Gospel of Christ vs Gospel of John Piper

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by IfbReformer, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Recently I finished reading John Piper's book "Future Grace". Here are some quotes from it that I thought would make for good discussion. Let me be up front with the fact after reading this book I would not recommend any of his writings to other people unless someone was very strong in their faith and could discern the truth from the error.

    This was my conclusion about Piper's theology after I read his book:

    Piper believes that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone, but he does not believe we are saved by justification alone. He believes we are saved by justification and what he refers to as "habitual obedience" and that are deeds after our profession of salvation will be used in God's courtroom to determine whether we enter heaven or hell.

    I wrote a more extensive review on this http://www.ifbreformation.org/Gospel_of_John_Piper.aspx

    IFBReformer
     
  2. TCGreek

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    IfbReformer,

    1. I believe you are misrepresenting Dr. Piper.

    2. Here's a quote that should clarify things:

    John Piper holds to the historic, Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, which can be summarized in the following four points:

    1) The sole ground of our justification is the righteousness of God, expressed in the alien, imputed, active obedience of Christ, climaxing in his sin-bearing, substitutionary death.

    2) Faith alone is the sole means of justification. In other words, it is faith only, and not our deeds in any way (whether the external manifestation or the internal God-glorifying motive behind them), that connect us savingly to Jesus Christ.

    3) Faith is distinct from its fruit, the obedience of faith, yet faith is of such a nature that it must and will produce love for people and a life of genuine, though imperfect, holiness in this world. Therefore, as the Westminster Confession of Faith (11.2) says, the faith that alone justifies (as the instrument which unites us to Christ, not as the ground or content of our justifying righteousness) is never alone;

    4) Therefore, this reality of forensic righteousness, which is imputed to us on the first act of saving faith (as the seed of subsequent persevering faith), is different from transformative sanctification, which is imparted by the work of the Holy Spirit through faith in future grace.

    3. Pick on someone else.
     
    #2 TCGreek, Oct 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2007
  3. swaimj

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    IFBReformer,
    I didn't read your link that you posted, though I will try to do that. However, you posted Piper's conclusion without posting the argument that leads him to it. So...without having read your argument extensively or Piper's I will have to say, based upon what you posted of Piper's, that I agree with what he is saying. Surely the person who is truly saved will evidence the new birth in the way that they live. That way will certainly be different after salvation than before. This is not perfection at all, for all believers sin, nevertheless, if there is absolutely no change in a person's life and if there are absolutely no good works produced as a result of conversion then no conversion has actually occurred.
     
  4. webdog

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    It sounds like he is in the Lordship Salvation camp along with the likes of John Macarthur. I'll have to read this in more depth when I get the chance tonight.
     
  5. russell55

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    I think you are misreading Piper, too. Notice two things in the quote from him that you've posted:
    1. He says that "this righteousness ... is required... as an evidence of our being truly justified children of God." In other words, this righteousness is not something that stands beside justification by which we are saved, but rather, it is the fruit of justification. The presence of this fruit is the proof of justification. It is required as an evidence because all truly justified children will show their justification by this sort of righteousness. If this fruit is not there, then the justification is not there.
    2. He says: Our deeds will reveal who enters who enters the age to come, and our deeds will reveal the measure of our reward in the age to come. Notice that our deeds simply reveal who enters the age to come; they are not the grounds or reason for our entrance in the age to come. The deeds are descriptive of the ones entering, not prescriptive.
    Based on this, I'd respond to your summary this way.

    I'm not sure what you mean by saved by justification alone. Justification brings with it all the subsequent steps in the salvation process, but there are more things in the salvation process besides justification. Like adoption. Like santification. Like glorification.

    He doesn't say they are used in God's courtroom to determine whether we enter heaven or hell. He says they are used to reveal whether we enter heaven or hell.
     
  6. Amy.G

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    Isn't this basically what is spoken of in James about faith without works being a dead faith?
     
  7. webdog

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    I believe that Scripture goes along the lines of...

    "A car without a battery is dead".

    It still remains a car...but it is not "running".
     
  8. Isaiah40:28

    Isaiah40:28
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    From your linked review:
    I certainly would not want to be teaching and preaching that concept to anyone.
    I don't see it as helpful or wise.
    You claim that Piper is adding to the conditions for salvation by making habitual obedience a "co-condition" for salvation.
    And you quote this of Piper:
    It seems like Piper is stating what Micah 6:8 teaches.
    I think of Phil. 2:12,13
    What's all the "fear and trembling" for?
    If Jesus caused a fig tree to wither for having leaves despite it being the wrong season and no fruit, then I would be more careful of disassociating a profession from obedience and fruit.

    Why would any Christian want to advocate your position?
    I don't understand how it encourages us to strive for holiness.


    Now I think you're being downright dishonest about Piper's views.

    And why should one be assured just because of a profession?
    Can the heart not be deceived?


    I think you're barking up the wrong tree attacking Piper like this. Not because I think Piper is untouchable, but because he is not saying what you need or want him to say.

    I won't be arguing about it with you though.
     
  9. npetreley

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    Wait, is this already "Bash John Piper" week? I have trouble keeping up with who we're supposed to be bashing each week. Could someone post a calendar of bash events? It would make our lives a lot easier.
     
