Paul's Passing Thoughts

John Piper’s Gospel of Begging for Salvation and Hoping for the Best

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on March 12, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted August 6, 2013

The Reformed gospel is really a begging for salvation and then hoping for the best. “Election” only qualifies you for the drawing where “final justification” is determined at a one, final, justification judgment. Calvinist views on assurance are shrouded in an ambiguous “already not yet” terminology. You’re for sure saved, but it will be “confirmed” at the final judgment. By the way, there is clearly more than one judgment and one resurrection in the Bible. This is just another example of Calvinists interpreting the Bible any way they please.

One way of confirming this assertion is an examination of John Piper’s Christian Hedonism theology. In his book Desiring God, Piper makes joy absolutely synonymous with salvation:

“Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, ‘Believe in the Lord,’ but, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord’?” (Desiring God page 55).

“The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an ‘extra’ that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith” (Desiring God page 69).

“We are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy” (Desiring God page 66).

“Something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created. A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!” (Desiring God page 67).

But then, Piper continually prefaces that with the idea that joy is strictly a gift from God. He is adamant that we can do nothing to obtain the experience of joy. For those who can’t find joy, all they can do is pray and hope all turns out well because where there is no joy, there is no assurance of salvation. Just one of many examples is in Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God:

In obedience to God’s word we should fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings. But when and how they come is God’s to decide, not ours. If they delay, we trust the wisdom of our Father’s timing, and we wait. In this way joy remains a gift, while we work patiently in the field of obedience and fight against the weeds and the crows and the rodents. Here is where joy will come. Here is where Christ will reveal himself (John 14:21). But that revelation and that joy will come when and how Christ chooses. It will be a gift.

Throughout the book, on nearly every page, Piper describes methods for seeking the joy that is in fact our salvation:

Heaven hangs on having the taste of joy in God. Therefore, it might not be so strange after all to think of fighting for this joy. Our eternal lives depend on it.

So, those who want to keep their salvation fight for joy. It is all incredibly ambiguous. In contrast, the apostle John wrote that we can “know” that we are saved. “Fighting for joy” is conspicuously missing in John’s instruction. The good John, not Piper.