Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Open Letter to John Piper

"Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" -- (1Cr 5:6 NKJV)

"A little leaven leavens the whole lump." -- (Gal 5:9 NKJV)

Dear Mr. Piper,

First and foremost, let me make one thing clear: I do not, as some regrettably have, now regard you as a "heretic", "false prophet", "false teacher", etc. In my opinion, judging only from the fruit I can see in your life, including your ministry, combined with the confession of faith you have made, I regard you a brother in the the Lord. It is within that context that I write to you.

Mr. Piper, your decision to invite Rick Warren to your upcoming Desiring God conference is a mistake on many levels. I am hoping in writing this that you will reconsider your decision and withdraw your invitation to Mr. Warren.

Mr. Warren is, to put it in the best light possible, troubled in his walk with God, and to judge him more strictly, a heretic. Two brothers may disagree on Mr. Warren's eternal state, but at the very least all should agree that Mr. Warren's views and actions are far outside the boundaries of orthodoxy. His gospel, despite his claims to the contrary, is a gospel without repentance. John MacArthur (and Wretched TV) agrees:

His gospel, despite his claims to the contrary, is a gospel of works. See for yourself:

His theology is man exalting and God abasing (instead of the opposite). Again, see for yourself:

Because of Rick Warren and his principles, scores of churches and much of Christianity is preaching a Gospel of what God can do to make the unbeliever more comfortable in their rebellion, instead of calling the unbeliever to repentance and a correct relationship with God. Mr. Warren rejects Biblical preaching, opting instead to make the Church a self help center, an entertainment venue, and a life enhancement seminar all rolled into one.

Mr. Piper, the multiple reasons I call this decision a mistake are as follows:

1. You are turning a blind eye to Mr. Warren's actions, and accepting his "file cabinet theology" as good enough.

I mean this in no way to be offensive, sir, and in every way to simply be truthful; your video response to the critics of this move was pathetic.

You begin by saying that you spoke with Mr. Warren over the telephone and asked him questions. As a friend remarked to me upon hearing your explanation, "Statements of faith mean nothing. It's what you do with that statement of faith that has meaning." I would point you to Joel Olsteen's Church as an example. Frankly sir, I could sign onto Mr. Olsteen's statement of faith. Yet, none of us would argue that the problem with Mr. Olsteen is his stated theology. The same is true of Mr. Warren.

Those of us who are critical of your decision are not interested in how well Mr. Warren can answer a question, nor are we concerned with if he passes Theology 101. The problem with Mr. Warren isn't necessarily with his stated theology, although it is difficult to sort out what he really believes in his multiple contradictory statements, but rather the problem is Mr. Warren's actions.

2. You go on in your video to state that separatism is a very important thing to understand. I would submit to you, Mr. Piper, that Christian's ought to separate from those who want to accomplish something different than bringing people to a right relationship with God. Mr. Warren's principles talk about everything BUT the most important thing in life, which is that man is in need of a Savior.

Behold, sir, what Mr. Warren's ideas hath wrought!

Are you interested, Mr. Piper, in improving the unregenerate person's sex life? Are you interested in making them believe you are hip and cool? Are you interested, sir, in "Opening a can of Woop Bass" or "P(r)imping your Mom", two of the manifestations of the application of Mr. Warren's principles?

I would say Mr. Piper, judging from your life's commitment to the truth of Scripture, that you most certainly are not.

3. Mr. Warren embraces the Purpose Driven nonsense that his principles have produced, and therefore it cannot be said that he did not intend the Purpose Driven nonsense to turn out as it did. As an example, The Jonas Brothers are playing worship music this Easter Sunday at Angel Stadium as Saddleback church attempts to break the all time world record for most baptisms.

Mr. Warren has made his church into a purpose driven, seeker sensitive, self help center and entertainment complex. Would you allow Bethlehem Baptist Church to become such a place? Mr. Piper, surely you can see this foolishness as plainly foolish.

4. You are associating your principles, your name, your ministry, and your church with Mr. Warren's apostasy. You have given the world, and those critical of reformed theology, a beach head to launch their assaults. Each and every time we are forced to endure another failed attempt at cultural relevance, or a vapid and weak gospel presentation in an attempt to be "purpose driven", it can be said (although perhaps unfairly) that John Piper agrees with these things.

5. You are forcing the fellow speakers at your conference to make a difficult decision. You are putting the people at your conference, who are forced to share a stage with Mr. Warren, in the unsavory position of A) Condemning Mr. Warren at your conference B) Showing unity and agreement with Mr. Warren or C) Canceling their attendance at this conference.

It is an undue burden you place on good men. Please don't make them make such a decision.

