Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell
Do You Want Your Faith to Grow?
If you want your faith to grow, read the Bible.
Earlier this Spring, in a discussion on sanctification, John Piper explains, “The only way faith grows is by God speaking to you. ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God’ [Romans 10:17] — and not just when you got saved, but everyday of your life.”
God speaks to us when we read his word.…Continue Reading
Untamable Truth Changes Lives
This book is not a memoir.
The truths here, as John Piper describes them, are “wildly untamable, explosively uncontainable, and electrically future-creating.” They represent the proclaimed statement of faith from one pastor of one local church over the course of 33 years.
Last fall John Piper preached a series of ten sermons devoted to the main theological…Continue Reading
Tim Keller on the Writing Brilliance of C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis was an exemplary communicator of Christian truth. So was the 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards.
The use of images was Edwards’s forte, while Lewis excelled in illustrations. Both men understood that abstract, propositional truth touches the heart when it’s taken into the realm of the concrete. And it’s precisely this practice that Tim Keller and John Piper commend to the writers and thinkers within the New Calvinism movement.
In …Continue Reading
You’re Awesome — But Not That Awesome
If you ever wondered what it would be like to read tweets and Facebook updates from a 17th-century genius, check out Pascal’s Pensées.
Born in France in 1623, Blaise Pascal was a brilliant mathematician and physicist, then philosopher, then theologian. Pascal’s Pensées are similar to someone scouring your entire hard drive and all your notebooks, after you have died, for every thought (or pensée) you had scribbled down.…Continue Reading
Would We Have Been Friends? Keller and Piper on Lewis
C.S. Lewis tended to be generous, maybe even too generous.
Lewis’s influence is profound in the lives of Tim Keller and John Piper, but they both wonder whether they would be friends with him if he were still alive. Would Lewis’s imposing logic have made it difficult? Perhaps Lewis was too welcoming to figures outside the bounds of orthodoxy?
In the latest five-minute video, Keller and Piper ponder these points…Continue Reading
Shane & Shane Invite You to Our National Conference
A special early-bird rate for the Desiring God 2013 National Conference on C.S. Lewis ends at 11:59pm Friday night.
More on C.S. Lewis from Desiring God:Continue Reading
When (Seemingly) Opposites Meet: Keller and Piper on Lewis
C.S. Lewis has been called the “Romantic Rationalist” because he brings together two seemingly opposite things. He is both rationally sharp and imaginatively brilliant, which is a rare combination.
In this five-minute video, Tim Keller and John Piper talk about some remarkable juxtapositions in Lewis and his influence on their lives.
A special early-bird rate for the Desiring God 2013 National Conference on C.S. Lewis is available if you register…Continue Reading
John Piper Explains the 10 Most Popular Bible Verses
What are the ten most popular Bible verses in the world? And what do they mean?
YouVersion tallied the list. Now John Piper has expounded the texts.
Since YouVersion was created in 2008, it has become the most widely used Bible app, recently reaching over 100 million downloads worldwide. It is available on nearly every mobile device manufactured today.
Last year they identified the most bookmarked verses within the app.…Continue Reading
The Main Ingredient in Effective Prayer
It’s tragic how easily we can miss the main ingredient in effective prayer.
In our sin, we’ve been rewired to focus on us — on the steps we should take for our prayers to be heard. We have this bent toward believing that every result is born from method. If something works for somebody we want to know what that somebody is doing.
We’ve developed the assumption that if…Continue Reading
Three Things We Should Know About God
A.W. Tozer famously said that whatever comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. When you hear the mention of “God,” what would you say? What image fills your heart and head when you think about who God is?
The question is important because we all have some kind of answer. Everybody has a go-to thought when they think of God. And…Continue Reading
New Course on Calvinism from John Piper
The Bible gives us a glorious vision of God’s sovereignty in saving sinners. “Calvinism” is a kind of nickname for this Christian body of doctrine on salvation that so appropriately humbles humanity and so magnificently exalts divine grace.
In a new eight-hour course on Calvinism, or “the doctrines of grace,” John Piper walks through the historical “five points,” digging into text after text of Scripture and responding to many of…Continue Reading
Advice for Christian Artists
Max McLean encourages Christians in the arts to integrate their faith in every step they take. “Make your faith the source of your art,” he says.
In this short video he explains the passion and strategy behind his work and the production company he founded, Fellowship of Performing Arts. In short, his advice to Christian artists is 1) reflect Christian truth; 2) empathize with people of other worldviews; and 3)…Continue Reading
Seeing Pleasure Through a Demon’s Eyes
Max McLean, director and lead actor in the theatrical adaptation of The Screwtape Letters, goes in character to describe the demonic perspective on pleasure.
