Piper explains why he extended the invitation: He first met Warren at Ralph Winter's funeral where they sat by one another on the platform for 3 hours. Warren told Piper that he had read everything Piper had written, which Piper doubted. But then Warren said something that caught Piper's attention.
Warren explained that every year he picks a major theologian and read all his works. He explained that at the time he was halfway through Jonathan Edwards' works. Piper was astounded, because what would the most pragmatic pastor in America be interested in deep theology like that for? (Plus, it's a sizable work, and Edwards isn't quick reading.) At the time Warren was in Vol. 17 of Yale's publication of Edwards' works.
So based on that and some follow-up interviews, he invited Warren to his Pastors Conference, the theme of which is "Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God."
The whole linup for that conference is as follows:
- Al Mohler – “The Way the World Thinks: Meeting the Natural Mind in the Mirror and in the Market Place”
- Rick Warren – “Thinking Purposefully for the Glory of Christ: The Life of the Mind and Global Reality"
- R. C. Sproul (via video) – “Thinking Deeply in the Ocean of Revelation: The Bible and the Life of the Mind”
- Thabiti Anyabwile – “Thinking for the Sake of Global Faithfulness: Confronting Islam with the Mind of Christ”
- Francis Chan – “Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride”
- John Piper – “Thinking for the Sake of Joy: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”