March 30, 2010

John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

Earlier this month I requested and have now received written confirmation from Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) that John Piper invited and will host Rick Warren as a keynote speaker at his (Piper’s) 2010 Desiring God conference.

The source from BBC said Desiring God will, “…eventually be posting registration instructions and conference details, including a video from John Piper on why he invited this year’s speakers,” including Rick Warren.

To date the Desiring God site for national conferences does not disclose Rick Warren or any other speakers for this year’s event. Piper’s explanation for the invitation to Rick Warren will I’m sure be thoroughly critiqued by a wide circle of concerned believers.

Rick Warren needs little introduction to Fundamental or evangelical circles. Most would recognize Warren has personally done more harm to authentic biblical Christianity in recent years than most any other pastor in Christian circles. For example:

Warren embraces deliberate pragmatism of the worst kind: He believes that anyone one can be reached based on “finding the key to that person’s heart.” Warren says, “We let the unchurched needs determine our programs; the unchurched hang-ups determine our strategy; the unchurched culture determine our style; the unchurched population determine our goals.” (Purpose Driven website)

Warren routinely misuses Scripture: The Bible is a tool that Warren manipulates to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority.

Warren promotes extreme ecumenism: He has forged ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist World Alliance and the United Nations. Warren said, “I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody,” Noting he has theological differences with many of the diverse denominations that invite him to speak, Warren added, That doesn't stop me from fellowshipping with them.” When he heard of the SBC's withdrawal, he added, “I thought, ‘This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?’” (Rick Warren at the Baptist World Alliance- Global Baptists Are in This Together.)

Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism: Warren’s Global Peace Plan for “Purpose Driven Nations” includes involving himself with the UN, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. in order to rid the world of “poverty, disease, and illiteracy” by forming entangling alliances between churches, secular businesses, and governments. This is an agenda completely foreign to and for Warren replaces the Great Commission and the New Testament church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles. Through his cooperative efforts, Warren aligns himself with the same UN that seeks to rid the world” of unborn infants through their murder while still in the womb.

Warren accepts the worst sort of evangelistic reductionism:Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus, I believe in you and receive you.'’ If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!”(PDL, p. 74).
Rick Warren’s Saddleback church is one of this generation’s most stark fulfillments of the Apostle Paul’s prophetic statement,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Even all of this is not enough for John Piper to exercise restraint and refrain from featuring Rick Warren at Desiring God.

John Piper hosts and endorses the ministry of Mark Driscoll who has preached at Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral and is notorious for his disgraceful filth speech in the pulpit. Now Piper adds Rick Warren to his approved list of keynote speakers. No one can understand or explain why Piper embraces Rick Warren except Piper himself. This is a huge disconnect from what Piper writes in his books. One must question that Piper believes what he writes in his own books.

Will this be enough for John MacArthur, author of The Truth War, to finally obey the warranted biblical mandates to withdraw from John Piper. To cease from featuring Piper at his Resolved youth conference and/or sharing platforms with him? If MacArthur’s track record speaks to this, he will not.

There is a Trojan horse being allowed access to IFB circles and seminaries. In a thread at the pseudo- fundamentalist site Sharper Iron, Dr. Gerald Priest (DBTS faculty) wrote,
Kevin [Bauder]…has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism…. What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear.” (See- Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: Kevin Bauder’s, “Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”

Is this finally enough to halt the Trojan horse, in the form of John Piper, at the door and bar him from entrance into the Fundamentalist camp?

Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran are among Fundamentalism’s most vocal advocates of tolerance for and acceptance of the so-called conservative evangelicalism. Will John Piper’s hosting Rick Warren finally be enough for them to raise a genuine alarm to our next generation over Piper’s theology and practice? Is this finally enough to openly call for separatism from Piper in unvarnished terms? Will this be enough to discourage lavish praise of Piper’s ministry apart from any serious ministry of warning?

Will this be enough for a segment of Reformed IFB men to finally “withdraw from” and “have no company with” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14), to “mark” and “avoid” (Rom. 16:17) John Piper? Or will Piper’s hosting Rick Warren, just as his charismatic theology, hosting a RAP artist in his church, etc., be tolerated, allowed for and excused for the sake of increased exposure to and fellowship with him?


Please continue to John Piper Explains Why He Invited Rick Warren to Desiring God for his web cast explanation in his own words.

See the third in this series, What are the T4G Men For to Do?

Continue also to- John Piper, "I'm Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision."

UPDATE (3/31/10):
Here is a recording of John Piper explaining why he Invited Rick Warren to speak at Desiring God (4:36). I don’t think [he’s] a pragmatist...I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I think (Rick Warren) is theological and doctrinal and sound.” Really? You decide. IMO, whatever Piper’s reason for hosting Warren it is inexcusable!

Site Publisher’s Note:
John Piper has announced he is taking an extended leave of absence from ministry through 2010. He will, however, be engaged in Desiring God.
As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me [John Piper] away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010…. I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.
See Desiring God for his full disclosure.


