Tony Jones, a theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis, is one of Piper’s frequent critics.
“I don’t think the fundamental nature of God is wrath at human sin,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say God isn’t disappointed by human sin … but at the very core of Piper’s theological vision is that God’s wrath burns white-hot at your sin and my sin. When I read the Bible, that’s not the God I find.”
Piper offers no apologies for his theology.
“If you try to throw away a wrathful God, nothing in Christianity makes sense. The cross certainly doesn’t make sense anymore, where [Jesus] died for sinners.”* His views of the tornado and bridge collapse, he said, “are rooted in the sovereignty of God. Even though people see them as harsh, negative, wrathful, whatever, they are good news.”
He said he considers himself a “happy Calvinist — which is an oxymoron. I’m on a crusade to make that not an oxymoron.”
Although the number of evangelical churches in the United States declined for many years, the trend reversed in 2006, with more new churches opening each year since, according to the Leadership Network’s most recent surveys. This wave of “church planting” has been highest among nondenominational pastors, free to experiment outside traditional hierarchies.“I hear a lot of pastors say, ‘I’m not just trying to be creative and avant-garde, I think this is maybe the last chance for me,’ ” said Doug Pagitt, the founder of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis.
Mr. Pagitt has written several books on church innovations, many of which were first developed in the “emergent” church movement of the last decade or among “missional” churches whose practices focus on life outside the church.
Many of their innovations are being adopted by an increasing number of pastors in the mainstream.
*FYI, Piper is completely wrong about this. See here for more.