John Piper vs N.T. Wright?

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Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
John Piper is coming out with a book entitled "The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright". Piper obviously feels compelled to defend this doctrine (and rightly so), since it has been considered the center of Paul's theology by those adhering to the Reformed tradition. However, if you jump into this conversation without being informed on what bricks N.T.Wright utilized to build this enormous wall of unorthodoxy, you may be way in over your head. Do you guys feel John Piper will be able to take on someone with theological insight of N.T. Wright?
 

Devin

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have always heard that Piper's book on Romans 9 (which is the fruit from his doctrinal work) was ridiculously well documented and well thought out. While I don't know what Piper's exact purpose is, I believe he is able to write a fully loaded work.
 

Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
I have always heard that Piper's book on Romans 9 (which is the fruit from his doctrinal work) was ridiculously well documented and well thought out. While I don't know what Piper's exact purpose is, I believe he is able to write a fully loaded work.


That was defiantly Pipers most exegetically based work in his arsenal... I agree, that was a really well written work and a great contribution to Roman studies. However, it may be a tad bit different when you take someone’s work on directly… they are almost bullied into a response.
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
Despite being known as a popularizer, Piper is capable of doing scholarly work. He has a Th.D. from the University of Munich. I have no doubt that he can take on Wright.
 

Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
Despite being known as a popularizer, Piper is capable of doing scholarly work. He has a Th.D. from the University of Munich. I have no doubt that he can take on Wright.

I hope your right, I was hoping on more of a pit pull coming into print on N.T. Wright kinda of like a Michael Horton or Robert Reymond...
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
Piper has already done a book on imputation called Counted Righteous in Christ that was basically a defense of the Reformed view against the NPP. He is well-versed on N.T. Wright, from what I understand, and seems to be able to tackle scholarly work. I think he'll be fine.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Despite being known as a popularizer, Piper is capable of doing scholarly work. He has a Th.D. from the University of Munich. I have no doubt that he can take on Wright.

I am pulling for Piper, but at the same time this will be his first scholarly book in quite a while. Besides his one on imputation, which was good but is limited in its broader application since it is a response to Stan Gundry and not really a response to the NPP.

Anyway, I will be looking forward to it.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
"I am pulling for Piper, but at the same time this will be his first scholarly book in quite a while. Besides his one on imputation, which was good but is limited in its broader application since it is a response to Stan Gundry and not really a response to the NPP."


brother,

You are confusing the brothers Gundry. Stan is the senior vice-president and editor-in-chief of the book division for Zondervan. He formerly taught at Moody before his wife wrote an early egalitarian book ("Women be Free") which got him into hot water with the administration back in the 70's.

Piper takes aim at his brother, Bob Gundry, of Westmont College. I took 32 semester units under Gundry during my undergraduate program (counting 16 units of Greek) about a hundred years ago. He also officiated at my wedding in 1974.

A good man with a dear heart, I judge him terribly wrong on this issue and many others (e.g., he now sees Matthew as midrash; denies the reality of the magi, seeing them as merely the Gentilization of the "shepherd motif" etc.).

BTW - his son-in-law is the Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf. His daughter is Yale prof Judith Gundry-Volf.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
"I am pulling for Piper, but at the same time this will be his first scholarly book in quite a while. Besides his one on imputation, which was good but is limited in its broader application since it is a response to Stan Gundry and not really a response to the NPP."


brother,

You are confusing the brothers Gundry. Stan the senior vice-president and editor-in-chief of the book division for Zondervan. He formerly taught at Moody before his wife wrote an early egalitarian book ("Women be Free") which got him into hot water with the administration back in the 70's.

Piper takes aim at his brother, Bob Gundry, of Westmont College. I took 32 semester units under Gundry during my undergraduate program (counting 16 units of Greek) about a hundred years ago. He also officiated at my wedding in 1974.

A good man with a dear heart, I judge him terribly wrong on this issue and many others (e.g., he now sees Matthew as midrash; denies the reality of the magi, seeing them as merely the Gentilization of the "shepherd motif" etc.).

BTW - his son-in-law is the Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf. His daughter is Yale prof Judith Gundry-Volf.

I realized why I said Stan Gundry. I just bought a book edited by Stan Gundry today and was thinking of him. Thanks for the correction.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification:

Trinity Foundation: Explaining God, man, Bible, salvation, philosophy, theology.

Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy? Such is the logical outcome of Piper's theology. Yet, I think that Piper might deny this - which would be an inconsistency when it comes to his views. Such inconsistency does not impress me that he is teaching the truth.

Peace,

-CH
 

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy?

How is that? Just because joy preceeds faith logically, it doesn't mean joy is the instrument of justification.

I'm neither supporting nor condemning what Piper says, but I think we need to be careful to criticize him too soon.

BTW where does he teach joy precedes faith?
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
NEW PERSPECTIVE ON Paul.

The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) says that the Western churches for the past 2000 years, and especially Protestants for the past 500 years, have all misunder-stood Paul. The proponents of this novel theory claim that Paul was not talking about how individual sinners are saved from sin, nor about how sinners can be justified in the sight of a holy and just God. They claim that justification has nothing to do with our legal standing before God. In fact, they claim it has nothing to do with how we are saved. They claim that Paul's teaching about justification is not related to soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, but to ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church. Justification is horizontal, not vertical; familial, not legal.
 

VaughanRSmith

Puritan Board Sophomore
Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy?

How is that? Just because joy preceeds faith logically, it doesn't mean joy is the instrument of justification.

I'm neither supporting nor condemning what Piper says, but I think we need to be careful to criticize him too soon.

BTW where does he teach joy precedes faith?
I'm not sure whether or not he has written it anywhere, but he definitely used those words in his "Men of whom..." lecture on Augustine. I thought whaaa? :think:
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi:

At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification:

Trinity Foundation: Explaining God, man, Bible, salvation, philosophy, theology.

Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy? Such is the logical outcome of Piper's theology. Yet, I think that Piper might deny this - which would be an inconsistency when it comes to his views. Such inconsistency does not impress me that he is teaching the truth.

Peace,

-CH

Frankly, at this point at least, who cares what John Robbins thinks?

The quotes of Piper which Robbins has on the website you linked to are treated outside their own context. Piper is discussing the Perseverance of the Saints, particularly relating the doctrine to apostacy.

The first four of five critical lame ducks Robbins lobs out there accuse Piper of saying that faith, rather than Christ, is the basis of our justification (why stating this single criticism four different ways is necessary, I'm not sure). Robbins says, "Piper turns faith itself into the ground, reason, basis, and cause of our justification." Piper specifically states, in the very next paragraph (which Robbins doesn't quote), "Faith alone is the instrument (not ground or basis) of our justification..."!

(You can check for yourselves, What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism :: Desiring God)

If Robbins wants his critical works to be taken seriously, then he ought to start by taking seriously the works of those he is criticizing. :banghead:
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Hi:

At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification:

Trinity Foundation: Explaining God, man, Bible, salvation, philosophy, theology.

Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy? Such is the logical outcome of Piper's theology. Yet, I think that Piper might deny this - which would be an inconsistency when it comes to his views. Such inconsistency does not impress me that he is teaching the truth.

Peace,

-CH

Frankly, at this point at least, who cares what John Robbins thinks?

The quotes of Piper which Robbins has on the website you linked to are treated outside their own context. Piper is discussing the Perseverance of the Saints, particularly relating the doctrine to apostacy.

The first four of five critical lame ducks Robbins lobs out there accuse Piper of saying that faith, rather than Christ, is the basis of our justification (why stating this single criticism four different ways is necessary, I'm not sure). Robbins says, "Piper turns faith itself into the ground, reason, basis, and cause of our justification." Piper specifically states, in the very next paragraph (which Robbins doesn't quote), "Faith alone is the instrument (not ground or basis) of our justification..."!

(You can check for yourselves, What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism :: Desiring God)

If Robbins wants his critical works to be taken seriously, then he ought to start by taking seriously the works of those he is criticizing. :banghead:

Spot on!
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy?

How is that? Just because joy preceeds faith logically, it doesn't mean joy is the instrument of justification.

I'm neither supporting nor condemning what Piper says, but I think we need to be careful to criticize him too soon.

BTW where does he teach joy precedes faith?
I'm not sure whether or not he has written it anywhere, but he definitely used those words in his "Men of whom..." lecture on Augustine. I thought whaaa? :think:

Is it quite certain he was not using joy in Lewis' sense of sehnsucht?
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
Hi:

At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification:

Trinity Foundation: Explaining God, man, Bible, salvation, philosophy, theology.

Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy? Such is the logical outcome of Piper's theology. Yet, I think that Piper might deny this - which would be an inconsistency when it comes to his views. Such inconsistency does not impress me that he is teaching the truth.

Peace,

-CH

Now, I am not accusing you of speaking on something about which you have no knowledge because I don't know if you've ever read Piper or not.

