Showing posts with label John Piper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Piper. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Disqualifying Dad (An Unlikely Defense of John Piper)

John Piper is a well-known 77-year old Minnesota pastor and media presence with four sons, three of whom currently do not rock his spiritual boat. Barnabas is a pastor in Nashville, Benjamin a construction worker and Karsten a college English teacher. If either of the latter two are not believers in good standing at their local churches, we certainly never hear about it.

Yay for good parenting doing what it is supposed to do.

Abraham Piper is another story. The man even has his own Wikipedia entry and a TikTok following of over two million for his two pages, self-described as “a smidge of sacrilege” and peppered with salty language. Not a believer, and not only out and proud of it, but formally excommunicated to boot, and dedicated to taking shots at the faith and publicly mocking his father’s beliefs.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Cult of Personality

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Sunny Shell no longer follows John Piper or any of his ministries, and she certainly doesn’t endorse them to her friends. Why? Well, Piper invited speakers to his Desiring God National Conferences whose character and practices Sunny finds highly questionable, and Piper publicly participated in a “mystical type exercise”. Sunny concludes that Piper has been in some ways “led away from sola scriptura”, and has effectively written him off.

Tom: Now, I’m not about to critique Sunny’s choices here, Immanuel Can. I have more than a few doctrinal quibbles with Mr. Piper myself. But her post brings up a significant issue.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Complements of John Piper

Darlene Parsons and/or Wanda Martin at The Wartburg Watch are deep into it over complementarian commander-in-chief John Piper. In an article entitled “John Piper Backs Himself Into a Corner and Even Reformed Complementarians Are Confused”, TWW points out that Piper has well gone well beyond any biblical mandate he might have for his views on the roles of the sexes.

If you have no idea what a complementarian is in the first place, join the club. Large numbers of Christians have never encountered the term. Though the idea has apparently been around for years, I only heard it used for the first time very recently.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (20)

Does the Bible allow for divorce in the case of adultery? John Piper doesn’t think so, and he makes his case here. Naturally, it hinges on his interpretation of the Lord’s two comments on the subject in Matthew, which we find in 5:32 and 19:9. Here’s the longer version from chapter 5:

“But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Most Christians consider that the words in bold italic constitute an exception (the word “except” is our first clue). To Mr. Piper they do not.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Staring Down the Barrel

A recent Gospel Coalition “Good Faith Debate” included comments from a pastor who says using a firearm to stop an attempted massacre in a church is as erroneous as Peter’s attempt to prevent Christ’s arrest.

Uh, say what?

Such opinions naturally stir the pot. This responsive post entitled “The Neutered Evangelical Man” provides a great starting point for a discussion on whether Jesus really taught universal pacifism, and it prompted me to pull together a series of thoughts on the subject I have expressed in this space over the years.

Let’s start with a bang.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Out of His Lane

Last Tuesday, John Piper used his mega-platform among Reformed Christians to come out in favor of COVID vaccination and to implore his fellow believers to go out and get jabbed:

“My aim in this article is to encourage Christians to be vaccinated, if they can do so with a good conscience and judicious medical warrant.”

Hey, at least he had the decency to include the caveat of “a good conscience”.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Coalition of the Unwilling

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Gospel Coalition is an evangelical colossus, with close to 8,000 affiliated congregations across the U.S., 65 million annual website pageviews, regular live events, a full slate of in-house blogs and other media promoting its theological checklist.

Tom: But one very slightly unsettling feature of TGC’s ministry, Immanuel Can, is that they seem to have little interest in engaging in the exchange of ideas, as this Jonathan Merritt article very effectively documents.

You’re quite familiar with TGC. What do they stand for?

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

John Piper’s God

John Piper’s God is not someone I find particularly appealing.

Piper’s Calvinist determinism makes his version of heaven a scary place where every microscopic detail of human existence is examined, and from which God himself administers rough justice to his subjects on the spot as he sees fit, to believers and unbelievers alike, sometimes in the form of really bad weather.

