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Jan. 31, 2023

John Piper Fears Theological Diversity

John Piper, author of Desiring God and outspoken calvinist, recently said that “I’m sometimes appalled at how some pastors say they can have staff that are all over the map theologically,” he said. “I think this breeds weak churches that become mirrors of the culture sooner or later.” This is code for "My way or the highway". John Piper has an inverted theology that breaks the church. We'll talk about how and what can be done about it.


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this is John Piper and he believes that our diversity of theology among your staff breeds a weak Church this kind of fear of criticism is a problem we're going to talk about why it breaks the church and how to fix it this is Church's lame

Mark our favorite calvinist fundamentalist lunatic is at it again which one yeah John Piper um oh that that um Pastor author fundamentalist extraordinaire who has birthed all the fundamentalists who hate women and who hate progress and who hate gay people that guy John Piper okay yeah John Piper has a podcast um you know where he gets to say wherever he wants because it's his podcast right and so he tried to draw a word picture of kind of um how he conceptualizes the crossroads of trust and Ministry partnership okay okay so at the center of the tar of the concentric circles is the people that he highly trusts highly valuable highly value um in in his words theological Unity right absolute theological Unity these are like the people on his church staff working day to day uh doing Ministry together on a day-to-day basis over a variety of topics and challenges and over a variety of Ministries right and then as you go outwards through the circles like where you might end up is uh like you may end up working with people who you don't have a lot of theological Unity but it doesn't really matter because you're not really on Mission with each other a whole bunch the example he gave is like um let's say I just want to go do like a one day um a March for Life kind of rally right okay it doesn't really matter that we're not theologically unified because all that really matters is that we're going to come out here for a day and I'm going to give a 15 minute rah-rah speech about the sanctity of life and then we're all done with each other right and that was kind of the thing and that's kind of the context and I wanted to bring up the context because I am going to take an excerpt of that and I am going to kind of pull it out you know so I wanted to make sure that that you know if you want to see the full context go check go check out his podcast don't tell me because I don't want to know that you're checking out that stuff but by all means feel free to check out the larger context yeah because like the way you've summarized that so far like like I'm already picturing like all the dumb ways this can go yeah hold on to those thoughts give me a second before you get there oh I'll happily wait but but I want by all I also wanted to admit to our viewers and listeners that I am going to pull a piece out of context okay so so here's a quote from that episode um where where Piper says quote I'm sometimes appalled at how some pastors say they can have staff that are all over the map theologically I think this breeds weak churches that become mirrors of the culture sooner or later unquote so I think this is kind of revealing that he's kind of saying in code if you want to work for me you got to believe what I believe yeah and like that that statement just reeks of like a theological absolutism that says there is only one absolutely perfect incorrect belief and that is mine right which we have criticized that way of thinking before yeah arrogance much yeah I mean like just like the the idea that like there are so many things that you know Christians agree on right yeah and like like there's so many things that we dis like we met Instagram like like baptizing children babies like is it cool to baptize babies or not like if you grew up with Lutheran you're like yeah you know if if you grew up you know with believer baptism you're gonna be like well no no you have to be able to confess your belief to be baptized but like that how does that make a weak church if if you can come together with like differences of opinion on those kind of things and love each other and work together productively that that would make me think like that's a strength absolutely and you know what Mark here's the funny part you actually agree with the Bible I know I know call it the hell you could say but I you know what here's what the Bible has to say about this about conflict in Christian leadership the iron sharpens iron right conflict is not in and of itself a bad thing right the question of conflict is what is its purpose right and the purpose of of conflict is done right is a refinement right refinement happens a sharpening happens um or a dulling or a whittling away of things that are irrelevant or whittling away of things that are weak and what is left is the most essential the best result of what you're looking for right so conflict very often is of benefit if harnessed correctly you know and I think I think the dumbest part of this maybe yeah um just just one I know I know um but like John Piper is the kind of person that like looks at like the catechism of the Catholic Church and well and we'll poo all over it iteratively and literally probably um because it has a lot of you know specifics that it lays out um he's a calvinist which means he he thinks that like you know Luther's catechism is just you know basically toilet paper too right um and it's like you know what is the degree to which we need to agree on things because like I don't think John Piper realizes that he really wants everybody to agree exactly with him at least that's the way he's talked to date like I've never seen him talk about anything that made me feel like he is okay with actually talking about it like like and you know I like went to a college where like you had lots of Scholars who would often disagree with each other on interpretations of scripture and thus like the theologies that could come out of that right he he is the quintessential example of like the old man get off my lawn thing except that he's been doing it his whole career right he's been doing this as a Young Man

