Thursday, January 12, 2017


Y U no tell me...wait, nevermind.
A fresh audio publication is over at the Mortification of Spin blog, where Carl Trueman, Aimee Byrd and Todd Pruitt discuss an article in which John Piper shares his view (which is based on a longer audio by hip-hop artist, Jackie Hill Perry, who is now a Christian) over at the Desiring God blog, on whether men ought to confess sins of sexual lust to their wives. You can listen to the acoustic sagacity between the Mortification of Spin III here, and as a person who finds a great deal of audio material tedious and a miserable use of an audience’s goodwill satisfyingly, with this conversation, they rapidly go to the core issues confronting John Piper’s appalling advice with succinct flow and collaboration.

While I lent my ear to the conversation, I was stunned as they recounted Piper’s directions in stating that he recommends not only should a husband confess his sexual sins to his wife but as well, provide an itemized confession, in other words, detailing, “what you want to do”

Say whhhaaaaat?  πŸ”™πŸ”™πŸ”™πŸ”™πŸ”™πŸ”™

I am genuinely staggered by the almost silent response in the Evangelasphere or as Trueman calls it, Big Eva, with regard to this gravely hazardous teaching. It may be that this muzzling is due to a perniciously pious camp which appears to hold both the celebrity purse strings of most of the platforms along with their microphones, in Big Eva and particularly with Baptist, Southern Baptist, Reformed Baptist and a couple of Presbyterian brands. Thus, who is going to dare take on one of the Big Eva chief superintendents on this faulty formula, especially one which encourages the supreme piety of self-shaming and its correlating self-imposed suffering (ignoring the agony of the dear wife as she is treated to the salacious details of her husband's Adamic lust patterns)?

The truth is, we all should be alarmed by this pernicious idea and not solely because of its real and potential abuse which will needlessly and permanently disfigure many marriages but because of its coming from a man whose counsel should have long ago exceeded this kind of general hypothesizing and unctuous sanctimony accompanied by broad imperative prescription and which should only be typical of Pharisaical acolytes and not an instructor of his alleged stature.

I have warned, many times and do so again, against the imprudent tendencies of Mr. Piper who seems to relish in constructing and proudly articulating romantic theological and moral postures intended to be imposed upon Christ's church which do not even meet the threshold of prima facie evaluation. Instead, these inventions bode as a defective scaffold upon which he perches as if his leaning tower of Piper is a most clever place to display his impulsive and poorly thought out theological climaxes. And where are his so-called friends? None appear to care enough to inform him of his peril, at least not sufficiently in public where he makes so many of these displays and if done in private, unconvincingly so, it appears.

Doubtless, it does not help that many of his devoted allies are former recruits of his early discipleship efforts via his captivating fictive Christian Hedonism doctrine and are now lieutenants at their various Evangelical posts along with corresponding Big Eva bureaucrats and medal winning Evangelical statesmen, all with substantial ego-investments in Piper and his novel doctrines, long before they realized his improvident ways. It seems they are now are compelled to protect and defend their personal and corporate vanity, being constrained to stuff down what effective spiritual instinct is left inside as its receding voice screams at them one more time to listen but in commiseration, ultimately yielding, instead, to the preservation of their theological and spiritual 401k.

And to this issue, much of what is discussed by Byrd, Pruitt and Trueman is reflected in my four-part series in which I was responding to Russell Moore’s almost identical assertion that spouses must confess their sexual sins to one another. And in the case with Moore, there is some utterly capricious reasoning and use of Scripture which makes his foul possibly more egregious. I have embedded a link in the title of the series if you wish to read it. It is as follows, Must Infidelity be Confessed to a Spouse? A Rebuttal to Questionable Counsel from Russell Moore.

*In closing I am going to risk alienating a few of you but I wish to be frank, here, about John Piper. There is something going on with him, psychologically, in my view. I am not a psychiatrist nor psychologist nor am I presuming to offer a diagnosis which can only be done by a qualified individual.

I find, however, much of his persona and more so with whatever property is part of his personality or psychological make-up which would permit him to import this sex-confessing doctrine into his theological formulas and even beyond this, all the way back to the genesis of his novel and errant Christian Hedonism doctrine, distinctly disquieting, to put it somewhat mildly. 

This idea that he would impose upon his wife a regiment of constant confession of his sexual lusts and then further, communicate this as standard and imperative marital protocol to the Evangelical church, does not just speak to some casual theological problem but one of significant internal maladjustment. He is, rather matter-of-factually, resolving his personal and private sexual lusts, in the insistent employment of his wife as his personal priest. This is not just bad pastoral advice, there is way more going on than that. There isn’t just one red flag here, friends, there is a minefield of them.  

*And by the way, there is a reason men are attracted to using their wives this way, or should I say abusing their wives this way but this post isn't for that. I will, however, allude to the fact that generally it is founded in self-righteous thinking which is subject to grandiose views of one's self. This is not to imply one way or the other that this is the case with Mr. Piper, I am merely stating a general truth.


Anonymous said...

How about a rule of thumb that the confession should be as public as the sin?

This problem, despite denials of it by feminists ('evangelical', 'survivor' or otherwise) is mostly if not entirely a battle for men. A wife is unlikely to be able to relate to it. It is hardly surprising Jesus said But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Whilst either sex may initiate adultery, this form of looking and coveting is peculiarly male.

It is God who knows what is in the heart, and sins there that are only known to him are only against him. What a spouse doesn't know won't worry her.

There is someething very off about Piper on this subject. Not only this, but his hang-ups in relating to women in general and innocent physical contact with them.

