Monday, April 19, 2010

When the music fades... Tuning out John Piper's Christian Hedonism hangover

1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Colossians 1:28
Conservatives have been caught in awe by the teachings of John Piper. Piper is a reformed Theologian and philosopher and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnasota. Piper is one of the leading conservative evangelicals instrumental in the revival of calvinism. Evangelical colleagues hold Piper in great esteem across the board.
What is interesting is that Piper has labeled himself as a radical and controversial, yet we do not see a great deal of christians openly criticizing or opposing him.
"you can see why this starts to get controversial. It's the seriousness of it all."John Piper Dangerous Duties of Delightpg. 15
Unlike many teachers whom I have examined, Piper's false teachings are very secretive. A person doesn't pick up anything on the first read. So these teachings simply slip into the subconscious. Yet they are there and I am determined here to expose them.
Now I know that in this critique there will be many fans of John Piper who will be angered for their leader being critiqued. I am not saying that Piper is not a saved man. Nor am I saying that he doesn't possess good teachings for Chrisitians today. I think he, like many high level evangelicals can preach the gospel correctly and have in the past. But as Paul said.
5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Galatians 5:9

There are poisonous parts to Piper's teaching that may one day destroy the spiritual lives of Piper's disciple's.
So I want it to be understood that I am not attacking Piper the man, instead I am trying to focus upon the teachings of Piper. I try not to lay
judgement on individual souls, yet even scripture sometimes has to correct people by name.

1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
3 John 1:9
A respectable teacher can do much more damage than a noted heretic can, because he has the trust of very devout christian people.

Piper and other sources:

30:5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

When we read Piper we find a great deal of reliance upon other preachers in his theology and philosophy. While I beleive that we should respect and listen to the Christian teachers of the past, we must be very careful not to give authority away that was formerly occupied by Christ.
One example of leaning to other sources is in the Book "Brothers, We are Not Professionals". It is common practice for an author to head a chapter with a famous quote, which may summarize a chapter, or give authority to the point of a chapter. Piper practices this obsessively with this particular book. He quotes several scripture passages. (25) The Piper quotes other popular authors. (18) But what is disturbing is the fact that he quotes himself more than the other two, on over 40 occaisions! Why would he need to exalt his own words so much? This just seems bizarre to me. Yet Piper does the same in several publications. This identifies the fact that Piper is a strong advocate of what's called the "Normative Principle". In other words, Piper doesn't use scripture as the only authority. What's more is that neither do the "Christian" leaders whom he relies on.
Piper looked to several theological leaders for instance:
Augustine: Augustine has been a key source of inspiration for calvinist since before calvin, in the writings of Luther. They particularly loves his doctrines of divine sovereignty. However, if taken and appraised by bible believers, even biblical Calvinists will find doctrine which is inherently false. Prior to Augustine's conversion he was popular as professor of platonic philosophy and for a breif time Mannechianism. So Augustine's background was filled with teachings of the Heathen.
He would go to teach many doctrines alongside his better arguments for grace such as.
A. apocrypha
B. Instantaneous creation
C. sex as the original sin
D. federal headship (with imputed guilt)
E. Infant Baptism
F. sacramental salvation
G. theocracy
H. double predestination
I. a form of the ransom theory (like christus victor)
J. justification mixed with works
K. replacement theoogy and amillenialism
L. Purgatory
Here let me breifly explain how these doctrines lead in a different and platonic worldview. The Apocrypha, which augustine championed as canonical, was written by platonic alexandrine Jews. It is this document that contains arguments for purgatory, which augustine accepted.
As a Platonist, augustine felt a rational God would not waste 7 days to create the earth. He also decided the original sin was sex. This implies that man's sinful nature is purely physical. This of course matched platonism. This was decided by Adam and humanity is guilty of adam's sex with eve and that alone. This builds augustine's case for infant baptism that his Roman Catholic culture was free from original sin due to being sprinkled as children. Augustine believed in the papacy and identified it as the Kingdom of God. Therefore all who are catholic are members of the Holy Roman Empire, which is the kingdom of God. the Roman Catholic kingdom was predestined by God to conquer the earth then. Jesus had come to destroy the devil. Jesus death on the cross was not simply to pay for sin, but a way to defeat the devil. Salvation is not directly through Christ but by direct entrance into the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was the true Israel and had a right to take Israel by force. Thoe who are not obedient to the empire but citizens will pay their dues in purgatory.
Although Augustine was more biblical in his commentaries and indeed changed his views with the passage of time. He was a philosophic Platonist with an awkward testimony and a theological bias. For these reasons Piper should not have relied so heavily upon this Catholic teacher.
Many Calvinists have been devoted to Augustine. Yet they should be careful to observe the distinction of John Calvin.
"The only difference betweeon our division and that of Augustine is, that ours (in accordance with the words of our Saviour,'All prophets and the Law prophesied until John,' Matth. Xi.13) distinguishes between gospel light and that more obscure dispensation of the world which proceeded it, while the other division simply distuinguishes between the weakness of the Law and the strength of the gospel." John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion book II chapter XI section 10 pg. 395

C.S Lewis
C.S. Lewis was popular as a skeptic turned Christian. He was known as a brilliant apologist and writer, who wrote the 2oth centuries most popular apologetic work Mere Christianity. Yet though Lewis had left such positive contributions to society. Lewis also taught many heretical teachings and lived a hedonistic lifestyle, which left his salvation in question. (cursing, fornication, adultery, drunkeness etc.)
A. Lewis believed in evolution)As a professor at cambridge, Lewis was indoctrinated withthe naturalistic worldview before professing Christianity. The Anglican church did not provide much of a fight against these doctrines. So Lewis retained these heresies by default. Evolution denies the fact that God had a role in Creation. If God did not have the strength to create the world, how did he perfomr other miracles. This also destroys the doctrine of fall and sinful nature as well.
B. Lewis denied biblical innerrancy) a necessary consequence of evolution is denial of the innerrancy of scripture. This leaves the christian worldview open for criticism on any level. This is the place where the gospel can be tampered with the gospel of salvation in favor of a more catholic
C. Lewis denied penal substitution and New Testament Salvation) Lewis did tamper with the gospel of salvation in favor of a more catholic version. Lewis held that Christ died on the cross as a victory over the devil. Which means that his death was not meant to forgive us specifically for all sins.
D. As an episcopalien Lewis held to sacramental gospel and even considered conversion to the Roman Catholic church.
Lewis is a hero to those who claim tobe evangelicals. Yet it is little known his theological doctrine and immoral lifestyle. Though Lewis had many arguments for "mere Christianity" . His doctrines fall short of "real Christianity".

