What Do Rick Warren and John Piper Have in Common?

April 5, 2010 at 12:06 AM 8 comments

Does Piper know what he's doing?

Those who are not aware that Rick Warren is one of the main leaders in the Emergent Church movement have either chosen not to believe it, or are themselves part of the Emergent Church movement.  Because of that, they see no problem with the Emergent Church per se, or Rick Warren’s lack of theological foundation.

John Piper on the other hand, is generally known for his doctrinal stance.  His books present a message of yearning for more of God.  So what is the problem?  The problem is that Piper has asked Warren to be one of the main speakers at the upcoming Desiring God Conference, put on by Piper.

It almost seems as though Piper is willing to overlook obvious errors in Warren’s theology (such as it is) because they actually share a common idea.  In essence, both connect with aspects of Replacement Theology, or Covenant Theology.  How so?  Neither individual believes that God has an as yet unfulfilled plan for Israel.

Piper believes the Abrahamic Covenant was conditional, yet there is nothing in that covenant, which would confirm that belief.  In order to arrive there, the text has to be allegorized to a point.  Of course, this leads to problems because if God can change His mind about Abraham, then He can change His mind about the Church too.

What I have consistently found to be an offshoot (or after-effect) of Covenant Theology is an emphasis on being holy, working hard to maintain our relationship with God, and in general, striving, striving, striving.  This may at first glance appear to be the obvious way a Christian should live his or her life.  The problem though is that it seems to ignore many of the blessings that are already ours in Christ and places the emphasis on man’s responsibility.  In other words, while it is true that man (to some extent), partners with God after becoming a believer, the reality is that salvation is a work of God from start to finish.  The believer’s role is to submit to God at every turn, as Christ did in the Garden of Gethsemane (as only one example of His complete, total, and consistent submission).

Covenant Theology (of which Replacement Theology is connected), is simply an offshoot of Roman Catholicism.  While the Reformers were used by God to bring grace to the forefront of salvation, they did little else.  For the most part, their theology after the Reformation differed to Roman Catholicism only in the area of salvation by grace, without works.  Virtually all other areas remained the same.

It is not uncommon to read articles and sermons by the Reformers, which highlighted their anti-Semitism.  This is common knowledge to anyone who knows anything about Church History and the Reformation.

This is an unfortunate side effect of Covenant, Reformed, Replacement, and Preterist Theology.  It devalues Judaism and the Jewish people.  It teaches Israel no longer exists and has not only been set aside by God, but will no longer be a viable anything, as far as God is concerned.  The Church has replaced Israel and that’s all there is to that.

When individuals who believe that God has fully and completely rejected Israel come together for a conference, the question becomes, how can anything they teach have any real basis in Scripture?  Of course, that may seem a harsh thing to say, but the reality is that when Christians believe that God has rejected the only nation He ever created, something is terribly wrong.  Neither the Abrahamic, or the Davidic Covenants were conditional.  They were unconditional.

The problem with Warren and those who think as he thinks, is that the sheep’s clothing they wear does little to mask their inner wolf.  Their goals, dreams, and ambitions are wrapped up in their own quest for supremacy and little else.

Here is more on the Rick Warren/John Piper connection from Lighthouse Trails:

Commentary – by Ingrid Schlueter (Crosstalk)
“Rick Warren to Speak at John Piper’s Desiring God Conference

It has been confirmed that Rick Warren will be a speaker at the prominent Desiring God 2010 Conference. According to Jonathan Parnell at the offices of the conference, John Piper reportedly met Rick Warren at the funeral for Ralph Winter, and that is how the invitation came about.

Jonathan Parnell was quick to tell me that Dr. R.C. Sproul and Dr. Al Mohler would also be speakers, as if to assure me that things couldn’t get too out of hand with them there. It appears that Rick Warren is going to be given the opportunity to respond to charges that he is non-doctrinal in his messages. Parnell told me that Rick Warren is “more doctrinal” than he appears. That would be news to untold numbers of Christians who have seen their churches abandon the biblical Gospel by jumping on the Purpose-Driven bandwagon.

Additionally, one wonders exactly what doctrine undergirds Mr. Warren’s latest outrage, his involvement with Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation and its “North American offensive”, as Blair put it, with a purpose of “uniting all faiths.” That would be the doctrine of anti-christ.

Whatever Piper’s thinking is, it is plain that inviting Rick Warren to speak at his conference, giving him prime time to manipulate hearers and present himself as just another misunderstood leader, is a serious mistake. Piper’s years of credibility as a trustworthy minister of Gospel truth are being undermined by this decision. I was one of several who were personally invited to Saddleback by Mr. Warren to speak with him in a private meeting last year. The PR offensive was clever, but it failed. Warren rests not, day or night, in his attempts to bring his critics on board and end the troublesome dissent that always plagues him. To win over Piper and his followers would be a victory indeed.

Piper has also announced that he will be leaving on sabbatical on May 1. Hopefully, he will have time before he leaves to address the likely fallout from this decision. It is not a small thing.

Everywhere we see signs of the falling away talked about in Scripture. It is a warning to all of us to be sober and vigilant, because our adversary walks around, seeking whom he can devour. We need the full armor of God daily and to use our shield of faith and our Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We also need to pray for discernment in this hour when so many, including leaders, are losing theirs. Click here for source.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, dispensationalism, emergent church, israel, Judaism, Life in America, new age movement, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , .

Dhimmitude Under President Obama Rick Warren Gets in the Game!


  • 1. Jeff Hopper  |  September 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    You have assumed that Piper is referring to Dispensationalists. He is referring to Dual Covenant theologians. Both of you–one Dispensationalist and one not–dismiss Dual Covenant Theology. In that way, you are on the same page. Does Piper lean toward Replacement Theology? Perhaps, though it is hard to get a handle on the extent of this, even in his more recent writing/speaking. This I can tell you: I know from their own lips that believing Jews are harmed by both Dual Cov and Replacement theologies. And if this is where you fall in your thinking, then you and I are also on the same page. The believing Jewish people must be given the strongest voice in this whole discussion.


    • 2. modres  |  September 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      Piper’s heading “Two-Covenant Theology, or Two-Track Salvation?” could be taken to reference the alleged dual-path of salvation that Dispensationalism is often accused of having. I also note that this sermon is from 2004. He must have changed his position since then because I have books written by Piper and have heard him say on videos that God is literally finished with Israel. I’d have to do more research on this though.

      Regarding the other issue, I fully believe that the Church has NOT, nor will ever, replace Israel. I fully believe that God has made covenant promises to Israel that have yet to be fulfilled and one day will be fulfilled. In fact, my book “Raised for His Glory” discusses this exact subject.

      On one point, I’d like to be clear. As stated, I support Israel for no other reason than God says we should do so. At the same time, it is interesting to note that throughout Ezekiel (and especially in chapters 38-39), God promises to protect and defend Israel not because of the Jewish people, but for the sake of His holy Name. It is a difference that needs to be understood. It is not the Jewish people – believing or otherwise – who should be given the strongest voice. It is God Himself who needs to be given that and He will work it out so that the world comes to recognize the fact that He is God and there is no other and that He will use the nation of Israel to prove exactly that.

      In Ezekiel (as well as many places throughout Scripture), God ensures us – sadly – that Israel will continue to be a stumbling block for the entire world and at one point, they will literally stand alone. From a human perspective, that is tragic. However, it is the way God has ordained so that they will come to understand that if only God is for them, it is enough. Realizing that will cause them to humble themselves before God in order that they might gain salvation.


  • 3. Jeff Hopper  |  September 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Modres, I’m confused. In the quote your offered on July 8, 2010, (sorry, got no notice of that reply–just catching up), Piper clearly the city’s peace is “built…on an unbiblical teaching” that there are separate paths for Jews and Christians. You say he is erring here, yet you then counter that it is unbiblical of Dispensationalists to say there are separate paths for Jews and Christians. It sounds to me like you and Piper are dismissing the same errant theology. One of us must be reading this wrong. Where’s JP to explain himself when you need him? 🙂


    • 4. modres  |  September 14, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      No, my comments referenced the idea that some – like Piper – believe that Dispensationalism teaches the unbiblical view that there are two paths of salvation; one for Jews and one for Christians. At least that’s my take on his comments, having read quite a bit from him.

      His premise is that MUCH of the reason Christians and Jews get along is due to the unbiblical belief that there are two different paths of salvation is erroneous, in my opinion. While there is some of that (Hagree Ministries for instance, believe that there are two methods of salvation and that Jews are under their own “dispensation”), the reality is that people like myself support Israel solely because God says we should. It has nothing to do with any sort of alleged two versions of salvation – one for Jews and one for Christians – but because God says we should support Israel.

      I believe Piper is wrong in his sweeping generalization that “much of the peace and mutual respect between Jews and Christians” is built on unbiblical teachings. It has everything to do with God’s promises (some yet unfulfilled) to Israel through Abraham.

      Ezekiel notes repeatedly for instance, that God will protect Israel during the coming “Northern Invasion” solely for the sake of His holy Name and not because of the Jewish people (Ezekiel 38-39). He will bring honor to His Name that the Jews constantly bring dishonor to.

      It has been long taught (erroneously, I might ad) that Dispensationalists believe that there are two forms of salvation. This is due to ONE note Scofield included in his initial Study Bible, which seemed to support this notion, in spite of the fact that ALL of his other notes refuted the idea. It was corrected in the next publication of the Scofield Study Bible, but for some, that simply made matters worse and people continue to believe today that this was the start of a cover-up by Scofield.

