Dust Jacket Endorsements
|Copyright © 2003 - All rights retained by author|
|Written by: C. W. Booth|
The single most asked question I have received regarding this web site is: If Christian Hedonism has so many biblical flaws, then why do so many contemporary theologians have endorsements on the back covers of Piperís book?
Since these giants of the faith have lent their names to Dr. Piperís dust jackets, it means that they have read the entire work and found no major Scriptural flaws. Right? It also means that there are no credible theologians who have offered an opposing viewpoint. Right?
It is true a few famous theologian-authors have put their names on the dust jackets of some of Dr. Piperís books, however, certainly not "all" have done so. Nor does it mean that it was proper for these men to have done so.
Do famous authors and pastors make theological errors? Billy Graham is captured on tape making anti-Semitic (and false) commentary against Jews. Dr. John MacArthur was once an ardent supporter of Freudian psychology over and above biblical counseling. Dr. Wayne Grudem has authored books and articles declaring that certain New Testament prophets were "partially mistaken"--which, by extension, means those prophetic utterances as captured in Godís Word were also "partially mistaken". And how many famous theologians/pastors (including J.I. Packer, Chuck Colson, and Bill Bright) enthusiastically signed the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium" agreement (which is opposed by such notables as Dr. Michael Horton)? Famous men do make theological errors and often make inappropriate endorsements.
"What are the names of the few famous men who have endorsed Piperís books covers?" is not the primary question, however. The real question is: "When did dust jacket endorsements become the standard for judging doctrinal orthodoxy?"
Is not the Bible alone our standard for evaluating the correctness of doctrine?
Indeed, many of those vocal few who publicly endorse certain of Dr. Piperís books would certainly be unhappy with his teachings on "signs and wonders" and would be quite uncomfortable with the "holiness conferences" he attended under Dr. Wimber and Peter Wagner. And never once have I yet met a man willing to publicly state he agreed with Dr. Piperís restatement of John 3:3 ("Unless a man be born again into a Christian Hedonist he cannot see the Kingdom of God"--Piper, Desiring God, page 55, extracted from a rhetorical question).
Is it true, though, that all famous theologians support and approve of the doctrine of Christian Hedonism? No, this is not true. Some noted authors have confided that they find substantive errors in the foundations of this doctrine, though they are unwilling to go public. Why would such men be silent? While reasons may vary, my personal opinion is that they do not wish to cause a public theological war with one who is aligned with them on so many other doctrines (e.g. Calvinism, abortion, baptism, Godís sovereignty, etc.). Such a rationale, as well-intentioned as it is, can leave many with the impression that their silence is more indicative of support than of disapproval.
Based on the above observations, it becomes readily evident that it is very possible for some famous theologians to endorse a book or a doctrine even if the primary premise of that book or doctrine ultimately proves to be unscriptural. Dust jacket endorsements are not the test of biblical orthodoxy--that test is reserved to be conducted in the light of the Scriptures alone.