John Piper: Facebook vs. The Bible

John Piper writes:  Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news?

Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone.

I’m serious. Never has God’s voice been so easily accessible. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.

via Desiring God.

So… truth be told… which do you check more… Facebook or the Bible?  If your answer is Facebook, how does that make you feel?



  • Bob February 25, 2011 Reply

    Good words from Piper, calling us to get our Face-in-The Book more than Facebook.

  • Tye Male February 25, 2011 Reply

    John also said that Facebook (Social Media) is proof that time is not the issue for our prayerlessness. I would partly agree. Facebook is proof of our desperate need for community. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. (I inadvertently started a discussion on whether or not social media is truly community.)

    • Peter February 27, 2011 Reply

      I believe, btw, that it is NOT truly authentic community… but it is very close and can often be a great adjunct to community! In that role, I think it shines.

  • Mark February 28, 2011 Reply

    While Piper’s sentiments are weighty, the fact that its coming from him make me go “ugh”. I do appreciate the adoration he receives from the “radical”, “reformed” millennial generation, however I believe Piper, at times, tends to err towards an almost worship-ful stance in front of the Bible.

    I’ve only been a Christian for 2 years or so. John Piper was a new face and name to me. However, I quickly became horrified at the amount of weight his words seem to carry, and I have to wonder why.

    Being a survivor of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, I’m all too familiar with the “cult of personality” whereby one or two individuals are held in incredibly high esteem, with their word carrying more weight than anyone else’s.

    Why? ’cause they wrote some books. Oh, and claim to be among the elite, chosen few.

    But, should we get our Face-in-the-Book more? Yes. But not because Piper says so.

  • John R. February 28, 2011 Reply

    Totally agree with Mark. Our own pastor is guilty of re-tweeting other pastors (including John Piper) as if their wisdom hovers over all! One of the wisest things many of us could do is delete Twitter. Those who depend on and often refer to tweets from twitterers must ask themselves: “Do I have a misplaced affection?” Pick up the Bible and let God “tweet” you through His word as it brings you face to face with the living God. And if you must use Twitter, use it to share God’s word, not man’s word, and please don’t use it as a boasting podium to tell about what you did and where you went. We don’t really care.

    • Mark March 1, 2011 Reply

      Amen and amen! Thank you, brother.

      Seek God first! He will speak truth you always.

  • Brad Raby February 28, 2011 Reply

    I’ll answer Todd’s question…it made me feel like crap. Not because John Piper said it. I’ve been walking long enough to glean the wisdom from godly men without worshiping them. But the Holy Spirit pricked my heart because I’ve hit the FB app before and for longer periods of time than the Bible app. I also know what legalism is, and I don’t feel that kind of guilt. I’ll be honest, I often check facebook/twitter because I ‘want’ to see what has been written, and check the Bible because I’m ‘supposed’ to see what is written.

    So yeah, repentance is what I need.

  • Larry C February 28, 2011 Reply

    I wouldn’t want to know how ignorant and lost I would be were it not for preachers and teachers. Even some with whom I may have disagreement on certain matters…..they always have something to we can learn from.

    I’m not a John Piper fan in particular, but I am appreciative and believe that I believe the Holy Spirit has used Mr. Piper to help me realize the extent to which I use FB and the need to read the Word more often.

    • Mark March 1, 2011 Reply

      Larry, are you actually serious, my friend?

      You’d be “ignorant and lost” **without** imperfect, human preachers and teachers?

      I just praise God that he delivered me from my ignorant and lost religious upbringing by the power of his Holy Spirit and not by any human, to whom no salvation belongs.

  • Mark March 1, 2011 Reply

    See, this all plays right into the “cult” category again.

    In a cult – and I’m talking from 36 years of experience – the elite and elect have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, we’re told, reveals to them truth and guidance. They, in turn, disseminate these to everyone else via books, conferences etc.

    The rank and file need to rely on the elite and elect to reveal God and his purpose/will/intentions to them. So you pour over the books, you take notes at the conference and you “endevour to put into practice” what you learn.

    Why would the Holy Spirit use John Piper and not **any other believer**?

    Can the Holy Spirit reveal God through another believer, who in turn speaks that truth to us? Of course.

