Well-known evangelical theologian and pastor John Piper is scheduled to return to the pulpit in January.
Kenny Stokes, interim pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, made the announcement this past weekend.
"His first weekend back, God willing, in the Bethlehem pulpit will be January 8 and 9," Stokes said.
Piper has been on an eight-month leave of absence. Since May, he has stepped back from virtually all public commitments to deal with his "character flaws" and focus on his marriage.
It was his first-ever leave of absence in his 30-year ministry career.
With the exception of a few speaking engagements – including a conference in the Dominican Republic and the Third Lausanne Congress in South Africa – the respected pastor withdrew from all other preaching, writing and blogging.
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When he announced to Bethlehem Baptist Church that he would be leaving for a period of time, he explained that he was seeing "several species of pride" within himself and that his soul needed a reality check from the Holy Spirit.
While he noted that the character flaws did not rise to the level of disqualifying him for ministry, he said they were grieving him and were affecting his relationship with his wife, Noel, and others.
"I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don't have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins," he said in a letter to the congregation in March.
As planned, Piper will return to the church and his ministry, Desiring God, in January. He is scheduled to speak at Passion 2011 in Atlanta, which takes place Jan. 1-4, and to preach at Bethlehem that weekend.
It is not yet clear what his post-leave ministry will look like or whether he'll keep up the same pace he did for the past three decades. He did, however, mention in March that he wanted to go five more years in the pulpit.
More details, including his schedule for the next year, are expected to be released in the coming weeks.