okay how does this break the church okay so you actually hinted at my first one group think right group thinks oh yeah it's terrible it's it's you never want to be there it feels good it feels good when everybody's in agreement right everybody thinks the same way that you do it feels so good it's such an ego stroke to have like that kind of consensus but here's the deal there is zero chance that anyone will ever see failures in reasoning and failure failures in theology if you all think the same way and you don't have any sort of uniqueness or dare I say any sort of pluralism or any kind of um inclusiveness for aberrant thoughts other than your own there you will never find the failures in your own thinking oh for sure not I mean it's it's such an obvious thing like we shouldn't have to say it yeah um and you know I think like I don't want to like try to like cut you off here but it's like no yeah the way that like or the ways you know that this breaks a church I mean there are so many and I think um you know like when we look at just I'm having a leader that demands absolute fealty to their way of thinking um I I think that that is just going to be get an abusive environment at some point please it's my take on it yeah so uh without giving too much away I used to work at a mega church that was also a Prosperity Gospel Church right and the pastor there LED with um absolute impunity absolute Authority and there was no room anywhere for um an original thought like it he he needed to feel like he was the originator of everything every good thought that that came and so as a result if he happened to give you an acknowledgment of a good boy a good puppy good puppy you've done good right like even though that should have been an encouragement everybody in the place knew that they were one mistake from being done there yeah right so not a healthy situation to be right you either ended up being the person who worshiped this guy who you thought was a living God or you ended up working every day in a place that you feared you know so yeah not a good place to be yeah and I think like I think a lot of people that'd be listening this like have worked somewhere in their life where like they had to live that reality day by day whether it was a Christian environment or if it was a secular environment you know like we've all had that one boss who was just such a complete piece of Filth yeah that like you were afraid to do anything you know at all which of course consequently makes you as an employee afraid to actually take initiative too exactly and uh I think I think it's like doubly evil that this happens in a church environment yeah so I I just have a note here because it's related to what you said that the the leader that rejects challenge is the leader who believes in their own mythology more than the the strength of their ideas right because the best ideas always overcome scrutiny the best ideas will overcome challenge the best ideas Will Survive the iron sharpening iron right and so if you're the kind of person that says this is the my theology therefore it's the Theology of our church and get on board or get the heck out what you're really saying is I don't believe in the in the strength of my ideas because I will not allow you to challenge them yeah I like that I think sermons should be preached on that subject do we need to talk about the amount of sermons that you and I have heard in our lifetimes that were not based on good ideas no we don't need to go into that right now moving on okay uh lastly in terms of breaking the church I have this those who forget history are doomed to repeat it to reject the truth that theology needs to evolve is to reject the reality that our theology has always evolved and will continue to evolve right we do not believe the same things in 2022 that we believed in you know 500 BC you know we don't believe anymore that you have to kill the person who works on the Sabbath like we reject that as moral Behavior regardless of your spiritual Bend right that is not moral Behavior we reject the idea that you're going to punish a woman with stoning for wearing garments of different threads right we reject the idea that um to own another human being in any way shape or form is just or moral right we have done away with that even though it exists in this world We As Americans and we as Christians have rejected the idea that there is any sensible modern Morality In slave ownership and these are all things that theology logically speaking we're totally fine at one point in time totally fine for the Believers of the god of Abraham and so theology evolves and for those people who just say that's the way it is go pound sand because you're just not living in the real world you know oh yeah because like a lot of you know American evangelicalism kind of came out of the you know the 18th uh 1800s the 19th century um because there's a lot of revivalist movements at that point and that's where a lot of those these beliefs came from and a lot of these things are things that people believe are like established you know historical Christianity but it's like well a lot of these things people believe like that are like part of their theological center are things that were never part of the church prior to the 1800s yeah um and I think you know this is a situation where like the problem kind of contains the solution when you try to completely hammer out your understanding of theology well like you're you're pointing to us that the solution