Saturday, October 11, 2008

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
...by John Piper

Updated

Watch this brief video below and think through carefully the important question that it raises from the beginning: what is the gospel? And then may I ask you to reflect on this conclusion: did Piper answer that question? If so, explain; if not, explain.

I look forward to hearing from you.

For a band of Bereans,
Steve



Here is another video where Piper is declaring the essentials of what the gospel is... in one sentence and in a under 30 seconds.

It is accompanied by some moving personal testimony of his as well. I highly commend it to you. I appreciate John and his affection for the gospel of our Lord Jesus when he preaches like this!

104 comments:

Detoured By Travel said...

Here are the points I wrote down as I listened to this video, that the Gospel is:

(1) A plan from eternity.
(2) An event in history.
(3) An achievement of something that happened between the Father and the Son.
(4) An offer to the world that is free.
(5) An application of the achivement.
(6) A return back to God (this is not exactly how Piper said it, but that's what I wrote down).

This are good thoughts here, but I am concerns with a couple of things. When I share the Gospel with someone, I use a 4S approach (sin, separation, sacrifice, and spirit).

(a) SIN - There is little enough mention of sin here though I guess one could say it was implied. All of these plans, events, applications, and achivements that are enumerated here were required because we are sinners.
(b) SEPARATION - There is not enough here about the Holiness of a righteous God and how our sin causes us to be separated from God for all of eternity.
(c) SACRIFICE - There is mention of 1 Pet 3:18 which says that Christ paid the price once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous. But it must be said that this sacrifice made through the blood of the Lamb was required because of my sin. He did not have to make it, but chose to because of His love for me and His desire to see me restored back unto Himself.
(d) SPIRIT - There is some reference to this here, but it must be clearly stated that to continue to follow God is NOT something that I can accomplish alone. I must rely upon the Spirit of God to live a life pleasing unto the Lord, to lead me into learning from his Word, to lead me to speak with Him daily in prayer, and to lead me into a daily worship relationship with Him.

Perhaps some may think I am nit-picking here and perhaps I am not viewing the video from the correct context/intention, but this is what I feel in my Spirit after listening.

Steve - Thanks for sharing this...made me think and one can never be overprepared to share the Gospel. :D

SJ Camp said...

detoured by travel

Thank you for these thoughts. I am glad this video could stir some thinking as well...

I will share mine a bit later.

Grace,
Steve

Nathan W. Bingham said...

Steve:

I have a few comments to share, but they will have to wait as I don't have enough time at present.

detoured by travel:

I know it might mess up your 4S's but I don't consider "separated from God for all of eternity" to be helpful (see Hell)

Rev. E. Scott Hart said...

Dr. Piper is right in every point he makes. They are all necessary and appropriate for understanding the theology that comes from "the gospel." However,...

Dr. Piper does not answer the question in the form that would be the simplest to understand (though he hinted at it in the beginning of his answer).

The simplest understanding is that Christ lived, died [for our sins], and rose again [according to scripture] (1 Corinthians 15:1-6ff).

An expounding on that simple definition by Paul would have been an answer to the question. But Dr. Piper may have an outline ready for his latest book that we are now all privy to via this video.

Denise said...

Where is sin and the sinner? 'the need for repentance? Where is Jesus' shed blood on the cross?
This seems to be scraps and crumbs of the gospel -->> which makes this no gospel at all.
Disappointing.

The Biblejunkie said...

First of all I enjoy Mr. Piper very much. His books and audio downloads are great. He knows the Gospel. Having said that, I must concede that I heard no Gospel in this video clip. I heard many things ABOUT the Gospel, but no straight forward, to the point, heart convicting Gospel.

SJ Camp said...

I also appreciate Piper's writings very much - especially his works on some of the great church fathers and The Gospel is God.

You are all very discerning...

So let me cut to the chase a bit more quickly in my question for you: what essential part of the gospel did Piper leave out?

(I would think this was just a slip of the mind - - but a slip nonetheless.)

And in your answer, please define biblically.

Steve

Carla said...

I've tried at least 10 times, and this embedded video just will not play for me (dial up).

I don't know what Piper left out, but it's not at all uncommon to leave out the resurrection of Christ. I know how bizarre that sounds, but it's true, and even defended by some as still being "the gospel".

John said...

Though one could argue that it is implied I would argue the rest of 1 Peter 3:18 is missing, "...that might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit..." Where is the resurrection?
Without it our "faith is futile and you are still in your sins...

Arthur Sido said...

I would say that the flip side is missing. I argue that without knowing the Bad News then people don't understand the Good News. Why do we need salvation (all have sinned), what is the ramification of that (eternal hell), why we cannot do anything about it outside of Christ (we are dead in our trespases and sins)

Not that I am suggesting that Dr. Piper doesn't know this stuff, but just that it is not clear from his presentation.

As a side note, Campi I see you are coming to Detroit in a few weeks. Don't worry brother, I got your back when you are in town.

Stan McCullars said...

Everyone should keep in mind that the video was 3 minutes and 34 seconds in length. Also, it may do us good to look at some of the Gospel summaries Paul gave us before we're too hard on John Piper.

Stan's "Cliff Notes" on the video:

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

Sins were paid for.

Righteousness was completed.

An obedience unto death.

A perfect righteousness was achieved.

A perfect guilt offering was paid.

Offer extended to the world that is free.

Faith alone.

Forgiven and justified by faith.

Christ suffered once, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God.

God is our treasure.

littlegal_66 said...

Carla, try watching the video directly on YouTube, (although, my discerning sis, it sounds like you may not have to actually see it to "see it" [if you catch my drift)]. ;-)

--LG66

3"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that He was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that He raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."

1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 14-17, ESV

Denise said...

I noted a few missing things:

God's wrath against sinners.

Jesus Christ is God.

The last point Piper made seemed to be man-centered to me.

P.S. I see there's another Denise now. LOL.

Detoured By Travel said...

"I know it might mess up your 4S's but I don't consider "separated from God for all of eternity" to be helpful (see Hell)"

I don't agree at all. If a sinner cannot be convinced that he is a sinner separated from God by his sin, he will certainly not believe that any sacrifice was necessary on his behalf to pay the price for his sin and bring him back to God...much less that he needs to live a life led by God's Spirit.

A sinner being presented with the true Gospel must be presented with all the scriptural facts, incuding the price that has to be paid for sin.

"You can pay it yourself, or let someone else...but who would be that nice...to pay a debt that isn't His? Well, I know someone like that...He's your best friend he really is...He really loves you." - Keith Green (Altar Call)

Michele Rayburn said...

The good news is that at least this time Piper didn't say that Jesus cried the cry of the damned for us. :)

wisesower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan W. Bingham said...

Detoured By Travel:

I agree that a sinner needs their sinfulness exposed, and the reality that their sin has placed them under God's wrath.

My issue was with the line I quoted of yours - your description of Hell.

"...separated from God for all of eternity."

Can I encourage you to read the article I linked to in my first comment (What is the Gospel? - Part 8 (Hell)) so that you understand what I mean when I say that the description of Hell that you gave is unhelpful.

Kent Brandenburg said...

If you judge just based upon 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, there are four hoti ("that") clauses in those verses that Paul says are the gospel:
that Jesus died,
that He was buried,
that He rose again, and
that He appeared.

I didn't hear the last three in the video.

Detoured By Travel said...

Nathan - I have read the article you pointed me to.

Shall we agree to disagree on a point or two therein? Do know that I believe that:

(1) Christ Himself will judge sinners at the white throne of judgment (Rev 20)
(2) That Christ as the final and righteous judge will sentence those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life to Hell
(3) That hell is real and that it is a place of eternal torment and remembrance. The lost will remember every chance they had to receive the true Gospel in detail and not only that they'll remember it for all eternity.

As implied in the article, I am in NO WAY minimalizing God's person, the severity of sin, or the righteousness of His judgment.

I do not and will not soft soap the reality of hell under any circumstances. The cost of a soul is not worth it.

The way I see it, in 100 years (or less if Christ returns) this will all be settled for those currently living on this earth...and by then those currently here will either be lost or found. I take that VERY seriously, which you would know if you knew me in some other capacity than the reading of text.

God bless you today, my brother...our salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, our love for one another (that all men will know that we are His disciples), and what I hope is our common burden for lost souls binds us together in a way that is more important than something we might disagree on. I hope you see this too. :D

Nathan W. Bingham said...

Detoured By Travel:

My comments have never been in regards to your zeal for evangelism. My comments instead have been directed at the helpfulness (or unhelpfulness as I contend) of a phrase you used in your inital post.

Just so people reading the thread are clear - is the point we are 'disagreeing' on the following:

I affirm that Hell is not an 'eternal separation from God', for sinners in Hell will be in God's presence, under His wrath. The distinction is that they are in His unfavorable presence, forever absent from what a believer will experience, His blessed or favorable presence.

You affirm that Hell is 'eternal separation from God' all together. God is absent from Hell, not directly inflicting wrath upon sinners.

Is this correct, or do you agree with my affirmation?

Steve:

I hope this discussion is not side stepping your initial question. I guess it is still dealing with the question 'what is the gospel?'

Nathan W. Bingham said...

Steve:

Your readers have made some good observations. Several observations I made:

1. Sin and its consequences are missing and are not personalized.
2. The command to repent is missing (Acts 17:30)
3. Christ's active obedience is missing. We not only have our sins forgiven, but we have His perfect righteousness imputed to us.
4. From memory he never mentions the name of Jesus (only Christ), but Paul never mentions Jesus name in 1 Cor. 15:3-5 either.

