advice from minnick

The September/October issue of Frontline magazine features the second instalment in a series of articles by Mark Minnick on the subject, “What’s an Evangelical to Do?”

The question is asking what is the appropriate response for any evangelical Christian to the false teaching of alleged evangelical Christians. N. T. Wright is offered as the exemplary false teacher. John Piper is offered as a typical evangelical in response to Wright’s false teaching. The article concludes with these words:

This is the first thing Evangelicals ought to do. They ought to require that any organization to which they belong for Christian endeavor or any professing Christian theologian with whom they enter into any spiritual cooperation whatsoever give unfeigned, unqualified, dogmatic assent to every single Fundamental of the Christian (that is, “Evangelical”) faith.

If, after repeated appeals, an organization or individual refuses to do so, those who are truly Evangelical ought to withhold Christian recognition and avoid him (Rom 16.17), and for the love of the Truth and the safety of Christ’s flock, cry “wolf!” Interminable, deferential, academic fencing will not do. There’s no Scriptural paradigm for it whatsoever. Well-intentioned or not, it’s a betrayal of Christ and the gospel. [bolded words my emphasis]

This advice is exactly what ought to be done, but it is exactly what many Evangelicals will not do. Take for example

the aforementioned John Piper. Here are some of the things he says about Wright while at the same time exposing his errors in a book called The Future of Justification (Crossway, 2007).

My conviction concerning N. T. Wright is not that he is under the curse of Galatians 1:8-9. … It may be that in his own mind and heart Wright has a clear and firm grasp of the gospel of Christ and the biblical meanings of justification (15). … N. T. Wright loves the gospel and justification (17). … Wright loves the apostle Paul and reverences the Christian scriptures (27).

Minnick’s assessment of these comments?

The disconnect between Piper’s conclusions about Wright’s twisted teaching and his convictions about Wright’s loves and reverences is simply stunning. To my mind, it’s nearly incomprehensible.

Why did Piper even bother to expose Wright’s insidious errors.

Minnick makes it clear that he isn’t simply targeting Piper, but he is using this example as a negative illustration in answering the question, “What’s an evangelical to do?”

However, it seems this case is an example of what Minnick calls “interminable, deferential, academic fencing”. When will it end?

And the next question to ask is, “What’s a Fundamentalist to do?” What are we to do with the ongoing unwillingness to unequivocally condemn false teachers and apostates?

Why, we should attend their conferences, buy their books, puff them up to our young preachers, disparage their critics on the right (i.e., those wacky fundies) … right?



I’ll have more to come on this later. I am sure you are not surprised!



  1. I knew this was going to be good. No disappointment here so far. Thanks Don.

  2. Hi Chris

    Well, this is just a post to tide you over. I am almost ready with my 7 post series to come. Two more to write, then read them all over for the 5000th time then out they come. They will be my last analysis of Bauder’s Separation seminar at International Bapt College

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Don:

    I have my copy of FrontLine. I read the article with great interest and thansksgiving that Dr. Minncik made a clear note about the huge “disconnect” in the ministry of Piper. Maybe some of the IFB men who will overlook virtually anything in Piper’s ministry will take a cue from Dr. Minnick.