This past weekend Don Piper visited Westside Baptist Church in Omaha. Don is the author of the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven. The following was distributed through the Omaha World Herald’s Saturday edition:
The Rev. Don Piper is coming to Westside Baptist Church in Omaha.
Piper is the author of “90 Minutes in Heaven,” a book about his experience with death. He’ll share his story on Sunday at the three services at the church, 15050 West Dodge Road. The services are 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:11 a.m.
In 1989, Piper was in a car accident in which he was pronounced dead at the scene but later revived by paramedics. Since then, he has undergone 34 surgeries to regain the use of his legs.
Piper now travels the country presenting “Heaven Seminars.”
What does it say about a church’s view of the Sufficiency of Scripture when they bring in a person to speak about their experience in place of biblical preaching?
What does it say about a church’s view of conversion when experience is elevated over the biblical gospel as the means of bringing salvation?
At its base level, what is the difference between this subjective experience and those promoted by the best selling book The Secret? Or from other Oprah-like views of God and heaven?
I do not want to get into Mr. Piper’s motives, the validity of his experiences or his heaven seminars; rather I just want to point out that this is a truly sad usage of evangelical real-estate and a reproachable evangelistic methodology.
We have been given unfathomable riches to speak of in the Scriptures; riches that will far outlast the time of humanity’s stay on earth. We have a glorious Savior who Himself has died and rose again. We have a powerful gospel that is the only means of saving sinners. We have living and abiding hope that dwarfs any hope that could be compiled in the ingredients of this earth. We have great riches in the Scriptures, and these great riches are powerful and proven.
So at the very least Westside Church has done a disservice to their people by withholding that which is best from them in favor of something that is inferior. In so doing they have heightened people’s trust value in subjective and unproven experience and lessened their trust and value in the objective, proven, sufficient and authoritative Scriptures.
Luke 16:29-31 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”
[note: here is a helpful review of Don Piper’s book written by Tim Challies last April]