what are your thoughts on John Piper??

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jesusslave

Puritan Board Freshman
A sister in Christ, that I dearly love, loves John Piper...listens to his sermons, and reads all of his books. I have heard some things in recent past that make me skeptical.... but I have to say, I haven't really seen any clear doctrinal errors in his books or sermons. Should I beware of him? Or is all this hype just that, hype? It bothers me that on his website you can find a sermon from rick warren.....(I wouldn't listen to Mr. Warren, or study his teachings)...I don't though, know if this is reason enough to say that he (Piper) is off limits.... What say my brothers and sisters on this sight about this??

Thanks!
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
Piper has rubbed elbows with Warren but I don't believe he is heading down the Purpose Driven highway. I would not hesitate to recommend Piper to enrich your walk with Christ. Seems like there is a lot of guilt by association lately by many who are critical.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
He seems to be a godly man who's an excellent expositor. I have some theological differences, but he preaches Christ and affirms God's sovereignty in salvation. I've read some of his books and sometimes listen to his preaching. The material has generally been helpful to me, and occasionally supurb.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
I just finished listening to his book Desiring God and found it very edifying. His audiobooks on Hebrews and Romans are also very good. It's sad that people judge a fellow Christian so much when all he did was associate with another Christian with different theology.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
None of us are doctrinally perfect. I have a few differences with the brother, but they are overwhelming outnumbered by our commonalities. He has been a great blessing to the church, and I would have no problem suggesting his work.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
John Piper was the man God used to show me what Roman's 9 was all about! I wish he could teach me Greek! He is an outstanding bible expositor! I would say that Piper is the Baptist version of RC Sproul.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
A sister in Christ, that I dearly love, loves John Piper...listens to his sermons, and reads all of his books. I have heard some things in recent past that make me skeptical.... but I have to say, I haven't really seen any clear doctrinal errors in his books or sermons. Should I beware of him? Or is all this hype just that, hype? It bothers me that on his website you can find a sermon from rick warren.....(I wouldn't listen to Mr. Warren, or study his teachings)...I don't though, know if this is reason enough to say that he (Piper) is off limits.... What say my brothers and sisters on this sight about this??

Thanks!


Hi Kimberly. I notice that you are a member of a Baptist church but list as your confession o faith the WCF. Are you baptist or paedobaptist? In any case have you sought the wise counsel of your elders in the church on John Piper?
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
He has been a blessing to many people and has many useful resources. At times he has made unwise decisions, and so in some situations someone might wish to avoid recommending him in case it is seen as recommending everyone he's ever talked with. But there is only so far you can go down that road. I would say that his flagship book is probably one of his writings which I least appreciate.
Just test everything you read/hear by the Bible. Don't allow him to take the place of your elders.
 

Frosty

Puritan Board Sophomore
I love John Piper and how God has used Him to enrich my Christian walk and the walks of many others. As others have said, there are some differences, but they pale in comparison to the great desire he has to make Christ known. He is sold out towards seeking to glorify God and His sovereignty. As with everything, use discernment.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
ok well no one is Sproul :p.......but seriously Piper is a very godly man and the books i've read of his are good. Like Andrew, our birthday guy today said, no one is doctrinally perfect. Even Sproul wears the wrong tie every once in awhile! lol.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
John Piper is not really reformed in the classical sense, but he is an excellent expositor and an excellent teacher. The fact that he tends to rub elbows with people like Rick Warren does not mean that he necesarily agrees with their theology, but he is just of the conviction that Christians need to be less divisive and treat each other as brothers in spite of our differences. Perhaps we could learn from his example.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
John Piper is not really reformed in the classical sense, but he is an excellent expositor and an excellent teacher. The fact that he tends to rub elbows with people like Rick Warren does not mean that he necesarily agrees with their theology, but he is just of the conviction that Christians need to be less divisive and treat each other as brothers in spite of our differences. Perhaps we could learn from his example.

