John Piper, a Reformed theologian, admitted that many people in his camp have criticized Rick Warren about his theology as expressed in his bestsellerThe Purpose Driven Life. The influential pastor, however, said he doesn't get what all the fuss is about and thinks Warren is theologically sound after reading the book.
In a recent 98-minute interview, Piper asks Warren some tough theological questions and allows Warren to explain what he really believes.
The following is a partial transcript of the interview.
JOHN PIPER, HOST: My name is John Piper and I'm here with Rick Warren in the studio at Saddleback Church here in Southern California. And this is a finishing of something we started last fall when we didn't get to...
RICK WARREN: That is exactly right. It's a promise we made.
PIPER: Thanks for fulfilling the promise. It is a great honor to do this here. So let me set it up because I got a way I want to do this. You don't even know yet how we are going to do this, but you agreed to do it. I want to focus, Rick, on doctrine. I want to focus on The Purpose Driven Life. Everything I have to ask comes from, all these pages here come from The Purpose Driven Life. I read it with a fine-toothed comb and I don't know how often you are seriously and appreciatively interviewed concerning doctrine.
WARREN: Not very often.
PIPER: You are known for a lot of other things. So what we're going to set it up is to say that I value the other things that you're committed to besides Biblical doctrine, and it is for the sake of those things that I care about foundations.
WARREN: I get interviewed about those stuff all the time.
PIPER: So you've said things like not right wing, not left wing, the whole bird. I like knocking down stereotypes of evangelicals on social issues. It seems to me that if I care and you care that what you are standing for at that level is there with a Christ-exalting core in a hundred years, the foundations better be good. That is what we are going to talk about; we are going to talk about foundations. But let me mention the PEACE plan: pursuing reconciliation, equipping servant leaders, assisting the poor, caring for the sick, educating the next generation.
Now, what I want to say is who could not love those five commitments. And therefore, doctrine in my mind is not a distraction from or in competition with those kinds of commitments.
WARREN: Actually it is the driver.
PIPER: Yes. And The Purpose Driven Life. Here is one more agenda that I have besides strengthening foundations or making them more explicit. I read The Purpose Driven Life very carefully. These are 20 pages of notes.
PIPER: And I have read critiques of it. And one of my agenda is to do an appreciative critique. And I think it will feel to you, I hope it does, mainly appreciative. Because frankly I am appalled at the kinds of slanders that have been brought against this book by people whose methods of critique if they were consistently applied to the Bible would undo it as the Word of God.
I am one of these Reformed types and my type tends to get on your case pretty often. When I read the book, I thought, what's the issue here? So I want to get you talking about things that are there that , I think, really significant. So, I'm going to do a bunch of quoting from the book, and then I'm going to pitch you the ball and talk a little more about it. So let's start where the book starts and where I'd love to start – namely the glory of God.
Page 17, it is not about you. If you want to know why you were placed on the planet, you must begin with God.
Page 53, the ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God.
Page 53 later on, what is the glory of God? It is who God is. It is the essence of His nature; the weight of His importance; the radiance of His splendor; the demonstration of His power; the atmosphere of His presence.
Page 54. We are commanded to recognize His glory, honor His glory, declare His glory, praise His glory, reflect His glory, and live for His glory.
Page 268. Our goal is to make God look good in the universe.
Page 101. Heartless praise is not praise at all. It is worthless and an insult to God.
So there is a sampling that makes my spine tingle with gladness. Here are a few questions. Where did this focus come from? Or, any special influences? Or, since we talked about this years ago at Ralph Winter's funeral, any influence from Jonathan Edwards? However, the roots of it all.
WARREN: Sure. Well, definitely Edwards is an influence. Edwards is without a doubt the most brilliant mind America ever produced. I'm not talking about theologian; I'm talking about mind and everybody. I put him above Einstein and everybody else. It is passionate, enlightened intellect. He used his mind. I have read through the complete set of Jonathan Edwards – it was about 22 volumes and 800 pages each – he clearly was an influence on me.
But I think actually out of my Baptist background – my father was a Baptist pastor, my grandfather, my great grandfather, I think I told you before was led to Christ by Charles Spurgeon and sent to America as a church planter. And so, I still have books from four generations. I actually preached on this this morning about the multi-generational blessing of having grandfathers and great grandfathers praying for you before you were even born. And I know that I am floating on the benefit of other people. I do not deserve the blessings that I've gotten. And I was talking today about starting that legacy, maybe if your parents are not Christian and moving into that.
