Separate From John Piper? Let’s Wait and See

I suppose this isn’t news but for those of you who are wiser then me and rarely if ever pay attention to some of the bigger “discernment ministries”, Pastor John Piper has invited Pastor Rick Warren to speak at his annual Desiring God National Conference (source).

How dare John Piper do such a thing” seems to be the common theme emanating from these folks keyboards……..and some are calling for their followers to separate from Piper to the point of not buying his books or listening to his messages!

That seems a bit harsh don’t you think?

Ok. For those of you who may spend more time on Pluto then you do surfing the net, Rick Warren is persona non grata in the “discernment” world. He’s the “bogeyman” whose ministry has allowed them to coin the term “seeker friendly” as well as make a few coins themselves from their books renouncing Warren and his ideas on personal growth as well as church growth.

For the record I don’t endorse either of these books just in case one of the Pharisees get upset with me. You see, they aren’t going to like this posting very much and we know how some of them like to twist statements and make mountains out of molehills……

So, the “discernment” people are up in arms over Pipers invitation to speak at a conference with the title “Think: The Life of the Mind & the Love of God” which is right up Warrens alley so to speak. He often gets criticized by the “discernment” folks for demonstrating the love of God…….you know, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked sorta things the “discernment” folks find appalling but happens to be what God commands us to do…..loving your neighbor as yourself stuff.

For the record, Rick Warren treats the Scriptures horribly which is strange because he actually knows the Scriptures like the back of his hand. Listening to a sermon of his is confusing as he can, and often does, take the listener through up to 10 different bible translations to give the appearance that his sermon is biblical. That’s not sound homiletics or hermeneutics my brethren. That right there is a big red flag and would keep me from asking Warren to speak at any conference I would ever host but I’m not John Piper and neither are his many critics.

That’s right. I’m not John Piper and neither are you reading this unless you actually are John Piper. That would be so cool BTW!

Maybe John Piper knows something we don’t but I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts some of these “discernment” folks and their followers never considered that possibility for even a second. Nope. The “lets throw anyone under the bus who chooses to associate with Warren” crowd is in high gear which of course allows them to blast away at their favorite target (Warren) to the delight of their followers and their itching ears……not to mention big stats which enables some of these “discernment ministries” to hit their followers up for money because they’re so “necessary” to the Body of Christ.

While I believe it is probably unwise for Piper to bring in Warren I’m certainly not going to divide with a brother in Christ over this very minor issue. That would be unwise until all the facts are in and we won’t know this until October. Until then I’m going to reserve my judgment of John Piper and I urge one and all to do the same.


35 thoughts on “Separate From John Piper? Let’s Wait and See

  1. Phil,
    Well, throw me in with all those stupid discernment folks. Warren is a liar, a heretic, and a fraud. I’m not just calling names. I say this because I’ve read him. We’re never to aid such a man. We are never to publicly to identify ourselves and our faith with such a man. When we do we sin. Separation from false teachers isn’t a dark, hidden thing in Scripture; it’s a major (but sadly ignored) theme.

    If Piper doesn’t know what Warren is, he hasn’t done due diligence and has thus sinned the sin of sloth in his duties as a shepherd. Piper should be sharply rebuked. Evidently that has happened. If there isn’t repentance, he is to be treated as a non-brother because he is acting like one. I Cor. 5, II John 10-11, Deuteronomy 12.

    Separation is one of the outworkings of holiness and signifies whether or not someone is truly regenerate. “Earnestly seek peace with all men and sanctification without which no man will see the Lord.”

    Phil Perkins.

    • How is Warren a liar, a heretic, and a fraud ?

      I hope you have enough evidence to justify your statement.

    • Hi Phil,

      I’ve been thinking a LOT about what you’ve said here in regards to separating from John Piper over his inviting Rick Warren to speak at his conference. You claim we should based solely on this invitation and not what has actually happened.

      You have a link to a ministry on your site that not only endorses but quotes a ministry that you personally know is dirty. You obviously endorse this ministry and they obviously endorse this dirty ministry so by your reasoning I should separate with you.

