking about isn't just sitting back and not praying, not talking about theology, and not actively discerning everything that comes out of both ministries involved here. I'm talking about remaining hopeful for a man who has devoted his entire life to advancing God's word as we remain vigilant about the theology emerging from the DG conference (the same way we should about ALL major ministries). I remain faithful that God is going to do something great here, because so much of John Piper's life has demonstrated God's saving grace, and even his announcement (if listened to fully) seemed to be advancing the idea that there will be a discerning, iron-sharpening-iron potential interaction coming from Warren's involvement. Let's keep praying, keep studying, and keep believing in God's sovereignty and grace.

      Lou Martuneac said...


      I believe separation from believers who are disobedient is a loving response to their disobedience. John Piper has, however, abandoned this biblical principle. Piper prefers fellowship at the expense of ignoring what the Bible calls for when we encounter the disobedient among us, and Rick Warren is among the disobedient.

      Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3: 6, 14-15).

      Furthermore, IMO with this invitation to Warren, John Piper joins the ranks of the disobedient and we must “withdraw from” from him because of it.

      I have a follow up. See- John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God


      Josiah Ramos said...


      No one bothered to respond to my post concerning 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. In which, the apostle Paul defends his ministry from those who were turning away from his ministry. He clearly speaks of no one having the right to judge the intentions of the heart.

      Which is why I am wondering how you guys believe that you can?

      As I said before. If you can say with 100% confidence that Christ is withdrawing himself from Dr. Piper for inviting Rick Warren to speak at a DG conference... Then you are quite bold.

      However, if you cannot say that Christ has withdrawn His commendation of Dr. Piper's ministry... Why would you do such a thing?

      @ lou...
      The scripture you referenced in 2 Thess. is not even in proper context. Paul was speaking of men who were idle, lazy, and taking advantage of the church. In which Paul states in ch.3:15... Do not treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a BROTHER.

      Did Dr. Piper not clearly say in the video that you posted... He drilled Rick Warren about his theology?

      Even in Matthew 18:15-17, when Jesus speaks of how we should engage people who are living in unrepentant sin... He tells us to regard them as gentiles and tax collectors. But answer me this... How did Jesus treat gentiles and tax collectors? He entreated them to join him @ his table.

      For those who would use the admonitions of Paul in 1st & 2nd Timothy to disregard men like Hymenaeus & Alexander... You must also check the context. These men were denying the diety of Christ and refused to repent of their false doctrine. Clearly this is not the case with Rick Warren who is willing to come to a highly theological conference and speak about his doctrine.

      So, until Rick Warren absolutely blasphemes God and denies that Jesus is Lord... I think Dr. Piper is treating him how he ought to.

      He is giving him the opportunity to come clear about his beliefs. Do you not think that Rick Warren coming to a reformed conference will cause him to be hated by people?

      Come on guys... Get off your theological high horse and check your hearts.

      Please take some time to answer these arguments intelligibly as well. Rather than ignoring them like you did my last post.

      Lou Martuneac said...

      "The scripture you referenced in 2 Thess. is not even in proper context. Paul was speaking of men who were idle, lazy, and taking advantage of the church. In which Paul states in ch.3:15... Do not treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a BROTHER."

      Wrong! What Warren has done through PDL and Saddleback is an offense to the church and Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is multi-times worse than an idle brother; right? Therefore, the passage applies at least double, IMHO.


      Truth Seeker said...

      VERY discouraging! I was disturbed at John's endorsement of Mark Driscoll several months ago. The phrase "Unity at what Cost?" seems to be constantly bouncing around in my head these days. I can't be surprised any more when this happens. It has happened to so many local ministers that we've dealt with as well as big name guys that I've become numb to it. My family has been out of "traditional" church now for 8 years this month because there is not ONE within driving distance that is doctrinally sound.

      Don't you think what is going on in the church is the "great falling away" spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2?

      I just wonder who is going to be next?

      I think we're getting close to something...I don't know what exactly, but I think we're getting ready to see some "in your face" undeniable end times prophecy unfold. It's both exciting and a bit scary...

      Amos 8 is pretty stirring- especially verse 11.

      We have to just keep on "keeping on" though. It's disheartening to see a fellow believer going down the wrong path, but it should only cause us to draw closer to the Lord as we come to the realization of how easy it is to be swayed, bought, or fooled.

      Regarding ministers who have enjoyed God's grace for a time and later "fell"...
      everyone knows the story of King Solomon, but how few have read to the end of his story? When they fall they tend to REALLY fall.

      I hope God has something good up His sleeve here with Piper/Warren. The most important thing is that we're watching their fruit and testing the words that come out of their mouths. We should not swallow whatever comes out of a minister's mouth simply because their last name is Warren, or Graham or Piper. EVERY man is fallible. This is why we were commanded to watch our doctrine closely. I Tim 4:16

      Josiah Ramos said...


      I appreciate your intelligent response and your thorough hermeneutical defense.

      I also appreciate how you answered the rest of my critique. What about not treating him as an enemy?

      How on earth can you apply a "double" standard to scripture?

      What exactly has PDL done to offend the gospel?

      Has he denied the deity of Christ, has he denied penal substitutionary atonement, has he denied the cross, has he denied the resurrection?

      I think not. Therefore, keep your scripture references in their context.

