Paul's Passing Thoughts

John Piper: How to Hide Your Talents in 6 Minutes

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 6, 2011

I would like to point out some disturbing parallels between New Calvinism and the “wicked and slothful” servant in Matthew 25. It’s a difficult portion of Scripture, but a few things are certain: the servant’s improper view of God caused him to be “fearful,” resulting in him playing it safe, so to speak.  The servant was fearful that he would do something wrong with the master’s money that would incur a loss, and thereby landing him in deep trouble.  How did he play it safe? He hid the master’s money in the ground so there would be no chance of loss.

That’s what the doctrine of New Calvinism does. It instills fear of risk in believers, so they play it safe. Let me explain. There is a popular video on the net entitled “The Gospel in Six Minutes,” by John Piper. It is an excerpt from a sermon he preached.  The title was “God Strengthens Us By The Gospel.”  And here is how he explains that in the same message:

You never, never, never outgrow your need for it. Don’t ever think of the gospel as, “That’s the way you get saved, and then you get strong by leaving it and doing something else.” No! We are strengthened by God through the gospel every day, till the day we drop. You never outgrow the need to preach to yourself the gospel.

In fact, in his conclusion, he strongly insinuates that anybody that is trusting in anything else but the same gospel that saved us to grow spiritually is lost:

I know that there are people reading this who are not trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation. So I’m just going to plead with you here at the end, lay down that rebellion. Lay it down. And simply embrace the gospel that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Righteous One, died for your sins. He was raised on the third day, triumphant over all his enemies. He reigns until he puts all of his enemies under his feet. Forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God comes freely through him alone, by faith alone.

Piper then follows with this statement without any transition of subject:

I plead with you, don’t try to be strong in your own strength; it will not be there when you need it. Only one strength will be there—the strength that God gives according to the gospel. Don’t put it off.

Don’t put what off? Well, the title of the sermon is “God Strengthens Us By The Gospel.” Who’s “us”? Answer: professing Christians. Lost people don’t need “strengthening,” they need salvation, right? So, what is it that professing Christians shouldn’t put off doing? Answer: those who are not really “trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation,”  shouldn’t put off trusting in Jesus Christ by ceasing to be strong in our own strength. Those trying to be strong in their own strength in sanctification can only expect condemnation, so the call is to stop doing that and start trusting in the gospel to be strengthened as a believer, and if you don’t, you will be condemned! Got it?

But how would we know if we are applying effort in our own strength or the strength of the gospel? Well, you had better get that right, or you could end up condemned. Scared yet?

Answer: play it safe, don’t make any effort! Apparently, it’s either all our effort or all God’s effort. I call this the New Calvinist either/or hermeneutic.

So, hide your efforts in the ground for fear that those efforts could unwittingly circumvent “gospel strength,” resulting in your eternal condemnation.

Do you buy that? I hope not.

paul

31 Responses

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  1. gracewriterrandy said, on December 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Paul,

    Actually, I don’t have a beak. I could suggest a place a bit further south for you to place your views, but that might not be a gentlemanly response to a serious issue. Somehow, I am blocking about a statement I made about Bill Baldwin to which you are referring. Since you have provided no context for that statement, who knows what he was talking about?

    What I am interested in is your response to my question about the statement I provided. How can a person make the following statement if he believes we don’t need to obey since Christ obeys for us? They will persevere in faith and never surrender to the enemy of their souls. This perseverance is the promise of the New Covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God Himself, YET NOT DO AS TO DIMINISH, BUT ONLY TO EMPOWER AND ENCOURAGE OUR VIGILANCE so that we may say in
    the end, I have fought the good fight,214 but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with
    me.”

    Our vigilance? That seems like a strange thing to say for a person who doesn’t even thing we need to obey at all, but to obey VIGILANTLY? Wow! That seems like a real contradiction.

    Like

  2. paulspassingthoughts said, on June 4, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Reblogged this on Paul's Passing Thoughts.

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  3. BD said, on June 4, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Hi Paul,

    I fell into what Piper teaches (and MacArthur, Sproul, et al…) at one time, and spent the next twenty five years following a god of my own making; “me”.

    “Do we address the people in church as if we are all elect, who have been believing some form of the gospel all along? “Close as in horseshoes”? Or do we say: some or all of you may need to be reconciled. Nobody is born reconciled. Let’s not presume. Let’s not beg the question.”

    That first comment really highlights the difference between those who are old covenant (law based religion) in their thinking, and those who are free grace in my mind. The New Calvinist assumes that very few in their church are really really really born again. They assume that the wheat have been sown amongst the tares, rather than tares among the wheat. Naturally, THEY are part of the “in-crowd” (they hope, because they can never be really really really sure themselves).

    Those who are free grace in their understanding understand the gospel to be an announcement of good news, and understand that the only condition to receive eternal life is to believe the announcement, that it applies to you personally. “The Gospel in Six Minutes”??!? Really? It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to communicate good news.

    One of the red flags for me are multi-page explanations of the “Gospel” I often read in books, or long drawn out sermons expounding on the Gospel I often hear. They are a sure sign that someone is adding something to the grace of God in some aspect of salvation, and seeking to bring the reader or the hearer into bondage.

    Someone is going to have to explain to me sometime why I need to even bother with the reformation (so-called) at all. If someone came up to me today with their Calvinism or New & Improved Calvinism I would simply view it as the remodeling of Roman Catholicism that it is and discard it out of hand. There are millions of Christians who do not even know who Calvin was, and probably confuse him with the guy on the label of their jeans, and think Luther refers to Martin Luther King Jr. Yet they believe and function without a care in the world about being in bondage to 16th century religion.

