John Piper (theologian)

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John Stephen Piper
Photo of John Piper, Oct 2010 (cropped).jpg
Piper in 2010
BornJanuary 11, 1946
Occupationpastor, author
Spouse(s)Noël Henry Piper
Parent(s)Bill & Ruth Piper

John Stephen Piper (born January 11, 1946, Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a Reformed Baptist[1] theologian, preacher, and author. He is the pastor for preaching of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has written many books. He started the evangelical ministry named Desiring God, after his book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.

Biography[change | change source]

Early life[change | change source]

Piper was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is the son of Bill and Ruth Piper. When he and his older sister were still young, the Pipers moved to Greenville, South Carolina where he spent the rest of his childhood. He later graduated from Wade Hampton High School. His father was an evangelist who worked with international radio and Bible programs until his death on March 6, 2007.[2]

College years[change | change source]

Piper went to Wheaton College in 1964-68. He majored in literature, and minored in philosophy. Because he studied Romantic Literature in college, he went on to enjoy it in life. Today he writes poems for special family events, as well as writing story-poems about the lives of biblical people.

After college, he studied for and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While there, he took several courses where he studied the writings of Jonathan Edwards. He also did some doctoral work in New Testament Studies in Munich, West Germany from 1971-1974.

Middle life[change | change source]

In 1980, after what he said was something that he could not turn down, he became a preacher. Piper became Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been working there ever since. Piper became popular when his book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist was published. He has written many books since. In 1994, he started Desiring God Ministries.[3] Today Desiring God puts all of Piper's sermons and articles from the last three decades online for free, as well as offering books, CDs, and DVDs.

On January 11, 2006, Piper was told that he had prostate cancer. According to a letter sent to his church,[4] he and his doctors thought that the cancer was not a big problem. When Piper talked about this he said, "This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet." Piper had surgery on February 14, 2006.[5] He married Noël Henry in 1968, and they now have four sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren.

Beliefs[change | change source]

Christian hedonism[change | change source]

Piper calls himself a Christian Hedonist and teaches that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him."[6] He also teaches that God's highest pursuit and man's deepest happiness are the same in one pursuit – namely, "the pursuit of joy in God." He was learned this theory in the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Blaise Pascal, and C. S. Lewis, among others.

Salvation[change | change source]

Piper believes in justification by faith alone apart from good works.[7] His teachings talk about the need for the Christian to have faith, sanctification, as this is evidence of God's saving grace. Piper says that someone who says they are a Christian, but does not act Christian, shows that they were never a true believer.[8][9]

Rapture beliefs[change | change source]

Piper believes in the Post-Tribulational view of the Rapture and leans towards historical premillennialism.[10][11] He believes that Romans 11 teaches many ethnic Israeli people will be saved at Jesus' second coming.[12]

Old Testament[change | change source]

Piper is very neutral about the Torah in Judaism.[13] He says that it was made by God to reveal sin and show that man does not live up to God's righteous standards.[14] Christians, living under the New Testament, are not under the Old Testament law, and are able to complete it through faith in Jesus Christ.[15][16]

Piper teaches that God has only one chosen people, mostly Jews in the Old Testament. but he believes now that relationship has been won by the Christian church.[17] So, the Church is rightful inheritor of all the promises made to Israel, and Jews who do not take Jesus as Messiah have no right to this blessing.[18]

Spiritual gifts[change | change source]

On the topic of spiritual gifts, Piper believes that supernatural gifts such as miracles, healings, and speaking in tongues are around today.[19] He does not believe that the job of apostle is worked today. He also believes that the gift of prophecy in the church is from God, (that is inspired by Him) but is not infallible because of the medium (namely men). Thus, while prophecies are to be embraced scripture reveals that they be sifted or tested in order to decipher that which is good ( accord with God's revealed word, the Bible).[20]

Books by Piper[change | change source]

  • Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Multnomah, 1986; 2nd edition, 1996, 3rd edition, 2003).
  • The Pleasures of God (Multnomah, 1991; Expanded edition, 2000).
  • Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Baker, 1993, 2nd Edition 2003).
  • Future Grace, or, The Purifying Power of Living By Faith In Future Grace (Multnomah, 1995).
  • Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (Broadman & Holman, 2002).
  • Don't Waste Your Life (Crossway, 2003).
  • When I Don't Desire God (Crossway, 2004).
  • God Is the Gospel (Crossway, 2005).
  • What Jesus Demands from the World (Crossway, 2006).
  • The Future of Justification (Crossway, 2007).

Most of Piper's books can be read online for free at Desiring[21]

References[change | change source]

  1. "What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism". Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  2. "Things I Have Learned". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  3. "Desiring God : The ministry of John Piper". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  4. "Cancer Announcement". Archived from the original on 2006-01-10. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  5. "Cancer Update on February 3, 2007". Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  6. "Desiring God Christian Resource Library". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  7. "Does James Contradict Paul?". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  8. "Olympic Spirituality, Part 1". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  9. "Letter to a Friend Concerning the So-Called "Lordship Salvation"". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  10. "Definitions and Observations Concerning the Second Coming of Christ". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  11. "What Must Happen Before the Day of the Lord?". Retrieved 2008-07-29."Are You Becoming a Post-Millennialist?". Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  12. "Did Israel Stumble in Order That They Might Fall?". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  13. "What does John Piper believe about dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology?". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  14. "Why Then the Law?". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  15. "What Does It Mean to Fulfill the Law in Romans 8:3-4". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  16. "Hagar and Slavery Vs. Sarah and Freedom". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  17. "Israel and Us Reconciled in One Body". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  18. "Israel, Palestine and the Middle EastIsrael, Palestine and the Middle East". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  19. "Spiritual Gifts and the Sovereignty of God, Panel Discussion". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  20. "The Authority and Nature of the Gift of Prophecy". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  21. "Online Books by Title". Retrieved 2008-07-29.

Other websites[change | change source]