A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 5) — Working Your Way Through the Gate

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Example of a very typical “Piperism” self-contradictory attention grabber.
(From John Piper’s Future Grace, Multnomah: 1995)

Colossians 2:16-19
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

In chapters 22-24 of his book What Jesus Demands From the World, John Piper tells us that life in Christ is a constant striving. We agree. But we do not agree with what Piper claims is the object of that striving: to enter the narrow door into God’s kingdom. Yes, there is an “already but not yet” aspect to our salvation in that we are not yet resurrected and glorified and the New Heavens and Earth have not yet been ushered in by Christ. But John Piper equates this “future grace” aspect of our salvation to justification, and in doing so he makes our justification before God hinge on our works. In contrast, the Bible calls our future full salvation glorification (Romans 8:16-25).

Piper’s fundamental error in these three chapters, as we saw in the last post in this series, is that he misuses and misapplies the Narrow Way teachings of Christ which are found in Luke 13 and Matthew 7. As we demonstrated, Christ is not directing his words to believers, but to crowds of Jews whose concept of their “assured” entry into the kingdom needed to be shaken up. You will see then that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was driving the demands of the Law home, showing them that they are in no way going to walk easily and merrily into the Kingdom of God on the basis of their physical lineage from Abraham and their circumcision. No, the demands of the Law cut right to the very heart attitude. The Gentiles will enter before they do. It is proper in our day to do the same thing — apply the Law to the unrepentant, unbelieving person to show them their need for Christ. But Piper takes these statements of Jesus and applies them to Christians — to people who are in Christ by faith — and he says that Jesus is “demanding” at least 50 things from us or we will not enter. This then is Piper’s basic error in these chapters, so he goes wrong right at the foundation of his premise.

It is vital for the reader of Piper to proceed very, very slowly, and question every Scripture that Piper cites as support for his thesis. Piper fires off Bible verses like a motorized mini-gun. If his books are compilations of his sermons, then I can just hear him zealously, with much animation, preaching these chapters — shooting Scriptures at the audience in rapid fire mode, convincing everyone that surely he knows what he is talking about. However, at least this particular book would be an excellent tool to use in a hermeneutics (method of Bible interpretation) class as a vast resource on how NOT to interpret and apply Scripture.  I don’t recommend that you read Piper. It is simply not profitable and it is dangerous. But if you do, SLOW DOWN and start asking questions about his interpretation and application of every single verse he cites.

Now, in light of the Scripture quoted above from Colossians 2, I would like you to consider Piper’s conception of the Christian life set forth by him in the following quotes.  Hold them up to the mirror of Colossians 2.  How is Piper telling us that we enter the Kingdom of God via the Narrow Way? Oh yes, I know that he will go on to say that we have ALREADY entered, but in classic Piperese lingo, he will turn that right round and say that we must strive and strive to enter.  This is the thing about Piper.  You cannot conclude what his doctrine is by just reading one chapter or even one book from his pen. He will add “further details” of what he believes in another place. Most of the people I have talked to who think Piper is just wonderful and absolutely orthodox in his doctrine, have NOT read this book or really even very many of his books, and most are totally unaware of his permanence view of marriage which forbids divorce for ANY reason at all.

Alright then, listen to Piper and remember Colossians 2 as you do:

Less subtle is the lure of physical indulgence. Jesus focuses on alcohol and the dissipating effects it has on our minds and bodies. He says, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34). There are drugs and foods and practices that “weigh down” the heart. They make the heart sluggish. This is the opposite of vigilance. We will not “strive to enter through the narrow door” if we are self-indulgent and use drugs or food or drink in a way that dulls our spiritual alertness and vigilance.

Piper, John (2006-09-30). What Jesus Demands from the World (Kindle Locations 2608-2612). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition. Paperback, Crossway, 2006, pp. 169-70

NOTE: Did you catch that? Did you see how, in discussing Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 (i.e., the Narrow Way), suddenly he makes a radical hard turn and we find ourselves transported to Luke 21, which Piper then says directly illustrates what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7.  Whoa! But to continue. Hey, he will have us over in Mark 10 in a second and then we are beamed on over to Matthew 24. Mr. Piper, how many cups of coffee did you drink when you wrote this stuff?

The danger Jesus warns against most often is the danger of money. It is a mortal danger. Heaven and hell hang in the balance in our vigilance against the lure of money. Jesus made this as clear as possible with the words, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). The issue is entering the kingdom. Striving for wealth is not the striving that leads to the narrow door.
Ibid, Kindle Locations 2614-2617; Paperback p. 170.

It appears, then, that striving to enter the kingdom of God through the narrow door is largely a battle about how we relate to money.
Ibid, Kindle Locations 2626-2627; Paperback p. 171. 

One of the great temptations to keep us from fulfilling what Jesus calls us to do is that we grow weary in the battle and look back on how easy life was before we started to follow him. Strive to enter through the narrow door means, fight for perseverance. The zeal of many would-be followers of Jesus grows cold, and they drift away. Jesus said, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:12-13). In other words, one of the factors that makes the door to the kingdom of God narrow is that striving to enter must last to the end.
Ibid, Kindle Locations 2722-2726; Paperback p. 177. 

But the Apostle Paul has warned us about this business of fasting and asceticism. He says that these things are useless and in fact feed our sinful flesh:

Colossians 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Piper is incredibly confusing. I absolutely cannot understand why he is so popular, because I don’t comprehend how anyone can really make rhyme or reason out of what he preaches and writes. Self-contradiction is all over his material. Perhaps his popularity is an example of the phenomenon that if someone is good enough in their presentation, the content of what they are saying ceases to matter. But it is way past the time for Christ’s people to start very carefully examining Piper’s content in the light of God’s Word.

One final note. As we have mentioned earlier in this series, a common trait you find in Piper is his awareness of problems in what he proposes. He will say something, often with a kind of “shock effect” which causes a red warning light to go off in the listener/reader. But he will not simply recognize that problem and take back what he said. Nope. What he will do is something very much like this:

And then we will turn to the question, how does the demand for vigilance fit with his demand that we rest in him? How does the seriousness of watchfulness fit with the sweetness of Jesus’ care?
Ibid, Kindle Locations 2662-2663; Paperback p. 173.

Then we turn to the crucial question: Is all this vigilance and all this striving to enter through the narrow door consistent with the sweet invitations of Jesus to come to him and find rest?
Ibid,  Kindle Locations 2681-2683; Paperback p. 174. 

What makes the demands of Jesus to strive and to be vigilant seem burdensome is the assumption that we are left to ourselves. Our natural tendency is to think that if Jesus tells us to do something and makes this a condition for entering the kingdom of God and having eternal life, he will then stand back and merely watch to see if we will do it. We do not naturally think that if he demands something, he will enable us to do it.
Ibid, Kindle Locations 2740-2743; Paperback p. 178. 

My point here is not to deal in detail with Piper’s explanation of this particular problem his teaching has raised, but simply to point out that this is a common thing that Piper does. He knows full well that his teaching is “edgy,” in light of Scripture and orthodox confessions of faith. But he is bound and determined to make his Christian Hedonism “fit” no matter how much shoving and pushing it takes. He presents a “this cow is white, not black, because I said so” argument and expects us to swallow it and move on. But we are done moving on. No, Mr. Piper, the cow you are describing is indeed black. You said so, and you just can’t have it both ways. (see part 1 in this series for an explanation of the white cow/black cow metaphor)

Still not convinced that Piper teaches a false gospel of works righteousness? See what else Piper says regarding his 27th “demand” which is titled, “Your Righteousness Must Exceed That of the Pharisees, For Every Healthy Tree Bears Good Fruit.” There, he says:

…notice what is at stake: hell. “It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Many Christians who love the truth of justification by grace alone through faith alone—which I love, and which I believe Jesus teaches (see Demand #20)—find it difficult to take these threats of Jesus at face value. But there is no way to avoid them. They are strewn throughout the Gospels, and they clearly imply that if we forsake the battle for purity, we will perish.

If we do not have a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus says, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20). Everything we have seen in this chapter shows that Jesus is not thinking here mainly of his own righteousness that is imputed to us. He is thinking of the kind of internal transformation and external application revealed in the following six antitheses of Matthew 5:21-48.
Ibid, Kindle Locations 3226-3234; Paperback pp. 208-9. 

Once more, Piper takes Law from the Sermon on the Mount and applies it to Christ’s people. In doing so, he would bring us back under the bondage of the law. We will not go there.  Jesus Christ is our full and perfect righteousness in whom we stand fully justified before God.

(Go to Part 4 of this series)

50 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    Pastor Jeff,

    Jesus Christ is our full and perfect righteousness in whom we stand fully justified before God.

    Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what should be shouted from the rooftops. Piper waters down what Jesus and only Jesus was able to accomplish for us.

  2. joepote01

    Piper’s “Christian Hedonism” theology reminds me of the name-it-claim-it Prosperity Doctrine teachings that were popular in the 70’s (Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland and others).

    I remember once, when I was maybe 12 years old, being in a service where the church elders prayed for a teenage girl in a wheelchair, and kept urging her to “believe it is possible” and to “get up and walk.” She didn’t walk, or at least not that night. If she was ever healed of her physical lameness, it wasn’t right then.

    But, that night, she wept. The praying stopped and a few people hung around telling her, “You just have to believe!” And she silently wept…never responding to their urging and exhortation…tears of frustration and disappointment running down her cheeks.

    And I watched…just a kid…not knowing what to say or do…not knowing how to help…but knowing something was horribly wrong with what I’d just witnessed.

    Finally, not knowing what else to do, I walked over, hugged her, and said, “It’s okay!” She clung to me and sobbed.

    See, the name-it-claim-it doctrine claims to promote faith. But what they really do is turn faith into legalism. If you’re sick, it’s because you lack faith. If your marriage is having problems, it;s because you lack faith. If you’re having financial problems, it’s because you lack faith.

    Then they go around always talking about how great they’re doing because they’re scared to death to say anything negative…scared the negative things will come to fruition instead of the positive things they want…even more scared that someone will hear them say something negative and realize they lack faith. But deep down scared most of all by the fear, itself, because the fear indicates lack of faith and EVERYTHING depends on their faith.

    It turns faith into the power of positive thinking rather than trusting in the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. And it is doomed to failure.

    I see Piper’s hedonism as something similar. He says we must desire Christ and pursue that desire. And that’s true. But then he makes this the single primary tenant of the gospel, so that anytime we have an issue in any area the source of that problem is assumed to be lack of finding pleasure in Christ. So the pursuit of pleasure becomes legalism. If you’re disturbed by your marital issues, it’s because you’re failing to find sufficient pleasure in Christ. If you’re distracted by your illness, it’s because you’re failing to find sufficient pleasure in Christ. If you’re plagues by financial issues, then you’re failing to find sufficient pleasure in Christ.

    Just as Prosperity Doctrine turns faith into legalism, Piper’s Hedonism Doctrine turns pleasure into legalism.

    Or so it seems to me…

    • Jeff Crippen

      Very well put Joe. Thank you. You have describe the thing very well.

  3. Katy

    Many Christians who love the truth of justification by grace alone through faith alone—which I love, and which I believe Jesus teaches (see Demand #20)—find it difficult to take these threats of Jesus at face value. But there is no way to avoid them. They are strewn throughout the Gospels, and they clearly imply that if we forsake the battle for purity, we will perish.