7. Your reasons for inviting Mr. Warren are faulty. In this video you explain what made you want to invite Mr. Warren to begin with.

You say "I want you (Mr. Warren) to come . . . come tell us why thinking Biblically matters to you in your amazingly pragmatic approach to ministry. . . I want him to tell us what makes him tick.":

Mr. Piper, the man has written many books. If you want to know what makes the man tick, then read his books. If that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, then call the man up and talk to him until your heart is content. Otherwise, shall we to infer that the Desiring God Conference is to serve the purpose of satisfying your own curiosity? The conference, which thousands of people will attend and look too for growth in their walks with the Lord, is not the time or the place for you to find out what makes a particular apostate man "tick".

Additionally, sir, your account of meeting Mr. Warren at Ralph Winter's funeral shows evidence that your enchantment with Mr. Warren is built on shallow ground. You like the man because he sings and sings badly? I am astonished sir that you would even consider something so asinine as a reason for liking someone.

Can you not see, Mr. Piper, what an ear tickler Mr. Warren is? Is not his name dropping of reading the works of Jonathon Edwards suspicious in and of itself? Does it not strike you, as it strikes many of us, that Mr. Warren is selling you a bill of goods, telling you something he knows you will like to hear? Mr. Piper, your initial astonishment over Mr. Warren's reading material is the correct response. As you yourself so aptly point out, nothing in Mr. Warren's life or ministry would cause us to believe that he has any regard or value for the teaching of Jonathon Edwards. Why then, would you want such a man to come to your conference? Be honest, sir, would you like the average Christian in today's society to have the attitudes and principles of Jonathon Edwards, or Rick Warren? The answer, for those who love God and His Word, is obvious.

However, let us suppose that Mr. Warren is reading Jonathon Edwards this year. So what? Many atheists have read your works, should we value their principles? Satanists read the Bible, should we invite them to our conferences to teach Christians seeking to grow in the knowledge and love of God? As Paul would say; CERTAINLY NOT!

You say in your video "I do think he's (Mr. Warren) deeply theological. He's a brilliant man. He wouldn't have the church he does, or the peace plan, or all the influence he does. . . "

Do you honestly believe that Mr. Piper? Shall we say the same thing about Benny Hinn or Joel Olsteen? They certainly have as much or more influence as Mr. Warren does. They have as many books and plans as Mr. Warren, and their followings and churches are just as large. Barrack Obama is arguably the most influential man in America, perhaps even the world. Are we to believe he is "deeply theological" as well?

I know you are well aware that a man's influence and life is not indicative of how closely he follows God. I write these things to remind you of that belief, and to ask you to adhere to it, not be swooned by a clever deceiver salesman such as Rick Warren.

8. There are far better speakers to invite. John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Alistair Begg, Ray Comfort, Todd Friel, Justin Peters, Doug Phillips, Ken Ham, Paul Washer, Roy Moore. Any of these fine men can make compelling and interesting presentations that can edify a believer and give opportunity for growth.

You can do better than Mr. Warren.

Mr. Piper, in closing, I want to stress that although I have taken your decision to task, I have the utmost respect for you, your teachings, and your ministry. God has used you mightily! I firmly believe that you may go down in history as one of Christianity's great teachers. I support you, and support the good things you continually do to bring people to Christ, and to help them grow in their knowledge and faith.

But I cannot support THIS decision. Many like me feel the same way. We cannot support it because it is wrong. We cannot support it because we choose not to be unequally yoked with darkness. And most importantly, we cannot support it because it defames the Gospel.

Please Mr. Piper, withdraw your invitation and publicly denounce Rick Warren's principles and beliefs. For the sake of the Gospel, and your ministry.

Sincerely in Christ, and in His love,

Jason Marianna
"That Crazy Christian"

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  2. You say you respect Dr. Piper with one side of your mouth, and out of the other side you call him pathetic. Your "letter" smacks of arrogance and disrespect in spite of your attempt to couch it in terms of brotherly love.

    This is rubbish and you ought to be ashamed.

  3. I cannot believe how rude and arrogant this post is to somebody who claims to respect our brother in the Lord. You should delete this and humble yourself before Christ.

  4. This letter is disrespectful, arrogant, unbelievably rude, and, above all, true. Rick Warren shouldn't be appearing at any xian conference until he gets his priorities straight, and Mr. Piper should cease his star-struck fascination with Rick's charisma and his resulting fame and influence.

    But I think throwing inflammatory words like 'apostate', 'deceiver', and 'heretic' around cloud the message more than they drive it home.

  5. He is just being honest. Something weird just happened that could have great consequences so you guys can't judge his concern. The bible says test everyone.