John Piper has described the scandal that hit megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll as a "colossal Satanic victory" and compared it to Muslims taking over North Africa and the Middle East from Christians.
Released on the US pastor's 'Desiring God' YouTube channel, Piper said that he first heard Driscoll's preaching and thought it "very, very good" but that he "didn't like everything about Mars Hill," Driscoll's former church in Seattle.
Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill last year, following allegations of plagiarism and a bullying leadership style. But Piper advised Christians to be "slow to judge" as everyone fails and lets Jesus down.
He said that his relationship with Driscoll began after he wrote to Mark to praise his preaching. "We met, we talked, he talked of me as a mentor, an admired older guy," said Piper. "But I didn't have as much influence as I wished I could.
"The debacle in Seattle is a tragedy, from untold angles," said Piper, who is best known for authoring the book 'Desiring God' and his conservative Calvinist theological stance. "It was a defeat for the gospel, it was a defeat for Mark, it was a defeat for evangelicalism, for Reformed Theology, for complementarianism. It was a colossal Satanic victory.
"[God] permitted a tactical defeat for the gospel. The entire swath of North Africa used to be pervasively Christian, it's totally Muslim. Almost the entire Middle East has Christianity that went way back before Muslims came on the scene... I'm totally convinced God is in charge, he knows what he is doing."
Piper advised people not to walk away from their faith because of the actions of people such as Mark. "Don't throw the baby of truth out of the bathwater of sin. To walk away from Jesus because Jesus' representatives are failures is to make an absurd choice... Jesus is the one person in the whole universe who has no defects, no failures."
Driscoll is reportedly moving to Phoenix, Arizona, where there is speculation that he may have plans to build a new church. Driscoll has repented of his past behaviour in public, including recent regrets about his criticisms of much maligned megachurch pastor Joel Osteen.