This is another part of a correspondence (slightly edited) that took place several years ago between myself and Sean Gerety who is like unto a lazy, cowardly hireling who shows wicked indifference to discerning whether or not the “animal” approaching is a sheep, or a sheep-clothed wolf (or even a wolf-clothed wolf). The message of Mathew 7:15-20 regarding false teachers who come in sheep’s clothing is basically: By their fruits you WILL know them, so BEWARE. My indifferent and apathetic correspondent exclaims, “I don’t care!”
Sean: I don’t know if John Piper is unregenerate. To be honest, I really don’t care and this question has little or no bearing on whatever merit or lack thereof in any of his books.
You are absolutely right that whether Piper is unregenerate or not has little or no bearing on whatever merit is in any of his books. For unregenerate men do, and have written some very insightful things.
But knowing whether one is unregenerate or not is simply obeying the command to test the spirits, to see whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). If one cannot discern between the voice of the Shepherd and the voice of strangers, then it follows that he is none of Christ’s sheep. For His sheep know His voice and will never follow a stranger (John 10:4-5, 26-28).
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Mathew 7:15-20).
Maybe your response to this verse would go something like this:
“Maybe I’ll know the false teachers by their fruits.”
Or, would it go like this:
“Are ravenous wolves who come to me in sheep’s clothing unregenerate? I don’t know and I don’t care! Bad fruit, good fruit — who gives a hoot? This question has little or no bearing on whatever merit or lack thereof are in any of the sheep or sheep-clothed-wolves’ writings.”
You say you don’t care whether Piper is unregenerate or not. Then should the sheep run from him or not? Should they (if it were possible) follow his teachings? Does it really matter? Or, should they just follow after him like rats through the streets, swaying to the symphony of destruction — albeit inconsistently and contradictorily?
A certain “rat” says he believes the true “music” of the gospel conditioned on the work of Christ alone and that all regenerate persons believe this. But then in the same breath he ALSO says the “Pied Piper” is doctrinally sound despite the “felicitous inconsistencies” in his pipe playing. Does it not follow from this that this “rat” has no idea what “true gospel music” sounds like since he thinks that the “Pied Piper” and the “True Shepherd” are playing the SAME tune, inconsistencies not withstanding?