From the book, page 44:
Never forgot that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same,…
The Boldness of Knowing Jesus
The people of Jesus should know Jesus. That is the inescapable impression we get from reading the Book of Acts. We see it in the church’s boldness — that is, the church’s outspoken clarity about the identity and significance of Jesus.
This boldness actually hems up the entire story of Acts with its key appearances in Peter’s first sermon (Acts 2:29) and Paul’s concluding hospitality ministry (Acts 28:31), not to…Continue Reading
Our Choices Matter
Max McLean, the lead actor and director of the theatrical adaptation of The Screwtape Letters, has performed the role of Screwtape hundreds of times since the play debuted in 2010. This means that beyond reading C.S. Lewis, McLean has absorbed his thought.
We recently had the chance to ask him about any enduring lessons he’s learned from so much attention to Lewis’s work. He explains in this three-minute video:
14 Free eBooks for You
Twenty percent of all the books sold last year were electronic, says the latest report from Bookstats. This simply means that ebooks are still on the rise. More and more users like to carry their libraries in their hands. And this matters for the mission of Desiring God.
Though it won’t replace good old-fashioned books, the upward trend of ebooks has created a new platform for us to spread our…Continue Reading
Why Boldness Matters Now
The Book of Acts profiles a people living bold.
The theme of boldness takes center-stage in Acts 4 with the story of Peter’s and John’s trial before the Sanhedrin. We learn that what astonishes the Jewish leaders pertains mainly to the apostles’ content, not their emotions. The bewildering reality at work in Peter’s and John’s testimony is what they say about Jesus.
These two fishermen had become messengers of God’s…Continue Reading
Behind the Blog: Christian Dating
Four years ago, the small-budget, independent production 500 Days of Summer premiered at the Sundance Film Festival with decent accolades. Since then the movie has surprisingly gone on to earn over $60 million. Why? Because it’s a realistic story of an all-too-common dating relationship — one that ends up lopsided and empty because of a plastic vision of romance.
Its popularity seems to tell us something about Western culture and…Continue Reading
The Genius of C.S. Lewis
You’d probably recognize his voice. Max McLean has narrated the Bible five times, as well as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and several other pieces of Christian literature. But his most celebrated work is a theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s famous novel, The Screwtape Letters. This critically acclaimed production is currently on national tour, playing in over fifty major cities and performing arts venues, including recently in Minneapolis.
While Max…Continue Reading
When the Christian Life Becomes Impossible
“Christian Hedonism is a liberating and devastating doctrine,” John Piper writes.
It teaches that the value of God shines more brightly in the soul that finds deepest satisfaction in him. Therefore it is liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And it is devastating because it reveals that no one desires God with the passion he demands. Paradoxically, many people experience both of these truths. That certainly is…
To live Christianly in a culture of confusion is to live boldly.
There is some explaining to do here. On one hand, the above sentence is simple and agreeable at face-value. On the other hand, there’s a sense in which it will resonate with certain personalities while alienating others. Does our culture really need Christians to live bold? What does that even mean?
The answer hangs on our understanding of…Continue Reading
New eBook: Piper Celebrates the Influence of Lewis
We’re happy to announce the release of our latest ebook from John Piper, Alive to Wonder: Celebrating the Influence of C.S. Lewis. It includes a significant introduction from Piper, written for this project, with a collection of extended excerpts from his corpus where Lewis’s fingerprints are most vividly seen.
Piper calls it “the immeasurable moment” — that instance in reading when we come across a sentence or phrase that…Continue Reading
Let Us Read, As in Read
I read the Bible at the dinner table last night.
One of our daughters was laid out horizontally across her chair. Our son was crying, reaching for me to pick him up. And then our other daughter was doodling letters on the table with her sauce-glossed finger.
So I helped with that, and then I read. Galatians 3:26 says, simply, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God,…Continue Reading
When God Came to the City
Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. He knew his mission.
The evangelist Luke captures Jesus’s relentless journey by telling us that “he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Nothing would deter him.
In their new book, Why Cities Matter, Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard discuss this significance of Jesus coming into the city of Jerusalem. Cities, they explain, play a…Continue Reading
Hedonism to the Extreme: Lamborghini and Our Souls
“What does a tractor manufacturer know about sports cars?” said Enzo Ferrari to an Italian mechanic from humble roots.1
This mechanic, Ferruccio Lamborghini, did manufacture tractors, and he did well. But he also liked fast automobiles and building things, and in the decade following World War II he decided to try his hand at supercars. Frustrated with the Ferrari’s handling on the road, and Ferrari’s dismissal at some suggested…Continue Reading