  10. IfbReformer

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    I wish that he was saying absolutely no works then the person is not saved - I would agree 100% with that! Of course the new birth causes changes in the believer - without the new birth there no salvation.

    The question is not if there will be fruit, but how much. He claims that habitual obedience, human righteousness powered by the Holy Spirit of God in the believer is also required by God for that person to enter heaven.

    IFBReformer
     
  11. TCGreek

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    I believe I have to be added to that calender too, TC. :laugh:
     
    #11 TCGreek, Oct 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2007
  12. TCGreek

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    James 2:14-26 addresses your concerns.
     
  13. swaimj

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    IFBReformer, it seems to me that habitual obedience is the proper answer to the question "How much fruit". Habitual obedience is not "no fruit" and it is not perfection. Abraham is the example. Abraham, the spiritual father of all who live by faith, did not exhibit "no friut". Nor did he exhibit perfection, but ultimately, though he failed many times in many of his choices, God worked in his life so that when he faced the major test (willingness to sacrifice his son) he passed it. Obedience was the increasing pattern of his life and obedience was the defining moment of his life. It seems to be that Piper is arguing that salvation cannot merely be theological, it must be practical and it must have a practical result in the life.
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    And it seems to me you are correct, swaimj.
     
  15. TCGreek

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    I will second that. :thumbs:
     
  16. IfbReformer

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    Actually Piper believes in his own variation of the Protestant doctrine of Justification - in his book Future Grace(along with others) he quotes from Calvin and Luther and other reformers, but he has gone much further in following some of the teachings of Jonathan Edwards which goes further than Calvin and Luther on this.

    Its one thing to say that true faith produces love and holiness - I think most Christians would say "Amen" to that. Its quite another to go further with that say that it will produce a "habitual obedience" or a "pattern of life of obedience" where we only have imperfections that need to be cleansed.

    Piper has a whole theology built around a human righteousness(that yes is not perfect) but is almost perfect in the sense that it is habitual with blips of failure on the screen. This is not what the reformers taught.

    I usually don't quote from mentors of people, but since Piper quotes one his mentors in this book I believe a quote from that mentor is appropriate in this circumstance to see where Piper's theology has come from and where it will lead. One of his mentors, to whom he has attested that he owes a great deal for his thinking in this book, is David Fuller. First consider this quote by Piper in Future Grace about the influence of David Fuller on his theology:
    There are other quotes from Daniel Fuller in the book Future Grace, but this one in the introduction is a troubling thought when we consider Daniel Fuller's comments below:

    While I am definitely not a Convenant Theologian, I can see the danger of where Daniel Fuller, and by extention John Piper are taking evangelical Christianity. A whole new form of legalism is forming with John Piper's name written all over it.

    IFBReformer
     
  17. IfbReformer

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    Why do people defend the word games Piper uses? You can use "reveal" instead of determine, or "required" instead of "earned or merited" all day long. The end result is the same.

    According to Piper and those who believe as he does, professing Christians who do not have enough good works in their live after they are saved will not go to heaven. According to Piper this is a life of "habitual obedience" with only imperfections that God will cleanse if our life is one of "habitual obedience".

    The aim of this judgment is for both rewards and to determine who is saved or lost "according to works"? Does this not fly in the face of Justification by faith alone?

    And now consider one more passage that really puts things in perspective about Christians living a holy life:

    When God saves us, he commands us(calls us) as his children to live a holy life - there is no debate here, obedience is not optional for a Christian.

    However, the level of our obedience does not "reveal", or determine as "evidence" whether we enter heaven or hell. Our "imperfections"(sins) are cleansed by the blood of Christ whether we have a life of habitual obedience or not. It is a sad fact, that some Christians yield very little to the Spirit's call to be Holy and follow God's will in their life. Yet they are still saved because it is not according to their works, but all of God's Grace and mercy.

    IFBReformer
     
  18. IfbReformer

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    No - it just rebuke false doctrine every day every week. Thats what the scriptures call us to do.

    IFBReformer
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    No this goes much further. Most Christians believe that true faith will result in a change of life, with works and fruits that are produced through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is not the debate here if you look carefully at what Piper is saying.

    He is saying there is such as thing as "human righteousness" that is not only pleasing to God, but is required by God for us to enter heaven.

    This is a "habitual obedience"(although not perfect) which receives cleansing from its imperfections both because of the inputed righteousness of Christ accounted to us because we believed and because of we are habitually obedient.

    Some who is not habitually obedient as a professing believer, will not have their sins cleansed and will go to hell.

    Now John Piper defends this as not saying the Christian lost their salvation, but that they were never truly saved if they were not "habitually" obedient.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. IfbReformer

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    So if I read you comments correctly:

    1. You would teach that habitual righteousness if required for Salvation(so in agreement with Piper on this point)

    2.Micah 6:8 is New Testament Gospel requirement(part of the Gospel, believe on Christ, and be habitually obedient and you will be saved)

    3. So you believe that linking habitual obedience to God(not disassociating it) with our salvation is helpful to Christians so that they will live a Holy life?

    4. So we have don't have any real assurance of faith just because we placed our faith and trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior? Is the only real assurance we can have a habitually obedient life as opposed to a less than habitually obedient life as a believer?

    Either way my friend, in the end you are placing your assurance of God's salvation on your own good works after you are saved(and so is Piper)

    IFBReformer
     

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