  1. Warren has also been involved with the Council on Foreign Relations and is allegedly a member of the CFR:


  2. Hey Lou,

    Yes I've been quiet lately but I'm still going strong. :) Working on a Evolution article right now. Cuz the Lordship Salvation stuff was weighing me down.

    Anyway, this is truly shocking? How can a LS proponent not question his own salvation if he allows someone like Warren to be the keynote speaker???


  3. It is my understanding that Mark Driscoll has repented for the speech he has used in the past, and does not consider that kind of speak to be appropriate for ministry. I have heard many of the sermons that Pastor Driscoll gives and his understanding of the gospel is spot on. He proclaims it forcefully when he preaches.

    I do however agree with your assessment of Rick Warrens ministry and his abuse and seemingly deliberate misuse of the scriptures.

  4. Jan/Kev:

    Thanks for your contributions here. Good to see you both back for another visit.


  5. Randy:

    Thanks for stopping by and the input.

    Whether or not Dricsoll, has been truly repent is an open debate. Whether or not he preaches the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ is also debatable. Dricsoll, however, is not the main subject of this article so I’ll leave it at that.

    I do, however, appreciate your recognizing the very disconcerting issues Rick Warren.

    As for Piper hosting Warren I wrote in the article above, “No one can understand or explain why Piper embraces Rick Warren except Piper himself. This is a huge disconnect from what Piper writes in his books. One must question that Piper believes what he writes in his own books.”

    Kind regards,


  6. Brother Lou,

    As someone mentioned Warren's involvement with the CFR and my knowledge of his involvement with postmodern emerging/emergent church often speaking favorably of certain heretics such as McLaren-this is cause for concern from this Lordship Salvation advocate(me). As often I have problems with Drischoll as he distinguishes from the more liberal emergent leaders while saying he is missional which is nothing less then the false social gospel that never confronts sin-as in the past when certain Free Grace advocates started preaching a crossless salvation as you pointed out and should not judge all who do not believe Lordship Salvation should be judged for that persons views, I do hope the same courtesy will be extended to us LS believers(No, am not seeing this in your words but am sure some where down the line someone will fall into this error of judgement)

    I appreciate you sharing this as I would have never know this as I am not sure anything will be acknowledged-I will be writing Piper and others. Part of me percieves this might have nothing to do with LS/FG debate but more about Evangelicism as Emergent personalities will most be against fundamentalism but in all I have seen and read-almost never against evangelicism in the same way which I attribute to the Neo Evangelicals who eventually droped the Neo tag.

    God bless
    Dave Emme

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. While I don't doubt you, can you provide a scan of the written confirmation or other visual proof? The idea that they are even contemplating it would be horrifying.

  9. TGal:

    Thanks for asking for additional verification. The letter I received via e-mail is fro the BBC and is IMO a private communication and I would not be at liberty to post it in an online forum.

    The truth of what I reported here has been verified by the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI) site. A Desiring God (DG) staff member affirmed to SI that my report on Rick Warren speaking at the DG conference this year is in fact correct. John Piper is not contemplating hosting Rick Warren, it is a done deal.

    Side Bar Issue:
    I was the first to report and break this news on the Internet from this blog. SI site publisher, Aaron Blumer, viewed this article twice yesterday after I published it. A short time later SI posted the same story. In the beginning Blumer did post proper attribution to my site for having been the source of the report on the Piper, Warren, DG meeting. A short time later, however, Blumer deleted that attribution. An associate of mine captured the attribution image just before Blumer deleted it. SI now gives the appearance that it (SI) is the originator of the story, which is demonstrably untrue.

    IMO, SI is willfully practicing journalistic malfeasance. I am calling on SI to restore proper attribution. I communicated this to Aaron Blumer earlier today and thus far he is not responding.


  10. Dear Lou, I have no problem with your article on Piper and Warren and I believe it to be accurate. I too had already written on Piper previously with his unholy alliances. My problem/question is this; you speak of Romans 16 and I agree with you. But, Geisler is on your list of recommended books. How is it that you promote a man who graduated from a Jesuit Seminary? How are you any different from Piper if you advance a man who upholds Thomist apologetics? I am sure you may justify your reasoning, but what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. I am a converted Jew and NOT a Calvie, but I do not like to see either side misrepresented. Geisler took passages out of context in his book. I'll end on this note; Biblical Judaism is the source and root of predestination and election. NOT Calvin. Men who run to Calvin for this doctrine are in error. Moshe

  11. Moshe:

    Thanks for the visit and support for this article.

    I appreciate your concern. Yes, I do recommend Geilser’s book, Chosen But Free. This does not, IMO, suggest or infer endorsement of the man’s ministry.

    The difference comes when Piper brings a man, who is notorious for ecumenical compromise, abuse of the Scriptures, reductionist assaults on the Gospel and invites him (Warren) to speak at a national conference, which is conducted under the auspices of Pastor Piper and the Bethlehem Baptist Church.

    If we were to measure by degrees, what Piper is doing is much farther down the road of poor judgment and endorsing error than recommending a book.

    Thanks for asking, I take your concern seriously.

    God bless you,


  12. Thanks so much, will be watching.

    People keep telling me "we will wait to hear what Piper has to say" but if Piper refuses to blog for 8 months then what?