      You publicly claim Rick Warren is a liar yet you’ve never done that publicly with the ministry you KNOW is dirty. You’ve held that inside yet there are folks who also know the same things about this ministry through their own due diligence. Why haven’t you publicly called this “ministry: a liar like you freely do with Rick Warren?

      You publicly endorse and have offered a platform to a ministry that endorses a ministry you KNOW is dirty that has broken not only God’s law but man’s law and you’ve said nothing yet you want us to hang a man based on an invitation to speak that may or may not happen. How much sense does that make?

      I’ve tried to correctly you privately on this but you still have the link. Have I separated from you? I should by your standards and I have FAR more more reason to separate from you then you do from demanding we separate from John Piper.

      Please reconsider your position until you have done the same things you are demanding of others.


    • Linc,
      How is RW a liar and a fraud? He is a liar, fraud, and a heretic for a simple reason. Do you know what the Emergent is? Do you know some of the mystical authors? Do you know what they teach? Warren endorses mystics like Henri Nouwen and Brother Lawrence in his famous book The Purpose Driven Life. Scripture forbids this.

      There is a great sin in MEism (my short hand for Modern Evangelicalism). That sin is the refusal to separate from folks who call themselves Christians but promulgate or help promulgate false teaching. The New Testament has always separated from false teachers until such times of great splintering into heretical sects.

      Those times are always introduced by an initial time of tolerance of false teachers. Orthodox doctrine waxes and wanes, but never waxes again. The healthy state of the assembly is one of intolerance for false doctrine. Whether or not you look at the Old Covenant or the New Covenant, there are commandments to separate from false teachers. Under the Old Covenant the penalty for false teaching or helping false teachers was death. Deut. 12, 13, 18. Under the New Testament, the penalty is excommunication. II John 10-11, I Cor. 5. The New Covenant assembly has practiced this since Pentecost. When tolerance is introduced, it brings God’s judgment and a falling away into false teaching. Rev. 2, 3, I Cor. 5, 6 again.

      When Warren or anyone else encourages others to follow false teachers they are in sin along with those false teachers. I’ll just deal with Nouwen for now. He was a Catholic mystic. His stated goal was to syncretize Catholic mysticism with ideas out of early psychology. If I remember correctly, Nouwen’s hero in psychology was Jung. Jung taught a sort of pantheism or panentheism. We are part of the universal mind, etc.

      Warren is no dummy. He knows this. He’s done this for years and continues to do so. Piper, too, is a bright fellow. He knows what Warren is. And he’s been confronted, too.

      But Piper has done even more than that. He has given Leonard Sweet a platform. Sweet isn’t guilty of giving mystics a platform. He is a mystic. Sweet isn’t an unknown entity. He’s been puking on folks for decades.

      Piper teaches only orthodox things as far as I know. However, he is in disobedience by helping these false teachers. That is a sin.

      But back to the church. If you are part of the Modern Evangelical church, there is something you may not know. Evangelicalism dates back to the Reformation and the New Testament. The Reformation was a split with a heresy called Roman Catholicism. In the 1900’s we saw the coming of what its founders called “New Evangelicalism”. I call it MEism, as do some others. The distinction the MEers wanted was not a new or old doctrine. They stayed with mainly correct doctrine. The only thing they wanted changed was the separation from false teachers. They thought this made us look mean and we could reach more folks if we seemed nicer. The fathers of this new movement were Billy Graham, Carl Henry, and Charles Fuller. There were others, but those were the most known. That was the point of the founding of Christianity Today and Fuller Theological Seminary.

      I don’t know where you are in your walk with the Lord, but check out those passages. Then read about some the authors and preachers you find in the local “Christian” book store. Go to web sited like one by Daniel Chew, Lighthousetrails, etc. I can’t think of any books right off the top of my head about today’s mystics, but read Promise Unfulfilled, The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism by Roland McCune. It’s a detailed history of Evangelicalism from 1900 to present. McCune is president of a Baptist school in Michigan and a good historian.

