John Piper Grasps the Obvious ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

John Piper Grasps the Obvious


Which is no small task these days, when the topic is Jesus Christ. A couple takes on John Piper's new book, What Jesus Demands from the World:

“Scholars, popularists, and now even novelists are falling over each other today in a blind passion to discover an alternative Jesus to the One so magnificently portrayed in the biblical Gospels. In stark and refreshing contrast John Piper clear-sightedly grasps the obvious—the biblical Jesus is worth living for and dying for.”
- Sinclair Ferguson, Senior Minister, The First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina


“This is a peculiar book. It assumes that the four Gospels are true and unified. It assumes that Jesus not only does things for us but also makes demands of us. And it assumes that Jesus has authority over everyone regardless of their religion, gender, race, income, sexuality, nationality, or culture. You will likely not agree with every point. But you will hear from a Jesus who is more than a soft-spoken, effeminate, marginalized, Galilean hippie-peasant in a dress and has the peculiar notion that he alone is Lord.”
- Mark Driscoll, Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle

I may have to pick this volume up at Piper's conference (check out the video interviews) this weekend. Am I gloating in the upcoming road trip joy? No comment.

Quotes lifted, with gratitude, from: Between Two Worlds.



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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recieved my copy of Piper's Don't Waste Your Life. Thanks for posting that free link on your blog.

Ariel said...

You're welcome. Soak up that book, and if you blog about it, be sure to let me know.

Ched said...

Ariel said, "I may have to pick this volume up at Piper's conference"

You could 'pick up' the e-coli bacteria at Piper's conference and it would still be worth it. I'm kidding (kinda).

John B. said...

Ariel,
I'm not trying to start trouble here, but why is it Mark Driscoll is so invested in discerning behaviors among Christians that he defines as masculine and effeminate? Even (depictions of) Jesus Himself are subject to this sort of scrutiny. I'm referring, of course, to this passage from Driscoll's review for Piper's book that you quote: "[Y]ou will hear from a Jesus who is more than a soft-spoken, effeminate, marginalized, Galilean hippie-peasant in a dress and has the peculiar notion that he alone is Lord." I read this, and I thought, Isn't it enough proof of Jesus' masculinity that He drove the moneychangers from the Temple with a whip? Would Driscoll be happier still if he learned that Jesus had pumped iron or drunk some Red Bull or laced up some Doc Martens or butted His head against the Wailing Wall before doing so? Would knowing that make Him more worthy still of being Driscoll's savior?

e-Mom said...

I'll be very interested to read your review of the conference, Ariel. I have to say that I'm off Driscoll at the moment--mostly because I disagree with the Reformed components of his theology. Also, his conversation surrounding "unfathered men" is not new. The advent of the secular "Men's Movement" brought many of these issues to the fore some time ago. (See the work of poet, Robert Bly, and others.) Given your pastoral gifts, and your interest in reaching the post-modern generation, CT's recent article, "Young, Restless, and Reformed" is timely. Think carefully before you jump on the bandwagon of "resurging" Calvinism with both feet. ...Am I too late? *-)

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/009/42.32.html

Ariel said...

I'll take a stab at your question, John.

"Isn't it enough proof of Jesus' masculinity that He drove the moneychangers from the Temple with a whip? Would Driscoll be happier still if he learned that Jesus had pumped iron or drunk some Red Bull..."

On point one: Yes, it's enough, definitely. I don't think the most virile, muscle-bound hulk among us has anything to add to Jesus' masculinity.

And question 2? I tend to think the answer is Yes there as well. Driscoll obviously likes to revel in the masculinity of Jesus Christ, the idea being that Jesus is typically portrayed in our culture as a weak sissy, and this needs to be corrected.

Could Driscoll tone it down a little? Yeah. I think his emphasis is warranted, though.

I tend to ask myself: What drives Driscoll's high-decibel commentary here? Is it 1), In order to be heard, Driscoll feels compelled to use dramatic overstatement in a society immersed in overstatement?, or 2) His "rants" are a product of this cultural penchant for overstatement?

I like to think that Driscoll's tonality here is deliberate, not knee-jerk. Apparently he thinks that using words like blunt objects on the masculinity topic will most effectively get his point across.

Ariel said...

I'll be very interested to read your review of the conference...

I'll have to figure out how to do this. I hate writing two-sentence summaries of hour-long talks, so something will have to give. In the meantime, I'll toss out a few adjectives (limiting myself to those which start with C):Clarifying, Cerebral, Cultural, Conversational...

The conference was very good, with a definite analytical/reflective theme, despite John Piper's strong emphasis on worship. I've got lots to think about.

Thanks for the article link, also. I'm not one of those people who gets giddy at the prospect of theological labeling, "Reformed" vs. "Arminian" vs. "Emergent"... My sympathies do tend to lie in the Reformed/Calvinist camp, which I see as more faithful to the sovereign God we find in scripture.

I'm still puzzling these things out, though, so you won't see me wearing a "John Calvin is my Homeboy" T anytime soon.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife