Monday, May 22, 2006

Piper - God is the Gospel

As some of you will know, I'm a bit of a fan of John Piper.

I think he is great at reminding those of us who claim to take the Bible seriously the importance of joy, the importance of delighting in Christ, the supreme wonders of God's glory. I think without people like him to remind us, it would be easy for sections of the Church (me included) to slip into a dry intellectualism.

A while back, I posted this quote from one of Piper's most recent books, God is the Gospel. I thought the quote was so striking I bought the book. Now I've started reading it. I've only read the introduction so far, but already it is a wonderful and much-needed wake-up call to the Church. I was in tears by the second page.

Here's a brief idea of it...

The best and final gift of the gospel is that we gain Christ....
In place of this, we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight of being made much of. The acid test of Biblical God-centredness - and faithfulness to the gospel - is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever? does your happiness hang on seeing the cross of Christ as a witness to your worth, or as a way to enjoy God's worth forever?

This distortion of divine love into an endorsement of self-admiration is subtle....If his love for us is at bottom his making much of us, who is really being praised?
John Piper, God is the Gospel

He's got a good point. Wow.

(Edited 13th June 2006) - Having now finished the book, I can add that Piper spends most of the rest of the book justifying what he has written in the introduction, then towards the end starts explaining it and expanding on it. Great book.


Daniel Hill said...

May I borrow it after you? Daniel Hill

John said...


Anonymous said...

I really love John Piper's books. The first book was "The Passion of Jesus Christ".

Before, I really am scared to believe the Calvinistic doctrines. I really can't comprehend with those doctrines while reading "The Five Points of Calvinism" my Uncle, a reformed Baptist, lent me. So I chose to prefer first "The Passion of Jesus Christ". I found it interesting because it's very rich, profound, doctrinally on target and very refreshing for me. Until I observed that what's written on it's pages leads to God's sovereignty and became my joy. Still, I have some bothering thoughts. I really prayed God would deliver me from that kind of feeling. And through Piper, God taught me how to appreciate the Beauty of His sovereignty above all things and it should bring me and Him eternal joy.

The second Piper book I read was "The Pleasures of God" and it really made me think and by the Holy Spirit my eyes were opened wide in awe. I was very hungry for the word of God. There were times that I sobbed in tears, pondering how great, how vast and how free God is to savor Himself. There were also times that I became exhausted from thinking so from time to time I stop and ponder at what I've just read, and re-read the whole chapter or section where I stopped. Through the Holy Spirit, my heart and mind was filled with Knowledge but not just mere knowledge, God provided a way not to rely on my own reasoning and "parrot" (ouch!) what's on His word.

Looking at what God is doing in my life, I think it's phenomenal. It strengthened my faith, realizing that God is of reason but beyond reason. Thank God for John Piper, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and others who were passionate to share and savor the joy that has been set before us, namely, Jesus Christ.