Author Piper takes leave to tackle ‘sins’
    April 1 2010 by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service

    Minnesota megachurch pastor John Piper, a prolific author whose staunch Calvinist views have made him a popular leader in Christian Reformed circles, is taking an eight-month leave of absence to address unspecified “sins” that have “taken a toll” on his marriage.

    “I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins,” said Piper, pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, in a March 29 post on his blog.  

    In his open letter, Piper insisted his wife, Noel, “and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side.”

    But he also explained: “I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship.”

    “The precious garden of my home needs tending,” Piper wrote as a follow up to a Sunday sermon on the same topic. “I want to say to Noel that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.”

    Piper is best known for his many books extolling the total depravity of humankind and the universal need for God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Several have tackled the theme of sin, such as Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ.

    With regard to his own sin, Piper was vague. He said he was apologizing “not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effect on everybody.”

    Piper’s leave will begin May 1 and will include letting go of what he called “the passion for public productivity” by swearing off sermon preparation, book-writing and even Twitter.

    He’ll make only four public appearances between May 1 and December 31, including three overseas engagements, he said. His leave will include pay, he said, even though he told elders he was undeserving of his salary.

    “We will seek the Lord for how much of your financial support to give back to the church,” Piper told parishioners through his blog, “to perhaps bear some of the load.”    
    4/1/2010 11:00:00 AM by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service | with 7 comments

Karlheinz Valentic
I only know what I've read about this on the internet. I have not been present for Piper's "every decision." "Likely comments" aside, I am not in the business of defending Piper. If we need to accuse an elder of the church, there should be at least two credible witnesses. Of course judging by some internet trafffic, there are at least 270 million "witnesses" of Piper's sin. The link cited as returns a 'file not found' message. I was unable to locate any info on Charis' blog identifying her as an associate of Piper or at least as a member of the church where he pastors.
This may not be one of those instances, but we have to get past seeing issues and accusing whoever is on the other side just because our side said they are evil. Let's not develop strong negative opinions against people without seeing the evidence ourselves. Hearsay, no matter how trusted the 'source', should never be the basis for character attacks. Piper, like the rest of us, could be more humble. We should be more humble about what we have personally witnessed, or not. Slander isn't any better than hubris. Or perhaps it's just another form of hubris?
4/17/2010 11:21:50 PM

Waneta Dawn

Often the most loving thing we can do is speak the truth. Piper's statement reserves the right to put all the blame on Noel, when he mentions "our flaws." This latter was not pointed out on Jeffrey's article, but was pointed out by another blogger. (see

It is clear from Piper's statement, "How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody?" that he has no clue that his non-specific deeds, that are an attitude of pride, are actually there, hurting his wife in nearly every interaction, every day and hour. Piper, himself, admits to "several species of pride." If you have ever been around someone who is proud, one of the things that stands out, is that they think they are better than and more important than you are. In a marriage where the husband has the final say, this is especially hurtful and harmful and is not the little sin Piper has tried to tell us it is. In every decision, Piper ends up reminding Noel that he is more important than she is. There are likely those snide, disrespectful comments that convey the same notion. And when Noel speaks, Piper doesn't listen. It has taken him years to take his sin against her seriously--except he is still not taking it seriously. Taking a leave was likely someone else's idea, and he feels obligated to go along with it.

As Charis pointed out, Piper's statement minimizes his sin. He is not likely to try to deal with it. Gene caught that, too, and his comment was on track. If Piper had indeed been honest about his sin, Gene's comment would have been out of line. But Piper was not honest.

An honest statement would have been something like, "I have failed to respect my wife in multitudes of ways every day of our lives. I have thought myself better than she is, more important than she is. I have made decisions that served me at her expense and caused her intense and prolonged pain. This is a sinful and self-serving attitude that I have used against Noel day after day. I am so sorry and seek her forgiveness. I want her to know that I take my failure seriously and have chosen to take 8 months leave from the ministry to deal with my sinful attitudes and actions against my wife, and to retrain my mind to value Noel and all her gifts. I have also directed these prideful attitudes at the people I am supposed to serve, especially women. I am saddened that I have allowed myself to stoop to such self-inflated, and man-elevating behaviors and attitudes. I most sincerely apologize and ask all of you for your forgiveness. I also ask for your patience as I renew my mind and get in tune with God's word."
4/15/2010 3:11:44 AM

Karlheinz Valentic
I am in no way condoning or winking at spousal abuse perpetrated on either gender (yes, some wives physically abuse their husbands). My concern is that Piper is admitting to sin (though not publically specific) and is facing up to it. Using a Nietche quote to question Piper's salvation at an obviously difficult time in his life just doesn't seem like something a redeemed person would do to a Christian brother (or sister) whom we are commanded to love in spite of his or her flaws, errors, and sins.
4/6/2010 9:20:35 PM

Waneta Dawn

I'm not sure why anyone would criticize either Gene or Jeffery. Jeffery is merely quoting from info Piper put out, and Gene is commenting on the fact that Piper had already been caught with an oppressive-to-women type of doctrine, per his laughter and comments when he answered a question of how a wife is to submit to her abusive husband.

With Gene's own daughter having suffered abuse from her husband, it is a wonder to me that he didn't say more. Piper's doctrine on suffering domestic abuse is one that has turned many abused women away from Christianity, because they mistake the doctrine as God's hard-hearted attitude toward them. I, too, have a wait and see attitude towards Piper's announcement.

A large part of my reservation is due to Piper's statement. The pride he speaks of is sin, not a "character flaw." When he calls it a character flaw, he is announcing that he is not all that serious about dealing with it. That makes the whole announcement mere grandstanding, aimed at looking good to his public.

Piper's statements re domestic abuse show to me that he is willing to wink at the sin males do against their wives. He admits to a tiny character flaw that he is going to work on, which he later calls sin, yet the fact that "character flaw" gets more notice than "sin," and his past statements give me ample reason to suspect the flaw he sees is the tip of the iceberg he is refusing to admit is there.

Jeffery is right, "With regard to his own sin, Piper was vague. He said he was apologizing “not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effect on everybody.”

Jeffery, too, sees that something doesn't sound quite right. There is a pretense of taking responsibility, but the tone of Piper's statement suggests otherwise.

I truly hope and pray that Piper will deal with his sin, repent 100%, and submit himself wholy to God. He and Noel need our prayers.

4/6/2010 2:34:01 AM

Trip Rodgers
I'll not take offense at what Gene said as much as the tone of Jeffrey McDonald's article. A man I admire is taking a break from his very public ministry to focus on his wife and family due to defects that he has recognized. That's commendable. The way the article is written, there is something fixing to jump out of the closet - and it's a boogie man Calvinist closet, at that...
4/5/2010 4:15:21 PM

Karlheinz Valentic
If you really believed in repentance and redeption, Gene, why would you kick a man who admitted he was down (appaerntly before "getting caught")? God resists your pride. Piper's humilty, if as described, will be accepted.
4/5/2010 12:05:03 AM

Gene Scarborough
Nietche: "If you show me you are redeemed, I will believe in your Redeemer."
4/3/2010 10:12:36 PM

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