I don’t suppose anyone could visit my blog and not assess fairly quickly that I have a sweet spot in my heart for Pastor John Piper. I’ve been blessed in wonderful ways as I’ve sat under his teaching/preaching ministry for the past several years and as I’ve read a growing number of his books. In many ways, John Piper is my pastor.
While any of us a few years past childhood will admit that noone is infallible, we do like to hold our heroes close. The first time our hero is seen as actually fallible is a tough moment. This has probably happened to many of us with respect to our dads. From the view of a child, dad can do anything…until that day we find that he can’t. When we come to a place of acknowledging human frailty in our heroes it can be a tough decision not to overreact and simply write that hero out of our trust and counsel. I’m not willing or wanting to do that.
Back in June last year I blogged on Holy Emulation. It was a response to several things coming together in my life at that time. It was prompted by something John Piper wrote and it was made real by struggles I was working through wrt a ‘hero’ in my own life. Fallen heroes can be almost as valuable to learn from as those we still keep on a pedestal; they at least become more real in our eyes, and so they should.
I’ve been hearing and seeing and reading about the decision that John Piper has made to invite Rick Warren as a speaker at the next Desiring God conference in October. Admittedly I don’t get it. I’m not a Rick Warren fan for several reasons. I don’t know him personally or well, so I’m not hitting him with judgements. Rather, I’m responding more from the few things where he or his writings or his impact have affected my life and beliefs. Personally, it’s my opinion that his book the Purpose-Driven Church had a hugely negative impact on my local senior pastor and the direction and spiritual health of my church for too many years.
I try to consider how John Piper has influenced the lives of those who we might have considered ‘too out there’. Mark Driscoll is someone I think benefitted from John Piper’s patient love and discipleship. I don’t know where Mark Driscoll might have been headed. Personally, he was not someone I liked at all in the past… but now I have my own children listening to his preaching and teaching as I also do each week. Is John Piper simply trusting God and being patient and welcoming in order that the gospel impact might bear fruit in those who seem to have disregarded or corrupted the primacy of the Gospel?
I won’t be the one to resolve this dilemma, nor will I let it consume my attention. But, I did choose to include it on my blog for my benefit and perhaps yours. What will follow here are two youtube clips with John Piper giving his reasons for inviting Rick Warren to the conference. I will also include a link to what I thought was a very solid, appropriately thought out, respectful and dissenting opinion regarding this matter. It will come from from Phil Johnson of the Pyromaniacs blog.
… a dissenting response, Pyromaniacs – On the Piper-Warren Connection