The Dispensability of Ministers

John Piper
The Dispensability of Ministers

Some books are for tasting regularly, not reading through once. One such book is Wise Counsel: John Newton's Letters to John Ryland Jr. edited by Grant Gordon (Banner of Truth, 2009). Newton was the former slave-trader turned pastor, and the author of “Amazing Grace”. The flavor of his ministry is such that frequent tastes are better than rare gulps.

I hope that he and you and I shall all so live, as to be missed a little when we are gone. But the Lord standeth not in need... Continue Reading

I Loved This Novel. Still Do. More Than Before.

John Piper
I Loved This Novel. Still Do. More Than Before.

Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead—if you can call it that—continues to move me, months after I read it. I have waited to comment on it since I knew it would be around for decades (centuries?). I wanted to let it ripen in my memory.

Rev. John Ames is dying. The book is a kind of last testament he would like his young son to read when he is twenty-five, long after his father is dead. His voice is still with me.

So I went back to gather a few treasures. Gilead is not... Continue Reading

One Way a Very Public Christian Spoke

John Piper

Charles Malik

On September 13, 1980, Charles Malik gave an address called “The Two Tasks” at the opening of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He was the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States. The message was so seminal that in 2006 (his centenary) it was republished with a collection of essays built around it. What strikes us as he stands to speak is the personal dimension and the public scope of his Christian commitment.

I speak to you as a Christian. Jesus Christ is... Continue Reading

Answering Radio Interviewers on Why Suffering

John Piper

Scott Simon interviewed the Jesuit priest James Martin on NPR Saturday morning, March 6. Martin just published The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (Harper One, 2010). The last question Simon asked was this: “If there is a God, why do little children suffer?”

Martin answered, “That is the hardest question, and I think the answer is, we don’t know.” To his credit, Martin did go on to say that, for the Christian, Christ has... Continue Reading

Theological Reasons for Wordiness

John Piper

Bringing offerings to the tabernacle

I just read Numbers 7 on my annual way through the Bible. I read every word. It is one of the longest, most repetitive chapters in the Bible.

From verse 12 to verse 83 Moses describes the offerings that each of the twelve tribes of Israel brought to the tabernacle when it was first dedicated to the Lord.

But here’s the amazing thing. There are 93 words in the description of what each tribe brought as an offering. And all 93 words are repeated verbatim for each of the 12... Continue Reading

An Opportunity to Join God's Work in Japan

John Piper

Michael Oh spoke at our 2009 Desiring God Conference for Pastors. I love his vision for Japan. As a Korean this commitment has the Christ-like flavor of reconciliation and risk. I would like for you to know him and, if God leads, support his vision.

He is president and founder of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya and a cluster of other ministries under Christ Bible Institute. Here is a short video where Michael presents the amazing opportunity for this seminary and... Continue Reading

Another Approach to Preaching God's Love

John Piper

The video below is a message I gave last Monday in chapel at Westmont College. It is a rethinking of an old idea. I used to ask, How is it loving for God to make so much of himself and do everything for his glory? Now I ask: Why does God reveal his love for us in such a way that it turns out to be for his glory?

Or: I used to say: Do you feel more loved when God makes much of you or when he frees you to enjoy making much of him? Now I say, “Why does God make so much... Continue Reading

This Politician Was Passionate for Precious Doctrine

John Piper

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was driven in his political, emancipation efforts by a clear doctrinal understanding of what Christianity was. Pray that those today who care deeply about social justice will be as vigilant to righteous action in right thinking.

He was especially jealous to keep clear the right relationship between good works and justification. Notice especially his third statement below about what Christianity is.

Wilberforce said, "Christianity is:

Unconditional Is the Ground of Conditional

John Piper

Some Bible passages make crystal clear what we must not assume when reading other Bible passages. For example, consider Exodus 33:13 where Moses prays to God,

If I have found favor in your sight,
please show me now your ways,
that I may know you,
in order to find favor in your sight.

What this verse prevents us from assuming is that, if God’s favor is conditional, it is therefore not unconditional.

Or to put it another way, the verse prevents us from assuming... Continue Reading

Same Kind of Different As Me

John Piper

book cover

If you want to crawl inside the possible world that opens when a dirt-poor, illiterate, former-share-cropin’, homeless 50-something enters the life of a swank, upscale, southern, Christian art dealer, read Same Kind of Different As Me. These two men tell their increasingly interwoven stories in alternating short chapters that kept me coming back night after night.

Their names are Denver Moore and Ron Hall. There is a woman who binds them together. But if I tell you what... Continue Reading