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      My Cards on the Table Regarding the Warren/Piper Situation

      Friday, April 9, 2010

      There has certainly been a lot said about the Warren/Piper situation since it was first reported a few days ago. There have also been a few misunderstandings about my position that I’d like to clear up now. After this, I’d like to address a few of the positions I’ve seen regarding this situation.

      Certain people believe that my lack of endorsement for Piper now that it has been revealed that Warren will be teaching God’s sheep at Desiring God 2010 is that I no longer consider Piper a brother (ie. I don’t endorse Piper therefore I no longer consider him a brother.) This, however, isn’t the case. I do consider Piper a brother, and, while I don’t wish to speculate on the reasons for his sabbatical, this endorsement of the false Gospel Warren presents certainly leads me to believe there are some things in Piper’s life that he needs prayer for (as we all do, but I’m speaking cause/particular). Prayer, as I stated in the first post where I spoke on this, is what he has from me as I pray for God to help him through whichever struggles he may be going through and come out on top. Rather, my lack of endorsement is about Piper’s discernment. While I do believe Piper has many great things to say and I greatly respect him as someone who has a record of standing up for Biblical truth, nowhere do I believe we need John Piper. In other words, if I don’t send someone to John Piper that does not equate to I don’t send them to God.  R.C. Sproul has said something to the effect that when you build a bridge, you can count on traffic coming from both sides. There are plenty of other preachers and teachers out there who do not see the need to receive traffic from the seeker-sensitive/Purpose Driven movement, and, if you agree that John Piper does not have the monopoly on Biblical truth, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t direct brothers and sisters to someone who refuses to receive that traffic and put it on your brother’s plate. Many people know my affinity for Dr. James White. I endorse his ministry. I send brothers and sisters there often. But I tell you this: If Dr. White opened up the traffic from the PDL movement this afternoon, my conscience would no longer allow me to promote him, either. And the thing is, at this moment, I’m pretty confident that he’d tell me not to promote him if he went down that street, as well. That’s one of the main reasons I’m comfortable directing people his way: He’s reliable. Sure, Dr. White has written many good books as has Dr. Piper, but if Dr. White were to go this course, I couldn’t help but believe that 1) He believed what he said in those books, but he's going through something deep spiritually and needs our prayer 2) He didn’t really believe the good things he said in those books and it was all just talk or 3) He believed it at that time, but now he sees Warren’s theology as doctrinally sound instead.

      Now, I’d like to remark on a few of the thought processes I’ve seen around the net concerning this situation.

      People have said that they’re giving Piper the benefit of the doubt in this situation because they don’t know what he’s bringing Warren to the conference for exactly.

      The people who employ this rationale have adopted, in my estimation, “the apologetic of unsubstantiated optimism.” In this view, it doesn’t matter what a person has already said regarding the issue, what matters is what you hope happens in the future. That’s what determines this person’s train of thought. "The apologetic of substantiated fact" is irrelevant and is very often completely omitted from even a comment unless it's some passing comment dealing with things the person has done favorably in the past.  I’m wondering if the people who are endorsing the former apologetic have seen the two videos where Piper explains why he’s inviting Warren. Here is maybe my most discomforting concern regarding this issue: Piper says that he invited Warren to the conference because John Piper believes (as he states) that Rick Warren is a sound teacher. This is the truly mind boggling thing for me. Before I tell you why, I’d like to tell you a short story. In my Jurisprudence class in law school, we’re presently going over essays written that advocate homosexual marriage, etc. (which I welcome so I can know how to answer homosexuals effectively persuading them that it’s sin). The professor often opens up the floor for discussion on various issues. Of course, he opened up the floor to the issue of homosexual marriage. Even though it’s a Christian law school, people both agreed and disagreed with it. However, regardless of all the arguments both pro and con, the one thing that was clearly the distinguishing mark between the two groups was this: One group viewed homosexuality as immoral and saw it as a big deal. The other side didn’t see homosexuality as immoral and couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about regarding two guys getting together in matrimony and thought that those who were against homosexuality were blowing things out of proportion. They thought this was merely a “taste issue.” Why do I bring this up? I believe that this is the exact problem that is occurring on this issue of Warren/Piper. Many people have told me that I’m making too big of a deal about this subject. They have told me that I need to move on and let this play its course. My question to these people is: “Is preaching a false Gospel immoral?” I’m sure that groups on both sides will come down on this by saying, “Well, yes. Of course it is.” Then my next question (and the one that I believe is the breaker in this Warren/Piper situation) is, “Does Rick Warren preach a false Gospel?” Where you come down on this latter question will determine if you believe this is a situation worth fighting for or if the people who do decide to fight for it are blowing it out of proportion "over a mere issue of taste."

