Ask John Piper: Pornification of the Pulpit

John Piper is taking questions again: Ask John Piper a Question on Twitter (Note: you don’t have to use twitter, check the link.)

My question via twitter is: @desiringgod #apj Pastor John, what did you think of Phil Johnson’s recent sermon on “Pornification of the Pulpit”?

Why ask this?  If you aren’t familiar with this “controversy” go and listen to Phil Johnson’s sermon from almost two weeks ago at the Shepherd’s Conference.  Download it here: Sound Doctrine; Sound Words Titus 2:7-8.

Phil Johnson tackle some of the current issues surrounding some of the language and imagery used in the pulpit today.  The controversy really boils down to Mark Driscoll being named in the sermon.  He answered many questions in his post Preaching Dirty which has over 300 comments.

I highly respect Phil Johnson and John Piper as I suspect many other do.  I also appreciate much of what Mark Driscoll has to say.  Given John Piper’s close ties with Mark Driscoll I’d love to know what he thinks of this current controversy.  These are three highly respected and influential men in the evangelical world.  I hope they can come together with a little more unity at some point.  Which leads me to wonder if Piper addressing the issue would help.

What does Piper think of Johnson’s exegesis and application of Scripture in the above linked sermon?

Join me in asking?


Let's connect!

tagged as , , , in Church Issues,Culture,Gospel,Sermons,theology

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 abclay March 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I have been wanting to ask him this question for some time. I’ll join you. What do I need to do? Where do I sign?

some of the stuff over at “slice” about driscoll seems to me as “chicken little” rant but Phil’s message really hit the “mark”.

Bad pun…very bad pun.

2 Frank Turk March 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm

That’s an interesting idea. I’ll bet Dr. Piper has not heard this message yet.

3 M Burke March 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I doubt John twits/tweets whatever.

4 johnMark March 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm


Abraham tweets for DG. This info was tweeted to me. 🙂


5 Heath Lloyd March 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Thanks for doing this. I will be interested to see if John Piper responds and how. I know that Driscoll has spoken at Desiring God conferences, and that Driscoll has interviewed and loves John Piper (who wouldn’t?). My concern is holiness, and being seperate. Do these things count anyomre in a man of God?

BTW, if you could publish any response you might get — I don’t twitter. Thanks.

6 johnMark March 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm

If you click on the link -Ask John Piper a Question on Twitter- it will tell you how to ask Piper a question without using Twitter.

Just send the question via email to


7 Chris Poe March 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm


This is as good as idea as any to try to get some other major evangelical leaders besides MacArthur to publicly address this ongoing issue. Many in the SBC are evidently incapable of seeing it other than in the context of the Calvinism issue i.e. if MD is being attacked it is because of Calvinism. Criticism is also dismissed due to the idea that some “fundys” are trying to impose 1950’s or Old South extra-biblical morality. Others defend some if not all of Driscoll’s actions as necessary to reach people today. The meta of my blog as well as several others contain ample evidence of this.

IMO those who are really harmed are the ones like the commenter to J.D. Greaar’s blog that Phil quoted in his message who boasted of dropping the “f-bomb” in evangelistic encounters and thereby winning sinners to Christ.

Dr. Akin was basically forced to address the issue in a chapel message last month shortly after the BP article, but it looked an awful lot like a punt to me. “Well, you know, I wouldn’t do everything he did but people are asking these questions today…” What is the correct answer and the way to properly address these questions–that’s the issue.

I also think a big part of this is that some of MD’s defenders in the SBC (and perhaps elsewhere) really do seem to have led sheltered lives and really do seem to think that showing how cool you are by getting into the gutter is what is necessary to reach certain segments of society today. I was not raised SBC (or evangelical at all) and know otherwise.

8 Greg March 18, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I made a similar point buried beyond comment #200 on that Pyromaniacs thread, which I’ll post below. I would also appreciate Piper’s assessment of this situation.

Phil (Johnson),

Thanks for addressing this topic in your presentation last week. As one who struggled with the very issues you highlighted while I attended Mars Hill Church (I’ve since left), I appreciated the clarity and biblical care you brought to this subject.

In your sermon, you said that this issue could be settled once and for all if a few respected evangelical leaders got together to address it. As the popularity of Mark Driscoll and others employing the same methods continues to increase, I think it is time for respected Christian leaders such as John Piper, C.J. Maheney and D.A. Carson to let us know where they stand. It is time for these men and the rest of the evangelical Christian leadership to examine what you and Dr. MacArthur have said. Let’s settle this issue biblically and in the open where lay people who are trying to make sense of it can benefit.

Dr. Piper, are you listening?


9 Matt Troupe March 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I followed your link from Jonathon Christman’s blog, and I actually appreciate your concern for the purity of the church and for all that is going on.

There is a part of me that thinks that *some* of this concern about Phil Johnson and Mark Driscoll is really a shame, because it is a big distraction from what is really clear..what God requires of us (rather than them). I have a full time job worrying about my own heart and my own flock. I think it would be interesting to know what Piper thinks, but I am not waiting to find out. I have my own mind and conscience and I am going to make up my own mind.

Also, I have felt like this whole thing *could* turn into a situation where we appear really spiritual, but in reality are only concerned about other people’s business instead of focusing on serving the Lord. I think if people believe Driscoll is sinning they should avoid listening to him and spend their time loving God and their neighbors. Let the people that are actually in Driscoll’s life confront him. These battles certainly aren’t mine to fight….but I do have a fight and I plan on putting all my energy there, not in this debate.

No matter how this thing turns out, or who writes the next book, or what the big guys think, it doesn’t change anything for most of us.

10 ben March 25, 2009 at 10:22 am

What does Driscoll have to say about this?

Interesting response.

Link pasted below.

11 johnMark March 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm


It seems that as long as we have this ability to give our “messages” to millions of people so easily and so quickly there will always be a need for balance and correction. I believe Phil has offered both here. This will also happen as long as the cult of personality grows within the same medium.

Driscoll and those who adamantly defend him seems to default to the “culture of Seattle” argument. Well, guess what? Driscoll’s “culture of Seattle” is not here nor everywhere else his material is promoted.

Phil, being a shepherd himself, has every right to speak out biblically as he did. So the battle is Phil’s to fight and it could be yours too depending on the situation and influence certain people may have over your fellow church members, family, etc.

You’re right though that whatever the “big guys” think may not change anything for most. However, it just takes one “big guy” to influence many even if that “many” aren’t the “most”.



Previous post:

Next post: