Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I love Piper (and Calvinism)

John Piper is (probably) my favourite living preacher; I love the way exegetical accuracy and exemplary passion are merged in his every message.  And I love his doctrine; for me, too, Calvinism is something that makes me want to sing and (even!) dance.  For me, too - like for Spurgeon before us - 'Calvinism' is but a nickname for pure Biblical Christianity.

One of Piper's big influences though is the Roman Catholic GK Chesterton.  (It's OK, it's OK - even Lloyd-Jones quotes Chesterton).  And Chesterton, it seems, hated Calvinism.  Below is an extract from one of Piper's blog posts - I'd copy the whole thing, but Desiring God doesn't really like that.  You can find the whole thing, though, here.  Why does Piper love Calvinism, and Chesterton hate it?  It's because it's...

Not the Same Calvinism

But how then can Calvinism awaken such joy in me, and such hate in Chesterton? Because they aren’t the same Calvinism. He thinks Calvinism is the opposite of all this happy wonder that we have in common. The Calvinism he hates is part of the rationalism that drives people mad. Exhibit A:
  • "Only one great English poet went mad, Cowper. And he was definitely driven mad by logic, by the ugly and alien logic of predestination. Poetry was not the disease, but the medicine; poetry partly kept him in health. . . . He was damned by John Calvin; he was almost saved by John Gilpin."

No, Mr. Chesterton, William Cowper was not driven mad by Calvinism. He was driven mad by a mental disease that ran in his family for generations, and he was saved by John Newton, perhaps the humblest, happiest Calvinist who ever lived. And both of them saw the wonders of “Amazing Grace” through the eyes of poetry. Yes, that was a healing balm. But the disease was not Calvinism — else John Newton would not have been the happy, healthy, holy friend that he was.


David said...

I haven't yet heard or read John Piper... I was put off by being told he supports charismatic teaching on prophecy and tongues. In these things I'm of cessationist views. Have I been misinformed? Do you believe in these ongoing gifts?

Gary Benfold said...

David L - my own views on charismatic things are easy to find - just look down the right-hand column and follow the link.
As for Piper, I've never heard him on this subject. But whether I consider him right or wrong on this, I regard his as a man of God, a fine Bible teacher and one worthy of close attention. I don't have to agree with anyone on everything in order to benefit from them. Do you?

David Gallie said...

No I don't. Point taken. Thanks.