93 Comments

Piper – The Slope to Heresy?!

Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

It is a tragedy when those who claim the name of Christ are being duped by the myriads of false teachers who have no desire for truth. An even greater tragedy occurs when false professors and/or their false teachings begin to be endorsed by well-respected ministers of the gospel. However, the greatest tragedy is when well-respected ministers of the gospel not only endorse false teaching and heresy but then allow it to be preached as truth in the midst of those sheep whom they have been supposedly called upon to protect. The man in question is none other than John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota.
john-piper

Before we continue, I want to make it very clear that this is not a private issue, but one that is well out in the open. The false teaching and endorsing of such teachings and heresies is well-documented. This is an open matter and is being addressed accordingly based on the commands we find in Scripture.

I am under no delusions that this will NOT be a popular post with some. However, Defending Contending believes we can no longer be honoring to Christ and His Word if we merely overlook what is happening within the ranks of evangelicalism simply because of who the pastor might or might not be, or how popular he appears to be.

With that in mind, let’s continue by looking briefly at two heresies taking over at an alarming rate. Both of these doctrines are pushing the ranks of the uninformed back towards the open, welcoming arms of Rome again. Sadly, these doctrines are even being embraced or unknowingly being endorsed by even very conservative Baptist churches.

    First – Federal Vision in a nutshell believes that when a person unites with the visible local church that the individual becomes one with Christ. Federalists also teach that when an unbeliever partakes of communion (the Lord’s Table) that they are actually feeding upon Christ. Further, they teach that being baptized is the means whereby a person becomes one with Christ. For further information, I would highly recommend this article at The Banner of Truth Trust. FV has been rejected outright by many mainline Reformed denominations.
    Second – The New Perspective on Paul (or NPP) believes that Judaism was actually a religion of grace. They teach that salvation is possible by the keeping of the law. They also teach that the righteousness of God is actually referring to His faithfulness and that it has nothing to do with the truth that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the new believer. N.T. Wright is abundantly clear about what he means and what he stands for when he declares that justification is about the mark of what a person already is, and is not about the means whereby one is justified with God. A quote from N.T. Wright, “In theology, therefore, justification is not the means whereby it becomes possible to declare someone in the right. It is simply that declaration itself. It is not how someone becomes a Christian, but simply the declaration that someone is a Christian. It is not the exercise of mercy, but the just declaration concerning one who has already received mercy. This is a crucial distinction, without which it is impossible to understand the biblical material.” For further reading go to this article at Theopedia

Let’s makes this very clear! Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul are both heresies that lead back to Rome! Those who teach these are leading people deliberately astray and must be classified as heretics at worst and in need of repentance at best for their false teachings. Both of these teachings are nothing more than a rehash of Roman Catholic doctrine which has damned millions to hell.

Now that the reader understands a little more of the heresies defined above, we move back to John Piper’s progressive downhill slide which looks like this –

1) Mixing oxymorons for many years such as “Christian hedonism”
2) Openly endorsing Mark Driscoll (the vulgar, sewer-mouthed talker) with no known retractions
3) Blasphemously claiming the Lord of Glory was damned upon the cross
4) Openly endorsing the Federal Vision heresy as proclaimed by men like Douglas Wilson, and clearly indicating that Douglas Wilson is NOT preaching another or false gospel
5) Openly endorsing the New Perspective on Paul heresy as proclaimed by men like N.T. Wright, and clearly stating that N.T. Wright is also NOT preaching another or false gospel, but that the NPP is merely a “confusing gospel!

** Edit Note ** Points 4 & 5 have numerous proofs, but here is a video clip from The Resurgence.

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

John Piper is leading many astray by his open endorsements of these men as mentioned above. His own theology comes into question when he publishes questionable material on his site about the doctrine of justification which you can still find on his site at Desiring God – I am firmly convinced that John Piper has slid this view under the noses of evangelicals who have missed the error of a justification that is NOT by faith alone. For more information on this issue and the problems with a recent work entitled Future Grace, you can visit Trinity Foundation.

While we at DefCon have respected John Piper as a man of God in the past, we believe we can no longer endorse any teachings by Piper. Our prayer is that God will bring Piper to a point where he will see the error of his teaching before it is too late and repent. We pray that God will also open the eyes of all those who blindly follow a man who is openly endorsing heresies as being merely a “confusing” gospel. “Confusing” gospels are no true gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ. They damn the souls of men to a Christ-less eternity in hell forever.

The Scriptures exhort us to openly exhort and rebuke those who cause divisions within the faith once delivered to the saints. John Piper is and continues to do this by his strange brand of heterodoxy which has sucked in the unlearned and learned alike. May we ever be alert to the apostasy that the apostle Paul warned will appear in the latter days. It will come from within the midst of what seems to be truth, but it will be mixed with poison. Pastors and their people will swallow it, and before they realize it is too late will be overcome.

Grieving over further apostasy,

The Desert Pastor

About Mark Escalera

Name: Mark Escalera - (formerly The Jungle Missionary) Blog: DefendingContending.Com Ministry: I am a sinner saved by grace, and learning every day how much more I need the Lord directing my life. In a graceless world, my desire is to show to others the grace that has been extended to me. Have been married for almost 25 years and we have been blessed with five children with the oldest three serving in the US Air Force. My passion is seeking to minister the precious life-giving Word of God to those dead in trespasses and sins! Humbled that He would choose me as one of His children! Preferred translation: English Standard Version (ESV) Currently studying: Psalms Currently reading: The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

93 comments on “Piper – The Slope to Heresy?!

  1. I think this may be jumping the gun.

    1. By simply taking the term “Christian Hedonism” and running with and saying “BAM” that is wrong, without rightly understanding what Piper means by it, is jumping the gun.

    2. This is a huge area; Piper has indeed spoken to Mark about what was said in Scotland and that it was terrible. Right away Driscoll removed it from the web. [for any other reason other than to hear/heed correction? who knows.] MacArthur takes the more hardline approach (one I definately lean to often) that Mark shoule stand down. Whereas, I think Piper has a point. To come alongside and help out Mark – as opposed to MacArthurs take.

    3 & 4. I am mildly ignorant to that.

    5. In what way did he “openly endorse NPP”?

    I am along way from the States and things certainly take a little while to get here but I am hoping that this is not a stereo-typical attack done in haste. [I say stereotypical due to the many "gung ho bloggers out there - of which I don't particularly percieve you to be Desert Pastor]

    I hope John is not comprimising and slipping. Only a fool would think it cannot happen………..look at Billy Graham

    In Him,

    Matthew

    FYI – new readers: I am not a Driscoll-ite. Far from it. :)

  2. Matthew,

    Thank you for your comments. Let me address each one.

    1. This post is mainly for those who have read or know about John Piper. That point is the least of the worries and I believe was only the beginning of the slope for a variety of reasons that have been noted by others in the past.
    2. This is not about just what happened in Scotland, for Mark Driscoll continues his vulgar comments and sexual innuendos. Mark Driscoll should stand down, but Piper has not backed down openly from his endorsement of Mark and his ministry.
    3. This has been dealt with at length on this blog and others.
    4 & 5. I would recommend you do a search for video from The Resurgence 2009. You will find the comments I have posted were directly from those videos. John endorsed both men and even chose to include Doug Wilson at the recent Desiring God Conference.

    This post was not done in haste and has actually been in the works for at least the last 2-3 months. I have held off for a variety of reasons, but believe we can be silent no more. Others thoughts and counsel were thought to make sure that what I wrote did not come across as a hate-mongering post, but a true desire for repentance and a warning to others. For a long time, I have personally held respect for Piper to the point where had I the resources I would have gone to the Desiring God conferences in the past.

    I have chosen just enough information carefully and prayerfully with the hopes that my points will not be taken at face value without others doing research on their own and coming to biblical conclusions as to what they will do with that information. Yes, Billy Graham slipped hard and fast, especially toward the end. He moved in the direction of Rome for the sake of ecumenicalism and unless has recently recanted previous positions does not believe in a literal hell and there are many questions in regards to his understanding of soteriology.

  3. I’ve not been a fan of Piper’s, though that’s mostly due to style – I don’t care for how he presents vocally. I’ve not understood how any pastor can call himself “senior pastor” (there being no rank among elders) nor do I understand the practice of having “staff pastors” who are not elders. Many churches practice these unbiblical things, why does Piper?

    Certainly it’s been more troublesome to see Piper consort with Driscoll and Wilson – I’ve seen the desire to be seen with popular men lead to downfall before.

    The Federal Vision is a wretched doctrine – but not as damaging as the NPP of NT Wright (which is less easy for most people to understand, and – therefore – repel). It is curious, however, that Piper wrote a book denouncing Wright and his NPP in 2007 – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581349645

    Perhaps he expelled all his anti-NPP philosophy in that book and rebounded to embrace it.

    Sadly, Piper’s slide is not too uncommon – Chuck Swindoll embracing Roman mystics in a recent book (So You Want to Be Like Christ – http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter100807.htm). sigh.

    Another reminder that we must trust no man, but put all our faith and trust in the Christ who paid our debt and redeemed us with his blood.

  4. Matthew Johnston:
    If one takes a careful read at what Piper means by his self-realized doctrine of Christian Hedonism, one sees that despite his attempts to support it from the Scriptures, it is in fact unbiblical. There is a whole study behind this, where he got the idea (not from the Scriptures at all), how he has built his theology around it, and where he goes with it. So it’s not that a Christian should condemn the term per se, but the teaching behind it.

    As for Piper’s continued support of Driscoll, if it were only a case of that one trip to Scotland, and what he said there, and nothing else, one might say, “OK, Mark blew it this once, let’s give him another chance”. But Driscoll has a whole long, long laundry list of unbiblical and anti-biblical teachings and behavior, that to even identify with Driscoll is in and of itself defiance of the Scriptures. And as for what he did say in Scotland, that is but one of his pet doctrines that I have heard him preach (both in sermons from his site, in his books, and on the radio) again and again. So, no, he hasn’t retracted the false doctrine, just the more vulgar way he described it.

    Driscoll has flagrantly violated the specific requirements for a biblical elder. And after some 12 years a “pastor”, he continues to violate it. He should have stepped down long ago. To come alongside him and nurse him until he can be qualified, after he is already in the pulpit, is contrary to the Scriptures.

    Desert Pastor:
    Thank you for exposing Piper. I sincerely hope this causes many to quit following men, to quit supporting those who mix evil with good.

    And thank you Defcon for taking this stand.

  5. Thank you Manfred and DavidW for your thoughts.

    I want to add one more comment in regards to how he could endorse NPP and NT Wright by way of example. If I stood in front of my congregation or got on the radio and said, “No, I don’t think Rob Bell or Joel Osteen, etc. are preaching a false gospel. And no, they are not teaching heresy. However, I do think they are preaching a “very confusing” gospel.”

    People would have reason to question where I stand in regards to salvation by grace through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no difference between me doing that or John Piper doing what he did at The Resurgence 2009 during one of the Q&A times. I would be telling those listening to me that I in essence am endorsing the ministries of those men and their false teaching. My hearers would have reason to say, “Well, if our pastor does not think they preach a false gospel and those men are not heretics, then I guess it’s ok for me to listen to them or read their materials.”

    Hoping this further clarifies my point about Piper endorsing Doug Wilson and NT Wright.

  6. This is indeed a sad time for all of us since, I’m sure, we are all beginning to see the downward slide of many men we once held in high esteem. Defcon is very much appreciated for their stand on truth. May all of us be willing to take a stand, as well!

  7. The “Christian Hedonism” teaching has bothered me for many years. As such, I am not a big fan of Piper. What you have posted here confirms what I have been concerned about.

    You will probably catch flack for it; however, you are right, and that usually means that fans of the “popular” will be upset. So be it. Keep up the good work.