But it is very clear that the heavens declare the glory of God. We learn a lot about the glory of God without even Scriptures. We know God is organized. We know God likes variety. We know God is powerful. All these things. So the heavens declare the glory of God. But I will tell you this, I know I have taken some shots from John MacArthur on this, but I will tell you that his book many years ago when I was a teenager, he had a chapter in his book on the seventeen ways we bring glory to God. I never have forgotten about that. In fact, I've preached that message in which he talks about this brings glory to God, your sanctification and all those ways, in bearing much fruit we bring glory to God. And I taught that myself for many years when I was in high school I wrote a message – it was a two hour message – and I taught it all over California on what it means to bring glory to God.
So it has been in my heart really from my teenager years.
PIPER: One of the connotations of "kavod," the Hebrew word for glory, is weight. David Wells laments that the reality of God lies lightly on the American church. Now, I would like to know if you agree with that. How do you avoid fostering an atmosphere of trifling or flippancy or breezy superficiality when it comes to the weight of God, the weight of the glory of God?
WARREN: My hermeneutics is when I see verses in Scripture that are "apparent" contradictions – I don't believe they are contradictions – I believe them both. I believe them both. I believe take up your cross and deny yourself and follow me, and I believe come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. They are different sides of the same thing. And I believe the weight of glory is a serious, what I call woe-lo-go text. I saw the Lord seated on His throne and woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips. Lo an angel touched my, and go. The words of cleansing, the word of confession, cleansing and commission. I believe that is part of the glory of God. I also believe what Irenaeus said – the glory of God is a human being fully alive.
So when I am playing with my grandchildren, that brings glory to God. So I don't think glory to God is simply serious. I do think that there is glory of God in laughter. I believe it all. And when I look at opposite passages, I believe them both.
PIPER: This is a very theocentric emphasis here, as oppose to Christocentric. So my question is would you, I ask this question because it was asked to me at The Gospel Coalition panel the other night, has your Godcentric message become more or less Christocentric, or Christ oriented? I told the story of how in the last 10 years or so, I have felt impulses in me, partly because of what I've seen in the Scripture as the cross being the center of everything and party because of the Islamic influences in the world. God talk doesn't cut it anymore.
WARREN: It doesn't.
PIPER: Christ talk is crucial. So my question is that if you wrote it today would it be the same or do you ...
WARREN: Oh no. Absolutely not. In the first place, I never intended The Purpose Driven Life to be read by unbelievers. I was presuming that people already had a certain basis of Scripture because I didn't actually write it as a book. I wrote it as a workbook for our 40 Days of Purpose, which is our annual spiritual growth campaign, which is not an evangelistic campaign, it's a spiritual growth emphasis that we have done every year for 30 years.
And so rather than writing a book and creating a campaign, I did it the exact opposite. I was writing it for my people, and it was only at the end that I thought that an unbeliever may need to read this. I better throw something in here about salvation. And actually, if I had known how many unbelievers would read it, I would have explained salvation far much more in detail. Really, I admit it was a cursory expression of it.
Now I believe in Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. I believe that we are in Christ, we are hid with Christ in God, and we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. So in essence, for Satan to get at me he has to go through the Trinity. So I 100 percent agree with you that we have to be even more Christocentric because of the influence of Islam today.
You know, I frequently speak to Muslims groups. Now, what do you expect a guy who has the gift of evangelism? Ok, I spend most of my time speaking to people who totally disagree with me. I speak to gays, I speak to atheists, I speak to secularists, I speak to Muslims because I am trying to build a bridge between my heart and theirs so Jesus can walk across and they can come to know Christ.
So if your God doesn't look like Jesus, we don't worship the same God, sorry.
PIPER: I'm going to come back to religions and the centrality of Jesus in a minute. But staying close to the glory of God, let me go to the next thing – sovereignty of God.
PIPER: Amazing statements here. I love them. So let me celebrate for a minute.
Page 111. God is all powerful, He's in control.
Page 195. Our hope is a certainty based on the truths that God is in complete control of our universe and that He loves us.
Page 94. God uses everything for good in our lives.
Page 193. God has a purpose behind every problem.
Page 194. Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God's permission. Everything that happens to a child of God, His father filtered and He intends to use it for the good and even when Satan and others mean it for bad because God is sovereignly in control. Accidents are just incidents in God's good plan for you.
