Why I no longer follow John Piper or Desiring God ministry

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June 20, 2013

Why I no longer follow John Piper or Desiring God ministry

About a decade ago, I followed John Piper and his ministry "Desiring God", with great joy.

I listened to sermon after sermon; purchased books for me, my darling husband, sons and sent them as gifts for friends and family. I shared links to their blog articles, retweeted their tweets, shared their materials over every social media platform I participated in, just to soak up and share what I thought at the time, was  entirely, soundly biblical wisdom.

Having decided to no longer be a Jonah or Moses when they were first called by God, I was hungry for the truth as I was coming to terms with the spiritual gifts God has given me (Faith, Exhortation, and Teaching).

With this hunger and resolve to have a heart more like Abraham and Isaiah, I wanted to obey God immediately—with joy, and use the gifts He so graciously bestowed upon me, for the purpose in which He gave them: For the encouragement and edification of those within the Body of Christ (Eph 4:11-16) without usurping God's authority of male headship within the church, and to go out to all the world preaching the Gospel, discipling young girls and women of all ages.

But in 2006, there was an uproar within the Christian community after John Piper extended an invitation to a young, filthy mouthed, unabashed preacher from Washington state, Mark Driscoll, to be one of the speakers at his Desiring God National Conference. And it didn't stop there. Though Piper was questioned and criticized (and by some, too harshly and unbiblically), he stood by his young protégé and extended two more invitations to speak at their national conference (2008 and 2009), though Driscoll proved to continue to get carried away by strange and unbiblical behavior like having pornographic divinations about other people's lives, and speaking harshly, including name calling to rebuke those within his church.

Unfortunately, Piper's lack of obedience to God's word in 1 Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'" continued to perpetuate his decline in discernment as he extended an invitation to Rick Warren (2010) and Louie Giglio (2011) to be speakers at his Desiring God National Conferences as well. Then at Passion 2012, Pastor John Piper condoned and participated in Louie Giglio's practice of a meditative, mystical type exercise that closely mirrors the heretical "Lectio Divina" where Catholic priests believe that God directly speaks extra-biblical messages to those who engage in this mind-emptying practice (click link to listen to Todd Friel's "Wretched" radio program on this topic).

I share all this to show you how much Piper and his ministry "Desiring God" has, in some ways (not all), been led away from sola scriptura (Scripture alone), so that you might be more discerning about following their ministry (writings, sermons, etc.).

I know I can be easily deceived just like Eve, and desire all that feeds my flesh and makes it feel good through emotional and sentimental hogwash. With that said, it would be unwise for me personally, to continue to follow John Piper or his "Desiring God" ministry as he/they continue to engage and condone unbiblical practices.

I've found the teachings from John Piper and "Desiring God" (after testing it with God's word) requires more discernment than I currently possess. And since there  are other Christian teachers/ministries I can learn from (e.g., John MacArthur/Grace to You, Alistair Begg/Truth for Life, R.C. Sproul/Ligonier Ministries) that don't give me tired-head, I've chosen to only follow those who are clearly and faithfully following the Lord (Heb 13:7).

Basically, it's like this: When I sit down to relax and enjoy a good meal after a long, yet productive, hard work day, I'd prefer not to sit down to a meal I know will have lots of bones in it because I know there's a good chance I could be injured. I'd rather sit down to a meal where there are either no bones or just a few bones, so I can truly enjoy my meal and keep from serious injury. Sitting under John Piper's teaching is like the former, and sitting under guys like MacArthur, Begg and Sproul, is like the latter.

The upshot of this entire post is this: As God's holy and dearly beloved children, be obedient to God's Word, test everything against it, and never put any man (for none are infallible, except for Christ when He was here) on a pedestal, and lackadaisically assume popularity, size of ministry, etc., qualifies a solidly biblical teacher. Let nothing deter you from diligently being a student of the Word.

I love John Piper and view him as a brother in Christ who has unfortunately let his guard down, and has been deceived into believing that God's grace and patience is demonstrated through condoning sin in others...all in the name of "love"...by the world's definition.