A rash of tornados across the U.S. in 2012 prompted Piper to express his opinion in this post.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Cult of Personality

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

On the Mount (15)

There’s a useful little spiritual truth called the Corban Principle. That’s just my name for it; I’m sure I owe somebody older and godlier for introducing me to it, but I can’t for the life of me remember who ought to get the credit.

Anyway, it comes from that passage in Mark where the Lord Jesus calls out the Pharisees for allowing religious Jews to reduce their financial obligations under the Law by giving sums of money intended for the upkeep of aging parents to the synagogue instead, which effectively put the money in the hands of the Pharisees.

The practice was called Corban. It was an end-around the spirit of the Law of Moses, and the Lord called it “making void the word of God”.

The Corban Principle simply stated: God doesn’t want anything from you or me at someone else’s expense.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

A Fistful of Jell-O

Too many times, trying to get a handle on complex disagreements within the Body of Christ is like trying to grab a fistful of Jell-O. And not the cubed, wobbly, gelatinous sort either. More like the runny, near-liquid stuff that races away across the tabletop or squirts between your fingers when you finally catch up with it.

Good luck nailing that down.

A long-time reader pointed me to this blog post by Barbara Roberts at A Cry for Justice, which might well represent the quintessential runny Jell-O story.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Calls and Feelings

Two weeks ago I posted some thoughts on the “gift of singleness” that didn’t conveniently fit into an earlier post (the one in which John Piper gives advice about marriage to a single mother).

There was another interesting thought-thread associated with the woman’s question, and since Piper hasn’t addressed it, I think it’s time to take a whack at it. It’s this statement I’m referring to:

“Now, as I attempt to wrap my head around the overwhelming task of raising this boy into a man by myself, I do not feel called to marriage.”

“Feeling called” may be a very common evangelical trope, but ask yourself this: Exactly how biblical is it?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Gift of Singleness

This is the first of two extended lines of thought that wouldn’t fit conveniently into my post from two days ago. You may remember that one: John Piper was giving advice to a single mother who wondered if she should be looking for a husband.

A couple of common evangelical catchphrases were bandied around in the exchange and caught my attention. First, Piper referred to the “gift of singleness”. Later, the young woman declared she did not feel “called to marriage”. You have probably heard people say things like that. You may have said them yourself.

Both phrases sorta-kinda employ the language of the New Testament, but both do it in ways that can mislead us if we’re not paying attention to the way they are used.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Shooting from the Lip

“Pastor John” Piper is answering his mail again, which nearly always ends up, well ... interesting, to say the least.

This time he’s responding to the single mother of a three-year-old boy who wants to know whether the Bible teaches she should be looking for a husband.

Piper is rarely reluctant to engage with questions the Bible doesn’t directly answer, and this one is no exception.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Wrong Way Round

In a previous post I pointed out that Christ’s disciples, unlike many modernists, were seekers after objective truth.

But the process of discovering that truth was anything but easy or natural. The disciples made some pretty entertaining mistakes.

Not that I would’ve done any better, I assure you. But they had an uncanny knack for getting things the wrong way round.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 2]

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We have been discussing worship as a lifestyle, a concept set out by John Piper among others, and how the recent discovery of a “worship lifestyle” compares with the way the word “worship” is actually employed throughout scripture.

First we drew a sharp distinction between two ways scripture uses the word: (1) to describe “acts of worship” (the public appearance) and (2) to refer to “worship” itself (the heart reality). Then we went on to establish that genuine worship is deliberate, sacrificial, obedient and informed by the character of God himself. It is not a mechanical, rote act, nor is it to be engaged in casually. It takes place at specific times, not at every moment of life.

Monday, June 13, 2016

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 1]

The subject of worship is currently getting a little more attention than usual in Christian circles, and that’s not a bad thing. We have John Piper to thank for this, among others who have written about worship as a lifestyle.