  8. I’ve only ever listened to one sermon from John Piper. I think once we start to condone people who bring our Savior and the gospel to coarse jestings and sexual innuendos they have started on the slippery slope of deception. It is sad, and I also agree it is another reminder not to look to men

  9. Greetings DP, and blessings in the name of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    Like you I’ve grown more wary, and more weary of Pragmatist Piper over time.

    Perhaps most saddening was my stark realization that Pragmatist Piper is just plain old fashioned good business within evangelicalism, and in my opinion he’s being afforded status as an “untouchable” even by otherwise reputable and discerning believers for no other reason than the fact that he’s capable of generating considerable sums filthy lucre from the sales of his books, sermon series, speaking engagements, and so forth.

    It’s a disgrace.

    It’s tawdry.

    It’s Laodician church-ianity at its basest and most puerile state.

    Recently I gently confronted John Samson and the contributors/editors at Reformation Theology – which as you probably know is an auxiliary of Monergism.com – over their ongoing and unqualified endorsements of Piper and his materials in the light of many of the selfsame issues you’ve raised herein only to be rebuffed and to have my comments blocked.

    Amazingly John Samson (a Reformed pastor-teacher and somewhat notable theologian who regularly contributes to Reformation Theology) informed me rather curtly and matter-of-fact that Doug Wilson (yes THAT Doug Wilson; the most prominent and vocal proponent of the Federal Vision heresy) was NOT a heretic, and that he is in fact “within the bounds of orthodoxy”. Apparently Samson arrived at his delusional conclusion because John Piper and R.C. Sproul had invited Wilson to speak at some of their conferences.

    Do you see how it works, DP?

    Heretic A realizes he can gain an audience, credibility and a following by cozying up to Big Name Evangelical X.

    Big Name Evangelical X is so well known, and so beloved, and has such a need to maintain the so-called “unity” of the so-called “church” that he could never refuse the brotherly overtures of Heretic A, therefore Big Name Evangelical X extends an olive branch to Heretic A, who gains an instant halo effect because of the perceived acceptance by Big Name Evangelical X. Heretic A then proceeds to do what all heretics do; sow discord, confusion, doubt, and the doctrines of demons from within the safe and comfortable confines of the big name conferences hosted by Big Name Evangelical X.

    Shortly thereafter the undiscerning underbelly of the church, the money whoring small-time two-bit second and third tier evangelicals who know nothing if not how to ape the top tier big-time evangelicals, are clamoring to invite Heretic A to their small-time two-bit conferences in hopes of garnering some big-time adverti$ing, attendance fee$, and love offering$ by employing the age old tactic of name-dropping and playing up the fact that Heretic A recently appeared at Big Name Evangelical X’s latest big-time conference. And so the vicious, self-perpetuating cycle continues.

    Frankly it’s a pathetic display of avarice. They’ve turned the house of the Lord into a den of thieves.

    But Piper is a veritable Midas; everything he touches seemingly turns to gold. He’s the golden calf that lays the golden eggs, and therefore none of the big time publishing houses, Jesus-junk peddlers, or “reputable” God-blogs will dare touch him. And as an “archbishop” within the cult of celeb-rianity he has his own requisite army of adoring, starry-eyed fanboys (Piperites) – who look like lambs, but speak like dragons – who will quickly and summarily savage any and all who dare to speak against their pulpit idol.

    Furthermore Piper is securely ensconced within his corrupted “bishopric”, being insulated by layer upon layer of yes men, hangers-on, and sycophants who correctly see him and Bethlehem Baptist Church as their meal ticket – and brother there’s NO CHANCE that ANY of them are going to admonish or rebuke Piper, because they’re never going to bite the hand that feeds them!

    In my opinion it’s going to take independent God-blogs like DefCon, Apprising Ministries, and others who are free from the money-grubbing shackles of the corporation church, and who fear God more than men, to take up the mantle of Elijah and Jeremiah and speak truth to power, tearing down demonic strongholds, taking every thought captive to Christ, and exhorting and rebuking with the unassailable authority of the Living Word of God those who profess Christ with their lips, but deny Him by their deeds.

    May the One True and Living Lord God Almighty strengthen your hands to complete the task He’s given you to the eternal praise of His glory alone.

    In Him,
    CD

  10. I’m fully willing to admit that you know much more about this subject than I do, but I remember seeing an interview where he talked about Federal Vision and NPP, and I don’t necessarily remember any endorsements… I just remember that he said Doug Wilson and NT Wright were believers. Am I wrong? That hardly counts as an endorsement to me.

    Also, are you arguing that Mark Driscoll is not a believer? I would surely like to believe that John Piper is not making a mistake by embracing a friendship with another brother in Christ while not endorsing Driscoll’s behavior.

  11. If one is going to be making the audacious claim that John Piper is a heretic, you would think that they would at least put some effort into the blog by listing references sources or some video where Piper makes these claims.

    Until you post first hand sources of these claims on the blog. I can not take this blog seriously.

  12. Alex, thanks for stopping by. I have included a video clip from The Resurgence in the post. Simply approving Doug Wilson to speak at his (Piper’s) conference would be enough to count as an endorsement in any circles. Piper has made it clear in plenty of comments and videos that he has no issues with Doug Wilson, and has also made it clear that he does not believe either Doug Wilson or NT Wright preach another or false or different gospel. I am afraid that Piper is very wrong on this count.

    Second, I am not arguing that Mark Driscoll is or is not a believer for only God knows his heart. Piper’s affinity for Driscoll has been long in the making and they consider each other as friends. What I am saying is that when a person proceeds down the path towards endorsing heresy or down a path whereby you can associate with a man who mocks the sinlessness of Christ (as Driscoll does) and who has a great affinity for sexual and vulgar innuendos, there is and should be great cause for concern. Piper’s associations have been questionable at best, the endorsements inexcusable, the failure to acknowledge teachings like Federal Vision and NPP as heresy deplorable.

    My prayer is that Piper and Driscoll will be brought to repentance. All who are God’s children cannot continue in the path of error without being corrected by our Heavenly Father. We all sin, but whether we stay and imbibe in that sin or not is one mark of a true believer.

    I hope this clarifies. If not, feel free to ask further questions.

    ************
    Marcus Pittman, thanks for stopping by. I did not figure it would be long before the detractors start to arrive. Let me clarify, at no point in my blogpost did I call John Piper a heretic. I made it very clear that I believe he is wrong in openly endorsing men like Driscoll, Wilson, and NT Wright. Wilson and NT Wright, in particular, are teaching heresy in the form of FV and NPP. Piper, as a committed Reformed minister, has no business endorsing men who actually believe contrary to the faith once delivered to the saints.

    Finally, it really does not matter whether you take this blog seriously or not. What IS important is that you consider the truths of Scripture and ponder whether what is being done in the name of Christianity lines up with the Bible! If it does not and is based on a popularity factor such as Piper or Driscoll have going for them, then you and they are wrong. God will not be mocked, and whatsoever a person sows that is what they will reap.

  13. Why is it, that people who ‘read’ the blog, (whether it be this blog or another) always find some way of twisting what ultimately the Bible says to make it sound how it suits their favorite preacher, e.g. Driscoll and Piper.

  14. Even Christ picked a Judas.

    John is only human.

    And you are too.

    Are we seriously going to toss Piper out the window after thirty years of faithful gospel preaching simply because of your standards as to what constitutes heresy?

    I know what you’re going to say, “Well, my standards are from the Bible!” That’s nice, but so are the 37 odd elders at his church which are the one’s that will step in with a wise multitude instead of 1 man with a baseball bat and a blog.

    No offense.

    And I know where you’re coming from, I was someone who did what you are doing all time. But, I don’t anymore and that’s because I can’t stand attempting to defend God’s glory from “foolish and wrong” pastors anymore. I’d frankly rather proclaim God’s glory and let others call me foolish and wrong for doing it.

    Anyway, from one Berean to another, I’d rather throw out Vision Forum and Behemoth than Desiring God, you obviously have not read this blog which is the reason I stopped supporting them. http://jensgems.wordpress.com/

  15. Dear Desert Pastor -
    Thank you for the post. I too walked away from John Piper a while ago for a number of reasons as articulated above in your article and by some of the posts. For one, the Christian Hedonism oxymoron rubbed me the wrong way and in my eyes was a deliberate attempt to be shocking for all the wrong reasons.

    I likewise have been greatly troubled as to how men like Piper and others (Wilson leading the charge here) are incorporating more and more aspects of the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar into their churches. I won’t go too far off tangent here, but this includes such things as Advent and Lent. These and Rome’s other “holy” days and seasons I kept when I was lost in Catholicism but now I shun them as they are the traditions of papists. To see them in the “evangelical” church being promoted by men like Piper gives me great, great concern. Especially when these same men cry “Sola Scriptura” which, while faithfully spoken with the lips, is denied by the deeds.

    Another issue of course is Mark Driscoll. This is an outrage and has gone on for way too long. It is beyond pale how a minister of the gospel could support Driscoll. But, enough has been said here already.

    Finally, and this is a question, but has John Piper ever given a message decrying the anti-Christ papal system of Roman Catholicism? Has he even spoken against this damnable system in a clear, cogent and consistent manner like Mike Gendron, Richard Bennett, James White and John MacArthur? I’m really asking a question here as I have not listened to him in a long time.

    I did read on his blog that he told a former Catholic not to participate in the Mass. Well, that is good but it sure is a far cry from how men like Luther, Hus, Wycliff, Tyndale and countless others spoke against this damnable system. A far cry.

    I also see blatent contradictions where he promotes sacramentalists like G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis. Just here you can find him promoting in his own words a “Roman Catholic Anti-Calvinist” G.K. Chesterton. A book that on its very title page is pure Catholic blasphemy but John is telling folks to go out and buy it. His review of it is so confusing; he promotes it on the one hand and then decries it on the other. Reminds me a lot of the meeting between Beckwith and George. Yes, we disagree on this gospel thing, but at the end of the day you are my brother in Christ.

    Well – I’ll leave it at this for now. I hope your bold stirring up of the hornets nest will by God’s grace lead many to repentance.

  16. Logan, I appreciate you stopping by. We take discernment very seriously and do not lightly throw out charges of false teaching against anybody. It is very hard in this day and age to take a stand for the truth without having to also suffer the heartaches of watching people you have long respected going down a path that is detrimental to the body of Christ.

    In regards to “tossing Piper”, I will simply say that many ministers have fallen for reasons of immorality, or false doctrine, or heresy, or popularity, etc. Piper is not about any reason for falling any more than I am or any other minister. It behooves us to spend much time with God in prayer and in His Word and to seek wise counsel that will keep us on the straight and narrow path. When a minister gets to the point where he can no longer (or is no longer willing) take a firm stand against elements of false teaching and roads that lead to Rome, then they should make it clear to their followers where they stand. Don’t waffle around playing with fire and not expect it to burn you.

    As for a “wise multitude”, my friend, I am sure that you know just as well as I do that there are many churches who are populated by “YES” men. This is not a charge against Bethlehem, but I am making the statement because such things have and still do take place in churches all across America.

    Your thoughts about defending God’s glory are definitely thought-provoking and I appreciate your candidness. One final note, as to your comments about Vision Forum and Behemoth, we will research the concerns and respond in what we pray will be a Christ-honoring way. We simply ask that others do the same with what we have shared about Piper.

  17. In the time I have spent reading these blogs and others like it, it gets me to thinking. Whenever there is a fault exposed or a heresy uncovered, there are the supporters of the one that is being called out that leave posts such as “your being closed minded”, “how dare you say something bad about (insert name)”, “you need to get your facts straight”, and etc… The tone in some of the comments that actually don’t get deleted is mean and condescending. I can just imagine what the comments are like that does get deleted. It would probably make for an interesting read.

    It is like people just want to keep their head buried in the sand or they just enjoy getting their ears tickled. I wonder how long until it will be when the people that are being exposed and their supporters begin to “stone” the ones doing the exposing? Much like the prophets of old were killed for simply proclaiming what God had said.