      In Christ,
      Phil Perkins. PS–Sorry for the tardiness of this answer, but I’ve been elsewhere on the net.

    • Phil N.,
      To what do you refer? I can’t remember any time you’ve confronted me about anything like that.

      I may be able to clear this up a bit. I don’t separate just because someone associates with a false teacher. Here are three things I must know:

      1. They must know the false teacher is a false teacher. Paul said wolves would come, some from among us. We are told to be vigilant. Sometimes I don’t separate from someone even though I know they’re improperly involved because I know they don’t know all that is going on. As such, they aren’t in sin. Then I have to decide if I can explain all this to them or not. Will I have the time to explain the Scripture? Will I have the time to explain the false teaching of the liar in question. Will this person understand it if I do?

      2. They must know the Scripture teaches separation from false teachers (and from all “Christians” in open, unrepentant sin). If they don’t know that, then I can’t hold them accountable. Once they understand that, though, it’s over.

      3. I must know they refuse to obey the Scripture in this regard. This is because the separation is “secondary” as some say. I separate because the refusal of another to separate is sinful, just like one who refuses to obey any other command of Scripture.

      If any of these aren’t true, I am dealing with someone who is mistaken, not sinning. In that case, I try to stay close and correct when and how I can. That is my obligation.

      I hope that clears things up. You will find two folks with whom I associate, but they associate with someone I wouldn’t. In both cases it’s because they don’t know what’s going on. I’ve tried with one, and can never seem to get it said. The second involves someone who associates with a person involved in secret sin. This second person doesn’t know about the other’s sin, and I can’t imagine what would be accomplished if I told this second person about the secret sin. And this second person really isn’t read much. I keep in touch with this one mainly to encourage him/her.

      That being said if you know something I don’t I’m all ears. Well…monitor…I honestly don’t know what you have in mind. I promise I’ll make it right. Just tell me plainly as I’m known for missing the nuance from time to time.

      Phil Perkins.

    • Hey, Phil N.,
      This is Phil Perkins. Since I read today what you said, I went over to my blog and looked for what you may be speaking about. Then I looked over at my old site Zits. There are lot of old links over and I haven’t paid attention to them. Some of those links are to people I once trusted and now I know they aren’t to be trusted. I am cleaning them up tonight. And you are right to call attention to that. Thank you.

      At any rate, whatever it is you have in mind, just tell me. I will make it right.

      In Christ,
      Phil Perkins.

      • Hey Phil,

        LHT endorses our friend the plagiarist. They actually quote him as if he is a scholar. You link to LHT. That’s who I’m referring to.

        I don’t endorse Rick Warren and would not let him speak in my assembly but so far Piper hasn’t either which is why I choose to wait until it actually happens before I decide to separate from a man who has and still does faithfully preach the Gospel. Many within the blogosphere have chosen to separate with Piper which is wrong as they really don’t know for sure what will happen in October.

        What about guys like Al Mohler who are also speaking at that conference. Surely they must have known Warren was coming. I’m not going to throw him away either……at least not yet.


        • Phil N.,
          LHT has done good work as far as I know. School me if I need it. At any rate, there were a lot of bad links on Zits. I was sinful not to be more diligent.

          As to our friend the plagiarist and LHT, I’ve not told them. I don’t know if I should because plagiarism is a private sin and since it was me he plagiarized it might just sound like a lot of griping about a personal thing. And if he’s a leader and I can only produce one witness… Give me your opinion. If they’re doing other things I don’t know about tell me. Even if they aren’t I’m going to give some thought to nixing them. They ought to be more perceptive, perhaps. Hummmm…

          And you know what, Phil N., I mean it when I say I want to be right. I will listen. Thanks for getting back to me. Sorry for my tardiness, too, as I said yesterday. And when you get right down to it, there are some situations that can be doubtful. You don’t know another’s motivations. Are they mistaken? Are they outright sinning?

          I no longer trust Mohler. He now offers a doctorate in spiritual formation, believe it or not. So sad.

          Phil N., thank you for confronting me on this.
          Phil Perkins.

