So said my sister in a phone call shortly after the start of this year’s Passion Conference, taking place now in Atlanta, GA (Jan 1-4). I’m sure she said this with all due respect to Dr. Piper, who has long been looked to as a solid teacher of the Reformed tradition. And yet in recent years, Dr. Piper has gone about giving his stamp of approval to various and sundry teachers, many of them solid and trustworthy, but some of them quite dangerous.
This stamp of approval first reared its ugly head when Dr. Piper brought out a young whippersnapper named Mark Driscoll as his keynote speaker at a Desiring God conference, years ago. In 2006, to be exact. This was the same Driscoll who went on later to shock us with his pornographic divinations and his fascist like handling of church members. And yet, no public rebuking or distancing has gone on, that I know of, between Dr. Piper and his protégé .
Then Rick Warren got Dr. Piper’s stamp of approval at the 2010 Desiring God Conference. Yes, that’s right, Rick Warren. To paraphrase my friend Pastor Bob DeWaay, what made this particular alliance so very shocking was that Dr. Piper, who has long been regarded as one of the faithful few guarding the flock against false teaching was the very one who had opened the pen gate and ushered the wolf (Warren) right into the fold of his Desiring God conference.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” Gal 1:8
“Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what wea have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” 2 John 1:8-11
“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17
Then, out came the approval stamp again at last year’s Passion 2012 Conference, when Dr. Piper stood benignly by on stage as Louie Giglio exhorted the audience members to “(hear) the voice of God speak,” during a Lectio Divina-ish type mystical exercise.
And now we have this year’s Passion 2013 Conference, currently underway in Atlanta, GA, at which John Piper is sharing the stage with false teachers Jesus Culture. Don’t know who Jesus Culture is? Oh well, let me fill you in: Jesus Culture is an offshoot group out of Bill Johnson’s heretical Bethel Church in Redding, CA. That’s right, the same Bill Johnson of the glory dust and the angel feathers fame.
“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:7-9
So why doesn’t Dr. Piper storm out on the stage like a man on fire and rebuke this madness? Or, he could leave the conference and write an eloquent and heartfelt apology for his part in confusing the flock in his care by knowingly linking with false teachers. I’d be all for that. And yes, I get that he’s just a man, and no man is perfect. I’m not expecting perfection, but what I do desire to see is him seriously taking to heart the admonition in Scripture that not all should teach because those who do are judged more strictly (James 3:1). BUT, if Dr. Piper is unwilling to repent of going around giving false teachers his stamp of approval, then maybe one of our Godly pastors could fly to Minneapolis and wrestle the stamp away from him to keep him from further harming the flock. Just a thought.
The original appears here.