Page 273. Your weaknesses are not an accident but deliberately allowed, very interesting phrase, deliberately allowed in your life for the purpose of demonstrating His power through you.
195. There is a grand designer behind everything. God's plan for your life, all that happens to you, including your mistakes, your sins, and your hurts.
And 196. This promise is only for God's children, it is not for everyone. All things work for bad for those living in opposition to God and insist on having their own way.
So question, how did you come to such a, I would call high or strong view of God's purposeful sovereignty? A lot of people would gag on those statements.
WARREN: Yea, they do. From the very beginning, I started preaching when I was 16 years old. So I began studying Scripture very seriously. I had done over a hundred revivals in Baptist churches before I was 20. So I am studying the Scripture as a kid and I'm noticing that Christians often wanted to excuse God from things that God doesn't need excusing from.
When He says, am I not responsible for the blind? Am I not responsible? God assumes much more responsibility, we are afraid to give Him that responsibility. Now, my personal view on this is that Romans 8:28 makes no sense without Romans 8:29. For whom He did foreknow he predestined to become conformed to the image of His son so that we might become the first born among many brethren.
To me, predestination – I know some people will disagree with this – is as much about sanctification as it is about. That we are predestined to become conformed to the image of His son. And what I've found on this is that how does God make us like His son? How does He make us like Jesus? If that's God's number one purpose, to make us like Christ. Well, it's not like we are walking down the street one day and zap, and all of the sudden I no longer worry anymore, or I'm always patient with everybody, and I'm always Christ-like. There is no pill, no conference, no book that can do that kind of sanctification.
I have found both from Scripture and experience that God allows us in the exact opposite situation in order to teach us character. Now, what is Jesus Christ? The fruit of the spirit is a good example. Jesus is total love, total joy, total peace, total patient, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. How does God teach me love? By putting me around unlovely people. How does God teach me joy in the middle of grief? Not happiness, which is based on happenings. How does God teach me peace? Not when I am out fishing and everything is going my way and it doesn't get better than this. But in the middle of chaos. How does God teach me patience? By putting me in His waiting room. So the exact opposite. Those are part of the sovereignty of God too.
PIPER: In that narration, you use two different kinds of verbs. You said put me and allowed me. And I can't believe these are accidental phrases.
WARREN: They're not! They are deliberate.
PIPER: You took a long time to write this book. You said the phrase, your weaknesses are not an accident but deliberately allowed. Here's my theological take on that statement. You are not an open theist, you think God knows the future. He knows something bad is coming. He could keep you from it and so what you mean by permit is that he doesn't keep you from it.
WARREN: I would even go further than that. I would say that God custom designed my weaknesses. I am not making God responsible for my sins. I do not believe God is responsible for my sins, some people may. But I believe that my own weaknesses are father-filtered and just as much as God touched Jacob's hip and he walked with a limb the rest of his life, that I have certain emotional weaknesses that are there to keep me dependent on God.
PIPER: Let's take sins. You said there is a grand designer behind everything. God's plan for your life and all that happens to you, including your mistakes, your sins. Now, sins are somehow folded into the plan.
WARREN: Of course they are, because He is sovereign. And the clearest way I can say it is when I am teaching on abortion. And I will say it this way. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. There are illegitimate parents, but there are no illegitimate children. You may not have planned your kids, but God did. And I believe that with all my heart.
PIPER: Even though it might be fornication that brought that kid about?
WARREN: Read the genealogy of Jesus, and you have to see how the four women in that genealogy God used their sins for His glory.
PIPER: So you meant it for evil and God meant it for good, could be written as a big banner over all the sins of our lives.
PIPER: God meant it.
WARREN: Genesis 50:20 applies to every area of life.
PIPER: How do you speak into tragic situation? You come into a situation where everybody who read these things and takes them seriously knows what you believe. You did it yesterday, so use yesterday as an example. You walked into a heart attack or a still birth or something, speak on how does the sovereignty of God inform how you speak.
WARREN: Well, before I get to the doctrinal part. I'll first start at the human part, which is simply sympathy. That I listen. My first word is not God can bring good out of this. I'm going to get them there. There is no doubt about, that is what I'm going with. But I don't start with that. I first start with weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, be sympathetic, show tenderness and brotherly kindness. All of those Scriptures that talk about sympathy.
