You only thought junior high was over. But lately the evangelical blog world has been abuzz because John Piper invited Rick Warren to speak for his Desiring God National Conference, October 1–3, 2010. You see, a lot of folks who like John don't like Rick. So now some of John's friends aren't sure they want to hang out with him anymore. They may not come to his party in Minneapolis. And they aren't sure that you should either.

Perspective isn't a virtue often associated with blogs. In a world desperately in need of the gospel, we spend much of our time and energy debating who's in and who's out, who's up and who's down. Though Piper and Warren are two of today's most prominent evangelical leaders, you can hardly blame discerning observers for asking, "Who cares?"

At the risk of causing reader whiplash, I want to make the case for caring. Don't get me wrong. I'm no apologist for the rank tone of debate that helped convince Justin Taylor to close comments on his must-read blog, Between Two Worlds. And the world just might be a better place if those of us who talk for a living picked up our crosses and carried them into the world's most needy places. At the same time, reaction to Warren's invitation reveals something that demands reflection. Negative campaigning may be the shortest path to successful movement building. But it eventually leads to a fork in the road, offering the choice of constructive responsibility or destructive cynicism. By inviting Warren, Piper has challenged his followers to choose which path they will take.

Not all of the criticism of Piper for inviting Warren has been unduly harsh. In fact, several thoughtful writers have raised serious questions for both men. Influential Reformed blogger Tim Challies ...

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