Quotable: on the Pride of Prospering

I’m my biggest danger. My own ego is my biggest danger. The counter part to that is when I go up, God goes down. So the Bible says, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that in due time he may exalt you.” We tend to turn it around and drift toward things that magnify us. And if you write books, or have a growing church, or whatever, the insidiousness of the temptation to feel good for the wrong reasons is almost invincible. You’re on your face so often… at least I pray crazy prayers like, “If I can’t emotionally distinguish between my delight in God and my delight in prospering, kill me. Take me out. I don’t want to bring any reproach on the gospel.

John Piper, Q&A at Text and Context 2008

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John Piper’s Latest Twitter

I don’t do twitter; but John Piper does it. His latest quote.

Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to failure.

Finally Alive

This is a very important book by John Piper. Whether or not you track with him 100% on Christian hedonism, this book is a must read. It is staggering to consider how neglected the topic of regeneration has been when we consider its importance for the church. Piper does a fantastic job tracing the doctrine through scripture. He answers the questions: What is the new birth? Why must we be born again? How does the new birth come about? What are the effects of the new birth? How can we help others be born again? Pick this book up and read it. Every pastor should.

D.A. Carson says,

I cannot too strongly celebrate the publication of this book. Owing in part to several decades of dispute over justification and how a person is set right with God, we have tended to neglect another component of conversion no less important. Conversion under the terms of the new covenant is more than a matter of position and status in Christ, though never less: it includes miraculous Spirit-given transformation, something immeasurably beyond mere human resolution. It is new birth; it makes us new creatures; it demonstrates that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. All the creedal orthodoxy in the world cannot replace it. The reason why ‘You must be born again’ is so important is that you must be born again.”

Quotable: After Virtue

As much as I love Piper (quite a bit), and as big a difference as he has had in my life (probably as much or more than anyone), this is the biggest potential weakness I can see to the application of Christian Hedonism.

On the one hand Kant rejects the view that the test of a proposed maxim is whether obedience to it would in the end lead to the happiness of a rational being. Kant has no doubt that all men do indeed desire happiness; and he has no doubt that the highest good conceivable is that of the individual’s moral perfection crowned by the happiness which it merits. But he nonetheless believes that our conception of happiness is too vague and shifting to provide a moral guide.

After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre

It’s not a weakness that cannot be overcome; but it is vitally important to instruct people that happiness is not our moral guide, the revealed will of God is and we trust that will bring us happiness ultimately.

(As a postscript, it really is not a weakness in what Piper says, but in how he is interpreted.)

20 Reasons Piper Doesn’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists

Link: Piper

1. They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny (the ones I’ve met).

2. They believe in truth.

3. They believe that truth really matters.

4. They believe that the Bible is true, all of it.

5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.

6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.

7. They put obedience to Jesus above the approval of man (even though they fall short, like others).

8. They believe in hell and are loving enough to warn people about it.

9. They believe in heaven and sing about how good it will be to go there.

10. Their “social action” is helping the person next door (like Jesus), which doesn’t usually get written up in the newspaper.

11. They tend to raise law-abiding, chaste children, in spite of the fact that Barna says evangelical kids in general don’t have any better track record than non-Christians.

12. They resist trendiness.

13. They don’t think too much is gained by sounding hip.

14. They may not be hip, but they don’t go so far as to drive buggies or insist on typewriters.

15. They still sing hymns.

16. They are not breathless about being accepted in the scholarly guild.

17. They give some contemporary plausibility to New Testament claim that the church is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

18. They are good for the rest of evangelicals because of all this.

19. My dad was one.

20. Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left.