The Gospel Coalition

Collin Hansen at the Gospel Coalition writes:
In this interview with Justin Taylor, Meyer and Piper talk together in public about the Bethlehem succession for the first time, just days after more than 99 percent of the church supported Meyer's candidacy. Piper and Meyer explain why they avoided public talk about their impressions from the Lord about the transition and how they sought strong affirmation from leaders and members without wielding a strong arm over the decision. Meyer also explains how he changed his mind about leading Bethlehem when God promised more of himself in the process. Finally, Piper and Meyer close with counsel for leaders in transition from God's Word and their experience.


You can watch the video below:



The interview was recorded on May 22, 2012, on the campus of Southern Seminary.


Comments:

Nigel

May 31, 2012 at 09:45 AM

I too am a Brit and enjoyed watching and listening to this conversation. It may reasonably be asked why. Not because of any particular interest in issues around pastoral succession as this is not relevant to our local church situation. But given the blessing BBC's teaching ministry has been (almost entirely through John Piper) I just feel an interest in what goes on there and a desire that they prosper. Having been blessed by BBC how good to hear how God has blessed them in this matter, and so good to join with them in prayer at the conclusion of the conversation. The Lord bless his servants and give Jason and his wife all the grace they need to take up the baton and keep running well.

Sphen

May 31, 2012 at 07:34 PM

Choosing a successor for a pastorate is indeed a very subjective decision. To illustrate this, I wonder if any Arminian leaning candidates were considered for BBC pastorate? We all know the chances are next to nil. So, those who hold to a soteriological view that was the unanimous position of all the early fathers prior to Augustine, would have been (most likely) eliminated during the screening process. Indeed, choosing a pastorate is very subjective decision.

Jeremy

May 31, 2012 at 07:05 AM

I'm also a little bit concerned about why anyone outside BBC (for the record, I'm a Brit!) needs to know about this. This interview would undoutedly be helpful for BBC members, but as for the rest of us, neither John Piper nor Jason Meyer are our pastors, none of us have any say in their apppointment, nor should we.

Don't get me wrong, I love JP's ministry and have been blessed greatly by it, but this sort of thing does not help the whole "celebrity pastor" issue. None of the issues described here should be of any concern to anyone outside BBC, and I dont think there is much, if anything, here that would be of use to the wider church. Replacing a pastor is a very subjective thing, certainly it appears to have been in this instance.

James

May 31, 2012 at 07:03 PM

Also a Brit and a young pastor. Thinking about my first call and the process. It was interesting to watch this and think about how BBC managed and are managing this successfully on a large scale. I also think it is really important that other senior pastors have good examples of leaders who are able to step back and hand the baton on graciously in this way. I also want to pray for BBC.

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Justin I made a public observation he seems just like Piper to me, and not a few others either. I never made a public "accusation "he was "mimicking". I have no idea what his motive is. Ive heard a few other elders and bcs students preach, and although the content is great, they all seem to sound, talk, gesture, intonate, etc just like Piper. Im not blaming or accusing anyone, im just telling you what I, and others I know of, have observed, whether right or wrong . I also praised God for Piper, said Jason would be a blessing there, and was thankful for the smooth transition do my apologies if I came across harsh.

Lauren Richards

May 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

It's confirmed. Meyer is awesome.

Justin Taylor

May 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I agree with the above responses to Mike.

More than one person has made this observation about Jason.

I think it's possible to say that he sounds like Piper in some ways and at some times.

I don't think it's responsible to make the public accusation that he's mimicking Piper, not being himself, etc.

I've known Jason for 13 years. My wife and I lived across the hall from them in a four-plex for a year. I don't discern any difference in how he speaks. Maybe they just sound similar?

I'm more concerned about the unquestioned presupposition—which I can be guilty of, too—that suggests that every thought and theory should be articulated online, even if it involves judgment of motives. And adding "hope this helps" at the end of something does not de facto make it edifying and helpful.

Why not just choose to pray for the guy, and ignore him if his speech patterns bother you?

Matthew

May 30, 2012 at 11:59 AM

That's all based upon the assumption that he's not being himself. How do you know this to be the case?

Being a mimic in the pulpit rather than authentic is no good. At the same time being a critic who speaks beyond his knowledge is no better.

Love assumes the best. Not knowing Meyer personally, I have no grounds to assume that he sounds like Piper because he's trying to imitate Piper. And if he's being authentic and sounds a lot like John, all the better.

Ultimately, it's God's voice that the Spirit uses to cut and build in all Biblical preaching. As long as Meyer remains faithful to the word of God, minor issues with tone and inflection are just that, minor compared to priority of holding high God's word and Jesus Christ in preaching.

EBG

May 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

"Also, without being too critical"........

You are being too critical, Mike

"Just a thought I hope helps".....

Sorry, I am not helped by your comments, Mike.

If Jason Meyer's speech bothers you, stop listening to him. Considering the present state of the Church in America, I am amazed that you feel you have the luxury of scrutinizing such a gifted preacher.
Word centered, Christ exalting preachers must be a dime-a dozen in your neck of the woods!

