Surprise Presentation of the Book “For the Fame of God’s Name”

Desiring God 2010 National Conference

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

Sam Storms: Thank you, Scott. Just a little over three years ago, Justin and I sat down in a restaurant in Wheaton, Illinois to talk and pray about a project that has become very, very precious to us. A project that has now found expression in a book. This book has received no advanced publicity. It is being released and made available for the very first time today at this conference.

It is not easy to keep a project of this magnitude, that involves as many people as were involved, a secret for three years. But from the look on John’s face, it appears we may have succeeded. So without any further delay, I am very, very happy to be able to announce to you today the release of a new book entitled For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper.

And I think the most appropriate way to introduce this book is to read, just briefly, from the opening paragraphs of a very personal note from Justin and myself to John:

John, as you hold this book of essays in your hands for the first time, we suspect your inclination is to turn it back over to us, perhaps with a measure of surprise, even disappointment, that we who know you so well would have ever dreamt that you might approve of what we’ve done!

But you can’t argue with or resist the depths of love that we feel for you. You can’t deny or turn aside from the reality of the global impact that your life and ministry have had. Our aim in this book is to follow the example of the apostle Paul, who refused “to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished” through him (Rom. 15:18). Likewise, we will write only of what Christ has accomplished through you, and that for his glory alone.

We would like for this book of essays to be seen as an expression of gratitude to God for his work in and through you. We deeply appreciate your labor in the grace of God, for the glory of God. We have all been greatly impacted by your life and thought and devotion to Christ, and we believe these essays, which reflect your influence and interact with your theology, are the best way to acknowledge what you have done.

As you yourself hosted conferences to acknowledge and honor the life work of Jonathan Edwards and John Calvin, we present this volume of articles to do the same for you. No one who gave it more than a moment’s consideration would ever have concluded from those conferences that your intention was to praise or promote a mere man or to turn our eyes from the splendor of our Savior to the weak and fitful efforts of fallen human beings. It is with that understanding that we undertook this project, hoping and praying that all who read it, and especially you, will know that our goal is the fame of God’s name, not yours.

As uncomfortable or as unworthy as you might now feel, we lovingly ask you to receive this volume as a simple expression of gratitude on our part. . . .

Finally, we believe that the apostle Paul has given us a strong and biblical precedent for what this book is designed to accomplish. He wrote to the Philippian church concerning Epaphroditus, having drawn attention to his tireless efforts for the sake of the gospel and the fact that “he nearly died for the work of Christ” (Phil. 2:30). “Honor such men” (Phil. 2:29), Paul instructed the church. Yes, it is possible to “honor” men such as you without detracting from the centrality and supremacy of our Lord. We hope that we have done this successfully. Please know that this project was conceived and birthed in love. (13–14)

I’d like Justin to take just a moment now, if he would, to explain a little bit more about the content of the book and its contributors.

Justin Taylor: It was a hard decision, Pastor John, of the contributors to include. There’s so many who love you and appreciate you and have been shaped by your life and your ministry. And so we couldn’t imagine doing a book without essays on Christian Hedonism, or the glory of God, or the sovereignty of God, or what it means to pray to God, or the gospel of Jesus Christ. They’re all themes that have been used by God to shape our own lives and ministries through your pen and through your pulpit. So here are the essays and contributors included; many of the contributors were able to join us this weekend.