:amen:
 

jesusslave

Puritan Board Freshman
well Bob, my beloved pastor has quoted Piper from the pulpit, I believe as a whole, our elders agree with his doctrine...and honestly, I attend this church (baptist) because God used this man of God to lead me to Christ through his radio ministry, and then through sitting under his teaching...as far as baptist, or paedobaptist?? I have to say, I'm not educated much in them both.. except to say, that everything that is taught from our pulpit, is truth, God honoring, and taught with fear and trembling, knowing that God holds our elders at a greater judgment, because of their authority and responsibility of what they preach as truth. Thank the Lord I have my bible, my God's indwelling Holy Spirit, and a husband to fall under, who also falls under submission to our church... in this is my beliefs, the authority structure that God has given to me, a wife and mother. How gracious He is to me :)
 

KevinInReno

Puritan Board Freshman
We often try to find the "perfect Pastor" and in doing so, we often cast away those who are profitable, worthwhile, and working for the Lord's Kingdom. Piper is a brother and his ministry a blessing. I personally don't listen to him regularly. The only non Presbyterian Pastor I listen to with regularity is Voddie Baucham (reformed/calvinist SBC) and on occasion I will listen to John Macarthur and goto Grace to You when I visit my sister in LA who lives close by his ministry. But that's more due to the wealth of reformed presbyterian sermons online rather then a avoidance of Piper himself.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, he's charismatic - sort of. And he's Reformed - sort of. And he's a big fan of the writings of Daniel Fuller - a writer who tends to leave other evangelicals less than thrilled. So, he's kind of a mixed bag.

By the way - I: he'll be leaving his church in about a year from now, after he spends the year showing the new pastor the ropes, etc. At 66, Piper is anxious to do some more writing and hit the Christian rubber chicken circuit.

By the way - II: the church's vote to hire the new guy was almost unanimous, which left me mischievously thinking, "Wow. Were they voting the new guy in or were they voting Piper out?" Heh...
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
Well, he's charismatic - sort of. And he's Reformed - sort of. And he's a big fan of the writings of Daniel Fuller - a writer who tends to leave other evangelicals less than thrilled. So, he's kind of a mixed bag.

By the way - I: he'll be leaving his church in about a year from now, after he spends the year showing the new pastor the ropes, etc. At 66, Piper is anxious to do some more writing and hit the Christian rubber chicken circuit.

By the way - II: the church's vote to hire the new guy was almost unanimous, which left me mischievously thinking, "Wow. Were they voting the new guy in or were they voting Piper out?" Heh...

Both btw's seem rather ungracious to me. It's commendable that Piper would recognize his own frailty and the needs of the church and seek to wisely hand things off (rather than just pull out - or suddenly die - and leave the church hanging like Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones).

In my mind, Piper is one of the great pastor-theologians of our day. God has used him mightily in advancing both evangelistic efforts and stirring the people of God to love and treasure the deep truths of the Gospel. Why secondary disagreements come out as preliminary thoughts about a brother in Christ is rather baffling to me.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my study on the history of charismatics a while back I discovered that Piper is one of them to some extent. He allows for a "third-way" for prophecy: infallibly from God to you but fallibly from you to others. Look it up on the website if you are interested (there was a sermon on Acts 2 that covered that view).

Being a former Charismatic, I cannot recommend the man beyond what others note: use discernment. God apparently has used him for much good.

As another post noted, I, personally, find many other authors whom I have to sift less through that can be edifying. That is my two-cents.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Although it was Scripture itself that the Spirit used above all to bring me to salvation, and although it was through the works of confessionally reformed men (first James White and then R. C. Sproul) that I was able to systematize the Calvinistic view of soteriology that I had been noting in part as I read the Scriptures, John Piper has served a special place in my spiritual walk, through his books, sermons, and other works.

Through his encouragement of study and new methods that have benefited me greatly (writing the Scriptures, praying through them), I have been brought closer to God.

He has awakened me to understand the Bible in new ways through many of his works. Some of the most influential books I have read include Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life, and Let the Nations be Glad (although I disagree with much of the theology in the latter now, it has shown me God's passion for missions).

He has also led me to read many other great works, whether it be works of missionaries, the puritans (starting with the half-Jonathan Edwards work God's Passion for his Glory), and others.

This is not to say Piper himself is special, except as an instrument of God. I praise God for him. He is not perfect, but no man is, but I am very thankful for his ministry.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In my study on the history of charismatics a while back I discovered that Piper is one of them to some extent. He allows for a "third-way" for prophecy: infallibly from God to you but fallibly from you to others. Look it up on the website if you are interested (there was a sermon on Acts 2 that covered that view).

Being a former Charismatic, I cannot recommend the man beyond what others note: use discernment. God apparently has used him for much good.

As another post noted, I, personally, find many other authors whom I have to sift less through that can be edifying. That is my two-cents.

I like Piper for the most part. He has good things to say a lot of the time however, I agree with you. It startled me a bit when I found out he holds to a baptism of the holy spirit that has to be experiential and it's only for those God is call into ministry of some sort (He believes everyone receives the holy spirit at conversion, but it's different from the 'baptism of the holy spirit' he thinks).

