It Gets Worse for John Piper

Several posts at DefCon have detailed many of the concerns any Christian ought to have with the public behavior and pronouncements made by John Piper – here’s a search page showing them.

It keeps getting worse, as John Piper pursues public friendships with people who know not the gospel of Jesus Christ yet call themselves ministers of the gospel. People like Rick Warren.

What follows is an excerpt from a post from Ken Silva at Apprising.org at this page.

People of the living God – pay attention to the teaching you receive. Do not take anything from any man without testing it in light of the Word of God. Give no minister a pass on essential issues of the Christian faith, for many are deceived and many more will be. Mark those walk contrary to the Word of God and have nothing to do with them.

Here is part of Ken’s message – read the whole thing.

This was a Trojan Horse that squishy evanjellyfish leaders would bring into their own camp and then proved to be the vehicle from which this spurious spirituality, a romanticized version of the Counter Reformation (hello) spirituality of the apostate Roman Catholic Church, would be unloaded into the mainstream of the visible church, which such as these have been pawning off for years now as so-called Spiritual Formation. I’ve also pointed out it’s an incontrovertible fact that the main purveyors of CSM would be the Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, along with Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard; who is quite literally Foster’s spiritual twin.

In additon, in no uncertain terms I told you that it’s well past time for recognizing the inclusive, and increasingly universal, fruit of the Emerging Church and the spiritual skubalon of Foster-Willardism. Ok, but what does this have to do with John Piper? I’m glad you asked. Dr. Piper’s choice to advance Rick Warren into the Reformed camp has had the rippling effect of people, even outside of any discernment ministries, beginning to look a little closer at his theology, educational background, and associations; e.g. his charismatic bent, his connection to Fuller Theological Seminary, and with the late Ralph Winter.

I had received a tip from a source back in June of this past year; and as I followed up on it, it would eventually lead me to discover some disturbing information which I orginally began sharing in Questions Concerning Dr. John Piper and Dr. John Piper And Unanswered Questions. As I told you earlier this year in Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network, & The Emerging Church I have some serious reservations about so-called New Calvinism. And there’s very good reason for such concern as Mark Driscoll and his Acts 29 Network are growing in popularity and influence within the younger sector of the Reformed Camp; being blessed as they are by Dr. John Piper, who’s seen as a father of this New Calvinism.[3]

The Monstrosity of a Faith that is Alone

I am currently reading John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied published in 1955 by Eerdmans Publishing Company. This little book (180 pages) is an amazing dissertation on the meaning of the atonement, how it was accomplished, and how it is applied to sinful man. Murray, a Scottish theologian who died in 1975, spent most of his career at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

In Part 2 of this book, Murray explains what he sees as a Biblical sequence, or order, of application of redemption. I highly recommend this little book.

He walks the reader through each of these sequential steps and explains how one follows the other with Biblical evidence. I was particularly struck with this section in the chapter under Justification and wanted to share with you and explain it further.

Quoted from page 131: “It is an old and time-worn objection that this doctrine ministers to license and looseness (he is speaking of the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone). Only those who know not the power of the gospel will plead such misconception. Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.”

This is an argument we often hear and Murray challenges it strongly by claiming those who make this claim do not know the power of the gospel. Those who say that justification by faith alone will lead to a life of looseness, continued living in sin, and an attitude of living free have a point, but it is short sided in that they do not know how this same justifying faith powerfully changes the person.

Continuing with his quote: “Justification is not all that is embraced in the gospel of redeeming grace. Christ is a complete Savior and it is not justification alone that the believing sinner possesses in him. And faith is not the only response in the heart of him who has entrusted himself to Christ for salvation.”

So, the believer puts his faith and trust in Christ and then he is done?

Is he complete? Is his work finished or is more expected? Is there more to the story?

Murray points to the fact that there is more to the response of faith than just believing.

Will we go on sinning? Or will our lives be different?

Our faith cannot be alone, there must be a response of holiness and works of the faith along with their belief (James 2:17-20). But then does that mean we are saved by works? Not even close.

Continuing with the quote: “Faith alone justifies but a justified person with faith alone would be a monstrosity which never exists in the kingdom of grace. Faith works itself out through love (Gal. 5:6). And Faith without works is dead (James 2:17-20).”

The so called believer who has faith without works is a MONSTROSITY that can’t exist in the kingdom. Faith comes with works. Fruit will follow faith.

Are we without the response of holiness, service, and works of the faith?

Are we a deformed monster that is not actually part of the kingdom since faith cannot exist alone?

Are we living a lie?

Has there been a fruitful response to our belief?

More from Murray: “It is living faith that justifies and living faith unites to Christ both in the virtue of his death and in the power of his resurrection. No one has entrusted himself to Christ for deliverance from the guilt of sin who has not also entrusted himself to him for deliverance from the power of sin. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Wow, do you hear that? No one has entrusted themselves to the deliverance of the GUILT of sin (i.e. forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ) who has not also entrusted themselves to the POWER OVER SIN…or in other terms the power given to us through our faith to NOT SIN. This is awesome. Shall we live in sin then since we are free not to? God forbid! Let it not be so! We must embrace and trust the power we have over sin that comes with our faith and justification in the eyes of God. Because we have faith we will fight the temptations that come and we will wage good warfare against sin (1 Tim 1:18-19). We will also love others, serve others, die to self, and give sacrificially because of our faith. We possess these things as an integral part of our faith. It is the natural response to our faith.