But, I can say without hesitation that Piper's views on joy and faith are NOT heterodox. I have everyone of his books (and have read them all). I have heard him speak on many occasions. Piper equates joy in Christ (in some manner of speaking) with regeneration. In other words, regeneration is a new taste for God rather than a taste for the world. It is a wakening up of the spiritual senses that find pleasure in God rather than pleasure in sin, which would logically cause us to then choose God over sin. In this sense, joy (regeneration) precedes faith.

In another sense, according to Piper, joy flows from faith as God continues to cause us through all of life's circumstances to trust him more. In this way, we increase in sanctification to the perserverance of the saints that we all hold dear.

Far from being heterodox, if you read Piper, he sounds a lot like the Puritans in his treatment of joy and satisfaction.
 

VaughanRSmith

Puritan Board Sophomore
How is that? Just because joy preceeds faith logically, it doesn't mean joy is the instrument of justification.

I'm neither supporting nor condemning what Piper says, but I think we need to be careful to criticize him too soon.

BTW where does he teach joy precedes faith?
I'm not sure whether or not he has written it anywhere, but he definitely used those words in his "Men of whom..." lecture on Augustine. I thought whaaa? :think:

Is it quite certain he was not using joy in Lewis' sense of sehnsucht?
I have no idea, I was half asleep at the time and travelling on a train. My "whaaa" was probably three quarters sluggishness!
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I hope your right, I was hoping on more of a pit pull coming into print on N.T. Wright kinda of like a Michael Horton or Robert Reymond...

You don't know your WSCAL professors very do you? If you want a pit bull look no further than our own Dr. Scott Clark. He's the meanest guy around (at least according to the FV folks!).

:)
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification:

Trinity Foundation: Explaining God, man, Bible, salvation, philosophy, theology.

Personally, I am not thrilled to have someone who holds to heterodox views concerning Joy and faith to be writing about Justification. I mean, if Joy preceeds saving faith, as Piper claims, then are we not Justified by Joy? Such is the logical outcome of Piper's theology. Yet, I think that Piper might deny this - which would be an inconsistency when it comes to his views. Such inconsistency does not impress me that he is teaching the truth.

Peace,

-CH

Now, I am not accusing you of speaking on something about which you have no knowledge because I don't know if you've ever read Piper or not.

But, I can say without hesitation that Piper's views on joy and faith are NOT heterodox. I have everyone of his books (and have read them all). I have heard him speak on many occasions. Piper equates joy in Christ (in some manner of speaking) with regeneration. In other words, regeneration is a new taste for God rather than a taste for the world. It is a wakening up of the spiritual senses that find pleasure in God rather than pleasure in sin, which would logically cause us to then choose God over sin. In this sense, joy (regeneration) precedes faith.

In another sense, according to Piper, joy flows from faith as God continues to cause us through all of life's circumstances to trust him more. In this way, we increase in sanctification to the perserverance of the saints that we all hold dear.

Far from being heterodox, if you read Piper, he sounds a lot like the Puritans in his treatment of joy and satisfaction.

Hey:

I am not a big fan of John Robbins - just thought to point out his view of Piper.

Like all heresies and heterodoxies John Piper hides his view amongst "Orthodox" language. Consequently, it is very hard to discern - especially because Piper is a good writer. However, in the original edition of his book Desiring God he makes the statement in Chapter 2 thus:

Joy is the root and fruit of saving faith - underline mine.

There is no passage in Scripture that teaches this point. So, Piper tries to interpret a parable in order to present his heterodoxy:

Jesus pointed to the answer in the little parable of Matthew 13:44.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in [literally, from] his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven.16 A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure. The kingdom of heaven is the abode of the King. The longing to be there is not the longing for heavenly real estate, but for camaraderie with the King. The treasure in the field is the fellowship of God in Christ.

I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy.


The Creation Of A New Taste

How then does this arrival of joy relate to saving faith? The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing' (Romans 15: 13). It is "in believing" that we are filled with joy. Confidence in the promises of God overcomes anxiety and fills us with peace and joy. Paul even calls it the "joy of faith" (Philippians 1 :25). -From the online copy of Desiring God chapter 2.
So far - this is partially correct - an an orthodox believer can hold to this without heterodoxy. However, it is what he says next that collapses this "orthodoxy":

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith. In Hebrews 11:6 the writer says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him." In other words, the faith which pleases God is a confidence that God will reward us when we come to him. But surely this does not mean that we are to be motivated by material things. Surely the reward we long for is the glory of God himself and the perfected companionship of Christ (Hebrews 2: 10, 3:6, 10:34, 11 :26, 12:22-24, 13:5). We will sell everything to have the treasure of Christ himself.