Jonathon Edwards
Probably the most orthodox of all the above. Edwards was extremely succesful and very conservative. Although Edwards was different from many revivalist of today in the fact that he was an academic success more so than a church success.
Edwards home denomination (congregationalists) went and fell apart today all that is left is the apostate unitarian church. Edwards school (harvard) grew apostate and has for the last century been a strong force openly opposing the gospel of christ as opposed to helping ministers.
What is interesting is that Piper spends a great deal of time covering Edwards accolades since he is the primary source for Piper's philosophy. Yet though Edwards does improve Calvinistic doctrine in an Evangelical direction . Edwards will have the same philosophic influences that were in the theology of Augustine.

In response all, with the obvious exception of Jonathon edwards, these leaders denied the fundamental principle of justification by grace through faith alone. Augustine and Pascal(another influence) were devout Catholics. C.S. Lewis was a liberal Episcopalian who denied penal substitution and exclusive salvation. but according to the Bible there is only one gospel:

1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:6-12
There is no doubt in my mind that this gospel is directly connected to Justification by grace through faith alone.
2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God Forbid. 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:16-19
So Piper, while being conservative in his esteem of the Bible. Fails to practice the regulative principle of the Bible. This is where his philosophy will fall short in his gospel of Glory.
With so many unregenerate influences Piper's theology has got to be flawed at some point.
50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 50:17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
Psalms 50:16-17
The Bible clearly says that we should separate ourselves from false teaching.
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14
16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Romans 16:17
Piper and most new Evangelicals will look to the Catholic faith and catholic teachings, which were invented by men who never experienced being born again and practiced various forms of witchcraft in the guise of Christianity. It is fairly obvious that Piper wants not simply to discuss the gospel but points of calvinism instead. In stressing these men his calvinistic writers have introduced him to Roman catholic ideas which he intrudes to Baptists.

Double predestination

One major problem with hyper-calvinism is that it has God as responsible for evil. Now regular calvinists argue that man is responsible for evil while God has predestinated good. However in supra-lapsarian hyper-calvinism, God has predestinated evil. He escapes the charge being the auther of evil only on the technicality that he is not directly involved in the evil himself.
This is ultimately heresy. Because the God of the Bible is Holy, and he does not tempt anyone to sin.
1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:13
This fatalistic God is almost Mannichean. A God of good and a god evil dually.
While it is true that God is Sovereign and has given permission for evil to exist, does it then follow that he has to make evil happen?

"So what we are considering here is that God rules the world in such a way that all calamities and all sin remain in His ultimate control and therefore within his ultimate design and purpose." Desiring God pg 338
This also makes the Lord an ammoral God. He appears more distant, after all good is no longer the Lord's single desire.

"Is God the author of Evil?" ibid pg338
"Then there is no reason to believe that Satan is ever out of God's ultimate control." ibid pg.342
Author) noun 1. a.The original writer of an abreviated work. b. one who practices writing as a profession. 2. An originator or creator. 3. to assume responsibility for the content of (a published or unpublished text).
(from the American heretage dictionary)
Obviously we will be concerned with the second definition.
Piper may not want us to see this, but he has implied that God is indeed the creator of evil.
Which would mean God is in fact, according to Piper, the author of evil.

"If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God's Holiness in hetred of sin or in showing any preference, in his providence, of Godliness before it."
Desiring God pg.350 (quoting Jonathon Edwards)
I want you to nottice a word slipped in on this argument. In order for God to be holy, not only must He permit sin, but he must decree it as well. What does "decree" mean?

Decree) noun 1. An authoritative order having the force of law. 2. law The judgement of a court of equity. admirality, probate, or divorce. 3. Roman catholic church a. A doctrinal or disciplinary act of an ecumenical council. b. An administrators act applying of canon law.
verb. 1. to ordain establish, or decide by decree (from American heretage dictionary)
So by stating that God decrees moral evil, we see that God has authoritatively created evil. Which is another word for making God the author evil.

"But he argues, willing that sin exist in the world is not the same as sinning. God does not sin in willing that there be sin." Desiring God pg.347
I am sure Charles Manson and Al Capone wished that Piper would be there lawyer! At this point Piper stops going to the scriptures, but to Edwards who will make a new rule,
"[God's] will of decree [or sovereign will] is not his will in the same sense as his will of command [or moral will] is. Therefore it is not difficult to suppose that one maybe otherwise than the other."
So here we have a doctrine introduced that God has two wills, which may be possibly be able to contradict each other. Where does the Bible say that God has two wills? Not to mention that the trinity declares God to have one being in three persons. Now, itis true that God is sovereign over the universe andthat the world is no longer a good place.
However this would not be a delimma if we would admit to the existence of free-will! God has now been distorted and quite mannichaen appearing just to keep people thought of as robots.
Piper tries to put up a scarecrow argument by bringing up "open theism" as the only alternative to double predestination. This heresy ironically was invented by an ex-calvinist Clark Pinnock. Piper doesn't mention amyrauldians, arminians, wesleyans, or even semi-pelagians who do not hold to this doctrine.

Is the deterministic God the same as the God of the Bible?

19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Matthew 19:17

4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
1 Timothy 4:4

1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31

7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Ecclesiastes 7:29

The God of the Bible is not only good, but He also created a good world. Death and suffering are a result of the sin of mankind.

