Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Has John Piper Swum The Tiber? :

(emphasis mine in red)
In the video above from December 2009, John Piper appeared to take a firm stand against the heretical teachings of the Roman Catholic false Church. 
However, in a recent blog entry Mr Piper attempts to [retract] "clarify" what he means when he calls the RCC's teachings on justification "heresy." 
In his article he leaves things less than clear, even going as far as calling the pope a "teacher of the Church" for instance.
And in light of his previous endorsements and associations namely; Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll and Beth Moore I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that John the pied Piper sounds like someone who is about to/or already has, swum the Tiber.

Here is Mr Piper's article  (emphasis mine in red) :

A few years ago, I was asked on camera what I would say to the Pope if I had two minutes with him. I said I would ask him what he believed about justification. The video ended with me putting the question to the Pope and then responding as follows:“Do you teach that we should rely entirely on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith alone as the ground of God being 100% for us, after which necessary sanctification comes? Do you teach that?”And if he said, “No, we don’t,” then I’d say, “I think that right at the core of Roman Catholic theology is a heresy,” or something like that. Amen! well done.

“Heresy” is a strong word. [and totally justified here] The problem with it is that its meaning and implications are not clear. defines heresy, for example, as:
  1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
  2. any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
You can see how fluid such definitions are. eh? seems straight forward enough to me.
So what did I mean in the video? Oh, oh! he didn't mean what he said ? now we have major problems.
I meant that the rejection of 1) the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ as an essential part of the basis of our justification, and 2) the doctrine that good works necessarily follow justification but are not part of its ground — the rejection of those truths is a biblical error so close to the heart of the gospel that, when consistently worked out, will undermine saving faith in the gospel. Undermine? How long does Rome need to get it right? another 16-1700 years ? They don't undermine it, they deny it! 
Far be it from me to put words in your mouth mr Piper, but what you should be saying is that we will have "another Gospel" and as Paul pointed out "there is no other!" Gal 1:7.
The reason for saying, “when consistently worked out,” is because I think it is possible to inconsistently deny the truth of imputation while embracing other aspects of the gospel (blood bought forgiveness, and propitiation, for example), through which God mercifully saves. Oh dear! so God saves through another Gospel now ? remember what God says? ; "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" Gal 5:9.
I am thankful that God is willing to save us even when our grasp of the gospel may be partial or defective. None of us has a comprehensive or perfect grasp of it. None of us had perfect theology when God saved us, sadly though to attempt to apply this to the RCC is faulty. The question is not does anyone of us have a perfect grasp of the Gospel, the question is not can anyone be saved by a partial or defective knowledge of the Gospel. The question is can you be saved by a false Gospel? especially when that false Gospel was propagated in response to and in denial of the true Gospel. Ask yourself this, could you be saved by the Jewish Gospel ? Like Rome, another Gospel of works.
Paul said if you believe you can.."....Christ will be of no advantage to you." Gal 5:2
Nevertheless, God’s mercy is not a warrant to neglect or deny precious truths, especially those that are at the heart of how we get right with God. And the teachers of the church (notably the Pope) will be held more responsible than others for teaching what is fully biblical. The pope is not a teacher of the true Church of Jesus Christ Mr Piper, read the Puritans, most, if not all of them, called the pope "antichrist." 
Of course Mr Piper is well aware of this fact , so why in the world would he deny it and point to the false prophet of Rome as "a teacher of the Church" ?
Thus, any church whose teaching rejects the imputation of the righteousness of Christ as an essential ground for our justification would be a church whose error is so close to the heart of the gospel as to be involved in undermining the faith of its members. You should have stuck with your original comment from 2009 Mr Piper, at least you would have sounded more faithful to God and His Word.
Jude 1:4  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 


Jon Gleason said...

Unfortunate. He's not saying RCC teaching is ok, but he's watered down his wording. They don't "undermine" faith, they deny it.

The Galatian heresy that Paul confronted was not, as far as we can tell, a denial of "blood-bought forgiveness, and propitiation, for example."

When you adopt this "Gospel-centred" philosophy that has swept so much of evangelicalism, the idea that it is only the Gospel that really, really matters, you run the risk of then parsing out which parts of the Gospel really, really matter.

The Tiber can get pretty muddy sometimes.

dale mcalpine said...

Thanks Brother Jon for your insight, always appreciated.
We must meet up again, when you have time of course.
God bless you and family.

Jon Gleason said...

Yes, we'll make that happen soon, Lord willing.

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