I look forward to reading your thoughts - I'm sorry I don't have more time at present.

P.S. I am confident we would all agree that John Piper knows all these things - regardless it is a helpful exercise in discernment to really examine a recording and see what is being said (and in this case what is not being said).

Tartanarmy said...

Well, in light of an emphasis given by Piper at the latest conference with Driscoll and Tripp and Ferguson, namely this thing called the wrath of God, and their touting of that essential, it seemed to be missing from this short video for some reason.

There is no point defending a man when we say something was implied etc, but rather should be said plainly and explicitly.

I love Piper for his zeal for the glory of God and our joy in Him etc, after all, the reformed creeds tell us, "What is the chief end of man?" and we all should know the answer, and Piper gets that, but that question in the catechism is not addressing the gospel question is it?

No, many today are dropping the ball on this issue, and presenting to us a rather anthropocentric message sadly.

The first thing about the "gospel" is that it is something between the Holy Trinity, and that something has to do with the satisfaction of God in finding a way to be righteous, just, holy and yet merciful to some for His own glory and the good of the elect.

That something has to do with appeasement, propitiation and this thing we call vicarious and substitutionary nature of the atonement as expressed in Scripture verses such as "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,

ie an accomplished atonement for the people of God.

In a nutshell, God is saving His people from their sins, and all this noise about free offers to the world and the like just gets in the way of the gospel.

Just my opinion, but if anyone wants me to lay it out with scriptures and clear exegesis of the texts, please drop me a line.

I love Piper and God has used him in my own life, especially "The pleasures of God" a few years ago, but the man is not perfect and often drops the ball on serious issues. His whole thing about the "two wills in God" was another place he dropped the ball, but I have said enough.

Mark aka Tartanarmy

JTW said...

I am confident that Dr. Piper knows the Gospel and understands sin, repentance, and the judgment to come.

I am also confident that during this three-minute clip Dr. Piper was seeking to illuminate (as if gazing at a diamond) particular aspects or subcategories of the Gospel, i.e. God’s awe inspiring predetermined plan from eternity past to save sinners; the consummation of God’s plan by His Grace and to His Glory so that we may know God, glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.

Please people, I can’t believe time is wasted taking honorable teachers like Dr. Piper and Dr. Macarthur to task. Save your fire for those who are actually preaching a false Gospel and a false Christ.

As for me, I am going to circle the wagons around solid expositors and give them the benefit of the doubt unless or until they preach another Gospel and tear down the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Tartanarmy said...

Let our fire burn hot for the truth is my motto. If any one were to rant or vent against Piper and the like I will defend Piper, but let us not get enamored with men too much, and throw out the baby with the bathwater....

Mark

eric opsahl said...

Piper has a unique style of teaching and unique way of presenting it, just read his book “Christian hedonism”.

His writings indicate that he is orthodox in his teaching and understanding of the Gospel. With this in mind, after listening to the video, he didn’t give an EXHAUSTIVE definition of what the Gospel is, but Is he required to give it in that short video?

If he is defining the Gospel for a systematic theology doctrine, it needs to be exhaustive. I didn’t sense that his point was to define the doctrine as such.
Eric

Detoured By Travel said...

Nathan - Yes.

2 Thessalonians 1:9
(From Wycliffe Commentary)

[START} "The nature of the vengeance: they shall be punished (shall pay a penalty) with everlasting destruction. Annihilation is not the thought but rather total ruin, the loss of everything worthwhile. Specifically, it is separation from the presence (face) of the Lord, the true source of all good things. New Testament descriptions of the pangs of hell are numerous: "furnace of fire" (Matt 13:42); "lake of fire and brimstone" (Rev 20:10); "outer darkness" (Matt 25:30), etc. But none is more graphic than this picture of endless, utter exclusion from him who is life, light, and love. The glory of his power. The "visible manifestation of the greatness of God" [END]

donsands said...

It was a short teaching of how God's good news to sinners is the thru Christ's death we are forgiven by faith alone, and not works, and God makes His home with us. We are brought to God Himself.
I think Piper was focusing in on how God is the gospel, like he did in his book, "God is the Gospel".

I thought of this scripture verse as I listened to his teaching.

Jesus said to Paul: "I will deliver you from the ...Gentile, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." Acts 26:17-18

Arthur Sido said...

Lest we get too far astray, the issue here is not whether or not John Piper understands or preaches the Gospel. We are looking at a very short video and discussing what might have been missing. This is not an indictment of Piper, I wish God would raise up a thousand more men just like him! So his well-meaning defenders can focus their energy on something else, no one is attacking Dr. Piper and he doesn't need us to defend him.

On the other hand, we constantly need to be testing what we are saying to make sure that our own thoughts and prejudices have not crept into our teaching. The first thing I do when I get done preaching or teaching is ask my best and most loving (and most honest) critic, my wife, if I missed anything. I am sure Dr. Piper does the same. We can never assume that we "get it" and need no one to check us, because when we are most self-confident in ourselves or others we are must in danger of deceit.

Rick Frueh said...

First, let us all be mindful that there has never been a perfect and complete representation of the gospel in human words, hence Paul's ehortation to continue in the "simplicity in Christ". Everyone of us was saved listening to an imperfect vessel sharing a perfect gospel in an imperfect way and communicated to our spirits by a perfect Spirit. It is a glorious mystery that escapes the bounds of human definition.

When I was saved I never was conscious of conviction of sin on an unsual level, I knew I was a sinner but the focal point of my conversion was that Jesus was who He said He was and I desired to follow Him. Repentance mean to chang your mind and I went from unbelief to faith on that day.

Dr. Piper parses the gospel for the believer's understanding and it was good, but everyone leaves something out. Believing on Christ contains repentance embedded in that faith, no one can change their minds about much else than Christ until they grow in the Lord.

I was a theistic evolutionist for the first two years of my conversion and I never even considered the innerrancy of Scripture, never heard of the rapture, and like every sinner not brought up in the church I would define the gospel as the good news of God Himself paying for our sins and making a way to eternal life. Part of the process of sanctification is growing in the knowledge of Christ and His Word.

Although I am not reformed, I would agree with this. When God the Spirit prepares a sinner's heart He can and does whatever vessel and whatever incomplete version of the gospel to bring salvation to that sinner. People get saved listening to John MacAurthur just as they do listening to Rick Warren. Two very different presentations and yet God secures His own glory so that no man can boast in anything.

I was saved dramatically and with very little knowledge of the finer points of the gospel. So we must be mindful of two things:

1, Do not water down the gospel so everyone will responds to a hollow and manipulative message.

2. Do not make it so complex that we make demands on a sinner's understanding that he cannot possibly have until after conversion.

Some thoughts.

Carla said...

Six things John Piper finds essential. I would ask, essential in what context? If asking what one must believe and affirm to have a credible statement of faith? The way he outlines these essentials sounds like he's talking about a larger understanding (historical?) rather than a detailed account of what the good news of Christ actually is, and what exactly it was that makes the good news good.

However, and before I comment on the content of what Piper actually did or did not say, I just want to comment that examining his words (or anyone else's words when it comes to Biblical teaching) is a VERY good thing. I do the exact same thing after my own pastor's sermon every Sunday. I think about what he said, discuss what he said (or did not say) and let it sink in. I think there is a danger in being resistant to discussing what famous pastors say, where there is an attitude of just giving them preference because they have been so influential in years past. Yes, lots of folks love John Piper and yes he's been a huge blessing to the Christian community (my own pastor included). No question about that - but that does not put him on an untouchable pedestal. I think even Piper himself would agree with that.

Now, on to Steve's question (and request to define biblically) as to what Piper left out of his six essentials:

At least twice he clearly stated that Christ died, but not once did he make any reference to His resurrection. I noted that this vid was a promo piece for www.thegospelcoalition.org, and at that site their confessional statement does in fact include a solid emphasis on His resurrection. Why Piper didn't include it in this video piece is as Steve suggested, likely just a slip, but a slip nonetheless. It's quite possible that it was a rather glaring omission to me personally, because I've had some discussions with other well known pastors/evangelists that have actually said and affirm that knowledge of Christ's resurrection is NOT required to believe the gospel. I believe the Scriptures prove them wrong on this account.

His resurrection from death and His victory over it BY that very act, cannot be left out of the gospel. I believe it is in fact essential to truly knowing who He is and what exactly He did. The person AND the work of the Lord Jesus Christ must include His resurrection:

• 1Cor. 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures

• 1Cor. 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

• 1Cor. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

• Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

fwiw - Carla

littlegal_66 said...

Carla,

I love you, sis....did you notice we both went with 1 Cor 15? ;-)

Have a blessed Lord's Day...

LG66

Terry Rayburn said...

Some really good comments here.

I would add that the Gospel we preach to the sinner is not the same as the theological study of soteriology, which covers the parts, details, and "how's" of salvation.

Soteriology is laborious (though enjoyable IMHO) -- the Gospel proclaimed is shockingly simple.

Many will testify to being saved at the smallest of preached messages (for example, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved", the Romans Road, etc.).

Why? Why can one be saved without all the soteriological trappings?

Simple. Because the New Birth comes first. Jesus said you must be born again to even SEE the kingdom of God, let alone believe in the King.

Or to put it another way, once one is born again, he "irresistably" believes the Word of God. When he hears about Jesus, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus died for his sins, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus is Lord, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus was buried and rose again, he believes it.

And in the pattern of Abraham, he "believes God" and it is counted to him as righteousness.