      To help you determine which side you come down on, I’d like to present you with some evidence of why I believe that Rick Warren preaches a false Gospel. After you read these reasons, I’d encourage you to go back and read the previous paragraph. I think it will then make more sense to you.

      Regardless of what he tells Piper, Rick Warren believes that the Gospel is a do-over in which we get a chance to do the Gospel right because God was gracious enough to give us a second chance, you know… like a mulligan in golf. Here’s the evidence of that:

      (Note:  Warren also confirmed this view of the Gospel being a do-over several weeks ago in a promotional video for his Saddleback Celebration on Easter weekend.)

      Folks, if the Gospel is something that we do, if it’s something that God has given us the opportunity to redo to earn justification because we messed up the first time, why would a Roman Catholic object to Rick Warren’s definition? At this point, ask yourself: Why would John Piper call this man and the Gospel he presents sound (link)? I have tried to answer the latter question myself, and I can only come up logically with three possibilities:

      a) Piper is ignorant of what Warren preaches. Piper is sincere in thinking that Warren preaches a true Gospel because, from all Piper knows, Warren believes just like Piper does. Perhaps Piper is relying on a source he trusts outside of Warren to validate what Warren believes.  Regardless, if this is the case, Piper did something like invite a person he is not very familiar with theologically to speak theologically at a conference that affects many people.
      b) Piper knows what Warren preaches, and is willingly bearing falsehood saying that Warren preaches a sound Gospel to try and justify having him at the conference.
      c) Piper believes that the Gospel is God’s second chance to us to earn our own justification and all his books about salvation only being by faith alone were either not sincere or he’s changed his view of justification recently to agree with what Warren teaches.

      Folks, not one of those three possibilities is appealing for showing Piper in a positive light. This is perhaps my greatest concern.

      I have no doubt that Warren will give a great sermon at Desiring God 2010, and will say many things that I agree with. The problem is not with that, though. The problem is that the Jews he’s preached to on how to grow their synagogues without repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and the Muslims that he’s refrained from mentioning Jesus to will be able to have a coffee with me and say, “Wow, you know, Rick Warren gave a great sermon at the our respective religion’s conference, and he also said a lot of things that I agree with.” Does anyone else see a problem with this? We all know the jokes about certain, definitely not all, used car salesmen telling you whatever you want to hear to make a sale. For him, for the most part, it doesn’t matter how he gets the sale, it just matters that he gets one. The same can be said of the random 40 year old drunk at the bar looking for a young girl to take home with him for the night. It doesn’t matter how he gets her there, it just matters that she gets there. This is exactly why pragmatism as an ideology is dangerous. It doesn’t matter how Warren works his way to the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” (which I’m tempted to start calling the “Young, Na├»ve, and Impressionable” if the discernment level I've seen of late among many of them remains consistent), what matters is that he works his way in. He’ll tell you whatever you want to hear to make sure that happens. …And so will the 40 year old guy at the bar who wants to get what he wants. There is no difference here. If you don’t stand for something (and I’m advocating standing for the Gospel), you’ll fall for anything as that country song rings true.

