Friday, May 27, 2011

John Piper interviews Rick Warren

The long-awaited interview between John Piper and Rick Warren is now available on the Desiring God blog. It is worth watching the whole 98 minutes. The value of this interview exceeds the information that it provides. We get a glimpse into the heart of 2 of the most influential Christian pastors of this generation.

Piper models a humility and love that those who rally behind his theology need desperately to understand and emulate. We need to understand it because his attitude extends from his theology. Should not those of us who love doctrines of grace exude more of the grace of those doctrines? Piper demonstrates exactly that both in the care with which he has read Warren and questions him and in the way that he seeks to understand what Warren genuinely believes rather than settling for the predominant caricatures of him that too often live in Reformed circles.

Warren models love for people who have souls that will never die and a genuine commitment to the core teachings of the gospel of God's grace that those who rally behind his methodology should take to heart. Doctrine matters to him though he may not express it in the same way Piper does. He has not severed his practice from doctrinal foundations. His willingness to be questioned and critiqued is an example to everyone who wants to grow in grace and faith.

The spirit demonstrated between these two brothers is what I aspire to in my own life and relationships with fellow believers. I believe it exemplifies what lies behind the call for a Great Commission Resurgence within the SBC. May it spread throughout all of our churches who love Christ and want to make Him known.

Watch the interview. Listen carefully to Piper's final exhortation and prayer. And join me in praying for these two influential pastors, as we pray for ourselves, that God will grow them in humility and usefulness for the glory of His Son.


Caddiechaplain said...

This interview was an over-do one and critical to the much needed dialog that is lacking amongst members of the body of Christ. Who better lead the dialog than JP? A serious theologian and a serious evangelist sharing the same concerns for the Church and it's impact on the world. Epic!
See you in Phoenix . . .

will said...

The last five minutes was worth the other 93.

Cedar Hill Tx

Dirk said...

Very important blog :-)
Isn’t it almost funny how so many sincere and loving Christians have a different view in regard to the Piper –Warren connection and the future impact of this?
I myself believe Warren to be THE pragmatic, evangelical, postmodern, social, ecumenical-chameleon of our times. So, of course, he would give his audience (in this case reformed) a good I-tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear kind of speech.
I am not surprised by what Warren said (his performance). I am actually more surprised why brother Piper (I believe Piper to be a genuine and sincere Christian) gave a man like Warren a platform so he could also spread his social-esoteric Gospel on reformed soil.
Let’s say for example, a John MacArthur would have interviewed Warren about his book the “Purpose Driven Life”, I guess the conversation would have been somewhat different. I guess that would never happen, too bad!
What struck me though, is that brother Piper did not interfere (argued against) when Warren tried to defend his strange view on repentance. As an example, Warren used the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) and “a hundred other people in Scripture” to illustrate someone who made it into the kingdom without hearing the literal word “repentance” (Interview 00:45 min.).
Well, how does he know that all these people have never heard the word “repent”? Jesus (as did John the Baptist and all the prophets before him) started His public ministry with these words:
“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matt.4:17)
Don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing that we must (always) strictly use the literal word repentance (since there are other words we can use to explain the concept behind the word repentance) as a sort of magical word. But I do believe that the literal word, and its meaning, was well known and understood during the time the Spirit breathed out the word in the Bible. And I believe that it is our duty therefore, to use these biblical words (in this case, repentance) and explain its meaning (expository - giving the sense of it) to our listeners today. Paul did not shrink from declaring the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:26-27), and in a book with the title “The Purpose Driven Life” someone should expect …
Furthermore, the boasting in the end of how humbly Warren drives the same car, lives in the same house and did not keep money for himself, praying publicly at the end, etc. made me feel rather awkward since the Lord promised to reward us for doing these things in secret (Matt.6:1-6). But I guess that only applied to a Judean context and not to a professional US Christian audience (sorry for using a little bit of sarcasm on this last point).
Anyway, I, and others I know, are greatly disturbed and worried that this whole new loving, reformed, emergent social-movement and this Piper-Warren interview, in its, I am sure honest desire to reach the lost and transform the culture (building bridges), etc. will actually do more harm than good to the true bride of Christ.
May God help us all to finish the race while clinging to what is good …
Love in Christ,

Wyman said...


Thanks for posting this.

I, and others I know, are encouraged by the careful, thoughtful approach Piper has taken to Warren and think it may just go a long way toward bringing a measure of clarity and wisdom to the unfortunate hyper-suspiciousness and lack of charity that we sometimes show good brothers and sisters in Christ who deserve better.


Steve Loeffler said...

Dirk, I agree with you. I am concerned about the trends I am seeing even in the reformed camp. The world seems to be influencing the church more than the church influencing the World let along confronting the world, the culture.

Again, Piper sides steps all the trash in the purpose driven life as well as the career of Warren in all his compromises even with other faiths.


Steve Loeffler

lew said...

Are you not accepting comments on is article? Can you please explain brother Ascol why you believe Mr. Piper didn't ask Mr. Warren about the Daniel Plan, Dr's Oz, Hyman and Amen's and their tantric sexcapaes, transcendental meditation and Mr. Oz's believe in Swedenborgism?

Carole Mayfield said...

How can anyone say he didn't cover repentance correctly with John Piper. It certainly didn't seem strange to me. Repentance is a mind change that produces a change in behavior worthy of repentance.

Tom said...


The interview was restricted to Warren's book. That was the stated purpose and parameters.


Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill O'Neill said...

Having just read your post, now five months out, I see this through the lens of additional movement in the ether, e.g., YRR, The Elephant Room, to name a couple. Let me first say that John Piper's messages have been blessings, truly, from the first sermon audio I heard.

Conversely, my first exposure to Mr. Warren was an audiobook version of the then new Purpose Driven Life given me as a gift. Not far into chapter one engendered in me an awkward discomfort. "It's not about you" seemed like a good enough place to start. Sadly, from there, it was evident that this was a person-centered message that, while one of Christ as Savior, was not resonating the Biblical message of Jesus Christ as Savior as well as Sovereign Lord and King.

A prior post in this string did bring up a very interesting what-if - What if Mr. Warren were to sit down with, say, John MacArthur or Phil Johnson for an hour of conversation? One can hope!