I have just taken 90 mins to watch this excellent interview between John Piper and Rick Warren. It is definitely worth your time to do the same. Here’s why…
You can view the interview here:
My interest was piqued because Warren’s Purpose Driven Life was incredibly influential some years ago, having become one of the biggest selling books of all time (after the Bible). PDL was also a great resource for the development of the small group ministry at Redlands Christian Reformed Church in 2003. That we could have sermons, small group studies, and reading materials all themed together was a terrific way to launch into our small group ministry. We have never looked back.
Beyond any organisational aspects, the subject matter of the Purpose Driven Life was also a great encouragement and stimulation to us. That’s why we could not understand some of the negative criticism levelled at the book. Rick Warren was denounced from some quarters as a mean centred theologian, light on theology, as one who played fast and loose with the text of the Bible, as well as a raft of other criticisms.
So when Rick Warren recently published the interview between John Piper and himself, I thought that was not to be missed. John Piper is of course one of the more popular reformed evangelical voices in the USA. His views are widely received and respected in circles where I serve amongst the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia.
If you’re a person who loves the reformed heritage, I would encourage you to watch the interview in its entirety. As you do, you may just
* Be challenged: that there is good reason to be respectful of Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven Life’ and thankful for the contribution his work has made to Jesus’ Kingdom and glory
* Be surprised: that there is not so much separating Rick Warren and John Piper. Well, that’s how I saw it. You draw your own conclusions
* Be reminded: that we need to be balanced and gracious in the way we deal with what other Christian leaders say and do. Australian Christian leaders are sometimes a little too quick to engage in the tall poppy syndrome. We are not immune to this weakness, friends.
* Be encouraged: Piper and Warren are so gracious to one another and so warm in their interaction. I found myself saying ‘I wish I would interact a little more like that’. They made me desire to honour Jesus more in my work
Q: Leave a comment and let us know what you think about this interview
After I watched it, I understand now the context of Rick Warren and that is that the purpose dirven xxxx was written for his own congregation, understanding the basics of our theology. Trinity, 3 Omni’s and 5 Solas.
I have witnessed it myself, that the same book, used by the Chinese Methodist Church of Australia (under the former Bishop undoubtedly Arminian and even anti Calvinist), can be so misinterpreted. This is ofcourse a concern, that a seemingly soft and non confrontational writing style, can be manipulated outside what I now see as Warren’s intend and believe. I still think, without proper grounding given by the church spiritual leaders, the book can be misinterpreted.
I do still think, that Warren without any shame or guilt could be more decisive on John 3:16 vs Roman 8:28,29 (approx. 29 minutes from the beginning). At the end, we do not need to be apologetic about God’s sovereignty.
Other parts I think worthy mentioning is how Rick handles Piper’s questions at approx. 49 minutes and 55 minutes.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Here is something worth reading to balance a bit: