John Piper and Tim Keller

A lot of Reformed people that I know really love to read John Piper and Tim Keller. For most of them, these two are second only to Calvin when it comes to theology (e.g. never wrong) .Back when I was still Presbyterian I read a few of their works, but never really got into them too much. What are your opinions of these two theologians?

Oh wow. I know what you mean. :smiley: I was Presbyterian for much of my life. A few years ago, I spent some time at a very Reformed divinity school; and anyone who didn’t read & quote extensively from both Piper and Keller (and perhaps John MacArthur) was suspected of being on the “highway to Rome” haha.

I think that Piper’s intention is to be true to the Bible, as he perceives it; but he is too narrow in his interpretations. When one limits oneself to both Sola Scriptura and an extremely small number of outside commentaries (like only Calvin and other Reformed types), interpretive mistakes will be made. His “Christian Hedonism” stuff was really strange to me.

As far as Keller is concerned, I like his attempts at reaching out to his neighborhood. For a PCA pastor, he’s pretty moderate. His writing never grabbed me, and sometimes he seems a little hesitant to talk about sin (in my opinion), but at least he lives what he believes. He’s more open to ecumenical work with other Christians than is common in his denomination.

I was never really a huge fan of either one, though. I guess I was becoming Catholic before I even realized it! :shrug: :smiley:

Edit: if any fans of either one read this, I’m not trying to put anybody down. :thumbsup: Obviously, the fact that I’m in RCIA shows that I’m not on board with these two, but I just wanted to share what I remember of them from my Reformed days haha.

I used to read Piper when I was Protestant… I am not certain what the Catholic perpective on his books would be… :confused: I mean if there’s something particularly Protestant, of course the Church would disagree on that and it would be best not to read it then. Regarding the idea described in “Desiring God”, I simply don’t know.

Does this mean that the Catholic Church is very broad in their interpretation of the Bible, and that is why you became a Catholic?

What do you mean when you say that John Piper is too narrow in his interpretations?

Please provide a few examples of this narrowness of Piper interpretation?

I am asking because I watched John Pipers video: 'Desiring God. I thought it was outstanding in that this sermon rings true and draws Christians into a deeper and more joyous fellowship with God.

Are you familiar with Pipers ‘Desiring God’?

If so, what did you think of it?

I ask these questions so I may understand your statement “that Piper’s intention is to be true to the Bible, as he perceives it; but he is too narrow in his interpretations.”

If I said that ‘The Catholic Magisterial’ is written to be true to the Bible, as the Catholic Church perceives it, but the Magisterial is too vast and broad in its’ content and teachings that these detracts from, and overshadows, the message of the New Testament."

I’m sure you, from your experience as a Catholic who knows the RCC Catholic Magisterial, would it not be fair for you to ask me: ‘How so did you come to this conclusion?’

It would be a good and a fair question for you to ask.

Now, I have read very little of the RCC Magisterial, Therefore I would not, could not, make such a statement about the Catholic Magisterial.

And so, I consider my question above to be a fair one to ask you, Indiana.

On the other hand, we all need to be thankful to God that HE does not require of all of us have perfect knowledge nor be sinless, and have perfect Character, and understanding of all things, as HE does, in order to be saved and be His children. By accepting by faith His salvation through the Blood shed by the perfect Lamb of God - Jesus - the only God begotten of God, as the ultimate blood covering of all our sins, by which we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit WHOM works in us to transform our very nature, and by which we shall never die, but have life eternal, the abundantly good life, God’s gift to us through Jesus, a salvation that no human can earn by their works.

I get a creepy feeling from John Piper, don’t know why, and can’t explain it, just a gut reaction.

Never heard of the other guy.

Well, if i had a creepy feeling from someone, and I don’t know why, and can’t explain it, I certainly would not be writing that ‘I get a creepy feeling about them’ in a public forum, nor as gossip to people in my circle, some students of ethics may consider such behavior to be unethical.

