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ISBN/ASIN : 1590521196
Manufacturer : Multnomah|
Release data : 01 March, 2003
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This is a highly popular book, one I was told to read dozens of times in my undergraduate and post-graduate fellowships. All due respect to John Piper, whose intention to help us love God more is unquestionable. Although I celebrate that this message is reaching the wider audience, there are a couple of issues here, I would like others to be aware of before buying.
First, while I am deep believer in our need to live a life full of passion for God and his purposes, but I believe that the idea of "Christian Hedonism" takes this one step beyond Scriptural warrant and into a self-centered kind of Christianity. A purified selfishness is selfishness nonetheless. While we do want God to be our passion and to enjoy ourselves in Him (i.e. as the Westminster Catechism rightfully emphasizes), the idea that we can somehow indulge ourselves in God still allows our selves and our passions to be the center of our world rather than God and His passions. Piper makes it sound as though we can somehow mesh God and self on the same throne, as if by being redeemed they are compatible. But Scripture denies that this can ever be so, and commands us to crucify ourselves daily with the flesh and its passions and desires.
Second, potential readers should be aware that the heart of this book is a variety of double predestinarian Calvinisism which has God ultimately the cause of evil along with good, decreeing the condemned along with the elect before the foundations of the world. God as the first cause of all things makes Him sound glorious, but does attributing the decrees of evil and the condemned to God, actually reveal God as more loving and more worthy an object of our love?
The impact of both these aspects of the book is to glorify the message of this particular brand of Calvinism and make it seem as though it is the only theology that can allow someone to fully desire God and enjoy Him forever. Indeed in some places, it is as if we are supposed to be "scared" into loving God more. In other places it is the opposite, as if we are being baited to love God more because He supposedly lets us hang onto some part of our sacred selves.
I would recommend instead, Sam Storms' "Pleasures Evermore." He writes from a Reformed perspective on a similar message, but much more personally and practically. Nor does he make his particular theology the center and requirement for loving God more.
Revolutionary book for modern American evangelicals
Desiring God meditates on the premise of seeking God is seeking joy. Probably a quote that gets to the heart of Piper is in the worship chapter:
"In the end the heart longs not for any of God's good gifts, but for God himself. To see him and know him and be in his presence is the soul's final feast. Beyond this there is no quest. Words fail. We call it pleasure, joy, delight. But these are weak pointers to the unspeakable experience."
He applies this idea in the spheres of conversion, worship, money, marriage, missions, suffering, and other areas. Its a very hard read. Very hard. Piper is extremely detailed and therefore its a very tedious book. But I would say this: if you get stuck, try skipping to the last chapter on suffering cause it is truly breath-taking. The appendixes are better in themselves (even some of the footnotes, lol) than many whole books I've read. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone and especially to someone who feels like there is more to the christian life than they are experiencing or being taught.
Don't read this if you want an easy read
The best aspect of this book, in my opinion, is that it is derived from a lost fundamental perspective. It was really challenging with my walk with the Lord to look at my life introspectively and really determine if I truly am glorifying God and living out my days as one affected by Him.