Day 2 of the conference came to a close with a Q&A session with Piper (P) and Chandler (C) facilitated by Driscoll (D). These questions were texted in from the audience and posted on a screen on stage. I’ve posted the complete wording of the questions below, but, in most cases, have provided only a summation of the answers rather than full quotations of each answer.You’ll want to get the audio as my simple notes don’t cover all that was said at this session. You’ll especially want to listen to Driscoll and Piper talk about television ownership and insults and to Piper describe prosperity gospel preachers. Piper was incredibly feisty and funny during this session.
How much can Piper bench press?
P: I haven’t done that in 50 years.
What’s the #1 danger facing pastors today?
C: The temptation to exclusively preach Christ as example rather than preaching Christ as Substitute/Savior.
P: Neglecting and minimizing God. Pride.
What is your biggest struggle as a pastor?
P: That’s the same question.
How do we make sure the church remains focused on Jesus and not a pastor(s)?
C: I have a picture of Piper on my refrigerator so I’m going to pass this question to Piper.
P: [to Matt] That’s not a good answer.
C: I deflect praise that I receive back to God and his grace.
P: Don’t draw any more attention to yourself than you need to. How your elders are structured is important–be one elder among many. I love seeing around me amazingly competent guys.
What do you believe to be today’s most prominent false gospel in America and how would you address it?
P: The prosperity gospel.
C: A gospel that’s about the betterment of circumstances, about a God that glorifies you.
How does Matt Chandler as a young successful pastor maintain humility and authority in ministry to older persons?
C: I’m scared. We’re 5 years into our plant…it’s crazy to me that I’m viewed as successful. The growth of our church has created in me an absolute fear, fear that I would do something stupid before all these people I lead. The growth has produced in me a fear that helps keep me humble.
How do elders hold themselves accountable in your churches?
P: Just this year we’ve sought to beef this up. Our 34 elders now meet in groups of 4 and they’re assigned to ask each other certain questions. We’re trying to put our vocational staff and spouses into groups that meet regularly to talk about their faith and walk.
C: We’re new in beginning this process.
Contextualization is like a cuss word at my Bible Belt church, how do we move towards relevance?
C: I’m not trying to be relevant/contextual, I’m trying to be obedient. I want to preach and teach what the Bible has told us to do in regard to engaging culture. Semantics is part of the problem. “Contextualization” is a word for pastors, not for the people in your church.
P: There’s two kinds of relevance, one of them is a relevance that your people don’t even know they need. That’s the most important relevance. The message of the Bible is always relevant.
Isn’t consistently coming under the banner of Calvinism like saying, “I follow Paul”?
D: I think I feel heat coming off of Piper.
C: Piper, please take this question.
P: This is an ambiguous question. Obviously someone is angry about something. It depends on what is meant by “banner.” If
Dr. Piper, what most surprises you about Mark?
P: Nothing anymore. Early on, we went out to some Saloon or something and I saw that Driscoll dressed funny and that his church building was dark. But, Driscoll told me that he was about 1) church planting, 2) Reformed ecclesiology, and 3) male headship. I loved that.
Dr. Piper in your defense of the gospel against N.T. Wright have you found Federal Vision theology of Doug Wilson to be another gospel?
P: No. No, that’s easy. Doug Wilson doesn’t teach a false gospel. I don’t think N.T. Wright teaches a false gospel, just a confusing gospel. Doug Wilson is incredibly bright, but he has people around him who are dumb. I think Doug Wilson is more consistent than some of his followers are. But I am concerned about the trajectory.
How should pastors address racial diversity?
C: I live in an incredibly white, middle class area. All I know to do is to preach well, preach passionately, and then try to engage. I want to preach and proclaim the death of an enthnocentric mentality.
P: We’re in a very different situation, an extremely diverse community. While we do not compromise theologically, we work intentionally very, very (tenfold “very”) hard to produce an ethnically diverse staff. Honor Martin Luther King Day. I know this stuff from the inside out. I grew up in South Carolina and for the first 20 years of my life was racist to my toenails. We adopted a black daughter.