Stepping aside for a time: John Piper is at war

Today, it was announced on the Desiring God site that John Piper — with the approval of the elders — will take a leave of absence from May 1 to December 31 this year. It was a remarkable letter in that he was very open and humble about the concern he had for the ministry at Bethlehem.

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.

You can read the complete letter here. We can do no better than to do what he asks and remember the Pipers, Bethlehem Baptist and the ministry team at Desiring God in prayer. And, like Piper, we need also to continue daily to go to war with our owns sins.

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