June 3, 2011

John Piper’s Interview With Rick Warren

One of the clearest evidences that “conservative evangelicals” are anything but safe spiritual guides today is witnessed by John Piper’s close relationship with Rick Warren. Conservative evangelicals like Piper are enablers of heresy by their refusal to deal with error plainly enough and to cut off association with it decidedly, and they therefore allow and even facilitate its spread. Piper is held forth as a passionate Reformed Baptist who is zealous for doctrinal truth, but his staunch theology has given him very little spiritual discernment…. Piper spent a lot of time bragging on Warren, even praising incredibly unscriptural P.E.A.C.E. plan. Piper took a cheap pot shot at Warren’s detractors, pretending that they have slandered him by taking things out of context. And Piper didn’t challenge Warren’s answers…. This strange interview reminds me of when Christianity Today examined Robert Schuller in 1984 and determined that he “believes all of the fundamental doctrines of traditional fundamentalism.” (Please continue to Friday Church News Notes, June 3, 2011 for David Cloud’s complete review of the Piper/Warren interview.)

Will another high profile compromise by a so-called “conservative” evangelical pass without comment from self-described “militant” separatists in fundamental circles who are converging with evangelicals and influencing an entire generation to follow them in that convergence? Will men like Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan tolerate, allow for, excuse or ignore John Piper’s actions and endorsement of Rick Warren? Will the pattern of toleration, allowing for, ignoring and/or excusing a growing assortment of doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism and worldliness of John Piper just as they have with men like CJ Mahaney, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, et al., continue unabated? Or has the veritable straw that broke the camel’s back finally occurred that just might elicit a serious warning about the man John Piper and his egregious ministry of compromise?

In a recent series of timely chapel messages Dr. Bob Jones III said,
“We’ve been taking in some of the last messages about the error that can result from those whose credo is, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel, as long as a man is preaching the gospel I can go to that church…and I don’t have to worry about all the rest of it…. If we take the attitude that it’s only about the preaching of the gospel and that makes everything else acceptable we’re going to embrace a lot of error.... You see, if it’s only all about the preaching of the gospel and if that is all that matters then you can accept almost any other kind of manifestations of the gospel…then we have formed our own opinions and practiced them more than going to the Bible to see what God says is acceptable.” (The Faith of the Gospel, Part 3)

“We have tried to make it clear in these messages that those who say, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel.’ If it’s all just about the gospel then we’ve missed the whole point of the gospel…. There is the saving gospel, which introduces us to the faith of the gospel. And if we embrace the philosophy that it’s just about the gospel we can put our arms around about every wrong, unbecoming Christian behavior in all the world. We can put our stamp of approval on counterfeit Christianity. If they’re preaching the gospel… no matter what else is going on in those ministries, no matter what endorsements and involvements they have with liberal unbelieving religion, no matter what ecumenical reach they may have, no matter what distortions they may have, no matter what tolerance for the intolerable…we can embrace all of that and say that’s fine, that’s good they’re preaching the gospel.” (The Faith of the Gospel, Part 4)
Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan are among the originators of and the driving forces behind the new mantra, “it’s all about the gospel.” That theme is the driving force behind their cooperative efforts with and endorsement of so-called “conservative” evangelicals apart from virtually any ministry of warning.

I am hopeful they have finally seen enough to say, “enough of this!” Have they seen enough to make a personal application of and encourage those under their watch care, who are being influenced by them through various venues, to withdraw from (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) mark and avoid (Rom. 16:17-18) John Piper?


For Related Reading:
John Piper, “I’m Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision”

Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration

Kevin Bauder Excusing Al Mohler’s Signing the Manhattan Declaration
To dismiss Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration as merely a, “wrong decision based on bad judgment,” (Doran) and “occasional inconsistency…single episode,” (Bauder) has the look and feel of a “downward drift toward compromise” of Scripture…in the form of tolerance for the sake of fellowship.
The RAP on Mark Dever: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do?

Is NIU “Unchanged?” The Northland Baptist Bible College Position on Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity


  1. Addendum:

    I do want to mention that,

    1) Tim Challies posted an article at his blog in which he expressed serious concerns about the Piper/Warren interview.

    2) I would be delighted to see later this afternoon (or at a near future date) from his blog that Kevin Bauder and/or Dave Doran from his blog will address this egregious action by John Piper.


  2. I would imagine that either or both Drs. Bauder and Doran may address this, but I will not hold my breath to see if they actually turn around and retreat from their advancement toward evangelicalism. Like some of these other "conservative" evangelicals, they make a declarative statement, even one that we would heartily endorse but then the practice (or application as some would say) falls short. An example, John MacArthur has written about the charismatic movement yet has no problem fellowshipping, sharing the platform, etc. with John Piper and C. J. Mahaney. This non-application approach to Biblical truth makes the message of the man ring hollow.

  3. Brian:

    I agree with your thinking, but I have thought this through a little further.

    If either have anything to say, it will be muted and without a doubt there will be no retreat from or even slowing the pace of embracing and working in cooperation with the evangelicals. That goes for NIU under Matt Olson as well.

    The irony is that JMac has said more and been more forceful in his denunciation (and admonishment) of past foibles among his peers in evangelicalism (charismatic theology, the Manhattan Declaration) than Doran and Bauder combined. With Bauder and Doran they can barely find their voices to admonish the men who practice those issues. So, we should not expect them to raise their voices now.

