by Mike Ratliff
If anyone teaches a different doctrine which neither agrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he has become conceited, having understood nothing, but having a morbid craving for controversies and disputes over words, out of which comes envy, strife, evil speaking, evil-suspicions, constant friction among those who are depraved in mind and having become bereft of the truth, thinking godliness is the means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 translated from the NA27 Greek text)
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and lusts, many foolish and harmful, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For a root of all evils is the love of money. It is through this craving that some were led away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:9-11 translated from the NA27 Greek text)
Excuse me Dr. Piper. I was once a Southern Baptist. I was a Bible teacher and Deacon in local church not far from where I live now. A couple of years before we parted ways, my Sunday school director gave me a Christmas present. It was your book Don’t Waste Your Life. To be honest, that was the first time I had heard of you. I read the book over the next couple of months. I received more of your books as gifts from other people over the next few years.
When our church’s leadership decided to go Purpose Driven in 2006, I was the only one in leadership who put up a fight against it. I even used some of your Gospel material in that defense showing how the Purpose Driven paradigm dummies the gospel down or waters it down to the point that it becomes a man-focused sales pitch rather than what it should be, which is all about God and His glory.
That stance against the PDC take-over of that church was costly. My wife and I left and never went back when it was made plain that they considered me a threat and that since I would not submit to the authority of the Pastor and his selected leaders in this, there was no room for me there in any capacity. That was also the beginning of this ministry.
I have sought nothing more since 2006 in this ministry than telling the truth to all who will listen about the decay and downgrade going on in the Church. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven paradigm is a huge part of that. My friends and I keep up with his daily “Tweets” and what he writes and says and nothing has really changed. He still misquotes the Bible (eisegesis) in an attempt to make it support some point he is trying to make. If he can’t do that using a reliable translation, he switches to a suspect one like The Message in order to “make it fit.”
In any case, I am sure you are aware of all of that. I have some questions for you concerning these things in light of your attempts to validate Rick Warren and his ministry to the rest of the Church by inviting him to your Pastor’s conference last year then having it hosted by him this year at Saddleback Valley Baptist Church. Also, I watched your interview you did with him. Also, in this post, I clearly show that Rick Warren has no respect for God’s Word and uses it out of context to support his unbiblical teachings. This is just one example. This style is his marker. This is his way.
Now, in light of these things plus very clear scriptural direction from the Apostle Paul as I translated from 1 Timothy 6 above, as well in countless other places given to us in scripture I have been inundated from countless readers and friends to approach you and, somehow, determine what is going on. There is much anxiety about this. Your response would be appreciated.
First, you know the gospel. You preach it. You are doctrinally sound yet you are partnering with a man who is none of those things. In fact, his very ministry has caused much harm, much damage to other ministries and churches and families because of the hostile takeovers done by his followers of once solid local churches, turning them into store fronts for the Purpose Driven paradigm. People want to know from you, why you are doing this.
Second, along these same lines, you are also in close relationship with Mark Driscoll who is now claiming to hear verbally and directly from God. That is a clear attack on Sola Scriptura as you well know. Once subjectivity enters into Doctrine then you have the mess that is the Roman Catholic Church. What one claims to have heard from God is then placed above the Word and before long; tradition and position outweigh it or are placed above it. Matt Chandler of your own Gospel Coalition is claiming the same things. I have been asked to ask you to make a statement about your position on this.
Third, I know you are close to C.J. Mahaney. I believe he is a godly man. I also believe he has erred in moving too far into his stance on holiness. Look what happened with his relationships within his own ministry when they started debating on whether he was humble enough or not. What is your stance on that Dr. Piper?
Fourth, what is your position on Spiritual Formation as is held by Dallas Willard?
Fifth, what is your position on The Federal Vision? I listened to a debate not long ago between an Arminian and a Calvinist, but the Calvinist made all his points from a Federal Vision perspective and I was shocked. Gone was the solid Biblical exegesis that defeats Arminian proof-texting. No, it was all traditions and just another form of proof-texting in defense. It was quite sad. In any case, some have approached me and have suggested that Tim Keller is a proponent of the Federal Vision. I know he is your friend and is D.A. Carson’s friend as well. It is so hard for a Baptist to get his mind around the Covenant Theology perspectives then have the Federal Vision complexities added to it. It seems to make it just a large mass of man-made religiosity rather than the simple Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is your take on that?
I know you are a very busy man Dr. Piper, but I pray that God will give you the time and opportunity to answer these questions.
Soli Deo Gloria!