      I went to Philadelphia College of Bible, which Scofield ultimately had a hand in starting. We were taught Dispensationalism and NEVER was I taught at any point that salvation for the Jew is different from that of the Christian. It’s always by grace, through faith, from the OT to the NT. I recall Dr. McGahey specifically going over that and after bringing us through various aspects of the OT, then the NT, his declarative “It’s ALL grace!” left us with no reason to believe that there was a separate form of salvation for Jews. It’s all grace. Always has been and always will be.

      People can think what they want to think. No amount of debating the issue will change the minds of John Piper, Sproul, or any other Reformed, Preterist, or Covenant Theologian who believes that there are two methods of salvation taught within Dispensationalism. Sproul himself still espouses the erroneous idea that Dispensationalists believe in two forms of salvation in spite of the fact that it has been addressed repeatedly by the likes of John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, and many others. Sproul and others prefer to believe Gerstner’s allegations rather than actually study what Dispensationalists have written and stated.


  • 5. powzon  |  September 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    “Somewhere along the line, though Paul is specifically referring here only to Jews…”

    Where is “along the line”?

    “He says that just because someone is PART of Israel, does not mean that he is a true Israelite.”

    What is a “true Israelite”?


    • 6. modres  |  September 14, 2012 at 6:21 AM

      A true Israelite is someone who exercises faith in God and His purposes. Examples from the Hebrew Bible would be Moses, David, Samuel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech, Abed-nego, the prophets and many others. From the NT we have of course, Jesus, Paul, the apostles (minus Judas), Nicodemus, Joseph of Aramathea, the parents of John the Baptist, the parents of Jesus, Mary, and many others. These individuals submitted themselves to God in faith, believing that His purposes and His glory was good enough to pursue.

      Examples of those Jews who were not true Israelites would be all of the Jews (and non-Jews) who were judged and killed by God throughout the Hebrew Bible for their rebellion. Their ways and thoughts were not God’s and because of it, they condemned themselves to death.

      An example in the New Testament would be the Scribes and Pharisees. Of them Jesus warned that they should not brag that they had Moses as their forefather because God was able to make true Israelites out of the stones.

      A true Israelite is a Jew who exercises faith in God and seeks only His glory through His purposes – period.


  • 7. Jeff Hopper  |  July 8, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    I would suggest that Piper’s sermon, “All Israel Will Be Saved,” suggests very much that he is unsettled on the matter of replacement theology, and makes plenty of room for the wonderful work God has yet to do among the Jewish people. Read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/10/164_All_Israel_Will_Be_Saved/


    • 8. modres  |  July 8, 2010 at 5:02 PM

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment. I read through his sermon and unfortunately, Piper continues to make the same mistake that many in his camp do. He states, “On the contrary, much of the peace and mutual respect between Jews and Christians in this city is built on a denial of Paul’s teaching and on an unbiblical teaching that there are two separate ways for Jews and Christians to be saved.”

      If this were true, then it would be unbiblical. He is referring to Dispensationalism, which unfortunately, too many continue to believe the allegations of John Gerstner and others. There has NEVER been two methods of salvation; one for Christians and one for Jews. It is wholly unbiblical. As a Dispensationalist myself, I have NEVER believed that. Salvation has always come by faith.

      Abraham BELIEVED God and it was counted to him as righteousness. The thief on the cross BELIEVED who Jesus was and received eternal life. There is no difference at all. What Piper and many others within the Covenant or Reformed camp do, is misunderstand what Scofield, Darby, and others have taught, and based on that misunderstanding, condemn us for it. They misunderstand the teaching, and condemn us based on their lack of understanding.

      Piper and others also misunderstand Romans 9 – 11 when Paul specifically talks about what it means to be a TRUE Israelite. Paul says that being a true Israelite is not just being one outwardly, but inwardly. Somewhere along the line, though Paul is specifically referring here only to Jews, Piper and others believe that Paul is really talking about Gentiles.

      This is like saying “Just because someone goes to church, it does not mean they are Christian.” That is a true statement and it is exactly what Paul is saying. He says that just because someone is PART of Israel, does not mean that he is a true Israelite. Paul is NOT saying “Just because someone is part of Israel, it does not mean they are a true Israelite. It is only inwardly they are “Jewish” and that means Gentile Christians.” How do we make the jump? Only by avoiding context.

      Jews need to come to Christ just like Gentiles. There is no difference in the way people are saved. None. Salvation comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. When faith is exhibited by the person, God calls them righteous.

      This was the same for Adam and Eve. It was by FAITH that they SHOULD have continued to ignore the forbidden fruit. Instead they CHOSE to believe Satan and called God a liar. Once they opted to believe Satan, they STOPPED exercising faith in God. They stopped BELIEVING God and because of that, they sinned.

      Some Covenant Theologians teach that the test that Adam and Eve went through was different than ours today. Theirs was based on works, not faith. That’s wrong. It was their LACK of faith that caused their sin, not the other way around.

      Piper’s beliefs often lead to anti-Semitism and some of the things I have read from him are clearly anti-Semitic. I wish it were not true, but it is, and by the way, that sermon is from 2004. I hope you have kept up with Piper’s beliefs since then.


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