5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12
When people argue over the problem of Evil, they do so from an evolutionary standpoint. They see a world with moral evil, death and suffering. Then assume God as responsible for all of it.
Yet the Bible doesn't paint this portrait of it.

13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Matthew 13:24-30

13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 13:37-43
It is important to note that evil in it's origin is attributed to the devil. The action of evil was not actualized until it came from the heart of lucifer.
God created a perfect being named lucifer, and it was Lucifer's free decision to inventevil and tempt Adam.

28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Ezekiel 28:15
Many double predestinarians get confused over the nature of evil. They assume it is an existing thing and therefore must have been created by God. However the Biblical metaphor of Light and Darkness teaches that evil is not a substance, but is in fact a lack thereof. This was the reason Augustine left the mannichean school. ( in Augustine's confessions.

3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19
So evil is not the creation of God, but indeed the descent from God. The God of the Bible is Holy and separate. So now the good God of scripture is dealing with an evil creation that is not His fault. He acts in His providence, not to make moral evil,but to take pre-existing moral evil alongside an evil-spawned curseand manipulate them to His good moral Will. So God;s morality does not contradict providence. Which helps us believers.

8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Romans 8:27-28

The Selfish God
"The ultimate ground for Christian Hedonism is the fact that God is upper most in His own affections. The Chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever." Desiring God pg. 31
In Piper's philosophy God is essentially prideful doing everything for His glory. Now this is an easy concept to confuse. God is all powerful and all-knowing. God is Sovereign over all creation. If you are absolutely objective and all powerful everything should flow in your direction. Plus you can not esteem yourself too highly being onfinite.
However, God declares that pride is a sin. God is Holy and has no sin. Piper and his followers are mocking God to paint Him is such a sinful fashion. Because instead of correcting their error, they merely insist we must be obediant to this perverted notion.

4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:8

13:4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Now charity is another word for "Love". (as testified by modern translations)
In First John we see that God is directly indentified as not simply possessing the attribute of love, but actually being Love. In this 1 corinthian passage, first we see a biblical definition of love. If anything love is the opposite of pride. So the God of the Bible is not prideful or selfish. What about the verse "seeketh not her own"? Doesn't Hedonism declare that God seeketh after His own?

5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.
Matthew 19:21

2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
Philippians 2:5-10
Here in Matthew we see a command of perfection. This is another way of commanding Godliness. Part of the definition of Godliness is shown in getting rid of what you have and giving it to the poor. In otherwords to be like God is to be humble and not self-seeking or self-interested.
In Philippians we see proof of this in describing Christ. Christ had all the glory of God. Yet he humbled himself. First,to take the form of a man, where he did not even begin to reveal his deity until the age of 30. Then he truly humiliated himself through the crucifixion.

Power is the key to happiness?
"And if none of his purposes can be frustrated, then he must be the happiest of all beings." pg.32 Desiring God.
What we can deduce from Piper's philosophy, God's morality is quite different from the ethics he demands of us. Though also different from the behavior of Christ who emptied himself.
Is God happy because simply he is the most powerful? Is "what he is" more important than who He is?

2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
Philippians 2:5-10
How can Jesus be infallibly happy, when according to Piper, happiness emanates from omnipotence and jesus has temporarily denied himself of those priviledges

Piper's Liom/lamb: Nestorianism
"So Christ is a lamb-like Lion and a lion-like lamb. That is his glory-'an admirable conjunction of diverse Excellencies."
Seeing and savoring Christ pg. 31
Many modern catholics have critiqued calvinist as being Nestorians. Claiming that we have split the incarnation up into two categories, human and deity. I defend calvinists and other reformation period writers as holding the Biblical understanding of the incarnation. Yet if we over emphasize a double predestination God we eventually can move toward a nestorian Christ. Piper is sadly illustrating that principle in his devotional.

The Damned Sacrifice: Jesus endured Hell on the Cross
"Jesus Christ perfectly righteous and perfectly damnedon the cross in our place". from audio of John Piper at the 2008 resolved conference "Jesus Christ the damned?" by Coram Deo July 19, 2008.

12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 12:3
There has been record that Piper, alongside with several other contemporary Calvinists have been preaching at his crusades that Jesus was actually damned on the cross. In other words, while Christ did not burn in the lake of Fire, his spirit bore the wrath of God while he was dying on the cross.
Now this seems very familiar with the fundamental doctrine of Christ propitiation. The major difference is that christ was not simply paying the price of sin but was being convicted guilty of it. Christ paid the price of sin in his physical body by death. But His spirit is unified with the deity of the logos, the second person of the trinity.
To condemn Christ is to condemn God. Some of these sloppy reformers haveeven speculated that there was a division in the Godhead. Yet the Idea of the eternal father convicting the damning the eternal son contradicts the trinity
and is therefore heresy.

Infallible happiness: Jesus was never sad or gloomy, but always happy.
"But the glory and the grace of Jesus is that he is, and always will be indestructably happy. I say it is his glory, because gloom is not glorious." Seeing and Savoring Christ [g. 36]
While it is easy to rationalize this view if you are a pius christian. This cross was not an instrument of joy. Plus, Jesus did not seem joyful in approaching it.

matt. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
sorrow 1.n. 1. Mental suffering or pain caused by injury, loss, or despair. 2. A source or cause of sorrow; a misfortune. 3. Expression of sorrow, greiving verb. To feel or express sorrow; grieve. (from American heretage dictionary)
Exeedingly sorrowful is not the same as joy or infallibly joyful. The Jesus of John Piper doesn't appear to be one who could be exceedingly sorrowful.

Matt. 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].
Here Christ, in his humanity, is askng the Father if there is any other way. Yet if christ were simply in a quest acquire joy, why would he step back? It appears to me that Christ would proceed in the crucifixion not out of the pleasure it brings. But out of obedience to the Father and out of faith in Jehovah. (see Romans 4:24-5:1)

26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Christ obediance is implied here as well. As he looks upon the disobedience of his own disciples. Perhaps this motivates the humanity of Christ as he experiences the need for his sacrifice to save his fleshly followers.