So the faith which pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find the All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart's eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created. A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born! - underlines mine.
When you stick with the Bible you will not fall into heterodoxy like Piper did. Since, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," then How can Joy be considered prior to faith? If "joy" comes prior to (beneath and behind) faith, then how can that joy be pleasing to God - since it is without faith. The other passages he cites does not substantiate his thesis that Joy preceeds saving faith.

Relating to the parable of the treasure in the field. One has to "see" or "know" that there is a treasure there. This "seeing" is faith. Thus, the parable rightly teaches that faith comes before Joy. Consequently, when Piper says that one has to have "joy in the treasure first" and then one "by faith" sells all that he has - he is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable. I suspect that it is malicious in this case because over the years this false understanding of the parable has been demonstrated to him (by myself and several others). Yet, he does not humbly admit his error - like John MacArthur has done.

Desiring God was written in order to "bridge the gap" between the Reformed and Charismatic faiths. The by-word at the time was: "Welding the light of the Reformation with the heat of the Charismatics." Piper sought to do this by explicating a Charismatic view of faith as an emotion and welding it with Reformed doctrine. Just because you have "joy in Jesus" does not mean you have "faith in Jesus," Matt. 13:20,21.

Just about every chapter has some kind of heterodox view of things. For example, in chapter 4 Piper interprets Jonathan Edwards' view of Love as:

an overflow of Joy in God that meets the needs of others
This seems right and good until one looks at how Edwards defines Love in Charity and It's Fruits: Joy enlarges Love.

In Piper's view "Joy overflows into Love" which makes joy the root of love as well. In other words if you do not have "joy" then you can never have "love."

Edwards teaches that Joy "enlarges" one's love. So, one must first have love in order for joy to "enlarge" it. By replacing the word "enlarge" with "overflow" Piper has not only misrepresented Edwards on the matter, but has also overthrown everything rational and Reformed concerning it.

What concerns me more is Piper's refusal to admit his error. Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie. It is a good example of the fact that numbers should not be used to determine the "spirituality" of the ministry.

Who would listen to him?

I certainly would not - and do not.

Grace and Peace,

-CH
 
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Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
CH,

Piper goes on to say in that same chapter:

Could there be any holy motivation to believe in Christ where there is no taste for the beauty of Christ?

I'm interested in your answer to that question.

He goes on:

Saving faith is the cry of a new creature in Christ. And the newness of the new creature is that it has a new taste. What was once distasteful or bland is now craved. Christ Himself has become a Treasure Chest of holy joy.

So, you believe it's inappropriate to say at regeneration God gives us a craving for Christ?
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Wright is wrong. Here is an excellent book on the doctrine by Philip Eveson, incl. a discussion on Wright.

Wright IS wrong. A friend of mine (PhD in NT) noted that Wright may even realize how wrong he has been since he seems to be cautiously backing away from his earlier unqualified support of NPP. Too little, too late. I look forward to Piper using his Wheaton-Fuller-Munich axe to chop down the NPP with the same skill as his exegetical study of Romans 9. Unfortunatley, he may do a more popular book to aim at a wider audience than some on this board would prefer.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
CH,

Piper goes on to say in that same chapter:

Could there be any holy motivation to believe in Christ where there is no taste for the beauty of Christ?

I'm interested in your answer to that question.

He goes on:

Saving faith is the cry of a new creature in Christ. And the newness of the new creature is that it has a new taste. What was once distasteful or bland is now craved. Christ Himself has become a Treasure Chest of holy joy.

So, you believe it's inappropriate to say at regeneration God gives us a craving for Christ?

Hey:

Good questions.

Piper does not deny that faith comes before Joy. What he says is that Joy precees saving faith (Joy first, then saving faith, then more Joy). "Tasting" understood by the Orthodox is an act of faith - not an act of joy. Joy only comes after tasting something sweet. For Piper, however, "Tasting" is an act of Joy that brings saving faith. As I quoted above:

A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!
This "tasting" comes before the act of believing, according to Piper:

It implies that something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created.
I uphold the orthodox teaching that one must have faith in Christ first before one can experience true joy in Jesus.

Piper upholds the heterodox view that one must first experience Joy in Jesus before receiving true saving faith. In Piper's view: First Joy, then Faith, then more Joy.

If you want to believe whatever Piper teaches, that is your concern. But please do not imply that because I reject Piper I have rejected orthodoxy.

Blessings,

-CH
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey:

I am not a big fan of John Robbins - just thought to point out his view of Piper.

Like all heresies and heterodoxies John Piper hides his view amongst "Orthodox" language. Consequently, it is very hard to discern - especially because Piper is a good writer. However, in the original edition of his book Desiring God he makes the statement in Chapter 2 thus:

Joy is the root and fruit of saving faith - underline mine.