I pray for him and I encourage you to pray as well. Pray for his ministry. Pray for all who follow him without question. And pray for yourself—that God would give you a discerning heart to love Him and His Word greater than anyone or anything else.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll share with you, what I believe is a well-meaning, yet dangerous post, written by John Piper's son Abraham; an ex-prodigal, who came home.


  1. Chan is the main speaker at Mike Bickle's IHOP conference this December. He also publicly rebuked Mike Gendron whom he'd invited to his church as a guest speaker. Gendron is a former Catholic who is famously known for his outreach to Catholics with the Gospel. When he finished speaking, Chan got up and apologized to everyone for Mike's comments about Catholicism.

  2. METOWNSEND TownsendJuly 5, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I too have spoken words of caution as far back as 3 years ago to the pastor of the church we attend - all falling on deaf ears. He chose to attend the pastors' conference this year hosted by Piper' church. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide these men, Driscoll, Piper and the pastor to truth.
    Thank you for the valuable post. Hard to write, but vitally important to the body.

  3. Amen. Pray is needed for all these men as they are just as fallible as the rest of us, yet judged more strictly because they are teachers/preachers of the Word of God, so they need lots of prayer.

    Thank you for your encouragement.☺

  4. "Spiritual Formation" is being embraced now by Christian colleges and seminaries including Moody bible and Dallas theological ! It is NOT Christian....it has occultic roots, is Catholic based, and is connected to Renovare, an ecumenical psuedoChristian organization that refutes the absolute truth of the Bible. Spiritual Formation is promoted by Dallas Willard and Richard Foster the two biggest Emerging Church/mystical prayer adherents on the planet. Yet NO ONE seems to have the discernment to eradicate this apostasy from their midst. "Soul Care" the book also in Christian colleges now is promoted by Gary Moon (who rejects the reality of hell and says God just wants us to dance with the Spirit) (chapter and verse please?) and other mystical "doctrine' followers. They teach that sanctification is NOT just by the Holy Spirit but by outside influences. Chapter and verse please? Also Bible colleges are using "The Message" a bible paraphrase that has hidden occultic messages, waters down the gospel an eradicates the diety of Christ. PLEASE do your research and alert pastors, teachers and anyone who has fallen for these lies from the Satanic pit.

  5. Why are we always dividing over non-essential Christian doctrines? There are many amazingly biblical teachers in the world, and yet I probably do not agree with EVERYTHING that ANY of them say or do. I feel like these are minor complaints being used to discredit a man's entire ministry. We cannot discredit a person's entire ministry because of a few minor disagreements with their actions or (non-essential) doctrines. That's just my two cents.

  6. Hi there JCH, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I have done my research on this and completely agree with you and have written many other articles on these things in the past (specifically about the emergent church movement and the false gospel it presents).

    Thanks for standing in the gap with us and fighting the good fight of faith. And please remember, John Piper IS a brother in Christ, so rather than be angry with him, we must have compassion and pray that the Lord lead our brother back to His truth. The Lord bless you.

  7. Hi snowman, I agree with you that we ought never divide on non-essentials, but this is not one of them. A non-essential is anything where there isn't a direct command (like whether or not someone is Premillennial, Amillennial, or Postmillennial).

    These heretical practices our brother John Piper has sadly involved himself in are not only detrimental to all who follow his teachings, but also to himself since by doing these things, he denies the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, what communion with Him is really about.

    Also, it's not really a "divide" but like I share in my article, this is my personal choice to no longer follow (for a time) the teachings of our brother John Piper since he's mixing truth with error and being an easily deceived woman, it's unwise for me, personally follow someone like him...until he repents.

    The Lord bless you.

  8. Yes we can pray that Piper stops his bad associations but it is abhorrent that he is promoting ecumenicalism and Catholic doctrine leading thousands astray and as Christians we must act. Its one thing if he was a new believer that had no discernment, but this man has been a pastor for years! He also promotes the 'potty mouth' pastor Marc Driscoll ! Wouldn't most families be angry that Piper is promoting this man who has a terrible influence on children and teens>? Jesus never took the Pharisees to Starbucks for a quiet chat. He exposed them in the streets. There are so many false prophets and teachers destroying the current Church, it is vital that we expose the Christians that are doing the same.

