Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Piper-Warren Conclave, Part 2

Observations from the second third of this interview...

Warren does well to admit he's not as well studied on some issues as he should be, such as prophecy and the afterlife. However, if that is the case, then he is remiss still inasmuch as he continues to speak on such subjects publicly. He may say he is just giving an opinion, but unfortunately, information brokers today have a responsibility to deal with audiences who will jump ahead and take opinion as fact. I am always very careful in this regard for good reason: If I know zero on a subject, I say so -- and only if the other person insists will I deliver what I call a "two cents" opinion, with hard warnings beforehand that that is what is coming.

In addition, as a teacher, he does have a responsibility to at the very least refer people to sources for further study. Warren has been too eager to give out answers that he does not have, evidently in an effort to please people.

Other criticisms of Warren for not including much of the Gospel in PDL are, I think, justly rebutted by Piper and Warren: PDL was never intended for non-believers, and I know from experience that many people are simply looking for problems. I prefer to concentrate on the real ones.

Also interesting that Warren says he adheres to all 5 TULIP points but disdains the title of Calvinist (preferring "monergist" -- though curiously, he declines to define what that means when Piper specifically asks him to). There's discussion otherwise about what brand of doctrines he adheres to (such as substitutionary atonement) which is sometimes interesting, sometimes dull, but he's far behind the scholarship on much of it (but then, so is Piper). I wonder if we could get Warren to be interviewed by N. T. Wright instead. (The cynic in me imagines, though, that Warren would mostly have one line throughout -- "What are you talking about?")

Of particular interest to me is that while Warren does see hell as separation from God, he still holds on to the literal flames. To his credit, he says he doesn't back down from telling people about it. His advice to "lay it on Jesus" though (meaning, in essence, a form of Pascal's Wager) won't do a whole lot of good when you're dealing with most non-believers any more, who will simply respond to his trust in the words of Jesus with their own deferral to the Jesus Seminar or some other popular authority like Ehrman.

Last third on Friday.

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