Sermon of the Week: Retracted

In the desire to keep Christ the center of what we do here at DefCon, the Sermon of the week has been retracted by the Author due to concerns regarding the character of the man who preached it.

“Can we warn about a ravening wolf spiritually while simultaneously throwing an arm around him?”

That’s a fantastic question from a fantastic article recently posted by Worldview Weekend entitled:

Rick Warren’s Infiltration of the Reformed Faith

This is a must-read for everyone who’s concerned with what’s been happening lately in Reformed circles.

Here’s a quote from the article to whet your whistle:

“Rick Warren desires credibility and influence more than anything else, and he has been able to accomplish both over much of the religious landscape in America over the last decade. Some important holdouts have been the celebrity pastors of the Reformed book/conference circuit who were in stated opposition to him for his handling of Scripture and his man-centered, false gospel. All of that is changing quickly. What Rick Warren needed was to win over a leader whose status was great enough among Reformed evangelicals who could deliver the holdouts into his arms. He found such a man in John Piper. . . . Warren’s photo ops with Reformed leaders do nothing for the truth, and they do everything for Rick Warren’s relentless campaign for credibility and influence among those who should know better.”

Read the entire article from Worldview Weekend here.

John Piper, Rick Warren redux.

A few years ago those who observed that John Piper was heading down a bad road when he began validating Mark Driscoll were all but crucified by those who thought the ones raising the concern were jumping to conclusions.

But then the next shoe dropped: Piper invited Rick Warren to speak at last year’s Desiring God conference (and I noticed there were a lot less voices being raised from the defend-Piper-at-all-costs crowd). Rick Warren was unable to make it to that conference but this year Piper is traveling to Warren’s church.

This link contains the video (and other information) for John Piper’s upcoming Desiring God regional conference on “Meditations of a Christian Hedonist” being held at Rick Warren’s Saddleback church.

It appears that the slippery slope some of us were talking about over the past few years is rapidly turning into a cliff.

Will Piper surprise us and preach a non-compromising sermon on Christ and Him crucified to those who’ve been nursing on Warren’s  messages for years (we can only hope and pray), or will things only get worse as the years go by and perhaps next year we’ll see an endorsement of Thomas S. Monson? I guess time will only tell.

Nasty, snarky, condescending, and vitriolic comments will not be approved.

Piper – The Slope to Heresy?!

Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

It is a tragedy when those who claim the name of Christ are being duped by the myriads of false teachers who have no desire for truth. An even greater tragedy occurs when false professors and/or their false teachings begin to be endorsed by well-respected ministers of the gospel. However, the greatest tragedy is when well-respected ministers of the gospel not only endorse false teaching and heresy but then allow it to be preached as truth in the midst of those sheep whom they have been supposedly called upon to protect. The man in question is none other than John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota.
john-piper

Before we continue, I want to make it very clear that this is not a private issue, but one that is well out in the open. The false teaching and endorsing of such teachings and heresies is well-documented. This is an open matter and is being addressed accordingly based on the commands we find in Scripture.

I am under no delusions that this will NOT be a popular post with some. However, Defending Contending believes we can no longer be honoring to Christ and His Word if we merely overlook what is happening within the ranks of evangelicalism simply because of who the pastor might or might not be, or how popular he appears to be.

With that in mind, let’s continue by looking briefly at two heresies taking over at an alarming rate. Both of these doctrines are pushing the ranks of the uninformed back towards the open, welcoming arms of Rome again. Sadly, these doctrines are even being embraced or unknowingly being endorsed by even very conservative Baptist churches.

