John Piper: “No Christian Can Be Sure He’s a True Believer”

John Piper, perhaps the de facto articulator of Calvinist doctrine today stated at the Ligonier National Conference in 2000, “No Christian can be sure he is a true believer. Hence, there’s an ongoing need to be dedicated to the Lord and deny ourselves so that we might make it.” I find it amazing that and no one corrected Piper that per Calvinist doctrines, it is God does the choosing unto salvation from the foundation of the world and that salvation is unconditionally’ wherein actions and behaviors have nothing to do with it?

What a horrible aspect of Piper’s Calvinism – being unsure of one’s salvation, sensing God dangling the “carrot” of salvation only to pull the rug out from under you just before you depart to eternal destruction because you failed to deny yourself sufficiently that you “might make it”! Please! Is this Piper’s actual belief? Is Piper expressing concern as to the assurance of his own salvation?

The statement that “no Christian can be sure he is a believer flies directly in the face of several Biblical passages and robs people of assurance. If this is the kind of thing that people hear in church week after week, then no wonder so many Christians are leaving the faith. They know they can’t measure up. Who can?

Faith is the means by which we receive God. The qualification is our humility by way of acknowledging our sinfulness and receiving God’s righteousness through faith … not our “doing things”. God gives grace to the humble – not the prideful.

Nevertheless, Piper is correct in saying we should live continually denying ourselves and living a life walking close with Jesus. But salvation is not the reason. Experiencing an abundant life is the reason.

I’m surprised that I hadn’t previously come across this quote before and truly wonder whether Piper is worried that a) he isn’t assured of his own salvation and b) if there just might be some holes within Calvinist doctrines. Well, about all I can say to that is Johnny B Goode. (Yeah, yeah – I know, terrible pun!)


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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