26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Matthew 26:38-42
Christ sacrifice was first the will of the "father". Secondly Christ does consent to hus brutal death out of sheer joy, but instead in obediance toward the Father.
Also I find great strength when Christ is not happy. Because as I kook at the world. It comforts me to know that my pain saddens christ and that he was not happy to die and bear the wrath of the father for my sins. It shows us that Christ while eing God was also human. It means he understands us even in weakness. It makes His love an effort which I can adore.

Obviously Piper's view of salvation is calvinistic. Piper has always prided himself on being in reformed theology. though there have been recordings of Piper preaching general atonement on the internet, apparently inspired by the teachings of millard Erickson. (although this was most likely a temporary statement) This is closer to my views. however we would still differ on his emphases on election and the doctrine of irresistable grace. (see my article on Calvinism critiqued from an amyrauldian point of view.)
However as we shall explore. It has been reported that Piper has fallen short of calvinistic orthodoxy and that is indeed very perplexing. Is apperas that Piper is in support of "Federal Vision". This doctrine denies the calvinistic view of redemptive history. I myself follow a dispensational view of redemptive history and yet I find the calvinistic model still an essential analogy in understa ding the final judgement and our salvation.
Essentially in covenant theology humanity isdivided up in a covenant of Grace and a covenant of works. Those under Adam are without christ and judged under a covenant of works they shall be found guilty of their sins and condemned undeer this covenant. Those under Christ are under grace since Christ has atoned for all their sins and imputed righteousness through their faith; they will inherit the kingdom.
While I may not hold this proper for a timeline, this is the biblical analogy for salvation. The Bible uses this analogy throughout scripture.

4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 4:23 But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Galatians 4:22-26

Yet Piper has taken an odd turn rejecting the covenant of works.
"Yet I am hesitant to call Jesus' obediance in life and death a fulfillment of a 'covenant of works'. This term generally implies a that 'works' stand over against 'grace'. and are not the fulfillment of faith in grace. Thus works implies a relationship with God that is more like an employer recieving earned wages than in a son trusting his father's generosity." Future Grace pg.413
So here Piper argues that Jesus never fulfilled the covenant of works. Yet if he did not fulfill the covenant of works, who did?

5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12
All of us are related to Adam, and we are all under the curse of sin and death. If Christ did not fulfill the covenant of works then we are still under the covenant of works.
Piper seems to have a problem with Jesus being under a covenant of works. But the Bible says He was
15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. 15:21 For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
The very fact Christ died places him under the covenant of works with Adam. This brings us to the penalty of death.

3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3:13
Since Christ paid the penalty of death for us, it is evident that Christ indeed fulfilled the covenant of works.

3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man's covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 3:17 And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 3:18 For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise. 3:19 Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 3:20 Now a mediator is not [a mediator] of one, but God is one. 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:15-22
Earlier Piper stated that he did not agree to a covenant of works. Yet Christ had to fulfill a covenant of works, not for his salvation, but for ours. God's justice had to be satisfied. So Christ had to fulfill this coventnant to make his collateral worthy of universal propitiation.

1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.
Colossians 1:20
You can notmaintain a gift if you are under debt.

Future Grace (payment withheld)

A few years ago, I was blessed by a book that Piper wrote called "Counted Righteous in Christ. It rightly indentified that faith is not a merit na d bravely took on the "new interpretation of Paul". It was honoring Justification by grace through faith alone.
Only now, I have been shocked to find that Piper has in fact attacked the same doctrine on a different front. Could this have been a motivation for writing "counted righteous in Christ"?
Regardless, "Future Grace" redefines faith as well. Faith is seen as a virtue, which fuses Justification and sanctification together.
"The aim of this book is to examine how the Faith that justifies also sanctifies." pg. 21 Future Grace
Here, Piper sees the New Testament as a conditional covenant whereby we must fulfill a life of faith in order to experience justification. While I think the formula may be original, this was a common delimma for the puritans. Salvation was offered by grace and yet assurance of salvation was through works. This nullifies the meaning and effect of justification by grace through faith alone. Because salvation is not yet fully recieved. Since the faith must be produced over a life time.
5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24
As we see here in the gospel of John everlasting life is a present stage for the Believer. They "hath" everlasting life. They are not lokking forward when they already have it. This is why they shall not fall into condemnation.

5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:10-13
Assurance of salvation is based upon faith in Christ and not upon our actions. this is not just an implication but the message which John has for us today.

New Conditional Covenant
"When the Old Testament says that covenant keeping is the condition for recieving God's lovingkindness, that's what it meant ... All the covenants of God are conditional covenants of grace-both the old and the new covenant. They offer all sufficient Future Grace for those who keep the covenant. But what it does say is that all future blessings of the Christian life are conditional on our keeping." Future Grace pg. 249

3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:13-17
Here we see the Baptism of Christ as Jesus literally makes the New Covenant. He insist upon it, though he has nothing to repent of. He says that his act will fulfill all righteousness. He then promises His death buriel and resurrection. In this covenant He is then anointed with the Holy Spirit, and the Father claims him as His Son in whom he is well pleased. What conditions did Christ ask of the people in fulfilling the covenant?

2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
1 John 2:2
The work of Christ, his propitiatory sacrifice was done for the sins of mankind, no conditions are asked of this covenant.

4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 4:11 These things command and teach.
1 Timothy 4:10-11
The Deity Jesus Christ is the savior of all mankind. therefore there is no condition if everyone is involved.

