Blog Posts by John Piper

The Sovereign God of “Elfland” (Why Chesterton’s Anti-Calvinism Doesn’t Put Me Off)

John Piper

Ever since my days at Wheaton College, when I followed Clyde Kilby’s advice to read G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, it has been one of my favorite books. I think it’s the only book I have read more than twice (except for the Bible).

This is strange. Not only was Chesterton a Roman Catholic, he also hated Calvinism. So what’s up with me and Orthodoxy? I still think at least half a dozen Roman Catholic distinctives are harmful to…

Continue Reading

A Word for Those Who Have Forsaken Jesus

John Piper

How eager Jesus was to restore broken fellowship with his apostles after the resurrection! Surely this is a sign of how eager he is to restore us when we have drifted (or bolted) away.

All the apostles had forsaken him. In the garden, at his most sorrowful hour, "They all left him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

Now he was raised. What would he say to those who had abandoned him? Three healing things:

  1. To Mary at the tomb: “Go to…

Continue Reading

Not by Bread Alone: Let’s Live on God’s Word in 2012

John Piper

At Bethlehem we close prayer week with a focus on the value of reading and memorizing Scripture in the new year. I preach on the value of God’s word and the importance of reading and memorizing the Scripture every day.

Justin Taylor has pulled together a list of possible ways to read the Bible in this new year.

I encourage everyone to take the closing days of the year to plan how you are going to read the Bible in…

Continue Reading

How Desiring God Works

John Piper

Dear Friends of Desiring God,

Desiring God exists to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, especially by focusing on the truth, and its implications, that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

We want to spread that truth and all of its amazingly God-exalting, practical implications everywhere in the world. So when the world passes beyond the seven billion population…

Continue Reading

What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile

John Piper

There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.

As I look back over about 50 years of such periodic mornings, I am amazed how the Lord Jesus has preserved my life. And…

Continue Reading

A Poem on Our 43rd Wedding Anniversary

John Piper

Sometimes I write poems for our anniversary. Sometimes on our anniversary. This one I wrote on our anniversary, December 21st. It addresses the question of where in this baffling, unknown, fragile world certainty and security can be found.

The Bridge and the River
A Poem on Our 43rd Anniversary

I count at least two thousand gray triangles
in the two-lane bridge that links Wisconsin
to the town

where we sat by a gas fire,
marked our forty-third wedding anniversary,
ate…

Continue Reading

Outwitted and Victorious

John Piper

This is not a plea to be thoughtless. It’s not an argument for ignoring strategy. God uses strategy (Joshua 8:4).

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). Yes. Make the horse ready. But it is also true: Sometimes the enemy strikes when there is no time to get the horse ready. And victory still belongs to the Lord.

For example, Jeroboam tricked Abijah, king of Judah, by laying…

Continue Reading

Should We Be Tenderhearted?

John Piper

The longer I live the more complexities I see in living. They’re not as paralyzing as they used to be. I pray more for a spiritual nose to sniff out the path between precipices.

Take tender-heartedness, for example. I think one of the most practical and important passages in the whole Bible is Ephesians 4:31–32. God put that there for me. It is one of the most important mandates in my life.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and

Continue Reading

Christopher Hitchens, the Mission of Desiring God, and God's Word About Death

John Piper

Three things came together in the last thirty-six hours to create this post. The death of Christopher Hitchens, the Desiring God Board meeting Thursday, and the word of God.

  1. Christopher Hitchens died Thursday night. He was, perhaps, the most aggressive of the “new atheists.” I am sobered and made quiet by the probability (though we do not know his final hours) that he is in torment today awaiting his final judgment and the lake of fire.
  2. Also on Thursday the…
Continue Reading

Can Authentic Faith Be Awakened by a Physical Miracle?

John Piper

Did Jesus teach that miracles are useless for those who reject the word? Here’s the story he told:

From hades the rich man implored Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers not to come to that place of torment.

But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.”

The rich man said, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”

Abraham disagreed: “If they do not hear

Continue Reading

To See His Supernova God, Put Your Eye to Edwards' Telescope

John Piper

I stand in awe of Michael McClymond and Gerald McDermott’s massive The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2011). Edwards is worthy of this scope of treatment.

But may I register a disagreement with one way this book is being commended.

Alistair McGrath said that it is “unquestionably the best starting place for anyone wanting to grapple with the ideas of America’s greatest theologian.”

And Kenneth Minkema said, “This volume provides the single best entry point into Edwards’ writings…

Continue Reading

The Great Ministry Killer

John Piper

Money is a great ministry killer. Look at what happened to Israel’s spiritual leaders from top to bottom.

The heads of Jacob give judgment for a bribe;
its priests teach for a price;
its prophets practice divination for money;
yet they lean on the Lord and say,
“Is not the Lord in the midst of us? (Micah 3:11)

And what is so shocking — and relevant — is that they had not forsaken the talk of “leaning on the Lord

Continue Reading

How a Book Is Born

John Piper

Did you ever wonder how a book idea is born in an author’s mind? Here is one way it happened.