      I can just imagine being around the table that night that Peter was dining with the Judaizers. Today, the same people who are saying “Let’s see what Piper has up his sleeve here and not overreact,” now were the same people telling Paul, “Let’s see what Peter has up his sleeve and not overreact,” then. It’s the same voice from the same view, it’s just a different time period. In this case, either Paul was in error and stopped a major witnessing encounter in which the Lord was going to make many people into true believers or Paul stopped the bridge being built between Peter and the Judaizers because Paul knew that, with heresy, there is no bridge. Traffic can’t come from both sides and both sides not be effected, it’s true.  Like J.I. Packer says, “A half truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.” Two sides full of half truth because of a bridge built even if it's built with good intentions doesn’t leave anyone healthy. It makes both people sick instead of one side sick and one side well. In the latter, you have a chance that both sides can get well.  In the former, both are just sick.

      So there are some of my main concerns regarding this issue. I can’t help but be reminded of a superstar basketball player who does something that would cause any normal person to be discredited from the eyes of the public, but, because he has a track record of making some good plays, producing some good stats, and making a few notable appearances, he’s given the go ahead because public opinion as a whole accepts him. I’m afraid that many are dealing with this Piper situation in the same way. I am the first to admit that Piper has written some wonderful stuff, I enjoy many of his sermons, and I think he’s made some key appearances on the social realm for things like anti-abortion and the like, but I also come from the camp that believes that the player shouldn’t be dictating the coach. In other words, if the player (even if he’s a superstar) messes up big time (and I do mean big time), you discipline him for the time being with hopes that he’ll come back from his mistake better than before instead of carrying on like nothing has happened because there's a chance your fan base will decrease and, hey, you've had some good times watching the guy. Folks, Christianity is not about superstars. It’s about Jesus Christ who is interceding for the sin of everyone who believes on Him at this very moment. If you need a certain pastor and his notoriety to substantiate your relationship with God, I’m afraid you have two options: 1) Go to Rome where you’ll fit right in. or 2) Get right with the Lord, confess your sins, and trust on Him for your spiritual edification. He’ll send you the teachers you need, but it may not always be the teachers you want.

      Here is some more reading/listening for you on this situation from what I consider balanced critiques.:
      1.  Phil Johnson "On the Warren/Piper Connection"
      2.  Phil Johnson Radio Interview on this subject ( Iron Sharpens Iron:  Part 1 || Part 2 (audio))
      3.  Dr. James White Radio Commentary (1st 15 Minutes audio)
      4.  Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God
      5.  Crosstalk America John Piper Invites Rick Warren to Desiring God 2010 (audio)
      6. Chris Rosebrough "Analysis of John Piper's Invitation to Rick Warren (audio)"
      7.  Tim Challies "Why John Piper Should not have Invited Rick Warren" (However, I don't believe this issue isn't a big deal, and, given Challies' critique, I don't believe that he believes it isn't a big deal, either.)


      Anonymous said...

      I really think Piper is luring Warren to the conference so he can give Warren a public scolding and offer a Biblical correction with plenty of witnesses.

      Wish I could be a fly on the wall there...

      Peace, Bill

      Lockheed said...

      4) Piper, as a Christian, knows that there is a lot said about Warren and his teaching and has decided to bring the man himself to a gathering of Godly men where he might learn, and so that his statements my have some context.

      5) Piper has talked to Warren and seen an opportunity to bring him into confessional Christianity.

      This is a tempest in a teapot.

      terriergal said...

      Excellent post Lane.

      There are actually three videos where piper addresses this. One was recorded at a conference in LA 2-28-10 but which was not posted by DG until the end of March.

      I know you include links in your post but in any case, here are the links for all the three videos
      from Feb 28, 2010 (see the date pop up within the video, not on the DG channel when the video was posted)

      March 31, 2010
      (I watched this whole live session online, that is only a part of it, they have not posted the rest as far as I can tell, he spent more time elaborating on the idea of 'pride' in one's theology, which I think he is equivocating about and starting to listen to the emergent church critics)

      April 1, 2010

      Considering this thing doug pagitt posted about John Piper's 'pride' was posted the day before he announced his sabbatical, to work on issues of pride

      This whole thing has me very concerned for piper as you allude to in the beginning of your excellent post.

