John Piper – Giving “license for immorality” while claiming he is not?

by Sandy Simpson, 10/27/07


After reading the lead column in a recent Christianity Today CT Direct email I felt I had to write yet another letter to the editor.  I am only going to quote part of that article, the salient bits.  After writing my letter to the editor of CT I was sent an “automatic” response stating due to large volumes of letters to the editor mine would only be published if space permitted.  So I thought I would give you the benefit of looking at part of Piper’s column, my response and the letter from the editor to me.


The closest I have ever come in 26 years to being fired from my position as a pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church was in the mid-1980s, when I wrote an article for our church newsletter titled "Missions and Masturbation." I wrote the article after returning from a missions conference in Washington, D.C., with George Verwer, the head of Operation Mobilization. Verwer's burden at that conference was the tragic number of young people who at one point in their lives dreamed of radical obedience to Jesus, but then faded away into useless American prosperity. A gnawing sense of guilt and unworthiness over sexual failure gradually gave way to spiritual powerlessness and the dead-end dream of middle-class security and comfort.  In other words, what seemed so tragic to George Verwer—as it does to me—is that so many young people are being lost to the cause of Christ's mission because they are not taught how to deal with the guilt of sexual failure. The problem is not just how not to fail. The problem is how to deal with failure so that it doesn't sweep away your whole life into wasted mediocrity with no impact for Christ.  The great tragedy is not masturbation or fornication or pornography. The tragedy is that Satan uses guilt from these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had or might have.When you learn to deal with the guilt of sexual failure by this kind brokenhearted boldness, this kind of theology, this kind of justification by faith, this kind of substitutionary atonement, this kind of gutsy guilt, you will fall less often. Why is this so? Because Christ will become increasingly precious to you.  …(John Piper is the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This article is adapted from a message delivered at Passion '07 called Gutsy Guilt – Don’t let shame over sexual sin destroy you, John Piper, posted 10/19/07, Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today.,


Now if Christ is “precious” to a believer it will cause them to feel guilty about sin, repent of that sin, and stop practicing that sin over and over.  But John Piper and George Verwer apparently want Christians to stop feeling guilty without repentance assuming Jesus Christ will automatically forgive them because of the Attonement.  This is Reformed 5-Point Calvinistic “easy believism” giving “Christians” who are still practicing sin a license for immorality.  I stated as much in my letter to the CT editor.





Sent: Friday, October 19, 2007 4:07 PM

Subject: Christianity Today: Letter to the Editor


Name: Sandy Simpson
Subject: Letter to the Editor


Not one word about Christians confessing or repenting of sin in Gutsy Guilt by John Piper. Yes Christians still sin (1 John 1:8). But the point in any true biblical exegesis of this subject is that Christians no longer practice sin (1 John 3:9) but rather practice righteousness (1 John 3:7). Those practicing sin better test themselves to see if they are in the Faith (2 Cor. 13:5). We as believers have the sacrifice of Christ for sin but we must still confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (which was spoken in reference to Christians) (1 John 1:9). This article is a perfect example of what Jude calls giving Christians a “license for immorality” and illustrates why 5-Point Calivinists are deceiving believers on issues like continued sexual immorality.


Let me be clear.  5-Point Arminianism is just as flawed as Calvinism.  My paper on this subject, looking at the ill effects of both doctrinal systems on the current Third Wave apostasy, details why I do not subscribe to either system completely.  I decided long ago to go back to teaching what the Apostles taught on the issues raised by these doctrines of men and that is why my theology causes me no problems with ANY of the verses Calvinists or Arminians constantly struggle with. 


In any case, I felt I needed to point out this type of “license for immorality” false teaching from Verwer and Piper that stems from a Calvinist point of view.  So here was CT’s response:


From: "Letters"

Date: Monday, October 22, 2007 3:48 AM


Subject: Re: Christianity Today: Letter to the Editor


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Will my response be put in the next CT issue?  Don’t count on it!