John Piper is the well known and highly regarded (and recently retired) Pastor for Preaching and Teaching at Bethlehem Church in Minnesota, and the leader of Desiring God Ministries. Piper is widely recognized for his ability to teach, and he has contributed significantly to the revitalization of the Reformed faith that has taken place in the American church in recent decades.

I recently heard it said that he does not subscribe to all five of the "Main Points of Doctrine" in the Canons of Dordt, popularly known as the five points of Calvinism, or "T.U.L.I.P." -- specifically, that he does not agree with limited atonement.

Is this true? If so, where has he said so online?

2 Answers 2


John Piper is a Five Point Calvinist. From the limited atonement section of Bethlehem Baptist Church's doctrinal position "What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism" (compiled by Piper and "the Council of Elders"):

On the other hand we do not limit the power and effectiveness of the atonement. We simply say that in the cross God had in view the actual redemption of his children. And we affirm that when Christ died for these, he did not just create the opportunity for them to save themselves, but really purchased for them all that was necessary to get them saved, including the grace of regeneration and the gift of faith.

I tried googling "Canons of Dort" "John Piper" so far I haven't found anything relevant.

Anyway, when did you heard it? recently?

Update 8/14/2013

Ok, I think I found the article by googling "John Piper" Amyraldian. The author thinks that John sounds like holding onto amyraldian view.

Below is the statement of John Piper that the author highlighted

We do not deny that all men are the intended beneficiaries of the cross in some sense. 1 Timothy 4:10 says that Christ is "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." What we deny is that all men are intended as the beneficiaries of the death of Christ in the same way. All of God's mercy toward unbelievers -- from the rising sun (Matthew 5:45) to the worldwide preaching of the gospel (John 3:16) -- is made possible because of the cross.

"Whence does this mercy flow to sinners? How is God just to withhold judgment from sinners who deserve to be immediately cast into hell? The answer is that Christ's death so clearly demonstrates God's just abhorrence of sin that he is free to treat the world with mercy without compromising his righteousness. In this sense Christ is the savior of all men."

"But he is especially the Savior of those who believe. He did not die for all men in the same sense. The intention of the death of Christ for the children of God was that it purchase far more than the rising sun and the opportunity to be saved. The death of Christ actually saves from ALL evil those for whom Christ died "especially.""

"Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved. But John does not believe in such universalism (John 5:29). Therefore it is very unlikely that 1 John 2:2 teaches that Jesus is the propitiation of every person in the world."

However, if one will go through the whole page the author referenced from, especially John's last statements

We can conclude this section with the following summary argument. Which of these statements is true?

  1. Christ died for some of the sins of all men.

  2. Christ died for all the sins of some men.

  3. Christ died for all the sins of all men.

No one says that the first is true, for then all would be lost because of the sins that Christ did not die for. The only way to be saved from sin is for Christ to cover it with his blood.

The third statement is what the Arminians would say. Christ died for all the sins of all men. But then why are not all saved? They answer, Because some do not believe. But is this unbelief not one of the sins for which Christ died? If they say yes, then why is it not covered by the blood of Jesus and all unbelievers saved? If they say no (unbelief is not a sin that Christ has died for) then they must say that men can be saved without having all their sins atoned for by Jesus, or they must join us in affirming statement number two: Christ died for all the sins of some men. That is, he died for the unbelief of the elect so that God's punitive wrath is appeased toward them and his grace is free to draw them irresistibly out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Apparently, these statements are typical of a Five-point Calvinist showing that statements 1 and 3 does not hold water.

The way I see it, John Piper made it clear that Christ died for the elect, differently from the non-elect, by purchasing actual salvation, unlike the non-elect, who receives common grace.

Lastly, it's easy to be confused by John's statement because Limited Atonement is usually defined in context of the Elect and the saving benefits of the cross. After all Mark Driscol used the term Limited/Unlimited Atonement and his brand of Calvinism was called 4.5 pointer. It pays well to understand what someone is really saying before we pass judgement.


Short Answer: John Piper is clearly a five-point Calvinist. There appears to be no valid reason to think he is a four-point Calvinist.

More Information: There are a number of places on the web that claim that John Piper denies the doctrine of limited atonement -- the "L" in "TULIP," the acronym associated with five-point Calvinism. It appears that none of these claims offer a valid source citation of any of Piper's works; those that do offer a reference take statements out of context.

Documents that substantiate the counter-claim that Piper is, in fact, a five-point Calvinist:

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