      The other day Brannon Howse and Jan Markell talked about this. I disagree with them on their focus in that episode. However, there was a story about 15 minutes in that Brannon told of how Rick has in the past tried to butter him up by telling him how he appreciates his articles and website and materials, and saying something like "maybe I can promote your materials to my people." RW also then tried to get Brannon to change an article that he had written CRITICAL of RW himself. It sure sounded from Brannon's description like he was trying to shut Brannon up. Whether or not you agree with Brannon, he has plenty of valid concerns about RW, and this is not how a pastor should be 'rewriting' history about himself, by exchanging 'favors' and manipulating people and buying them off.

      I thought Ingrid Schlueter and Bob DeWaay did a great jobl on Crosstalk the other day, focusing on Rick Warren's corruption of the very gospel that binds us all.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Lockheed, are you replying to the three possibilities I posted above listed a), b), and c)? I'm just trying to make sure. I don't want to misinterpret you. If you're replying to those three possibilities, I'm afraid that you've answered the wrong question because those three weren't answering "Why would John Piper invite Rick Warren to his conference?", they're answering "Why would John Piper call Rick Warren's Gospel sound?" Two different issues.

      Gregg said...

      Excellent post. I have recently added you to my blogroll and enjoy your blog. I think that like all of us Piper has his blindsides, holes in his theology, or lapse of discernment. He is not infallible. He is human. He does have a large platform which influences the masses.

      I hope his lapse in discernment doesn't grow worse. I love him, consider him a brother. But I am very concerned about this relationship with Warren. I don't think he belongs in a bibllical conference.

      terriergal said...

      Piper, as a Christian, knows that there is a lot said about Warren and his teaching and has decided to bring the man himself to a gathering of Godly men where he might learn, and so that his statements my have some context.

      Warren's public teachings aren't already easily viewable in the context that Warren desires to give them? Have you researched Warren's teachings? If so, for how many years? I have taken great pains to listen to as many public appearances of Warren as possible. There is no further context needing to be established. It's not as if the people at Desiring God are off in the sticks with no internet access somewhere and John PIper is the only one who can get this information to him.

      I am left only to figure (hoping I am somehow wrong) that John Piper figures everyone else is way off track about Rick Warren and he's the only one who sees him for what he truly is. While that MIGHT be the case if Rick Warren was some obscure pastor somewhere that not many people know about, it makes no sense here.

      RazorsKiss said...

      d) John Piper is an unsubstantiated optimist. Just listen to him :) (also, cf: Driscoll, Wilson, Young, et al.)

      e) John Piper was deceived by Warren in their personal conversation. (Warren is known to be very charismatic, and they have conversed, according to Piper.)

      f) John Piper is lacking in theological discernment in some areas. (cf: Driscoll, Young, Wilson, et al.) (As has been noted by a mutual friend, he's often not very precise on many topics.)

      It could be your a) (any of the multiple parts of it, although I doubt the whole is true), and any of these here. I highly doubt that all of a), b), or c) is true. If they are, I would be highly grieved. I do believe that the above I offered are far more likely explanations.

      Anonymous said...

      Piper inviting Warren to DG is as disturbing to me, as it is to you. I think praying for him is the way to go.