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I praise God for Piper. I'm sure Meyer will be a blessing too. My concern is how he is so very much like Piper in everyway in the pulpit. Before we knew about the succession we heard him preach and we thought it was Piper. I mean everything from intonation to gestures, all speech patterns are the same. It's kind of weird. Sure it's a form of flattery. But I think it's a concern as if he is being selected because its like they are not really losing Piper. It's just another younger one. That's my concern. Why not be yourself in the pulpit. Take the things, godly patterns you admire from your mentor but be yourself. I'm sure Meyer would be even better if he was Meyer and not Piper. Also without being too critical why all the emphasis and quasi yelling/ pleading with virtually every single sentence. Pleading and a heightened accent in speech is great once in a while to emphasize a point but listen to Meyer and his whole message is like that. It's so much that nothing is really emphasized as everything has too much emphasis. Just a thought I hope helps. I do praise God for how Smooth the transition is going. I just encourage and want to see people be themselves not others.

Michael

May 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM

IMO, Jason doesn't sound that much like John to me. His voice is a very different pitch and he seems a bit less emotional in his sermons than Piper. Also I'm not seeing Piper's (awesome) body movements in Jason's sermons yet.

DC

May 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Here is one significant way Jason is different in his preaching style: He uses stories, illustrations and word pictures in ways John does not. In his recent messages he referenced SEC football and few different TV programs in ways that were helpful to making his point.

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 09:52 PM

All the best to all here.

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 09:41 PM

Suggestive tone? Oh dear. I too wish him and BBC nothing but the best.

Phil

May 30, 2012 at 09:03 PM

While I think Mike's tone is, of course, suggestive, I too had the initial observation of "Wow - this guy sounds just like Piper." Any by "sounds like," I mean voice inflection, the persistent pleading, and word choices he makes. Of course, this is not to make a value judgment; nor is it to presume that he will not develop. It is, however, an observation that is hard to avoid. I wish him nothing but the best...

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 08:18 PM

@Alan-I agree with your comments regarding direct revelation from the Lord. as well. I didn't want to say anything else for fear of being interpreted as being mean or something, even though none of my comments have that motive or aim. I for one like constructive criticism, and it is those things, rather than yes men and praises of how awesome someone is that may actually benefit someone's ministry. Anyhow, "The Lord told me this or that" is very confusing at best. How can one argue against it, I mean if The Lord told you..." I am not saying the Lord is not behind this succession but this experiential stuff has led many a man into fear and bondage. Sola Scriptura and making decisions based on biblical principles alone, not voices or impressions, or fill in the blank, must be the rule. It can cause others to wonder why the Lord didn't tell them to move here or take that job or write this now etc, and make them think they are not as spiritual as the pastors must be.

Mike

May 30, 2012 at 05:24 PM

I have maligned nobodys character or judged motives, but made observations. Nothing more, nothing less. Being concerned is no sin either.

Alan Olender

May 30, 2012 at 05:10 PM

I was interested in Jason's & John's frequent references to "feeling" and "having a sense" God was saying... or God was "leaning on me," etc. How can we know such feelings are God? What of pastor candidates who have no such feelings about a church that is calling them to shepherd them? I have known people who have described having similar feelings about what they believed God was "leading" them to do and after the move was made, there was no apparent "blessing of God" nor did they find joy in the midst of the situation. They had the peace before, but after awhile, the peace was lacking.
Were these people led by God or not? How can a person (me or you) discern whether the "sense" or the "feelings" are God's doing or our own?

Justin Taylor

May 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM

Thanks for the response Mike. I didn't think it was harsh. But it's surely more than just an "observation." You used the word "concern" a number of times, and you suggested that he was being chosen so that BBC wouldn't lose Piper and you lamented that people like Jason aren't being themselves. Both have to do with motives. Hence my response.

Jared O

May 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM

Yes Jasin, that is why this was posted. But just in case that wasn't the reason, here are some others to choose from:

1. Some people might be interested in how Bethlehem succeeds one of the most influential preacher's of our time.
2. This is Justin Taylor's blog and it is of interest to him
3. Some people would like to continue to inform their prayers for other churches they care about
4. Someone may have hoped that their example would be helpful for others (not you, of course, but other-others)
5. Choose your own reason!

Jasin

May 30, 2012 at 02:26 PM

Why do we care about this?

Is Bethlehem in some way considered the church for us to "look to" in all matters of church polity and practice?

Robert

May 30, 2012 at 02:11 PM

Mike,

Just curious: Do you attend Bethlehem? In your first post you sounded like you belonged to or attended Bethlehem. I will say this in Jason's defense: If the vetting process was as thorough as it was stated to be by both Piper and Meyer (and I'm sure they are telling truth), then I think that the Elders and the congregation are really the best ones to decide whether Jason is just a clone of Piper. It sounded to me like the Elders and congregation were more discerning than that. God bless Bethlehem, John Piper, and Jason Meyer. They all need our prayers during this time of transition.

m .b. woodside

May 30, 2012 at 01:46 PM

Mike,

I didn't think your observations were harsh.

On a positive note, Meyer has awesome side burns and I hope he continues to grow them longer. I hope he starts a trend among the younger Reformed crowd.