Tag Archives | John Piper

John Piper on Alcohol Consumption

John PiperJohn Piper’s view on alcohol consumption is encapsulated in these four sources:

  1. Total Abstinence and Church Membership,” a sermon preached on October 4, 1981
  2. Flesh Tank and Peashooter Regulations,” a sermon on Colossians 2:16–23 preached on January 17, 1982
  3. Is It Okay to Drink Alcohol?Ask Pastor John podcast, May 8, 2010
  4. Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?” Ask Pastor John podcast, October 23, 2013

Total Abstinence and Church Membership

Total Abstinence and Church Membership,” though delivered nearly 32 years ago, is his most extensive treatment on the subject (that I’ve come across). In it he gives four main reasons that he personally abstains from alcohol consumption:

  1. “. . . because of my conscience.”
  2. “. . . alcohol is a mind-altering drug.”
  3. “. . . alcohol is addictive.”
  4. “. . . to make a social statement.”

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Responding to Cancer

Rod DeckerProfessor and blogger Rod Decker posted on his blog this weekend about his cancer. It appears to be more widespread, more aggressive, and more serious than they originally thought. He’s begun treatment to control and reduce the cancer, and he’d appreciate your prayers—as we all would if we were in his shoes.

As I read his post, I was reminded of how often I hear about a friend’s or acquaintance’s getting or dying from cancer—especially with how connected the internet has made us all. I was also reminded that the chances are good that it will touch me or my family at some point.

While it’s not appropriate to worry about a “frowning providence” that God might have in store for us, it is good to equip ourselves with biblical thinking about sickness and death (Ec 7:2). To that end I’d encourage you to read Rod’s post, especially the third paragraph.

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Piper on Calvinism, Arminianism, and Logic

TulipsI think John Piper is on target with this assessment of Calvinists, Arminians, and logic:

It is a great irony to me that Calvinists are stereotyped as logic-driven. For forty years my experience has been the opposite. The Calvinists I have known (English Puritans, Edwards, Newton, Spurgeon, Packer, Sproul) are not logic driven, but Bible-driven. It’s the challengers who bring their logic to the Bible and nullify text after text. Branches are lopped off by “logic,” not exegesis.

Who are the great enjoyers of paradox today? Who are the pastors and theologians who grab both horns of every biblical dilemma and swear to the God-Man: I will never let go of either.

Not the Calvinism-critics that I meet. They read of divine love, and say that predestination cannot be. They read of human choice and say the divine rule of all our steps cannot be. They read of human resistance, and say that irresistible grace cannot be. Who is logic-driven?

For forty years Calvinism has been, for me, a vision of life that embraces mystery more than any vision I know. It is not logic-driven. It is driven by a vision of the ineffable, galactic vastness of God’s Word.

Let’s be clear: It does not embrace contradiction. Chesterton and I both agree that true logic is the law of “Elfland.” “If the Ugly Sisters are older than Cinderella, it is (in an iron and awful sense) necessary that Cinderella is younger than the Ugly Sisters.” Neither God nor his word is self-contradictory. But paradoxes? Yes.

We happy Calvinists don’t claim to get the heavens into our heads. We try to get our heads into the heavens. We don’t claim comprehensive answers to revealed paradoxes. We believe. We try to understand. And we break out into song and poetry again and again.

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Calvin on God’s Permissive Will

Calvin: Institutes of the Christian ReligionAfter reading my post on Zac Smith’s cancer a while back, a friend of mine saw a link in the sidebar to a related post, “The Grace of Cancer,” and left a comment challenging my choice of words when I repeatedly said that God gave cancer to a man from our church to bring him to repentence.

I responded by encouraging him to read Calvin’s InstitutesI, xviii (esp. 1), where he discusses the “distinction [that] has been invented between doing and permitting,” and Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.”

I spent some time rereading Calvin’s chapter on the issue of permission, “The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint,” and I thought much of it was worth quoting here at length. I’ve bolded the most pertinent portions.

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Was the Oil Spill an Act of God?

Rick Warren tweeted earlier today, “When people call an ocean oil spill caused by human drilling ‘an Act of God,’ THAT, friends, is taking God’s name in vain!”

To my surprise, I enjoy a lot of what Warren tweets, but in this case I think he has it precisely backwards. Failing to attribute to God complete sovereignty over all of the events of His world—even the “accidental” ones for which man is at some level responsible—is to rob God of His glory.

Amos wrote a few thousand years ago, “Does disaster [רָעָה] come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6). Amos was speaking of intentional disaster (an invading army seeking to overtake a city), not events resulting accidentally or from carelessness like an oil spill. If the former is rightly attributed to God, certainly the latter would be as well.

Job’s response to the loss of his children by a great wind bringing the house down upon them was, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Both of these biblical writers saw God as the ultimate actor behind natural disasters and the evil of men.

And let us not forget that the cross itself, with all its evil, was an act of God (Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:27–28).

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Cost of Discipleship and Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die—Free

ChristianAudio.com offers by The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper for free this month. Use coupon code MAR2010 for the first and MAR2010B for the second. You’ll have to place two separate orders since you can’t use two coupon codes at the same time.

The Cost of DiscipleshipFifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth

EarthI’ve seen several posts recently on the subject of creation, evolution, and the age of the earth. If you missed them and are interested in these kinds of discussions, you may want to give them a read.

(See below for some related videos and conferences.)

I grew up believing that God created the universe out of nothing in six 24-hour days and that the earth was about 6,000 years old. My first real exposure to opposing Christian viewpoints was in Systematic Theology I in seminary, where we used Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology1 as our main textbook.

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  1. Available from Amazon and Logos.

Driscoll and Piper on Love and God’s Commands

I follow Mark Driscoll on Twitter and just watched a little 4:27 video that he tweeted about: “Song of Solomon Q&A 3.” I’ve embedded it below.

It contains some solid practical advice for troubled marriages. On the whole, it’s good stuff.

Two items caught my attention—particularly because of how they seem to be at odds with things John Piper teaches:

  1. “If [love is] commanded, that means it’s not a feeling.”
  2. “God couldn’t command you to do something that was impossible for you to do.”

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The Second Best Book in the World

A Treatise on RegenerationI read an endorsement recently that really grabbed my attention. A well-known individual described a book that is not very well known in these terms:

This book is much better than any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.

The individual was Jonathan Edwards.

The book was Peter Van Mastricht’s A Treatise on Regeneration, which was published by Soli Deo Gloria, now a part of Reformation Heritage Books.

Wow! I want to read that book. I wonder how it compares with John Piper’s Finally Alive.

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Piper on the Election

Good stuff. John Piper shares his heart on womanhood, race, abortion, the prophetic perspective, the sovereignty of God, and the gospel as they relate to the election.