    How is it POSSIBLE that this man has reached this level of celebrity in Christendom? Just from the different sections you’ve quoted from his books (just in this series of posts) you’ve exposed him for a completely muddled-headed/unscholarly/crazy person! You’re right – I have not met any Piper fans who’ve actually read all of his books, because there are too many of them! He’s like a schizophrenic with a laptop and a Keurig!

    It appears, then, that striving to enter the kingdom of God through the narrow door is largely a battle about how we relate to money.

    Okay I laughed out loud. What an embarrassment.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Katy – you have the spiritual gift of one-liners. “a laptop and a Keurig.” That’s good.

    • jmclever

      You said that you have not met many Piper fans who have read his books. I would go further that his popularity could only be assured by a Christianity that is largely biblically illiterate. Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the power of God or the Scriptures.” The Bereans did not just take Paul at his word, they searched the Scriptures to see if what he said was correct. Of utmost importance is that we know The Word with our head and our heart.

      • Jeff Crippen

        jm- precisely! Right on!

    • He’s like a schizophrenic with a laptop and a Keurig!

      I have a laptop and a Keurig too! Oh noes….!!

    • It appears, then, that striving to enter the kingdom of God through the narrow door is largely a battle about how we relate to money.

      Yeah, that struck me as pretty strange too. Other eternally popular “sin areas” (like sex) don’t even get an honorable mention? 🙂

  4. fiftyandfree

    “… threats of Jesus.” Yikes.

    • joepote01

      Exactly, F&F!

      Piper seems not to understand (or chooses not to recognize) the difference between a warning and a threat.

      Nor does he recognize the difference between a call and a demand.

      With such poor understanding of language nuances, I’d hate to see how he must react to a television meteorologist giving a weather prediction. He must feel awfully intimidated by all those tornado ‘threats’ being made! 😉

      • Barnabasintraining

        Nah. He’s got a verse from Job for that. Well, as long as it’s someone else’s tornado anyway.

    • Katy

      between the “threats of Jesus” and the other Piper anecdote about God being like a Pit Bull that will rip your face off if you make a wrong move — I am wondering if his church’s group of elders are breathing a huge sigh of relief that he’s finally “retired”.

  5. Carmen S.

    I propose that what you see in his books is a John Piper unrestrained by the elders of his church. Compare Piper’s demanding tone of vigilance against a sluggish heart and self-indulgence in regards to alcohol, drugs, and food and Bethlehem’s Church Covenant of 1981. In 1965 the church added total abstinence as a requirement for membership. In 1981 Piper recommended amending this wording.

    “To preserve the wisdom of the 1965 group, we should include in our Covenant a pledge to abstain from harmful drugs, foods, drinks and practices. But to preserve the wisdom of the 1945 group, we should not specify what drugs, foods, drinks and practices are intended. This allows the biblical latitude of sincerely differing consciences, but also commits us to examine everything we eat and drink and do with a view to its harmful or loving effect on ourselves and others. No one will be able to say, “I do not drink, so I have done my duty.” He must now examine why he does not drink and whether any other practices should be abandoned.

    We recommend, therefore, that the words, “We engage…to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating liquids as a beverage,” be replaced by the words, “We engage…to seek God’s help in abstaining from all drugs, food, drink, and practices which harm the body or jeopardize our own or another’s faith.”

    I do not detect biblical latitude of sincerely differing consciences coming from John Piper unless he is restrained by elders. John Piper has admitted that “his” permanence view of marriage which forbids divorce for any reason, and no remarriage, didn’t fly with his elders. Publishing companies that are connected with parachurch organizations and conferences are advancing what would otherwise might be discerned as unbiblical.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/all-resources/by-topic/church-membership
    Total Abstinence and Church Membership

    • Carmen, you ferret out great examples. Thanks!

    • I also recall reading an article by Piper once in which he tried to make the case that Christians should never be cremated, only buried. Of course he surrounded it with “this is just my opinion” language, but given that he does that with his view on divorce, who knows if he would be belligerent about it or not. He called cremation “pagan” in the article, if I recall correctly. So his view on divorce isn’t the only odd thing going on here.

