16 Comments

John Piper now endorses a book by a contemplative female reverend.

John Piper has endorsed the book Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity by Lauren Winner, a deacon at St. Luke’s who (according to her bio on the church’s webpage) “looks forward to celebrating her ordination to the priesthood,” and (according to the Laity Lodge webpage) is scheduled to be a speaker this June at a contemplative retreat.

 HT: Sola Sisters

16 comments on “John Piper now endorses a book by a contemplative female reverend.

  1. WOW! Not sure what else to say about this one. But, like always, the Desiring God staff and faithful followers will find some reason that this isn’t all that alarming. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

  2. hi,
    iv’e been following this blog site for quite a while. my friends and pastors love, LOVE, john piper, driscoll, and david crowder. my family and i don’t want to be deceived, thanks for your posts. God Bless

  3. No surprise. The slide into heresy and deception continues unabated. Before you know it, Piper will probably be endorsing new age teachers and guys like Rick Warren…oh, never mind!

  4. “Before you know it, Piper will probably be endorsing new age teachers and guys like Rick Warren…oh, never mind!”

    LOL!

  5. Wow…unbelievable. I sometimes wonder about John Piper…

  6. Has anyone here actually read the book? A person doesn’t have to be completely theologically sound in order to say true things. . . for example: As a pastor I’ve recommended Peter Kreeft’s book “The Unaborted Socrates” to many people, even personally bought it for a few. Kreeft presents excellent arguments against abortion, and helps people think through those arguments. Peter Kreeft is Catholic. But the book isn’t on Catholicism, it’s on abortion. And though I would strongly disagree with Kreeft’s views on, say, justification. . . that doesn’t mean that mean he can’t communicate sound truth in a helpful and convincing way on the topic of abortion.

  7. Jesse,

    Are you not familiar with the Scriptural mandate for Christians to take note of those who cause division by teaching that which is contrary to the doctrine we have been taught, and avoid them (Rom. 16:17). We do not see in the New Testament any loophole that says it’s okay to ignore this command for the sake of some “good things” the false teacher may also teach. The problem in endorsing this woman (or Kreeft for that matter), is not only that such endorsement is a direct violation of God’s Word, but it places the gullible, ignorant, and immature in the faith in harms way by directing them to a false teacher. That certainly isn’t love, no matter what the intended “cause” or perceived “social good”.

  8. David,

    Thanks for responding. Can I ask, where do you “draw the line” in the line of reasoning you just presented? Which points of doctrine should be regarded as “avoidance worthy” and which shouldn’t? And who gets to decide this? Should I as a proponent of “believer’s baptism” never recommend one of Kevin DeYoung’s many gospel-centered, biblically sound books because he’s a paedo-bapist? Jonathon Edwards was a post-millenialist? Do I mark and avoid him? C.S. Lewis didn’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, among many other differences of doctrine. Do I take away my kid’s set of Narnia books? If the answer is “No,” then I must ask why? Which doctrines apply and which don’t, and, again, who gets to decide?

  9. Jesse,

    I hoped the “line of reasoning” was self evident from Rom. 16. As far as where we ought to “draw the line”, that’s what God’s word does. If someone teaches that which is contrary or at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture, then we are commanded to avoid them. So let’s not distract from the topic by getting off on rabbit trails regarding tertiary issues. Winner, by promoting Contemplative Prayer (a mystical practice, often resulting in extra-biblical revelation) is promoting that which is contrary to the doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scripture. And her “ordination” to a special priesthood joins her to a nicolaitan system (special caste in authority over the laity) which Jesus specifically forbids. Thus she is a promoter of doctrine which is contrary to the doctrine we have learned, and by biblical mandate is to be avoided. Thus also, Piper is in error (again), and is to be rebuked (again).

  10. David,

    Paul is, indeed, very specific in his instruction in Romans 16. He’s addressing the teachings of non-Christians, “those who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.”

    I’d like to try to point out to you why I don’t consider the rest of your response as a satisfactory answer to my questions. You say, “If someone teaches that which is contrary or at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture, then we are commanded to avoid them. So let’s not distract from the topic by getting off on rabbit trails regarding tertiary issues.”

    First off, I’ll just ask, Is the inerrancy of Scripture a “tertiary issue” for you? It definitely isn’t for me. . . This is a serious defect in the theology of C.S Lewis. So assuming that you misspoke, and that you do consider the integrity of the Bible to be of an utmost concern, I would like to ask specifically, “Should Christians, then, avoid reading the works of C.S. Lewis?” And should Christians who recommend or endorse Lewis be subject to rebuke?

