Tuesday, October 26, 2021

10 Warning Signs That You Are Doing Well

10. You are using the word "No" when pressured to say "Yes." 

9. You are speaking soft words, instead of harsh words that come to mind.

8. You are following Jesus into situations where there is personal risk. (You are saying "Yes" to the call of Jesus.)

7. You are making right choices rather than utilitarian ones.

6. You have been going out of your way to be nice to people.

5. You are noticing God's active presence in circumstances that normally feel like a waste of time.

4. You are experiencing inner togetherness in the midst of outer chaos. 

3. You are having hard-to-describe positive sensations that transcend mere happiness. (Viz., "joy.")

2. You have been feeling compassion towards people who dislike you. (You are viewing people as persons, not as problems.)

1. You have been catching yourself humming worship songs to God.


My four books are:

Deconstructing Progressive Christianity   Larry Sparks interviews me about my book here. ( 34,000 views so far!)    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPBRf7skpvs&t=170s

Encounters With the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Giving Advice as a Form of Judgmentalism

Our kitchen

(I re-post this periodically.)

Unasked-for advice is usually received as criticism.

Imagine I come to you and say, "Did you know there are some really nice shirts on sale at Kohls today?" 

The thought comes to you: "He doesn't like my clothes." 

This "friendly advice" is received as a form of criticism and judgmentalism.

Often (but not entirely), people give unasked-for advice in an attempt to change people. If you want to advise someone because you see they are having a problem and you've got the answer, try asking their permission: "May I suggest something?" Or, I may ask you "What is a good restaurant to eat at?" Then, you give me your thoughts on this.

Or: "I advise you not to drive down Telegraph Road today. There's major construction going on." To which I say, "Thank you."

That's cool. But a lot of advice-giving is about control and manipulation. It produces anger and bitterness. Who likes a controlling person who is out to change them? 

Linda and I ask each other for lots of advice. We give each other permission to speak into our lives. When this happens, we don't feel criticized, because we don't criticize each other.

Sometimes, giving advice comes out of a person who is angry (frustrated, irritated). A person who advises you with a smile on their face may be upset with you. Not always. But this is common. 

On changing other people: you cannot do it. Period. You can force people to do something. You can threaten them, imprison them, and guilt-manipulate them. But the human heart, the human spirit, cannot be changed by other people. 

The human heart is influenced by other people. That's different. Many people have influenced me. One now comes to mind. 

He was in my church. I was privileged to be in a small group with him and his wife that met weekly. He was a great scholar, which I admired. He spoke when asked, and never advised when not asked. I found this intriguing because he was a psychologist, and psychologists (so I thought) were there to give advice. His character and demeanor, humility and Christ-in-him were compelling. So much so that, eventually, I sought him out to advise me about some things. Which he did, with wisdom and love.

Instead of advising others whether they ask for it or not, focus on connecting with Jesus, and allow Jesus to work on the stuff inside of you that he knows about and is able to change.

I need to be continually saved from my own self. You, "the other," cannot do this. You are not my Savior. But if you remain connected to Jesus and allow him to change your heart about things, the chances increase that God will use you to effect real heart-change in me.

The life goal is to know Christ, not advise others. God can use the brokenness effected in you to bring breakthrough to the people around you.


Leading the Presence-Driven Church Online Seminar - This Wednesday


American Baptist Churches of Michigan is hosting me this Wednesday night. 7 PM. My seminar is on Leading the Presence-Driven Church. (My book is HERE.)

Anyone is invited. No registration needed. (Thank you ABC-MI!)


Is God the Designer of our Cognitive Faculties?

(Kelleys Island, Ohio)

Many of my posts are intended just for myself. My blog has become a way of cataloguing ideas which I can later reference or develop further. This post is one of them. But if you are interested in a deep read, check this out.

One of the books I am slow-cooking in is Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project, by Jerry Walls and Trent Dougherty. This morning I am reading 
"The Argument from the Confluence of Proper Function and Reliability: Is God the Designer of our Cognitive Faculties? Evaluating Plantinga's Argument," by Alexander Arnold.

Alvin Plantinga is perhaps the greatest analytic philosopher alive today. If not the greatest, he's tied for #1. And, he is a Christian theist. I've long been interested in Plantinga's claim that, if non-theistic evolution is true, then we have no reason to trust our cognitive faculties, since evolution without God has nothing to do with truth. That is, the reliability of our cognitive functions is less likely on evolutionary naturalism.