This sweeps away all the "free will" nonsense, and explains why a sinner doesn't need to hear 10 chapters from Grudem to be saved. It's why we can preach Jesus and Him crucified, and fill in the details as we disciple the new believer.

Blessings,
Terry

SJ Camp said...

To All
We all know that Dr. Piper believes in the resurrection, repentance from sin, confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, etc.

I was just surprised that he didn't say it. And the reason for that surprise was his own emphasis on this video about the "essentials" of the gospel. In fact, near the end (I believe it was his fifth point) he really made a strong statement about faith - and that if this were not present, we would have no gospel.

In all of the NT - the Apostle Paul uses that kind of strong language in regards to the resurrection. As a reminder:

1 Cor. 15:13 "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, athen not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that bhe raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and cyou are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who dhave fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied."

I believe that here is one of the lessons to be gleaned from this video: that if a man like Piper can "forget" to include such a cornerstone of the gospel in his presentation, how much more should we be careful and diligent when sharing the gospel with others to be certain that the foundational essentials of the gospel are given clearly and wholly?

There is no reason for the hope that is within us apart from the resurrection - is there?

I like Piper - most of the time :-). But I can't believe that someone who was filming this video or that Piper himself when reviewing it, or that any of his assistants or the many fine men of the Gospel Coalition didn't catch this obvious lapse of memory on such an important part of the gospel. Especially when the video is called: "What is the Gospel?"

IOW, someone can watch this video and believe everything that is in that video (and he got it right on most points) and still be lost in their sins if they do not know and believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And why? Because if He is not proclaimed as risen, then He cannot be proclaimed as Lord.

(see Acts 2 and Peter's great sermon at Pentecost.)

Have a great Lord's Day! And we worship on Sunday, the Lord's Day, because of His resurrection.

VIVAT,
Steve

Tartanarmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carla said...

Terry,

You posted a few things I'm curious about.

You said:

"Many will testify to being saved at the smallest of preached messages (for example, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved", the Romans Road, etc.)"

I agree with this, that many will testify to being saved at the smallest of preached messages. I'm wondering though, if someone "believes" on the Lord Jesus Christ, what exactly are they believing in, and believing on? In other words, what would you say belief on the Lord Jesus Christ entails?

You said:

"Why? Why can one be saved without all the soteriological trappings?"

By that I assume you mean the difference between an in-depth discussion on the ordo salutis (for example), between two believers, and what the gospel presentation actually sounds like to an unbeliever?

You said:

"...once one is born again, he "irresistably" believes the Word of God. When he hears about Jesus, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus died for his sins, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus is Lord, he believes it. When he hears that Jesus was buried and rose again, he believes it."

I once had an in-depth discussion with an apologist who told me very much the same thing. He went on to defend his very emotional salvation experience by saying he knew nothing of the resurrection of Christ when he first got saved, but that a couple of years later when he heard of it, he believed it.

I'm curious how you might address that? (or anyone else here, for that matter)

born4battle said...

I noted 35 comments already, but didn't read them all. I'm sure I am probably saying something already said. Having said that....

I wrote down the six major points he made and they are certainly valid descriptions of "What is the gospel?" at the macro level, I'll call it. If we have 'macro', we should have 'micro' - and that would be the very specific definition of the gospel in 1 Cor 15:1-5 that contains the 'power of God unto salvation';that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and resurrected on the third day according to the scriptures.

In the context of a larger discussion of important things about the gospel, in a discussion between those who hold to 1 Cor 15:1-5 as the very 'center' of the matter, Piper's comments would probably be a high point in that discussion.

When a 'Dr. Piper' leaves out the 'micro' while discussing the 'macro', the milquetoast 'evangelical' leaders who totally omit the 'center' in their preaching/teaching take notice and find a sort of pseudo-justification for their non-gospel preaching.

The Heretic said...

After reading the comments, I wanted to choose carefully what I wanted to say:

1. The resurrection is absolutely essential to the gospel. It should never be left out of a presentation:

Acts 1:22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

All of the focus on the apostle's teaching and preaching WAS the resurrection. Even it does "slip" the mind we should take steps to ensure that it doesn't slip our mind the next time.

2. This was only a three and half minute video. I'm not sure of all the implications but I understand that producing these videos can be quite expensive. I'm not suggesting that he left it out on purpose, or maybe he did (only God knows). I am only suggesting that sometimes we all let fleshly concerns cloud our minds.

3. Terry and Carla both made some good points; Terry, about not necessarily understanding all the soteriological details, which was certainly the case for me. Imagine my shock to learn, a couple of months after I was saved, that Jesus was God incarnate. Wow! That blew me away. And not too long ago (I am talking months) to realize that Christ's atonement ACTUALLY secured salvation rather than just making it possible.

Carla: To answer your question of, if someone "believes" on the Lord Jesus Christ, what exactly are they believing in, and believing on?

To be totally honest, I really didn't know exactly WHAT I was believing on, but I did know Who. The only thing that was going through my mind at the time was, "I'm going to hell! I'm going to hell! That was the only thing I could say to myself over and over. I wasn't really thinking about what I needed to believe or not believe in order to be saved. I just knew that I was in eternal trouble. However, you brought up an extremely valid point about not taking someone at face value every time just because he has been solid in the past. We are all faulty and sinful to the core and our pride can lead to our downfall at anytime. I really appreciated your words about testing the spirits to see whether they are from God. Putting another human on the pedestal, as you stated, is a very dangerous thing. Thank you for being discerning about that.

Thank you all for listening.

With a sincere and humble attitude,
Steven

Jeremy Weaver said...

How wide did you have to open your mouth to strain out that gnat?

Seriously folks.

Coram Deo said...

And this group calls itself "The Gospel Coalition"? WHERE'S THE GOSPEL?!?

Please don't misunderstand me here, Piper's facts aren't WRONG nor is his presentation FALSE as far as it goes, but it is INCOMPLETE!

Therefore instead of sharing the Biblical gospel in this instance Piper serves up what amounts to at worst "another gospel" or at best a cheapened, watered down version which, according to the Holy Bible, is no gospel at all.

If I had closed my eyes and if Piper had spoken in a folksy South Texas drawl I could have easily imagined Smilin' Joel Osteen expounding this same sort of bland, generic, sinless, bloodless, repentance free, wrathless, resurrection-less "Gawd has a wunnerful plah-yun fer yer life" drivel - except for the fact that Osteen manifestly doesn't posess the theological depth to speak about the concepts touched upon by Piper.

Terry Rayburn said...

Carla,

Good questions.

I certainly believe that a minimal amount of content is necessary in the Gospel that we preach to the sinner.

The Bible seems to indicate the minimum content is Jesus Christ, His death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection.

There may be a call for repentance and faith (although many have been saved without any specific "call", just a revelation of the truth which they "believed").

Don't we need to preach the Law first? No. Men instinctively know their sinful guilt, though they suppress it in unrighteousness.

Don Whitney taught at my church a few months ago on this very subject -- what is the Gospel?

He had wisdom on this, which I also think is biblical. From memory I'll try to capsulize his thesis, which I agree with:

The Gospel is as simple as the name Jesus Christ, and yet expansive enough for a lifetime of study and meditation.

We could rightly say, for example...

The Gospel is Jesus Christ.

To expand and then further expand that...

The Gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

The Gospel is Jesus Christ Who is Lord and God, and Him crucified.

The Gospel is Jesus Christ Who is Lord and God, Who died on the cross for sins.

The Gospel is Jesus Christ Who is Lord and God, Who died on the cross for sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead on the third day.

The Gospel is Jesus Christ Who is Lord and God, Who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead on the third day. Whoever repents and believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. They will be saved. They will be given His righteousness as a free gift.

We can then expand that to an explanation of what "Lord" means, what "sins" are, what "died for sins" means, what "repent" and "believe" means, what "eternal life" is, what "saved" means, what "righteousness" means, etc.

Further explorations and expansions might include a discussion of who God is, what "justification" is, biblical anthropology regarding the New Birth and New Creation, and on and on.

A worthy subject for a lifetime of learning.

Having said all that, it's still the New Birth coming first that allows the believing of any of it.

Whether we preach the simple minimal Gospel, or the super-expanded version, the Wind of the Spirit blows where He wills, gives new Life, and the elect one "believes on the Lord Jesus Christ".

He does it sovereignly. As one plants, and another waters, He gives the increase.

Blessings,
Terry

SJ Camp said...

jeremy
I didn't think the resurrection was a gnat?

SJ Camp said...

coram
Please don't misunderstand me here, Piper's facts aren't WRONG nor is his presentation FALSE as far as it goes, but it is INCOMPLETE!"

Exactly.

Carla said...

Terry,

thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my questions, I sure do appreciate that.

I likewise appreciate you sharing Don Whitney's wisdom on this as well. Very helpful.

Jeremy Weaver said...

The resurrection isn't a gnat, the exclusion, whether by forgetfulness or time constraints is.

And the expectation of an hour long discourse on the Gospel boiled down into 3.5 minutes is a camel.

He gave more Gospel in those 3.5 minutes than most of the people commenting here could give in 30 minutes.

I'm personally sick of the "let's pile on so-and-so" because of either his relationship with someone else, or he didn't say everything that I would have said, or he said something that I didn't like, that this site is now known for.

I don't agree with Piper on everything, but I think we both would be happy to attend Bethlehem if either of us were in Minneapolis. I'm just saying, "Enough", to the 'friendly fire'.

Mike Riccardi said...