  9. Thank you for your prompt reply. You may find this interesting.

    From: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-system-for-praying-in-2012

    Update: Formerly I listed Lectio Divina as a third system for prayer. I've since removed it for the confusion it has caused. We do not endorse contemplative spirituality. The main point I'd like to recommend is using the text of Scripture as an organizer for our prayers — prayers that are exegetically faithful and gospel rich. I'm sorry for introducing the category.

  10. Hmmm...that's great! Thanks for that update. I saw that they had something like that before, it was written a bit differently and with no apology.

  11. Thank you for the sharing. I always being informed many preachers and pastors like Mark Driscoll, John MacAuthur, John Piper, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen become controversial and being labelled as false teachers or spiritual leaders due to their misconduct in the ministry and errors in the doctrine. If I found out that my preachers and pastors in my church behaves in such a way, after I pray about that; is there any steps I can take in order to address any problems that related to any misconduct and false doctrine in the church, in a way that are respectful to the spiritual leader?

  12. I believe John and mark both have biblically sound doctrine and that we should be very careful when spreading gossip about a leader. The reason mark talks about pornography and sex before marriage is because he is talking to people who is struggling with those issues and encouraging them not to do those addictions. Both John and Mark is coming from the view that Christianity is for sinners who need Jesus. Please provide me with proof from his website, video etc where one or both have denied the main aspects of the bible. :) thanks for the article.

  13. Sunny, one thing that I like about your approach is you do not condemn to hell those who you disagree with. I think that the Charismatic movement really needs the perspective of the non-Charismatic movement. Likewise, the non-Charismatic movement needs the perspective of the Charismatic movement. IE - we need each other. Iron sharpens iron.

    Mac Arhur's recent "Strange Fire" conferences was an exercise in how NOT to deal with issues in the body of Christ. If the Charismatic movement is to be chastised for not dealing with the sins of its leaders then the non-Charismatic movement better deal with Mac Arthur's sin in this conference to keep themselves from committing the same error.

  14. Thank you for your comment Azrine. I think the question you ask yourself and the prayer you lift up to the Lord for discernment is very wise. No one save Jesus Christ is perfect. :o)

  15. Hi there Hope, thank you for your comment. Forgive me for my delayed response. Between emails and comments here and elsewhere, I lose track of who and where I've responded.

    With you, I agree that Pastor John Piper is sound in the basic tenets of our faith in Christ...but not so with Mark Driscoll who recently, at his Resurgence Conference 2013 (a pastor's conference) not only had Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett at the conference, but Driscoll also promoted Downey and Burnett's false representation of the Gospel with their popular miniseries [NOT] The Bible. You can find the video on the Resurgence website if you need proof.

    Also, you can find everything I shared here on John Piper's website and all over the internet (including on YouTube) by doing a Google search...everything I've shared here is publicly available to everyone...not just me.

    And dear Hope, out of love, I must exhort you to be careful of accusing a sister in Christ of a sin...gossip, when I have not done so. I've merely shared truth that again, is readily and publicly available to everyone.

    May the Lord Jesus Christ's grace and peace be with your spirit.

  16. Hello there brother Steve, thank you for your kindness and words of encouragement brother. Please forgive me for my delayed response, as I explained to Hope, between the emails I receive and comments here and elsewhere, I often forget who and where I've responded.

    I actually don't know all that happened at the Strange Fire Conference as the Lord had my attentions elsewhere so I purposely stayed out of that arena. :o)

    I'm sorry that what Pastor MacArthur said at that conference was so upsetting to you. I don't agree perfectly with any ONE person who's walked and is walking on this earth, save our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I would ask you to do the same with Pastor MacArthur as I've done here with Pastor's Piper and Driscoll....please pray for all of them. And please pray for all the saints in the Lord Jesus, that we would all agree in Christ.

    May the love of the Father and the grace and peace of the Son be with your spirit brother. :o)

  17. nice post so encouraging to see all of you self-righteous pharasees in the comments uplifting this joke of a woman disparaging a very Godly man like Pastor John... if you think John Piper is a straying christian than the whole world is pretty much screwed anyway... i cant think of many people who have a more Christ-centered and biblical worldview than him.


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