    How about John Stott and his theology of Universalism. . . a teaching that could have a devastating effect on Christendom? John Stott is “a promoter of doctrine which is contrary to the doctrine we have learned.” Does his regard for this heresy mean that “The Cross of Christ,” an exemplary book on the atonement should not be read, endorsed, or recommended? If not, why not?

    It’s unhelpful to say, “avoid” someone who “teaches that which is contrary or at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture” without defining which teachings you’re referring to, or at least giving some boundaries. These aren’t rabbit trails. Legalistic standards have implications that those who promote them rarely consider. Why is it that “contemplative prayer” and egalitarianism are avoidance worthy issues, but universalism and disbelief in the doctrine of innerancy aren’t?

  11. Jesse,

    First, the command in Rom. 16 is To Christians, commanding them to avoid those who are bringing division in the church with their doctrines which are not the sound doctrines they had first been taught. My use of the word “avoid” was taken straight out of the ESV and KJV.

    As for your comment: “It’s unhelpful to say, “avoid” someone who “teaches that which is contrary or at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture” without defining which teachings you’re referring to, or at least giving some boundaries.”, I specifically defined those teachings/practices which Winner is engaging in, which are contrary to God’s Word. Pilgrim’s post itself exposed the false doctrine that is being promoted by Winner.

    How you jumped to insinuating that universalism and disbelief in the doctrine of innerancy are not avoidance issues, I still can’t figure out. I never said anything about Stott, or C.S. Lewis. That does not mean I do not believe in avoiding both men. I have been very vocal in other threads in my rejection of Lewis. And I certainly reject Stott as well. Perhaps you confused “tertiary issues” with “tertiary doctrine”. The “primary issue” of this post is Piper’s endorsement of Winner. Your introduction of others was what I was referring to as tertiary, as they have nothing to do with this post (hence the reference to a “rabbit trail”).

    So to be absolutely clear, no, I do not believe the inerrancy of Scripture is a tertiary doctrine. Can we now get back to the topic at hand? We who are Christians MUST take notice of those who bring unsound/false/erroneous doctrine and turn away from (“avoid”, “ἐκκλίνετε”) them. And as I stated earlier, this applies to Winner and the unbiblical doctrines she supports. And as I’ve said before, this is not only a matter of obedience, it is a matter of love for the brethren. It’s also for the protection of the church. If you still do not believe in this “line of reasoning” as you put it, then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  12. Thanks again for the thoughtful response, David. Ultimately what I was looking for was consistency, which is why I brought up Stott and Lewis. Both whom I consider to be greatly profitable despite their flawed theology. Neither of which any of the conservative, reformed pastors with whom I fellowship would hesitate to either read or recommend. If you do, well, then at least you’re being consistent. .

    So, yes, of course Romans 16:17 was written to Christians. . . what I stated in the previous post was that Paul defines whose teaching he is referring to in verse 17 in the following verse. . . and he specifically states those who are to be avoided are persons who “do not serve our Lord Christ” i.e. non-Christians. This is a gospel issue, much like Galatians 1. If someone is preaching a different gospel he is to be accursed and avoided. However, disagreement in specific areas of doctrine within the realms of orthodox Christianity can’t be treated the same way. Everyone has flaws. No one has a perfect understanding, though we should be striving for it. If perfect theology is your standard, then your bookshelf are going to be filled with wide open spaces. Martin Luther held on to many of the Catholic churches nuances. Jonathon Edwards believed and participated in slavery. The list can go on and on.

    It’s best to treat theologians as a source of spare parts. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever find one that agrees completely with your own understanding of God’s truth. We shouldn’t “trust” any man or woman in this regard. Rather, we should assess them by the quality of their arguments. Accept what is true, and reject what isn’t. You don’t have to buy the whole car.

  13. Jesse,

    Unlike Gal. 1, there is no restriction in the command of Rom. 16 to the issue of the Gospel alone, but to any doctrine (teaching) which causes division from the true doctrine. When “doctrine” (teaching) he is refering to here is not specified nor restricted, we dare not restrict it either. Whether it be the specific doctrines of the Gospel, or doctrines of the Church, or of the Triunity of God, of the Hypostatic Union, the Supremacy and Sufficiency of the Scriptures, etc., ANY teaching of man which is in conflict with ANY teaching in Scripture is to be rejected. And the teacher of such false doctrines is to be rejected as well.

