I apologize for starting the week out both with embedded video and with a response to something iMonk said over the last couple of days, but this is Phil's week off and people need something to chew on.
Here's what iMonk said:
Several months ago I stopped listening to or reading John Piper on any regular basis. Gave away all but six of the books. Unsubscribed to the sermons. Gave away two big boxes of tapes. (I kept quite a bit of audio and video in our ministry’s audio/video library. Don’t think I had a bonfire. I love the man, and I owe him much.)To which he linked the above video, Yes? Here's the transcript of the Piper video:
Steve Brown and I talked- on and off the interview- quite a bit about Piper and what’s going on. We both agreed that the command to feel an emotion is not the foundation of Christian assurance. (That’s Spencer, not Brown, so don’t write him. He can speak for himself.)
Here’s what I’m talking about. Much good, but at the core, my assurance is what I do and what I feel.
Catch on to the affectional nature of Christianity, conversion. It is not merely a decision to believe a fact. It is a heart treasuring Christ and His glory more than football, sex, money, power, play, toys. You gotta make this an issue Sunday after Sunday so that they feel scared that they're not saved.Now, does Piper here say that my assurance is in my emotional state? Or does he instead say that his assurance causes an emotional state?
You know, I think some pastors are so afraid that somebody might walk up at the end of the service and say, "you really jostled my assurance this morning." If we don't -jostle- people's assurance when they're not saved, we send them to hell.
We must preach in such a way so that people can test -- Test Yourself! 2 Cor 13:5 says, "test yourself to see if you are in the faith". Well, one of the tests is do you love Football more than you love Jesus? Do you love Golf more than you love Christ? What does your heart say about Christ? Late at night, all alone, in front of an internet screen, mouse ready to click, what does your heart say about Christ over pornography?
You gotta get in their faces about this because there are a lot of people who've grown up in the church -- baptist churches, methodist churches, presbyterian churches, Catholic, Lutheran churches -- for whom their faith is all tradition, all all head. There's no power in their life to love Christ, to cherish Christ, to have similar kinds of affections for divine things that they have for earthly things.
Make that an issue.
So I'm prayin' that across this convention, there would be a one-mindedness that we must all Yes! Love Justification! Love Redemption! Love Propitiation! Love Deliverance! Love the healing power of God! Love escape from Hell! Love entrance into Heaven! Love restoration with the relatives!
But all of it is a means to an end! Namely, do you love Christ? Do you know Christ? Do you embrace Christ? Do you want Christ? If you've got cancer? And you don't know how long?
Can you say from your heart, "To die is gain! God will take care of Noel. To die is gain!" And feel it! That's a challenge. Then the rubber meets the road.
Do you feel, "this would be good. This would be a gift. This would be sweet."
Pastors, let's do this. Let's help our people be saved.
It is possible that someone could make a case that Piper is saying, "you don't know if you're saved unless you feel happy that you're going to die." I'd be willing to hear that person out. It is my opinion that Piper is saying instead that the goal of the Gospel is to love Christ in spite of circumstances. That is, entertainment and tragedy are two states which misdirect us from keeping God in the right place in our affections.
Think about this: he gives two kinds of examples here -- that we should love Christ more than football, and that we should love Christ when we are diagnosed with cancer. In the former case, I think Dr.Piper is implying that there are no football games around which we should schedule our devotion to Christ -- that if we have to choose between serving and savoring Christ and the Superbowl, we should miss the kickoff for the sake of our savior. Amen?
But what's he mean when he's talking about Christ and cancer? Is he saying something like, "I won't have any moments of doubt when I find out I'm dying"? Or is he saying, "it is my affection for Christ, my faith in Christ as savior, which will overcome my doubts and overcome my fear for my family so that I can trust Him with them as well as with my soul"?
But these have something in common: it is the love of Christ which motivates us. It's not some glum mysticism: it's the fact that He lives and it means something to me.
Let's hear from the other side. I think they are simply mistaken about Piper, but I'd like to see their exposition of his excerpt here. I have done the transcription work for them, so let's see what they can do with it.