Blog Posts by John Piper
The Tragedy of Langston Hughes and a Warning I Will Heed
It’s Black History Month. The biggest book in my entire library is The Norton Anthology: African American Literature. It has 2,665 pages. Flop it open to the middle (like Psalms in the Bible) and you land on Langston Hughes—1902-1967.
In 1926, he wrote what became a manifesto for black artists of the time, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.”
We younger Negro artists who create now…
Sometimes He Kills Us to Save Us
Last November I blogged on my son Karsten Piper's poetry. I celebrated some of his awards and ended by saying "Perhaps we will post a few more of Karsten’s poems in the coming months."
Well, now that the winter issue of Rock and Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith has appeared I am able to post one of the best poems I have ever read on a…
What Makes The Humble Happy?
The humble are happy when they see other people boasting in the Lord.
“My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad” (Psalm 34:2).
The humble are happy when other people magnify the Lord with thanksgiving.
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. . . . When the humble see it they will be glad”…
Abraham Lincoln's Path to Divine Providence
Abraham Lincoln, who was born on this day 199 years ago, remained skeptical, and at times even cynical, about religion into his forties. So the most striking thing about Marvin Olasky’s recent article about Lincoln in World Magazine is to see how personal and national suffering drew Lincoln into the reality of God, rather than pushing him away.
In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son…Continue Reading
Sometimes Only God Can Feel Hope
Was the carnage of this past week in the USA extraordinary? These things came at us so fast that we did not click on them. Only when someone assembles them do they take our breath away.
Consider this from AP National Writer Ted Anthony:
Ugly things. Violent things. Elemental things. Epic things. The forces of nature and human anger unleashed in concentrated form across the land. Water and fire,…
Bombing, Abortion, & Down Syndrome
Al Qaida has moved another step toward western standards of abortion barbarity in using Down Syndrome women to blow boys and girls to pieces. The news is that this was not suicide bombing, but the detonation of retarded girls at a distance.
The disgust one feels for the kind of heart that does this could reveal to England and America how we should feel when we screen for Down Syndrome…Continue Reading
How Shall We Love Our Muslim Neighbor?
There are as many answers to this question as there are ways to do good and not wrong. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Here are some things that, it seems to me, need to be emphasized in our day.
- Pray the fullest blessing of Christ on them whether they love…
Something to Keep in Mind
Perseverance and Eternal Security
Here is the voice of my father for 4 minutes on how final salvation is contingent on perseverance, and yet eternal security and assurance are possible. It comes from an exposition of Colossians 1:21-23.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach…
Surveys and statistics are maddeningly fickle. So don’t exult too much in what follows. I only cite it in case you have been discouraged or elated by surveys saying the opposite.
It’s better just to be a good follower of Jesus and not put your finger in the wind.Continue Reading
Don't Waste Martin Luther King Weekend
Monday is Martin Luther King day. I encourage all pastors and Sunday School teachers to make something of it this weekend. It may be too late to preach on racial and ethnic issues, if you have not already planned to. But it is not too late, if you read this on Saturday, to plan to simply take note of the day and speak a word of exhortation to your people…Continue Reading
Why I Invited Loritts to Speak at the Pastors Conference
Crawford Loritts served for nearly 30 years with Campus Crusade for Christ. I knew that anybody who has given that long to Campus Crusade must have a real heart for God and for evangelism.
Then I learned that he had become the senior pastor of a church in Roswell, Georgia. I was surprised to…Continue Reading
A Kind of Cold You Don’t Play With
Tonight it will be 40 degrees warmer in our kitchen freezer than it is outside here in Minneapolis. The high temperature tomorrow will be five below zero (Fahrenheit). We receive this from the Lord’s hand.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
This is the kind of cold you do…Continue Reading
Why I Invited Livingstone to Speak at the Pastors Conference
Greg Livingstone is one of my heroes. He founded Frontiers, a mission to Muslims. He is not the president anymore, but he grew that mission into hundreds of people going to the hardest places of the world.