    The point is, the Holy Spirit is available to all believers and he will reveal truth, counsel us, encourage us, correct us and glorify Christ to all believers. The key for us is to submit ourselves entirely to the Father, not to any man or religious movement/organisation.

    I’m telling you guys; be careful. Seek God!

  • John R. March 1, 2011 Reply

    Again, I don’t know Mark, but totally agree. I would venture to say that the “Holy Spirit” has not been the one speaking to many of our pastors, but rather whomever leads the biggest megachurch, or whomever wrote the greatest best-seller. Many pastors believe that God speaks to them about how the believer in the pew should respond! How arrogant! Beware! God speaks to all believers yet many in the pew are drinking the Kool-aid and are allowing themselves to be spoon-fed by the pastor about how to lead their lives. Talk about grieving the Holy Spirit! There is a fine line here and brother we better be on the side of the Holy Spirit…not man. I would challenge every pastor to prepare a sermon for this Sunday with nothing but the Bible and the Holy Spirit–nothing ‘purpose driven’, nothing Ed Young, nothing Hybel, nothing Piper or Chandler or Platt, nothing ‘radical’, nothing received in your weekly sermon idea publication, nothing you saw on You Tube…just you and God and His Word. We may just see the salvation of many pastors through this challenge. You can fool some people some of the time but you can never fool God. Willing to take the challenge?

    • Mark March 2, 2011 Reply


  • Garrett Sandeen May 16, 2011 Reply

    I think that John, you assume too much. Is it a “popular” pastor’s fault that what he says resonates with people? That people buy their books? That non-congregants, consumers of online media, get spoon fed by them? While I would never measure the righteousness of a man by the success of a ministry or book, there is something to be said about men who loves Jesus and preach the gospel. Most of them good. You may disparage a Rick Warren or a David Platt…but I see people getting saved and baptized in their churches. I see the work of the Holy Spirit in them as evidenced by their fruit, the main indicator of their walk.

    Mark, I would say your attitude is mostly healthy and a product of where you’re coming from. A teacher are sought after for what they have to say and, when you trust a certain teacher, you’re bound to rely on him more and more. I would say your assessment is accurate in that there are people who rely on Piper more than the Holy Spirit. Through little fault of Mr. Piper, as he is quick to point out his own depravity. He just connects with people, and interestingly enough, with my generation (I’m 23).

    As an example, I caught myself quoting Driscoll more and more as I would watch his youtube snippets. I enjoy his insights and frankness in regards to Jesus and men. I didn’t believe it was all that bad but I was determined to abstain for a few months to keep myself priorities in check. Twas a nice break and allowed Mark to be more effective as a “supplement” to my faith rather then the provider he was becoming.

    In short, it’s about the pursuit of God, not what is good. When you pursue God, you get good men like Piper. When you pursue good men like Piper, you become empty.

  • Dave May 16, 2011 Reply

    If we disregard what God has spoken to us through other faithful men are we not in essence removing 1 Tim 2:2 and 1 Cor 11:29 from our Bibles? I don’t give credence to Piper because of his “celebrity” but because he (as well as MANY others) boldly speaks what is consistent with the great tradition of what the Holy Spirit has spoken to the church historically. I realize that the same Holy Spirit to speaks to me through the Word also speaks to others (and has been doing so for 2000 years). The problem with cults is not that they listen to persuasive human being, but that they listen to a human being who speaks contrary to the voice of God.

    • Dave May 16, 2011 Reply

      “the same Holy Spirit who speaks to me” -sorry for the typo.

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  • Paul Steinbrueck June 7, 2011 Reply

    Facebook vs the Bible??? Are they really opponents? Or should we stop throwing Facebook and Twitter under the bus and see them as tools to build relationships, glorify God, and build His kingdom? That’s what I wrote about and we’re discussing here:

    • Philana Crouch June 22, 2011 Reply

      I agree, Facebook and Twitter are tools that can be used or misused. While I agree with Piper’s statement, I find the “cult of personality” troubling too. I am not from a reformed perspective, but Arminian (roots come from Wesley) so what he often says does not resonate with me. What I do think we forget is that it is the Bible that we must take seriously, not necessarily this theologian or that theologian. Relying on Church History or Tradition can be dangerous, that was part of what caused the corruption during the Middle Ages, preachers relied on Tradition, or this great preacher or theologian rather than the Word of God.

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