on the Piper/Warren interview

So I saw the big and supposedly long awaited interview between John Piper and Rick Warren and I thought it was a fine interview and gave people a chance to see they think about what Rick Warren believes as if there was any question as to whether he might just actually be a Christian.

Well, what I am about to say, I feel needs to be said, and is probably too subjective for some, so if you get offended, sorry ’bout that.

My assessment of the interview and responses to the interview is that the neo-reformed group (those of the Desiring God or Gospel Coalition crowd, i.e., the neo-calvinist/fundamentalist folk)…

seem to not be able to handle theological diversity,

They just can’t do it.

Most, if not a very large majority of the neo-reformed group, in my opinion, are at risk of being so narrow-minded about the supposed rightness of their particular take on Christian theology and views of God…

that they cannot handle or even accept that there might just be other takes on Christian theology and understandings of God that could be right too or as valid as the Reformed (read: modern Calvinist) take on things.

In fact, it is very difficult for them to conceive that there may be brothers and sisters in the Lord, like Rick Warren, who just might be “saved” too!  I say this because one neo-reformed blogger said something to the effect of “I am not saying he is not a Christian….”  (revealing his struggle to accept that possibility).

Who do these guys think they are?!

They think they have the only right and only proper take on Christian theology and understandings of God and the Bible but they do not.

They do not have special insight into the mind and heart of God – they are finite and fallible humans trying to understand the infinite and infallible just like anyone else, even Rick Warren.

It’s really getting tiresome to be honest.  It’s arrogant, prideful, and downright sickening.  In my limited understanding, to me, this breaks the heart of God to see this kind of attitude.

I also admit to having much trouble seeing much if any grace or graciousness among the neo-reformed and their interactions with others.  They may be all for the “glory of God” but I am deeply concerned that in that quest they end up really being more concerned for the glory of man or the glory of their own theological constructs.

These are dangerous times my friends.  I admit I am not perfect either, I have many flaws and can get prideful too (I took a conversation on the importance of theological education too far the other day and it sounded tragically arrogant and prideful as in you can’t possibly be a good pastor if you don’t have an MDiv.  Yup, it pretty much went that far and I regret that and will now need to back off and watch myself – and yes, I had to confess my error in all that).  We all face these kinds of temptations and, may God help us all, we need each other to overcome those kinds of temptations.

Like I said, may God help us all.


9 responses to “on the Piper/Warren interview

  1. Sadly, I must agree. I have said many times to many people that I don’t have a problem with the Neo-Reformed as regards their nuanced theology, per se. I struggle with what comes off as theological elitism. It’s their way or the highway.

    They’re not the only group to do this, but they do seem to be the most pushy about it.

  2. It seems that this is such a human pattern within religious groups. One segment of the group begins to think that they have the pure stuff and at the same time the often lose much of what the core gospel is about (which includes love for one another, as Jesus said). I’ve seen this time and time again. Sometimes the differences are over what kinds of clothes to wear, sometimes over charismatic gifts, sometimes over which version of the Bible to use, sometimes over eschatology, etc. etc.

    There is not much that can be done about such people, I guess. I’ve been hurt by them. But I must not hurt back in return. Sometimes they are able to hear God giving them a course correction.

    It takes proactive effort to retain one’s “first love” and stay balanced with doctrine, gifts, evangelism, fellowship, etc.

  3. And to think I was of the opinion that you can’t be a good pastor if you do have an MDiv 😉

    I liked the interview. I’d heard some people say Rick is a heretic. I was glad to find out that’s not true.

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  6. You are quite right about the Reformed but then this is true of all “religious” people who believe that they alone know the truth. Truth is in the person of Jesus, not the system that thinks it alone remains faithful to Jesus. The Reformed get some important things right, in my estimation, but they forget whole parts of the revelation in the process and then use their system to launch attacks on those who are wrong! I know this because I did it as a Reformed minister and author for more than two decades. Thankfully Jesus had mercy on me and showed me the folly of this approach.

    The idea that Rick Warren is some kind of unfaithful follower of Jesus is so ludicrous as to not really be worth any serious debate.

    • John, thanks for commenting. I appreciate it. It is so true that the truth is in Jesus and Jesus alone. I fully recognize even we Pentecostals can get on the wrong side of things – especially with Holy Spirit related issues – Pentecostals often pride themselves in being “spirit-filled” churches as if we are the only ones that are… we are not (I know there are some Pentecostal churches that for one reason or another are as dead as a doorknob, and know there are some mainline churches more alive and flowing in the power of the Spirit than a lot of charismatic churches. So I know we aren’t perfect either.

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