A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 6.02.2006

    Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?

    This is a meditative post.

    I look at where our culture is and is going, and the church's responsibilities in the midst of it--and I wonder: Is John Piper's dedication to God's glory our first, best, and only hope to reach today's world?

    As U2 sings, the world--and many Christians--still haven't found what they're looking for.

    The world's fatigue with the rationalistic, the foundational, the certain, the modern, and the "religious" (organized) leaves so much to be desired.

    It is a world of the mind without the affections.

    The blame for all this emptiness is now laid definitively at the feet of conviction, truth, and certitude. The lack of mystery--and hence, the lack of worship--leaves people looking for more and concluding that the journey is more important than the arrival.

    Uncertainty is preferred because it still leaves the door open for mystery. And mystery can still inspire the affections--which have been literally starved in (and maybe by) our institutions.

    But what if we could have an arrival that is is just as satisfying as a journey? What if we could gain a grasp of truth that does honor the mysterious--that can enrapture the affections, and thus, feed the soul. Would we then really see the problem in terms of "truth"?

    What if the whole problem is that we haven't had enough truth? What if our churches have been short-shrifting us? What if we have settled for far too litte?

    Enter John Piper.

    His book, Desring God, reintroduces something to us today that used to be known by the "ancients:" That God is desirable, infinitely mysterious, resplendent in His beauty, satisfying to the soul, the ultimate source of deeply fulfilling joy--and we can know Him.

    In John's words, here is why he wrote Desiring God:

    1. It's My Pleasure.
    2. God is Breathtaking.
    3. The Word of God Commands Us to Pursue Our Joy
    4. Affections Are Essential to the Christian Life, Not Optional.
    5. Christian Hedonism Combats Pride and Self-Pity
    6. Christian Hedonism Promotes Genuine Love for People.
    7. Christian Hedonism Glorifies God.

    I wanted to zero in on Reason 4 as it applies to "emergence" and our "post-modern" age.

    It seems to me that one reason "uncertainty" is now deemed to be a virtue is that it opens the door to the mysterious--which opens another door to a part of our hearts that has been starving. If so, would not a reclaiming of the affections side of life without abandoning the cognitive side be a better answer? Can we not have grace AND truth?

    Here's what Piper said:

    "It is astonishing to me that so many people try to define true Christianity in terms of decisions and not affections. Not that decisions are unessential. The problem is that they require so little transformation to achieve. They are evidence of no true work of grace in the heart. People can make "decisions" about the truth of God while their hearts are still far from Him."

    Norman Geisler, in his systematic theology, points out that the mysteries of God should not lead us to more extensive study but more intensive study. And as soon as the boundaries of orthodoxy are established, the mysteries should lead to more worship--not more scholarship.

    Why? Because we have just bumped into God with our minds. The next response is to kneel before Him with our hearts...

    ...and be filled awe, joy, and woship.

    Isn't this what the world is looking for?

    Should we not be able to have it all?

    Is there an arrival that is as good as--even better than--the journey?


    At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Dan Nichols said...

    Well done John. Very good thoughts.

    At 9:33 PM, Blogger Steve Weaver said...

    Good post John! I tried to post a comment earlier today, but blogger wouldn't let me!


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