Piper discusses these 6 points at length in his message that he gave at Resurgence, called "How I Distinguish the True Gospel from False Gospels." You can get the video/audio on the resurgence page.

So if any of you are unsatisfied with a 3 and a half minute clip, there's an hour of what I think is a masterful message to listen to.

Carla said...

Jeremy,

I didn't realize it was a "pile on", I thought it was a very helpful discussion on the gospel presentation.

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy:,.
The resurrection isn't a gnat, the exclusion, whether by forgetfulness or time constraints is.

Why make excuses? There are no time constraints in a piece like this - only that which the speaker placed on himself within reason. It is edited and produced and easily you can make 3 and 1/2 minutes say a lot. It's all what you consider to be important enough to include.

There was enough time to go through his six points of his outline; there was enough time to suggest (which i agree with totally) that without faith there is no gospel at all; there was enough time to proclaim "Christ died..." why not also "Jesus rose from the dead" too?

Surely you would agree my brother?

And the expectation of an hour long discourse on the Gospel boiled down into 3.5 minutes is a camel.

Not true - that is a drive by that no one has asserted here. Again, you can proclaim the gospel in a few minutes - the whole gospel. Now, an hour long discourse on different theological views or as Terry called them - "soteriological trappings" is quite another thing, which again, no one here on this thread, especially me, has even deemed as necessary.

He gave more Gospel in those 3.5 minutes than most of the people commenting here could give in 30 minutes.

Ahhh - now who is being accusatory of the good people who comment here? Careful my friend, we have many sharp pastors and expositors and lay people who read and comment here.

I'm personally sick of the "let's pile on so-and-so" because of either his relationship with someone else, or he didn't say everything that I would have said, or he said something that I didn't like, that this site is now known for.

I totally disagree and would say your statement is untrue about this site or why this post was published. I think it is time to possibly reign in your emotions a bit my brother.

To recap for you: I played a video (which most I do agree with and stated earlier I did) that asked the question "what is the gospel?" I simply then wanted to know if people thought that Piper had answered that question. Some said yes, some no. But all were gracious enough to not pile - but to give very helpful and constructive responses. I can't believe you have trouble with that?

I don't agree with Piper on everything, but I think we both would be happy to attend Bethlehem if either of us were in Minneapolis. I'm just saying, "Enough", to the 'friendly fire'.

You again are impugning motives and intent. Just asking a question here. Not because of who he aligns himself with, as you suggest, and there is no friendly fire or piling on happening here at all. Just good discussion. (However, I would suggest to you that your cheap shots against myself and others here is anything but friendly fire.)

Now, if you actually have a comment about the video in specific, I would be most interested to hear your views (and let's leave the personal challenging of motives and invective aside... OK?).

BTW, Piper does what we are doing here with many people on his own site and in person during sermons. He even has done this when he is an invited guest at pastors conferences where he is challenging or making comments about what the host pastor has preached on before him - on the same night. So, I would think he would be very encouraged and honored to have Acts 17:9-11 applied to him and his views that he asserts on this video.

I mean, wouldn't it be great to hear him include the resurrection along with all the other things he considers to be "essential" when it comes to the gospel?

Think about it...
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy
Curious, how would you define "what the gospel is?"

Steve

SJ Camp said...

To All
Here is Piper declaring what the gospel is a little under 30 seconds. He then takes about 5 and 1/2 more minutes to unfold it further.

Really good stuff. I highly commend it to you.

Campi

Only Look said...

Hey Steve,

Piper is one who delights so much in unfolding his theological discoveries with great passion and I do learn from it, but is it possible than in doing so we can bypass the intent of our Savior as well.

In other words could it be much like a Paramedic joyously talking in an ambulance about all the great things he is discovering in his field and not placing the oxygen on the victims mouth so that he can breath.

This is why I think detection of bypassing the resurrection is an important thing as the apostle Paul clearly states the gospel here:

"If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 {HCSB}

That is the gospel made practical for the needy sinner. As Terry commented, we can all learn the other wonderful truths later but they should not be confusing this message made abundantly clear.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

littlegal_66 said...

"Here is Piper declaring what the gospel is a little under 30 seconds."

I viewed that clip while I was trying to find the youtube version of the embedded video for Carla.....he was clear and concise, and brought out the resurrection as a vital element (which, obviously, we all knew that he could, and has...just simply that he didn't in the original video in question).

"He gave more Gospel in those 3.5 minutes than most of the people commenting here could give in 30 minutes."

Jeremy, I don't know about you, but when I am in the check-out line at the supermarket, I don't even have a 30 minute window of opportunity....I think it is beneficial & prudent that we all have a concise gospel presentation at the ready...in season and out of season.
"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect," 1 Peter 3:15, ESV

And BTW, as to the innuendo, in a different post just the day before this post, Mr. Camp recommended that those of us of the female gender check out the link to the phenomenal ladies conference this past weekend in Chicago...
...and the opening speaker? John Piper, of course, who presented a remarkable exhortation to the women in attendance. I see no anti-Piper agenda here, just open discussion.

logos1 said...

I've listened to our brother, John Piper many times and even had the privilege of meeting him personally. I have no doubt that John understands the gospel. But, it would seem that a key element was left out - REPENTANCE. Maybe he includes that in the "application" of forgiveness - implicitly implying, there must be repentance. I can only hope that is the case.

heavenlyheartburn said...

I personally thought the video was valuable as a description of the Gospel as opposed to being a presentation of the Gospel.

We could say there are two types of writings/statements about the Gospel: a systematic theology and a Gospel tract. I would say this is more of the systematic theology type. A Gospel tract would certainly need to include the resurrection.

It would be helpful to know if this is the entire video. Is it, perhaps, a part of a larger discussion?

JTW said...

Let’s imagine a local church pastor. He is an honorable God-fearing man; a man who takes his charge seriously before God to faithfully preach the Word. No, he is not a perfect man, but He has, for many, many years, faithfully pastored a small congregation and his zeal for God and his love of the flock has only grown with time.

But every Sunday after church, the congregation gathers in the fellowship hall to pick apart his sermons and discuss what the pastor could have said better and what may have gone left unsaid. How would you assess the health of that congregation?

Sometimes when my pastor teaches, I find myself wishing that he would hit a point harder or make a more precise statement. I would never think of getting a small group of fellow congregants together to rate the pastor’s sermon and discuss what he could have done better. Perhaps I should be more mindful of examining myself in light of what he is preaching.

If we would not behave this way in our local church body, perhaps we should think twice before we behave this way as a corporate body. These men are on the front lines preaching and teaching the Gospel. They can use our prayers and support. I can only imagine how demoralizing it must be for them when we become sermon connoisseurs instead of our hearts being pierced by God’s word.

Is there room for vigorous in-house debate around nonessentials, of course. But we must use wisdom before an unbelieving world as well as young believers. I am concerned that, with this relatively new electronic medium, we are far too eager to be unnecessarily critical of fine godly men.

We face serious challenges as a Church: The emergent church and it’s postmodernism cloaking itself in Christian language, the false teachings of the word faith community as well as theological liberalism.

If any man or angel preaches a false gospel, let him be accursed. But once again, please, let us avoid foolish disputes and needless controversies.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Steve,

I've read your blog from the beginning. I stopped coming by to read the comments because I know what happens here.

I've read your criticisms of Driscoll that spilled over onto Piper or anyone else who happens to know the man. Personally I'm not a Driscoll fan. I think I've heard one message by him and it seemed strange. But in it he clearly articulated the Gospel.

Here Piper has clearly articulated six essential points of the Gospel, which I agree with wholeheartedly. And while you may think it is good theological exercise to entice people to look for something wrong in what he said, I don't think it is. I think we need to listen to what the man had to say, understand that no one anywhwere in the world today has ever at any time articulated every single point in the Gospel because we're not infallible, and then meditate on what he has said. I think he has earned at least that much respect by his life and ministry from us.

The Heretic said...

I think there are a lot of "angry" people commenting here who seemed to have misunderstood the intention of this post. I for one, never read any comments (or don't remember any) jumping on Piper and reaming him for what he said, although that seems to be the perceptions of a few people. I do see some valid arguments for both sides of the coin that was presented here, but overall I don't think that Steve meant to demean or belittle Piper in anyway. I personally like Piper; a lot! But again, as Carla pointed out in an earlier comment, let's not let our emotions and respect for a person put him so high on a pedestal that we take everything that is said at face value. We are commanded to "test the spirits to see if they are from God."

I honestly don't see this as nit-picking Piper, but just a simple observation that was made by the regular readers and commenters here. People, keep your emotions in check! I think that most would agree here that we all enjoy and have benefited from Piper's teaching. I know Steve and others have concerns about Piper's associations with certain preachers but I have NEVER heard them say anywhere, on this comment thread or others that he is not a man of God; only that he should break away and stop giving a platform for some of the pastors and teachers with undesirable speech.

So let us all not be so quick to swing our swords at those on the comment thread. Better still, we should take the advice of James:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Steven L.

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

Simply put, if there is a singularity in time that has determined who we are and what our standing is before the one and only true God it is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Everything from the O.T. onward converges inward towards that point in time and everything from that point beyond it in the N.T. diverges outward to the culmination at Christ's second coming. Like wise the Gospel is the point of singularity in our faith! All from the past, present and future have/do now and/will look towards it.
Paul summarizes what our primary goal should be in our exposition and that is to always preach Christ and him crucified. Without this singularity there is no Gospel!!!

Carla said...

Jeremy said:

"I've read your blog from the beginning. I stopped coming by to read the comments because I know what happens here."