        • Philperkins,

          When I emailed you about our friend the plagiarist it wasn’t because someone told me about what happened to you. I discovered it by reading here on Phil’s site. Then I went to your site and read and then I did my own research. I looked at the article you wrote and the date and then I went to our friend’s site and looked at the article he wrote. I had no doubt that what you were saying was true which was why I emailed our friend and confronted him with the evidence. I have all my emails plus a screen shot of the article that he wrote.

          I wish I would have taken this to his board but I didn’t because everyone else was quiet too. I am much smarter now and if I could do it over I would have even if they did not believe me. There are other facts he has claimed about himself that I know are not true and some I suspect are complete exaggerations.

          What is the solution to this ? I don’t know. Maybe someone will have to speak one day.

          Maybe I should have done my part last year instead of waiting so long. I now regret not saying something.

        • Hi Deborah,

          It’s always nice to see you here.

          You went to the plagiarist privately and he did nothing about it which I’m finding quite common these days in the “discernment” world. I’m not convinced this individuals “board” would have done anything about it but it sure would’ve been interesting to see what might have happened.

          Phil Perkins is a rare breed. He’s a responsible accountable blogger which is why I “confronted” him publicly rather then privately because I knew he would do the right thing and he did. That’s very rare indeed and why I call him not only my Brother but my friend.

          The solution? Well, outside of publicly exposing these people there isn’t much you can do as the majority are not only irresponsible but unaccountable which is a deadly combination not to mention an unbiblical one. Of course when you do expose these folks you will be attacked with lies and innuendos and have your name dragged through the mud. I can attest to this personally and so can many others I’m sure.

          Anyone have any suggestions here because I’m all ears?


        • Hi,

          Check out this link and go to the site in the article. The book is available for 12 bucks I think but it quotes LHT quite a bit. That should help you.

          You can also visit and check out the archives. Pastor Michael Newnham has called out LHT for years. His site was hacked but I’m sure if you contact him directly through the site he’ll help you as well.


  2. Brother Phil:

    While I appreciate your position IMO, the Scriptures speak to the issue in blunt terms.

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Rom. 16:17-18).

    In my second follow up to my original article from March 30, in which I posted confirmation of Piper’s invite to Rick Warren, I go into additional details on what the fallout might and IMO should be. See, John Piper to Feature Rick Warren: What Are the T4G Men For to Do?

    Bottomline for me is this: In regard to Rick Warren the mandates in verse 17 apply and there is no subjective decision to make. Piper, however, chose to ignore the Scriptures to embrace Rick Warren, to defend and give him recognition, which will lend credibility to Warren and his methods. Piper puts impressionable believers, who follow him (Piper) at risk. Piper offers Warren a national platform, which could through his, “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Acts 20:30) and lead to their spiritual demise.

    What Piper has done is inexcusable. And the Scriptures mandate our response to him and Warren.


  3. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the comments!

    You men are both correct but I can’t help but believe Piper has a plan to reach this guy. That’s my hope and prayer.


  4. Phil, Chris Rosebrough has a good commentary with help from John Piper on this link. Chris has sat down and talked with Rick Warren, trying to confront him, in a godly way, about the unbiblical methods Rick Warren uses.To quote Chris, (who also received flack for doing this), “you would think I french-kissed the devil!” I was listening on my Ipod walking through a shopping centre as he made this remark, and I was burst into stunned laughter! Here’s the link…..

  5. I don’t think Rick Warren will change by allowing him to speak. He will only change if he decides to listen. John 15:18-20 tells us what to think about people whom the world loves and 1Tim.3;12-13 tells us what is going to happen to us if we follow Jesus, and Rick is loved by the world. Being popular is the opposite of being holy.

    • Phil N.,
      Jesus, the prophets, and apostles did present the truth to all men, including false teachers. However, as others here have pointed out, we are not to help false teachers or allow them in the assembly. If someone has a plan to save Warren, go for it. Letting him lead your prayer meeting is still wrong.

      Phil Perkins.