3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 3:22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 3:26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26
In Theology we refer to the "Righteousness of God" in this passage as alien righteousness. Verse 22 states this righteousness is by the faith of Christ and not of us. It is "unto all" and "upon all them that believe" making this a passive reception of righteousness; and not an act of obedience by us. It is the faithfulness and merit of Christ. Verse 23 reasons the universal sinfulness of man requires this unconditional grace. Verse 24 "Being freely justified by his grace" there are no obligations or duties in justification since it is free. Verse 25 announces that it was the act of God in making a propitiation "through faith in His blood" faith is passive again. Finally verse 26shows that God is the justifier of them "which believe in Jesus" God saving the believers. The believers are not fulfilling duties but instead are passive as God justifies them.

Sanctifying Faith is different from justifying Faith.

5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25
As we begin the passage, we are commanded to walk in the Spirit(16). This is an action of sanctification.
"My point in this book is that the faith which is the occaision of justification, is the same faith through which sanctifying power comes to the justified sinner." Future Grace
Here Piper is bring his faith closer to the Roman Catholic definition.
Catholicism teaches that faith is a gift and that the infusion of righteousness allows us to be sanctified. Also, that if a christian perseveres in faith producing works, they will be saved. You may say that Piper is still saying faith alone; but ultimately Justifying faith is never alone. After all justification depends on faith but faith is dependent on works.
Another problem is that faith is used in two different actions. Trust to recieve forgiveness and faithfulness toward a christian lifestyle are two different things. Just as being strong at weightlifting and having a strong will are not the same. One word can be used two different ways.
"It is faith alone which justifies, but the faith which justifies is never alone." Future Grace pg. 21
Nottice the lack of clarity in the motto. If faith in the sense of justification is never alone, it can not be alone.
The place of Christ in Piper's soteriology is incredibly diminished. It is the works of the Father and the spirit, which allows the sinner to be more righteous. While Christ only offers a conditional covenant by which if they are faithful then they may recieve future forgiveness. the act of salvation is then mixed with the act of man.

"It is sufficient for salvation, for it necessarily produces good worksof love just as a good tree necessarily produces good fruit. Protestants and Catholics agree on this. The Pope even told German Lutheran Bishops so over a decade ago, and they were startled and delighted. the two churches issued a public joint statement on justification, a statement of agreement. Protestants and Catholics do not have essentially different religions, different ways of salvation."
Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli Handbooks of Christian Apologetics pg. 32, 33.
Here we see Catholic Apologists have already capitolized on Protestants redefining the faith.
"By Grace I do not merely mean the pardon of God passing over your sins, but also the power and beauty of God to keep you from sinning. By faith I do not merely mean the confidence that Christ died for your sins, but the confidence that God will 'also with him freely give us all things' (Romans8:32). Faith is primarily future orientedassurance of things hoped for' (Hebrews 11:1)." pg.13 Future Grace
Here Piper wants to focus on the evangelistic concepts of grace and faith, he fuses the concepts of Justification and sanctification. This makes salvation a lifelong process just like Catholicism. This desire to redefine terms is a classic strategy of the cults.
Do not be fooled, this is not the traditional protestant concept.
"Because the Holy Spirit is received by faith, and hearts are renewed and put on new affections so that they can accomplish good works. For Ambrose says 'Faith is the mother of good will and righteous action'" Augsburg Confession XX. B.
Justifying faith is first, only then through the Holy Spirit's regeneration and sanctificationare we able to produce good works. Faith being the mother is totally independant of her "good works" children.

Not so sure Assurance(Sure? ? ? Unsure!!!)
"If faith in future grace means believing believing the promises of God, how is it that those promises could be believed and yet the 'believer' not be saved?
"This is impossibly implied in Matthew 7:21-23:'Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day 'Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name did we not cast out many demons, and in your name perform many miracles? and I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me you practice lawlessness.' These folks believed that they were secure. Otherwise they would not have been stunned at Jesus rejection."
pg.197 Future Grace
7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:21-23
This is a major text used to declare that faith alone cannot save. However we must understand that "justification through faith alone" is a great mystery that was not revealed until the apostleship of te apostle Paul. Christ was operating under the Old Covenant.

15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises [made] unto the fathers:
Romans 15:8
3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 3:2-9
Jesus ministry was under the law or Jewish covenant.The same with Peter and the Jerusalem church. Paul was unveiling the dispensation or age of Grace.
Consistent with the gospel to the gentiles was the declaration of justification by grace through faith alone.
Besides, the espoused by the damned was not at all faith alone. This was a religious faith. We nottice that they declare JesusLord, yet there is personal identification to Jesus. This is indeed a lordship faith. There is absolutely no claimed salvation based upon the works and promises of Christ. Instead there is a demand of eternity based upon dead works. There is a false idea of faith for salvation, but it is indeed going in the opposite direction. We should not at all be intimidated by the charge of sin.
2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter; 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Galatians 2:7-8
2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 2:15 We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:14-19

For legalists work in sin.
3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:10-11
2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.
James 2:10

So it is obvious that these religious folk were stunned by the fact that their good worksfor salvation, were in fact iniquity before the Lord. Remember that we who have placed faith in Christ are righteous before God.
3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
Philippians 3:8

2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:23
Finally as to the nature of faith. In the book of James, written before God's revelations to Paul, James is using the word "faith" with a different definition. This book is written to address issues of religious practice. Faith here refers to a belief system. Religion is the practice of man;while salvation is the act of God. (see my article "Does James really teach works based salvation?").
Now if religios faith does not save, what faith is saving? Religious faith is something that comes from us. It may involve our imagination. It may acknowledge truth, and yet not ascend to the truth from the heart.

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.
Romans 10:9
This is a passive faith, but it is sincerely at the center of our beings, as a result of hearing the precious gospel.
10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Romans 10:8
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10
10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

Some may ask of the spiritual gift of faith. This depends on whether we belive that faith is prior to the new birth. I believe that the Holy Spirit will, then regenerate the passive faith we have. This will secure the perseverence of the saints.