I've been reading since the beginning of this blog as well. I don't always read or participate in the comment section, but when I do I'm grateful for the way Steve handles those threads.

Now, at the risk of being condescendingly accused of being a "fan" (which frankly, is one of the reasons I don't always comment) I'm going to say a few words of appreciation for this blog's format.

At COT, no one gets a free pass just because of their status, their title, or popularity. Due respect IS given to those faithful ministers of the word that have labored for the Lord, but no one here pretends that they are untouchable or infallible.

There are no alliances here that are off limits due to politics and/or allegiances and self-interest preservation. There are no drive-by tactics allowed, and when someone tries, Steve (and the other commenters) do a pretty good job of holding folks accountable for what they do say.

It's a GOOD place to have these kinds of theological and doctrinal discussions. It's a good place to be challenged, encouraged, and be held accountable for what you say.

JTW commented and essentially said that this kind of post and comment thread is being needlessly critical, and we should avoid foolish disputes and needless controversies. (yes, I paraphrased and if I am wrong in that impression then please do correct me JTW).

I couldn't disagree more, that this post OR the comment thread is needlessly critical. Did Piper have great things to say? Of course he did, and many said so. Did Piper also leave things out in this short clip? Yes he did, and it was good to point that out NOT to "pile on" Piper but to get people to think about what the gospel presentation actually is, from the Scripture. I'm pretty sure everyone here already knows Piper doesn't deny or reject the essentials of the gospel, and the second link that Steve provided was proof enough of that.

I like commenting here. I know my comments won't be deleted like on other blogs, I know Steve wont shut down the thread like on other blogs, and I know the community of readers/commenters here like being iron on iron. I don't always agree with every word here, but I know it's going to be a fruitful discussion and God's glory and honor is the main thing.

FWIW...

Mike Leake said...

I don't normally comment on here but couldn't resist :-)

First allow me to respond to the Piper video which is the original intent of this post. I agree that Piper did not mention the resurrection or really hit hard on repentance. I also know that at other times when Piper is sharing the gospel he discusses both of these. I have quite a few of his Quest for Joy witness tracts and he mentions both of these.

So, I think we need to ask why Piper left these things out in this video. Is it because he does not consider them important? I hardly think that is the case. Is it because it slipped his mind? With a man as deliberate as Piper in his speech I also doubt that this is the case. Without speaking for John Piper I would say that the reason he did not mention these things has to do with the purpose of his six points and his audience. Maybe calling this little snippet, "What is the Gospel" is not helpful. Piper's audience and purpose (as far as I can tell) is to fill in the blanks for those who think that the gospel is about going to heaven. He is not arguing about repentance or the resurrection--so he probably assumes (whether rightly or wrongly) that his audience gets that. So, he cuts straight to the point--God is the Gospel. Could have mentioned the resurrection and repentance in this brief video? Probably. Should he have? I'm not certain.

Now, the main reason I commented is to address Coram Deo, who basically anathematized Piper. C'mon are you serious? No gospel in this? You really think this sounds like Joel Osteen? Joel Osteen is about getting fancy cars and a good seat on an airplane. He would never mention in a "gospel" presentation 90% of what Piper just mentioned. He is about "Your Best Life Now" and not that the greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself. Brother, your words here border on slander.

JTW said...

Mike: If you are referring to my previous posting, please read it again.

My main point was to draw a clear distinction between Dr. Piper and men like Osteen and Mclaren.

Carla: I think it's great to have a discussion and clarification on what the Gospel is or any other theological matter.

But perhaps we can have that discussion on its own worthy merits rather than as a jumping-off point to discuss a teacher's (in this case Dr. Piper) failure to communicate, be it real or perceived.

Mike Leake said...

JTW,

My comment was in no way a reference to your comment. You and I seem to be in total agreement on this issue. My comment was meant for Coram Deo.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Steve,

The Gospel is;
Election,
Predestination,
The promises made in the Old Testament,
The birth of Christ,
The life of Christ,
The death of Christ,
The forgiveness of sins in Christ,
The wrath borne by Christ for our sins,
The resurrection of Christ,
The union of sinners with Christ in His death and resurrection,
Regeneration,
Justification by grace through faith in Christ without works,
Glorification by grace,
Heaven,
Beholding the face of God.

What did I leave out? 'Cause I know there's something....

Only Look said...

Jeremy?

Did you put line-x in the back?

Coram Deo said...

mike leake,

The question before Piper was "What is the gospel?"

I stand by my plain assertion that in this instance Piper did not answer the question, at least not fully. In other words he presented an incomplete gospel. Do you disagree with this assertion?

I did not, am not, and never have insinuated that Piper doesn't know the gospel, but I am plainly stating that in an explanation on the essentials of the gospel Piper skipped the resurrection which thing scripture claims is an essential (1 Cor. 15:3-19).

In my mind this is a staggering omission and one that’s worthy of further reflection and consideration. I recognize that my comments may seem strident, but they’re not intended to be merely petty, factious or divisive – after all we’re talking about the question of the contents of the gospel here, not a peripheral or secondary matter.

In our day the gospel itself is under direct assault from within the church and therefore it’s important for true, regenerate born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to “cut it straight” and draw lines in the sand when it comes to the truth of the eternal gospel of grace.

Let me clarify by plainly stating that I am not claiming that John Piper is consciously or intentionally attacking or attempting to undermine the gospel!

Piper has been (and prayerfully will continue to be) mightily used of the Lord for His own glory, but in this instance a pastor-teacher of no less stature than Dr. John Piper swings and misses when the question at hand is "What is the Gospel?". This is very troubling.

Less troubling to me personally is your assertion that I'm somehow slandering Piper for stating my personal opinion that by presenting a partial gospel in this instance he reminds me of Smilin' Joel Osteen.

When I hear a hiss I'm on the lookout for a snake because they all sound the same to me.

In Christ,
CD

Reform said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reform said...

The gospel is the good news whereby God demonstrated His own love toward us, that while we were sinners Christ died for us. And because of His sinless life lived, His once for all sacrifice on the cross and His bodily resurrection from the dead; that we as totally depraved people, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, will repent of our sins by God's kindness, and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (being born again), will believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved with the promise and hope of the gift of eternal life.

It seems that all else, though important theologically, is not necessary to believe in, in order to be saved.

So while I liked the list that Jeremy gave, much of it wasn't the gospel. What I mean is, would someone really present the doctrines of election and predestination to an unbeliever as part of the gospel for them to be saved?

ReformRev

SJ Camp said...

reform
So while I liked the list that Jeremy gave, much of it wasn't the gospel. What I mean is, would someone really present the doctrines of election and predestination to an unbeliever as part of the gospel for them to be saved?

I was kind of thinking the same thing.

Though Jeremy listed some good things here, not all of it would be the gospel proclamation in calling the lost to repent and follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in election and predestination. They are biblical truths and doctrines and I have taught on them extensively. But I would not include them as part of a gospel presentation to someone who is lost.

I believe Spurgeon had a similar concern as well.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

Mike Leake
He is not arguing about repentance or the resurrection--so he probably assumes (whether rightly or wrongly) that his audience gets that. So, he cuts straight to the point--God is the Gospel. Could have mentioned the resurrection and repentance in this brief video? Probably. Should he have? I'm not certain.

Some good thoughts here brother.

IMHO, I think because Piper did emphasize a few different times faith, Christ's death on the cross, etc. and claiming those things as essential to the gospel (which they are), that mentioning the resurrection and repentance would seem right in line with his set up to point six which is, as you noted, God is the gospel.

Should have he included it? Yes. Was it necessary that he do so? Yes. Was the title misleading? No - it just wasn't answered. And I agree with you, I don't think Piper had a memory lapse on this.

Listen, Piper understands and gets the gospel right. Let me be clear on that point. That is why it seemed so odd that something as basic AND essential as the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and repentance from sins was somehow not included.

Again, may this be a lesson for us all when any of us are proclaiming the Gospel to others. Every little theological stone doesn't have to be unturned; but the essentials need to be or what you may have is an incomplete gospel - which may in turn be no gospel at all.

Thanks again for your comments here Mike.

Steve

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

It seems that something that is so simple, and yes it really is quite simple, has been taken by those who are wise and made to be something that is apparently complex.
My point is that it all is centered around Christ, Him crucified and resurrected! The peripheral all leads to the crescendo and with out that crescendo, Christ, Him crucified and resurrected, then everything else is meaningless. Everyone must come to the cross and believe on the work that Christ has done, if this is not present then there is no salvation.
God bless Piper but Paul had it right first;

1Cor. 2: 1, 2

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Co 2:1-2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

This is the heart, this is the Gospel!

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy
Brother Weaver... Good day sir. Before I retire this evening I wanted to probe your thinking a bit more on this important subject. A few thoughts.

1. Your list only took me about 30 seconds to read thoughtfully, slowly and carefully with inflection. See you can walk through several essentials in about 3 and 1/2 minutes :-).

2. Based on another comment here by Reform which I also responded to, would you really preach election and predestination to an unbeliever as part of the gospel call to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives?

3. I don't know if you answered the question "what is the gospel" in your spiritual laundry list? You did touch on it... but may I ask you brother to briefly present the gospel here to us? I would like to see what you would say.

4 Let's do so without the sarcasm you gave in the last comment. After all, we are not talking about global warming here on this thread or scatological speech; we are talking about the gospel and what it is...

Thank you Jeremy. Good to have you commenting here on this theme.