The likelihood principle is this: given an event, and two competing explanations of that event, which explanation is more likely. So...

Where Pr abbreviates probability, R abbreviates reliability of our cognitive faculties, T abbreviates theism, and NTE abbreviates non-theistic evolutionism, here is argument (K) in likelihoodist terms: 

(K1) Pr R/T >>really small. (Premise)
(K2) Pr (R/NTE) = really small. (Premise)
(K3) Therefore, Pr (R/T) >> Pr (R/NTE). (From K1 & K2).
(K4) If Pr(R/T) >> Pr (R/NTE), then R favors T over NTE. (Law of Likelihood)
(K5) Therefore, R favors T over NTE.

While this may look similar to Bayesian reasoning, likelihoodism is different because it involves no speculation on prior probabilities.

Arnold writes:

"While (K5) is modest, if it’s correct, then (modulo some plausible assumptions connecting confirmation with rationality), it tells us M renders theism a bit more rational for us to believe than it does non-theistic evolutionary theory. That is an interesting claim, especially in light of the pronouncements of some atheists to the effect that theism has absolutely nothing going for it."

Arnold then goes on to examine the premises. If the premises are true, then the conclusions follow, since the argument is deductively valid. He examines difficulties he has with (K1).

Arnold concludes: "If (K2) is correct, then naturalism faces a serious problem independent of whether argument (K) succeeds."

Sunday, October 24, 2021

My New Book - Deconstructing Progressive Christianity


Progressive Christianity is a different kind of religion. I show this in my new book, which is now available in both paperback and for Kindle

Progressive Christianity is an ethos, a mind set, more than a movement. It is indebted to political progressivism and postmodern philosophy. It has a trajectory, which is secularism. In Deconstructing Progressive Christianity John Piippo explains this ethos, with its corresponding trajectory. He explains the differences between historic Christianity and progressive Christianity, and finds the latter to be a different kind of religion. In the process of deconstruction we see key missing elements, such as atonement theory, the resurrection of Christ, and non-natural realities. The idea of moral and spiritual human progress is seen as a myth, and progressive beliefs about love are examined. In this book you will come to better understand the progressive ethos as it relates to religion, and why progressive Christianity is best understood as distant from historic Christianity.


1. Introduction: What Is Progressive Christianity?

2. The Roots of Progressive Christianity: Political Progressivism

3. The Roots of Progressive Christianity: Postmodernism

4. Are Beliefs Less Important than Behaviors?

5. At the Same Table, but Not on the Same Page

6. Can We Know Who God Is?

7. Can We Know Who Jesus Is?

8. Is the Atonement “Cosmic Child Abuse?”

9. Was Jesus Really Raised from the Dead?

10. What About the Supernatural?

11. The Battle for the Authority of the Bible

12. Marriage is Between and a Man and a Woman

13. The Myth of Progress

14. Love and Wrath

15. For Such a Time as This


Flourishing and Bearing Fruit in Old Age

In Detroit

I am seventy-two years old.

I've written Psalm 92:12-14 on a card. I placed it next to our downstairs computer.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age.

To bear fruit in old age. That is what I desire. I refuse to get so far away from the city of God that I no longer hear his voice.

A. W. Tozer writes:

"That is exactly what people in ruts find out about themselves. They discover that the passing of time tends to dull their religious feelings, and the signal that used to be quite clear is fading out." (Tozer, Rut, Rot, or Revival: The Problem of Change and Breaking Out of the Status Quo, Kindle Locations 392-394)

Not for me. It's time to flourish and bear more fruit.

Linda and I flourished from the beginning. We were caught up in the Jesus Movement. (See God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America.) If you flourished during the Jesus Movement, read this book.

That's the spiritual soil we thrived in. Today, decades later, our roots are deeply planted in the house of the Lord.

To flourish in the courts of the Lord. Life doesn't get better than that!

Friday, October 22, 2021



Whatever happened to "sin?" 

I am told some churches rarely, if ever, talk about sin. Why not? Because people will be turned off by it.

Other churches talk about sin. I do. Of course! The entire biblical narrative, from Genesis to Revelation, will turn into one big smiley emoji if we eliminate sin from the story. The story will be lost in its entirety if sin is eliminated. Because then, there's no need for a Messiah, a Savior.