There is no passage in Scripture that teaches this point. So, Piper tries to interpret a parable in order to present his heterodoxy:


So far - this is partially correct - an an orthodox believer can hold to this without heterodoxy. However, it is what he says next that collapses this "orthodoxy":

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith. In Hebrews 11:6 the writer says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him." In other words, the faith which pleases God is a confidence that God will reward us when we come to him. But surely this does not mean that we are to be motivated by material things. Surely the reward we long for is the glory of God himself and the perfected companionship of Christ (Hebrews 2: 10, 3:6, 10:34, 11 :26, 12:22-24, 13:5). We will sell everything to have the treasure of Christ himself.

So the faith which pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find the All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart's eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created. A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born! - underlines mine.
When you stick with the Bible you will not fall into heterodoxy like Piper did. Since, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," then How can Joy be considered prior to faith? If "joy" comes prior to (beneath and behind) faith, then how can that joy be pleasing to God - since it is without faith. The other passages he cites does not substantiate his thesis that Joy preceeds saving faith.

Relating to the parable of the treasure in the field. One has to "see" or "know" that there is a treasure there. This "seeing" is faith. Thus, the parable rightly teaches that faith comes before Joy. Consequently, when Piper says that one has to have "joy in the treasure first" and then one "by faith" sells all that he has - he is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable. I suspect that it is malicious in this case because over the years this false understanding of the parable has been demonstrated to him (by myself and several others). Yet, he does not humbly admit his error - like John MacArthur has done.

Desiring God was written in order to "bridge the gap" between the Reformed and Charismatic faiths. The by-word at the time was: "Welding the light of the Reformation with the heat of the Charismatics." Piper sought to do this by explicating a Charismatic view of faith as an emotion and welding it with Reformed doctrine. Just because you have "joy in Jesus" does not mean you have "faith in Jesus," Matt. 13:20,21.

Just about every chapter has some kind of heterodox view of things. For example, in chapter 4 Piper interprets Jonathan Edwards' view of Love as:

an overflow of Joy in God that meets the needs of others
This seems right and good until one looks at how Edwards defines Love in Charity and It's Fruits: Joy enlarges Love.

In Piper's view "Joy overflows into Love" which makes joy the root of love as well. In other words if you do not have "joy" then you can never have "love."

Edwards teaches that Joy "enlarges" one's love. So, one must first have love in order for joy to "enlarge" it. By replacing the word "enlarge" with "overflow" Piper has not only misrepresented Edwards on the matter, but has also overthrown everything rational and Reformed concerning it.

What concerns me more is Piper's refusal to admit his error. Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie. It is a good example of the fact that numbers should not be used to determine the "spirituality" of the ministry.

Who would listen to him?

I certainly would not - and do not.

Grace and Peace,

-CH

So I looked up the online copy of Desiring God and I don't see your initial quote ("Joy is the root and fruit of saving faith") anywhere in there. I thought maybe I just missed it, but a word search of the page says "no text found." Maybe different editions? (If so, wouldn't it be best to use the most recent edition?)

You say "just about every chapter has some kind of heterodox view of some things," then appear to accuse Piper of having a heterodox view of Edwards' definition of love. If I'm reading you correctly, I hardly think "heterodox" is the proper term to describe one theologian's view of another theologian's view of love (even if the first theologian's view is mistaken).

More at the heart of your objection: After re-reading Chapter 2 of Desiring God, I don't see any real warrant, in the context of the whole chapter, for saying Piper's view is "joy precedes faith" in the same sense as "joy is the fruit of faith," since he states that he is using the term "joy" in different senses (as you've quoted: "The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is... But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.").

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox.

If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?

Also, a charge of "malice" in this regard is very serious. You say you are concerned at his "refusal to admit his error," but doesn't this presuppose a demonstration of error that doesn't a-contextually misinterpret the work in question?

Even a slightly benevolent interpretation of the pertinent passages, in context, doesn't seem to lead to your conclusions, particularly not to a charge of false teaching and public sin.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Piper usually writes in a "popular" manner.

If he is going to be effective, that needs to be left behind and he needs to write in a critical manner, (i.e. critical thinking, exegetical, academic, and pastoral).

It needs to be like his doctoral dissertation on Enemy Love.

However, he also needs the WCF behind him, and he doesn't have that as a Particular Baptist.

Do I think Piper knows Wright's Theological view better than Wright knows it - well, that's what will make the book good (sortof). If he doesn't, and I'd have to say that since he is not a Covenant Theologian, he will have a hard time "besting" Wright or ripping apart Wright's view of what he thinks St. Paul really said.
 
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