is to be diverse in our theologies diversity because four-letter word yeah it's like because like even like the Apostle Paul um in Corinthians chapter something or other First Corinthians Maybe man I really wish I could have thought about this as a before recording it's always good that way to the to the viewer and listener it goes that way every single time like like oh I wish I would have had this thought before yeah right but like he's he's talking about um you know when you know people are eating meat that has been sacrificed to Idols like he's like we know that Idols are nothing so like you can eat that meat but if a new believer thinks that that's a problem don't don't eat that meat in front of them just just don't like it's not a big deal like that person is in Paul's opinion the person that says well that's it we shouldn't do that is wrong but even he says that hey just just go along with it it's fine it's not going to hurt anybody right so it's like there's a place for diversity of thought but then of course like you said like you know we don't think the same things we did as Humanity like it or maybe we do from 500 BC you never know but you know at the same time um we understand how the world works better than yeah you know people from you know the first century um which is where like the First Century A.D um or CE if you want you know um this is this is not like a challenging statement to make like we understand more about how the world Works um and so we do have to like look at why did they think that then was it because they understood the world incorrectly because you can understand the world incorrectly but have theology that derives from that thinking that's actually the what that theology should be if you want if you think that as we mature in our understanding of things I think that you're right we need to keep maturing and how we apply our understanding of theology to make new theology yeah it's not going to disagree with like you know the classic you know things like you know the Apostles Creed right everybody just stop Mark said I was right so we can like shut this whole production down like life achievement unlocked hey I'm gonna put on the screen here just some verses that I cobbled together about being teachable okay so there's some verses on the screen and while I while that's on there for people to write down and uh and and you know read and meditate on later let me just say this in in terms of how do we fix what's broken um if the people in our Inner Circle aren't allowed to push back how much do we really trust then how much do we really love them how much are they really in our Inner Circle if their thoughts aren't really allowed to penetrate you know the key to get to who words is hard yes the key to who gets to be in the Inner Circle is not how much they agree with you but rather how much the desire of their heart is what's best for you does that make sense oh that's kind of yeah yeah because like I have like you know I have friends that yeah I will discern a lot of things with in some cases you know like vehemently disagree yeah but I trust them you know with my life not everybody in your inner circle is the person who earned their way there because they passed the test you know what I mean like for instance like I don't know the details of the way you disciple others right but for me a really important part of how I disciple others and for me discipling others is usually like young married people right yeah um usually it's it's letting somebody in who hasn't earned that place yet right who's like look you'll never see the inside of the machine unless somebody lets you in and and so I've said it before and I will say it always the kingdom is a table that everybody is welcome to and anytime some sort of Christian thought leader or celebrity or Pastor gets up in front of a camera camera a radio microphone or anything like that and says you need to go that should set up red flags like crazy and you should run run as far away as you can not just from that moment from from their teaching and from their leadership yeah it's like when when you spend your life you know trying to get laws passed to put people in prison that Jesus ate dinner with yeah you may have missed the point I think so that'll preach that'll preach I think that's a pretty I think that's like really at the end of the day uh the best way to kind of end it right with that statement there all right so listen we're churches lame Mark and I love the church and we want to see it grow and we want to see it flourish but we have no doubt that churches and church leaders do stupid stuff and the perception of that stupidity breaks the perception of the whole church we would love to hear what you have to say about John Piper and this whole uh trust thing and theology theological Unity so by all means um if you're watching this on YouTube throw a comment in the comment section you know hit those like And subscribe notification button and click click click click click and if you're listening to this podcast um on your favorite podcast player by all means shoot us an email at churcheslanepodcast and please don't forget to um leave us a rating and a review on whatever app you're listening to your podcast on and with that go in peace and serve the Lord hey and by the way if you got something out of this episode would you consider hitting that super thanks button and if you want to see more content just like this check out this playlist called leadership lunacy