      A little backround before I make a final point:

      God recently brought me to a true repentance and changed my heart and life after thinking I was a Christian for 30 years. I was in a seeker-sensitive church in the past, and I've done the 40 Days of this and 40 Days of that (whoopdee-doo!!) and didn't know enough to see a problem until recently when I went back to church - to one within walking distance. (No car, little money) I was so overjoyed at what God had done for me and thought I'd find true Christian fellowship and teaching to help me now grow in Christ. Instead, eyes glazed over when I talked about what happened in my life. I got blank stare after blank stare. At my small group different weird spiritual experiences and beliefs were shared by group members that I knew were not Biblical and the leader and most others responded with enthusiasm and interest. It was clear the idea was to accept and even encourage all spiritual beliefs without Biblical correction. One group member even sent an email to all other members talking something about "Ayin the Awakening Eye" and how "2010 is the year to see when God is going to bind us all together as one- as never before". The sermons, I now see in retrospect, were Saddleback-tailored. A couple of sincere questions I asked were met with harshness and even definsiveness.
      To make a long story short, I became so disturbed but lacked any real clarity to what the problem was. I began to wonder if I was rebellious against God. Due to near despair and confusion, I prayed earnestly one night asking God for clarity. I woke up in the morning with the words "another gospel" echoing in my head as if someone had just yelled it a moment before I awoke. Thus began my searching. First, I read the section of Scripture containing those words in Galatians 1. I wept. God was speaking. Then I started searching online and before long I found out all about RW and the others that started this whole movement. Since I stopped going to this church I have been searching for another that is Biblical where I can grow in Christ. It's not easy, but I continue.. I am so alone - but not without God! I have ZERO Christian friends except for online, and am alone without a husband, job, money, or even food sometimes. I have alot of work to do in the practical matters of life, but I am blessed beyond belief because God has forgiven me and I have assurance that I belong to Him.

      So my point regarding this article is this; When I heard that Piper invited Warren it kind of knocked the wind out of me, as if John Piper was now a part of this isolation I've been forced into. The sound of RW's voice makes me feel nauseous because I hear the deceptive voice of Satan and have experienced the results first-hand. I see John Pipers invitaion as further harm to all who have been hurt, ostracized, driven from churches and made to feel like "dividers" or "trouble-makers" because they don't go along with the oh-so-loving and wonderful, cult-like PD program. As for me, I will keep looking for a church. God will not abandon me and will continue the work He began regardless of the cunning false teaching of Rick Warren. He is not a shepherd of God's flock, and he cares NOT for the sheep.

      In Christ, Grace

      JNj. said...


      to your sentence

      "He’ll send you the teachers you need, but it may not always be the teachers you want."

      I like to add another one:

      "And the teachers He send to you may be no superstars in Christendom."

      That's - in my opinion - is a very important point, because we over and over again see the same thing happen: people, who become superstars in Christendom thru bookselling and the media, often end with big problems. Let us all take this to heart: Pride comes before the fall ...

      I hope John Piper cancels this invitation, even if it costs him his being a star.

      Thanks for the article and God bless,

      Anonymous said...

      Dear Lane,

      Respectfully, I submit a question. When I first heard of Dr. Piper inviting Mr. Warren, I thought that situation would rectify itself. My thinking was if I was invited to speak at a function that had also invited another speaker that I thought could harm the cause of Christ I would immediately bow out of the engagement. With such enormously godly men ie Dr. Sproul and Dr. Mohler who understand the "unintended consequences" better than 99.9% why do they not quell the turbulence this regrettable affair has stirred by declining the invitation in light of the controversy? This is confusing to me. Please take this in the submissive spirit that it is sent. In the defense of the Gospel & my mighty Savior who shed His blood for me, Mary

      Denise said...

      Lane, I agree with your article. Thank you for standing firm even in the line of fire. I know a handful of us that are like-minded regarding this issue.

      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.

      At what point are people willing to admit there's a false teacher, a wolf in sheep's clothing, among them?

      We know wolves will come in, as Scripture says they will. But we're seeing that they come in because the "shepherds" not only allow them in, but worse, some INVITE them in and tell the sheep to just hush and quit making a fuss.

      Most of the "evangelical" churches/ministries have become the slaughterhouse of the sheep, with the shepherds holding our heads while the wolves curl their lips and show their vicious teeth, ready to devour us without mercy. And the shepherd woos and consoles the wolf, while the sheep are battered by the rod of the shepherd (hireling)! All the while he smiles!

