A recent “Ask Pastor John” segment is titled “Do You Regret Partnering with Mark Driscoll?” An answer to that question could have been very helpful. However, once the question is asked, the word “partnering” never recurs. Piper instead poses and answers a question of his own: “Do you regret befriending Mark Driscoll?”
I don’t doubt that question was more appealing. Low-hanging fruit always is. However, it is is a question I’ve heard no one ask. I asked my Tweeps if anyone had heard that question asked, and no one had. (I also offered some other thoughtlets on Twitter: here, here.)
“John Piper has no regret for befriending Mark Driscoll,” Piper said Bob-Dole-ically, answering the question he alone asked himself. Piper did go on to admit that he regrets not being a more effective friend. But then Piper somewhat undoes that admission, by saying that Mark knew he had flaws of leadership attitude, unsavory language, exegetical errors, and that Mark knew Piper knew. Piper says he always hoped the relationship would be redemptive and helpful. So it’s really Driscoll’s fault. Which, of course, ultimately is true…and, once again, was not the question.
Then, somewhat oddly, Piper stressed that Driscoll gave Piper a lot of time and counsel and “guidance.” Driscoll gave guidance to Piper and his elders. “He certainly gave me more time and counsel than I deserved.” Oh? What is this? Taken seriously, this rather subverts the perception that Piper was an elder brother taking Driscoll under his wing to sober, mature, guide and mentor the famously loose-cannon leaky-Canoneer. Instead, Piper depicts them as equals, giving and receiving counsel to each other.
Would that make Piper still less responsible for the direction Driscoll took? Is that the intent?