I love the verse in Job, where it says a man deserves the devotion of his friends even when he forsakes the Almighty. Now what that verse means to me is, even if I were to say, right now I don't believe in God. I still need John Piper to be my friend, and say, I can believe God for you right now. I'm going to hold you up while you are ranting and railing, and God can handle my ranting and railing because He certainly handled David's and Job's and so many others.
So my first reaction in pastoral care is not to explain. And again, I don't think the primary purpose of the Bible is to explain suffering. I never have, because the actual explanations are often inadequate. I think the primary purpose of Scripture is to say I am all you need in this suffering and I need comfort. God does not owe me an explanation for what He does in my life. And if I am looking for that to feel better about my suffering, then I'm not going to get it.
PIPER: You say that, but I think what you mean is he doesn't need to give you detail explanations why this suffering at this moment at this time, but you do have a big explanation.
WARREN: Of course I do.
PIPER: The big one of why, because you said He uses it for this and this and this.
WARREN: I have two explanations. First, the explanation of sin. The fact that in the fall literally everything is broken. Nothing on this planet works. Every body is broken, none of our bodies works perfectly. Every relationship is broken. The weather is broken. I don't have a problem with hurricanes. Nothing works on this planet. This is not heaven, this is Earth and that is why we are to pray thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Why? Because God's perfect will is done perfectly in heaven. So I am to pray that done here.
And so I have the explanation of sin. Everything is broken so I should not expect anything. No marriage is going to work, you put to sinners together, you're not going to have a perfect relationship. I have even greater than that, I have the greater glory of God, the history is His story, that He is in charge and ultimately He knows what He's doing.
I can get the miniature explanations in heaven.
PIPER: One more thing on the sovereignty of God because of this phrase. This promise is only for God's children, Romans 8:28, it is not for everyone. All things work for bad for those who live in opposition. So I just jotted down here, what does that mean? What is the bad? I assume you mean a person who just until the end of his days is resisting and he dies without Christ and without God.
WARREN: Well, the Bible makes it really clear that if I am not receptive to the grace of God I am headed toward wrath. But more than just hell and wrath – obviously I do believe in hell. Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven – I trust him as the authority, not you, me or anybody else. If hell is not real, then Jesus was a liar and God has a lot of explaining to do on His justice and things like that.
But go back on that question, read it again to me.
PIPER: What does it mean that all things work for bad?
WARREN: Well, they clearly aren't working for good because God owes me nothing. He doesn't have to work for anything good in my life. That is only for those who are called according to His purpose.
PIPER: So when The Purpose Driven Life, written for believers is rooted profoundly in 8:28, 8:29.
WARREN: That is the central text in really the whole book. Romans 8:28, 8:29 for those He forknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of His son. It is about becoming like Christ.
PIPER: Why do you think, a book doesn't sell 40-50 million copies unless unbelievers are reading it. Are they stumbling over things like, things are going to go bad for us if we don't get saved.
WARREN: Well, I think everyone does selective reading. Everybody has a filter, and that is real easy for critics to see things from their perspectives, and I'm going, I didn't mean that at all. And believers do the same.
PIPER: Here is a question that would trouble a lot of people about you. Trying to figure you out in public, Larry King and Stephen Colbert. Do you hedge on sovereignty of God when you are in that kind of setting?
WARREN: Well I don't think so. I think if you go and look at those examples, Larry King has asked me very pointedly, for instance, about homosexuality two or three times and I made no bones about it. I said there is a right and there is a wrong. And I said, Larry, let's don't even argue this from Scripture. I said, take a human body, a male and a female, it is obvious that certain parts are meant together. There is a purpose and a design for it and there is a result of that. I rest my case.
So I don't have to defend God. It is like Spurgeon said with Scripture. Now, what I would want to say, since you brought that up about my public appearances, everyone needs to understand that there is one thing that motivates me. It is the global glory of God. I am first and foremost a missionary. I am an evangelist and a missionary.
So, for instance, when I have done political things, I couldn't care less about politics. I have zero interest in politics, really. They don't allure me. I have no interest in them, because if I could believe the law could change people's behavior then I would become a politician. But only Christ can change the heart.
So why do I accept Larry King and the inauguration of the last two presidents, and things like that? It was actually for international consumption, not national. In the last eight years, I had over 15,000 of my members overseas in this PEACE plan. And we were making a commitment to go to every nation, all 195 nations. That meant I had people in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, and many other places where they are not well accepted.