Conditional Grace and Merit
"It should be plain from this, that fulfilling conditions does not imply earning anything, Grace is still free even when it is conditional. Do not equate meeting conditions of Grace with earning or meriting grace." pg.234 Future Grace
Here I believe Piper is doing something in theological circles known as "double speak". In the late 1950's when liberals infiltrated the pulpits of Southern Baptist churches: They would argue for the scriptures to the congregations and against the word of God at Seminaries I think Piper is preaching a type pf works based salvation while trying to argue he is not. I think his definitions are lining up more with Rome.
"2006 The term merit refers in general to recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of it's members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving of reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtueof Justice, conformitywith the principle of equality and justicewhich governs it." Catechism of the Catholic Church." Catechism of the Catholic Church pg. 541
The whole point of merit is to meet conditions. If grace is conditional then conditions must be met.
"2007 With regard to God, there is nostrict right to any merit on the part of man. Betweent God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have recieved everything from Him our Creator."ibid.
Honestly Roman Catholic theology is much more sophisticated than we protestants assume. They also can mask works based salve\ationto look as if it were grace.
"2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of His grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for His good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit." ibid.
Piper repeatedly teaches in this book that we are to meet the conditions of the New Covenant. But that is due to the grace of the Holy Spiritthat we are to perform works. The only difference I see from Catholic teaching on this point is that Piper would probably not give secondary credit to man But of course in hedonism he does have a reward systemfor pursuing joy.

"2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace and forgiveness and justification, at the beginningof conversion. Moved by the holy Spirit and by charity, we can merit for ourselves and for others the graces of our sanctification,for the increase of grace and charity, and the attainment of eternal life." CCC pg.542

Honestly there is little difference in Piper's teaching on conditional grace and merit. The only distinction Piper makes is that fulfilling conditions is not earning; but the Catholics have defined "merit in a way that is not "earning" either. The catholics may be more candidabout the use of the word "merit". But you find the same religious experience. For in Piper's theology we have God's grace fused to our actions. Our faith and grace become one. The actions which are soley God's, are conditional, upon our faith and eventual works. So who cares whether we use the word merit? I believe this is the reason that "federal Vision" and preachers like John Piper have seen a movement toward Catholicism. You cannot simply order people not to see your contradictions.
"Thus vanishes the absurd dogma, that man is justified by faith, inasmuch as it brings him under the influence of the Spirit of God by whom he is rendered righteous.This is so repugnant to the above that it can no longer be reconciled with it. There can be no doubt that he who is taught to seek righteousness out of himselfdoes not previously posess it in himself ." John Calvin Institutes of the Christian religion Book 3 chapter11 section 235:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Invisible Church
As a follower of John Calvin, Piper identifies the church as a single spiritual entity. this identityas a single group was gathered from the teachings of Augustine ,who was a catholic. The Catholic Church saw church and state as as a unified system. Therefore the idea of a iniversal churchis rooted in a one world government. Not all calvinist have abandoned this idea either.
"Now let me say right here. I believe in the New World Order of Jesus Christ inaugurated at Calvary and visibly sanctioned in history by the resurrection and ascension of Christ to the right hand of God, where he reigns in power and glory . What I reject is the imitation New World Order of Humanism. But there is a Biblical New World Order." Gary North forward to "The reduction of Christianity" xxvi.
If the Christians are gathered by one unifying invisible church, then they would think in terms of one kingdom or invisible empire. This is the mindset of the Roman Catholic Church. It doesn't take too much progress to think in terms of mobilizing Christians into massive contigencies. Just look at evangelical history... The ecumenical movement formed out of the invisible church idea. Soon afterwards, Christians began mobilizing for political causes. Both from the leftist liberation theology, also later from the pro-life movement. The Roman Catholic Church would capitolize on both movements. Ecumenicizing always leads towards and away from fundamental theology.
Yet the scripture never describes the church as an invisible organization. In faxct the faithful are supposed to be visible.
5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Many who hold this doctrine of invisibility use ephesians as a key argument.
4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Ephesians 4:3-7

Here they argue that the body or church is "one" as in "unified". Yet are all Christ professing churches unified on these issues? Are all the bodies one? Can we say one spirit when churches disagree on how the spirit manifest itself and some deny his personhood? One Lord? Yet many claim Christ is a lord, yet not the Lord. One God? However many claim there are multiple gods and some disagree about God's name.
I believe that the word "one"is being misinterpreted. "one" being misinterpretted. "One" here means "solo" and not "unified". In truth there is just one type of body,just one spirit, just one lord, just one faith, just one baptism and just one God. That while we have sought out our own inventions, God gave us one plan regardless of our fulfilling it.
There are several senses of a universal nature to the saints. The Bride of Christ for instance. The kingdom of Heaven as well, though these groups are not finished congregating. However the body of Christ should not be seen universally but generically. In other words the body of Christ is the church model. Meditating on some invisible construction has only taken away from the local church with the invisible church as an excuse.
But once again, the church of christ is visible since it is confessing.
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10
Unholy Church
"I think we need to teach our peoplethe meaning of Baptismand obey the Lord's command to Baptize converts (matt. 28:19), without elevating the doctrine to a primary one that would unduly cut us off from a shared worship and ministry with others who share more important things with us." Piper, Brothers we are nto professionals pg. 135
A) Loose baptism) Piper staryed away from Baptist theology arguing that paedo-baptist(infant baptism) believers ought to be accepted into fellowship. He tried, but failed, in his own congregation, to have their own confession adjusted to this. However,this simply ignores the teachings of the New Testament.
1. Baptism is mandatory for the fulfillment of the Great Comission.
16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:16

28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:19-20
2. Baptism is a symbol of Repentance.
1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:4

2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38
3. Baptism is performed by immersion.
"907 Baptizo def. 1. To dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)2. To cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water. 3. To overwhelm... not to be confused with 911, bapto." ( from Strong's exhaustive Concordance)

1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mark 1:9-10

8:36 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:36-39

6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4

4. rebaptism is demanded in the case of errant baptism.