Examine yourself as I examine myself. Are we mutant Christians who have a dead faith because it is without works? Are you a monstrosity in the kingdom of God?

May 21, 2011 . . . much to do about nothing.

Since Harold Camping is once again predicting Judgment Day to arrive on a specific day (a day that even the Son does not know), I figured I’d turn on Family Radio this past Monday to see how those expecting the world to end in less than a week would spend their valuable air time.

Besides playing a lot of music, they had a vignette on how to help your children to stop focusing on the needs of today and instead look further into the future at bigger things like college and career, and they even had a radio appeal for more financial donors to help keep the radio station broadcasting.

I found all that to be very odd. Less than a week before the demise of the world and Family Radio is worried about finances to keep the station on the air and concerned about telling you how to get your kids to focus on their future?

Did I miss something?

And then there was the music. I don’t know about you, but if I knew that Christ was returning for His bride in less than a week, I’d be using the airways to deliver the Gospel message of repentance and faith, not playing music.

I wonder why the nonchalant approach toward such an impending day of doom. Do they not even take themselves seriously?

Could Christ return on May 21, 2011? Absolutely, for He told us to keep watch because He will indeed return. But not only did He say that no man knows the time of His return (Matthew 24:36), He also said He will come at an hour when we least expect Him (Luke 12:40).

ABC News has a piece on some Atheists who are taking this Sunday’s event more serious than Camping’s own radio station, even if it’s only to line their own pockets with the money of the gullible. Here’s a quote from the article:

Wondering about the fate of your pets after Judgment Day?
Well, for $135, a loving atheist will care for your animal if you’re not around anymore.

Eternal Earthbound Pets offers a service to rescue and take care of pets once their owners have been taken away to the heavenly realms.  Though doomsayers say this Saturday will be the latest day of reckoning that’s not expected to leave animals behind either.

Bart Centre of New Hampshire, co-owner of the pet business, launched it in June 2009. He has zero belief in Judgment Day, but began to see an increase in sales inquiries in December, which, he believes, is related to Family Radio’s heavy marketing campaign around the May 21 date.

The retired retail executive said he has sold 258 contracts so far.

ABC News also has a brief piece by Calvin Lawrence Jr. (reprinted below) on past judgment days that have come and gone, including predictions by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Chuck Smith (yes, the Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel™ franchise).

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

The Bible couldn’t be clearer, right there in the Book of Matthew: chapter 24, verse 36.

But doomsayers have sworn since at least Roman times that they’re better sourced than the angels themselves, boldly trotting out predictions down to the day for the Final Judgment, when, Christians believe, Jesus will descend to earth and set off a chain of events resulting in the end of the world and a new heaven.

May 21, 2011, is the latest attempt to get a jump on Judgment Day, courtesy of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, a nonprofit evangelical Christian group. And, assuming we’re all here to follow up, it will make a nice addition on May 22 to this random list of predicted Second Comings we’ve survived so far.

1. Let’s start with Family Radio, whose president, Harold Camping, predicted the End of Days before: Sept. 6, 1994. Camping had been “thrown off a correct calculation because of some verses in Matthew 24,” a company spokesman told ABC News this month.

The Christian radio broadcaster is apparently more confident this time around, spending big bucks on 5,000 billboards, posters, fliers and digital bus displays across the country.

2. Edgar Whisenant didn’t get it right the first time, either, when he predicted a mid-September 1988 Rapture, even publishing the books “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and “On Borrowed Time.” No Apocalypse, no problem. The former NASA engineer simply pushed his predictions off to three subsequent years and wrote books along the way, none of which reportedly sold as well as the first two.

He died in 2001. We’re unable to confirm where he’s awaiting the big day.

3. Jehovah’s Witnesses first anticipated the end of times in 1914, now noting on their official website that “not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance.”

4. In the century before, renowned New England Baptist minister William Miller triggered what ultimately became known as the “great disappointment” after his failed prophesies that Christ would return sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, and then on Oct. 22, 1844.

5. More recently, Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angeles told a Trinity Broadcasting Network audience that the “most cataclysmic experience that the world has ever known since the Resurrection … is going to happen,” according to the Christian Research Institute, which is home to “Bible Answer Man.”

Hinkle said God, “in the most awesome voice,” told him that “on Thursday, June the ninth [1994], I will rip the evil out of this world.”

You might have missed it, however, because the prophesy came to pass invisibly, he said, according to the Christian Research Institute.

6. Chuck Smith, the prolific author and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in California, turned to scripture and simple math to prepare his flock for the Tribulation. “If I understand Scripture correctly, Jesus taught us that the generation which sees he ‘budding of the fig tree,’ the birth of the nation Israel, will be the generation that see the Lords return,” he wrote in his book “End Times” (1978). “I believe that the generation 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948+40-7=1981).”

“I could be wrong,” he wrote in “Future Survival” (1978), “but it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”

Smith was wrong and has not only abandoned his prophesying ways but since has looked askance at others who have gone down that road.

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, thought the world was sure to end in 1914,” Smith wrote in his book “Dateline Earth: Countdown to Eternity” (1989). “When it didn’t happen, they merely moved the date up a few years.”

7. The prophetic-sounding year 2000 inspired too many doomsday predictions to list here. Suffice it to say that, in hindsight, there was really no need to party like it was 1999.