ANSWER: Yes, I have. Piper sent out a short article on his recent charismatic-like experience.
Piper has made some meaningful contributions in his writings for the body of Christ, even though he is an allegorist (amillennialist), and a Covenant guy. Unfortunately, because of his Covenant position and allegorical interpretation he would deny the clear biblical doctrines of the rapture of the church, the seven-year tribulation, and the earthly millennial reign of Christ, the son of David.
His article is entitled "The Morning I Heard the Voice of God." This "wonderful experience" happened to him in the early morning of March 19, 2007 at a Minnesota retreat grounds. Well over thirty times he focuses on God’s speaking directly to him. Over and over again he kept using the pronouns "I," and "me" which highlighted the moving experience he was having in this encounter. This "experience" was more about something missing in Piper’s life rather than about some new revelation in regard to the greatness of God.
On one hand Piper glories in the fact that he had this direct voice revelation. However his article is full of contradictions and even conflicting points. He argues for the fact that now in this age God is speaking directly to people, and yet he then tries to verify that God only speaks through the written Word! It is as if Piper is exalting in his experience, catches himself, and comes back down to earth to verify that, no, God really only speaks through His written revelation.
In the article Piper writes that he "heard the words in my head just as clearly" as if when one has a conversation "across your consciousness." "God actually spoke to me," he adds, "There is no doubt that it was God." From this "absolute self-authenticating ring of truth, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God still speaks today." What does Piper mean by "self-authenticating"? By writing this, no one can check and balance what Piper experienced.
Piper adds that that morning he "couldn’t sleep for some reason." He then adds that "God moved me out of bed." Was God simply using his sleeplessness for an opportunity to speak to him, or was the revelation planned and executed by His providence?
While praying and musing, God said, "Come and see what I have done." Piper adds that "in his mind" these were the very words of God. God was speaking to him with absolute authority and self-evidencing reality. He adds, "God was near." Ironically, God did not show Piper anything in visible form, though he said the Lord said "come and see."
What message did Piper get? The Lord simply quoted Psalm 66:5-7 which reads: "I turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There they rejoiced in Me …" Piper adds that he was being taken back several thousand years when God dried up the Red Sea and the Jordan River. "I was transported by his word back into history to those great deeds. This is what he meant by ‘come and see.’"
So the Lord give Piper some special revelation, a quoting of Bible passages, that he could have read at any time, and all of us have the privilege to read for ourselves! With all due respect, what is the big deal! The "big deal" is that Piper could be privy to an "experience," a feeling, a sense that he was important with the Lord. For some reason he needs such an experience. He is having trouble it seems in trusting what the Lord has already revealed in His recorded Word!
Piper then adds what I consider many self-serving and arrogant phrases in his testimony.
- "This was a holy moment in Minnesota."
- "God Almighty had come down and was giving me the stillness and the openness and the willingness to hear his very voice." [Whatever this means!]
- "This was breathtaking." "At least a warning."
- "This is glorious."
- "The very words of God in my head."
- "God still speaks in the twenty-first century."
- "I heard his very words. He spoke personally to me."
- "It filled me with a fresh sense of God’s reality."
- "It strengthened my faith."
- "He cares for me."
"Why else would God come and tell me these things?" he asks. The Word of God was apparently not sufficient for John Piper. We know God cares for us and strengthens our faith through His established written Word, and by the illumination of His Holy Spirit. Some super-duper experience is not necessary!
Piper then does something strange in his article. The final three paragraphs seem to confirm that he holds to the authority of the written Word, sola scriptura, if you will! To substantiate this point he closes his article with, "Still hearing his voice in the Bible." By the strange contradiction Piper may be trying to say, "Yes, we have the written revelation, but I now believe also that God comes and gives direct experiential revelation to us individually." Piper is advocating a "both-and" in this testimonial. Whatever the case, Piper apparently needed to claim that God spoke directly to his soul, audibly!
Three things stand out in Piper’s article. (1) He has opened the door for many in the Covenant theological movement to follow his lead in having charismatic experiences. (2) What God said to him was already recorded in the verses the Lord quoted. Why then did He need to reveal some so-called new message above His written Word? (3) Just ever so little, Piper moved the written Word of God down a notch from its certain and exalted position as our only revelation of what He wants us to know. This will not bode well for the body of Christ that has respected Piper throughout the years!
Thanks for asking.
Mal Couch, Ph.D., Th.D.