A tribute to John Piper

The Responsible Puppet writes a tribute to the old Calvinist:

On Easter Sunday John Piper preached his last sermon as pastor at my church, on April 21 we had a big Thanksgiving service for his retirement, and then last week the Gospel Coalition published an article that I wrote which expressed some of the reasons why I was glad he’d been my family’s pastor.  But closer to home for you, I thought I’d send my handy reference of areas where you and Pastor John disagree and agree: 

Six Things Vox and Pastor Piper Disagree On

  1. Calvinism: Is God a sparrow-slayer.
  2. Trinity: Is the historic definition Biblical.
  3. Race: Is Diversity good?
  4. Gentlemanliness: How should a woman be treated?
  5. Innerancy: Is the Bible we hold in our hand completely true?
  6. Harshness: What is good cause to be intentionally offensive 

Six Things Vox and Pastor Piper Agree About

  1. Abortion: Should it be legal? Is it always reprehensible?
  2. Male leadership in the church: Should women be pastors?
  3. Homosexuality: It is a sin?
  4. Rob Bell: Has he stepped away from the Gospel?
  5. Poetry: Is writing poems a worthwhile use of my time?
  6. Gospel: What is it?

I’ll just say that I’m in agreement with Pastor John on all twelve of these issues, which is a big reason why I’ve been at his church. But if you’re wondering if there’s anything that you and Pastor Piper are in agreement about, that I disagree with, it would be this:

  1. Cats: Are they worthwhile creatures, esp. as pets?

He refers, I believe, to my adherence to the one true apocrypha concerning the Creation of the Cat. Just to be clear, I have no doubt whatsoever that John Piper is a better man, and very little doubt that he is a better Christian, than I am.  This does not mean, however, that I am blind to what I see as his intellectual flaws or that I agree with what I view as his gibberingly mad positions on the murderous nature of God and the societal desirability of vibrancy.

I suppose we all have a tendency to attempt to remake God in our own image.  The difference between Piper’s harsh, judgmental vision of a red-handed god and my own more abstract, indifferent vision of a Creator who creates primarily for His own amusement much more likely reflects our personalities than an accurate portrait of God.  I suspect Piper himself would agree; I don’t think he is under any illusion concerning his ability to see through the glass that separates the material from the Divine more clearly than the Apostle Paul.

Since I don’t speak for God, I can’t say if John Piper was a faithful servant or even if he ran a good race. But what I can say, as an open and unrestrained critic of the man’s ideas, is that he did his best to be a faithful servant and to run the best race of which he was capable.  And if men are to be judged by their fruits, it would appear, at least to this very casual observer, that he has as little cause to fear as any man might hope to possess when facing judgment.