Thursday, June 2, 2011

More on John Piper's interview with Rick Warren

Last week I posted John Piper's long-awaited interview with Rick Warren. Many people have responded positively to the demonstration of brotherly love and camaraderie displayed by the two men. Indeed, these are two men who clearly love Jesus and hold each other in high esteem.

Anyone familiar with the ministries of Dr. Piper and Pastor Warren understand the enormous differences between the two. During the interview Piper made mention of that. However, I was more than a little confused by the seeming unity the men shared in theological perspective. If all your knowledge of Rick Warren was this interview you could reasonably conclude that he was ready for ordination in the OPC.

And herein lies my problem with the interview. It is, in my opinion, an example of Rick Warren contextualizing himself. That is, from time-to-time he seems to altar his views, influences, and stated priorities to fit the situation in which he finds himself. Please understand. I am not attacking Pastor Warren. I don't think he would disagree with my assessment. In one context he takes up the mantle of Charles Finney. In another context he is a newer Robert Schuller (Read the pieces Rick wrote for Ladies Home Journal - They are not the outworking of the theology espoused in the interview.). In the Piper interview Pastor Warren is the theological heir of Johnathan Edwards. So, which is it? It certainly cannot be all of the above.

Like his practice of using various Bible paraphrases and his sometimes exotic application of Scriptures Pastor Warren seems to fit himself for whatever context in which he appears. Just as John Piper's practice of ministry is a reflection of his theological convictions, so too is Warren's.

Perhaps I am being too critical. I don't mean to be. I am not one of those who believe Rick Warren is the anti-Christ or the worst thing to ever happen to the church. But I remain deeply concerned about many of the things Rick Warren has written, preached, and taught. I am also reminded of the biblical warning that those of us who are set apart for the ministry of the Word will incur a stricter judgment.

The following are two men's "take" on the interview:
Tim Challies
Timmy Brister


livewire554 said...

Why is everyone so afraid of offending Rick Warren, or people like Rick Warren? Being truthful and blunt is the only way to make people alert, aware, and add confirmation to their own discernment's. Rick Warren is a questionable "pastor" and for good reason; he's a waffler and surrounds himself with professional wafflers like Obama and Tony Blair. I question everyone and everything in these dark times.

Reformation said...

I am an old school, Confessionalist, Reformed, and Anglican Churchmen. Big stress: "old school" The unctuous pietism, emotional effloresence, and effusion was evident. The "feel" was disjunctive. It was quite rich when Mr. Piper led Warren in prayer for humility. I started laughing at that point. What a rude insertion of supremacistic arrogance. John, the liturgical illiterate that he is, might have said, "We, O Lord," have erred and strayed like lost sheep. But no, we got an Anabaptist enthusiast with no liturgical piety leading Warren in a prayer of humility. On it's face, it was laughable.

Reformation said...

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1662 BCP.

Lead us, Bishop Piper, with the plural pronouns of "we," "us," and "our." And, by all means, confess "your" sins too while identifying Mr. Warren's temptations. It was supremacism, unctuousness, and, quite frankly, obnoxiousness.

But, Bishop Piper, is a liturgical illiterate.

Todd Pruitt said...

So is Piper's only hope to turn from his baptistic heresies and become an Anglican?

me said...

I'm not really sure what "Reformation" is talking about, and I can't be the only one. I believe in plain speak and not use of words for the sake of sounding intelligent. Comes off proud but thats just my opinion. I believe Piper on face value to be a great speaker and feel like he does a lot of good for guiding people to Christ, I just had a hard time swallowing the bologna that Rick Warren was feeding him and the audience in the interview. Everything I've come to read about Rick Warren doesn't hold water because he'll say whatever is convenient for the situation and timing. Rick Warren is the issue here NOT John Piper. Anglican... Baptist... Old School unctuous piety... whatever your affiliation at the end of the day all that matters is if your true to Christ in every way.

Reformation said...

Todd, yes, if Piper had an old school Anglican doctrine and piety, this interview would have been different. So, yes, to your answer. This has been noticed long before this interview, including preaching-events. So, yep.

Reformation said...


What knowest thou of old school Anglican Prayer Book piety? Of kneeling, of the 1662 BCP, of the doctrine, worship and piety?

Of what President George Washington when he knelt at Christ Church, Philadelphia? Or John Jay, James Madison and others? Using the 1662 BCP before 1789?

In fact, what do Anabaptists with a predestinarian flavour (e.g. Piper) know of these things?

Piper knows NOTHING of it. He's an American.


Sean said...

Is the 1662 BCP the holy, inspired, inerrant Word of God? John Piper is most certainly not an "illiterate" when it comes to THAT. And THAT is all that matters.

Todd Pruitt said...

I have no problem with the BCP. But wow! I need some help Reformation. Are you saying that anyone who does not submit to the BCP is somehow outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy or is worthy of an epithet?