      • Brenda R

        I know at least one elder that believes only in burial and taught it in a class. I don’t know what scripture he used to back it up or if he did. My thought is what about the person who steps on a landmine or dies in a house fire. There may not be enough of them to be buried. God isn’t going to condemn them because of the way they died and what shape their body is in. It is our soul that he wants. He is going to give us a new body, we won’t need this one. I’ve told my kids to cremate me or throw my body in a ditch, I won’t be using it anymore and it is a lot cheaper. My soul is going home to be with the Lord.

  6. Carmen S.

    Dr. Piper,
    You refer to Jesus’ preaching about chopping off hands and gouging out eyes as “threats”. They aren’t. You are correct if you want to convey the seriousness of Jesus. He was deadly serious, but He wasn’t using fear to motivate us to pursue dead works of religion. For all your talk of “joy” I hear fear coming through your books.

    No, Jesus doesn’t want you to chop off your hand. You’d still have one left, wouldn’t you? Still able to sin, right? He wants people to realize the absurdity of trying to impress God with their acts of self-righteousness. Preachers sometimes exxagerate to make a point, but Jesus always meant what He said and said what He meant. Jesus preached law on steroids not so you will try to keep it but so that you will give up pretending you are.

    Jesus is telling us He’s the only hope we have. It’s time to let His people go, John Piper.

    Signed,
    “Grace”

    • Amen. I second that!

    • For all your talk of “joy” I hear fear coming through your books.

      I’ve never heard any joy in the Piper I have read (at least not that I can recall). And if any did break through, he had to quickly stifle it with more fear lest it cause him to go astray.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Well said, Carmen. I really like this.

    • fiftyandfree

      LOL! Great analogy Carmen. Let my People go, saith the Lord!!!! I can imagine the Lord saying this to all of those false teachers who keep so many of His followers in bondage.

  7. Barnabasintraining

    I would bet good money a reason why Piper is so “popular” is really fear. Because if someone believed they had to strive like Piper means in order to be saved, they are going to be compelled by that fear to strive to promote this teaching. A large factor will be concern for their own salvation which may or may not be covered under an equally genuine concern for the salvation of others. But the base is fear. And when it’s pastors, teachers,and other leaders striving from fear, what is to become of the flock?

    • At the back of this blog we hear from victims quite a lot. . . as you all know. Some of them have told us that their abusive husbands or fathers scoffed and scorned most teachers and pastors but they did like Piper. One reader told us that her dad would ONLY read Piper. And her dad is an entrenched abuser. How chilling is that? Clearly those abusive men found something in Piper that fed their sense of entitlement and superiority. And I think I know what it is: Piper has honed the art of self-deprecating narcissism, so men who want to do that will feed on his work to learn the art. . .

  8. Carmen S.

    Why is Piper so popular? These are some of the most commonly occuring stated reasons that I have found:
    1) His gift of measuring everything by Scripture. He places great emphasis on preaching the text of Scripture.
    2) He’s given the highest of accolades from some of the best preachers in the world.
    3) His joyful passion for the glory of God.
    4) He is a self-proclaimed 7-point Calvinist.

    I found this comment that probably is descriptive of the level of discernment out there. “I’m not saying the man is perfect. I have disagreed with several of the things he has taught or done. But we ought not respect on the basis of how much we agree with them. A 2 Timothy 4 preacher won’t be always ( or sometimes often) be in agreement with his congregation. But if we trust that what he is giving you each week is the Word of God, the best he can, then we should pray for, protect, and value him.”

    • Brenda R

      Carmen, I’m not even sure what a 7-point Calvinist is, but if the pastor at my church starts preaching something other than the Word of God, I’m going to want to know why. We aren’t going to agree on everything, we are human. But I am trying to figure out why John Piper isn’t looking for another job.

      • Saved by Grace

        I’ve been taught the 5 points of Calvinism, the tulip points: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Preservation of the saints. A google search revealed that the two additional points are Piper-originated: double predestination and best-of-all-possible worlds.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Saved by Grace – that’s a new one on me. 7 points. Well, he did write a book with 50 Demands!

      • Brenda R

        Saved by Grace. Thank you for leading me to this. I don’t buy into the 5 points of Calvinism, 7 is really out there for me. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That rules out predestination and election in my mind. It also means that we that are saved need to spread the news. God does know who will accept and who won’t, but I don’t think he chose who will be saved. I believe his heart breaks that not all will accept Him and Jesus came and died for all who would accept Him, not just a chosen few. That being said, rules out John Piper as anyone I want to hear a message from. After hearing who his influences were, I am even less likely to have another one of his books on my shelf. It reminds me of the song children sing, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see”. “Read” could be replaced for see in that verse. Stay away from writings of preachers that have no idea what they are talking about. He truly is a madman with a laptop and Keurig.

        I am still thinking over his comment about many being repentant of or regretting putting Ministry before family. I’m not even sure that he has that one right either. Of course, a man should take care of his family, yet God wants to be first in all of our lives. I know a man who is a traveling evangelist and is away from home a good deal of time and credits his wife for keeping the family together and primarily responsible for raising their children while he is away. Yet he does what he knows God has called him to do. He reminds me of a soldier that is away from home much of the time. His heart is with his family, yet his duty is a higher calling.

      • Okay, a question for Jeff from one of the resident Lutherans who is just as confused about how where the extra two petals on the TULIP came from. I was told that Calvinists believe in double predestination and Lutherans in single predestination. But now Saved By Grace is saying that Piper came up with double predestination? Was I fed inaccurate information? Lutherans never mention predestination or election so I’m not exactly well-versed on this topic beyond the basics.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Hester – no, reformed theology (Calvinism) does not hold to or teach double predestination, if by that phrase you mean what is usually meant by it, namely, that God not only elects to salvation but also actively elects to damnation. The idea being in most people’s minds then that there would be all of these people out there in the world who would believe, but they can’t because God has elected them to hell. Reformed theology holds most tenaciously to the free will of man, except that man’s will is in bondage to sin and thus his “free will” is only free to choose what he wants (which is the essence of freedom, right?) – and what he wants is only and always evil. Because of this enslavement of man’s will to sin, reformed theology maintains that unless God takes the first action and actively regenerates the sinner’s heart, setting the person free to love Christ, then no one would be saved. All would end in hell. So we hold that God does indeed actively save His people, but that He has chosen not to save everyone. But those he does not save, he simply passes by and leaves them to make their own “free choice,” which is always and only for evil. Thus the elect receive mercy, and the lost receive justice. No one receives injustice. But with all of that said, let me state again – reformed theology does not teach that God actively prevents sinners from believing in Him. And of course the key Scripture on all of this is Romans chapter 9.

        Now as to the Lutherans, I am no expert. Luther held to predestination but I believe subsequent Lutheran theologians did not? Persistent Widow can tell us for sure.

        I don’t know what John Piper holds to in this area. I do know this – he is not reformed in his theology. No way. You have all these people today claiming that John Piper has been the biggest promoter of some new Calvinism, but whatever his theology is, it certainly is not reformed.

      • Thanks Jeff. If Reformed theology doesn’t teach double predestination, then there are a LOT of confused Calvinists out there, because that’s all I ever heard from them (that I recall). Maybe this is Piper’s doing as well?

        As for Lutherans, like I said before, I’ve never heard a Lutheran pastor/theologian teach on predestination ever in my life and neither has my mom (and combined that’s 70+ years of Lutheranism!) so I can’t comment. And I now can’t tell if the info I got about Lutherans teaching single predestination was right, because it came from a source that was contrasting it with “Reformed” double predestination.

