Piper Delivers Final Sermon as Preaching Pastor at Bethlehem

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In his last message as Preaching and Vision pastor for Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper condemned prosperity preaching.

In his last message as Preaching and Vision pastor for Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, John Piper condemned prosperity preaching. As reported by The Christian Post, Piper said prosperity preaching lures Christians with its “wealth … ease, health, chipper, bouncy, light-hearted, playful, superficial banter.”

“You can grow a huge church that way. But Christ will not be seen in his glory and the Christian life will not be seen as the Calvary road that it is,” Piper told his congregation last Sunday.

Piper said he wants to say to these prosperity churches, “Don’t you know there are people dying of cancer in this room? Don’t you know some are barely making it financially? … I just don’t get it. It’s not who we are.” He said happiness in Christianity is a “Christ-bought, God-wrought happiness in pain.”

“What (people) need is to see and feel indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow,” he said. “We commend our life in ministry by afflictions … it means that Christ is real to us, more precious than sleep, health, money, life … Wouldn’t you want a Christ that precious? If not, Christianity is not for you.”

Piper has been preaching at Bethlehem for 32 years. Jason Meyer, will begin as the new preaching pastor on January 20.

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  • chuck

    Good for Piper

  • Fernando Saravi

    Praise God for Piper’s straightfulness! I believe that prosperity teaching is plainly “another gospel”. You just have to see the lives of most believers as presented in the Bible to reject this false teaching.

  • Pastor Hull

    I agree with John Piper, Christ shines in our affliction, suffering and not how big our pockets get. We must ask ourselves this question do our living promote the kingdom of God? If not then we must change in order for God to receive glory.

  • Randy Starkey

    I agree with John, as long as we don’t fall off the other side of the road in the other ditch. I hope we can learn what Paul told Timothy, to rightly DIVIDE the Word of God. There are two sides to every coin. The other side of suffering is God does bless. Let’s not measure our spirituality by our sufferings or our blessings. Let’s measure it it by our relationship with Christ, how well we follow and obey the Lord and his purpose and plan for our lives. On the blessing side, let’s please remember that the blessing of our medical advances and other advances in modern society have largely come through the influence of Christianity. Don’t make them idols, but at least thank God for them.

    • Pastor D

      Well said! The more we remember that Isreal received both suffering and blessings while being children of God – we too can relate. We cannot measure our life’s successes or our spirituality by the amount of suffering or blessings we receive. The important thing is to rely on Christ in all things, all situations and remember to give God thanks. There is no ‘life’ without God in our lives.

  • Peter Mahoney

    Thank you Dr. Piper for your faithfulness to the Gospel!

  • Pastor Tom

    Praise God for John Piper and his ministry!

  • Siv

    What I know is that when I believed in Jesus for the first time, He healed me of my kidney disease or problems. When I preache Jesus I present Him as Saviour who saves us from sin, sickness and diseases. If people then get sick again, I don’t have all answers but the truth is He heals and provides miraculous finances too. I’ve experienced all of these and I feel burdened to preach about them as He said whatever we hear in secret let’s proclaim it on the mountain top!

    • Jash

      Siv, I do not think there is anything in your message to be condemned. when we discuss prosperity preachers, we’re talking about those who tell their parishioners that this is all God has to offer them. Yes God is a rewarder, a healer, a very present help but they’ve got to understand that even if you don’t get that new car, or rent paid on time God is still God. Their is no emphasis on what the cross truly means.. The cross wasn’t about the ability to buy a large house or to be financially wealthy. those things are blesses and their is nothing wrong with blessings. Yet we must remember the cross is a place of condemnation, punishment and for Christians the place where our redemption was made. I love what Pastor Piper said and which that our prosperity pastors would integrate this into their message. It’s not that they are wrong it’s just the message is incomplete. Thanks for hearing me out. Blessings.

