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Tonight the elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church  unanimously voted to present Jason Meyer as their candidate to succeed John Piper, pending congregational approval. The announcement from executive pastor Sam Crabtree can be read here.

The vote will come in two stages: (1) on May 20, 2012, the congregation will vote on him as associate pastor for preaching and vision, beginning that role on August 1, 2012; (2) then, as Piper’s pastoral ministry draws to an end, there will be a vote for Meyer as pastor for preaching and vision.

Bethlehem has provided a number of documents, including Sam Crabtree’s “What I Think God Is Doing With Succession at Bethlehem Baptist Church: An Overview,” an advocacy paper from the Search Team, and Meyer’s CV.

John Piper writes to the congregation of Bethlehem regarding Meyer’s candidacy:

I joyfully and expectantly commend him to you with all my heart. Not only because of a long list of gifts and graces and competencies, but also because I believe God has chosen him and anointed him for this role. May the Lord confirm this with a hope-filled, happy, unified vote of the Bethlehem family.

Piper on the Transition

Piper has provided a document answering several questions:

  • How do you feel about Jason’s candidacy?
  • What was your role in choosing and testing Jason Meyer?
  • Why are you stepping down from your pastoral role?
  • What will you do?
  • What will your relationship to Bethlehem be?
  • How do you feel?

In short, Piper is convinced that Meyer is the right man to succeed him in Bethlehem’s pulpit; he was involved in the process of selecting two candidates for this position but then recused himself so that it would be a decision of the whole elder council without being unduly swayed by his significant influence; he still has joyful energy to preach but feels increasingly incompetent and less focused for fruitful and effective visionary leadership of Bethlehem’s organization and structure; they will remain at the church (after a year away) and he serve as chancellor and teacher at Bethlehem College and Seminary, and as founder and teacher at Desiring God.

Piper summarizes his feelings at this stage as follows:

Overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s faithfulness for 32 years, and for his provision for the next season under Jason.

Sorrowful for my personal and ministerial failures of the last decades.

Affectionate for you, the people I have loved and served.

Confident that God has greater things in store for you than you can imagine. And for us. For the Christian, the best is always yet to come. Always.

You can read the whole document here.

Introducing Jason Meyer

Here is a brief biographical sketch of Jason Meyer. He grew up in South Dakota and did his undergraduate work at Oklahoma Wesleyan University (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)—where he sensed the Lord calling him to vocational ministry during his sophomore year.

After graduating, Jason married Cara Wieczorek, and in the summer of 1999 they became members of Bethlehem Baptist Church as Jason entered The Bethlehem Institute apprenticeship and seminary program (1999-2001).

From there they moved to Louisville, as Jason earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (2002) and then a New Testament Ph.D. under Tom Schreiner (2007).

While completing his Ph.D., Jason served as pastor of Orville Baptist Church in Pleasureville, KY. From 2006-2009 he was Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at Louisiana College in Pineville, LA. In the spring of 2010, the Meyers lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Jason taught New Testament at Evangelical Theological College and their family pursued adoption.

In the summer of 2010, Jason and Cara returned to Bethlehem with their four children—two girls, and two boys from Ethiopia—as Jason accepted an appointment at Bethlehem College and Seminary, where he serves as assistant professor of New Testament.

He is the author of The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology (B&H Academic, 2009)—a revision of his dissertation—and he is currently writing Preaching: A Biblical Theology for Crossway (due out in August 2013).

Meyer is 36 years old. Piper was 34 when he began his pastoral ministry at Bethlehem in 1980.

You can hear some of his sermons online: “Putting the Word to Work through Prayer” (2 Timothy 3:14-17) and “The Heart of Christmas” (Matthew 2:1-12), or you can watch below a video of him preaching at the BCS chapel “On Love” (1 John 3:11-18):

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39 thoughts on “Jason Meyer: Candidate to Succeed John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church”

  1. Jason is a great man! I am so happy he has been appointed.

  2. Juan Maclean says:

    holy cow – this guy looks like, preaches like, and sounds like John Piper. Its almost weird to watch because of the similarities

  3. John says:

    Were they trying to get a clone? You can tell how Piper has influenced him. His voice (the stress he puts on his vocal cords), his hand gestures, where he uses inflection and stress on his words, and his preaching style are all nearly identical to Piper. I’m not evaluating by this comment. Only making an observation I think is quite evident. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is not an appropriate conversation in the present. I congratulate Jason and rejoice with the people of Bethlehem at this news. May he be faithful to the gospel throughout his entire ministry.

  4. Freddy T. Wyatt says:

    No other person has impacted my life as John Piper has through his preaching and writing. I will forever be grateful for him. It is hard to imagine anyone ever following him at BBC.

    My first semester in seminary at SBTS I enjoyed meeting and briefly getting to know Jason Meyer in a class. He was later garret fellow/grader for Dr. Schreiner and taught our New Testament class a few different times. I’ll never forget a 30 minute tutoring session Meyer gave me on arching one day. His spirit is really unlike any man I’ve met. Never have I been so marked by such a short time with a man as I was Jason. God’s hand is on him in such a special way. This is great news for the people at Bethlehem and all those who have benefited as I have from Desiring God.

    1. Yes, whenever Jason would fill in for Dr. Schreiner it was a treat! Having the opportunity to listen to Dr. Schreiner was a wonderful blessing. Then getting to hear Jason fill in during ETS time was icing on the cake.

  5. Jeff Miller says:

    Well said Freddy. I too enjoyed getting to know Jason through his role as Dr. Schreiner’s Garret Fellow. Best of luck Jason – you will be in my prayers!

