I was asked the other month if I was a 'John Piper fan'.
I said -- "Oh, no -- of course not." And then kept going: "I'm not, insofar that I don't want to be a fan of anyone but Jesus. Like many people, Desiring God really gave me a vision for joy and delight in the glory of God. That book alone shaped much of who I am, and still does. But, put bluntly, I'm not, and will never be, a Piper 'fan'.
I don't think that John Piper wants me to be a John Piper fan".
Then a few days later, I posted this link to a Piper sermon. And my correspondent read my Blog, and then emailed me:
I will enjoy reading your blog. Amazing clip from Piper. I inferred from our conversation that you were not a Piper fan. It appears to be the opposite (at least on this point).And my response was this:
And so in the same vein, I am also *not* a fan of Don Carson, Mark Driscoll, C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, Philip Jensen, Peter Jensen, Ravi Zacharias, Kent Hughes, etc. (As godly and as gifted as these men are.)
Re Piper: I think Piper is great and gifted by God. Desiring God really helped. I listen to and read Piper when I get a chance.
But, still, I’m not a fan. ☺
My point is nuanced (but not merely semantic): If someone asks me 'Am I a fan of Piper?' my answer is "No, of course not. I’m a 'fan' of Jesus". (I’m not really a 'fan' of him either. Jesus needs followers, not fans.)
And it's even further nuanced by this: that when we always link to our favorite preacher, and then download, talk about, love, follow, go to conferences to fawn over, get a photo with, compare to, rate, hire because of fame, join a mega-church on the gifts of a single personality, make a Facebook group to express your appreciation for your favorite pastor-teacher, then… it may just be possible, without even realizing it, to 'empty the cross of it power'!
It’s all in 1 Corinthians 1-2. 1:17 in particular. What does it, in this text, mean to 'empty the cross of its power?'
I’m very nervous about the fact that even the good guys are going down the same route, in principle, as the followers of bad televangelists of the ‘80s: running after their favorite preachers. We just do it in style, and with good theology.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 12 asks us to make much of the one who is given less honor, so that the Body of Christ will be united.
Are we not simply being worldly?
I'll listen to them and read, I'll learn from them and respect them, and I'll even obey when it is appropriate.
But I'm not, and will never be, a fan.
And I'm willing to wager that each of these men (since they all honorable men) would wholeheartedly agree. They would, I suspect, be uncomfortable with celebrity status, a 'fan-base' and a Facebook group.
Tell me if that's true.
Pic of John Piper from Sola Lumina Captura.