19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 19:5 When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 19:2-5

4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:4-5

5. Baptism is a prerequisite to chruch membership.
2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:41-42

6. Baptismis an elementary teaching.
5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Hebrews 5:12-6:2

The Problem is not that John Piper is providingfellowship with other belivers. The Problem is that John Piper is rebelling against the word of God in order to dilute the New Testament Church. Allowing unbaptized believers into the congregation is allowing heretical teachings into the church as well. These people will not see the point of being baptized nor will they see the necessityof a specific point of salvation. While they may be saved, their dotrines will dilute the great comission over the years. Also, with the elementary doctrine dismissed, other teachings will follow. For instance, looseness in interpreting the scriptures. Christian identity becoming more cultural and the standard of holiness being lowered, as well as looseness in morality.
Piper misunderstands the nature of Baptism at it's core. He thinks that it is not a primary doctrine and that it should not be the cause of separation. The entire point of baptism is separation from the world! Joining with God and dying to self,washed from this filthy world covenanting with God to live a new spiritual life, all these meanings convey separation through baptism.
Infant baptism is a covenant of salvation through the flesh.
3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Matthew 3:9
Remember, John the Baptist is saying this in context with his adminsitration of baptism.
As a Baptist minister I do not believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Yet baptism is essential for discipleship. As a baptist minister I save no one. My ministry is to disciple. When I preach the gospel I am giving the Holy Spirit room to connect to a sinners heart and be saved. If they get saved, then there heart will change and they will want to talk about it. Then what is essential to me as a minister is to administer proper discipleship. The nature of the church with my ministry begins and ends with discipleship. yet the thing that is essential to discipleship is baptism. This is not foreign to paedo-baptist either.
"The Holy Christian Church is to be found where the gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel." (Augsburg Confession VII 1) Luther's Small Catechism 174 pg. 156 Your practice of Baptism is your confession of faith. It is essential to the practice of your faith, to perform it correctly in order not to teach false doctrines.

Mystic Jesus
"When I speak of seeing Jesus Christ,I don't mean seeing with the eyes of your head, but the eyes of your heart."

"But the Bible doesn't say we may see Jesus in another sense. It speaks of the eyes of our hearts. (Ephesians 1:18) It speaks of seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God (2Corinthians 4:4)"
1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:18
4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:4
First, in the Ephesioans passage, Piper says "eyes of the heart". Yet the Authorized version translates this word "understanding". What does it say in the greek?
" 1271 dianoia
AV_ mind 9, understanding 3, imagination 1
1) The mind as a facultyof understanding, feeling, desiring 2) understanding 3)mind, i.e. spirit, way of thinking and feeling 4)thoughts, either good or bad"
(from Strong's lexicon)
We clearly see no use for the translation"heart". So this is only an idiom or slang for "understaning". Therefore, we are not talking about some mystic form of spiritual sight at all.In 2 cdor. 4;4 Piper uses a translation to put this verse in an odd order. Being interpeted as a new gospel or aspect of the gospel "Gospel of the glory of Christ". When the normal rendering is "glorius gospel". Here the "blindness" is metaphorical of an inability to understanding the good news of Jesus Christ.
Yet it appears Piper interpets these passages as proof that one can spiritually project an image of Christ.
"Jesus himself spoke of two kinds of seeing. He said of the incomprehensibility crowds, 'seeing they do not see' (matthew 13:13) One kind of seeing is with physical eyes, and the other with spiritual eyes."
This reminds me of the hindu and their third spiritual eyes.
So , what would be wrong with that?
The problem is found in the image and imagination. New Testament worship does not create images of worship, even images of Christ.
5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21
So here we see that are prohibited from idolatry. But what counts as idolatry?
4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day [that] the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 4:16 Lest ye corrupt [yourselves], and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deuteronomy 4:15-16
So here we nottice that humans can indeed become idols of which we must be careful not to worship. But would this includeChrist? After all, Christ was fully God and and was worshipped in the New Testament. Why shouldn'twe worship images of our Lord Jesus?

24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:4-5
For one reason is that there are predicted to be many false christ, whom we are not to worship. What if we unwittingly worship a false Christ?

5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Corinthians 5:7
We have hardly determined what Christ truly looked like. His first portrait was graven roughly 500 years after his death.

2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:18
Since we don't know how Christ looked, apparently the early church had no desire to do this; it would be obvious that we should not imagine Jesus in our worship. Paul teaches that we should not worship God with our fleshly mind.

1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Colossians 1:15
It should also be recognized that God is invisible strill even if Jesus had a physical body, his deity is invisible.Yet it is his spiritual substance which we worship. Christ is only worshiped through his spiritual substance. (which is God)
We should not then worship Christ through our imagination. We may have spiritual insight but we do not have spiritual eyes. We follow after Christ in a faith that is blind to world opinionand he isnot subject to our interpretation.
Finally it would be proper that any form of "seeing" Christ should not be interpretted as "imagination" but as understanding who he is and looking forward to consumation then we will physically meet.
On this critique I could have misinterpretted Piper. But I think others could have as well, so it was worth bringing up.

Christian Hedonism
"They say things like, 'Don't ppursue joy, pursue obediance.' But Hedonism responds 'that's like saying, 'Don't eat apples, eat fruit' Because joy is an act of obediance.' We are commanded to rejoice in God. If obedience is doing what God commands, then joy is not merely a spinoff of obedience, it is obedience." pg. 13 Desiring God
The main problem with Christian Hedonism is that it brags about being God centered. Yet has God's glory established on the foundation of our subjective feelings/passions. Even in our best spiritual states, we will always be swayed by the flesh.