When I accepted the invitation to do the president's inauguration, who I clearly don't agree with, just like I would accept invitations to Larry King and whatever, it was because I knew every national leader, every king and president was watching that show. I thought that if I have a team that is in a country and they get in trouble, they can hold up a picture and say, "This is the president of the United States and this is my pastor." It may be able to get them out. So it really had nothing to do with national consumption. My motivation is really all about mission.
PIPER: Let me shift gears, not entirely from sovereignty of God, but just to push it up a level and ask a question about election.
PIPER: Would I be right to infer from your biblical commitments that your view of God's sovereignty, that you embrace the doctrine of unconditional election?
WARREN: Yes, I do. Of course I do.
PIPER: In other words, God can, does choose who will be saved before the foundation of the world, would that be right?
WARREN: Yes, my qualifier on that is I say if I find a verse that tends to say something else – "whosoever will may come" – I believe them both. My faith, my hermeneutics does not demand that I correlate every verse. In other words, there are often verses that appear, I'm a John 3:16 Christian, I believe God so loved the world, I do believe that, and I believe that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish. But I also believe, you know, predestination from the foundation of the Earth. So to me, I'm able to hold tensions in my mind rather than having to explain them. To me, I don't fit in a real good box and I believe them both.
PIPER: When you say you don't feel obliged to correlate them, let me restate that and see if you agree. You don't think that they ever contradict each other?
WARREN: I do not. I think any apparent contradiction in Scripture is my limited capacity, me trying to understand God is like an ant trying to understand the Internet. I don't have the brain capacity.
PIPER: It seems to me that in the Armenian Calvinistic debates over the centuries, Calvinists have spoken like you just did and Armenians tend to feel like they need to negate unconditional election. That true?
WARREN: That's probably true. Instead of saying can I see both/and. In other words, there's two kinds of thinking. There is conjunctive thinking and there's disjunctive thinking. Disjunctive thinking says it has to be either/or. Now clearly, there are some either/or's – I either trust Christ or I don't. I'm either pregnant or I'm not. But a lot of thinking in Scripture, when it comes to theology is, in my opinion, conjunctive thinking. It's both/and. I believe that and I believe that.
PIPER: And my experience, everybody's wired differently. When I see these two, I am pressed, if I can and sometimes you can't, to push them down until the root merges. They look like "whosoever will may come" is absolute truth, and "chosen before the foundation of the world" is an absolute truth and you just .... I think theology is an effort.
WARREN: That's why we need guys like you. (laughter)
PIPER: Here's an interesting thing – the importance of eternity in your book. A few quotes.
Page 9: The most important is to prepare you for eternity.
Verse 34: You weren't put on earth to be remembered; you were put here to prepare for eternity
Verse, uh page (laughter) verse ... this is not the Bible (laughter). Page 38: To make the most of your life you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart
Page 283, two more: Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them.
One more, 295: The eternal salvation of a single soul is more important than anything else you will ever achieve in life.
So before, don't just focus on eternal salvation. It seems to me that you're saying for life to make sense, for life to be lived to its fullest, you need to keep eternity in view. Most Americans don't agree with that at all. First of all, how does that work for you and then to say to the world, "You want the fullest life? Keep eternity in view." Why?
WARREN: Well I actually preached on that this morning where I was talking about the number one problem in our society today is short-term thinking. The only thing that matters is here and the only thing that matters is now. And America's inability to delay gratification is because we do not have eternal thinking. To me, thinking with the mind of Christ means to be thinking in light of eternity, which is what Colossians is all about; and that our lives are hid with Christ in God and that eternity, we're going to spend far more time on the other side of death than this side.
We get 80 years, maybe at the most 100. Trillions of years in eternity. This life is preparation for the next. This is the warm-up back, this is the dress rehearsal, this is the get ready, this is the first lap around the track before the real race begins because it is in eternity ... now the question people ask is if we're going to go spend eternity, why do we need this little time here on earth first? Why didn't God just create us and take us directly to heaven?
Well, in the first place, he wanted us to choose to love him. I believe that – love Is a choice. I believe that we love, that if I'm forced to love you then I don't know that I've really loved you. But what I'm saying is God wants us to practice on Earth what we're going to do forever in eternity, and what we're going to do in eternity is four things. The bible is real clear about this.