    So glad I got save out of that crap. (Or if some offended soul would prefer a Biblical word: dung)

    Blessings,
    BD

    P.S. That guy – “gracewriterrandy” doesn’t sound very gracious to me. How quick these religion-ists resort to name calling and putdowns!

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    • Matt Hallmark said, on May 24, 2018 at 8:11 AM

      BD, see my comment to Paul below.

      Like

  4. A Mom said, on June 4, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    How interesting! I wrote a note of encouragement just yesterday to a wonderful Christian, who I noticed had worked hard to reap blessed fruit for the kingdom, and I mentioned Matthew 25 in my note. They had done good, their action was good, good was their fruit.

    What was John Piper’s fruit after the Moore, OK tornado? His tweet “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they were dead. Job 1:19” which he later took down. He writes: “The reason I pulled my tweets from Job is that it became clear that what I feel as comfort was not affecting others the same.” Piper finds comfort in destruction because of his theology. He didn’t think his tweet was wrong. Piper implies others are not at the same spiritual Calvinist maturity level he is, with the cold-hearted, lack of compassion that goes along with it. Basically, we can’t handle the “truth”.

    NOTICE: This theology tells believers to “think alone”. Jesus + nothing = think alone = the only doing going on is thinking. The only love taking place is the rumination of Calvin theology in the mind. Piper’s 2010 Desiring God national conference was titled: Think: The Life of the Mind & the Love of God.

    Calvinist theology leads to a lack of love. You don’t have to look far to know the fruit, total depravity is sown and reaped. Love is not a thought, brothers and sisters. Love results in action/fruit, it doesn’t reside in the mind. Piper’s theology leads to loveless actions, actions lacking the kind of love for others that Christ mentions in the good Samaritan. It lacks the love we are to have for Christ himself in the talent parable.

    Piper follows Jesus through his “Calvinist think alone” thinking filter, that’s THE requirement. The only one. And we see the fruit it produces. If Piper heard about the half dead man in the good Samaritan parable he would send the same tweet out as he did when he heard about the Moore, OK children who died. The question that Jesus answers in His parable of the good Samaritan had to do with eternal life. Do Piper’s teachings and fruit lead to eternal life? Maybe this is why Wade Burelson tells Piper to set aside Calvin’s theology in his post, “When Love Trumps Theology.” You can’t be a Calvinist rightly handling Calvin’s “truth” and then love as Christ at the same time.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on June 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Mom,

      Dead on.

      Like

  5. A Mom said, on June 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    BD said, “The New Calvinist assumes that very few in their church are really really really born again. They assume that the wheat have been sown amongst the tares, rather than tares among the wheat. Naturally, THEY are part of the “in-crowd” (they hope, because they can never be really really really sure themselves).”

    That’s a good assessment. And your observation goes hand in hand with total depravity theology.

    BD said, “There are millions of Christians who do not even know who Calvin was, and probably confuse him with the guy on the label of their jeans, and think Luther refers to Martin Luther King Jr. Yet they believe and function without a care in the world about being in bondage to 16th century religion.”

    Yes. They have brains, but may decide along the way not to use them or ask questions. Unless life gives them a reason to question how a loving God is also “soveriegnly” evil. Or they may question how all people are totally depraved and can do no good, even though they may see acts of kindness or goodness come from believers and even professed non-believers. Or they may eventually reject Jesus altogether.

    This is why it’s so important to spread the good news and truth from the Bible. Thanks be to God for Paul and Susan!

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  6. trust4himonly said, on June 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Mom, you are certainly correct. For with the Calvinist mindset, we are not capable of doing any good on our own even after we have become Christians. The funny thing is that non-Christians can be capable of DOING good things and even self-sacrificing (without any self motive) things. The difference is that these things cannot be in itself ENOUGH to save us from the wrath of hell – we need to believe in God’s Son who completely washed away the stain of sin. This is as simple as it gets! Calvinists will ADD to Scripture and confuse what is already simply stated in Scripture. God charges us to DO GOOD THINGS throughout Scripture and that includes LOVE.
    Lights, camera, ACTION!

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  7. A Mom said, on June 5, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    trust4himonly said, “The difference is that these things cannot be in itself ENOUGH to save us from the wrath of hell – we need to believe in God’s Son who completely washed away the stain of sin.”

    This exactly highlights the need for the Savior and the love of the Father for us to be reconciled to Him. It points us to salvation. We do not stay stuck or unclean. We are washed with Christ’s blood and are free and desire to please God, with all our might.

    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    Lights, camera, ACTION indeed!

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  8. Caden said, on April 26, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    Careful brother lest in your zeal you find yourself at odds with our Savior.

    28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on April 26, 2017 at 11:07 AM

      Welcome, Caden.

      And thank you for your comment, but what exactly is your point? It is not clear what your are taking issue with in this article.

      Like

    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 26, 2017 at 12:03 PM

      Caden,
      Reply to Andy before I pull down your comment due to the fact that it doesn’t meet PPT moderation requirements. In your reply, perhaps I may realize that I misunderstand your comment. However, at this point, I interpret it as everyday Reformed hackery. No specific thesis of the post is addressed, but rather an authoritative unction warning me against the sin of touching God’s anointed because they claim that they are God’s anointed. Sorry, God is my Father, but somehow I missed the memo.

      Like

  9. Matt Hallmark said, on May 24, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    Paul, you’ve shared nothing biblical here. You’ve only attacked a group of people with misinformation and a bitter spirit. If you have something against reformed theology, please back it up with scripture. Otherwise you’re guilty of the same pride you project upon others.

    Like

    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on May 24, 2018 at 9:22 AM

      “You’ve only attacked a group of people with misinformation and a bitter spirit.”

      Putting aside the “bitter spirit” allegation for the moment, what exactly in the article is the “misinformation”? Please be specific.

      Like


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