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.

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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