      Telling us the wolves are sheep will not make us follow them. No, we are not fooled. We know HIS voice and will not follow the deadly immitation of strangers.

      Denise said...

      One more thing.

      Piper's offering and defiant defense of the wolves started at least five years ago. So this isn't new at all. He continues to defend and offer men who cuss, swear, speak sexually explicitly, treat Christ Jesus as a joke, deny justification by faith alone, deny the only way to salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

      Five years too long.

      Five years of defiant defense of such garbage.

      Its an insult to the Holy Spirit, much less the children of the Living God.

      Scott Barber said...

      I have actually found this situation, and your post, extremely disheartening. I think Piper showed us an ugly side to the “young, restless, and reformed” movement (of which I am), and that is pride. I have felt it, and struggle with it myself. God blesses you with deeper knowledge, and the next moment you are smarter than others, and you let them know it. An understanding of God’s sovereignty is a gift, and not something to be wagged in others faces. I think there is an unhealthy “we have figured it all out” sentiment in this movement, and I hope Piper continues to keep us in check. If there is one thing that will kill the new Reformed movement, it is Pride.


      Anonymous said...

      First time reader and writer.

      I find it interesting that you quote Packer on truth, while he is the one who signed the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) and fought with Lloyd-Jones over that issue (he equated Anglo-Catholicism with Evangelicalism in the Church of England and then got upset when Lloyd-Jones called him out on it).

      Though I have never read Hansen's book, and quite honestly don't plan to; I would be a member of the Young (19), Restless (well, maybe) and Reformed (though I consider myself Christian first) group. So, my point is this, isn't God sovereign? Please forgive my ignorance, since I have not read or learned my Calvinism from the Institutes but from Scripture. If God is for us, who can be against us? Is that what election means? So what if men fail? So what if Piper fails? So what if I fail? Or what is Warren is converted through this conference (gasp! do not think for one minute that I am defending Warren!) Will God not get His glory? Whether in our salvation or in our damnation? Or, rather, will we be apart of it?

      Why, as Calvinists, must we always focus on the 'Truth' we hold? Why do we never focus on the 'Truth' that holds us? Of course, theology is important, only the fool would argue that it is not, but we must always be looking and pointing to Christ. Who among us would dare to say that any good thing comes from us!? Who among us would dare to say that we are the cause of our salvation? Then why do we speak as if the world is coming to an end? If someone deviates so much as a hairpin from our theology, we pounce! We must stand for truth, we must affirm truth, but we must also recognize that this truth is alien from us. We are made partakers of it. It is not our right to use it as a weapon. It is a gift. It is grace. And they minute we lose that, the minute we forget that, we become like the scholastic "hypers" we all dislike.

      So, Lane, while I agree with you 100%, remember, neither you nor I our the arbitrator of truth. At most we are instruments for the Holy Spirit and at least we are absolutely delusional. So, let us not get worked up about this conference and whether or not impressionable younger Christians may or may not get confused, because as Christians we MUST believe that God is for us because God is the arbitrator of truth and God is in control and do we not have the promise that "God will work out all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:29)?


      Tony-Allen said...

      Thank you for this post, sir. It put into clear thoughts a lot of what I've been thinking about regarding this. I especially liked the point you made in writing: "with heresy, there is no bridge."

      Susan said...

      Hey Justin,

      While there is a lot of truth to your comment I disagree with your overall point. It sounds good, but is your attitude Biblical?

      I understand that you are not advocating that theology doesn't matter, but what exactly are you trying to say? No where in the scriptures will you see the belief in the Sovereignty of God lead to being more lackadaisical when dealing with ANTI-Biblical doctrine. Consider the following example from the Bible:

      "Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

      But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"

      Galatians 2:4-14

      Peter, an amazing labor for the Gospel of Christ, was CLEARLY out of line for disassociating with the Gentiles and there were doctrinal implications at steak. Peter's doing so was pointing other Gentiles away from the doctrine of justification by faith alone (which Paul goes on to explain as a result) and instead pointed people to the law. And as a result of Peter's doing so we are told that Barnabas was led astray by Peter's hypocrisy.

