Scripture and the Church

John Piper's Damnable Heresies

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Dr. John Piper maintains a large following in Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Reformed churches and schools. But we can say on solid Biblical authority that his teachings are damnable heresies.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase


Dr. John Piper maintains a large following in Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Reformed churches and schools. But we can say on solid Biblical authority that his teachings are damnable heresies. He is a man to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17-18).

We frequently receive questions about the well-known writer and pastor, Dr. John Piper. I am frankly surprised and disturbed by the number of Bible-believing Christians and reputedly conservative churches and educational institutions that embrace Dr. Piper. It must be said, without hesitation and on solid Biblical grounds, that Dr. Piper is a heretic. He preaches a false gospel of justification by faith-plus-works, and a philosophy of so-called Christian living that is rooted in ungodly secular philosophy and denies the Biblical doctrine of the sanctification of the believer by the indwelling Spirit of God.

2002: An Early Expose'

One of the first men to publicly expose the false teaching of Dr. Piper was the late Dr. John W. Robbins, founder of The Trinity Foundation. In the summer of 2002, Dr. Robbins published an essay titled Pied Piper, in which he demonstrated from Piper's own writings that he explicitly denies the one true Gospel of justification by faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, and explicitly asserts the damnable false gospel of justification by faith plus works.[1]

Dr. Robbins' expose' brought a firestorm of criticism and denial from scores of men in both Fundamentalist and Reformed circles. Many in these groups continue to deny Piper's heresies and defend his teachings. But John Piper's subsequent writings and actions have demonstrated just how correct Dr. Robbins' analysis was, and how dangerous Piper continues to be.

2009: Piper Embraces Federal Vision Theology

In 2009, Piper invited Douglas Wilson, a leading advocate of Federal Vision theology, to speak at his annual Desiring God National Conference. Federal Vision theology teaches that an individual is regenerated by water baptism, remains in a covenant relationship with God through church membership and regular partaking of the Eucharist, and is ultimately justified not by faith in Christ alone but by his own law-keeping at the Last Judgment. Piper defended his decision to invite Wilson as a speaker, and his subsequent appearances at other conferences with Wilson, by asserting that Douglas Wilson "has the Gospel right."

2015: Piper Reasserts "Future Justification"

In 2015, John Piper wrote the Foreword to the book Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification - What The Reformers Taught...And Why It Still Matters by Thomas Schreiner. In his Foreword, Piper supported Schreiner's damnable redefinition of the Reformational, Biblical principle of sola fide - which to the Protestant Reformers meant that our justification before God is by empty-handed faith in Christ alone. Piper perverted that essential element of the Gospel by saying that an individual is made "right with God by faith alone, [but does] not attain heaven by faith alone. There are other conditions for attaining heaven..." [2]

It is noteworthy (and deeply disturbing) that Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, whom many view as a champion of orthodoxy, endorsed Schreiner's book and Piper's foreword, saying that the author "has produced a compelling and careful defense of the doctrine of justification that readers will find both exegetically faithful and theologically enriching."

2017: An Analysis of Piper's "Christian Hedonism"

In early 2017, Dr. E. S. Williams, a member of Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, published a book titled Christian Hedonism? A Biblical Examination of John Piper's Teaching, which further exposes Piper's heresies. I strongly encourage our readers to obtain a copy of this brief and very readable work.[3] Dr. Williams focuses on Piper's un-Biblical philosophy of "Christian Hedonism" which may be summarized in the assertion that God is most pleased with us when we please ourselves.

In his book, Dr. Williams first brings to light the flawed foundation of John Piper's theology. Piper openly admits that he is a theological disciple of Daniel Fuller of Fuller Theological Seminary in California. In 1992 Piper wrote the foreword to Fuller's book The Unity of the Bible in which Fuller openly denies the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Piper wrote that Fuller's deconstruction of the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Word of God "will be of immense value to the Church."[4]

Dr. Williams also demonstrates that Piper's philosophy of "Christian Hedonism" has its roots in the teachings of seventeenth century Roman Catholic philosopher Blaise Pascal and twentieth century Anglo-Catholic philosopher C. S. Lewis, who believed in purgatory, prayers for the dead, and baptismal salvation, and denied the inerrancy of Scripture.

Dr. Williams explores Piper's descent into the philosophy of hedonism, and his incredible assertions that even the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ were "Christian Hedonists." He also exposes the logical outcomes of this false teaching in Piper's theology, which include a false view of the law of God, of the nature of worship, and even the nature of God himself. Given these things, Dr. Williams observes, it is no wonder that Piper is one of the leading theological influences on the New Calvinist movement.

Damnable Heresies - Authentic Christianity In Contrast

Dr. Williams does not hesitate in concluding that Piper's philosophy of Christian Hedonism is a damnable heresy:

We must conclude that John Piper's hedonism is a heretical doctrine that presents a false gospel that has no place in the Christian Church. Like all heresies it ultimately destroys those who follow it. It is a doctrine which turns people from the true Gospel of salvation in Christ to become pleasure seekers who indulge in counterfeit worship.

The real challenge of the Christian life is not to "desire" God and "enjoy" Him in pseudo-spiritual, hedonistic pleasure. Rather it is to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10). We should be on our guard "lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

The message of our Lord is without compromise and easy to understand: "if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). We must strive to keep His Word, and walk even as He walked (1 John 2:5-6). Our faith must express itself in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our calling in this world is to be "holy and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4), and in the next to serve Him forever (Revelation 22:3-4).[5]


1.  John W. Robbins, "Pied Piper," The Trinity Review, June-July 2002, available online at In 2017 The Trinity Foundation published an updated expose' of Piper, "John Piper on Final Justification by Works."

2. Thomas Schreiner, Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification - What The Reformers Taught...And Why It Still Matters (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2015); from the foreword by Piper; italics are in the original.

3. E. S. Williams, Christian Hedonism? A Biblical Examination of John Piper's Teaching (Sutton, U.K.: Belmont House Publishing, 2017). Available from many booksellers, including a Kindle edition at

4. Daniel Fuller, The Unity of the Bible: Unfolding God's Plan for Humanity (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000), Foreword by John Piper, page x.

5. Christian Hedonism? page 69.


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