A while back a commenter asked me to do some sort of incendiary write up about John Piper like I’ve done a few times about Mark Driscoll. One would think that it would be much harder to write such a critique of Piper because he is far more personable and, by all appearances, charitable. Driscoll is a rapacious frat boy who can’t stop flapping his trap. Piper is a pastor. It’s a good deal easier to see the absurdity of Dirscoll’s theological and social views when he preens about how often he gets oral sex from his wife and hosts mixed martial arts fights that supposedly tell real Christian men how to be. He’s patently ridiculous in almost every way. Its all theatrics and megalomania. With Piper however everything is different. Piper is measured, sensitive in speaking, and by all appearances, fairly humble. He’s far, far more palatable, personally and pastorally than Driscoll.
However, this is precisely why John Piper is far more dangerous than Driscoll. Piper’s pastoral manner renders him far more subtle, more believable, more seductive. Whatever else I may say about Driscoll at least he lives the absurdity of his theology out to nth. Piper however is able to project calm compassion and thoughtfulness onto his preaching and teaching in a way that many find appealing who woudl be immediately put off by Driscoll. This is why Piper can get away with saying the most utterly insane things. Like his recent claim that the tornado touchdown that hit a Lutheran church in Minneapolis was God’s judgment and warning to the denomination to stop their proposed initiative to allow gay clergy.
If someone like Driscoll or other more obviously crazy evangelicals like Pat Robertson were to say something like this they’d immediately be called on it (remember Falwell’s whole thing about how the gays, lesbians, and secularists made God bring about 9/11?). But Piper’s defenders flock to him when he proclaims this sort of insanity. And its all because of the image he projects of being the sensitive, strong, measured, and humble pastor.
Driscoll is an obvious yapping wolfling. Piper is the quintessential wolf in very authentic-looking sheep’s clothing.