First we're going to worship in eternity. So what does God want me to do while we're here on earth? Practice. Practice worshipping. Second, we're going to fellowship in eternity. We know that because that's all who's going to be there – is believers. What does God want us to do here? Practice – learning how to love, learning how to fellowship here. Third thing, we're going to serve in eternity. We're not going to sit around on clouds; you know this whole idea of heaven is wearing white robes with angels and play a harp. To me, that would be hell. I can't think of anything more boring. You know a multicolor God who created this world is not going to put us in a white heaven. I guarantee you. But we're going to serve Him in heaven. So what does God want us to do? Practice.
And we are actually, I believe we're going to grow in heaven. I believe we're going to keep growing. The Bible says one day we shall see Him as He is, we shall become like Him. That's going to be obviously, becoming not gods, I don't believe that, that's the oldest lie in the Scripture, but becoming godly, becoming like Him.
Actually, what we can't do in heaven is sin and witness. And obviously God didn't leave us here to sin. So I've often said why doesGod leave us here on earth, once we accept Christ, once we're in the family, why didn't he just kill us. Why leave us here? Well, because he's working on our character through these trials, these tribulations, we're learning to practice what we're going to do in heaven. So really, the kingdom mindset is actually the eternal mindset. It's not just about eternal life. Eternal life is getting ready for that.
PIPER: How do you conceive of eternity? Here's the specific question: Heaven is usually used as the word where we're going and where we'll be. What's your understanding of the new heavens and the new earth? Where do we wind up after the resurrection?
WARREN: That's a good question. I do know I'm going to heaven. I have read all of the Scriptures and the passages that define paradise and things like that. To me, what matters is I'm going to be with Jesus and I'm going to be in his presence. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. At that point, you know some to judgment, some to salvation. In other words, what I'm saying is, I think one day Madonna's going to say Jesus is Lord, one day Muhammad is going to say Jesus is Lord, Hitler will say Jesus is Lord.
To me, heaven is a real place. I don't believe it's a state of being. I believe it is a real place and I believe it is a place where we're going to do these things. There's a reuniting, there are certainly going to be rewards. Bible makes that really clear that there are rewards in heaven. I believe there is reassignment. In other words, faithful in little things I will trust you in much. And if you have not been faithful with that which is not his own, who will give you your own. And if you've been unfaithful with unrighteous mammon who's going to trust you the true riches of heaven.
PIPER: So are you saying that you kind of leave open whether we wind up on the new earth?
WARREN: I do. I honestly haven't studied it. I have not studied it as deeply as I should because it's trite to say you know like on the Second Coming. I'm not on the time and place; I'm on the welcome committee. I need to explain this to people who are watching this because I've taken some hits for some of the things I've said seeming to devalue prophecy. I've taken a lot of criticism on that and I make my statements on the basis of two statements of Jesus. First, Jesus says in Matthew 25, no man knows the day nor the hour, neither the angles nor the son but only the Father which is in heaven. Now if Jesus didn't know when he was coming back, it's crazy for me to try to think ...
PIPER: So you don't think that say the PEACE plan or the labors to make life better here is going to be a continuity of improvement that goes into a kingdom on earth?
WARREN: Oh, I'm definitely not postmillennial. And I do not believe in bringing in the Kingdom by human means, in no sense of the matter. Now I do believe that the Kingdom of God is present wherever Jesus is king. That's my definition of the Kingdom of God. If Jesus is king in heaven then the Kingdom of God is in heaven. If Jesus is king, reign on earth then the Kingdom of Heaven is on earth. If Jesus is king in my heart, then the Kingdom of God is in me. It's wherever Jesus is king. So I don't kid myself, Jesus said the poor you'll have with you always. So our efforts to help the poor does not mean we're going to eradicate poverty.
PIPER: So the way you create an attractive heaven or future or eternity is by calling heaven a place because we're going to have new bodies, resurrected bodies. Jesus ate fish after he was resurrected, so you're taking it at least that far – resurrection of the bodies; lion will lay down with the lamb means...?
WARREN: Lion will lay down with the lamb. I don't have a problem with that.
PIPER: In heaven? They go to heaven? Animals go to heaven?
WARREn: Yea, I don't know.
WARREN: That's one of those questions I'm asked more often than anything else. Will my dog go to heaven? And I say well, the lion will lay down with the lamb. (laughs)
For more about the interview, visit the Desiring God website.