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Your "confessional postulate" is interesting. It does seem to have some weight at first glance. Will have to think about that one.

I agree that with Mr. Piper, there is a rather demonstrative preoccupation and discombobulation on the matter of interacting with women and particularly the sexual aspect or potential aspect since it seems, way too many situations arise in his mind, as such.

This "male" problem is rather one-sided though, now and then, you see the fireman picture sexually objectifying a man via some female, on the internet. But I guess that is all in fun, right? UGH.

Anonymous said...

As a blog friend has so eloquently put it: The new Calvinists give me lots of solutions for problems I don't have.

Anonymous said...

*In closing I am going to risk alienating a few of you but I wish to be frank, here, about John Piper. There is something going on with him, psychologically, in my view. I am not a psychiatrist nor psychologist nor am I presuming to offer a diagnosis which can only be done by a qualified individual.

I find, however, much of his persona and more so with whatever property is part of his personality or psychological make-up which would permit him to import this sex-confessing doctrine into his theological formulas and even beyond this, all the way back to the genesis of his novel and errant Christian Hedonism doctrine, distinctly disquieting, to put it somewhat mildly. "

Well, this IS my view going back about 17 years when some young family members came home from Wheaton as Piper zombies. Even moved to MN to study with him. I started researching him, reading his books, listening to what I could find on the internet, buying CD's. We thought they had joined a bit of a cult. I thought: Messiah complex. The more sexual stuff came a bit later and only sealed it for me. I hate shock jock preacher contradictory messages, anyway, like Christian Hedonism and Scream of the Damned. He is downright creepy.


Alex A. Guggenheim said...


Thank you again, for taking the time to comment.

Your anecdotal description of what you observed and experienced with some younger family members and their attachment to John Piper as a certain kind of absolute Guru, is not a narrative which stands alone but one that is accompanied by a rather large volume of sycophantic expression among many evangelicals with regard to John Piper's teaching and Ministry.

I will not deny that I have not observed (or in my mind considered what you referred to as a messiah complex profile) manifested in the ministerial expression of Piper, at times, saccharin like eccentricities in the written and pulpit works of John Piper.

Much of this, I believe, is attributed to his false Christian hedonism ideology ( I am truly reluctant to qualify it as theology) which forces him to manufacture this kind of behavior with overly an sweet sounding temperament which does not appeal, instinctively, to the informed Christian but actually alarms them because they understand there's something amiss.

I do, however, want to stop short of using the word "creepy" and strongly discourage such descriptions and I'll tell you why.

My objective here is not personal, it is ministerial, though I referred to some things I have observed by way of what I think are disruptive psychological issues but word creepy has a deliberate connotation of nefarious sexual perversion attached to it and in no way shape or form has John Piper manifested that degree of concern and I believe it is unfair does needless damage to qualified objections.

If we are using the word in its most generic sense I get that but today that word is used almost exclusively as a label which implies nefarious moral corruption particularly sexual perversion and I just don't believe at all that we have any weight to justify that description of John Piper, all concerns and objections withstanding.


Anonymous said...

Alex, have not really learned the rules here so apologize for the word. Could be my age or Pipers age, come to think of it. After reading his many female insulting sexual innuendo tweets over the last few years and my life experience in the real world, I can assure you that as a seasoned female outside the ministry bubble, the word fits and he would be labeled as such. Any man who quotes the Psalms to decry women with plunging necklines, as one example of many, has serious issues. If ithere a theological word for it, I hope to find it. :o)

If he were Joe Smith, department manager, he would not get such a pass for so much of it, for so long. However, connect it to God, scripture and the title pastor and it becomes teaching and less a problem? And in my defense, as words can change meanings over the years, creepy describes an instinct to beware. Something serious is not right. . It is not evidence for wrong doing. but by his many tweets and constant focus on such matters over the years, he has let us know how his mind works. (Shudders)


Alex A. Guggenheim said...


There really aren't any commenting rules which is why I discouraged its use. Your point is not missed, however. There are more than a handful of red flags with regard to issues with women is Piper's formulas.

I do believe, as I mentioned, it beckons to some seriously unresolved internal issues which have been projected onto his theology and practice and sadly, passed on to many naive disciples.

Anonymous said...

I’M confused. So you think a husband is justified in hiding his sin from his wife? That’s better so it doesn’t hurt her feelings or something? I’m not saying he needs to tell her every detail of everything he has ever thought or wanted to do with another woman. But how is purposefully hiding his sin from her the right thing to do? Protecting her from the pain of lust involves choosing to be honorable and not lust (or at least choosing to battle against one’s lust)— not deceiving her to make her believe he is someone he is not and that he is remaining sexually faithful to her in every way. I just can’t understand how hiding your sin would be the right thing to do. It is such a false version of “protecting” her that it is actually repulsive. It is protecting yourself from the earthly consequences of sin, which could be a ruined marriage, a heart-broken wife, etc. How is concealing your sin like that even remotely biblical? It’s just so selfish it actually angers me.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you and you are not saying that a man should withhold the fact that he struggles with lust from his wife. Or maybe you are speaking about the cases where the man only tells her to get it off his chest and feel better about himself, with no intention of fighting against his sinful struggle. I truly hope I’m misunderstanding you.

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

I meant exactly what I said in the way I said it. By the way, there is nothing called in the Bible that says we are sending when we protect ourselves from the Earthly consequences of sinful decisions.

As I said in some cases you do have to disclose this to your spouse but in many cases it is not advisable

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Sorry I meant to post there is nothing in the Bible that says we are sinning if we protect ourselves from Earthly consequences of sinful decisions