Here’s my struggle: I like John Piper.
I really do. I’ve said it on many occasions that if I were only able to listen to one man preach for the rest of my life, I would want it to be John Piper. His theological influence through his preaching and books cannot be overstated.
And yet, I struggle as I watch this video.
No, I am not a critic of Calvinism or the Doctrines of Grace. Yes, Dr. Piper, I agree with you that the Doctrines of Grace are a treasure. They are rich and satisfying. But, they cannot empower us to do anything. Calvinism, for all its benefits, can do nothing. It cannot carry a person through suffering. It does not “embolden people to do radical risk-taking things.” It is not living and active. It is not risen and victorious. It does not save.
As you walked through prostate cancer, it was not Calvinism that soothed your soul and brought you peace. It was Christ. As you led Bethlehem for 33 years, it was not Calvinism that brought souls to salvation. It was Christ. As you lift your voice in worship, it is not Calvinism that you sing of. It is of Christ.
Celebrating a theological grid is not the same as savoring the Sovereign. And so, while I stand and applaud your legacy and the tremendous impact that you’ve made on a generation of young believers, it is vital to the purity of your message that in your language, you come back to the center of all Christian doctrine – Christ.
This is not to insinuate that doctrine or the manner in which we think about God does not matter. It is to say that doctrine, and the manner in which we think about God, is not that which is worthy of our worship. Only Christ.