    First – Federal Vision in a nutshell believes that when a person unites with the visible local church that the individual becomes one with Christ. Federalists also teach that when an unbeliever partakes of communion (the Lord’s Table) that they are actually feeding upon Christ. Further, they teach that being baptized is the means whereby a person becomes one with Christ. For further information, I would highly recommend this article at The Banner of Truth Trust. FV has been rejected outright by many mainline Reformed denominations.
    Second – The New Perspective on Paul (or NPP) believes that Judaism was actually a religion of grace. They teach that salvation is possible by the keeping of the law. They also teach that the righteousness of God is actually referring to His faithfulness and that it has nothing to do with the truth that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the new believer. N.T. Wright is abundantly clear about what he means and what he stands for when he declares that justification is about the mark of what a person already is, and is not about the means whereby one is justified with God. A quote from N.T. Wright, “In theology, therefore, justification is not the means whereby it becomes possible to declare someone in the right. It is simply that declaration itself. It is not how someone becomes a Christian, but simply the declaration that someone is a Christian. It is not the exercise of mercy, but the just declaration concerning one who has already received mercy. This is a crucial distinction, without which it is impossible to understand the biblical material.” For further reading go to this article at Theopedia

Let’s makes this very clear! Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul are both heresies that lead back to Rome! Those who teach these are leading people deliberately astray and must be classified as heretics at worst and in need of repentance at best for their false teachings. Both of these teachings are nothing more than a rehash of Roman Catholic doctrine which has damned millions to hell.

Now that the reader understands a little more of the heresies defined above, we move back to John Piper’s progressive downhill slide which looks like this –

1) Mixing oxymorons for many years such as “Christian hedonism”
2) Openly endorsing Mark Driscoll (the vulgar, sewer-mouthed talker) with no known retractions
3) Blasphemously claiming the Lord of Glory was damned upon the cross
4) Openly endorsing the Federal Vision heresy as proclaimed by men like Douglas Wilson, and clearly indicating that Douglas Wilson is NOT preaching another or false gospel
5) Openly endorsing the New Perspective on Paul heresy as proclaimed by men like N.T. Wright, and clearly stating that N.T. Wright is also NOT preaching another or false gospel, but that the NPP is merely a “confusing gospel!

** Edit Note ** Points 4 & 5 have numerous proofs, but here is a video clip from The Resurgence.

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

John Piper is leading many astray by his open endorsements of these men as mentioned above. His own theology comes into question when he publishes questionable material on his site about the doctrine of justification which you can still find on his site at Desiring God – I am firmly convinced that John Piper has slid this view under the noses of evangelicals who have missed the error of a justification that is NOT by faith alone. For more information on this issue and the problems with a recent work entitled Future Grace, you can visit Trinity Foundation.

While we at DefCon have respected John Piper as a man of God in the past, we believe we can no longer endorse any teachings by Piper. Our prayer is that God will bring Piper to a point where he will see the error of his teaching before it is too late and repent. We pray that God will also open the eyes of all those who blindly follow a man who is openly endorsing heresies as being merely a “confusing” gospel. “Confusing” gospels are no true gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ. They damn the souls of men to a Christ-less eternity in hell forever.

The Scriptures exhort us to openly exhort and rebuke those who cause divisions within the faith once delivered to the saints. John Piper is and continues to do this by his strange brand of heterodoxy which has sucked in the unlearned and learned alike. May we ever be alert to the apostasy that the apostle Paul warned will appear in the latter days. It will come from within the midst of what seems to be truth, but it will be mixed with poison. Pastors and their people will swallow it, and before they realize it is too late will be overcome.

Grieving over further apostasy,

The Desert Pastor

Mark Driscoll mocks the Sinlessness of Jesus Christ

“If you’re tempted to these sorts of things — including sexual sin — some of you say, “Now Mark, Jesus wasn’t sexually tempted.” Well, of course he was — 30 something year old single man who had women who adored him. You don’t think he ever wanted the comfort of a woman? You don’t think he ever got tired of going to bed by himself? You don’t think that he didn’t once want to have intimate relations with a woman? He was tempted.”
(Mark Driscoll – “How Human was Jesus?”, October 15th 2006.)

How is this rubbish defensible from one who claims to be a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ?  This is the same thing as saying that Jesus Christ was tempted to lust after Mary Magdalene as others have claimed.  The next thing we will hear is that the thoughts of the Lord Jesus Christ did equal sin until He (the Lord) actually acted upon those thoughts —– Oh wait a minute, never mind, he did say that also!