"The radical implication is that pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling. It isessential to all virtueand all reverence. Whether you think of your life vertically in relation to God or horizontally in relation to man, the pursuit of pleasure in God is crucial, not optional. We will see shortly that genuine worship toward God hangs on the pursuit of joy." pg. 21 Desiring God

5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Galatians 5:17
Pleasure)n. 1. The state of being pleased or gratified. 2. A source of enjoyment or delight. 3. Amusement, diversion, or worldly enjoyment. 4. Sensual gratification or enjoyment. 5. One's preference or wish. {from American heretage dictionary}
Here we see the first definition of pleasure is to gratify.
gratify)tr. v. 1. To please or to satisfy. 2.To give what is desired to: indulge. 3. to reward.{from American heretage dictionary}
Now in the second definitionof gratify we see the word "to indulge".
Indulge) v. 1. To yield to the desires and whims of to an excessive degree; humor. 2. a. To Yield to; to gratify b. To allow (oneself) unrestrained gratification. 3. To grant an ecclesiastical indulgence or dispensation to.{from American heretage dictionary}
Indulge shows us that this can be an excessive bowing to what is desired.

"... Someone says, 'you really mean that hedonism is not just a trick word to get our attention. It actually says something utterlyand devastatingly true about the way we should live. The pursuit of pleasure really is a necessary part of being a good person.' That's right I mean it." pg. 15 Dangerous Duty of Delight
If you are to pursue your pleasure, even if it is religious pleasure for God, it is still your pleasure and your desires. I think this is the dangerous and more deceptive point of Christian Hedonism. By focusing on your pleasure, even with the best intentions, you can not be focused on God's Will if your attention is focused on yourself. This is the doorway to the flesh.

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23
When we see the word "fruit", we are speaking metaphorically of a result. In other words, joy is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is not the result of a personal quest for joy.
It has been noted that joy and pleasure according to Piper are commands. As a result, they are our duty to fulfill and we lose fellowship with God when we fail to have this joy. Yet doesn't this turn into legalism?

7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.
Romans 7:6
By turning joy into law, one loses the power of the spirit. It is no surprise then that Piper connects his philosophy of Christian Hedonismwith the legalism taught in Future Grace.
"Therefore living by faith in future Grace is Christian Hedonism....
"... Therefore the cry of this book, to fight sin, is a cry to pursue a joy superior to anything sin can offer. It is the cry of Christian Hedonism."
Future Grace pg. 386
The problem is our desires for good, will not overcome our desire for evil by the flesh. We need not to ignore the work of Christ in forgiveness; but instead it is through our forgiveness that we can succeed in giving victory in Christ. We do not overcome, but Christ overcomes in us.

Christian Rock Style sanctification
Piper approves of Christian rock as shown by his appearance with popular Christian rock groups on the "passion tour".
Christian rock is in itself neutral; it may be negative or positive depending. However combined with Piper's doctrine of Christian hedonism, it has greater consequences. As a reformed Calvinist, Piper would conclude that religious worship is a form of sanctification. Approval of Christian rock would almost see the music as a means of grace. As we look back upon Piper's Hedonism, our enjoyment of God in worship ( or listening to rock music, here) is identified as a holy instrument of sanctification.
However, Christian rock is a combination of Christian lyrics and secular beats. The secular rock sound is designed in such a way as to manipulate the emotions of the listener in making them experience emotional highs and lows in an unstable way.

2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also [is] vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:1
7:2 [It is] better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2
7:5 [It is] better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:5
The Christian Hedonist will end up confused. This is due to the fact that they believe they will be holier and closer to God if they would enjoy the music.
However, the music will encourage that listener in a more hormonal/fleshly format. The disciple will then have trouble distinguishingbetween godly spirituality and woprldly spiritism. For instance, when the Christian rocker is repeating watered down phrases over and over; doesn't this seem more spiritistic?

6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Matthew 6:7
This leads to a positive attitude toward worldliness, which begs the question. Can Christian Hedonism truly distinguish itself from worldly Hedonism? Is the pursuit of pleasure something which can be purely separate from the flesh and be a spiritual desire?

Libertarian wine-bibbing (regular consumption of alcohol)

21:17 He that loveth pleasure [shall be] a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
Proverbs 21:17

5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13
the fact that Piper's inspiration for hedonism C.S. Lewis practiced casual drinking speaks volumes. Piper himself confesses not to drinking, yet quickly argues that wine-bibbing is ok. Wine-bibbing is according to scripture fleshly.

5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21
"revellings" by the way are drunken riots. Also, Piper has been on several occaisions fellowshipping with "Emergent" Church Pastor Mark Driscoll. Mark originally got a reputation as "the cussing pastor". He is known for being unrepentant and foul, encouraging his church in beer drinking (at church), talking dirty from the pulpit, showing his church rated "R" movies etc.
Yet with a few exceptions Piper has not corrected him, but instead they have preached together at conferences and on tour. In the pursuit of pleasure Piper has not separated his ministry from worldliness. Instead He goes on tour with it.

The final analysis is that a major thrust of John Piper's theology, ministry and philosophy is moving the New Testament chruches back towards a mainstream protestantism and even Catholicism.
The point of the reformation was to create a more biblical catholic church than the medeival one. The point of the radical reformation, and all New Testament Churches is to mimic the church model of the New Testament.
The Piper holds to believer's baptism, He is more a main line protestant, than a New Testament Christian. He is overly dependant on reformed preachers, as opposed to raw exegesis. As a result his doctrine has decayed from the Biblical standard. His overemphasis upon sovereignty will impress followers with a hypocritical God, who wills evil things. His philosophy of Hedonism will leave a lot of rocky soil Christians; who will be on a spiritual highseeking religious pleasure. Yet as soon as they are unsatisfied, they will plummet, as the emotional pendulum condemns them as separate from God. For all of Piper's preaching of justification by grace through faith, his disciples may well be rocked to their core as they read "future Grace". Thus realizing that accordingto their pastor, God does not give themany direct assurance that they are the elect, or that they are Justified in their time of temptation.
Piper's teaching on the New Covenant is heretical. yet due to his normal preaching of the Gospel, the effects of those teachings will be delayed. However, it is quite possible that his followers are ripe targets for the secular new age, as well as the dead religion of Catholicism. OFr futureblessings Piper's errors must be corrected.

In Christ,