    One phrase that I here a lot when I point something out about someone’s favorite “teacher/preacher” that really chaps me is “well you just need to take in the good and spit out the bad”. That saying especially bothers me when the speaker is saying or teaching something that is detrimental to salvation. Once bread dough has had yeast added to it you can’t take the yeast out.

    Carry on the great work.

  18. Logan,

    You said, “Even Christ picked a Judas” as if He made a mistake in doing so. Such would be the case if Christ were merely man. But the Bible tells us Judas was picked because he was chosen by God for the purpose that he fulfilled; an example of Romans 8:28.

    It’s an error to associate the providential choice of Judas by God with the sinful choices men tend to make.

  19. I don’t get it. Does God somehow desperately need for the faithful to have a police-state mentality with regards to these matters? Peter does nothing less than deny Jesus Christ and nevertheless is the very one who then told “feed my sheep.” What is the basis of confidence for being so sure that one is right and the others are wrong? What is the basis for confidence that one’s own interpretive community is privileged over all others? Is the burden placed upon us to make sure that we fully understand salvation in order that we might be saved? Do we feel better about ourselves and our own salvation when we are able to knock down any number of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as being in error? If the litany of people and “perspectives” you list are getting it wrong then I would imagine that most everyone throughout the ages have gotten it wrong. What a lousy job the Holy Spirit must be doing. What a lousy job God must be doing at saving the world that he made. How ineffectual must be the prayers that Jesus utters as he sits right now at God’s right hand. Please step back and honestly ask yourselves “Do I really trust God?”

  20. You are so right, shane, about the yeast. It seems like these people are upset because their golden calf has been exposed and they don’t like it. To make the comment that Piper has had, “thirty years of faithful gospel preaching,” so therefore does that mean that he’s above falling? Last time I checked all of us were human and anyone of us could fall; however, this has been awhile in coming because Piper didn’t just decide one day that he would endorse these people. He’s been on this slope for awhile and it’s easy to see how a little compromise here and a little there can bring any person down the slope! Stay the course, men, and be true to the Lord via the Word of God no matter what happens!

  21. I’ve not read much from Piper and only today looked into the troubling term “Christian Hedonism”. Oh my! I am astounded that Piper has not been rebuked publicly by countless saints of the living God.

    From his books, Piper spews this filth:

    “You might turn the world on its head by changing one word in your creed.The old tradition says, ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God AND enjoy him forever’.… The overriding concern of this book is that in all of life God be glorified the way he himself has appointed.To that end this book aims to persuade you that ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever’.”

    (Piper, Desiring God, page 15,)

    “The radical implication is that pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling.”(Piper, page 21, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, bold emphasis added)

    “Maximizing our joy in God is what we were created for.”(page 16, Dangerous Duty)

    “The aim of life is to maximize our joy.”(page 19, Dangerous Duty)

    “Unless a man be born again into a Christian Hedonist he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John Piper, Desiring God, page 55)

    “Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, ‘Believe in the Lord,’ but, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord’?” (John Piper, Desiring God, page 55)

    “The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an ‘extra’ that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith.” (John Piper, Desiring God, page 69)

    “Not everybody is saved from God’s wrath just because Christ died for sinners. There is a condition we must meet in order to be saved. I want to try to show that the condition…is nothing less than the creation of a Christian Hedonist.” (John Piper, Desiring God, page 61)

  22. I read that book several times many years ago and I either didn’t see it or didn’t realize what I was reading at the time. It sounds like he was adding an extra condition for salvation!

  23. Manfred, thank you for the quotes. If anyone’s interested, here’s more of Piper’s story and theology:

    Piper goes on to reveal on page 14 of his “Desiring God”, that in college he struggled with guilt feelings over happiness, especially in worship. He relays that if he was motivated by a desire for happiness or pleasure when he volunteered for Christian service or went to church, that it seemed selfish. He said that he felt a “tremendously powerful impulse to seek pleasure”, but couldn’t reconcile it with moral activity or worship. Piper reveals his moral confusion: his strong desire to feel pleasure, and his guilt over associating it with worship.

    “Then I was converted to Christian Hedonism. In a matter of weeks I came to see that it is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure to be had in him.”(Desiring God, p.14).

    This is a startling statement! He does not say he was converted to Christ, or that he was set free from his confused state by Christ, or that he came to Christ regardless of any selfish benefit he might receive. But he says he was “converted to Christian Hedonism”. Then immediately makes a theological pronouncement that to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure to be had in Him is arrogant and unbiblical! Oh, really? Where is that found in the Bible? Thus to worship God, not to necessarily receive personal pleasure, but out of thankfulness and gratefulness, to give God honor and glory, he says is unbiblical and arrogant! Why? Not because Scripture says so, but because Piper has so declared it.

    Piper goes on to say:
    “Let me describe the series of insights that made me into a Christian Hedonist…During my first quarter in seminary I was introduced to the argument for Christian Hedonism and one of it’s great exponents, Blaise Pascal. He wrote, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end…This is the motive of every action of every man…”
    “This statement so fit with my own deep longings and all that I had ever seen in others that I accepted it and have never found any reason to doubt it…As far as he (Pascal) was concerned, seeking one’s own happiness is not a sin; it is a simple given of human nature. It is a law of the human heart as gravity is a law of nature.” (Desiring God, pp.14-15).

    Thus Piper was influenced to be a Christian Hedonist, not by God’s word, but by the philosophy of men. He immediately enters into error. For he favorably speaks of seeking one’s own happiness as part of human nature.

    But Scripture tells us that natural human nature is fallen, corrupt (Eph.4:22). Scripture is clear that it is the old man which must be put to death. God, in His word, commands the Christian to put to death the old (human) nature, and live in the new nature unto Christ. So if seeking one’s own happiness is a law of the human heart as Piper says, then it is definitely not something to be sought after, for God’s says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it.” (Jer. 17:9). Rather than seeking one’s own happiness, the Scriptures say: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33a). Piper has missed the truth of God’s word here, and in his desire to justify seeking pleasure, he has turned from the wholesome and true word of God to the errors of men.

    Piper was then further influenced by the writing of C.S. Lewis intitled “The Weight of Glory”, part of which he quotes:
    “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

    Piper remarks to this: “There it is in black and white, and to my mind it was totally compelling: It is not a bad thing to desire our own good. In fact the great problem of human beings is that they are far too easily pleased. They don’t seek pleasure with nearly the resolve and passion that they should. And so they settle for mud pies of appetite instead of infinite delight…Our mistake lies not in the intensity of our desire, but in the weakness of it.” (Desiring God, pp. 15-16)

    First of all, when did Lewis become the source or standard of infallible truth? Where is there any Scripture to support these statements of Lewis? There isn’t any because it is all distortion and half-truth. Whatever point Lewis was attempting to make in his own imperfect human way, Piper took as a source of truth to support his own presuppositions.

    Scripture says man’s basic problem is not seeking the easy pleasure, but is his lust to satisfy his own desires (James 4:1-3). According to God’s word, man is self-centered, and self-willed. God’s word declares from Genesis to Revelation, and it is evidenced by the unsaved world, that man’s lust to satisfy his own desires is man’s problem. In Piper’s desire to justify his pursuit of happiness and pleasure, he has found his foundation and support, not in God’s truth, but in the words of corruptible men.

    Piper goes on to say he had a third insight from Lewis’ sermon in which Lewis said:
    “There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself” (Desiring God, p.16).

    To this statement, I would have to in essence agree. Before the fall of man, he was happily in fellowship with God. But it wasn’t just happiness that man had as a result of fellowship with God. It was total fulfillment, contentment, and partaking of a different nature only known to Adam and Eve before they sinned. Since the fall, God can only fill that empty hole in man which cannot be filled by any other means. BUT, in order for that to happen, man must be born again. He must repent of all his sins, all his fleshly, selfish ways (including his desire for his own pleasures). He must receive a new nature, be reborn in the Spirit, through which he can once again have fulfillment as a byproduct of fellowship with God. That is why Jesus said we MUST be born again. There is nothing in the old nature that can be salvaged. Man must become a new creature.

    Piper seems to miss the point. Jesus, repentance, and the new birth, are all missing from Piper’s foundation:
    “All those years I had been trying to suppress my tremendous longing for happiness so I could honestly praise God out of some ‘higher’ less selfish motive. But now it started to dawn that this persistent and undeniable yearning for happiness was not to be suppressed but was to be glutted-on God!”(Desiring God, p. 16). Piper continues to show his focus is ultimately on achieving the happiness he yearns after. Happiness is his all-consuming passion.

    Piper says his next insight came, again not from God’s word, but from Lewis. This time from Lewis’ “Reflections on the Psalms”. Concerning which Piper says was the “capstone of his emerging hedonism”. “Praising God, the highest calling of humanity and our eternal vocation, did not involve the renunciation but rather the consummation of the joy I so desired. My old effort to achieve worship with no self-interest in it proved to be a contradiction in terms. Worship is basically adoration, and we adore only what delights us…We have a name for those who try to praise when they have no pleasure in the object. We call them hypocrites. This fact-that praise means consummate pleasure and that the highest end of man is to drink deeply of this pleasure-was perhaps the most liberating discovery I ever made.” (Desiring God, p. 17)

    Piper’s focus is yet self-centered. And he fights hard to justify his desire for fulfillment of his personal pleasure by making statements and theology that is not supported by the whole of Scripture. The Bible does not describe praise as being consummate pleasure. Nor does it say the highest end of man is to drink deeply of pleasure. Nor does it say we adore only what delights us. Piper is reaching well beyond his grasp of the Scriptures to desperately justify what he wants to believe is true. Tragically, we see a shift in his reasoning and resolve here from seeking truth to altering basic Christian theology to conform to his own self-discovered paradigm. Notice also he has now begun to declare his reasoning as “fact”. Where did he “discover” all this? Not from the Bible, but from the philosophies of men.

    “Then I turned to the Psalms for myself and found the language of hedonism everywhere” (Desiring God, p.17)

    With his doctrine of Hedonism firmly established in his mind and self-conceived by Piper, built upon the foundation of his interpretation of the writings of men, and combined with Piper’s own desire to justify being happy without guilt, only after that does Piper then turn to the Scriptures to justify his doctrine. But not the whole of Scripture. Just Psalms. And like so many cultists, he only then begins to “see” support for his doctrine in the light and under the lens of his own preconceived notion.

    Piper then defines his doctrine of Christian Hedonism:
    “Christian Hedonism is a philosophy of life built on the following 5 convictions:
    1. The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful.
    2. We should never try to deny or resist our longings to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
    3. The deepest and most enduring happiness is only found in God.
    4. The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.
    5. To the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: the pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. That is, The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.” (Desiring God, p.19)

    Notice, Piper calls these five points by which his philosophy of life is founded, his “convictions”. He acknowledges his Christian Hedonism is not founded upon God’s word, but on his “convictions”. He has made it clear that what he means by Christian Hedonism is that one should be a hedonist for God. That is, that man should pursue pleasure in God to a hedonistic extent. Piper’s error is not in seeking after God, nor even in enjoying what God gives us. The error is in seeking after what God can give us. It is in essence the selfish seeking after the gift (happiness, pleasure, etc.) rather than the Giver. Or to put it another way, to seek the Giver because that is the way of getting that which you desire most. And if we don’t do this Piper says we fail to honor God or love people.

    He then makes a serious contradiction. On page 20 of Desiring God, he says “If I cannot show that Christian Hedonism comes from the Bible, I do not expect anyone to be interested, let alone persuaded.” Yet he has already testified to the contrary, that his doctrine of “Christian Hedonism” did not come from the Bible but from the philosophies of men and his own “convictions”. Only after that did he begin to “see” it in the Bible.

