I am dismayed at the response from Christians, and Reformed ones at that, to the news that John Piper has invited Rick Warren for the Desiring God National Conference this year. Do not get me wrong, I understand why everyone is concerned. But what amazes me is the lack of grace and the use of harsh language. If someone believes that John Piper is used of God, then let them be careful about what they say. Be critical, by all means, but in godly fear and love.
An example of a post that meets this criterion is Why John Piper Should Not Have Invited Rick Warren by Tim Challies, where he makes his case with good reasons and much grace.
But here is what Piper himself has to say about this invitation.
My take on this matter:
John Piper is perhaps my most favourite preacher, who has contributed greatly to my understanding of all things Reformed. He has a way of pointing me Godward in his sermons as no other preacher seems to be able to. I have not seen compromise in his teachings. About what he thinks of Warren, he is quite clear, graciously though, that he does not see eye to eye on many matters. So I would just keep silent and observe. I trust Piper enough to know that he is going to be very careful in this matter. Even in this video clip, you can see the precision and abundant grace that make this man. Perhaps he is the Barnabas that we often-stuffy Reformed people badly need.
God can use Rick Warren as one of several catalysts to bring about another great religious awakening, but then He may not. Who can know the mind of God! You may say it is wishful thinking, but I feel as though we are on the brink of one. The influence of men like Warren and Piper is immense and the moves of these men may bring far-reaching results, good or bad.
Easy to confuse ‘closed and pharasaical’ with ‘uncompromising of the truth‘
I am a conservative reformed Baptist. I really mean this. I am a hymn-loving, modestly-attired (read ‘exposing only hands, face, and feet’), Sabbatarian, head-covering, will-not-use-gosh-and-golly, young-earth creationist, non-dispensational etc. etc. Christian. But I do not expect that if the western world is blessed with another revival, the harvest will comprise many like me. Ah, but shouldn’t we rejoice to see them all come in. And they will all conform on the essentials–justification by faith alone, by grace alone, and in Christ alone, the scriptures alone being the inerrant and infallible Word of God—He who does the quickening will make them conform. By and by, we’ll know them then by their fruits, their godliness and righteousness (and love and unity), just as we ourselves today ought to be known. To God alone be all the glory. If there is more of a likeness than in the bare essentials, then that is an added bonus to enjoy until we reach home.
I smile as I write this last line because I just remembered Pastor Alfie Orr (elder in our church) stressing that when the Lord comes, thankfully, we shall ALL be changed.