He’s a separatist! He’s a separatist!

Isn’t he?

So much for the rumor that John MacArthur separated from Piper over his connections to Mark Driscoll, C J Mahaney, et al.

Yet some of our leaders are fine with cooperating on platforms with fringe members of this crowd… are they really coming our way?

an interesting point

Alex Guggenheim raises an interesting point at his blog, here. A video has been circulating around the internet where Joel Osteen’s wife Victoria exhorts Christians to be ‘happy’ because when you are happy, God is happy.

But it’s not just Victoria Osteen who thinks this way.

[Read more…]

defining ‘conservative evangelical’

A couple of my recent reading sources lead me to look at the term ‘conservative evangelical’ from a different perspective other than my normal ‘rabid fundamentalism’. One source is a book edited by Timothy George and David Dockery, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. The other is an article by Michael Clawson appearing on Roger Olson’s site, “Young, Restless, and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism among American Evangelicals(HT: Sharper Iron).

Both of these sources come at the question from the evangelical side of the spectrum, in the case of Clawson and Olson, it is on the outside of conservative evangelicalism looking in, whereas George and Dockery are more or less on the inside of the movement. Both sources offer some interesting observations of the so-called ‘conservative evangelical’ movement.

[Read more…]

the discernment deficit

I just posted an article about the default tolerance of conservative evangelicals, part of their new evangelical heritage. This is a second instance of the same affliction.

John Piper blogs today about the death of a Christian politician in Pakistan. In his article, he says:

This is my small tribute to another Christian killed for Christ’s sake. I read his story with great admiration.

I encourage you to follow the link in Piper’s post. In the article, just before a section that Piper quotes in his article are these words:

Extremists wanted to kill him because of his opposition to the blasphemy law and to Sharia legislation, and because of his work for “the oppressed and marginalised”, the Catholic politician said sombrely into the camera.

Do you catch the religious adjective? The Wikipedia article about the man clearly identifies him as a Roman Catholic.

Now… clearly this is a tragic and senseless death. Poor, bleeding Pakistan. We lament the needless loss of life and the intolerance of radical Muslims. We deplore the use of force in the name of religion.

But our concern is discernment. Here we have a prominent Christian preacher, one who influences thousands. One who is ‘Together for the Gospel’. And yet he misses a key descriptor and calls this tragic death the death of a “Christian killed for Christ’s sake.” Really? A Christian? For Christ’s sake?

Well, maybe he missed it. It is just one word in a lengthy article, after all. But we have noted a long pattern of discernment issues for this man in the past. I would urge those who are heavily influenced by John Piper to be discerning. He tends to demonstrate little discernment himself.


UPDATE: Baptist Press shows the same lack of discernment.

edinburgh 2010

A friend sent me an article critical of Edinburgh 2010. Edinburgh 2010 is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of a conference in Edinburgh 1910 which set the stage for ecumenical advance, especially in missionary work.

The celebration includes events around the world including a whole host of individuals. One of the events is Lausanne III to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Here is the speakers list for Lausanne III:

The expositors have been named as Ajith Fernando, Director of Sri Lanka Youth for Christ; Calisto Odede, Associate Pastor of Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Kenya; John Piper , senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis , US; Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford , UK; Ruth Padilla DeBorst, General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship (Costa Rica); and Ramez Atallah, Director of the Egyptian Bible Society, and his wife, Rebecca, who has a grassroots ministry among children and Sudanese refugees in the ‘garbage village’ in Cairo.

The article I first ran across had this to say about this conference:

The Cape Town Conference will be in conjunction with The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization and is considered the most conservative of the main conferences.  It features six keynote speakers (each apparently preaching a message from the book of Ephesians) from six world regions, with John Piper representing North America. Boston University doctoral student and General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship Ruth Padilla DeBorst is one of two women expositors,  4000 leaders from 200 countries have been invited and special criteria have been established to “include men and women from a broad spectrum of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and denominational affiliations.”

Well, the ecumenism is not surprising.

But so much for Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, eh?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

John Piper & Wayne Grudem, editors


it’s not about separation

Tim Challies makes a concluding observation about the Piper-Warren kerfuffle that, I think, misses the point.