    • Boyd, Don’t know I got my reply to Phil N. here. Must be my fat fingers.

      Anyway, you’re right on your comment here. Exactly right.

      Phil Perkins.

  6. I think all this controversy points to a bigger problem I would like to hear others address.
    1. How long should anyone be a follower of men ie. Warren, Piper, McAuthor etc.?
    A. If someone sits in the same church
    and listens to the same teacher
    year after year isn’t something
    B. Isn’t the Kingdom suppose be more
    like a field than a barn? Luke 12:18
    2. Why haven’t these “leaders” settled these issues like Acts 15?
    A. Look at all the pub this has
    generated between “fans” of both
    camps. Reminds me of WWF, “Ventura
    vs. Hogan” smack down.

    3. Aren’t these conferences just another ear-tickling fund raising event? Is RW going to teach Piper’s flock something they don’t know or is this just another share your marketing and fund raising, can’t we all get along, lovefest, sheep shearing celebrity book marketing concert?

    • Boyd,
      You’re right. I don’t have time today to give a good reply, but your instincts about being too attached to men is correct. There’s nothing wrong with staying in the same church under the same pastors all your life. In the NT, folks weren’t all that mobile. They were stuck with the church they had pretty much.

      However, you’re exactly right about the wrong attachment. I find it really sad. If you attack a false teaching folks get mad and the issue seems to be always the same. They refuse even to deal with the teaching involved or deal with the Scripture. They won’t lift a lip to defend biblical doctrine, but they’ll go to the mat for their favorite teacher, church, school, or denomination.

      You’re right, though. The things we’re talking about here are symptoms of a heart problem.
      Phil Perkins.

    • “..share your market…”

      Probably right about that, too. Selling books and conferences will be cut down if you limit your audience to the orthodox.

  7. What about guys like Al Mohler who are also speaking at that conference. Surely they must have known Warren was coming. I’m not going to throw him away either……at least not yet.

    Al Mohler has his own set ecumenical compromises on his resume. He has no leg to stand on to raise any meaningful protest to the Piper invite of Warren. I don’t know your policy on linking to other blogs, but I did a thorough expose on Mohler’s rack record. The one that did nit make that article is Mohler sitting on the board of Focus on the Family, which is another ecumenical hodge-podge he is presently part of. Here is the article

    • Hi Lou,

      This is from your website;

      I personally reject all five points of Calvinism as I understand them and the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel that flows from it. I cite Dr. Peter Masters because he is a Calvinist and highly respected in Calvinistic circles. His ministry of warning and admonition to his Calvinistic brethren is not easily dismissed by them. (source)

      Do you believe one of God’s attributes is His Sovereignty?


  8. PhilN:

    Both divine sovereignty and human responsibility are truths found in the Word of God. They are not competing truths they are truths! They are truths that cannot be reconciled. The free will of man does no violence to God’s sovereignty! In short, freedom of will is no threat to, nor is it a denial of the sovereignty of God. In my opinion God’s sovereignty is actually magnified when we allow for the free will of man and His sovereignty to co-exist. His sovereignty is not diminished and is done no damage by or through the will of man including a beliver’s disobedience to His Word, which Piper is an exmaple of.


    • Hi Lou,

      Do you have any Scripture to go with what you said because all you seem to do is offer your opinion in answer to my question. I’d like you to demonstrate clearly for me your position with Scripture if you don’t mind.


    • Phil N.,
      Here is a great example of what Lou is saying: Genesis 20. Read it some time. Abimelech doesn’t commit a particular sin and God tells him that He kept him from sinning so that he didn’t have to die. So that was God’s plan and He achieved it by arranging things so Abimelech made certain choices. Then God went on to say the Abraham would pray for mercy on behalf of Abimelech. So, in His sovereignty God had already answered the prayer not yet prayed the He sovereignly arranged so that He could answer it.

      Another is Genesis 18:19. Read it. Most translations say God chose Abraham, but the text says He knew him. In any case, God arranged to have Abraham make certain decisions so He could bless Abraham’s offspring.