The Pleasures of God was published in 1991. The first inkling I had of the conception behind this book came to me on September 12, 1986. Here is how it came — a direct quote from my journal from that day:

As I was praying today, the thought came to me that another book to write would be “The Happiness
Continue Reading

Thank you, Father

John Piper

Thank you, Father, for my life.
Thank you for my precious wife.

Thank you, Father, for my girl.
Thank you for this deep-sea pearl.

Thank you, Father, for my sons,
Fathers, wives, the little ones.

Thank you for the church I serve,
Staff and friends I don’t deserve.

Thank you, Father, for my birth,
Who can measure parents’ worth?

Thank you, Father, for the schools,
Mental tools, and passion fuels.

Thank you, Father, for my eyes,
Wonders of the earth…

Continue Reading

Rob Not Your Heart of the Deep Sea Joys

John Piper

In the history of the Christian Church there have been few people more eloquent than Charles Spurgeon. That makes his words about silence all the more striking.

Priceless as the gift of utterance may be, the practice of silence in some aspects far excels it. Do not think me a Quaker. Well, be it so. Herein I follow George Fox most lovingly; for I am persuaded that most of us think too much of speech, which after all is but…

Continue Reading

Helping You Sing “Hallelujah” with True Exuberance

John Piper

The English word “hallelujah” is a transliteration of two Hebrew words, "hallelu" and "jah". The first word, "hallelu", is the second person imperative of “praise.” The second word, "jah," is the short form of "Jahweh" (or "Yahweh").

So when we say, “Hallelujah!” we are exhorting others (people and angels) to join us in praising Yahweh.

What gives a punch to my singing, “Hallelujah,” is that Jah (= Yahweh) is not a generic word for God, but the personal name of…

Continue Reading

Steve Jobs: “He Knew the Couple of Things He Wanted to Do”

John Piper

Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson, went on sale yesterday. In an interview Isaacson commented on the effect Jobs’ cancer had on his life focus.

He talked a lot to me about what happened when he got sick and how it focused him. He said he no longer wanted to go out, no longer wanted to travel the world. He would focus on the products. He knew the couple of things he wanted to do, which was the…

Continue Reading

Jesus Died to End Abortion and Racism

John Piper

Seventeen years ago I linked Martin Luther King Day with Sanctity of Life Sunday for the first time. Since then I have tried to preach a pair of sermons back to back in January — one for the glory of Christ in racial harmony, and one for the glory of Christ in a sacred womb.

This has the unsettling effect of making me sound like a Democrat one week and a Republican the next. Which is just the way I…

Continue Reading

One of My Teachers Has Died

John Piper

Arthur Holmes was one of two philosophy teachers (the other was Stuart Hackett) who had a significant influence in shaping my mind at Wheaton College. I thank God for him.

I wrote in The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor,

In one sense my college and seminary days relate to each other as form and substance. The college days solidified passions and habits of mind. The seminary days defined what the focus of those habits would be,…

Continue Reading

Thank you, Brazil!

John Piper

This is a photoblog to say thank you publicly to some of the friends we made in Brazil last week. October 3-9 Noël and I, with Bob and Gayle Glenn and Bill and Cindi Walsh, flew to Sao Paulo. Over those seven days there were three different conferences, the Fiel Conference, the conference at Mackenzie University, and the rally in Rio de Janerio.

Thank you, Brazil, for embracing us in your friendship, and making us a partner in your…

Continue Reading

My Experience with Racism and Reformed Theology

John Piper

The Bible and the Reformed faith have been used to defend racism and slavery. But, if you take the long view, in every case, the day came when the very Bible, and the very faith, that had once condoned racism and slavery, were finally used as part of its undoing.

This was certainly the case in my own experience. It was not Reformed theology that in any way spurred or strengthened my adolescent racism. In those days I was as…

Continue Reading

The Laugh of Faith and the Power of Prayer

John Piper

I praise God for Jason Mandryk and his team who put together the seventh edition of Operation World. The subtitle is The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation. Just the other day I was having my world adjusted by reading and praying over the section on Palestine (The Palestine Authority).

Where does a book of this scope come from? What drives its production? It’s the vision of God, and the laugh of faith. Here’s the answer:

All the…

Continue Reading

What Would John Stott Say to Us After Our Conference on Missions?

John Piper

Something like this I think:

The highest of missionary motive is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal — burning and passionate zeal — for the glory of Jesus Christ. . . . Only one imperialism is Christian . . . and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and…

Continue Reading

Keeping the Missions Flame Alive

John Piper

It’s Monday the day after our National Conference on the theme, Finish the Mission. I slept till 9, got up, went to the gym with Noël, came home, opened my Bible, read two chapters and fell asleep till 12:30. Then we went on our day-off date to Baja Sol.

When I came home, I felt the burden to speak to those of you who stood up in the last session declaring that you either knew God was calling you…

Continue Reading

Victor Converses with Death

John Piper

It was one of the great privileges of my life to speak the word of God at the memorial service for 14-year-old Victor Manuel Watters on September 11, 2011. Sober, painful, and joyful — that’s how I would describe this unexpected way to mark 9/11.

Victor died of cancer — Ewing’s Sarcoma. At the age of nine he was in the hospital alone. His birth family was unable to care for him. Mike and Deb Watters were often on the…

Continue Reading