Piper in London

John Piper at London Men’s Convention 2018

Pastor John Piper, of Christian Hedonism fame, is to be the keynote speaker at the London Men’s Convention planned for June 2018.  Rev. Richard Coekin, the Director of the Co-mission group of churches in south London, has recently announced his invitation to John Piper to address the London Convention in the prestigious Cental Hall Westminster. Perhaps we should not be surprised for Coekin has form in promoting the so-called ‘New Calvinist’ American celebrity preachers in the UK.

Driscoll at London Men’s Convention 2011

In 2011 the organising committee of the London Men’s Convention, (made up of evangelicals like Richard Coekin, of Dundonald Church Wimbledon, and  Tim Thornborough of  The Good Book Company), provided a platform for Pastor Mark Driscoll to preach in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.  Driscoll, who has been described as the ‘cussing pastor’, wrote on his blog: ‘The London Men’s Convention has been going on since 2002, and I am honored by the opportunity to come and serve them this year. Seeing 4,000 men in the historic Royal Albert Hall singing to Jesus should be quite a sight.’ The blurb advertising the Convention said: ‘We are thrilled to welcome Mark Driscoll, the widely appreciated and passionate Senior Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle who has a particular heart for teaching the Bible to men.’ We are told that Mark Driscoll ‘has a refreshingly plain-speaking approach that should really help us be faithful at home and faithful in mission’.

Driscoll’s False Ministry

But despite Driscoll’s popularity in the evangelical world, his ministry was highly controversial because of his unconventional ways and dubious methods.  Incredibly he built a ministry, in large part, by preaching and teaching about sex, and by using crude language. He was skilled in mixing the holy and profane.  Some Christians in the USA were deeply disturbed by Driscoll ministry.  In 2009, Cathy Mickels, author of Spiritual Junk Food: The Dumbing Down of Christian Youth (1999), wrote to The Gospel Coalition warning of Driscoll’s false ministry: ‘Admittedly, Mark Driscoll states he is reformed in his thinking, and he can deliver a sound sermon if he wants to. But, that does not negate his reckless, irreverent treatment of God’s Word, and the crude language that proceeds out of his mouth. This only makes his ministry more dangerous… I submit that this ministry attacks the integrity of Scripture, the character of Christ, and feeds the sensual, worldly heart of man.’  See Mickels article: Mark Driscoll – Is he qualified to lead?  

In 2009 Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church, commented on Driscoll’s sermon on the Song of Solomon thus: ‘It tears the beautiful poetic dress off Song of Solomon, strips that portion of Scripture of its dignity, and holds it up to be laughed at and leered at in a carnal way. Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path.’  MacArthur said it is hard to think of a more appalling misuse of Scripture than turning the Song of Solomon into soft porn.

Richard Coekin’s lack of discernment

In the light of the serious criticism of Mark Driscoll ministry it is difficult to understand Coekin’s motive in providing him a platform in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, London.  Coekin’s lack of spiritual discernment became increasingly obvious in 2014 when Mark Driscoll was accused by church elders of shameful behaviour which led to his resignation from Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  Such was the public opprobrium surrounding Driscoll’s ministry that even the board of Acts29 Church Planting Network, which was co-founded by Driscoll, expelled him and his Mars Hill Church from membership on grounds of his ungodly and disqualifying behaviour. Following the Driscoll debacle, one would have hoped that Coekin had learned a lesson.  But to my knowledge Coekin has shown no remorse.  For more on Mark Driscoll visit the website Driscoll controversy which has over 50 article and videos ducumenting the serious errors in Driscoll’s ministry.

Piper and Co-Mission in London

Indeed over the past decade Coekin has established himself as a close collaborator with the flawed American New Calvinist movement, of which Driscoll was once a prominent member.  Coekin has established a close working relationship with the big two New Calvinists—Tim Keller and John Piper.  He has also followed the church planting philosophy of the ACTS29 movement created by the disgraced Mark Driscoll and now run by Matt Chandler.  John Piper, regarded as the main spokesman of the New Calvinist movement, spoke at the Rivive Co-Mission weekend in 2015.  Cornerstone Church Kingston explains: ‘Revive is the annual Co-Mission bible festival bringing together adults, children and young people from all of our congregations for relevant bible teaching, great music, fun entertainment and plenty of time to relax together. We had a fantastic time this year with John Piper teaching us from the Bible about what it means to “Live in the Light: Money, Sex and Power”.’  The outcome of the festival was another Piper book, entitled Living in the Light: Money, Sex & Power (2016), dedicated to Richard Coekin and Co-Mission, published by The Good Book Company, which signed a book deal with Piper.

So Richard Coekin and his Co-Mission group of Churches are hoping to provide John Piper with a major platform in London to propagate his ideology of Christian Hedonism, a false teaching which has no place in the Christian Church.