Steve

PS - btw - because you asked, you left out of your list:

1. repentance from sin:
Luke 24:47
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2. The Lordship of Jesus Christ
Romans 10:9-10
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:5
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

3. and you didn't mention the name of Jesus.

I won't list the many verses here that speak of His name directly with the gospel. I am confident you know them.

But here are two passage:

Luke 24:47
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name sto all nations, tbeginning from Jerusalem.

Phil. 2:9-11
Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jeremy Weaver said...

The question was, How would I define the Gospel?. Not, How would I present the Gospel? What the Gospel is, and what a Gospel presentation looks like are two different things.

I would simply define the Gospel as what God does for us. That's why it's good news. God did it.

I didn't include repentance because that might have the tendency to point the good news back to something that I did, which I personally don't believe repentance is something I do alone, but that God works in me, but I understand that some of the non-reformed are reading this comment thread.

I also didn't use the name Jehovah when referring to God.

I think I would include the ascension and Lordship of Christ after the resurrection, and then add to the union of sinners in Christ's death and resurrection their union in His ascension.

Bottom line, if you think Piper was giving a Gospel presntation to an unbeliever in this video, you're completely wrong.

What would a Gospel presentation from me look like?

I would begin with God as Creator and ruler of the universe, talk about the sin of man in rebellion against God the Creator, talk about the punishment we deserve, tell of the man Christ Jesus who died in the place of sinful rebels, tell of His resurrection as the assurance that He is coming to judge the world of it's sin and reward the righteous, and then call for repentance towards God and faith in Christ Jesus.

Although when I do preach election or predestination I think that is a wonderful time to let people know that God's already started the work and if they feel the need to repent then that is an encouragement for them to believe the Gospel.

Again, and I'm not being sarcastic, I know that there is some point I left out, but I do think this is a sufficient Gospel proclamation and that God will use it just as He has promised.

donsands said...

I think Piper's emphasis here after reading and listening to the discussion is that he is trying to say, bottom line, the gospel isn't a ticket to heaven. It's not just the way, but the Way, a person.

The Good News, or the Gospel, is Christ, it's God living in us, the Father and Son coming to make their home in us, and with us.

It's being forgiven, and becoming clothed in Jesus' righteousness, but that's only to bring us into the throne room of the Almighty God of the universe.
Think about it; we are God's children, and heirs to His kingdom, which He freely, and gladly, yes gladly desires for us to have.
Amazing grace indeed!

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy
Bottom line, if you think Piper was giving a Gospel presntation to an unbeliever in this video, you're completely wrong.

I never thought that... The video was part of the Gospel Coalition's line up of produced videos on the theme of "what is the gospel?"
Defining the gospel is what was the issue in this clip - not presentation. BUT, all the theological systematic terms we use surrounding salvation from times past eternal to the future state defines the character of God but not necessarily the gospel. Otherwise, the Lord Jesus Himself would have had to include those things in how He defined and presented the gospel - but He never did. Neither did Paul for that matter when addressing nonbelievers.

So when Piper, or anyone, is asked to answer the question: what is the gospel? then what we should expect IS the gospel in response. Don't you agree?

To not include for whatever reason the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ or the repentance from sin then leaves the viewers of that video with not a false gospel, but an incomplete one.

1 Cor. 15:1-21 and Luke 24:40ff make those two things ESSENTIAL for the gospel and foundational in fulfilling the Great Commission.

What just occurred to me is something odd: defending that the resurrection and repentance be included in answering "what is the gospel?" can be considered offensive to some and out of bounds to bring up IF the one who accidently left those things out of their response to the question "what is the gospel?" happens to be a well known orthodox evangelical leader/pastor that people really like.

IOW, the cult of personality is driving the defensive reaction towards Piper in this discussion rather than the simple truth of Scripture.

I like Piper, but he is just another brother in the Lord Jesus Christ - that's all. We only follow him as long as he follows Christ. And when from time to time he makes a gaff like he did on this video, it shouldn't be wrong, insulting, controversial or even negative to mention that and even challenge him on that.

If you don't or won't (and I am using you in the general collective sense here) then some of our more famous Bible teachers have become evangelical Popes rather than remained servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of us should remain teachable and humble to the critical words of others. Why? Because none of us have arrived in our sanctification and theology completely. Amen?

Thanks for responding Jeremy.

Grace and peace,
Steve

Jeremy Weaver said...

BUT, all the theological systematic terms we use surrounding salvation from times past eternal to the future state defines the character of God but not necessarily the gospel.

God IS the Gospel. Election, predestination, glorification, etc., are not attributes of God, but they are actions of God towards us. God gracious salvific actions towards us are, in fact, the Gospel.

Otherwise, the Lord Jesus Himself would have had to include those things in how He defined and presented the gospel - but He never did. Neither did Paul for that matter when addressing nonbelievers.

Again we're back to the defining and presenting tension. You must know the definition of the Gospel to present it, but in presenting it you do not have to include everything you know. Yes the resurrection is essential in both the definition and the presentation, but again, Piper did not say, "These are the essentials", but, "These are six things that are essential..." I took the video as his way of highlighting some aspects of the Gospel that are ordinarily left out by some.

IOW, the cult of personality is driving the defensive reaction towards Piper in this discussion rather than the simple truth of Scripture.

I knew I would be accused of this. Personally, if I'm going to get caught in a cult of personality it would be behind Sproul. So I take measures to safeguard myself against that. I love to hear Piper preach and I've read most of his books, but there are things other than the Gospel he gives that worry me about his ministry. Same with Sproul. And, come to think of it, it all revoloves around Baptism for both of them.

All of us should remain teachable and humble to the critical words of others. Why? Because none of us have arrived in our sanctification and theology completely. Amen?

The first time I ever heard the name 'John MacArthur' was in the context of his being a heretic 'on the blood' because he did not hold to a 'mystical view' of the blood of Christ.
For years I would never touch his books listen to his messages or respect those who did.
Only later did I actually find out that it was actually these people who were 'heretics on the blood' (holding to that 'mystical view').
I'm glad MacArthur wasn't open to that criticism.
How much good Bible teaching did I miss in those years?

My concern in airing out these flaws in people, whether real or imagined, that we both agree with 99.9% of the time, is that we actually push people away from their ministries...which I think we would both agree most anyone would greatly benefit from.

I further think that we need to spend more time dissecting Osteen, the fat guy from Texas whose name I can't remember, and the rest of the TBN crowd than wasting time trying to find faults in our friends. I'm not against being a Berean, although I'm not sure if the Bereans actually became Christians...but at some point we've got to step back and say, "This guy has always consistently gotten the Gospel right, so I'm just going to give him the benefit of the doubt."

When he starts retracting things about the Gospel, I'll be the first to jump on him.

Carla said...

There are well known pastors, authors and apologists that I have been greatly blessed by, and when I see someone criticize them I immediately feel defensive on their behalf. I would feel the same way if someone criticized my own pastor.

However, with that said, if the criticism is correct, it's correct. If they say something off, or leave something out, or whatever it happens to be that they receive criticism for (or, not even criticism really but discussion on it the issue) then we need to be careful to remember they are just men, who can sometimes be wrong about things.

In a very real example, there is a particular well known pastor that I am greatly blessed by all the time, but his eschatological views are often criticized and views that I personally do not hold to. While I still appreciate him and learn from him, I do disagree with his views in this area. When he is criticized or refuted for this, there's nothing I can say because I agree with the criticism.

Sometimes though, I have seen others get right bent out of shape because someone dared to have the nerve to question this man of God, on anything. I see this happen a lot, and not just with the one person I'm referring to. It IS in fact a cult of personality issue, and we need to be very careful to guard ourselves against doing that.

FWIW...

johnMark said...

I'm curious how you all would present the Gospel to someone in a situation where you didn't have too much time. Whether it be in a grocery store, office conversation, or where ever.

I just wrote a post related to this and wonder how others might approach it.

Thanks,

Mark

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy
"God is the gospel." There you go again just quoting Piper and not Scripture.

Nowhere does Scripture say that or affirm that. Mark's gospel begins by saying, Mark 1:1 - "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." It is always tied directly to Jesus. So I don't really care for Piper's title - though catchy and provocative - it is not entirely accurate.

Acts 20:24 says, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

the gospel of the grace of God - that really says it! Now, I know what Piper means by his phrase - but even then his Christianized hedonism comes through a bit much.

"Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. 1:5) - there again, the Spirit of God resides in us through Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul says it this way in Romans 1:1 - "Paul, a servant[1] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God," but in verse three he qualifies it :"concerning His Son..."

Here again in Romans 15:16 Paul uses Trinitarian language concerning the gospel:
"to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."

Election, predestination, glorification, etc., are not attributes of God, but they are actions of God towards us. God gracious salvific actions towards us are, in fact, the Gospel.

Of course.

Piper did not say, "These are the essentials", but, "These are six things that are essential..." I took the video as his way of highlighting some aspects of the Gospel that are ordinarily left out by some.

Maybe I should do one featuring the resurrection and repentance as well - aspects of the Gospel apparently left out by some too.

but at some point we've got to step back and say, "This guy has always consistently gotten the Gospel right, so I'm just going to give him the benefit of the doubt."

That is where we disagree. When it comes to the gospel the Apostle Paul didn't say to Peter in Gal. 2:14 - "hey man, you really got this wrong this time. but because you are an apostle and usually get it right, I will give you the benefit of the doubt." blah, blah, blah.

No way. Parsing Piper "These are the essentials", but, "These are six things that are essential..." is really a straw man. Just say it brother - Piper missed on this one. It's OK - we all do sometimes - even the Apostle Peter.