Piper starts by encouraging us to enlarge our thoughts of worship:

“… don’t think worship services when you think worship. That is a huge limitation which is not in the Bible. All of life is supposed to be worship.”

and goes on to describe eating at Pizza Hut to the glory of God, having sex to the glory of God and dying to the glory of God. So eating moderately, healthily and gratefully is worship; loving sex within the bounds of marriage is worship; chastity, too, is worship. “You are always in a temple,” Piper says. “Always worship.”

Saturday, May 14, 2016

John Piper, Social Activism and ‘Doing Good’

Debt in the Americas by % of GDP
(hint: black is not good)
Extracted from their original context, many verses may be stretched to the point where they say almost anything we’d like them to.

John Piper, for instance, finds social activism in scripture in places where, try as I might, I just don’t see it:

“It is right and good to pursue obedience to Galatians 6:10, which says: ‘So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.’ ”

With you so far, John. But now things get dicey. In Mr. Piper’s view, “doing good” is a pretty broad term.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Look At Those Goalposts Move!

In addition to constantly meeting facts with feelings, you may have noticed that the religious left tries to avoid addressing opposing arguments directly — a canny strategy when one has little of substance to put forward.

Instead, by moving the goalposts, they reframe the question under discussion so that the other side finds itself inadvertently giving up intellectual or spiritual ground without ever having really lost it. The issue, or at least part of it, is conceded without any discussion at all.

The trick is to recognize goalpost shifting when you see it and refuse to reframe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No Getting Around That

Rachel Held Evans vs. John Piper? Who could resist weighing in? Not me.

Some background: My favorite popular Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans has been sharing with her readers how well ditching “strict gender roles promoted by conservative evangelical culture” in favor of “a relationship characterized by mutuality and flexibility” is working for her and her husband Dan as they welcome their new baby into the world.

Yes, Dan is helping Rachel out by changing diapers, doing laundry, rocking the baby and making pot after pot of coffee.

Bravo, Dan.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Redefining the Language

Nicked from the comments on another website:

“What is incredible is how many churches pay people full time to be ‘worship music leaders’. They are given status equal to the pastor.”

What is appalling here is not so much that “worship music leaders” are given any status at all in modern Christian thinking, nor is it that they are paid a salary to do a job in today’s evangelical churches that has no precedent in the New Testament church and no authority from scripture, though both of these facts are certainly regrettable.

No, it’s that the accepted term of comparison is “the pastor”. The status of that equally modern and unbiblical role is assumed uncritically, entirely by default, and near-universally.

In other words, the people who see clergy in the Bible where it doesn’t exist have successfully redefined the language we use about servants of God.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Complements of John Piper

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

John Piper Gets Political

In a previous post, I pointed out the various ways John Piper’s supersessionist leanings cause him to read things into Romans 2 that the apostle Paul does not say, largely in aid of convincing Christians that we are “true Jews”. As a result, Piper makes murk of the clear distinction in scripture between Jews, Gentiles and the church of God.

I also pointed out that a preference for a supersessionist reading of the Bible frequently goes hand-in-hand with a very defined political position on the modern nation of Israel and its right to occupy the Holy Land, specifically, that those rights could use some major curtailing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

John Piper’s Exploding Cigar

Not John Piper
Do you want to be a Jew? John Piper thinks every Christian should:

“God is at pains to explain to you that you are a true Jew. It is a great gift to us that he should tell us that an essential part of our identity is that we are true Jews if we fulfil the obedience of faith. Don’t reject God’s good gift.”

Why does it matter if a Gentile thinks of himself as a Jew or not? It seems like a trivial issue to debate, doesn’t it? Why would anyone go to as much trouble as Piper goes to in this sermon from 1999 just to convince Christians to get excited about being “Jewish”?

I sure don’t want to reject any of God’s good gifts. But this particular “gift” is more like the proverbial exploding cigar: it comes with more than you bargain for when you take it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 2]

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 1]

A more current version of this post is available here.