John Piper on Rick Warren

Last week, we found out that John Piper invited Rick Warren to speak at the Desiring God National Conference this October. Many Christians are barking at Piper saying he is now a heretic. For the record, I like Rick Warren. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Here’s a 9 minute video of Piper talking about a phone conversation he had with Warren. In the video he talks about a number of things:  Warren’s theology; his hope for the young, restless Reformed crowd (like me and many of you who read this blog); his expectation of a Q & A with Warren at the conference; and what Warren has to offer the body of Christ.


Baptism, Communion, and Ignorant Sin

Right now, there is a sizable debate shaping up in the blogosphere concerning paedo-baptism and credo-baptism.  More on that in a second.  First, let’s explain what both mean.

Paedo-baptism (in the Reformed tradition) is the practice of baptizing infants, not for salvation (as in Roman Catholicism and in some Lutheran churches), but as a sign of the covenant between God and his people, with the hope that the baby will someday become a believer in Jesus.  The argument is that if a baby is a member of a believing family, he “belong[s] to the covenant and people of God as well as their parents” (Westminster Confession of Faith).  Acts 16:15 would be an example of a passage to teach paedo-baptism.  Paedo-baptists would include J.I. Packer, Ligon Duncan, and R.C. Sproul.

Credo-baptism is the practice of what is commonly called “believers baptism.”  This means that once a person has professed faith in Christ, they are eligible to be baptized.  The argument is that a person must knowingly follow Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  We call this being a disciple (“follower,” “learner,” “student”).  Matthew 28:19-20 would be an example of a passage to teach credo-baptism.  Credo-baptists would include John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and Mark Driscoll.

The blogosphere debate was started by Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist in D.C.   Dever is a credo-baptist.  He wrote “What I CAN and CANNOT Live with as a Pastor.”  Number 11 read like this:

11. Infant baptism. I cannot live with infant baptism. Having said that, if I were the pastor of the only church allowed in Mecca, maybe… But even then, I simply lack the authority to admit someone to the Lord’s Table who has not been baptized. It is, as one said not too long ago, “above my pay-grade.” I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors (emphasis mine).

Boy, did Dever step on some toes with that one!  Mike Bird (I don’t know who this guy is) responded with a bit of passion, giving Dever a “soggy fish” award, meaning that he’d like to slap Dever in the face with a soggy fish.  Dever then explained his position by responding to Bird.  Scott Clark, of Westminster Seminary California, responded to both by asking “Who cares?” Clark is a paedo-baptist who is not offended because he believes that credo-baptists are sinning (though unintentionally) because they are withholding their babies from baptism.

Whew.  This is a mess, isn’t it?  For the record, I am a credo-baptist, but I don’t necessarily agree with Dever that a paedo-baptist couldn’t partake of communion with me.  I would agree that paedo-baptism is a sin (though a sincere one that comes from a misinterpretation of the Scriptures).  If that seems at odds, look for my next post.  I’ll explain more there.

Stay tuned…


Weekly Spurgeon

From A Defense of Calvinism:

It is often said that the doctrines we believe have a tendency to lead us to sin. I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high doctrines which we love, and which we find in the Scriptures, are licentious ones. I do not know who will have the hardihood to make that assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitefield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of the Puritans, whose works are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing, but now we are looked upon as the heretics, and they as the orthodox. We have gone back to the old school; we can trace our descent from the apostles. It is that vein of free-grace, running through the sermonizing of Baptists, which has saved us as a denomination. Were it not for that, we should not stand where we are today. We can run a golden line up to Jesus Christ Himself, through a holy succession of mighty fathers, who all held these glorious truths; and we can ask concerning them, “Where will you find holier and better men in the world?” No doctrine is so calculated to preserve a man from sin as the doctrine of the grace of God. Those who have called it “a licentious doctrine” did not know anything at all about it. Poor ignorant things, they little knew that their own vile stuff was the most licentious doctrine under Heaven. If they knew the grace of God in truth, they would soon see that there was no preservative from lying like a knowledge that we are elect of God from the foundation of the world. There is nothing like a belief in my eternal perseverance, and the immutability of my Father’s affection, which can keep me near to Him from a motive of simple gratitude. Nothing makes a man so virtuous as belief of the truth. A lying doctrine will soon beget a lying practice. A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-by having an erroneous life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other. Of all men, those have the most disinterested piety, the sublimest reverence, the most ardent devotion, who believe that they are saved by grace, without works, through faith, and that not of themselves, it is the gift of God. Christians should take heed, and see that it always is so, lest by any means Christ should be crucified afresh, and put to an open shame.

Life Theology

Weekly Spurgeon

From Morning and Evening

So to walk even as He walked.
– 1 John 2:6

Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be in a healthy state of soul–if they would escape the sickness of sin, and enjoy the vigour of growing grace, let Jesus be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink wine on the lees, well refined; if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus; if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as He walked. There is nothing which can so assist you to walk towards heaven with good speed, as wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its motions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in His very footsteps, that you are most happy, and most known to be the sons of God. Peter afar off is both unsafe and uneasy. Next, for religion’s sake, strive to be like Jesus. Ah! poor religion, thou hast been sorely shot at by cruel foes, but thou hast not been wounded one-half so dangerously by thy foes as by thy friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of Godliness? The professor who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with pretences, enters the fold, being nought but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professors injure the gospel more than the sneering critic or the infidel. But, especially for Christ’s own sake, imitate His example. Christian, lovest thou thy Saviour? Is His name precious to thee? Is His cause dear to thee? Wouldst thou see the kingdoms of the world become His? Is it thy desire that He should be glorified? Art thou longing that souls should be won to Him? If so, imitate Jesus; be an “epistle of Christ, known and read of all men.”