Thursday, April 1, 2010

John Piper invites Rick Warren to speak at conference

John Piper has invited Purpose Driven pastor Rick Warren to speak at a 2010 Desirng God conference. Piper, a long time champion among "reformed" folks, is now disappointing many by inviting what seems to be a pastor who heralds the opposite of what Piper has preached throughout his ministry.

Piper explained himself yesterday through a video on his website. You can see the video here:

I admittedly don't know a great deal about Rick Warren. Upon first hearng his name I was told by some discerning brothers that it wasn't in my best interest to listen to what he had to say. I would like to have more time to flush out this blog entry, but at least for today, what I write here will have to do. I hope it starts some discussion, which would be my preferred method of exploring what is going on here.

For now, I really want to just focus on the video above and how John Piper went about "checking out" Rick Warren and seeing if he is ok or not.

First, Piper comes up with a list of beliefs, presents them to Warren, and because Warren agrees with all of them, he is deemed as OK. Here is a place where many in reformed camps are doing exactly what they preach against. Christianity becomes a list of beliefs, and as long as you agree with the list, you are OK. Is that not tantamount to easy-believism? I am not putting down correct doctrine and theology. It is very important. But when it just becomes a checklist that you give mental ascent to, and it does not affect your life and your relationship with God, it is nothting but empty words. Rick Warren may agree to what Piper read off to him over the phone in word, but is it affecting his life and relationship with God?

And how many people have seemingly correct doctrines that never see the light of day? Have you ever checked out a heretical ministry or church website and looked at their belief statements? You can often be shocked to find correct theological statements and then wonder why those things do not come out in the ministry or church. For you, it was relevant to look those things up. For that ministry or church, it is an irrelevant list that has no bearing on what they actually do.

This leads me to one final bit of information I have regarding the Piper/Warren debate. A radio show host contacted the Desiring God conference offices about this issue and was told by Jonathan Parnell that "Rick Warren is 'more doctrinal' than he appears." Back to the previous paragraph, how good is your doctrine if it never sees the light of day, and in practice, your doctrine is different?

Finally, Piper ends his video talking about agreeing to disagree on who we hang out with. I am not convinced that inviting a person to a conference and giving a person a national platform would be classified as "hanging out."

Not that Piper would ever read this, but I would challenge him to go past a list of theological statements to agree with and look at what Warren practices. I have seen many pastors who would agree to a list of theological rules, but when it comes to what they practice, they are a million miles away from their "list." There is a disconnect in the minds of many between what one puts on paper as guiding beliefs and what one actually does.

1 comment:

  1. jonathan callowayApril 9, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    i agree totally with you my brother! the most dishearting thing about this recent event is this though my own ministry is small and short lived i have taken the fight of scriptural soundness in action not just word to the cultural christianity crowd we so readily live in as many have who will probably read a blog such as this. and in doing so i have on many occasion been able to lay a John Piper writing/sermon/book down along with a Rick Warren writing/sermon/book as an opportunity to sort truth from conterfit, now what? this simply does not gel between the teachings i have came to admire from JP and the nonsense prosperity gospel, easybelievism, and man's ultimate goodness from RW. i only ask for all believers that hold to the convections that real truth matters (no pun intended) pray for our brother, John Piper.