It seems I was the only Christian involved in ministry in Sydney who did not attend the recently heavily promoted John Piper talks. I have heard from colleagues who did that Piper once again expounded his version of Christian hedonism with which we are familiar from his writings: 'God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.' Reactions I have heard range from cautions endorsement to outright rejection of Piper's message as being 'another gospel.' It might be helpful then to draw attention to these more balanced critiques by Paul Helm here and here. I wonder if Piper would be better focussing on the more pervasive Biblical language of 'love' for God which has an affective element as well as a commitment to obedience, but does not focus on my satisfaction.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Monday, 24 January 2011
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Thursday, 29 July 2010
A great insight. Without the doctrine of the Trinity the pressure for unity will force us to include all things in God, or the pressure for diversity will lead us to splinter our idea of God. Only the doctrine of the Trinity allows a view of God who is both the transcendent and immanent Creator, the source of both unity and diversity.
OK: the title is not pithy, but the topic is vital. How should evangelical Christians act on their personal Christian convictions when they reach the 'public square'? We know that Wilberforce - 'the conscience of England' in his time - did act, and left a lasting legacy. Having studied his life and times in the last few weeks, it seems clear to me that the world in which we live today would not be as it is, but for God's work through this man, and the other like-minded men and women who surrounded him.
Could it be that Wilberforce and his book might still have something to say to us - even to challenge us - in our own day?
Here are some quotations from Wilberforce and others about his intentions and achievements in A Practical View.
'The subject is of infinite importance; do not let it be driven out of our minds by the rush of life and the empty pleasures. Soon this present scene, with all its cares and gaieties, will be rolled away, and we will all stand before God’s judgment seat’ (Romans 14:10). This awful consideration prompts the writer to express himself with greater freedom and justifiable frankness, and will, he trusts, secure him a serious and patient reading.
'If what is stated appears needlessly austere and rigid, the writer would ask not to be condemned, without a fair examination as to whether or not his statements accord with Scripture' [William Wilberforce, Introduction as printed in the 1885 edition]
'I deem it the most valuable and important publication of the present age… I shall be glad to look to you (at least to your book)… to strengthen my motives for running the uncertain remainder of my race with alacrity.' [John Newton]
'[A Practical View has given me]… unspeakable comfort… If I live, I shall thank Wilberforce for having sent such a book into the world.' [Edmund Burke having spent most of his final two days reading it]
[For the first time I] understood the vital character of personal religion, the corruption of the human heart and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ' [Legh Richmond, leading evangelical, about his reading of the book when he was a somewhat worldly curate on the Isle of Wight]
The story of Wilberforce is both inspiring and instructive, and my goal for Monday night is to give you a hearty feed of both.