      PuritanReformed said...


      here is my latest response with regards to the doctrine of Separation:

      Piper, Waren and the Doctrine of Separation.

      PuritanReformed said...


      I suggest you read Pastor Bob DeWaay's book Redefining Christianity on this topic. Also, I have written a book Driven Away by Purpose on this very issue, and an another article in a hopefully upcoming book soon also analyzing the Purpose Driven paradigm.

      rrn said...

      This video is also worth a view.


      Why is it that in 30 years we do not hear what Warren believes comming from his pulpit or media interviews? But we hear it second hand as retold by John Piper? The conference is not the place to have someone explain themselves. That should be done before the conference not only to Piper but to the rest of us because Warren is a public and published pastor who has an existing and established record of being hostile to the gospel.

      This is really Warren 101. Reformed circles are largely an untapped demographic for his material. Pragmatically it makes sense for him to agree with and make friends and gain a profile with established Reformed leaders and a platform to broaden the market share. This is how error spreads. Not how it stops.

      MRWBBIII said...



      AussieAndy said...

      I have been a fan of Piper's preaching and his writing since ny pastor recommended him to me. I know few preachers who have the same level of passion for the gospel.
      To hear that Piper is choosing to overlook the many theological problems of Warren seems akin to Superman inviting Lex Luther to dinner.

      how would you reconcile the superb back catalogue of Piper's books and sermons which still have great value with this seemingly incongruous decision on his part?

      David said...

      I have looked at both videos of Piper, and I have to say this: who is best showing the attitude of Christ? Piper himself, who behaves in a loving and respectful way to those he disagrees with, or the people who are pouring condemnation on Piper for inviting Rick Warren? To me, the answer is obvious...

      Here's a question - if Warren is a first-class heretic, then why are people so concerned about him speaking at a Desiring God conference? Surely the audience and other speakers will be so well-versed in sound theology that his errors will be exposed for all to see? And Piper talked about doing a one-on-one public interview with Warren, which sounds like a calvinist version of the spanish inquisition! Do those who oppose Warren really have so little confidence in themselves?

      I'd suggest that perhaps the animosity towards Warren is because he represents a totally different way of doing church and spreading the gospel to what fundamentalism stands for. For example, in one of the videos that a commentor linked to, Warren is asked what about people who aren't Christians. Instead of saying "they're going to burn in hell forever", he responds "now would be a great time for them to give Jesus a try". I thought that was an amazing way of reaching people with an unexpected answer that would make them stop and think. But if you take the view that the only way to evangelise is to say "believe in Jesus or go to hell" (which I don't think can be supported by the Bible, incidentally), then I can see that you would be rather upset.

      David said...

      The other thing that's struck me is what on earth does this have to do with Piper's own theology? Reading some of the comments, you'd think that Piper himself has denied some central doctrine of the faith, which of course he hasn't. The worst he could be accused of is a lack of discernment and a failure to separate.

      I also don't like the way that Warren is portrayed as the most dangerous person in US christianity. He isn't - just check out any "christian" TV channel for some genuinely worrying stuff.

      Lou Martuneac said...


      Just wanted to reiterate that I appreciate your efforts in regard to Piper's invitation to Rick Warren.

      FWIW, I gave your article here an atta-boy link from my blog in my new article, What are the T4G Men For to Do?

      Kind regards,


      Denise said...


      I agree with your stand on this. I think the defense of Driscoll, Tripp, Wilson, and Warren says more about Piper than those men.

      Why are people so reluctant to separate from a false shepherd? I find it disgusting how people will defend a man who offers wolves to the sheep, yet those of us calling them on it are the "bad guys"! Where's the loyalty to Christ and the Gospel? Where's the doctrine of separation for purity's sake? Where's the love for Truth?

      What's to applaud and admire and respect about a man who hates the Gospel, promotes Roman Catholicism and Eastern Myticism, homosexuality; who denies Justification by faith,the lordship and sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ, that Scripture is our only authority for all matters of life and godliness?

      A man who sees good, light, truth in a false teacher, himself has doctrinal error and lacks discernment, wisdom, and love of Truth and the souls of others. They have all committed Treason against the King.

      Lou Martuneac said...


      You asked, "Where's the loyalty to Christ and the Gospel? Where's the doctrine of separation for purity's sake? Where's the love for Truth?"

      These are fosaken for the sake of friendships and fellowships. Unity at the price of truth is treason against the Lord Jesus Christ. (Spurgeon paraphrase)


      MRWBBIII said...



      Denise said...

      Lou, yup.

      Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

      Embrace a man who is a false teacher, and you reveal youself to be a man-pleaser, not a Christ-pleaser.

      2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
      2Jn 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
      2Jn 1:11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

      Even greeting, not to mention parading around and offering a false teacher to HIS sheep, is to partake of his wicked works. Its SIN. Its not a matter of opinion, differing methodology, etc. Its downright SIN and Treason against the King of Kings. Its to feed poison to the sheep and tell them to shut and be grateful! Oy! Its so grievous to my soul.

      Lydia said...

      This is a perfect lesson. Do not put your faith in men. We have young men following way too many Christian celebrities. It is dangerous. And I pray this is a wake up call: They are only men.

      Piper has been giving us clues for years that he wants to push the envelope and be a sort of shock jock and each time they are explained away by his defenders.

      It is time for the Christian world to stop following men and follow Christ. If more really knew Christ, Warren would not be a celebrity either.

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