Warped Theology Has Consequences!

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”[1]

Out of this, John Piper has constructed his own oft-repeated catch-phrase.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

It must be noted that Piper’s catch-phrase is not merely another way of restating the Westminster Catechism. To falsely connect and equate the two is one reason Piper can sell the catch-phrase. Nevertheless, the two statements do not parallel or mimic each other. I will address that later.

Piper argues that this “theological truth” (glorifying God by our satisfaction in all that God is and does) is superior to all other truths. He maintains that all other biblical truths and principles are subservient to this “theological truth.” All of our actions, decisions, attitudes flow out of and ought to flow out of this “theological principle.”

Shockingly, — shocking because so few have called out John Piper about his claim that God talked to him — Piper maintains that it was God Himself that spoke to him about His glory one morning . . .

He publicly declares his divine experience in his extensive and published article titled, “The Morning I Heard the Voice of God.”

“Let me tell you about a most wonderful experience I had early Monday morning, March 19, 2007, a little after six o’clock. God actually spoke to me. There is no doubt that it was God. I heard the words in my head just as clearly as when a memory of a conversation passes across your consciousness. The words were in English, but they had about them an absolutely self-authenticating ring of truth. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God still speaks today.” [2]

Apparently, the mantel of the divine authority of God Himself has been placed on both John Piper, along with his “theological positions.”  God has spoken to Him personally!

“as clearly as when a memory of a conversation passes across your consciousness. . . . as much as the words that I am writing at this moment are in my head. They were heard as clearly as if at this moment I recalled that my wife said, “Come down for supper whenever you are ready.” I know those are the words of my wife. And I know these are the words of God. . . . The God who keeps watch over the nations . . . this God still speaks in the twenty- first century. I heard his very words. He spoke personally to me.” [2]

Apparently, that experience reinforced Piper’s position on the preeminence of glorifying the Lord.

As I prayed and mused, suddenly it happened. God said, “Come and see what I have done.” There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that these were the very words of God. In this very moment. At this very place in the twenty-first century, 2007, God was speaking to me with absolute authority and self-evidencing reality. I paused to let this sink in.. . . I sat staring at nothing. My mind was full of the global glory of God. . . . [2]

This was breathtaking. It was very serious. It was almost a rebuke. At least a warning. He may as well have taken me by the collar of my shirt, lifted me off the ground with one hand, and said, with an incomparable mixture of fierceness and love, Never, never, never exalt yourself. Never rebel against me. . . .[2]

God’s personal revelation to John Piper on that morning was — “Never, never, never exalt yourself. Never rebel against me.” Piper’s public recounting of this personal and divine revelation of God exhibits Piper’s over-reaching theological dominance on God’s glory as the pinnacle of the Christian life and living.

Apparently, the essence of rebellion is self-glorification.  While self-glorification is sinful, it is not the only expression of sin, NOR the pinnacle of all sins, NOR the original sin, NOR a proper diagnosis of the problem and solution of lostness.

Piper would disagree with that statement.  Read what he states at the 2017 Passion Conference . . . .

“I’ve been taught they (Adam and Eve) disobeyed. PERIOD!

Disobedience to the command of God is not more basic, not more fundamental, not more ultimate than what they desired above God.”

Piper’s position was fully expressed in that assertion!  The original sin of Adam and Eve was their emotions and desire, not their actions and disobedience.  That assertion reveals Piper’s over-reaching and unbiblical position.

There is nothing more foundational to the Gospel, and the truth about man’s fall in Genesis 3, than the issue of obedience, than “hath God said” and will you obey what He has said.  Yes, even if you desire your desires above what God has said, will you OBEY Him!  That is the test.

Obedience to the command of God is more basic,
more fundamental, more ultimate
than what they may have desired above of God.

. . . .

The Gospel: Obey and Live!

Maintaining and arguing that man’s fall, as recorded in Genesis 3, was about desiring something other than God, is an example of Piper’s attempt to rewrite the Fall.  Nowhere in Scripture does God make the ultimate sin that of desire — desiring the fruit over desiring God.

Rather, the biblical understanding of the Fall is about obedience.  Piper reinterprets the rebellion of man.  He rewrites the sin of Adam and Eve as one of desire, not rebellion — rebellion against the clear command of God.

  • “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
  • “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
  • “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
  • “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
  • “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered”
  • “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

. . . .

In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve exhibited rebellion against the clear commandments of God.  Failure and the inability to obey the commandment of God are foundational to the Gospel! 

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

There is one response in every account recorded in the Gospels — What says the law? — “And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”  Whether one desired to obey the Lord or not,  obey, and you shall live!

. . . .

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (and many other Bible commentators) accurately set forth that historic understanding!

“And the answer is given in the first verse of Genesis 3. It was because man ceased to listen to God and to what God said. There is really nothing more to say than that. That is the proposition. There is only one explanation as to why the world is as it is at this minute and as to why every single individual is as he or she is at this second. It is that the man and the woman listened to that question of the tempter: “Hath God said … ?” That is, “Do you really believe that? Are you really being bound by that?” The Devil came and said, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” And because they accepted that question and acted upon it, they brought ruin upon themselves and upon all their posterity.

And this, I want to show you, is the perfect picture of every one of us. There you see Adam and Eve confronted by God’s way-God had made them; God had blessed them; God had surrounded them with benefits and put them in the garden, in paradise. They simply had to pick the fruit, as it were, and enjoy themselves and enjoy their communion with God. Yes, they did all that. But God added something to that. God added a law. God said to them in effect, “You can go on living this sort of life endlessly-on one condition.” And the condition was that they obeyed God, that they recognize the supreme authority of God, that they recognized that God had a right to do with his own as he chose and that God really, even in giving his law, was concerned with their well-being and happiness. That was the position. The blessings were showered upon them, but there was a law, this condition, this demand for obedience. But they rejected that. It was just at that point that they went wrong and brought all that misery upon themselves.” — D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Gospel In Genesis, pg. 28

Obey God and live!
We failed in Adam . . .
and now Christ is our obedience!

. . . . .

Decades Of Warped Theology Has Consequences!

. . . .

Piper’s “theological catch-phrase” has not only warped the Gospel, but has predictably produced a class of church ministries that have proven to be poisonous to God’s people.

The fruit of his “theological” thinking is presently seen in all that is taking place in his own ministry today — of which he is now chancellor.  Issues of abusive handling of people, comfortability with racist alliances, and a lack of compassion and care are all being played out today [see Julie Roys’ Reports].

The poison brand is also being seen in local churches because pastors and teachers have uncritically adopted his theology and steeped in his thinking.  It has detrimentally affected ministries and is seen in the woeful lack of genuine care and concern for others.

[to be continued]

. . . . 

1. Actually, the Westminster Catechism states, “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”

There is no reference in the Westminister Catechism that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him, nor anything close.  Piper’s use of the Westminister Catechism’s statement changes its meaning while giving it a semblance of a restatement.

In fact, the word satisfaction is never used in that way throughout the Westminster Catechism. The word “satisfied” “satisfy” or “satisfaction” is consistently used as a reference to the atonement – our debt was satisfied through the Lord’s atonement for our sin.

2. Link to John Piper’s Complete Published Article “The Morning I Heard the Voice of God.”
Note: Christianity Today was one of the few outlets that publicly criticized John Piper’s article and his “experience.”

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