Rick Warren Vs. John Piper on the Gospel

First, I think Godtube is cool and I hope WordPress will allow their videos to be posted. I went there to see Dr. White’s videos he posted. And I also wanted to see the site after hearing about it in a news report today. I got to browse around a little.

Then, I read centuri0n’s post on Rick Warren. He got the material from Adrian Warnock who also posted on Warren. Which brings me back to browsing around Godtube and this comparison.

In this video, John Piper talks about the Gospel for about six minutes.

In this video, Rick Warren talks about the Gospel for about 13 minutes.

Now, read Frank’s and Adrian’s posts then watch the two videos. Keeping in mind the discussion of application are the differences in the videos theologically substantial? Is one more applicable than the other? More biblical? Does the presentation and application matter that much? Or any other thoughts?

Also, understand that I am not using “vs” as if the two men are doing battle against each other, rather to contrast their methods.


in Baptist,Church Issues,Culture,Evangelism,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 centuri0n (F. Turk) March 22, 2007 at 9:38 pm


Nobody delivers the Gospel like Piper. Nobody this side of eternity, anyway.

2 johnMark March 23, 2007 at 9:43 am

I was thinking about this in relation to the current emergent & missional ‘movements’ and my recent meeting and listening to Scot McKnight. One of the main points/complaints being made is that the Gospel is often reduced to a simple proposition that just gets you saved.

Now, in these two videos it seems to me that Rick Warren would be more guilty of reducing the Gospel in this propositional way. While Piper even states that the Gospel is more than just “what gets you saved”.

Interesting, huh?

3 Karen March 27, 2007 at 6:11 am

I was hoping to see more comments this morning. I listened to both of them and thought RW’s presentation was not too bad. I kind of lost interest though as he seemed to drone on a little bit, but that is no crime.

4 johnMark March 27, 2007 at 7:53 am

Warren’s presentation was a very common approach while I don’t think Piper’s necessarily was. Piper’s presentation certainly seemed more inline with the current language such as “incarnational” etc. where the Gospel is always present, working and is just the beginning of the Christians’ life.


5 Trent & Kristi April 12, 2007 at 1:40 am

Hi there!

Good discussion. It seems to me that these two presentations are somewhat difficult to compare side by side. Piper is speaking to a believing audience, briefing them on the heat of what makes them who they are and reminding them of the importance of the gospel for all of life. Though he does address unbeleivers specifically, his concern appears to be to spur believers on in gospel-centered sanctification.

Warren’s presentation, on the other hand, is a very pointed address to unbelievers specifically. While he does use “God made you to love you” and “decision for Christ” language, and seems to go a little light on the severity and tragedy of sin, I can appreciate his obvious concern to speak to the questions and confusion of the unbelieving mind.

That said, there is much to appreciate about both of these men!

Thanks for this discussion!

PS: JohnMark – are you my friend from Louisville at 9th and O?

6 johnMark April 13, 2007 at 7:01 am

Trent & Kristi,

First, sorry, but I am not your friend from Louisville. I am your acquaintance in Atlanta. 🙂

Thanks for the comment. Do you think we should present the Gospel in a different way to believers vs. unbelievers?

One thing that I think is over emphasized at times is the seemingly proposition that one must pray to accept Christ be a Christian. This can be the hinge on which one’s stance in Christ is judge upon. Probably not the best position.


7 Colin May 1, 2007 at 12:22 am


Thanks for bringing me into your world. Theology and sweet tea- man we would get along!

On Piper versus Warren here, we know a few things. One, men are saved hearing both types of presentation. Two, both had much preparation time in this presentation. That is, they specifically thought, “What is the gospel?” then set out to present it. I have heard Piper give an on the fly “The gospel is specifically these four things…” that was completely in line with what he presented here.

I do not think there is any association to be made with verbage such as “incarnational” as it is presently used, especially in some camps. But I believe in listening to them both I know the succinct difference between the two:

Piper gives the gospel; and,

Warren gives the gospel heavily mixed with consequences of the gospel.

For example, the gospel is not repentance, though repentance is a consequence of the gospel. The gospel is not making Jesus “the Lord (i.e. CEO, Manager ala Warren) of your life,” but that Jesus is your Lord is a consequence of the gospel. I believe given this succinct difference, we see that both aim the gospel directly at unbelievers, though Piper correctly emphasizes that the gospel (being facts) is for every single day, not a one-time proposition. Warren’s presentation, though undoubtedly used by God for salvation, tends to muddy the waters as to the true nature of the gospel (that is, divorced from a list of to do’s).


8 heather January 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm

what does john piper have to say about the4 bk. Shack

9 Clark Dunlap March 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

MRWBBIII anybody else you want to aim ad hominem attacks at while you’re at it? And why the hollering? Geez Louise! Grow a heart why don’t ya.


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