Well done, John Piper, for taking a break

As T.C. Robinson among others reports, the well-known preacher John Piper is taking an eight month break from public ministry, from 1st May until the end of the year. In his own article about this break Piper writes (Robinson quoted part of this):

… 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 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. …

Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.

… No one in the orbit of our family and friends remains unaffected by our flaws. My prayer is that this leave will prove to be healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart, and out to our children and their families, and beyond to anyone who may have been hurt by my failures. …

Personally, I view these months as a kind of relaunch of what I hope will be the most humble, happy, fruitful five years of our 35 years at Bethlehem and 46 years of marriage.

In other words, reading between the lines, John and Noël Piper’s marriage was in trouble, not through any kind of unfaithfulness but because John’s heavy ministry workload, compounded by his international fame, was pulling him away from his wife and not allowing him to fulfil his role properly as “a woman’s tender companion”. These are the same kinds of strains which have ended Todd Bentley’s and Benny Hinn‘s marriages, to mention two high profile examples.

I have my differences with John Piper on a number of issues. But on this one I am right with him. He has done what he apparently needed to do for the sake of his marriage. Would that others had done something similar before it was too late, before their marriage and potentially also their ministry was destroyed.

8 thoughts on “Well done, John Piper, for taking a break

  1. Wow

    This is the open act and declaration of an honest and God fearing man. Like you Peter I do not agree with everything I have read of what he says – not least I am probably closer to Tom Wright on some Pauline issues than he is. But he has clearly prayed this through and we can pray for him, and his family, as they work this through together.

    I only hope that if I ever do reach the sort of tensions he has experienced at my own level, I find it in me to be as honest and willing.

  2. I’m delighted to hear this. I may disagree with much that comes out of his mouth but I can only respect and honour what comes from his heart in this decision. I’m sure God will honour his integrity. God is always fighting to give us all kingdom marriages.

  3. Pingback: John Piper putting ministry aside to help his marriage « New Epistles

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