    Piper goes on to alter and redefine the Gospel:
    “Someone may ask; If your aim is conversion, why don’t you just use the straightforward, biblical command, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’? Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism? My answer has two parts. First, we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus…It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus…Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, ‘Believe in the lord,’, but, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord?’” (Desiring God, p.42 – 43)

    So according to Piper, the biblical statement “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” is an outdated term, no longer appropriate for this generation! That “it does ‘no good’ to tell people to believe in the Lord Jesus”!!! Our job is not to change God’s way of doing things, improve on the Gospel, or produce a more “appropriate” gospel for this generation. There is nothing wrong with the words of Scripture. Our job is to define the biblical meaning of those biblical words to this generation. Piper would have us replace this New Testament truth regarding salvation with part of an Old Testament Psalm that does not have to do with salvation.

    Worse still, Piper takes Ps. 37 entirely out of context. He uses it repeatedly as evidence that we should take pleasure in God so that we can get our desires met. But that’s not what the verse is saying. The Hebrew word for delight here is “anag”, which means “to be soft” or “pliable”. But the Hebrew word for pleasure or enjoyment is “shashua”, which is not used here. Thus Ps. 37 is not saying to take pleasure or enjoyment in the Lord (at least in this verse), but to be moldable, pliable. If we are moldable, workable, pliable, allowing God to change us, He will give us the desires of your heart. This fits well with other Scriptures which speak of God being the Potter and us the clay.

    But beside this, nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to delight in the Lord to be saved. It is presenting another Gospel which is not found in the Scriptures. Of such as this, God’s word says:
    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8-9).

    More accursed still, Piper adds:
    “Unless a man be born again into a Christian Hedonist he cannot see the Kingdom of God”. (Desiring God, p.43)

    Thus Piper has made his self-realized, self-formulated doctrine a binding doctrine on all Christians without which he says no one can be saved. Scripture does not say we are to be born again to this new doctrine of Christian Hedonisism, as discovered and defined by Piper, in order to see the Kingdom of God. The biblical concept of being born again is that we must be born again spiritually as new creatures in Christ. We must die to our old selves unconditionally, not for the purpose of receiving any reward for our efforts. We must be reborn spiritually according to the Scriptures. We cannot come any other way. For to come any other way is to try to come in without the wedding garment (Matt. 22:11).

    Because his statement is so shockingly unbiblical, Piper then proceeds to define a rather orthodox means by which man is converted. But then works in his “Christian Hedonism” as the underlying force for true conversion, the drive behind saving faith, that which holds together the New Testament conditions by which we are saved:
    “But what is it that holds all these conditions together and gives them unity?…One answer is the awesome reality of saving faith…but what is it about saving faith that unites and changes so much of our lives?…I conclude from this parable [Matt.13:44] that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy….So the faith that pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find the All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart’s delight.” (Desiring God, p.52 – 53)

    “The pursuit of joy in God is not optional, It is not an ‘extra’ that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith. Saving faith is the confidence that if you sell all you have, and forsake all sinful pleasures, the hidden treasure of holy joy will satisfy your deepest desires…Behind the repentance that turns away from sin and behind the faith that embraces Christ is the birth of a new taste, a new longing, a new passion for the pleasure of God’s presence. This is the root of conversion. This is the creation of a Christian Hedonist.” (Desiring God, pp. 54-55)

    Piper solidifies his error by placing his own self-conceived, self-discovered doctrine as the primary condition by which one is to be saved, without which Piper says no man can enter into the Kingdom of God!!! Piper has thus not only placed his doctrine equal to God’s word, but has placed his doctrine as the foundation upon which the Gospel message rests. He has made God’s word incomplete unless it contains his own doctrine. This is not only blasphemy of the highest order, it is nullifying the Holy Word of God, it is another gospel, it is placing upon all mankind a requirement for eternal salvation that God has not placed upon man. It is an affront to the Holy Almighty God whose word is perfect as He has already given it.

  24. Manfred,

    I have read Desiring God, but it has been a long time. Thanks for the reminders of what the book contains. It’s like other material such as The Purpose-Driven Life. Everybody thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, but now true believers who are becoming more discerning are realizing the grave errors found in such drivel.

    So based on those comments alone, we can safely assume that salvation is NOT by grace through faith alone. We also have to be created as a “Christian” hedonist.

    Hmmmm, something very wrong with this picture!

  25. I am one who was not too quick to denounce Piper when I first heard grumblings about his doctrine of “Christian Hedonism.” After all, I was a “fan” of Piper and could not conceive of this being anything but a misunderstanding or a peripheral issue.

    However, since then, his endorsement/embracing of the foul-mouthed, blaspheming Mark Driscoll really made me concerned. At that time I still did not “throw out” Piper, but I felt I could no longer endorse him.

    Then comes his endorsing/embracing of additional men teaching “[another] confusing gospel.”

    What more do I need to wait for? How much more do I need to see before I can call a duck a duck?

    The quotes provided above by Manfred and DavidW are shocking! A side of Piper that apparently no one was willing to discuss.

    I see no difference between Piper’s plummet and that of Ravi Zacharias. Both start out by taking little baby steps here and there away from orthodoxy, and cozying up to known heretics. Before you know it their compromise will take them farther than they ever expected, but sadly, not far enough for their faithful followers to quit defending them at all costs.

    Where is the line for you? How far are you willing to let your golden calf go before you finally say enough is enough? What does your golden calf (be it Piper, or anyone else) have to actually say or do before you’re willing to acknowledge that they’re in error?

    Seriously. Do you even have a line?

    - The Pilgrim

  26. Ready to hear more? Consider this: Given that A) Piper was (and is) Mark Driscoll’s mentor, (both Piper and Driscoll acknowledging this), and B) Piper, in displaying his excellent head knowledge of basic orthodox Christian doctrine well enough to preach a sound gospel message when he wants to, has mastered the techniq

    ___________________________________________________________________

    (Sorry, little finger hit the wrong key and somehow sent only part of the comment above. But let me finish what I started): Piper has mastered the art of freely mixing biblical truth with error, and has managed to fool an aweful lot of sincere Christians. So it’s no wonder Piper continues to stand by Driscoll, who is displaying much the same technique of mixing truth with error. We might call Mark Driscoll the offspring of Piper. So the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  27. DavidW – Many thanks for your excellent post and Biblical responses to the quotes/philosophy of “Christian” Hedonism. I put Christian in quotes because as you and others pointed out, this is not a Biblical doctrine but rather one of man.

    This mindset of pleasure seeking strikes me similar to the false doctrine of the Word Faith movement. Herein, I wonder how many of our brethren in China, Iraq, Iran and elsewhere, who live daily under the iron foot of extreme persecution, have been “born again into a Christian Hedonist?” How much pleasure are they seeking in the gulag or joy enjoying as they watch their wives and daughters being raped, or see their children being killed before their eyes. How much self-gratification are the evangelists seeking as they leave families never sure if they will ever return home again alive?

    And how much of any of this does Jesus tell us to seek? I recall something about taking up our cross daily. And the last time I checked, the cross was not a source of pleasure or hedonistic joy.

  28. Desert Pastor,

    Being new to this sight, I’ve not had a chance to read everything, is there a place where you explain your definition of heresy? It sounds to me like you disagree with Piper in a couple of areas. Is that your grounds for heresy, or do you have an objective ground? If you’re going to say the objective ground is the Bible then I will just ask if you believe that any interpretation of the Bible that does agree with your interpretation of the Bible is a heresy.

    On an another note, I went to John Piper’s church while in Bible college in Minnesota. Whereas now I don’t agree with many things he says, I still respect him as a kind and warm man, with honest intentions. I don’t know that you would disagree with me, but I’m just throwing that out there.

    Thanks for the interesting reading, and blessings.

    Peace of Christ,

    James

  29. Brothers,

    Did not have time to read through the entire comment thread. I have a question:

    Didn’t John write a book on Justification recently? I ahve not read it but have heard it is orthodox.

    I dont believe John “endorses” NPP, but I may be wrong.

    Blessings.

  30. James,

    Thank you for stopping by. First, let me say that I have no reason to doubt that John Piper is a “kind and warm man.” This is not a personal vendetta against him or Mark Driscoll, who is probably a nice enough individual to chat with.

    The issue here is whether what is being taught is contradictory to the fundamentals of the faith or skirting the boundaries. This is also not a “mere” disagreement over minor points of doctrine. Down through church history, true believers have acknowledged their faith and in the belief that Jesus Christ alone by grace through faith provides salvation. This was believed long before the Reformation in the early 1500′s. However, the Reformation was a good launching pad for a revival of true doctrine and undefiled to spring up from places previously darkened by the blackness of Roman Catholicism.

    True believers have also been willing to die for that which was once delivered to the saints, and millions have perished at the hands of the murderous popes and their legions of priests and followers down through the centuries. Some still suffer at the hands of the RCC today. These true believers refused to bow the knee to the pagan gods which derived originally from Baal worship. They were willing to give their lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ and counted not their lives dear unto themselves.

    Along came guys like JI Packer, Chuck Colson, Billy Graham, etc, who taught that there is not REALLY THAT much that separates us from Roman Catholicism. Items like Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) has paved the road for the gradual acceptance of Romish teaching and the watering down of biblical truths such as justification by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone. Many roads do not lead to heaven, but many roads do lead back to Rome — albeit some do it very slowly and in a rather circuitous fashion so as to deceive even the very elect.

    Now today, teachings such as FV and NPP are heresies that do not teach justification by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone. These teachings lead directly back to the heathen throne of the pope in Rome and Rome is loving every minute of what they are seeing. So, when Piper says that these teachings are not another gospel or a false gospel, but are “only a very confusing gospel”, Piper is endorsing to his listeners that these men are ok to listen to and study.

    Finally, I believe there is very good reason to question where Piper actually stands on the matter of justification especially based on previous comments taken directly from Desiring God and also from a more recent book entitled Future Grace.

    At very best, Piper has confused the gospel with what is proceeding from Rome and needs to repent for leading people astray. At worst, he has slid down the road of compromise to a point where he is also teaching false doctrine and would therefore have to be admonished and rejected as a heretic. My sincere prayer is that it is more of the first and not the latter.

    In the meantime, I am not going to endorse a man who accepts the gospel of Rome as being just a “very confusing gospel”. The gospel of Jesus Christ is never confusing and is all about the Lord Jesus Christ alone. It is good news. FV and NPP are NOT good news. They are damnable doctrines.

    The Desert Pastor

  31. Thank you Desert Pastor and Manfred, you both responded with truth and love. I agree that as far as I know Piper hasn’t spoken out against Roman Catholicism as much as the others you’ve mentioned.

    I think that you are right that many churches have many “yes men” but does this mean that Bethlehem’s elders are? No like you said, I do recognize this is a particular danger in churches of all kinds (big and small) but until I know for sure that they are incapable or yes men then I’d honestly rather leave it in their hands as those guys are the guys God has placed in authority over him.

    Let me quickly say that I’m not arguing against discernment and that all that happens is good and we should just leave it at that. There would’ve been no support for an American Revolution among pastors if that is the attitude to have. And if Spurgeon didn’t believe in fighting for good change then Liberalism could have caught on like a wildfire/plague in the Baptist denominations.

    As to Manfred’s comment, Christ did not just use Judas as an example of Romans 8:28 but I would argue that He is also showing His humanity and doing that specifically to show us what not to do. The reality is that Pastors today unwittingly pick people like Judas and they end up backstabbing them. That’s the reality that happens everyday, but there is a purpose in it given by God.

    And obviously the difference is that we are not omniscient as Christ is and that we are ignorant. Don’t you think that Piper could simply be ignorant in this area? That he doesn’t know the true dangers of Roman Catholicism or Federal Vision? Heck, I know I don’t barely anything about the Federal Vision!

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that we must recognize that we are human and that we do stupid things. All of us. Including every person who’s posted. The human disciples were all surprised that it was Judas who betrayed them. Don’t you think that, if the claim of the heresy slope is true and if Piper is ignorant, then we must first look inward?

    In all of this I’m not arguing against ODMs. But frankly I am making a point that I’m more worried about a Judas I may be supporting and not know about than another man’s Judases.