      This is all very similar to the doctrinal implications presented with the Warren/Piper situation. Piper's invitation to Warren invites anti-biblical doctrines into the body of Christ....flat out...there is no way of denying that. Warren clearly preaches another gospel and leads people AWAY from Christ but instead towards his man-centered purpose driven paradigm. And Piper's embracing of this man is equally as dangerous and worthy of correction.

      So what did Paul do? Did he decide to let Peter go without reproach? Is Paul guilty of this "pouncing" you refer to? Was Paul too focused on the 'Truth' he held instead of the 'Truth' that held him?

      (Continued in next comment)...

      Susan said...

      Continued response to Justin:

      You said: "Who among us would dare to say that any good thing comes from us!? Who among us would dare to say that we are the cause of our salvation? Then why do we speak as if the world is coming to an end? If someone deviates so much as a hairpin from our theology, we pounce! We must stand for truth, we must affirm truth, but we must also recognize that this truth is alien from us. We are made partakers of it. It is not our right to use it as a weapon. It is a gift. It is grace. And they minute we lose that, the minute we forget that, we become like the scholastic "hypers" we all dislike."

      I fail to see the connection you are making here. Paul would certainly be someone who believes whole heartedly that his salvation was a gift and had NOTHING to do with him...but he also didn't hesitate to 'pounce' on Peter when he deviated from the truth. Why? Did Paul do it to use it as a weapon? (you could say that since the word of God is described as a sword) Did he do it so he could wave his flag proudly for having corrected a brother? NO. He did it because he was protecting the sheep that he so preciously cared for. He wanted to stop the sheep from being led astray. He did it because standing for truth in the face of even a dear brother was what the Lord called him to do. Its not logical or, as we see with Paul, even Biblical to connect believing in salvation as a gift and the doctrines of grace with not being ready to correct error when it will affect the body of Christ.

      Paul could have decided that regardless of whether Peter continued doing what he was doing, God was going to get the glory and the elect would be saved...and therefore he had no reason to oppose Peter. But he did not decide that...despite knowing the Lord was sovereign over all things- including Peter's hypocrisy. It was not a reason for him to turn the blind eye to his brother.

      I really do understand where you are coming from in that we can get caught up in our own pride and let it get in our way. We can forget the very grace that the Lord has given us without merit whatsoever. But I do not think that the logic you presented here matches up with Scripture. We cannot deny Paul's model given to us.

      It frustrates me very much because, as already mentioned on this thread, Warren is a man-pleaser. He has gained so many followers because he can tell people what they want to hear. So, he will (undoubtedly in my mind) show up to the DG conference and cater a message to the reformed crowd so people leave saying "wow he wasn't so bad." It's a great way to basically double his followers. BUT the damage will have already been done. Along with Warren comes a seeker-sensitive message completely void of the gospel that he is preaching to the rest of his millions of followers. And trying to call out his seeker-sensitive message has just got all the more complicated thanks to this.

      Anyways. Sorry for the long response but I had to pen this down. God bless bro.

      Soli Deo Gloria


      Anonymous said...

      Hi Susan,

      I grant that the Truth divides, in fact Christ Himself said so, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division” (Luke 21:51). So I concede that point and agree with you whole-heartedly. What I was trying to argue, and perhaps I did not do so very well, was to point out the way we Calvinists handle those we consider “heretics.” Once again, let me say that I by no means support Rick Warren. My allegiance isn’t to John Piper either or even to my church per se, but to Christ.

      So, as to Galatians 2, which many use as the defense for why they call others out, I agree with you in principle, but I think you and many others (even myself for I am by no means perfect), for that matter, miss the point, which is that this false teaching was coming from and being allowed to function by an apostle himself not an outright heretic!