If you use the word “sin” in public some people will look at you like you are some kind of medieval religious crazy person. Like: "Jimmy sinned a few days ago." Say that and you'll get accused of being "judgmental."

I find all this ignorant, and troubling.

“Sin” is just a word. Which REFERS to something real

  •  “Sin” is a word that refers to behaviors and actions that create alienation and isolation.
  • “Sin” is a word that refers to choices and non-choices that cause emotions of anger and vengeance and sadness and bitterness and bring tears and loss and grief and cries for justice and so on and on and on…
  • If sin wasn’t about something very real and very dangerous and very alienating, half the movies that are made would not be made, and many of this world's tweets would be meaningless.
  • “Sin” is a big-time reality word. There are not a lot of things more real than the reality of “sin."
  • The English word “sin” is just an ancient word that refers to a reality that is still with us. And within us, if anyone should care to self-examine.
  • Everyone does it. Everyone has it. If you don't have it, then you can start throwing stones at the rest of us.
  • "Sin" is one biblical concept that is easily empirically verifiable.
G. K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy, wrote:

Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin – a fact as practical of potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. . . .

Sin is only meaningful if it has a reference point. The reality of sin evokes the question, "in reference to what?"

"Sin" falls short of something. Sin doesn't measure up. If there's no reference point, then moral outrage is absurd, and "sin" doesn't exist. Think about this.

Moral outrage is everywhere. Moral outrage is currently (but who cares) politically correct. Moral outrage makes no sense if sin (wrongdoing; evil; heinous acts; etc.) does not exist.

Everyone - me and you and you-know-who - has screwed up, and landed short of the Reference Point. (On atheism, there is no Reference Point. Philosopher James Spiegel states how difficult it is for the noetic framework of atheism to discuss evil. "The very notion of “evil” presupposes a standard for goodness which atheism cannot provide. Any notion of evil or, for that matter, how things ought to be, whether morally or in terms of natural events, must rely on some standard or ideal that transcends the physical world. Only some form of supernaturalism, such as theism, can supply this. So to the extent that atheists acknowledge the reality of evil, they depart from their own commitment to naturalism." (The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief)

We need to talk more about this, not less.

There always has been, and still is, a huge SIN PROBLEM in the world.

Churches should lead the way in this discussion.

And, BTW, "sin" and "death" were the enemies Jesus came to defeat. How foolish for churches not to let seekers in on this open secret.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Seven Commands of Jude

Image result for john piippo Linda
(Linda, at Lake Michigan)

In The Passion's introduction to the book of Jude there is a summary of the seven commands Jude gives at the end of his letter. They are,

(1) Keep building up your inner life on the foundation of faith. 

(2) Pray in the Holy Spirit. 

(3) Fasten your life to the love of God. 

(4) Receive more mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(5) Have compassion on the wavering. 

(6) Save the lost. 

(7) Hate any compromise that will stain your life. 

It’s when you live the truth of the gospel that you are sure to defend and contend for it most effectively.

My four books are:

Deconstructing Progressive Christianity.

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Encounters With the Holy Spirit (Co-edited with Janice Trigg)

Dealing with Anger: Some Resources

Image result for john piippo michigan
(Glasses - Glen Arbor, Michigan)

Here are some things I have written on dealing with anger.

How to Communicate When In Conflict

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Traveling Without a Map


During the season of pandemic, people are having to make decisions they have never faced before. This goes for me, too. The truth is, I do not always know what I am doing and where we are going.

My verses for these days are Hebrews 11:8 - 10:

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.

Abraham traveled without a map. He went by faith. To live by faith is, in the act of faith, to go without a map.

I like how Thomas Merton puts this. He writes: "The real function of discipline is not to provide us with maps, but to sharpen our own sense of direction so that when we really get going we can travel without maps." (Contemplation in a World of Action, 108)

Our lives should look like the maps of the apostle Paul. Which means: Spirit-led, and thus unpredictable, and non-programmable. Ultimately, as we experience the mind of Christ, we become less map-dependent. We come to intuit when and where and how our Shepherd's voice is leading us.


Larry Sparks interviews me about my book here. (25,000 views so far!)    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPBRf7skpvs&t=170s