      • Jash

        Oh and please pardon my typos, I should have proof read

      • Shirley

        I have yet to hear from any minister that prosperity (money) is all that God has to offer them. I hear the teaching of FAITH; but not for wealth for themselves. What should one preach in regards to money; finances? God never intended for His people to be poor; but to help those who are. I wonder why so many spend time pronouncing condemnation on the teaching of FAITH for all things; and spin it to .. only faith for money. So sad.

  • Pastor Tomi

    Unbelievers dont have any problems with rich people in their circle.They actually like them and promote them and write about them etc etc.The opposite is true in Christian circles.When somebody gets rich by honest work people judge them, speak bad of them and condemn them.I wonder what people thought about our father Abraham.He surely was rich, in his time…and probably people had opinions about him as well.

    What’s wrong with being blessed by God? What’s wrong with being rich,if God has given you wisdom and means to gain wealth? Where would the church be today without money (or finances) given to her by Christians? Even the church in the early start had people who gave money and possesions (Acts 4:34-37) for the gospel’s sake.

    Let us not waste our time in condeming “prosperity preaching’.Let us preach the gospel to the lost and win them for Christ according to the gift God has given us.God is strong enough to defend His word and His gospel.The Bible hasn’t changed for 2000 years and no man has the power to change it since God is protecting it and not men!

    Sometime we get the idea that we are defending the ‘true gospel’. Well, so far I haven’t met a man who has all the doctrines right in Christian circles.I believe that is the only way God can keep Christians humble!

    He has called us to win the lost and not fight other Christians and their doctrines or lack of them.Read littlebit of history and see.Those we call maybe heroes in Christian theology circles like Luther or Calvin (just to name a few) had some issues that today we would maybe mark as heresy! So, lets not waste much time in condeming.Lets use our time in winning the lost.That’s how I see it.

    • Mike Calder

      Prosperity preaching is from Hell. It teach that if you are not bless physically then you must be less spiritual than those who are. Explain that to people like Peter, Paul, John, and James.

    • SeekerofTruth

      I thinks Pipers concern is that their preaching is people focused (prosperity). Piper preached God focused and of course he preached the Gospel.

    • Bromly Egerton

      That’s the trouble. We think that materials are God’s blessing. When God says that His inheritance are things like, children, for example. And we DON’T take that literally. How many families to you have in your church that have over 6 children? (And visiting Muslims don’t count) Probably less than 1 out of 10 families would be average. Actually, more like 1 out of 100, but we’ll give some leeway If we were accepting the true blessing of the Lord, that number would be more like 1 out of 2 or 2 out of 3 even. Particularly with modern health care personnel.

  • Stassa

    I would rather have Jesus than silver or gold

  • Hislayperson

    thank you, Pastor John, for being an exhorter for our Dear Lord and Savior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leslie.j.keeley Leslie J Keeley

    what a great message come on churches WAKE UP TO THE TRUTH

  • Ed Horak

    Reading the posts below it seems as if there is a lot of misinformation out there. Have you ever sat down with any of the so called prosperity preachers and talked to them about how they play their part in alleviating the suffering of many.

    So much also for the substitutionary sacrifice Christ made at the cross for sin and suffering. Jesus suffered and died in our place to set us free from the ills that sin and the enemy brings.

    He came to give us a quality of life in relationship with Him that includes well being (dare I say prosperity) – John 10:10 and 3 John 2.

    To be sure, yes we in the “West” do unfortunate;y emphasize physical well being, but to through that baby out with the bathwater seems counterproductive.

    Nevertheless, we should be fair minded and study the scriptures with an openness to the unlimited goodness of God as displayed in the life and ministry and death and resurrection of Jesus. Just look again at how he met the needs of people spirit soul and body at every turn.

  • Normal

    I’d be interested in knowing John Piper’s net worth…..

    • Normal

      in addition, we should probably just rip Philippians 4:12-13 & 3 John 2 right out of our bibles….that “suffering” stuff sure sounds “holy” though….the more I got, the more I can give :)

    • SeekerofTruth

      How much is okay for him to have in your eyes?

