Reformed Theology

Piper’s Retirement

John Piper is retiring from his role as Pastor for Preaching and Teaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he has served for 32 years since transitioning from seminary professorship. Jason Meyer has been nominated to succeed him, and I admit I have not heard of him.

I owe a huge debt to John Piper. For several years he was my only pastor, though I have never met him. I sat at his Gamaliel feet through books and Desiring God’s daily podcasts, the entire Romans series, and weekly sermon videos which I watched on my Apple TV. I discovered the difficult truths of the doctrines of grace, preached in a way which embraced them for the glory of God and did not shy away from their gravity. I discovered Augustine and the joy of sovereignty. I discovered Jonathan Edwards and the pleasures of God. I learned how to worship God for all that he is rather than simply for his gifts.

As I have ripened with age, I have become more Presbyterian and less Baptist. I have become more liberal, more egalitarian and less complementarian. Therefore there has been a bit of a distance between Piper and me in the last two years, as he has embraced Rick Warren, attested that he’d rather be arrested than give up corporal punishment, declared that “Christianity has a masculine feel,” and taken a very long leave of absence to “work on his marriage.” (I don’t mean that I disagree with working on one’s marriage, but it seems problematic that it had to come to that, and I find the results somewhat lacking.) But I think I can chalk these up to the idiosyncrasies of age, and appreciate the broad work of his ministry as a whole. If it weren’t for Piper, I honestly don’t know where I would be today.

You can read Piper’s responses to questions about this transition on the BBC website.

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One thought on “Piper’s Retirement

  1. I too love Piper in many ways, but my own Presbyterianism and paedobaptist convictions sometimes make his theology a little difficult. Like yourself I have moved to a much more egalitarian position. What I really love is the combination of Reformed Theology and Charismatic openness.

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