  13. I am pleased to report that just a moment ago Aaron Blumer, SI site publisher, restored proper attribution apart from a link to this article. I'm satisfied.

    I'm grateful Aaron was responsive when he was given notice of SI's journalistic malfeasance and a chance to be ethical.


  14. Lou: Thanks for the article about Piper's upcoming conference. The inclusion of Rick Warren should be a reality check for fundamentalists who continue to swoon over the so-called "conservative evangelicals." Given Dave Doran's recent condemnation of our Bus and Soulwinning conference on his blog, it will be interesting to see if he addresses Piper's monumental compromise with Warren. (Jeff Fugate's believing the Bible too strongly for Doran doesn't worry me half as much as Warren's wholesale denial of the faith.) Remember, Warren spoke for the Islamic Society of North America, the most radical Muslim group in America. He has affirmed that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. That, my friend, is apostasy. I trust our fundamentalist brothers will be quick to condemn Piper's conference because of its speakers.

    Thanks, Lou, for keeping us on top of things. Your blog is the best!

  15. I have no time for Rick Warren's false 'gospel', and I'm appalled with John Piper's decision to have him as a speaker at the DG conference.

    But I'm compelled to give Piper some grace on this one. I don't think any of us are privy to what's going on in Piper's life at the moment. His announcement of an extended sabbatical, or whatever you want to call it, certainly gives us a clue that not all is well with him. I for one will be praying for our brother - one colossal error in judgment may be enough to raise a serious caution flag, but I believe we need more information and time before arriving at a verdict.

  16. UPDATE (3/31/10):

    Here is a recording of John Piper explaining why he Invited Rick Warren to speak at Desiring God (4:36).

    I don’t think [he’s] a pragmatist...I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I think (Rick Warren) is theological and doctrinal and sound.”

    Really? You decide. IMO, whatever Piper’s reason for hosting Warren it is inexcusable!



  18. Brothers & Sisters please go and read Acts 20:24-36. May the Lord grant us all guidance through the HOLY SPIRIT! In JESUS Name, amen.

  19. The following comment appeared at the Kingdom People blog today. I felt it was well worth reproducing here. It was posted by Lydia.

    Warren will not preach his ecumenical pragmatic doctrine at DG conference. Warren is the greatest chameleon of all time. He is whatever he needs to be depending on the audience whether it is one or millions. How I know? Years and years of working/consulting in the church growth movement before I really got saved. Warren has one of the most winning personalities of all time. He could charm a dog off a meat truck.

    I could spend hours listing all the problems with Warren's doctrine and his pragmatic alliances but in the end, it would do no good because most of you are so sold out to following men you would never get it. You have so much invested in Piper that he cannot possibly be wrong.

    Quite frankly, Warren has much more to gain from this alliance than Piper for a myriad of reasons. And it will only serve to make Warren and his pragmatism more acceptable in areas of Christendom where he isn't. And that is exactly what Warren wants.

  20. Hi. We all know that Warren isn't in line with God's word. My problem is this. A lot of people still supports Piper. If I were a new believer and was looking for people to look at or teachings, i would look at people like piper an RC sprouls to see who is online as I do not have discernment yet. Thus people with that mindset, witch normally will be good, will now end up reading purpose driven life end be listening to Warren. And then the people warren approves and before you know it, they are listening to Bennie Hinn. All the blogs I have read skipped this concern and according to me this should be number one?

  21. Theunis:

    I can't disagree with the concerns you've raised.

    Many blogs skip this concern because they want fellowship with Piper and are willing to tolerate, allow for, ignore or excuse that he is reaching out to the likes of Rick Warren.


  22. Interesting blog. I definitely have to read more from this blog. It is definitely good to hear the debate from both sides.

    Just a quick question about Scripture interpretation: You cited 2 Thess 3:6,14 as reason to "withdraw from" and "have no company with" John Piper due to his ties with Rick Warren (whom I would agree with you is often in theological fuzzy territory...).

    My feeble understanding of Scripture seems to tell me that Paul was cautioning the church against those who would eat without working for it...lazy people. The warning did not seem to be against false teachers or even against those who associate with people who preach a distorted form of the gospel, but it seemed to be a way to encourage people who were lazy to work.

    And then, in verse 12, Paul says that he commands them to work and eat their own bread. And then, and only then, if they do not work and eat their own bread, that they should have no company with him "that he may be ashamed. Yet, count him NOT as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

    So, exegetically, I find it hard to use this text to support your cause to dissociate yourself from John Piper. And in any case, the purpose of dissociation is to bring him back into the fold, not to cast him out with no regard.

    But like I said earlier, I'm still young in my faith and am eager to learn. So, please show me if I have made an error in exegesis.

    The other passage, Romans 16:17-20, seems a bit more clear in terms of dissociating from those who teach falsehood for the sake of their own bellies. But then my question to you would be, "Has Piper been preaching a false Gospel for the sake of his own belly? Does association with someone who may preach something false falsify the Gospel that Piper has committed his entire ministry to?"

    Thanks :) I look forward to reading your reply. God bless.