      So please consider these observations:

      (1) Paul recognizes Peter as his brother in Christ and calls him a “pillar.” But does this hold with Warren? I do not believe him to be truly inwardly converted, but he does call himself a Christian, does he not? It would seem, then, that he has an outward call, right? But yet, so many of our people call him a heretic, right? Therefore, how could we rebuke him as a brother, who we do not believe to have an inward effectual call? Or perhaps Piper thinks Warren is truly his brother, and will rebuke him at DG, but, still, the rest of us do not consider Warren a true brother (I know that I for one am not convinced by Piper’s reasons for defending Warren!), so where does that leave us?
      (2) Furthermore, look at the manner which Paul rebukes Peter, he says that he “opposed him to his face.” He didn’t get on a blog and tell everyone to watch out for Peter. Nor did he go from church to church telling people to beware of Peter and his ministry. He opposed him face to face. One on one. And rebuked him. Perhaps then we should take a step back and think about this. If Paul opposed Peter to his face, why are we even on a blog in the first place?
      (3) But what was his motivation (and this gets back to my original post)? Was it not because Peter’s “conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel”? And was not Paul also “entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised”? His motivation was not to beat Peter up, but to conform Peter to the truth. He did not use the ‘Truth’ as measure of orthodoxy, but he was held by the ‘Truth’ to not just point out orthodoxy, but also push for conformity. And in my opinion that is a major problem in the Reformed community. We stop at orthodoxy as if it were the measure of all being! Seldom do we ever talk of conformity to Christ and very, very seldom do we say such things to those we consider heretical. And in such ways do we use the Word of God as a negative sword instead of a positive sword that pieces and circumcises the heart. Notice how Paul ends chapter 2, verses 15 – 21, which are, in my opinion, the crux of the argument in chapter 2, which moves into the great intro of chapter 3. What is he talking about? Justification by faith alone, but not only that, but also Christ living in him.

      Anonymous said...


      So, yes, I do think that my view IS biblical, because I just want to beat Rick Warren over the head with a Bible and say “because you don’t have doctrine x, y and z, you are therefore heretical.” One man’s heresy is another man’s orthodoxy, so arguing on the basis on orthodoxy will never win the day. What will? Pointing to and preaching Christ! “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). Would to God that pastors (and not bloggers) would once again have the moral courage to preach truth and not be afraid to take on controversial subjects, so that the flock might learn to see and desire Christ for the beauty and humility and worthiness that is found in Him and long to be conformed to him, and so learn to see the image of Christ as beautiful, and that they recognize those who bear it and recognize those who do not bear it.

      As a side note, I was born Roman Catholic. I do not consider Rome equitable to what Scripture teaches, but by God’s grace, and hopefully continual grace, can and will continue to say the following with Richard Baxter (not just to Roman Catholics but in general):

      “I affect no union with any that are not united to Christ, or appear so to me . . . I will not close with a Papist, as a Papist; but if I meet with a Christian that goeth under that name, I will own him as a Christian, though not as a Papist and I would endeavour to undeceive him that I might fuller join with him.”

      And once again, life will go on. God is still on His throne.

      Grace and Peace,

      Ruben Sarrion said...

      An excellent post – I am most grieved and all I can add is that fervent, urgent prayer for brother Piper is the order of the day.

      Loretta said...

      Whether Piper means well and has no idea what Warren is about, or whether he knows perfectly well, we do not know. But I believe, that RW wanting to speak at DG is infiltration from the enemy, spiritually- using the Hegelian Dialectic, to slip in the doctrines of demons, of the new age one world church, also referred to as the one world religion, the global UN Agenda 21 religion of "coexist" (universalism), via the PEACE plan, 3 legged stool, public private partnerships, et al, to "save the earth" in a Humanist, New Age sense. In other words: Trojan Horse into the Reformed Evangelical world get on board to help the 'Plan' which includes incorporating all the churches. Please watch Warren speak at the Davos forum on Faith and Modernization 2008, youtube video.

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