  6. I agree that there is a lot of similarities between Piper and Meyer, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. Like others who have commented here, I have personally been impacted by Jason’s life and personal ministry. Some personal thoughts FWIW:

    May the Lord richly bless BBC during this time and confirm all of His purposes for them both now and in the next season in the church’s mission.

    1. Chris Zmuda says:

      Thank you, Timmy!

  7. David says:

    There is a hyper link for every school except Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Why is that?

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Inadvertent error, which I’ve fixed. I drafted it without reference to his undergrad work, then went back and added it while neglecting a link. No conspiracy, I promise! :)

  8. Jody Kitts says:

    Either it was overlooked or someone has a problem with the word Wesleyan. Let’s give them time to fix the overlooking.

  9. Andy Naselli says:

    I’m delighted to hear this!

  10. Jeff says:

    Meyer’s dissertation was published by B&H Academic as “The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology.” I thought it was very good. It is one of the definitive works in the movement known as “New Covenant Theology,” although Meyer never uses that term to define his position.

    1. FirstRP says:

      And that seems to be precisely what is going to be wrong with Jason Meyer. Here I had a mild hope BBC would find someone with Reformed convictions, albeit a Baptist.

      1. Jeff says:

        Why would a Baptist church want to call a pastor who believed in Covenant Theology (which was basically developed by Zwingli and Calvin as a defense for infant baptism)? New Covenant Theology is a truly Baptist way to view redemptive history, and I am looking forward to listening to Meyer’s preaching for many years.

        1. Kyle says:

          With all due respect this seems a little misinformed. New Covenant Theology is not a “truly Baptist way” to view history. It wasn’t developed until recently (by John Reisinger and Fred Zaspel), and has even come under sharp criticism from…Baptists (see Richard Barcellos).
          The Baptist movement began during the second generation of the Reformation. And some of the greatest proponents of the Baptists at that time were still Covenantal in their approach to Scripture (e.g. John Bunyan and Nehemiah Coxe). Even their confessional statements advocated a modified form of covenant theology (Baptist Confession of 1677 and LBC 1689). Since then other staunch Baptists have given some wonderful arguments for the covenant of works/covenant of grace (see Charles Spurgeon and RBC Howell).
          NCT wants to offer a criticism of Dispensationalism, the problem is, the apple didn’t fall far enough away from the tree. So it’s not incredibly ignorant to have had a “mild hope” that BBC could have found someone a little more sympathetic to Reformed theology…and the historic Baptist position.

          1. Kyle says:

            Majoring in the minors, I’d say.

          2. Rick says:

            Wait…law/gospel is “majoring in the minors”?

            1. Kyle says:

              Nope, just the whole NCT/”Real Baptist” debate, which is definitely not law/gospel.

  11. Filipe Niel says:

    He speaks just like Dr. Piper.

  12. Alex says:

    I pray the Lord blesses everyone involved!

    What’s with the occasional weird negative comment? If you’re being taught by and have a long-standing personal and professional relationship with someone for over a decade, of /course/ you’re going to start mimicking them.

    We all have to mimic /someone’s/ non-verbals–they might as well be John’s.

  13. I think Jason is a great choice!

  14. WONDERFUL NEWS! Jason is a wonderful, godly man. Could not have been a better choice. Praise the Lord!

  15. Daniel Viezbicke says:

    “He really worked to try to achieve this.” Are you sure?

    As someone who has sat under Jason’s preaching in a limited capacity, there is certainly a level of influence that one can discern. But Jason is certainly his own preacher with his own emphasis and style. Watch all of the sermons listed above, or just wait and see his series in a few weeks. Try this sermon that’s not listed above:

  16. John F says:

    Sorry, Daniel, but you have responded to my post which was up for a very brief time and then deleted – despite the fact that I was not rude or insulting. I merely expressed respectfully an opinion that our moderator does not share and pointed out issues within Evangelicalism and for that reason my comment was removed. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to dialogue on this subject if my comments keep getting deleted.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Sorry, John. If you’re going to publicly state something untrue and for which you can’t have knowledge, I’m going to delete it.

  17. Stephen Kim says:

    This almost brought me to tears.
    It marks the end of an era.

    Being a pastor in my thirties as well, I can’t help but feel the immense spiritual debt we owe to our predecessors. We have been trained well. May we expand the Kingdom and pass off the baton to the next generation with the same godly grace.

    It is a joy to watch John Piper handle this transition of leadership with a godly, pro-active humility. This will only serve to the benefit of Bethlehem.

    Perhaps no preacher has had the impact on my life as Dr. John Piper. In an age where godly men are scarce, he uniquely combined surgically sharp exegesis with godly character off the pulpit. As a New Yorker, I only met Piper once. As a student at Southern Seminary, I was his next door neighbor for a week at the Legacy hotel on-campus. Though I tried to hide my childish excitement, he was truly gracious in taking the time to talk to me and listen to my plans in ministry.

    Barring any unknown heinous sin that has yet to be revealed, John Piper will go down as one of my “Hebrews 11″ type heroes…ordinary men used for the glory of God.

    And like all clay vessels, this one has fulfilled his Master’s purpose. It is now time for a replacement. May the future for Bethlehem continue to be bright.

    1. MIke says:

      Stephan, I agree with you, it is awesome to see the transition. It is also interesting to see the end of an era, I have learned so much from Piper.

      As Jason steps into these large shoes, I am praying that the Lord will fill him with his spirit, protect him from the fear of man and boldly proclaim the word of God.

  18. James says:

    We need to address pastor worship. I know we celebrate what God is doing through these men but some of it smacks of outright worship, and focusing on what a worthy successor or how godly they are? I don’t recall Paul using or condoning any such language in the scripture.Anywhere. It christian celebrityism and we need to repent of it.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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