If you want to learn about the wellspring of faith from which John Piper drew inspiration, strength and focus as a child, you need to read Piper’s most recent biography, delivered at this year’s Pastor’s Conference (in which pastors were entreated to bring their fathers and sons!)…”Evangelist Bill Piper: Fundamentalist Full of Grace and Joy“. John piper writes in eloquent, moving ways about his father Bill.
Here’s Piper’s introduction…
The title I have given this message about my father is “Evangelist Bill Piper: Fundamentalist Full of Grace and Joy.” That title is meant to carry several apparent incongruities or paradoxes or ironies. I expect you to feel tension between the word fundamentalist and the phrase “full of grace,” and between the word fundamentalist and the phrase “full of joy.” But the lead word is evangelist. Underneath being a child of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and justified by faith, and possessing all the riches of the glory of God in Christ—underneath that most basic identity, my father’s chief identity was “evangelist.” Independent, fundamentalist, Baptist evangelist—full of grace and joy.
Evangelist Bill Piper was clearly the inspiration for his son John’s captivation with delighting in God…
Where did I learn that delight in God is our highest duty? Before Jonathan Edwards and before C. S. Lewis and before Daniel Fuller, there was Bill Piper, unsystematically, unapologetically, and almost unwittingly saying: God’s only requirement is that you be satisfied with Christ.
Long before John Piper read C. S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory and leaned about the folly of making mud pies in the slums because one can’t imagine a holiday at the sea—long before that—he was hearing his father talkabout the cow and the barbed-wire fence by the road.
I have often seen a cow stick her head through a barbed wire fence to chew the stubby grass bordering a highway, when behind her lay a whole pasture of grass. I have always been reminded of Christians who have not learned to completely trust Christ, reaching out to the world for sensual pleasure when rivers of pleasure were at their disposal in Christ.
No, no one is denying that there are pleasures to be had in this world. . . . That is not the point. The point is that there are other pleasures to be had in this life. Pleasures so great in depth, significance, satisfaction and duration, that they far exceed the pleasures of sin. They are the pleasures to be found in the knowledge and service of Christ.
Piper closes his remarkable tribute to his father with these poignant words… Continue Reading »