  • Ayeoribe

    Nothing to worry about! Prosperity message is the full Bible message. We just must have a balance in our messages. We must emphasize total prosperity which John proposed in his epistle. A prosperous church is that church which is meeting all her members needs- providing healing from the cross, spirituality through the word and prosperity from obedience to the bible? More so, if God his answering the prayers for prosperity why condemn it.

  • Beaver

    God has always chosen suffering as his preferred method to sanctify, refine and prove His people worthy to accept the joys and responsibilities of their portion of the eternal inheritance in heaven. God is no person’s debtor.

  • Pastor D

    I believe what John Piper is talking about is the number of false prophets pushing their version of the prosperity gospel – wealth and health for believers. I believe he speaking about the Benny Hinn’s, Joel Olsteen’s, Donny Stewart’s, Peter Poppoff’s, and so on, of this world. They promote God like a genie in a bottle granting every wish – if you qualify under their terms. There is no reverence for the Christ who suffered to be with the suffering of this world. Christ suffered, died and rose again to give us hope – not to promise us there would be no suffering, no disease, no death – that life would be happy-clappy! John Piper, I believe, is telling us that we need to get to know personally the Christ who suffers with us. he does not deny that it is pkay to have money and health, but put them in perspective in how to best serve Christ. Blessing to John Piper for his faithful service to the Lord!

  • Harold Cameron

    Thank you Dr. Piper! I live with 2 brain tumors, mental illness induced by the tumors and other health conditions and am not wealthy. Actually my disability income puts me in the income bracket of below the poverty level. And many people including myself have prayed for my healing but I still have the brain tumors, mental illness and other conditions. It has been through the darkest nights of the soul and the most difficult and challenging moments of my life that I have experienced first hand the awesome presence of God as well as the sustaining power of God’s great and immeasurable grace, the comfort of his magnificent mercy, the pleasure of his lavish love, the enduring provision of his eternal hope and the heart and soul consoling power of his perfect peace. God has never failed me once and he has never failed to provide my needs and my family’s needs and more as a result of answered prayer. Wealth is neither good or evil…it is what is does to a person and what they then do to keep their wealth and gain more that can be evil. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” I was saved out of over 40 years of living as a homosexual and I live every day with many challenges that I’m told would knock most people down or out but it is not I that live, but Christ that lives in me – Christ in me the hope of glory, and that is what keeps me going and going and going like that Energizer Bunny. All I can say is praise the Lord for the ministry of Dr. Piper and men and women like him who preach the whole counsel of God contending for and defending the faith once delivered to the saints.

  • Just Sayin’

    Unfortunately, for his LAST sermon he chose to condemn other believers rather than preach good news. It’s saddening, and so many “followers” look up to him, even worse. Christ’s LAST words to his followers were encouragement to walk with power! Yes! Do THAT! Just sayin’ :)

    • SeekerofTruth

      Did you listen to the whole sermon?

      • Bromly Egerton

        I think he must not have… Also, “Christ’s LAST words to his followers were encouragement to walk with power!” Hmm… How about, “Before the cock crows, you shall deny me three times”? or, “Ye shall all forsake me.”? or, “Could you not watch with me one hour?”? Sound like powerful encouragement. I assume Just Sayin’ “encourages” his children fairly often…

  • Calum MacInnes

    As I have heard John Piper many times, and have read much of his material, it seems to me that he has no problem with God’s ability to heal, but that too often ‘prosperity preaching’ seems to focus on the wrong kind of prosperity. After all, Psalm 1 talks about the man who prospers – but it is said against the background of meditation on God’s revelation and drinking in the truth from God to sahpe his life and make it fruitful. Some vibrant Christians have been ‘rich’ in material wealth, but that must not be the ground for their hope. Being poor is not a virtue, neither is being rich. Both rich and poor can long for more money, but all need lean heavily, and only, on Jesus for salvation.