Background to FBF Resolution on John Piper

Nescio Latinitatem – by Michael Riley

On my October 31 post, “Praise God for Fundamentalists: Desiring God Blog,” I drew your attention to Dr. John Piper’s post “Praise God for Fundamentalists.” In this short article, he expresses his appreciation for the 2005 FBF resolution “On the Ministry of John Piper.” In my opinion, Dr. Piper’s brief article is worth noting on three accounts. First, Piper notes that the FBF’s resolution accurately reflects a few areas where there is disagreement. Second, Piper has some sense of respect for fundamentalism. As a fundamentalist, I have occasionally been disappointed because it seems that we are at times ignored as something of a “lunatic fringe.” In this regard, Piper’s article was refreshing to read. Third, Dr. Piper’s article reflects a humility that we should strive to have when appropriately criticized.

Though I am not a member of the FBF and am unfamiliar with many of their other resolutions, I had read this one with great interest because I understood that one of DBTS’s graduates, Michael Riley (currently completing a PhD in apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary and Acting Academic Dean at International Baptist College in Tempe, AZ), had written a foundational article prior to the FBF meeting entitled “On the Ministry of John Piper.” This article became the basis for the FBF’s 2005 resolution and was printed in the July/August 2005 edition of FrontLine magazine (for a presentation of the some of the criticisms to Professor Riley’s article along with his responses, see his blog). When I initially read this FBF resolution and after reading it again a few days back, I am convinced that FBF resolution was accurate and well-written. It praised Dr. Piper’s theological orthodoxy and overall ministry in stressing a God-centered view of salvation and life. In addition, it stated a few areas where the FBF disagreed with Piper. In my estimation, the FBF resolution hit a bull’s eye.

The point of this post is to call your attention to an October 31 post by Michael Riley. This post contains a letter that he wrote to Dr. Piper. The significance of his letter is that it provides some personal background to his foundational article for the 2005 FBF resolution; and it, at the same time, reflects a healthy appreciation for the contribution that Piper’s writing ministry has made in the theological development of Michael Riley, as well as many other young fundamentalists. It is well worth your time to read his letter.

Comments

  1. says

    Finally, a refreshing note on someone in whose material is used extensively by many Fundamentalists, yet some of these same Fundamentalists treat him as if he has added nothing to our understanding of God and salvation. This seems to be hypocritical.

  2. says

    Glad you have signed up to comment on my blog, Rob. What I appreciate about Michael Riley’s posted letter to Dr. Piper on October 31 is that he reflects a healthy respect for Dr. Piper, who has been something of a catalytic figure in bringing a “revival” in Calvinistic thinking among many Fundamentalists. However, at the same time, Michael reflects that there are areas where he does not see eye-to-eye with Dr. Piper. In my estimation, two crucial differences relate to the issues of his noncessation understanding of the miraculous spiritual gifts and of his inconsistency in the practice of ecclesiastical separation by not pulling his church out of the Baptist General Conference. It is some areas like these where I think we need to disagree, which is our obligation with our individual soul liberty. To disagree with someone does not mean that we have to disrespect or falsely malign them. We need to graciously and accurately reflect our differences and to move on with the ministries God has assigned us in ways that extol God through Christ. Nevertheless, I thank God for the influence that Dr. Piper has exerted on Fundamentalists to have a God-centered view of soteriology. In my estimation, I think the FBF resolution “On the Ministry of John Piper” states the issues well.

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