You are hereJohn Piper: The Bible is a Scary Book

John Piper: The Bible is a Scary Book

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By Virgil - Posted on 16 March 2009

by John Piper

The Bible says, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). David Wilkerson will cause a good many hearts to pound faster with his pronouncement that “AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.” New Yorkers especially will swallow hard: “It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut.” What shall we make of this? The part that depends on the Bible we should take with absolute seriousness. You don’t need to have special revelation to know that the rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord is the norm in America. Therefore, we stand under the judgment of God and it is only a matter of time till the present judgments (Romans 1:18-32) give way to spiritual awakening or punitive calamities (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

But the part of the prophecy that goes beyond what the Bible says, we measure by biblical standards. Two things give me pause in Wilkerson’s extra-biblical specifics.

First, it does not resonate with my spirit when he claims that God told him to “lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials” because when disaster comes “grocery stores are emptied in an hour.” God might have said this. But it doesn’t smell authentic to me. Too prudential. Too reminiscent of the embarrassing Y2K excesses.

Second, my confidence level drops when the Scriptures are not handled carefully. Wilkerson says, one way we can respond is: “As David says, ‘He fixed his eyes on the Lord on his throne in heaven—his eyes beholding, his eyelids testing the sons of men’” (Psalm 11:4).

This does not have the feel of authority to me because what Psalm 11:4 really says is: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.”

So my take on this prophetic word is that the scare will probably do good for a lot of people. The Bible is a scary book. And the future that is coming on unbelievers is scary beyond anything any preacher could conjure up.

But my own effort to be discerning says: Stick with the Bible, David. It is scary enough. And it is absolutely true. And your credibility will never fall.

Virgil's picture

John Piper, you have reached a new low...this is suppose to be quality exegesis and apologetics coming from a renowned scholar?

Ed's picture

Remember Wilkerson, in his book "Sound the Trumpet in Zion," said that a great calamity was coming years ago. We're still waiting.

Anyone with an imagination can take a look at what's going on in our nation (economic hard times), and make pronouncements like Wilkerson's. What would be wrong with having 30 day store in your pantry cupboard? Then, any hiccup in the economy, we're covered, and Wilkerson is pounding his chest about what a great prophet he is!

It's like these guys that have been talking about the microchip under the skin for years. Anyone who has followed technology knows that this is viable, but now look how many normally-intelligent individuals are balking at it because of "the Mark of the Beast."

I'm going to start making predictions based on my own studies, and see if I can sell books on TBN, too. Might as well make money off these folks - they'll believe anything.


Papa is especially fond of us

demario's picture

You can go back even earlier than Sound the Trumpet in Zion to Wilkerson's The Vision that was first published in 1974. It's one thing to make forecasts based on economic and social trends based on empirical data and historical research, which many people have done responsibly, but it's another thing to accept the claim that Wilkerson's "visions" are coming from God.

Gary DeMar

Ed's picture

Yes, I think the bible calls that "presumption."


Papa is especially fond of us

Virgil's picture

Gary, you are right - perhaps my words to Piper were a little too harsh, but I hope you do notice how Piper's response was a bit empty of substance and also notice the difficulty of arguing against Wilkerson from a futurist perspective. This is an example where Preterist eschatology can very effectively deal with outlandish "forecasts."

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