The gospel is so important as I know you agree - that it is important to constantly emphasize the essentials the things that are essential as well in content and proclamation.

I do appreciate your thoughts here Jeremy and think highly of you. You contribution here is thought-provoking and I thank you sir.

Campi

SJ Camp said...

JohnMark
Great question. This is where I think we should stay closely to the text as possible with as little embellishment as possible.

Before I share my brief gospel presentation with you, I would like to have others have the change as well.

Anyone?

JTW said...

Well said Jeremy. It is NOT about a cult of personality and it is NOT about someone being above criticism.

It IS about using wisdom and prudence in what we will spend time criticizing and avoiding foolish controversies.

It is also understanding that young believers as well as unbelievers are watching. They might see this controversy about Dr. Piper and conclude that he is not a sound teacher.

If Dr. Piper did not clearly understand the Gospel, then have at it, go to town on him. But this is not the case, so grace and charity should rule the day.

Have a teachable moment and consider the aspect of the Gospel he was attempting to illuminate.

SJ Camp said...

jtw
Do you have any biblical example where your principle is stated and illustrated?

Otherwise, we get it - you are a Piper fan.
Steve

Kent Brandenburg said...

Steve,

We should consider whether John Piper answered the question. We're sanctified by the truth, not a Piper video. We despise not prophesying, yes, but we also prove all things. You did not question whether Piper has believed or taught a true gospel but whether he missed any essential component in that three minute video. Resurrection relates to the Deity of Jesus Christ, His trustworthiness, and His Lordship, therefore, behooving repentance. We can't put Jesus on the shelf with all our other gods and still be saved.

In the resurrection we see the utter uniqueness and the majesty of Jesus Christ. Many men were subjected to Roman crucifixion, but no man took Jesus' life and no grave could hold Him, so only He of all those crucified rose from the dead. As a Divine sacrifice, not just a human one, He forever perfected them Who were sanctified. He was Death's conqueror and we are more than conquerors in Him. And He forever lives to make intercession for us.

He is our Risen Lord, the firstfruits of our resurrection and the Captain of salvation, bringing many unto glory.

JTW said...

Steve, I respect all men who faithfully preach God's word. Dr. Piper is one among many. Please do not confuse godly respect with being a “fan.” Considering how much of your music I have purchased over the years, I am a bigger “fan” of Steve Camp than I am of John Piper. The reason I am referring to Dr. Piper is because this thread is titled “WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?...by John Piper"

I am speaking to the larger issue of how we should treat our leaders and what attitudes we should display toward them, and by extension, to each other.

I Timothy 5:17-20 - Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker deserves his pay.” Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 - And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

Here we see a principle of respect for church leaders. Honor refers not only to monetary compensation, but also respect. Should we evaluate someone based on a snapshot, a snippet, or a sound bite? Or should we evaluate a statement within the larger context of their overall ministry?

Colossians - 4:5 - Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.

We must always be aware that the world is watching and young believers are learning from our conduct.

2 Timothy: 2:23-25 But reject foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed infighting. And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

Scripture always makes a clear distinction between false teachers and godly teachers, between those who scatter and those who gather. I think we can agree, John Piper is in no way our opponent, nor is he preaching a false gospel.

Regarding Galatians 2:11-14: When Peter withdrew himself from the Gentiles and openly identified with the Judaizers he appeared to support their false doctrine and others followed his example. Paul correctly confronted him. Some have used this portion of Scripture to defend their views on Piper… that is way over the top and is not useful or analogous unless you believe Piper is preaching a false gospel.

Let me be clear, if a man or angel preaches another gospel, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8), that includes me, you, and Piper. But he is not preaching a false gospel. He made a statement within a three-minute discourse that you believe was incomplete. You are focused on that three minute clip and I am focused on the larger context of his ministry. Yes, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

What is the purpose of our theology? Is it to know God, glorify God, and make Him known?
Or is just sport, a “gotcha” game? Because if it is, eventually we are going to “get” everyone since all men are fallible.

Last question, Was God glorified more by this discussion thread or by Piper’s three minute clip. What would be more useful for the edification of the saints, this discussion or Piper’s comments?

founderandperfecter said...

I think Piper was discussing to Christians proclaiming the gospel so important things about the gospel.

I think an illustration is important here: Say I were to ask you "What is you name?"

You may respond, "Steve."
but an odd individual might say, "it is a word that people say that is connected to my identity."

Both are true, but if you are expecting one answer, you are surprised when you get the answer.

I think the answer some people were expecting Piper to answer the question, "What is the news of the gospel?"

It seems like Piper was answering the question, "What kind of thing is the gospel?"

If you want to see Piper answer the kind of question, "What is the news of the gospel?" search youtube for "the gospel in 6 minutes" and he will answer that.

Only Look said...

Man Steve, something sparked.\

"What Is The Gospel?" By the Apostle Paul:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I may not be completely Reformed, but I do believe that is the proper answer and it should take less than 30 seconds to say this.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Only Look said...

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 should serve as an outline for one to base every gospel offer on. His death for our sins and new transforming life in His resurrection.

What beautifully wonderful news.

Praise God!!!!

blatzkrieg said...

JTW & founderandperfecter,

AMEN!

It was abundantly clear to me as I watched the video that Piper was indeed answering the question, "What (kind of thing) is the Gospel?" He was not presenting the Gospel, but explaining to believers and Gospel presenters what kind of thing the Gospel of Christ is.

We really do need to be careful how we discuss these things, as JTW eloquently stated above.

I would point you to DefCon's link to this article as an example of how this thing goes way overboard very quickly.

http://defendingcontending.com/2008/10/12/what-is-the-gospel-john-piper/

God Bless

Coram Deo said...

Thanks for the HT Jim B (aka blatzkrieg)!

I'm not sure if you read through the entire thread, but my 16:45 comment in this very combox comprises the entirety of the DefCon article that links back to SJC's original post here.

I'm curious, what in your opinion what is "way overboard" about "this thing"?

In Christ,
CD

blatzkrieg said...

Gee Coram, I don't know. Maybe we could start with the title of your post: "Pied Piper?" That's clever...

Or how about:

"Therefore instead of sharing the Biblical gospel in this instance Piper serves up what amounts to at worst “another gospel” or at best a cheapened, watered down version which, according to the Holy Bible, is no gospel at all."

Or:

"If I had closed my eyes and if Piper had spoken in a folksy South Texas drawl I could have easily imagined Smilin’ Joel Osteen expounding this same sort of bland, generic, sinless, bloodless, repentance free, wrathless, resurrection-less “Gawd has a wunnerful plah-yun fer yer life” drivel..."

Well, I've practically cited your entire post/comment. Good grief...

You should really read JTW's comment above about respect for elders.

(BTW - I hate blogger. It's probably not blogger's fault; I'm sure it's just me. I can never manage to leave comments with the same moniker twice.)

SJ Camp said...

blatzkrieg
It was abundantly clear to me as I watched the video that Piper was indeed answering the question, "What (kind of thing) is the Gospel?" He was not presenting the Gospel, but explaining to believers and Gospel presenters what kind of thing the Gospel of Christ is.

Really. Was this revealed to you by using The Force or are you just clairvoyant? :-). JK.

But seriously, are we not supposed to evaluate someone's actual words that they have chosen and spoken, and not the subjective motive of meaning hidden behind their words? You seem to be saying this and then you want us to re-listen to those same words with your personal, perceived intent as a filter that everyone must adopt?

Ridiculous. Let's try again.

If your assumption is true about what Piper was trying to say and not what he actually said; by your standard, is not the bodily resurrection of Jesus and repentance from sin "the kind of thing" the gospel would include?

If so, then what are we arguing about? If not, explain to me and help me understand further your circular thoughts.

Hope you remember your sign in nic this time... And you're right, it's not Bloggers fault.

Steve
1 Cor. 15:1-21

Coram Deo said...

Jim B.,

Please accept my apologies if I've come across as overly graceless, uncharitable and/or disrespectful in my comments.

I truly admire Dr. Piper, really!

In fact I'll readily admit that it's quite possible that my genuine admiration and general fondness for him and his ministry to the Lord may evoke a more emotional and undetached response in me than it should when I see him mishandling the gospel which thing, of course, ought to be infinitely more important to us as believers than mere reputations.

Piper simply botched this one big time and other people notice things like this.

Look, it's not as if someone sneaked a camera crew into a restaurant where Piper was dining and having a casual private conversation among friends about theology whereupon he fumbled on a some minor, nonessential point and then WHAM! the TV cameras start rolling, the lights go up, and microphones drop down as Piper gets mercilessly grilled by his eavesdropping "waiter" who was really Todd Friel in disguise just waiting for his moment to pounce!

No, Piper was asked "What is the gospel?"

And his response? Lacking. That's all.

Not wrong.
Not evil.
Not false.

But lacking.
But incomplete.
But inaccurate.

And therefore technically not the gospel; hence this discussion thread.

In Christ,
CD

blatzkrieg said...

Mr. Camp,

Given the position likely taken by most here on spiritual gifts, I will refrain from detailing the powers of my clairvoyance. ;)

“If so, then what are we arguing about?”

That’s what I’d like to know.

The Piper video was titled “What Is the Gospel?” and Piper answered with “six essentials”:

1. a plan – set up beforehand
2. an event in history
3. an achievement – sins paid for; righteousness completed
4. a free offer – not by works
5. application of achievement – by faith forgiven & justified
6. the aim: “to bring us to God” – God is our treasure and end

Clearly, point six was the thrust of Piper’s video snippet. Piper WAS NOT presenting the Gospel. This is evident in the fact that most of us have heard Piper present the Gospel, and this was not that. The first five points were clearly a preamble to his main point, number six. Most of what everyone here is griping about not being in his list is subsumed and implied in point three.

(THIS IS NOT TO SAY THESE THINGS ARE UNIMPORTANT! PIPER WAS NOT COMMUNICATING – INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE – BY HIS OMISSION OF THESE THINGS THAT THEY ARE UNIMPORTANT! PIPER WAS TRYING TO MAKE A SPECIFIC POINT, AND DO IT IN A BRIEF PERIOD OF TIME.)

Most of us familiar with Piper recognize he is passionate about “Christian hedonism” (not my favorite term either, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it if it’s understood the way Piper presents it) – Christ being most glorified in His people being most satisfied in Him. Piper frequently warns against making our ultimate end/aim in coming to God anything other than… coming to God. That’s what this video is about. I’m guessing this will be Piper’s particular theme for the upcoming Gospel Coalition Conference. Ergo, Piper didn’t focus on resurrection or repentance, because THIS IS NOT THE TOPIC ASSIGNED TO HIM FOR THIS CONFERENCE!

------------------------

Mr. Camp, I cannot accept the oft-repeated dictum here that “We’re just having a friendly dialogue! No one is ‘piling on’ or ‘bashing’ Piper!” I accept that many here have only good intentions, and do see this exchange as nothing more than a benign exercise in theological discernment.

However, I would (again) point to Coram’s comment/post above. Coram sarcastically likens Piper’s message here to Joel Osteen. This comment received no less than a hearty ‘Amen!’ from you. (See comment at 18:27.) Yet, a guy like Weaver is repeatedly admonished by you for being “emotional” and “sarcastic”. Don’t you see the double-standard? Intentionally or not, these kinds of nit-picking conversations foment an unholy division in the body of Christ. Check out DefCon’s daily hyperbolic slander! (They not infrequently link to your blog and receive inspiration for their rants from your posts on these topics.) Or what about your cohort, Ingrid Schlueter? You say you respect Piper and are not advocating separation, but Ingrid recently said on her SliceOfSlander that she can no longer link to or recommend him!

Full disclosure: I am a Piper fan. I am a member at Piper’s church. I have been recently contemplating a giant “Piper is My Homeboy” tattoo across my back. However, my concern with what I perceive to be an unhelpful hyper-criticism from certain crankier corners of the blogosphere started with the hubbub over Driscoll, and I have no connection to or particular affinity for him or his ministry. (Though, thanks to SliceOfSlander, DefCon and COT, I have listened to more Driscoll over the past month than I had previously imbibed over a lifetime.)

It seems to me part of discernment is discerning who to attack, how to attack and when to attack. There seems to be very little of that kind of discernment at places like DefCon and SliceOfSlander. And it seems COT walks that line awfully tight.

God Bless,
Jim B. (I’m too lazy to figure out the blogger sign-in!)

blatzkrieg said...

Coram,

“Please accept my apologies if I've come across as overly graceless, uncharitable and/or disrespectful in my comments.”

To accept an apology would necessitate an admission of guilt and a subsequent change in behavior. You clearly don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, so don’t patronize me with unnecessary apologies.

“I truly admire Dr. Piper, really!”

This reminds me of a recent situation at work between two coworkers, both of whom I like. Coworker A incessantly belittles Coworker B to his face and behind his back. Coworker A insists he and Coworker B are friends and that his problems with Coworker B are only work related. Yet, Coworker B no longer considers himself Coworker A’s friend. He recently said to me, “You can’t hear someone constantly berate you and then want to have a beer with him after work.” Yeah, I suppose not.

Coram, you can proclaim your admiration all you want. Your harsh words speak for themselves.

SJ Camp said...

blatzkrieg
Coram sarcastically likens Piper’s message here to Joel Osteen. This comment received no less than a hearty ‘Amen!’ from you. (See comment at 18:27.)

I never said that nor was that the context of my reply to Coram.

blatzkrieg said...

Mr. Camp,

I didn't mean to imply that you specifically endorsed or praised Coram's sarcastic jabs at Piper. I can see how my comment could have been taken that way. Sorry.

What I meant to point out was that his comment was praised by you, despite the flagrant sarcasm. This sarcasm was never called out, yet Weaver's "emotion" and "sarcasm" were. I found Coram's sarcasm far more offensive and out-of-bounds than Weaver's.

But maybe that's just 'cause I'm Piper fan! (You know, I need to start using that as a counter-argument as well. It's quick, easy and requires very little thought. Blogging can be tedious work at times!)

God Bless

founderandperfecter said...

Anyone interested can read my explanation of the gospel in the two most recent posts of my blog. I would appreciate comments.

Coram Deo said...

Jim B.,

Personally I think you owe SJC an apology for the breathtaking insolence you've displayed towards him as a guest here at his blog.

Really Jim, I mean, do you walk into other people's homes and berate their choice of furniture, the books they have on their shelves, and shout them down for having a different point of view than yours?

You've come across here as a seething cauldron of rage and angst.

In Christ,
CD

Denise said...

"there has never been a perfect and complete representation of the gospel in human words" stated one poster here.

No complete representation? Jesus Christ, God IN THE FLESH stated in Mark 1:15 "..repent ye, and believe" Not clear enough?

God's Word is sufficient and again I'll point out that Piper's words WERE insufficient.

I have had high regard for Piper in the past but I am mentioning now, he must be influenced by Driscoll, who is way too concerned about fitting God's Word to the culture, PLUS his Acts 29 network is laced with Contemplative Spirituality (Foster's Spiritual Disc. and Formation) This kind of influence on men, such as Piper bad as it all based in eastern mysticism. Sorry for the tangent but maybe there is something to say about messages today that have become watered down? Thank the Lord for MacArthur who stands firmly on scripture and not men's new fangled ideas and prayer practices!
Thanks for reading:
the first Denise who posted here.

Coram Deo said...

You're spot on accurate here denise.

But brace yourself! By pointing out the bald facts about the contemplative leaven that has leavened the Acts 29 loaf you'll be mercilessly charged with “sloppy and uncharitable research” and applying “guilt by association tactics”.

You may also be accused of needing to enroll in a course in "remedial logic".

I simply can't understand why so many professing Christians are so quick to leap to the defense of the Biblically indefensible.

In Christ,
CD

Jim B. said...

Good grief, Coram. Your blog exists to criticize others, and you have the gall to chastise me for criticizing this particular criticism?

"Hello, Mr. Pot. I'd like you to meet Mr. Kettle."

What exactly did I say/write to Mr. Camp that was breathtakingly insolent? Could you be a bit more constructive in your criticism?

Coram Deo said...

Jim B. (blatzkrieg),

Let’s see…how about accusing SJC of employing “double-standards”, of “fomenting unholy division” in the body of Christ by enabling or otherwise encouraging “nit pikcking conversations”, insinuating some sort connection between him and Ingrid’s comments about Piper and then closing with the cheap shot You know, I need to start using that as a counter-argument as well. It's quick, easy and requires very little thought. Blogging can be tedious work at times!)

founderandperfecter said...

I would like to add the question though, do we have to preach the absolute complete gospel every time we preach it?

For example, I have noticed that almost nobody mentions that Christ defeated his enemies including the power of satan and demons on the cross. This is true, but I don't know that we must preach it along every time we preach the gospel.

Another aspect of the gospel is Jesus' willingness and purposefulness in going to the cross. For some this is an assumed detail, but others may not understand and think that it was the work of Romans or Jews.

I believe that there are certain things that should never be left out of the gospel, for example, Jesus' death, forgiveness of sins, grace, faith, repentance, the resurrection, and the reception of the Holy Spirit.

What do you think about the details?

My Man's Rib said...

"And we ought also to thank GOD for you brothers, loved by the LORD, because from the beginning GOD chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the SPIRIT and through our Gospel, that you might share in the glory of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. So then,brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachngs we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our LORD JESUS CHRIST Himself and GOD our FATHER, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."- 2 Thessalonians 2
1. The Gospel is the love of the LORD GOD, the FATHER, poured out= "brothers loved by the LORD" and "GOD our FATHER, who loved us"
2. The Gospel was orchestrated "from the beginning."
3. God elects = "GOD chose you"
4. Salvation is a work of the SPIRIT = "saved through... the SPIRIT."
5. Salvation is a continuing process of the activity of the SPIRIT = "the sanctifying work of the SPIRIT."
6. The purpose of the Gospel is "the glory of JESUS CHRIST."

Now, let's talk about results:
1. "Stand firm"
2. "Hold to the teachings"
3. "Eternal encouragement"
4. "Good hope" (not that flimsy, wimsy, worldly fascination with asiration... this is solid as a rock... THE ROCK)
5. "Strength"
6. "Good deed and word"

Tom H said...

I don't think there is a problem with discussing this particular video. However, I am wondering if Piper himself knows about this thread. Perhaps because it involves him so much, he could be invited to clarify a few things.
I also think the comments about Piper being influenced by Driscol's Contemplative Spirituality, is very unfair.
First of all, although I am not yet a fan of Driscol, I do understand that he is distancing himself from people such as Foster, Maclaren etc...
Yes, he has a long way to go; the language he uses at times is just one example. However, I think it is safe to say that because of the influence of men like Piper, he seems to be reforming.
As a Reformed believer myself, I am very happy about this and although we should hold each other accountable, we are all in the same boat. We are all reforming!

Tom H