He has himself endured a lot, dealing with health issues in his family and serving in very…Continue Reading
It May Be Time to Pluck Your Eye
When to quit your good work—not just scholarly work, but any work:
As the author of the Theologia Germanica says, we may come to love knowledge—our knowing—more than the thing known: to delight not in the exercise of our talents but in the fact that they are ours, or even in the reputation they bring us. Every success in the scholar’s life increases this danger. If it becomes irresistible,…
Why I Invited Carson to Speak at the Pastors Conference
I'll go out of my way to listen to Don Carson any chance I get. He is a scholar of the first rank, and a pastoral scholar who has a love for the church. He is an evangelist who does what he calls "missions" at universities where he argues for the cause of Christ and leads people out of their unbelief.
He is reformed and loves the sovereignty of God…Continue Reading
Thoughts on My Father
My father, Bill Piper, was an incredibly intense preacher of the gospel with a strong evangelistic bent. That's because he was an evangelist. He was not a pastor and never was a pastor. For 50+ years he served as an itinerant evangelist trying all the time to rescue people…Continue Reading
When Grieving May Save Your Life
Sometimes the best mark of holiness is not griping that sin abounds but groaning and grieving.
Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, 5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, 6 who drink wine…
Can't Decide Whether to Come?
If you're wondering whether the pastors conference is for you or whether you should make the effort to come, consider a few things.
It is for any pastor or pastoral-type church leader, and we let you decide who that is. We're not going to pick your pocket and ask for your credentials.
Also, don't let finances get in the way. If you really want to come and can't afford…Continue Reading
If You Can’t Defeat ’em, Distort ’em
Sometimes scholarship rivals politics for warped renderings of the opponent. Consider this from Etienne Gilson, a Roman Catholic historian of philosophy:
For the first time, with the Reformation, there appeared this conception of a grace that saved a man without changing him, of a justice that redeems corrupted nature without restoring it, of a Christ who pardons the sinner for self-inflicted wounds but does not heal them. (The Spirit…
A Birthday Gift to My Father on His 89th Birthday
Today is my father’s 89th birthday. He’s been in heaven for ten months. But I can’t shake the thought that I should keep giving him gifts. Perhaps it would be an honor to him to let him speak as his birthday passes by.
Here is what I think he would like to say about two things we stand for at Bethlehem: 1) God’s command that we hallow (sanctify) God, which…Continue Reading
Best Thing About the Conference
It's hard to say what my favorite part of the pastors conference is.
I love the singing. I love to hear 1300 men sing at the top of their lungs about the greatest reality in the universe. So that's a big one. But I don't think that's the biggest.
Probably my favorite part is sitting with the other pastors under the preaching of the word of God around some…Continue Reading
Pray Global Prayers
May I encourage you to build a global dimension into your daily prayers? “Grant that your name be hallowed. Grant that your kingdom would come. Grant that your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These are global prayers—with personal implications. Both kinds of prayer are good: specific, local, personal prayers, and general, global, sweeping prayers for the church and the nations.
Here is the way…Continue Reading
Money vs. Truth
James Henley Thornwell, the Southern Presbyterian theologian who died in 1862, got somethings very wrong, like slavery. But this he got right and it is amazingly up to date:
Our whole system of operations gives an undue influence to money. Where money is the great want, numbers must be sought; and where an ambition for numbers prevails, doctrinal purity must be sacrificed. The root of the evil is the secular…
Rallying for a Different Hope
Eric Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist in Temple Hills, MD, helps us see the lay of the land in the African-American church by doing two things.
- He celebrates Anthony Carter’s and Thabiti Anyabwile’s books as rallying points for a different hope than the black mega-churches offer (giving credit also to Carl Ellis, Bruce Fields, Ken Jones, and Wy Plummer).
- And He points us to a paper he wrote in 2006,…