    There were some other points in what I’ve said, but I’m just too tired to make sense of them right now and I’ve got to write a book report on Mere Christianity.

    Finally let me say that Christian Hedonism is something that has been very beneficial to me. The concept of being joyous in God is what I experienced for around six months when I was first saved and I lost that joy in God for a long time until I started hearing the reality that God loves us and that we are to desire Him first for He is the glory we can live in that the world can never match.

    I know Piper has written responses to the questions that are raised about Christian Hedonism and I think that those who have questions about it should seek those responses out. I remember reading them myself, if I can find the link I’ll post it here.

    I should note that Ravi Zacharias was asked at a recent Christian Forum I was at about Mormonism.

    specifically: http://www.rzim.org/USA/Events/ASUOpenForum.aspx (and theoretically they’ll be giving away the video and audio online so you can hear his answer for yourself)

    He completely repudiated Mormonism and its doctrines, but the main question (not specifically asked during that forum) obviously is “Was it right for you to go to BYU? Is your methodology actually against your theology?”

    I don’t remember him answering that except saying that D.L. Moody was the last evangelical Christian invited to speak at the, whatever the main mormon place of worship is in Utah and BYU.

    And this is a question I’m working through that no one wants to touch, the relation between methodology and theology. At what point does methodology become theology? If anyone has some resources that I could look more into on this, that would be great.

    Anyway, blessings.

    in all grace and peace

  32. There is a lot of talk here in the comments re: Piper’s relationship with Driscoll, but you also have to throw in his relationship with Tim Keller; another pastor who is questionable in his doctrine and does not believe in the complete infallibility of the Bible.
    http://bigthink.com/timkeller/tim-keller-on-interpreting-the-bible

    To pick and choose what books and which passages are meant to be taken literally is relying on nothing more than human “wisdom” to guide your “faith”.
    Piper could have been compromised by association; as it seems to have happened with so many others.

  33. Desert Pastor

    I am getting the picture that you don’t like Catholics. Heresy, however, is a word that belongs to Catholics. There are clearly defined limits to what can and cannot be called heresy. These limits are what the Nicene Creed is all about, for instance. So I guess my question was, are you calling these teachings heresy because you disagree with them, or because they are outside some objective test such as the Nicene creed. The test can’t be what “true believers” have always believed, or the “fundamentals of faith” because these present an incredibly subjective field of possibilities. For example some people’s list of fundamentals include speaking in tongues, other people’s include ultra-double-mega-supralapadari-predestationism, etc. What make your fundamentals more fundamental that catholic fundamentals, and therefore your claims of heresy more valid than theirs? I ask this not to be contentious, but rather because I’d really like to know.

    I would also temper your comments about the murderous legions of popes and priests and remind you that the bloodiest war to take place on European soil besides WWI and WWII was the 30 years war, fought by Catholic and Reformed protestants alike, and there were incredibly gross atrocities perpetrated by both sides. There were murderous legions of Reformed soldiers burning villages, and killing civilians as well. When one delves into church history one finds that hardly anyone has clean hands.

    In any event, thanks again the food for thought, and your hospitality on this site.

    Peace of Christ,

    James

  34. James,

    I want to clarify very clearly that I love Catholics. Many of my family members are trapped in Catholicism. It is their religion that I detest with a passion for it damns men to a Christless eternity.

    I have made it clear in previous notes here on DefCon that as a Baptist, history shows we are not Protestants. We did not come out of the Roman Catholic church. Baptistic doctrine has existed from the start of the New Testament church. In fact, people holding to baptistic faith were persecuted by both Roman Catholics and many Protestant denominations. The issue of church and state being separate entities has never been lost on either the Catholics or many Protestants. They have both tried to get converts through the means of the sword.

    Again, we are glad you have stopped by. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I will answer in greater length to your first comments about defining the limits of what constitutes heresy at my earliest convenience.

  35. For a timely and sound perspective on the gulf that separates adherents of the Roman Catholic system [and all other religious systems which corrupt the Eternal Gospel of Grace] and true, born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ I recommend the following article by Frank Turk:

    The Concession Speech

    A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23)

    In Him,
    CD

  36. Coram Deo,

    Thanks for the link to the article. It was a good read and certainly a “timely word!”

  37. You are brave. Thank you for your article. It’s helped to reaffirm a decision I made to leave my teaching job at a school founded by Doug Wilson’s group. I didn’t know what I was getting into at first–I had never heard of Doug Wilson or the CREC; however, after 18 months, there were so many red flags, I had to do some research. What I uncovered scared me! They really do teach another gospel, and I could no longer be a part of it.

  38. Laura, thank you for your willingness to also take a stand against heresy. When we take a stand against those elements that would seek to introduce another gospel, you can be sure that it will cost us in some measure. Keep standing for truth. May you know the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  39. It seems like John MacArthur has been pretty public in questioning John Piper about his association with Mark Driscoll, and in rebuking Driscoll directly. I wonder why MacArthur has not said anything about the quotes in “Desiring God.”

  40. ~Qualifier: I am not defending John. I have viewed this without bringing my feelings and presup’s to the table. ~

    Has the fact that John Piper recently wrote a book on Justification that is biblical, been overlooked here?

    I believe so.

    John Piper does not endorse NPP.

    Am I saying that I am 100% convicned that John is not erring here with this whole Douglas Wilson thing? No, not all.

    As for the entire rants about “Christian Hedonism”, forget it.

    Hedonism simply means ; the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.

    Before you cry, “Humanist!”

    What John is saying is that a Christian shoud find pleasure and happiness in God. Enough said.

    Semantics.

    I am open to correction on this and welcome counsel.

  41. Matthew Johnston:
    Thank you for being open to comments. I believe if you read the documentation Manfred as well as I posted on Piper’s actual teaching on “Christian Hedonism” above on Nov 6, you will see what he really means by it. And what he means by it goes far beyond the cozy concept of finding pleasure and happiness in God. Where he got it was not from the Scriptures, and where he goes with it is not according to the Scriptures.

  42. DavidW,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Proper hermeneutics, we know, is how we gain a correct interpreatation of the authors intent right?

    Exgetical principles are applied in order to gain the intent.

    Plucking verses is not one of them.

    Does the statement , ["To that end this book aims to persuade you that ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever’.”] negate anything?

    does it negate that “the chief end of man is to glorify God’?.

    I dont think it does.

    If we are going to speak much of Piper in this way, it would most definately want to be more than hedonism used in terminolology used to describe how a believer is to delight himself in the LORD.

    ___________________________________________________
    spelling errors:

    *interpretation
    *exegetical

    sorry!

  43. Desert Pastor,

    I counsel restraint here. I’m not a fanboy of Piper, never have been (didn’t really like “Desiring God”, even 10 yrs ago when I first read it), but at minimum it is far too harsh to say Piper “openly endorses” the NPP, isn’t it? I’m right in the middle of Piper’s book “The Future of Justification” and it’s not endorsing hardly anything as far as NPP and NT Wright. Does Piper radically change direction in the 2nd half of the book and repudiate the 1st half? If so, please let me know and I’ll be on the lookout for it.

    If not, why would you go so directly for the jugular on this issue? The book is published, it’s out there, and it’s clear (well, the 1st half is).

    I don’t know what Piper’s done as far as FV, but I doubt he’s a big fan (given that he’s a credobaptist). Shall we call an otherwise fairly solid teacher a heretic just b/c he’s too tolerant (unwisely so) of a heresy that the Presbyterian denominations are still wishy-washy on?

    And supporting Driscoll’s calling to continue in ministry is not heresy, it’s just a big blind spot. Everyone has them.

    Also, as far as 3) Blasphemously claiming the Lord of Glory was damned upon the cross, I’m not familiar with this, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the NASB’s (I lean towards calling it incorrect) rendering of 2 Cor 5:21 as “God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us” instead of “…to be a sin offering for us” open the NASB itself up to the same accusation? Heresy? Really?

    Finally, just to forestall any objection, in my judgment:
    -FV is heresy
    -NPP is heresy
    -NT Wright is a heretic, for more reasons than b/c he’s a big NPP guy, but that’s part of it
    -Driscoll should seriously consider stepping down
    -Driscoll DEFINITELY needs to get his mouth under control
    -Jesus was a sin OFFERING, not sin, on the cross
    -RCC and EOC are non-Christian religions, sort of like Mormonism or JW-ism, just older.

    Grace and peace,
    Rhology

  44. Rhology,

    Thanks for your comments and the way you address your concerns with my post. I would ask you if you have gone to the sites that I link to in the blog and read the further concerns in regards to Piper’s underlying comments about justification?

    Secondly, if we are in agreement in regards to FV and NPP being heresy, then I struggle to understand the issue of calling out Piper on this. He does not see either one as another gospel, but at worst, he ONLY considers what NT Wright preaches and believes to ONLY be a confusing gospel, but he still considers it a true gospel. He does not condemn either Wilson or Wright as being heretics, nor of purveyors of a false gospel.

    Third, you ask if we should “call an otherwise fairly solid teacher a heretic just b/c he’s too tolerant.” As I have mentioned before, I have called out to our readers the problems with Piper endorsing/supporting/accepting-of heresy from Wilson and Wright. To my knowledge, I have not used the term “heretic” to label Piper at this point. Maybe I should do so. In the meantime, I would question how much poison has to be in the barrel of apples before we would say that the entire barrel is dangerous to approach and partake from?

    In other words, if Piper is willing to give credence or credibility to false professors of false gospel to his readers and listeners, should that not send up red flags on our part as to what Piper actually believes??? Case in point is the problems with Billy Graham. The man has gone down a path of heresy in his personal beliefs and has long courted the favor of the Roman Catholic Church. He is probably one of the best evangelists the Pope has been able to count on for decades. However, many would point out that when he stands in the pulpit, that he gives what appears to be a clear presentation of the gospel. The problem is that what he and his workers mean when they deal with a soul about salvation is a far cry from the call of the gospel found in the Scriptures!

    Why should Piper be treated any differently? If he believes the gospel those men preach is the gospel of Jesus Christ (albeit ONLY confusing on the part of NT Wright and the NPP), then his own understanding of the clear, simple message of salvation as preached by the apostle Paul MUST of necessity be suspect.

    I hope this clarifies, but if not feel free to ask further.

    The Desert Pastor

  45. “-FV is heresy
    -NPP is heresy
    -NT Wright is a heretic, for more reasons than b/c he’s a big NPP guy, but that’s part of it
    -Driscoll should seriously consider stepping down
    -Driscoll DEFINITELY needs to get his mouth under control
    -Jesus was a sin OFFERING, not sin, on the cross
    -RCC and EOC are non-Christian religions, sort of like Mormonism or JW-ism, just older.”

    I thought something was strange when Rhology didn’t include Billy Graham in this litany. I don’t see anything condemning freemasonry, there, either. Suspicious.

  46. hi DP,

    True, you didn’t, and I can appreciate that.
    But to say “John Piper is leading many astray by his open endorsements of these men as mentioned above” is, I think, slightly overstating the issue. He’s not leading anyone into these heresies. He’s simply not been explicit enough in his repudiation thereof, but there’s a significant distance between that and leading people into them, you know?

    I would question how much poison has to be in the barrel of apples before we would say that the entire barrel is dangerous to approach and partake from?

    Very good question, and very à propos, but what poison is Piper teaching? I’d hesitate before calling overtolerance of these issues (probably in the interest of pastoral collegiality) “poison”.

    should that not send up red flags on our part as to what Piper actually believes?

    Yes.

    Case in point is the problems with Billy Graham

    Very true, and sad.

    Why should Piper be treated any differently?

    Well, he shouldn’t, BUT he’s still a long way from where Graham is. The Lord may be merciful and turn him back in the near future. I’m just saying as it stands now, I think there’s a little too much alarmism in your post than is warranted. But it’s probably better to be more cautious than less.

