Would the Real John Piper Please Stand Up?
Posted by Job on September 29, 2008
Recall my post on Albert Mohler on what evangelicalism is doing to leading Reformed theologians. Well, several have been concerned with the direction of John Piper’s ministry lately, and I am wondering if this is another example of what I am speaking of. Below is from DefendingContending.
Friends I’m deeply troubled in my spirit by the recent milieu of questionable judgment demonstrated by one of my favorite modern day expositors of God’s Holy Word – John Piper. The first check in my spirit came when I discovered that John Piper and C.J. Mahaney were guilty of propagating the revolting, awful, unthinkable, shocking, scripturally unsupportable, wholly unbiblical and abominable lie that Jesus Christ was damned upon the cross. More recently, and much to my added chagrin, I’ve learned that John Piper invited the potty-mouthed prodigy Mark Driscoll to his Desiring God National Conference.
Ingrid Schlueter has already taken John Piper to task on this issue over at Slice and I must say that I find it sad but telling that American Christianity has become so emasculated and effeminized that men-in-skirts spiritual sissies simply refuse to take a bold stand for Biblical purity and instead neglect (abdicate?) their scriptural responsibility preferring to leave the work for godly women like Ingrid.
Friends, readers, and fellow members of the body of Christ, in the light of scripture I believe that we have a personal spiritual duty to express our scriptural concerns about Mark Driscoll to the elders and pastor ofBethlehem Baptist Church. I’m praying that John Piper will listen to godly counsel and take appropriate measures to eschew all appearance of evil and that he might offer loving but stern correction to Driscoll and of course separate himself from the man if he fails to repent and turn away from his sin.
Beloved let it be known that unrepentant, unbroken patterns of sin and rebellion against God’s Word aren’t trivial and aren’t the sign of a true born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, rather they’re a sign thatone’s faith may in fact be demonic. Many including myself have disagreed with Ingrid Schlueter from time to time and I’m not here to defend her as she’s more than capable of taking care of herself. In fact the real issue at hand herein isn’t the personalities or opinions of the parties involved in this spiritual fiasco; the problem is sin – Mark Driscoll’s sin to be precise – and even more precisely how his sin is addressed. Thisis the real and pressing issue!
In order to preserve the spiritual health and holiness of the Body (and in order to be obedient to Christ) sin must be dealt with as prescribed in the Holy Writ. By failing to faithfully address sin and by continuing to extend invitations to an unrepentant sinner who professes Christ yet continues in unbroken patterns of unrepentant sin and rebellion against God’s Holy Word John Piper is guilty of enabling sin – and of giving it a platform at one of his conferences no less! (See related articles: Does Mark Driscoll Belong at John Piper’s Conference? Source: Editors at Lighthouse Trails and The Guardian of Grunge and Seattle-Sludge Source: Steven J. Camp)
This is no light matter!
This isn’t a minor doctrinal dispute!
This isn’t about preferences or peripheral theological issues!
This is a serious, weighty subject which affects the very spiritual purity of Christ’s church!
At best John Piper is giving an occasion for those weaker in the faith to stumble, and at worst he’s a partaker of Driscoll’s sin by unequally yoking himself together with a man who is in active and open rebellionagainst God’s Word.
Some have pointed toward the grace Paul extended to the church at Corinth and this is certainly a glowing example of a loving and godly apostle extending incredible patience towards a church that frankly most of us today would write off and ostracize without a trace of remorse and without a second thought. Rampant sexual immorality up to and including incest?!? Egads!!! Yet on the other hand 1 Cor 5:5 is an object lesson in church discipline which contains an incredibly stern rebuke to “deliver” the offending party “to Satan”. The grossly distorted idea that somehow a warm, fuzzy, and often man-centered conception of “feel-good grace and love” are to supersede, trump, or otherwise displace godly rebuke and scriptural discipline is among the distinguishing marks of the apostatizing broader professing “American” church. What love is this?
While believers in India are being burned alive by Hindus and hacked to pieces by Muslims and animists in other parts of the world today prodigiously potty-mouthed Mark Driscoll is getting plum offers to appear at big-time conferences by John Piper. This ought to be troubling to the body (the true bride of Christ) and it ought to be especiallytroubling to the local body located at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Some have also pointed towards the fruit of John Piper’s life and let me tell you in all truth that the Lord knows that though I’ve never met him I nevertheless love and admire John Piper and his ministry. I share in the enthusiasm that many have for the man and in fact it’s with a heavy heart and much sighing in my spirit that I wrestle with his uncharacteristically unbiblical behavior in the very real and very serious spiritual matters before us today.
It pains me to conclude that in the light of revealed scripture John Piper is in violation of the Word of God by not openly correcting and rebuking, in truth and love, Mark Driscoll’s brazen and continual sin. I pray that the gentle reader will hear my heart on this matter and receive this commentary in the spirit in which it’s intended which is the desire for believers to be faithful to the Word above all else. I’ll close with quotes from John Piper himself on this selfsame subject as contained in Nathan Busenitz’s article entitled John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Harsh Language and once again wonder aloud: Would the real John Piper please stand up?
Regarding Ephesians 4:29: [Another] kind of language I think Paul would include in his command not to let any rotten talk come out of your mouth is vulgar references to sex and the human body. . . . I recall a couple of men in graduate school in Germany who seemed to carry the aroma of vulgarity about them. All they ever seemed to laugh at was sexual innuendo. The pitiful thing about it was that the nearer they got to the gutter, the more they laughed. With their mouths they created an atmosphere like a stinking locker room. It was unpleasant for everybody but themselves. And it made noble and high and worthy thoughts all but impossible. It’s hard to savor beauty from a garbage dump. 
Regarding Ephesians 5:3–4: Paul seems to be concerned mainly about two related errors: treating things as gross or treating things as trivial; filthiness and flippancy. There are people who are so dirty inside that they can hardly refer to a tree or a cloud or a fish hook or a brake pedal without treating it as filthy: they may do it with some gross language or simply with a despising attitude and demeanor. And there are people whose vision of the world is so superficial that they trivialize everything. Paul condemns both of these and says, “Get rid of all filthiness and coarseness on the one hand, and all foolishness and levity on the other.” 
And in another place (regarding Colossians 2:1–8): How can we guard ourselves against a foul or frivolous mouth? How can we guard ourselves against a mouth that is foul with criticism and bitterness … and sarcasm and disrespect and ridicule and cynicism? And how can we guard ourselves against a mouth that is just flippant and trivial and silly and petty? The answer to both questions is, Fill your mouth with thanksgiving.