So John Piper has asked Rick Warren to speak at this year’s Desiring God National Conference, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. You may have heard about this, either through buzz in the blogosphere or even from Piper himself in his recent Ask Pastor John session. I have known this for some time now as Warren told me himself when I visited Saddleback last September. So I have had a long time to reflect on it. And having done so, I am persuaded that it is not a good idea.
Before I explain myself, let me provide a bit of background on my relationship with Rick Warren and John Piper. I think people who read this site sometimes imagine that I am more connected with the big-name preachers or authors than is really the case. It’s only fair to point out that I do not have much of a personal relationship with either man. I have met both of them but have spent meaningful time with each of them just once, which means I know them best through their public ministries. I have read three books by Warren and perhaps a dozen by Piper. I have seen both of them preach and have met some of the people who minister alongside them. Perhaps mostly significantly, I have been a member of churches heavily influenced by each of them; the last church I attended was very much built around the Saddleback model while Grace Fellowship Church is very much in debt to Piper. Thus I have seen their churches, their ministries and the effects of their ministries on others.