    I’ve wondered if they are muted in their response to the many doctrinal and practical errors of the evangelicals because of the backlash they’d experience if they did indeed admonish and advise withdrawing from Piper and/or Mohler. Can you imagine the T4G or Gospel Coalition leadership warmly receiving Bauder/Doran (or sharing a platform with them again) if they did deal with Piper’s actions as the Bible would mandate? I strongly suspect their movement and advancement toward evangelicalism would come to a screeching halt if they were to be the militant separatists they claim to be. And it would be the evangelicals who slam on the brakes for them. Not to mention how the ce wanna-be's at SI would skewer them for it.


  4. Lou, sometimes I don't understand you. You call out SI for being pseudo fundamentalist. Now you are calling them wannabe CE. What exactly do you think they are if they aren't fundamentalist and aren't CE?

  5. Josh:

    You know, I was wondering if I should mention SI. Allow me to offer some clarification.

    SI is biased against and has a long-standing double standard when it comes to treating evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. This is been demonstrated by SI’s leadership and moderators from its inception and is thoroughly documented. Yet it tries to portray itself as a site for and about fundamentalism. hence, “pseudo

    I have documented a number of SI’s glaring inconsistencies and bias at my secondary blog, Sharper Iron in the Iron Skillet, which you can peruse of you like.

    Conservative Evangelical Wanna-be’s:” Let me try to clarify by stating that most of the leadership and active members at SI want to be accepted by the ce camp. They consistently highlight the star personalities of the ce camp and its conferences. SI is a conduit for the promotion of all things ce to the determined near total exclusion of any ministry of warning about the obvious dangers there.

    Question for you: In its 6+ years of it’s existence can you show any main page article at SI that was thoroughly positive and edifying toward Fundamentalism? I’ll save you the trouble. I’ve put that question out to the general blogging public and no one, including the SI leadership can cite even one example. Yet, there are dozens of articles by men like Kevin Bauder that are hostile toward Fundamentalism through his revisionist history, broad-brush besmirching of certain men and the movement altogether with his broad-brush.

    Has there ever been any blog in SI’s Blogroll that was positive towards Fundamentalism? No! Today, you find several blogs promoted at SI's Blogroll that are openly hostile toward Fundamentalism. Most of them are the leading advocates for loosening the application of authentic biblical separation for the sake of fellowship and cooperation with non-separatist evangelicals.

    I’ll take the last word on SI as I should not have and do not want to distract any further from the main theme of this article and discussion.


  6. Lou, 2 things:

    1. I think Piper was beyond out of line in the interview. Warren is a chameleon and Piper just allowed the weak answers to stand.

    2. Do you endorse David Cloud?

  7. Josh:

    On your #1. Agree completely. But have you considered that 1) Piper has been moving in this direction for some time, 2) maybe he let Warren’s “weak answers to stand” because he (Piper) does not see them as weak? So, what would you advise Piper to do now; what would you advise men who have for years endorsed Piper, his books and conferences to do in light of this latest action on his part?

    On your #2: There have been times that I appreciated some of the things that John MacArthur addresses such as the problems with the church growth, emergent church and the charismatic movement. Although JMac does not withdraw from Charismatics and allows them to speak with and/or for him in various venues.

    There are times that I appreciate some of the things that David Cloud has to offer. What he addresses, which I cited here, is one of those times. He is communicating things in regard to the expanding Piper/Warren convergence that men like Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran who are very active in on line venues should be speaking to, but to date will not.

    Why do you suppose Bauder and Doran won’t touch this, just as they will not address Mark Dever’s amillenialism and his personal affinity for RAP/Hip Hop as well as its use in ministry?


  8. Lou, I believe John Piper believes he is looking past criticism to see the real Rick Warren that he fails to represent to others in his writings/sermons.

    While I understand his desire to see the good in others, I believe Piper is either incredibly naive or undiscerning.

    One of his purposes as a sovereign grace baptist is to see others become that and it trumps other areas of theology.

    I don't know about Bauder and Doran and would rather not speculate their reasons to say or not say anything. When I first saw this topic, my first reaction was to roll my eyes at Piper. I think Piper is sound on some things, but his associations are pitiful.

  9. Josh:

    Several weeks have gone by since the Piper/Warren interview and still nothing from either Bauder and Doran on the issue. Bauder has been very active writing articles for his blog and SI, but nothing on Piper/Warren.

    It appears that just like with Mohler/Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration, Mark Dever’s RAP/Hip Hop and amillenialism he (Bauder) will ignore and/or excuse Piper’s latest new evangelical movement.

    Doran has been off line, but IMO he too is not going to get anywhere near Piper’s interview with Rick Warren, one of the stars of the so-called conservative evangelicals. Even though, a genuine “militant” separatist, would not hesitate to advise and warn those under his watch care on John Piper. On the Manhattan Declaration Doran write a great deal, but ultimately dismissed Mohler’s signing it by concluding it was merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”

    Bottom line, Piper’s on-going hand of fellowship and cooperation with Rick Warren is indefensible. So, rather than do the impossible, which would be to excuse or explain it away, rather than publicly admonish and rebuke Piper, which is called for, the men who have happily promoted Piper’s ministry and books apart from any serious cautions about him, the men in fundamental circles who desire and are forging a convergence with the T4G, Gospel Coalition camp are going to take a pass on this one.