This is the same man who claims that the heresy teaching Joel Osteen is a Christian brother and the “happiest Christian preacher” out there.  This is the same man who claims the Bible is completely silent on whether Jesus COULD have sinned.

This is the same man who is being endorsed by a man who has in the past stood for the truth of God’s Word.  He is being endorsed by a man who it seemed would not have endorsed much less allowed to preach in his pulpit a man who teaches the things that Driscoll believes.

I am afraid that I am one of those who take a stand for Biblical separation.  These issues are NOT matters of secondary separation.  They are clearly defined matters which require an explanation from one who has demeaned the office of elder by his caustic, vulgar, offensive, Christ-dishonouring speech (Driscoll) and also a Biblical explanation from those who are willing to openly endorse such nonsense without calling such a one to account.

It is a mockery to say that such a one who openly (and seemingly) with no remorse and repentance and no chastisement or discipline even has the Spirit of God dwelling within him.  The Bible makes it clear that by their fruits you shall know them.  While the ultimate judgment is in the hands of the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe, I believe that it would behoove Christian leaders to start being more discerning in what and who they allow into their pulpits.

Sadly, I believe that based on the writings and warning by the apostle Paul, it can be concluded that John Piper is gravely in error in allowing this man to preach at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  He is wrong for not condemning the language and for waffling on the issue.  I have serious concerns that such endorsements will just as surely lead true believers down wrong paths as what men like J.I. Packer did when being willing to embrace Colson and Neuhaus as brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grieving for the downhill slides in the church,

The Desert Pastor

********** EDITED WITH ADDITION BELOW **********

James 1:15 says, “Then, when desire (lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

The word used for lust in this verse means “a longing (especially for what is forbidden), concupiscence, desire, lust (after).”

Desire is defined by Princeton as “the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state.”

For those who are trying to smooth over the harm that Mark Driscoll is doing, it won’t work – at least, not with those who seek to be discerning.  Even if his only problem is that he used a poor choice of words, he has had plenty of time since 2006 to make this right.  His verbage indicates that Jesus wanted/desired what He could not have.  He also made it clear that Jesus had an unsatisfied state.  This explicitly demeans the sinlessness of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ had need of nothing, and He certainly did not “long for/want/desire/etc” the company of a woman to “satisfy” His flesh!

*************** PER MBAKER’S RECOMMENDATION ***************

**** I AM ADDING THE FOLLOWING COMMENT AS OF 11/29/2008 ****

Thanks again for your comments. We have no problems here at DefCon considering the issue of Mark Driscoll from a biblical perspective. The problem is that when we do his followers trot out the “do not judge” line. When we address his vulgar language and sexual innuendos about the Lord Jesus Christ, we are told that MD is merely trying to be culturally relevant.

If you are truly interested in further conversation, may I recommend that you go to the following link:

http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/search?q=driscoll

Read all the posts by Steven Camp that have been written from a carefully worded position that I believe is honouring to the Lord Jesus Christ. Those blogs have more than enough information showing the heresy that Mark is teaching and his connections with people like T.D. Jakes and the heresy of Oneness teaching, connections with the emergent church and the contemplative movement that is taking many within so-called new-evangelical by storm.

For the record, we do NOT hate Mark Driscoll. However, we do believe that he is disqualified from currently being a minister of the gospel. We also believe that instead of being openly rebuked that there are other ministers such as John Piper and Joshua Harris who are openly endorsing this man.

I would challenge ANY reader from a Biblical perspective ONLY (not your personal feelings) to prove that Mark Driscoll is theologically correct in his belief on the doctrine of imputation (as just one example) or that he somehow manages to qualify as a pastor (when such drivel as he preaches and teaches and such language would not have been tolerated even 10-15 years ago from mainline evangelical pulpits.

The Desert Pastor