Joyful, Serious Church Life Together

John Piper

In my thinking about the nature of the church, I am often inspired byDietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged by Hitler in 1945. He wrote alittle book called Life Togetherthat described his plan for church community in the agonies of WorldWar II in Germany. John Godsey says that it involved “a kind oftheological education that was startlingly new in Germany: a communallife in which Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship was taken seriously.”That is what we want to do at... Continue Reading

Just When You Die for Them, They Lynch Your Nephew

John Piper

Mark Noll’s new history of God and Race in American Politicsis permeated by the paradoxes of his theme. Nothing in history, it seems is simple. There is always another side. Every silver lining has a cloud.

Just when you think you are seeing virtue, the underbelly of sin exposes itself. Just when you think wickedness has fully triumphed, some upright soul takes a stand. Just when you think the North is worth dying for, it lynches your nephew.

Consider July,... Continue Reading

Agonizingly Both-And: God and Race as the Inauguration Approaches

John Piper

It is fitting as the inauguration of the first African-American president approaches that we highlight some history in a theological context. Remarkably, a newly published book helps us do this. The book is Mark Noll's God and Race in American Politics: A Short History.

Mark and I graduated together from Wheaton in 1968. He was my Resident Assistant during my senior year. I admired him then; I admire him today.

With an eye for concrete... Continue Reading

Jesus and Jazz

Jason Harms

This past summer, God gave the Jason Harms Quintet, the opportunity to spread the Gospel among the people of the Dominican Republic through jazz.

We were invited to play at a club in Santiago. The house band gave us a half-hour before they would take the stage that night. Once all the technical issues were worked out, we had about twenty minutes to play. We started our set and out of nowhere, it seemed, people began to fill the place.

The leader of the house band was so blessed with the... Continue Reading

Franklin and Whitefield as Opposites

John Piper

In the most cynical, unsympathetic, and misleading biography I have ever read, there is a magnificent paragraph about Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield.

The Deist and the Calvinist were best friends. “Franklin became Whitefield’s best American friend and, reciprocally, Whitefield was Franklin’s only evangelical friend” (The Divine Dramatist, 220).

Here is the diamond paragraph:

Here we see the greatest difference separating the religious worlds of Franklin and... Continue Reading

Is Satan Pro-Man?

John Piper

When the choice is between exalting God or exalting man, Satan is pro-man. When the choice is between exalting Satan or exalting man, Satan is pro-Satan. Here are the texts.

1. In Mark 8 Jesus told his disciples he must suffer. Peter rebuked Jesus! Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:33).

So what Satan was standing up for in the mouth of Peter was “the things of man.” He was very... Continue Reading

Ask!

Jon Bloom

He was one of the walking dead. It had almost been three years since the priest examined that suspicious spot on his left arm and looked at him with sympathy, “I’m so sorry. It’s leprosy. May God have mercy on you, my son.”

Leprosy made you die many times before it killed you. It cut you off from those you loved most in the world. It forced you to live with other unclean people in a hopeless colony away from the town. Those with more advanced cases showed you what you had to look forward to.

It also... Continue Reading

Swords Are for Killing

John Piper

In New Testament times swords were not for digging, shaving, or whittling. They were for killing. The only reason Peter cut off Malchus’s ear was that he missed (John 18:10).

But Herod didn’t miss: “He killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2).

Many saints have felt the full force of the sword: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword” (Hebrews 11:37). So it was and will be: “If anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword... Continue Reading

What to Pray for Our Children

John Piper

Watching our children walk in the truth is high joy (3 John 1:4). Watching them walk away from it is crushing (2 Samuel 18:33).

To lay hold on this joy and to prevent this pain we must pray daily (sometimes hourly) and earnestly for our children. Here is a biblical list of what to pray.