  1. “A Personal Tribute to the Praise of God’s Infinite Glory and Abounding Grace” by David Michael
  2. “Three Doors Down from a Power Plant” by David Livingston
  3. “Who is John Piper?” by David Mathis
  4. “Christian Hedonism: Piper and Edwards on the Pursuit of Joy in God” by Sam Storms
  5. “When All Hope Has Died: Meditations on Profound Christian Suffering” by Mark Talbot
  6. “The Sovereignty of God in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards” by Don Westblade
  7. “Prayer and the Sovereignty of God” by Bruce Ware
  8. “What is the Gospel? — Revisited” by D. A. Carson
  9. “Christus Victor et Propitiator: The Death of Christ, Substitute and Conqueror” by Sinclair Ferguson
  10. “The Role of Resurrection in the Already-and-Not-Yet Phases of Justification” by Greg Beale
  11. “A Biblical Theology of the Glory of God” by Tom Schreiner
  12. “The Kingdom of God as the Mission of God” by Scott Hafemann
  13. “The Mystery of Marriage” by Jim Hamilton
  14. “Pleasing God by Our Obedience: A Neglected New Testament Teaching” by Wayne Grudem
  15. “The Glory and Supremacy of Jesus Christ in Ethnic Distinctions and over Ethnic Identities” by Thabiti Anyabwile
  16. “Dethroning Money to Treasure Christ above All” by Randy Alcorn
  17. “‘Abortion Is about God’: Piper’s Passionate, Prophetic Pro-Life Preaching” by Justin Taylor
  18. “A God-Centered Worldview: Recovering the Christian Mind by Rediscovering the Master Narrative of the Bible” by Albert Mohler
  19. “Proclaiming the Gospel and the Glory of God: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards for Preaching” by Stephen Nichols
  20. “The Pastor and the Trinity” by C.J. Mahaney
  21. “The Pastor as Worshiper” by Ray Ortlund
  22. “The Pastor as Counselor” by David Powlison
  23. “The Pastor as Shepherd” by Mark Dever
  24. “The Pastor as Leader” by John MacArthur
  25. “The Pastor and His Study” by Bill Mounce
  26. “The Vision and Ministry of Desiring God” by Jon Bloom
  27. “The Vision and History of the Bethlehem Institute” by Tom Steller

Sam Storms: John, it is with great pleasure and joy. Would you like to say something? You don’t have to, but if you would.

John Piper: It was the list of names that put me over the edge. There are names on there that mean more to me in ways that people don’t know. So, thank you for reaching out like that and I feel very loved. So, thank you so much. I’ll enjoy this very much.

Sam Storms: We’ve asked Lane Dennis, the president and publisher of Crossway Books, to come and to join us, and to pray for us, and to thank God for what He has done through John’s ministry.

Lane Dennis: Would you join me in prayer?

Our dear Father in heaven, we bow before you as our sovereign Lord of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, and the creator of all things. We are very conscious that we have no claim to come into your presence, except by the blood of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Father, we thank you that you saw us in our desperate, hopeless condition, and that you sent your Son, our Savior, to die on the cross for our sins. So it is through faith in Christ, and through his blood shed for us, that we come boldly, with awe and fear in trembling, but likewise with indescribable joy. So we come into your holy presence.

Father, today, we would honor your servant, and our friend, John Piper. You’ve commanded us in your word to honor such men, men who have given their lives to serve tirelessly for the sake of the gospel and the glory of your name. So we would honor John Piper, not because of who he is or what he has accomplished, but because your grace and mercy have been so clearly exhibited in his life, in his brokenness, in his weakness, in his utter dependence on you in all things.

So today, we would rededicate John Piper to the ministry of the gospel for the supremacy of God in all things, even as we dedicate this book, as the title says, For the Fame of God’s Name. Likewise, we would give you thanks and praise that you have called your servant, John Piper, to do, as loving husband and father, as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, as founder and vision-setter of Desiring God Ministry, as author of more than forty books, and now as founder and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary.

But quickly, Father, we would turn from the man John Piper, to the Son of Man, our Savior. It is Jesus alone that we love and worship. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might, in honor and glory and blessing. We pray then, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that you would be the blazing center of everything your servant does, in the dedication and distribution of this book, and in every ministry that you lay upon his heart.

May you accomplish far beyond anything that we can ask or think. May you bring forth fruit of the gospel through this man, and through these ministries, to reach the billions in this world who are oppressed, and hopeless, and eternally lost, apart from Christ.

Father, we are bold to pray these things, because of Christ and for his glory. May you be pleased to use this moment in history to bring about a worldwide movement of your Spirit, for the sake of the gospel, according to your will, and for the massive manifestation of your glory. For we pray these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to whom be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time, now and forever more. Amen.