At yet let’s heed Piper’s warning not to fall into an error of secondary separation. There is no need for us to separate from Piper over such a decision. We have plenty of latitude to disagree with him; let’s do so with respect for him and for his long and faithful history of ministry to the church. The sky is not falling, the world will go on.

JayC over at Sharper Iron asks a question:

In a context like mine, I’m not really sure that I ~could~ “separate” from Piper. The extent of the relationship that Piper and I have is that I download his books and will occasionally download a sermon. So in what meaningful way could I “separate” from Piper?

Jay’s question is a good one. How would anyone actually do secondary separation from Piper (assuming it is warranted)? In fact, let’s go a step further: How would anyone actually do primary separation from Piper?

The only way I could do either is if I was in some kind of ministry partnership with Piper. That is, if I was also invited to speak at Desiring God, then I could refuse to attend because of the Warren invite. Or if I was on the staff of Bethlehem Baptist, or a member, I could confront Piper personally and if I failed to achieve reconciliation, I could leave. If I were part of the BGC, I could raise the issue in the AGM and, if not satisfied with the Conference response or Piper’s response, I could pull out of the BGC. If I were involved in some other joint ministry with Piper (T4G, etc.) I could tell Piper that either he dis-invites Warren or we are dis-inviting him. Or failing that, I could break my relationship with him in this ministry and simply refuse to participate any longer as long as Piper were to remain part of it.

Have I covered every possibility?

Now, I am in NONE of these relationships with Piper.

So why should I care about who he invites to Desiring God? What difference does it make to me? What, if anything, should I do about it? Should I comment to anyone, should I make any criticism to anyone, should I discuss it with anyone? Should I blog about it?

[Read more…]

fellowship with blasphemy

Piper, Driscoll Stay Passionate for Mission amid Criticisms – Christian Post

Baptist theologian John Piper and emerging church pastor Mark Driscoll are teaming up this week for an anticipated conference on the "resurgence of the local church."

"Advance," opening on Thursday in Durham, N.C., is just one of many events the two pastors have come together for in recent years.

What produces this incredible weakness in Piper?


an important question

I’m not going to make my blogging simply a point-counterpoint with Dave Doran, but he asks an important question today that does get to part of the current controversies roiling Fundamentalism.

Is it possible to appreciate this man’s [Piper’s] heart for the Word, expository preaching, people’s souls, and God’s glory without being questioned about one’s fundamentalist convictions?

I think the answer is no, given Piper’s notable errors on matters that are fundamentalist convictions. [Read more…]

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

[Read more…]

silence reigns in FINO land

Scott Aniol alerts us to a raging discussion over in the realms of conservative evangelicalism. Nathan Busenitz, managing editor at Pulpit Magazine wrote an article published on the 17th of September entitled “John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Harsh Language“. Busenitz rightly takes Driscoll and Piper to task for Driscoll’s foul language. In the comments, we discover in a post by Steve Camp that Driscoll isn’t the only one to use bad language in connection with the Desiring God conference. No, Paul Tripp likewise has a foul mouth. You can read about it (and see the associated video, if  you care to) at Steve’s blog, “PAUL TRIPP-ING – HE REALLY LIKES TO SAY THE ‘S’ WORD …has Piper lost his mind or just forgotten his Bible?

It is instructive to read the comments on both posts. And equally instructive to read the execrable Doug Wilson come to Piper’s defense, ironically, in his post “A Temporizing Baa-Lamb“. Quite frankly, his comments are shameful. It is hard to believe that people become so devoted to such men that many objectionable statements, positions, and actions are just overlooked.

While this debate rages in the conservative evangelical realm, FINO land remains serene in its silence. Could it be that no one has read these posts? Surely not. Where is the response? Will anyone ever admit that perhaps there is something not quite right about Piper et al on this? At least the MacArthur camp is taking a stab at it, however mild.


UPDATE: Nathan Busenitz follows up with a still too weak rebuke of Driscoll and no rebuke of Piper. It seems to me that Piper is the one more worthy of rebuke, because his invitation to Driscoll and his public affirmation of him is only serving to enable Driscoll’s continuing bad behaviour. Were Piper to really rebuke Driscoll and refuse association with him, it might have had some real impact. Piper’s comments last year seemed to start working in that direction, then Piper backed off. For shame.