    To say such teachers do not serve the Lord is a given. But it’s not talking about just the likes of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. False teachers often masquerade as believers (see 2 Cor. 11:14-15). Furthermore that many of these false teachers are IN THE CHURCH is also a given. Notice 2 Pet. 2:1:

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    To say we can disagree within the “realm of orthodox Christianity” is a very wide road that leaves one to ignore many clear commands and doctrines in Scripture for the sake of a very watered down “Gospel” that would satisfy Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox who make up the realm of “orthodox Christianity” as it is commonly understood by most. But those who are not born again, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, do not have the Spirit of Truth. Thus their theological philosophies are, at best, from fallen (though perhaps religious) human reasoning. At worst, they are clever demonic deceptions.

    Jesus made it clear in Matt. 7:21-23 that MANY will call Him “Lord”. And they will do many wonderful works in His name. But their “Christian” professions, and their benevolent works, mean NOTHING to Him IF they are also doing what He forbids in His Word. That includes teaching false doctrine. One simply can’t ignore all this, and endorse someone who also teaches false doctrine, because we like their stand on a given topic.

  14. 1 Thes 5:22

    Abstain from all form of evil. (ESV)

    I also want to say that by this woman becoming a pastor is plain disobedience. As John MacArthur said, in paraphrase, a church that has a woman pastor does not have a pastor at all.

    At David W — Good responses and thanks for all of them. I agree with you. To add, all those who proclaim to be Christian are NOT, as you pointed out. The writer of the book must, as well, understand the requirements of an overseer. Blessings to you and everyone here.

  15. Ed,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful input, and for your encouragement as well.

    DavidW

  16. I’ve read the book, I have had a class she taught, and I had to teach the book to students at a rehab ministry. I had the class at Wheaton, which I had been told was an evangelical school (it was a very disappointing experience for me.) She was not a good teacher… all the Proffessors helping with the class liked her and we’re ignorang of how many of the studetnts didn’t enjoy her, even ones who had signed up for the class just to hear her.
    The book is not very good at all. It’s mostly her talking about herself, very emergent in that it sees the Bible as unfit to create a sexual standard and really is against any standards. It gives very few reasons, simply stories from her own life, so again making it a book just about her, not about God and his standards. My students had a hard time digesting it becasue they wanted a book on celibacy from someone who was succesful, not someone who lived a non-celibate life most her existence than for a few years was celibate till she got married. Even they were distressed that Miss Winner thought it wasn’t enough that Paul (which she never referred to as God’s word, just a human author) had a sexual ethic, but needed more explaining than that. One of them said “shoudln’t it be enough that God’s word says to do it? why is it that she needs reasons beyond that?”
    She is really not a person doing good things for the church, in my encounters with her I tried to be open but the issues she pushes are the unorthodox ones. If she had unorthodox views but didn’t push them, and focused on truth, that would be different. But her false teachings are her bread and butter.

    _______________________

    Jesse, can you find anything redeeming in her work? I have been to plenty of schools where the Love of authors like C.S. Lewis has led to denying important, and core, christian beliefs. . I wouldn’t “ban” his books, but I think it is clear he hasn’t really been a friend of Christian Orthodoxy and to say to people that Lewis is not to be trusted on theology is not the same as saying don’t read his books. It’s one thing to say “okay to read” it woudl be another thing if I recommened a book like “problem of pain” to someone curious about a good Theodicy. That would be blatantly wrong, since Lewis’ God simply allows evil and is not soveriegn over it. But to act like there has not been great deficit in the chruch from people following Lewis into a denial of exclusivity, libertatiran free will, the preference of living in a fantasy world over living in reality, and the denial of scriptures authority would be idealistic. Forbidding reading of books is not the step being called for… it’s to not recommend really awful books by unbiblical authors. Who are not simply mistaken but want to lead the chruch astrary (again, Winner’s Main teachings are these things…, she is not preaching faith and repentence and livign life according to Gods word.)

    If you are going to be unable to draw the line over what beliefs are important enough to differ over and which aren’t, that is odd. You are making a dichotomy where the only two options are to only read authors who agree with us on every detail, or to recommend as a good resource for chrsitaisn growth, knowledge, and practice, any book even by Muslims or an Alistar Crowley. Notice this book wasn’t said “okay, read this” it was recommened. I woudl never recommend to a student wondering about an issue a book by someone with a distorted view on it. That is why I never recommend Lewis for good Doctrine. I have seen Wheaton buy into him and lose their grip on reality, making fantasy the world that matters and logical arguments and romantic iimpulses the prime reasons for doctrines, not the Word

    Luken

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