What’s John Piper Really Like?

In God’s providence, I ate dinner with one of John Piper’s Seminary students back in the fall at a Conference. This student knew Piper well. Really well. So when asked to comment on Piper, I’ll never forget what he said.

“With Piper, what you see is what you get. He’s a polarizing figure. Some people love him, some people hate him. But he’s a man of integrity and transparency — what you see it what you really get.”

I was trying my hardest not to be “that guy.” You know, the off-putting fan boy who spends the rest of the night with inquiries regarding someone he’s never met. So I decided to only ask one follow-up question.

“What do you mean by what you see is what you get? Can you elaborate?

Okay, so I asked two questions.

I don’t remember what he said verbatim, but he spent the next few minutes honoring Piper’s integrity. That’s it. Not a word about his theological soundness. No sentiments or sentences about his charisma, leadership, or preaching ability. No remarks about his spiritual gifts or past experiences or critical-thinking skills. Nothing. For this student, he was most impacted by what Piper is like in private. Indeed, it was Piper’s personal piety that he was eager to mention.

I was extremely encouraged. At that moment — more than ever — I decided that’s the kind of reputation I want for myself. I want to be known as a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.

May we all strive for biblical, Christlike character and display transparent, genuine integrity in all of our actions — both in public and private. Without hesitation, may our closest friends and family be quickly inclined to describe us as what you see is what you get kind of people.

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10 thoughts on “What’s John Piper Really Like?

  1. Thanks for sharing this, David. The description of this man gave me shivers down to my bones. Seriously. This is how I want to live my life, too! Great challenge for this life.

  2. I agree. We can never be sure we’ll always get it right theology wise, or anything wise, but integrity is always a choice, to do what we believe to be right. That is always within our grasp. A great quality and one I also pray I may attain to! I find I can respect someone’s integrity even if I radically disagree with their ideology etc.

  3. I must say, however, on the basis on my understanding of his dispute with Dave Hunt some years back, that I find his Calvinism appalling, and far short of true Biblicism. So, to say that there was not one word about his theological soundness… well, probably a good thing, as I believe it is seriously lacking. Just my $.02.

    Don’t forget, those who teach will be judged more harshly. Sound doctrine is a prerequisite to commendable teaching, and I do mean commendable before the Lord.

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