But, I won't really say anything else against him, I find there is not a whole lot else. What I mostly disagree with him on is usually purely secondary in comparison to other points since he isn't truly reformed.
If you're looking for purely reformed theology however, Sproul is much better to recommend as has been brought up. Doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend Piper, you just have to pick and choose around certain things of his, like most others.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Hi:

I refuse to comment as it has in the past cost me some points here on the board.

Blessings,

Rob

Apparently you don't - this is, after all, a comment.

When Piper is right, he is very, very good - brilliant, profound, eloquent. But when he is wrong, it seems that he is wrong rather boldly and dramatically. It's all of a piece, I suppose: those elements in his approach that enable to him set out the truth so vividly, also tend to make him fearless and forthright and even persuasive when he is wrong. And that makes it difficult to endorse him without any qualification. Take Calvin, for instance: he is so solid and sober that even when he makes a mistake, it seems unlikely to do serious damage if he persuades someone else of it; but though John of Damascus is also very good, being persuaded of his errors could be disastrous. I would put embracing Piper's errors as less than disastrous, certainly not as severe as the Damascene's, but a far more significant problem than embracing Calvin's.

If one could be sure that people would read him for what he is good at, there would be little hesitation in recommending him. But once you've had some experience of people embracing wrong ideas because of a gifted teacher, it makes you hesitate more in issuing recommendations. (The same thing applies of course to many people - Edwards, Shedd, Bonar; Aquinas, Francis de Sales, Karl Rahner; C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, G.K. Chesterton; early church fathers, medieval theologians, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, hyper-calvinists, antinomians, etc., etc.) While you don't wish to deprive anyone of the blessings or joy of that wider reading, not everyone is equally able to prove all things and hold fast only that which is good; so sometimes it seems more prudent to recommend only those who are unexceptionable. If someone sticks with Calvin and Matthew Henry and John Bunyan lunacy is very unlikely to be the result.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
well Bob, my beloved pastor has quoted Piper from the pulpit, I believe as a whole, our elders agree with his doctrine...and honestly, I attend this church (baptist) because God used this man of God to lead me to Christ through his radio ministry, and then through sitting under his teaching...as far as baptist, or paedobaptist?? I have to say, I'm not educated much in them both.. except to say, that everything that is taught from our pulpit, is truth, God honoring, and taught with fear and trembling, knowing that God holds our elders at a greater judgment, because of their authority and responsibility of what they preach as truth. Thank the Lord I have my bible, my God's indwelling Holy Spirit, and a husband to fall under, who also falls under submission to our church... in this is my beliefs, the authority structure that God has given to me, a wife and mother. How gracious He is to me

Our Lord is gracious! We would be lost without our Bibles, the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual shepherds in our lives!

I think some of us are confused, though, as to why you chose Westminster Standards as your confession? Have you read the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, or at least the Abstract of Principles?
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Ruben's comment's above should serve as an example of how we answer such a question as was asked in the OP. When we are asked to give a frank estimation of a particular servant of the Lord, and little in the way of context or parameters is provided, then it is good to speak guardedly and graciously. Even where we believe that a caution needs to be given there should be acknowledgment of positive good that the person has accomplished.

In more private conversations and with particular, narrower focus of issues then criticism which is sharper may be profitably given and received.
 

SherlockLogic

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, he's charismatic - sort of. And he's Reformed - sort of. And he's a big fan of the writings of Daniel Fuller - a writer who tends to leave other evangelicals less than thrilled. So, he's kind of a mixed bag.

By the way - I: he'll be leaving his church in about a year from now, after he spends the year showing the new pastor the ropes, etc. At 66, Piper is anxious to do some more writing and hit the Christian rubber chicken circuit.

By the way - II: the church's vote to hire the new guy was almost unanimous, which left me mischievously thinking, "Wow. Were they voting the new guy in or were they voting Piper out?" Heh...

It was Piper's decision to leave. He announced his leave some time ago, long before candidates were even considered. I assure you, Bethlehem is not seeking to oust Piper.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
John Piper has had a very positive impact on my life. His Ministry put me on the path that eventually led to me eventually becoming a Confessionally Reformed Christian and I am very thankful for that.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Piper is a great gateway towards Confessional Reformed Churches. He certainly is better than most of the pop-pastors out there. I have no doubt as to his zeal for God. After becoming Confessional, I don't listen much to Piper having discovered the riches of the Reformed Faith (of which, he seems to mostly scratch the surface of).

But in the world of SuperStar Pastors - he's a gem.
 
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