    Ministry Addict,

    Haha, sorry I forgot those! I’m also not a big fan of Zoroastrianism or Jainism. ;-)

  47. I am going to make some statements here. Please correct me as you see fit because I want to honor and follow God. I want to be corrected by brothers and sisters in Christ. I just ask that you don’t say to me “You are a piper fanboy” or anything like that because it is not helpful to me. It does not help me to see the error. I am probably not as wise as some of you so I really need you to show me explicitly where and how I am wrong in my thinking so that I can repent and grow.

    1) I am concerned that Mark Driscol is being invited to speak at conferences by Piper. I am glad that Piper has publicly and privately rebuked Driscol, but stop going to his conferences and stop inviting him to yours.

    2) I don’t know much about Doug Wilson and federal vision, that is something that I apparently need to study up on.

    3) I think that people here are missing what Christian Hedonism is. I don’t think that Piper is saying that to be saved you need to become a Christian Hedonist. He is saying that when you are saved/regenerated that you become a Christen Hedonist. When a person is born again God gives them these tastebuds for him that only he can fulfill. So piper does not say “Become a Christian Hedonist” he preaches “You must be born again, and in that new birth God will give you a love for him that you never had before” At least that is the way that I take what he is saying. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

  48. Desert Pastor,

    I’m a friend of Rhology’s. He mentioned this post to me, so I thought I’d stop by and leave my two cents. I’d first like to say that while I believe Piper to espouse heretical theology on some points, I also to believe him to make important contributions in other areas. For instance, the idea that God’s glory is the source of our joy and fulfillment is an imporant contribution, as far as I’m concerned. Piper was also instrumental in leading me to Calvinism, though ironically, as it turns out, he is not actually a consistent Calvinist himself (see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjQwOAgqJVQ). So, even heretics can say many good things, and God in His sovereignty can use them for the edification of His people – it all comes down to what they say on a certain topic. For instance, Douglas Wilson has many good things to say about apologetics, education, and family life, but his theology of church and covenant leads many to destruction. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t necessarily dismiss Piper wholesale, especially if he has good things to say in other areas. Let everything be judged by Scripture, and let us remember that God can even use those who are deceived in one area to edify His people in another. But that said, I believe that Piper’s errors, where they appear, are especially pernicious, and should be diligently exposed and carefully guarded against.

    But as for this post, I would remark that, in my opinion, too much is made of associations. Associations, apart from statements from an individual explaining those associations, prove too little. I too am distressed that Piper openly shares the platform with Douglas Wilson. But, perhaps Piper is just deceived about what Wilson believes, or the effects of his theology. Perhaps Piper isn’t quite clear about N. T. Wright believes, when he says that Wright really does have the true Gospel. But this is unlikely, given Piper’s status as a theologian. Perhaps Piper knows the truth, but doesn’t want to come to grips with it, because he has too much affinity for Wilson, Wright, and the like. This is a besetting problem with the FV dialogue – one only needs to read the Knox colloquium papers to see the almost sickening effusiveness with which the “orthodox” writers attempt to rebut the FV’ers, saying all along how much they “love these men” and consider them to be brothers and fellow-laborers in Christ. Perhaps the zeitgeist of niceness that permeated the Knox colloquium has also permeated Piper. I don’t know. But I’m reticent to conclude too much from association apart from explicit explanatory statements. What would go a long way, in my view, would be to have an open discussion where Piper is asked to explain his view of the FV theology, it’s significance, and its effects, and then to explain, in light of his beliefs on FV theology, why he stands by Wilson. The same could be done with NPP and Wright. Only after the terms are defined and beliefs and reasons explained, can we truly conclude anything from association. Beliefs entail associations, and thus one can corroborate a person’s beliefs by looking at his associations. However, to conclude one’s beliefs by association alone is to make an invalid inference, since there are many possible explanations for those associations. Short of publicly getting down to the bottom of the issue, associations don’t prove much, and even when the truth is known, then only play a corroborative role. In short, I too am disturbed by Piper’s recent associations, but I don’t think that, by themselves, they prove anything.

    As for the whole “damned on the cross” business, I haven’t listened to that particular sermon, so I’m not that familiar with this issue. However, I’m just a little curious as to why this is such a hot topic. If you define “damned” as being condemned for one’s own sins, then Christ was certainly not damned. If you defined “damned” as condemned for sins, then would you say that Christ was condemned for the sins of the elect? Or would you say that Christ merely suffered the punishment for the sins of the elect? Perhaps the last position is the safest. Yet, in colloquial parlance, I would argue that “condemned” can refer to punishment itself (or any unpleasant fate) as well as a legal declaration of personal guilt. Given that Christ was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) and that our sins were condemned in His flesh (Rom. 8:3), I can see a sense in which this statement that Christ was damned can be taken which is consistent with Scriptural theology, as long as one minds one’s terms. Of course, I can also see another sense in which this statement is heretical. At the very least, it’s a poor choice of words. So, I guess I don’t see this as a major point, though I’d be glad to discuss any aspects that I’m missing here.

    However, the most significant and damning thing that can be brought forward in this discussion is what Piper has himself written. The “Pied Piper” article by John Robbins of the Trinity Foundation that you linked to in your post is what I believe should receive the foremost attention. In his book, Future Grace, Piper argues that one’s “final salvation” is dependent upon meeting certain conditions. Of course, this is the heresy of “evangelical obedience” and “salvation conditioned upon the sinner.” Salvation is conditioned solely upon the finished work of Christ and to deny this is to require that something be added to Christ’s perfect work, and thus to fall into the genus of the Galatian heresy, and consequently under Paul’s anathema. Robbins’ article says more than enough on Piper’s heresy in that book, so I won’t go any further here. However, I would remark that his emphasis on faithfulness being the condition for final salvation is consistent with FV and NPP theology, which could explain why he is comfortable with those who espouse those views. Yet, we would need to examine Piper himself before concluding that this is the reason for his association which them.

    So, in summary, I think that this is an important issue which needs much attention. Given Piper’s popularity, Christians need to be made aware of the subtle yet vicious heresies that Piper promotes in various places. Yet, this should be done primarily according to his own words, and according to his associations only secondarily, as corroborative of his theological stances and beliefs. That way, we don’t get carried away with a game of “who associates with whom” (dare I say witch hunt? I think the possibility exists when we focus on associations) and focus instead upon the vital issue of what he himself says. That way, those who listen to Piper can be made aware and made discerning of truth from error, so that they can not only learn to recognize heresy in one of its various forms, but so that they can also glean some of the truly beneficial things that Piper does have to offer. That way, God’s people are doubly edified, in learning to recognize error (and thus knowing the truth better, by contrast) and learning some other good theological points that are perhaps not as emphasized elsewhere.

    Grace and peace,
    Vox

  49. After giving the Trinity Foundation “Pied Piper” article a read, I must confess I am much more skeptical of Piper. It’s so weird that he made those statements in “Future Grace” when in “The Future of Justification”, he’s so far said very little or nothing of the kind.

    Anyone have any idea why that is?

  50. Mark:
    Regarding what Piper has said about what he means by his doctrine of Christian Hedonism, scroll up this post to the Nov. 6 comments by Manfred and DavidW. There you will see a sampling of his own words on the subject.

  51. Could someone point out a few things they thought were bad on the Desiring God link? I read it quickly and saw some things that looked fairly questionable, but I figure they’re more or less balanced out by the other things said there. I may be missing sthg.

    Thank you!

  52. DavidW,
    [and Mark]

    Did you understand my reply?

    Proper hermeneutics, we know, is how we gain a correct interpreatation of the authors intent right?

    Exgetical principles are applied in order to gain the intent.

    Plucking verses is not one of them.

    Does the statement , ["To that end this book aims to persuade you that ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever’.”] negate anything?

    does it negate that “the chief end of man is to glorify God’?.

    I dont think it does.

    If we are going to speak much of Piper in this way, it would most definately want to be more than hedonism used in terminolology used to describe how a believer is to delight himself in the LORD.

  53. Matthew Johnston:
    No, actually, I have no idea what you are getting at. Would you be so kind as to be specific in what you intend to say. Thanks.

  54. DavidW:

    What I am saying is:

    In the same way it is wrong to pluck a verse out of Scripture and use it to push forth an agenda [unless of course it is context], it is wrong to quote mine a number of passages from a book and push forth an agenda.

    Again, when Piper states “To that end this book aims to persuade you that ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever’.”

    How is this wrong? How does that negate that the chief end of man is to glorify God?

    It doesn’t.

  55. David,
    I have read Desiring God, When I Don’t Desire God, started Future Grace but never finished it, The Future of Justification. I am young in the faith, only about 5 years, and I read Desiring God when I had only been a Christian for a couple of years. I agree in part with what I think Matthew Johnson is saying. Piper believes that the chief end of man is to glorify God. Is it right to say that this is done by enjoying him. I am not sure yet. I still think that he is trying to say that when someone becomes a Christian their joy is and will always be in God. He may be guilty of putting to much into joy by saying that it is our duty to fight for Joy in God. I am not sure of that either. But I don’t think its fair to say that he is teaching a different Gospel. I have listened to enough of his sermons to know that he teaches faith alone in Christ alone.

    I do agree that he shouldn’t have Driscoll at his conferences. He has publicly and privately rebuked him. Is that enough? In my opinion, no. He has apparently said that N.T. Wright doesn’t preach another Gospel and that is troubling and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because he took Wright to task his book “The Future of Justification” I thought the point of that book was to show that Wrights view on justification was dangerous. I don’t know what to make of it, I am confused.

    As far as Doug Wilson and the Federal Vision goes, I don’t think Piper is an authority to speak on whether or not it is orthodox. I think that should be people in the Presbyterian community who are more knowledgeable on the subject and have dealt first hand with this group. It is 3:00 on Wed. morning and I spent almost all of Tuesday until now trying to figure out what these Federal Vision people are saying and I still don’t get it.

    Sorry if that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I am tired and my brain won’t shut off to allow me to go to sleep. Too many questions running through my head. Thanks for this blog post and for answering my questions. No one is untouchable and if someone is spreading error they should be challenged on it.

    One question, on judgment day will God look at who we are in Christ and see us as innocent or will he look at the works he wrought in us as proof that we were in Christ?

  56. If anyone thinks the/a way to glorify God is by enjoying Him, he will be on the road to self glorification in short order. Man will enjoy God if man is reconciled to Him and His saints will enjoy Him in heaven without selfishness.

    But – we ain’t there yet and sin yet inhabits our flesh.

    The focus MUST be the Lord Jesus and not man nor man’s enjoyment. This puts the experience of man as the determining factor of what it right and honorable. “If I am enjoying God, it must be right!” Think of the “laughing revivals” and other madness wherein people believe they are enjoying God – this is the logical end of Piper’s thesis: “The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever.”

    To glorify God, we must humbly walk in obedience to His Word, asking for the grace to do and repenting of sin in our lives. Focus on Christ – not your enjoyment of Him. One is primary, the other is secondary.

  57. Mark,

    As far as Doug Wilson and the Federal Vision goes, I don’t think Piper is an authority to speak on whether or not it is orthodox.

    With respect and love, I’d like to ask you to reconsider that statement, brother. We are all responsible to rightly divide the word of truth, and while we can’t be experts in everythg, if we’re going to make a statement about sthg, we should know a bit at least. FV is heretical, to be sure, b/c it denies the Gospel itself and one branch of it even denies a covenant of grace exists at all! We are all responsible to preserve the Gospel.

  58. Manfred,

    The focus MUST be the Lord Jesus and not man nor man’s enjoyment. This puts the experience of man as the determining factor of what it right and honorable.

    Very true, my friend! Personally, I do not always enjoy God. I should, but as you said sin still inhabits my flesh as well. I especially do not enjoy God when He breaks out the rod of correction to bring me more into conformity with His Son, Jesus Christ.