No, I’m not saying that the Catholic Church is “broad” as opposed to “narrow,” and that had nothing to do with my entering RCIA. :slight_smile: I’m not looking for “broad;” I’m looking for Truth and Authority. I’m pretty much on the conservative/traditional side of theology and biblical interpretation. Sorry to give the wrong impression. :thumbsup:

What I meant is that in areas where I think that Piper may be lacking, it’s because he’s viewing everything through the Reformed lens of sovereignty. That statement is not meant as an insult. It is what shapes his entire theology, just as it does for Keller. Now it’s been a few years since I encountered much of Piper’s teaching, and I don’t have any of his works in front of me; but even if I did, I’d rather avoid a debate. :slight_smile: He’s a sincere guy, and he has studied the Bible extensively. Let’s shift the focus. Looking back, I realize that I read the Bible through a very narrow lens when I was a Calvinist. I basically ignored non-Reformed theology. That’s what I meant by narrow. Even other Protestants’ teachings meant little to me if they weren’t Reformed (a position which greatly changed when I became Anglican). I have nothing against Piper, but I just feel that he uses the same narrow lens.

I understand if you disagree. I’m not looking for an argument. :smiley:

Thanks Indiana, your reply was good. I was not looking for an argument either.

I do not really know Piper. I merely saw his video on ‘Desiring God’ over the past two months, I thought that series was excellent.

May God truly bless you and yours.

How is it unethical if the OP asked us what we thought and I told him? The fact that I said I can’t explain the creepiness is actually a concession that it might be completely unfounded.

That’s exactly how I used to be :slight_smile: Everything in the Bible had a good Calvinist answer, except for the parts that didn’t. They were ignored. That’s why I’m here!

I don’t know a lot about Tim Keller, besides the fact that Presbyterians are split on the opinion of him. The low church Presbyterians love him, the high church Presbyterians do not.

I use to read a lot of John Piper and listen to his sermons, but no longer do. John Piper isn’t reformed in the historical sense of the word. He claims that he is, but at most he holds to the some reformed soteriology. You can’t deny covenant theology, infant baptism, Presbyterian ecclesiology, and not subscribe to any of the reformed confessions and be reformed. Piper is what the reformers and the Roman Catholic Church would call an Enthusiast. He is very much a pietest and should be ignored. If you really are interested in some good critiques of both Piper and Keller, high church (old school) Presbyterian D.G. Hart has critiqued them both often at his blog called the Old Life theological society.

I don’t know much about Keller, but Piper is a good hearted and usually writes decent stuff. That said, Piper has written some pretty laughable things, such as this:
Beware of imputing advantage to antiquity. Seventy years after the death of Jesus the churches had neither the collected New Testament nor a living apostle. It was a precarious and embattled time.

Neither the experiences nor the teachers of the first 300 years of the church are as reliable as the finished New Testament. The church did not rescue the New Testament from neglect and abuse. The New Testament rescued the early church from instability and error.

We are in a better position today to know Jesus Christ than anyone who lived from AD 100 to 300. They had only parts of the New Testament rather than the collected whole. That’s how valuable the fullness of revelation is in the finished Bible. Beware of idealizing the early church. She did not have your advantages!

When it comes to his biblical arguments against Catholicism, Piper often makes the same poor/fallacious claims as other Protestants do.

I just found this.

Should former Catholics still participate in the mass?

No, I don’t think they should participate in the mass (that is, have communion). The reason is that its conceptuality is one of the most serious mistakes of the Catholic Church.

I revisited a Catholic mass recently, for a funeral, and it had been a long time since my last visit. When I watched it again I was so appalled that I wanted to walk out. I really wanted to scream, it was so awful. The language that was used about sacrifice, the kissing of the table, the kneeling down—it was all just so offensive to me that I could hardly stand it.

I think that participating in the Catholic mass comes close to compromising the faith, because it is believed to be a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ and a saving ordinance.

So no, I wouldn’t recommend that someone participate.

I’m done with Piper.

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