    • Bridget

      “He places great emphasis on preaching the text of Scripture.”

      Huh!! This is exactly what he does not do. He is all over the place, combining scriptures to create his own theology!

      I believe he is so popular because people aren’t being Bereans and Desiring God gives away for free an enormous amount Piper’s works. His writing and sermons have been flooding churches since the 90s. Many people praise him for this, but I can’t help but wonder the harm it has caused.

      Considering the videos I have seen of Piper in Geneva and in the Middle East, he may have more of a desire to be well known and remembered throughout history than he has a desire for money, but either one can be unhealthy. And why write so, so, many books instead of pointing people to scripture?

  9. fiftyandfree

    Possibly another reason he is so popular and so believed is that he uses very emotionally charged language and fear to get his point across. If we are not very well grounded in Scripture and also Spirit lead, it is very easy to be swayed by such language.

  10. Carmen S.

    “And why write so, so many books instead of pointing people to scripture?”

    In 2010 when Piper announced he was taking an eight month leave of absence to work on his marriage he mentioned the toll that had been taken on his wife, children and their families. “In 30 years, I have never let go of this passion for public productivity.” People applaud hard-work. You might even call it “gospel-driven productivity”, but it’s not a balanced life. Many men in the ministry have looked back with regret of placing ministry before family.

    Bottom line, Piper is not rightly dividing the Word of God, and it’s obvious, but he’s passionate about it. I guess that’s all that matters. If you have a large following, it’s always meant God was using you, and you can’t question that. (Yes, I can.)

    • Brenda R

      Yes, we can Carmen. There is a large following of rappers and rock stars. There are Buddhist’s, Muslim’s and polygamists that have large followings. They all think they are right. It doesn’t mean that God is in it in anyway. There have been those who try to predict the end of the world and people give up all their worldly possessions to follow these so-called prophets. We not only can question those in ministry, we have an obligation to make sure they are not leading us and others astray.

  11. Cindy Kunsman has been commenting on Julie Anne’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board and in the course of her extensive comments she’s mentioned this about John Piper. Cindy is pretty knowledgable about Christian cults abd spiritual abuse and the connections between different big name teachers and their groups, connections that often that go way back. Here is an excerpt from one of her comments

    John Piper was also strongly influenced by [John R] Rice and the IFB [Independent Fundamentalist Baptists], and I believe that this is the source of many similar ideas that are now propagated by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). Piper’s parents were very close friends of both Bob Jones (moving their family to Greenville when the school was built), and they were close personal friends of Rice. So not all of this material came from Gothard, as some of it has been filtering down through Piper and CBMW for decades at this point. Gothard isn’t completely responsbible, and CBMW creates yet another vector for communicating many of these ideas.

    And from this comment by Cindy:

    Piper’s dad was close friends with Bob Jones and John R, Rice, but his dad remained firmly committed as an SBC pastor. He built the SBC church across the street from BJU.
    Rice was also well known what I will call an “anti-woman prejudice” which is scathing . . . He wrote a book called “Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers,” and he taught a very extreme doctrine concerning hair and dress for women. The book and his teachings, and the ones that come from it but may not be owned publicly outside of the IFB, are miserable and many would argue that they are hateful and misogynistic. . . .

    Thanks to CarmenS for pointing me to this.

  12. thepersistentwidow

    When I was in the depths of despair trying to come to terms with how terribly my church treated me, my big sister spoke this wisdom to me. She said, “The Holy Spirit is a spirit of comfort and peace. Do you think that church is ministering to you through the Holy Spirit?” Her statement brought me to realize that the ‘ministering’ church was not a good place for me and I had to distance myself from them. Jesus led me to a church where I did find comfort and peace.

    In the same way, from all of the posts concerning Piper’s books and the comments on them, if we view his doctrine in that light and ask, do we feel the Spirit of comfort and peace? No, rather we feel pummeled by the law, burdened by impossible works, guilt and shame. This doctrine is not spiritually healthful and not a place where Christ’s lambs should graze.

    • Brenda R

      Amen. Widow. A permanent fast from Piperism is in order.

    • That sums it up very well for me, Persistent.

  13. Carmen S.

    “Usually when you find extreme talk, you find an agenda.”
    Julie Anne ( Spiritual Sounding Board)

  14. thepersistentwidow

    I have been thinking of Piper’s Christian Hedonism and it doesn’t seem possible that he can practice what he preaches. How can a Christian pastor be in enamored in such great and fabulous joy knowing that there are Christian abuse victims suffering as a result of his teaching? Can a true Christian find joy fully aware that they are responsible for creating pain for others and have it within their means to reverse the damage, yet do nothing? Personally, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night due to a tormented conscience if I had caused turmoil for others as Piper has by encouraging persecution of believers through his “radical” draconian divorce views.

    My ex-husband, however, no matter what pain he caused others never had any problem sleeping. In my opinion, Piper seems to have more similarity to that mindset than a faithful minister of the Gospel. So I wonder how a Christian can be enraptured in hedonistic joy knowing he is hurting others. This just doesn’t seem like Christian fruit to me. Or the hedonistic joy we hear so much about is not joy at all but a troubled conscience. I think Piper’s Christian Hedonism is an oxymoron.

    • Brenda R

      Widow, My X does not now or has he ever had trouble sleeping at night more matter what he did or said to me or the kids. That makes more sense to me than JP having the same ability. Each time it is brought up I see his smirking face telling the person in the interview that if a woman gets smacked around a little bit that is ok, she can handle that. I want to drive over to Minnesota and smack him a couple of times and say ok I’m going to come back and do this in 5 minutes and then in another 5 and every 5 minutes throughout the day. I honestly think I feel more animosity towards him than I do X. JP is suppose to be a leader in the church and a follower of Christ yet has no compassion for Christians. His humility could use some work, as well. He could have been the person ordering the lions to come into the collisium to have at Jesus’ followers. I am really wandering down that judgemental road and better get off. Christian Hedonism didn’t make sense to me when I read the book and it makes no more sense now.

  15. Carmen S.

    Persistent Widow,
    John Piper and his “friends” from The Gospel Coalition and Together 4 The Gospel haven’t lost any sleep over supporting C. J. Mahaney in the largest child sexual abuse case to hit the evangelical church. There’s probably a reason Piper quotes Scripture out of context and leaves out “fear of God”. God knows the pain this group has caused. God knows.

  16. Still Scared( but getting angry)

    Needed worship time this morning and went to Keith Green. So telling that the first line is “my child, my child why are you striving?”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIgVU_5FsqA

  17. Brenda R

    This morning there was a table of books that were being given away from the church library to make room for others. There were 2 books by John Piper. I took them both just so no one else would read his insanity.

  18. K

    “One of the great temptations to keep us from fulfilling what Jesus calls us to do is that we grow weary in the battle and look back on how easy life was before we started to follow him.”

    At one time I felt like that – I felt jealous of my non-Christian friends who weren’t burdened by the constant condemnation and guilt I was feeling. That’s when I realized that something was terribly wrong with my faith. I later learned it’s called “legalism.”

    I hope John Piper one day realizes this too.

  19. James H

    Where is the next post in this series which examines Piper’s 27th demand…”Your Righteousness Must Exceed that of the Pharisees, for Every Healthy Tree Bears Good Fruit?”

    • Hi James,

      As you have noticed we did refer to another post regarding Piper’s 27th demand. Unfortunately, due to time restraints there is not another post. If we rebutted each of Piper’s foolish ideas, we would have time for little else. I hope though that the posts we have written provide sufficient evidence for you that Piper’s teachings are foolish.

      And I will edit the post, removing the reference to another post, so it doesn’t cause confusion for others.

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