    The Desert Pastor

  59. Matthew Johnston:
    You refer to an “agenda”. I did not pluck a few verses out of Piper’s book to push an “agenda”. Due to the nature of a site with very limited space, I could not present an entire document detailing all he has said on the subject. What was given was meant to display from his own mouth what he means.

    You said: “Again, when Piper states “To that end this book aims to persuade you that ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever’.” How is this wrong? How does that negate that the chief end of man is to glorify God? It doesn’t.”

    I have to totally disagree with you there, Matthew. There’s a huge difference in the two statements. Piper adds the qualifier “BY enjoying Him”, which alters the statement altogether. I can glorify God by obedience, by repentance, by sacrificial love for another, by lots of different expressions. None of these necessarily involve enjoying God. That does not mean that I do not enjoy God, nor am I saying we shouldn’t enjoy God, nor am I saying it does not glorify God by enjoying Him. But Piper makes it a qualifying maxim that is imbalanced and shifts focus. How does his premise then match up with the specific word of God which says: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl.12:13). Thus God Himself does not say the chief duty of man is to glorify Him BY enjoying Him, but He does say man’s chief duty is to FEAR HIM and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.

    Mark:
    Thank you for your honest comment. I appreciate your desire to grow in the knowledge of the Lord as we all continue to do. I would encourage you to continue to dig deeply into the wonderful word of truth God has provided us in the Bible. The rich blessing and enjoyment that is found in fellowship with the God who created us is to be found there. May your joy be in the Lord. But I caution you against the “Christian Hedonism” that Piper preaches, because it is a distortion of what God has said in His word.

  60. Rhology,
    Let me see if I can better explain what I meant by that statement. It wasn’t very clear. I didn’t mean that Piper isn’t accountable to rightly divide the word or accountable for what he says, because he is. What I meant was, I don’t take Piper to be an expert on the subject. I am going to listen and read people in the denominations who have been fighting this battle for years and not take Piper’s word for it when he says it is orthodox. Does that make sense or do I still need to repent?

    David,
    Thank you so much for that statement to Matthew. You have no idea how much that has opened my eyes and helped me. You are completely right that changing from “and enjoying him forever” to “by enjoying him forever” you have changed what the statement means. Wow. You may have just altered a lot of things about my walk with Christ for the better.

    I am new to reformed theology. I am not new to the 5 points of Calvinism but I just learned yesterday, while reading about all of this, that the 5 points are just a small portion of reformed theology. Can someone give me a book recommendation to start me off on the right track? Whether it be a catechism, or Calvin, or a systematic theology book. Anything to get me started.

  61. Mark,

    I just finished this short book and found it most excellent in explaining “Calvinism” – http://shop.churchandfamilyreformation.org/Doctrines-of-Grace-Rediscovering-the-Evangelical-Gospel-BKDOGJBPR.htm

    It’s a great place to start in one’s quest to understand the pillars of Reformed theology.

  62. DavidW,

    Hi brother. You say ” can glorify God BY obedience, BY repentance, BY sacrificial love for another, BY lots of different expressions. ” [emph.added.]

    Then how on earth can’t you glorify God BY enjoying Him.

    You know, we can get all out of balance.

    Having a right view of man; that he is depraved and dead in sin, can have us Reformed guys walking around all miserable like….

    “I am no sinful, my heart is so decietful, “oh wretched man that I am”, oh I am wicked”, we say. [rightly so]

    BUT, what about the joy! what about the victory! what about the hagiosmos! ?

    A Christian glorifies God by being a number of things and one of them is enjoying Him for all that He is.

  63. Mark, your clarification makes sense.
    Let me definitely urge you to make “FV is heretical” your default position, guilty until proven innocent as it were. :-)

  64. Matthew Johnston:
    I never said you can’t glorify God by enjoying Him. Of course enjoying God glories Him. That wasn’t at all the point. The point is what Piper has revealed about what he means by what he says. Matthew, we can go back and forth forever on this. I certainly agree with the essence of your last statement that a Christian glorifies God in numerous ways, and one of them is in enjoying Him.

    Rhology:
    I don’t get the joke. And I don’t think this is the place for jokes about what is or isn’t heretical. Scripture tells us to test all things by God’s word. We don’t judge anyone or any teaching to be guilty until proven innocent.

  65. >>A Christian glorifies God by being a number of things and one of them is enjoying Him for all that He is.<<

    If this is just one of them then why make it the whole statement of the book? Piper has made that his whole premise for the Christian life and by doing that he has left out all the other things that is included which brings us to a point that it is a caricature of the Lord if, according to Piper, the only way of glorifying God is by enjoying Him. By obedience to the Lord, we have enjoyment in Christ but how can one say that the only way to glorify God is BY enjoying Him. If we take the statement, "The chief end of man is to glorify God AND enjoy Him forever," we see that we can glorify God in many different ways. Take the new statement, "The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever," you now have a brand new statement that tells us the only way to glorify God is by enjoying Him. You have just stated that it is one of them but Piper is stating that is the only way to glorify God when he changed his 'and' to make it a 'by'. Can't have it both ways! Either you glorify God and enjoy Him or you glorify God by enjoying Him!

  66. Mark,

    Here is a short piece that highlights the main problems with the Federal Vision:

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/251_FederalVision.pdf

    Here is another essay, which is interesting in that it attempts to trace the Federal Vision heresy back to Norman Shepherd (who taught justification by faith and works, which FV’ers do today), and ultimately back to defective views of Scripture espoused by Dutch theologians. At the very least, it’s good food for thought on the matter:

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/242-JustControversyGuide4Perplexed.pdf

  67. Vox,

    Thank you for those links {even though they were not directed at me} :)

    I had been breifly looking for some resources on that, Wikipedia just is not trustworthy.

    Cheers!
    _________________________________________________________
    Desert Pastors wife,

    Hello. I dont think I have ever engaged in dialogue with you before :) Lovely to ‘meet’ you.

    I think it a huge call to say that Piper believes the ONLY way to glorify God is to enjoy Him.

    DavidW,

    Your right. We’ll leave it at that :)
    Pleasure to discuss this with you.

    ~Much Christian love.

  68. This might just be ignored but I beg you to HUMBLY listen:
    Points 1 and 3 are up for debate, that IS why you don’t here some well-respected men railing against it, such things despite your feelings CAN be explained (even if you aren’t that comfortable with it like me).
    I’m not a follower of popular preachers (except I follow Washer, Albert Martin, and Voddie Baucham very close).
    Point 2 concerning Driscoll is just going to distract from the post (the people that already agree with you will love it, but Driscoll supporters aren’t going to get anything past ‘Driscoll…..’) I will agree that his defense of Driscoll at the BASICS CONF was purely pragmatic and In total contradiction to his ‘preaching and the supremacy of God’, yet it also follows Piper’s defense of his own use of profane language at a Resolved (the one which Wayne Grudem wrote a rebuke concerning).

    I do hope people will honestly test the things that have been said, by applying the same standards they would use concerning ‘normal’ preachers.

    Though I don’t listen to Macarthur much and though I don’t agree with some of his systems, I am extremely grateful that he isn’t quick to endorse anyone and is willing to point out the errors/heresies of the popular in a pastoral/watchmen way (not as a super-critical ‘burn-em-at-the-stake’ railer) this is quite rare!

    Blessings

  69. Upon some thought and reading through the links and comments, I can’t help but think this is a stretch.
    John Piper is certainly eccentric in his style, he definetely has a mastery in words/poetry (as a matter of personal preference this doesn’t move me much). That’s why it is easy to pick out quotations and twist them if you don’t have the whole context.
    The quotes concerning Desiring God are absurd, how can someone listen/admire Piper and miss what he teaches about joy?? This is absolutely why you don’t find people (teachers/pastors) that aren’t afraid to defend the truth attacking Piper but on the contrary recommending him (like Macarthur, Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, Tim Conway etc..) Piper’s ‘journey’ into Chistian hedonism and his defence are quite different. Yes he alludes to things that disturb me (i for one have no stomach for such as CS Lewis) but when he defends the idea, Piper relies upon the truths of scripture. I have no doubt that many stuffy and probably unregenerate ‘reformed’ people can’t stomach too much talk about ‘delighting’ in God.
    Piper certainly has a very odd approach to his conferences, inviting some of the more controversial names. Yet what hasn’t been made clear is whether Piper is guilty of associating with preachers who teach false doctrine or whether he’s ALSO preaching false doctrine???? THe article by TRINITY.. stinks, it’s more of a rant over Covenant theology then anything else.
    Another thing which strikes me as odd, is the reply to the posts by the contributors– if we are seeking to speak the truth in love and call Christians to repentance then why not rebuke those who are commenting in an angry spirit, seeming to delight in the idea that Piper has slipped into heresy?! The comments concerning MONEY are unwarranted, if in anything that John Piper and Desiring God have a spotless reputation it’s the way they handle money and make thousands upon thousands of resources available for free-if you have knowledge of this, then you should defend that.

    So what about those who associate with John Piper and those who recommend his books? Are they heretics? I’d erase this post or at least provide some concrete claims (rather then ‘here’s a one pager with a couple links showing Piper is heretical).

  70. Julius,

    Thanks for stopping by again. I have read some of your posts and found several to be insightful. I understand the frustration of finding an article questioning the doctrine or associations of people we have long appreciated.

    You are correct that speaking the truth in love must be from both sides. This is why I have tried to be very careful in all that I have said. I do not put any posts on here that I have not given long and serious consideration about what I share. I fully realize that several are reading here and it is not the intention to unduly influence anybody. However, we believe that we must share the truth no matter what others may think.

    Our apologies for any comments that have been included that were written in an angry spirit. We will seek to be more careful in what is written and what is permitted to be left on this site. Thank you for pointing out your concerns.

    To conclude, each person has to make their own decisions. If a person feels they can associate with Piper or recommend his books, that is their decision. However, I am firmly convinced that far too many associations and recommendations take place for the wrong reasons when it comes to preachers who are well-known. If a little known person were to make some of the comments made by Piper or were to endorse somebody like Wilson of FV, they would removed from their places. However, a well-known person can do the above and people begin to come out of the woodwork to defend them. Why is that?

  71. Julius,

    I agree with many of your criticisms of these criticisms (as I elaborated in my first comment here). However, when you say “THe article by TRINITY.. stinks, it’s more of a rant over Covenant theology then anything else” – can you honestly say that Piper’s declaration that our “final salvation” is conditioned upon our meeting various conditions (at least 11 of them) is anything short of heretical? That declaration is saying that God will accept us into heaven on the basis of what we do. Christ’s atonement may be necessary, but it’s not sufficient, for we all have to do various things in addition. If the article is a rant, do any parts have value, or are they just angry rhetorical flourishes? Robbins quotes from Piper on several occasions – either Piper is misrepresented in these quotes, or undue theological significance is placed upon them. Which is it? I have Piper’s Future Grace, and from my estimation, Robbins did justice to what Piper was saying there. So, the issue is – is this simply a matter of academic dispute, or is this a serious issue that affects the nature of the Gospel? I don’t see it being any other way than the latter. Jesus calls us to come to Him, and He says that He will give us rest (Matt. 11:29), not 11 conditions that we have to meet to obtain our final salvation.

    Grace and peace,
    Vox

  72. I applaud you for your stand.
    Now STAND.
    When things are said and done publicly
    then a public rebuke is necessary.
    Piper opened himself up for public scrutiny!

    Praise God for men not ashamed to take a stand,
    no matter how “unpopular”.

  73. desert pastor,

    excuse the late reply, I didn’t ‘CONFIRM’ the follow-up comment email and so I didn’t think anything was responded to. I appreciate the spirit of your reply.