      One of my favorites, though, is Acts 2. Peter said that Jesus was murdered according to God’s plan. So even when folks choose sin, it’s part of God’s plan to achieve God’s righteous aims. Yet, He’s not the responsible author of sin.

      God bless,
      Phil Perkins.

    • Lou,
      I’d encourage you to think through a thing or two. You’re right in knowing there is no contradiction between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

      One of the great confusions is from the American concept of free will. It isn’t biblical or even consistent with the world we make decisions in. Human will isn’t radically free. It’s only free within the limits placed on it by two things. First, you are free only to do those things you can do (your capacities). Second, you are only free to do those things you want to do based on your likes, dislikes, goals, etc.(your nature). You may be able to do things, but you never will if they are outside your nature. Hence dogs don’t eat ball bearings and men don’t repent of their sins.

      That’s one line of thought to explore as you study Scripture.

      Then there is the nature of God. Is He in control of all things or not? If the final decision to repent is yours and God wants all folks saved carte blanche and if you don’t, God’s will is thwarted. And if you do, you deserve some credit for your salvation. You are very wise and were more righteous than the fellow who didn’t repent. Repentance and faith are gifts from God. Eph. 2:8–9, II Tim. 2:25. Biblically, repentance is just as much a gift of God as forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31. So, just as we can’t forgive our own sins, we can’t produce repentance and faith in ourselves–our nature. You see that in both the Eph. and Acts passages. Take a look. The “this” in Eph. 2 refers back to both grace and faith. The English isn’t great on that, but the Greek grammar makes it clear.

      One last word for your consideration. When Paul said he depended on the power of the gospel to save men, I believe this is what he meant. He called folks to repentance and faith, but he was sure only the Holy Spirit could make that happen.

      Just some stuff to think about for you. Examine the Scripture and see if that doesn’t make sense. I’ll bug out of this conversation now. Perhaps Phil N. will block this comment as he may wish to deal with this himself. (Taking my nose and leaving now.)

      Phil Perkins.

      • Phil P,

        Nah, I’m not going to block you. You are always welcome to stick your nose around here and say whatever you need to say whenever or even however you need to say it!

        I’m getting ready to do a podcast and this thread has given me some things to talk about!

        Thanks Brother!


  9. Phil N.,
    So, could you give us a quick run down for us on what the book says? Personally, I’m behind on my reading as it is.

    Phil Perkins.

  10. Deb,
    Hi. Perhaps it’s time just to be outright public about it. I mean it’s pretty public right now. I am taking LHT off me sight, just to make sure I’m doing the right thing. If I’m wrong about that, then I don’t think my little blog will dent them, anyway and God will uphold them if they’re doing the right thing, but simply mistaken.

    Phil Perkins.

  11. Repentance and faith are gifts from God.”

    No, they are not.

    Calvinists/Lordship Salvation advocates believe regeneration must precede faith, i.e., the lost man is regenerated (born again) prior to and apart from faith in Christ. How do they arrive at this extra-biblical view: They take the biblical truth of Total Depravity and skew that into Calvinism’s Total Inability.

    Another extra-biblical teaching that flows from Calvinism is the teaching that faith is the gift of God. They arrive at this by skewing Ephesians 2:8-9 to force it into conformity with Calvinism’s system.

    Furthermore, LS men misinterpret biblical repentance and turn it away from the biblical definition which is to “change the mind,” into a matter of turning from sin in the form of an upfront commitment, “to stop sinning…the inclination to start obeying” to receive the gift of eternal life.

    This, in a nutshell, is what T4G is gathering around this week. This is why I call T4G: Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel. And why I will have nothing to do with it or men who are the prime advocates of this works based assault on the Gospel of grace: Lordship Salvation.

    IMO, Brother George Zeller has provided some of the most sound and penetrating refutations of these extra-biblical views. You may these article and archive them for further study. See-

    The Dangers of Reformed Theology


    • Hi Lou,

      Read John 6:65 and John 6:37 and put them together and then tell me that faith isn’t a “gift from God”. Please pay particular attention to “come to me” which basically means believe in Me.


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