    You do make some good points, and I certainly don’t believe well-known men are to be excluded from the application of discernment. Of course there are many who simply won’t investigate this matter because they equate ‘the blessing of GOd’ and ‘fame’ as one. I wouldn’t want people NOT to look into this matter or keep a close eye on these things, yet at the same time there are those who have a weird fetish with being a remnant among th remnant and they are those who rejoice to see such things because they are convinced that ‘success’ is equal to the ‘curse of God’, so I hope both extremes may be avoided.
    If more information comes available, I do hope you will write more. I totally disagree with some of his associations and recommendations, and I likewise cringe at the thought of babes in Christ (even those saved fro 30+yrs) receiving material based on a recommendation or association.

    As concerns the gospel, Piper is fluent in preaching the gospel and unless things have changed I believe he’s solid on that, even if his wording is too (intentionally I assume) novel.
    Blessings brother

  74. You spoke a very falsehood here or gerneralization on this BLOG topic:

    You said:
    2) Openly endorsing Mark Driscoll (the vulgar, sewer-mouthed talker) with no known retractions

    Mark Driscoll has had at least 2 retractions when confronted directly by Piper that I am completely aware of and has publically been stated on Pipers and Driscoll BLOGs. One item was a complete retraction of something off of driscolls BLOGs.

    Mark Driscoll has also openly and publically repented of his vugarities.

    I am finding a LOT of generalizations on this BLOG…. but still looking to decide for myself on Driscoll.

  75. “centrality”,

    If you are only finding a “LOT of generalizations” here, then you are either reading with your mind made up or have not read far enough in regards to Mark Driscoll. There is more than enough evidence that we have posted on this website to show without a shadow of a doubt that Driscoll is disqualified from ministry and to also show that Driscoll’s enjoyment of certain things reveals a far different Christianity than claimed by the New Testament church. A true believer does not relish and wallow in his vulgarities and sexual problems like Driscoll has AND continues to do til this day. Driscoll has NEVER openly and publicly repented of vulgarities and sexual innuendos that continue to flow from his pen and lips. If he has, it has been concealed very well.

    As for Piper endorsing Driscoll with “no known retractions”, my statement still stands. The reference was in regards to Piper. Piper continues to endorse Driscoll, continues to share the pulpit with him, etc. Piper has NEVER openly retracted his endorsements of Driscoll. Instead, he continues to circumnavigate the demands of Scripture about giving public rebuke and admonition to a person who is in open sin before God and bringing shame to the church and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    By the way, there is a HUGE difference between “readjusting his sails” because he has a few people get their feathers ruffled versus truly repenting of his “errors” sins! Having theology that is “spot on” means nothing when your heart is far from God. I don’t care whether every “big-name” preacher ends up endorsing the coarse jesting, vulgar talk, high-school locker room sexual talks, etc. — IT WILL NEVER MAKE IT OR DRISCOLL OR PIPER RIGHT BEFORE GOD!

    One more point, you stated that you do not find our “arguments against Driscoll overly theo centric (sic)”. I guess it truly depends on your perspective of Scripture. If your perspective is based on man-made wisdom and feel-good theology then I can understand your point. In fact, I can very easily see why you would not consider the demeaning of the testimony and gospel of Jesus Christ and the clear warnings of Scripture to not be in accord with what you think you should expect here at DefCon.

    The Desert Pastor

  76. Please take time to review this outline:

    http://www.discernthetime.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=6686

    There is a morphed group of reformed now who have called themselves, New Calvinists.

    The above posts are even more concerning when one can trace the roots of these men to Leadership Network

    ‘bear in mind that in Acts 29 Network there is promotion of the false teachings of spiritual disciplines. (Mark Driscoll and Piper and Keller and Chandler connected.. and more..)

    There is the popular language of missional, plus these men see no wrong in “contexualization” of scripture. (which IMO declare it insufficient!–very very bad)

    You hear “meeting the culture”, “engaging the culture”, Planting, planting..

    Is not the Gospel and the Word of God not the SWORD? ‘piercing the soul asunder?

    Who builds the house? The planter? Or God?

    I believe this is an invasion of a very deceptive heresy which sadly many men who have been held in regard are adhering to.

    Oh.. and of course don’t forget the sex talk on Driscoll’s website and link for sextools.

    Driscll has got to go.

    Praying the Lord would handle this and also that He would cause greater concern within the church body to what is going on here.

  77. MRWBBIII:

    Thanks for the video. Here is one confused man, cooing over his “spiritual son”, a prominent Emergent leader.

    Now there’s an interesting statement Piper makes in a YouTube video on the Emerging Church. Piper tells us he believes the Emerging Church is a “fading reality” and that he thinks “it has seen its best days.” He goes on to say:”Its leadership is in shambles; and I could give you horrible specifics from personal lives; that I know about, that aren’t public yet. Um, and that’s not surprising concerning how low their view of truth, and doctrine is.”

    If Piper truly believes Emergent leaders have a low view of truth and doctrine, why is he so supportive of Driscoll, who was a member of the Leadership Network, which was largely responsible for bringing about Emergent Christianity? And if Driscoll’s Emergent leadership isn’t clear enough, let’s look at what he has said in his “Radical Reformission”: “Now that the time has come to write, I am presenting this book as a contribution toward the furtherance of the emerging church…” (p. 17)

    This irony would be very amusing, if it weren’t for the tragic, mutually misguided loyalties of the two deceived men. All the more reason to follow God and His word alone!

  78. JOHN ” PIPED ” PIPER TAKES A BREAK !

    LIE WITH DOGS , WAKE WITH FLEAS-

    MRWBBIII

  79. Rick Warren is now a featured speaker at Piper’s 2010 Desiring God National Conference (sharperiron.org/filings/3-30-10/14414).

  80. Warren should be a featured exhibit, on how NOT to pastor.

  81. Amen Manfred.

    DavidW, just another reason why I won’t listen to or read anything by John Piper now. He’s going down that slippery slope faster and faster now.

  82. just wondering since defendingcontending.com calls out a bunch of “preachers” who arent speaking the whole Gospel, when no one else has the guts too, is there any preacher on tv or that i may have heard of who i shouldnt listen too.
    i havent had time to read many articles but is
    paul washer & john hagee (or any other “preacher on Daystar or TBN)
    worth listening too or are they all false preachers who’s hearts are far from God???

  83. Paul Washer doesn’t do a show on DayStar or TBN KCM09. But I would recommend that you listen to Paul Washer’s sermons. Do not listen to John Hagee. He is apart of that TBN Prosperity Gospel crowd.

  84. CHRISTIAN ROMAN LIONS DEN SERMON JAM

    GRAB BIBLE & LISTEN TO GOD ALMIGHTY!

  85. Here is Piper’s reason as to why he invited Warren to the DG conference. It just boggles the mind.

    Many of us are aware of Rick Warren’s another gospel and another Jesus, but this video will take his blasphemy to new depths.

    WARNING: Do not watch this video during or immediately following a large meal.

    http://www.alittleleaven.com/2008/12/rick-warren-give-jesus-a-60-day-trial.html

    Here is one more snippet into Mr. Warren’s theological priorities.

  86. brother Michael:

    Thanks for the info. Well, Piper says Warren is “theological”, “sound”, “not Emergent”, and is “reading the works of Jonathan Edwards”. And so that’s supposed to make me ignore all of Warren’s grossly unbiblical teachings? And “not Emergent”? Are you kidding me? The really tragic thing is all the untold thousands of gullible people who are going to accept Warren’s teachings now that Piper says he’s OK. The more I hear Piper and his outrageous, bold endorsements of rank heretics, the more I can see where his protege Driscoll got some of his errors.

    This is a good example of just why it’s so dangerous to follow men, and why it’s so critical to stand firm, not on what any man says, but on what God has said in His word.

    “and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert…” Acts 20:30 – 31a

  87. I apologize for putting this in another post, I meant to put it in this one

    Why John Piper Invited Rick Warren to the 2010 Desiring God National Conference

  88. brother Michael,

    I just watched that snippet you linked to, wherein Warren told folks to give Jesus a 60 day trial run.

    sigh

    Not only does he come across as a used car salesman (as noted on A Little Leaven), he displayed his belief in a universal atonement.

    Of course, the Jew and the Roman Catholic sitting on either side of him loved the message.

    I have no words to describe my disgust with Warren’s influence in our society.

  89. Whoa, I am stunned.
    So, Piper mentioned ‘secondary’ disassociation, I may have the second word wrong. I get his drift though.

    I think he is now worried that we will no longer buy his books etc.

    Well, he lost me a while back anyway. But how sad to see him defend RW’s take on what Piper glosses over concerning major, central issues.

    It’s like when one is talking to a cultist, you have to first realize that you each have very different meanings to the major words you will use in an exchange.

    Doesn’t Piper know that WE know that?

    Repentance to Rick Warren could be very different than what Piper (supposedly) believes.

    From my reading of Purpose Driven Life and hearing Warren speak a number of times, I believe he is way off the Biblical mark and more on the Catholic mark.

    Does Piper truly NOT see that? I don’t know.But I do think I know this.

    This is a stage in the deception of the sheep that Piper thinks will go over the heads of those who are part of the Baptist GC, (CONVERGE).

    Since some of the Converge other deceptions have been embraced.
    Those who have been listeners of Piper and read his books may also not be thinkers and can be persuaded to accept Warren simply because Piper is backing him.

    This is not going to work with those who have such an appreciation for the work of the Savior in their lives that they are willing to go against the herd at their own church if necessary and be considered an opposer.

    I still say though that God will deal with Piper. If he is HIs.
    But it’s important to warn people about Pipers deceptions in the mean time.
    I didn’t leave the Catholic church and get other family out just so 30 years later I would return and bring my family with. very sad.

  90. 1) Misunderstanding what Piper means by Christian Hedonism (and it is by no means heretical or even inherently false) is no justification to condemn him.
    2) Endorsing someone whose theology is correct is not heretical. You only condemn his orthopraxy, which Piper does not even come close to following, so this is a moot point.
    3) I am unaware of Piper doing this, and I googled it for a reference, but could find nothing. It is true that Christ was not damned on the cross (a fact even Driscoll defends), but it logically follows that if all the sins of the world were put on Him, then He would be. This, for Piper, would likely constitute a misunderstanding and NOT a blasphemy.
    4) I have heard of him endorsing Douglas Wilson, but Federal Vision is new to me. I will give you this one.
    5) Utterly false. Piper in no way endorses Wright’s new perspectives, and has authored at least two books against them .

    Please do some research before spouting off about somebody. The heretic label is one that is vastly ignored in an effort to be nice in modern Christianity. However, that does not mean that one should run around labeling people with it willy nilly simply to make up for the lack of it. Please do some research and make loving conjectures.

  91. Piper believes that most people (against their will, and irrespective of their life or choices in life) are predestined to hell. Piper followers will hear that the sovereignty of God chooses who will go to heaven and who will go to hell before you are born, and that those predestined to hell, could not have ever come to Christ. Concoursley believers could not have avoided irresistible grace.
    Did Piper misread “Willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “The lamb that taketh away the sin of the world.”? Does Piper not understand the many calls to repentance that are truly illegitimate if He Himself has insured that they cannot respond. The good news is really not good news at all for most people if the gospel of Piper is in view. But as long as Piper’s vanity is served by the idea of him being elected. I was chose, and you are not, and you dont have a chance at all, you were created as kindling for the fire, and there is nothing you can do about it.
    Piper, why does it say “For God so loved the world.”? Grace means undeserved favor but if it is solely predestination, what need is there for grace?
    The blood of Christ is what saves me, and it was necessary, absolutely necessary. It was His blood first, not predestination. You Piper deny the foreknowledge of God, but God says “Those whom He forknew He predestined.” God knew they would respond to the gospel of their own freewill, and in that He chose us before we chose Him. He loved us first. Love seeks a response, and that response is love in return. We are commanded to love God will all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Why the command if we are predestined to do so? How many Piper fans does it take to screw in a light bulb? None, it will come on by itself if it was predestined to happen.

  92. Chipper – it’s clear you have not studied the Scriptures, but merely read them and have a clear lack of understanding of much of the Bible. Search this web site for a good scriptural explanation of John 3:16, you are clearly missing the boat.

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