John Piper vs N.T. Wright?

Status
Not open for further replies.

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
So I looked up the online copy of Desiring God and I don't see your initial quote ("Joy is the root and fruit of saving faith") anywhere in there. I thought maybe I just missed it, but a word search of the page says "no text found." Maybe different editions? (If so, wouldn't it be best to use the most recent edition?)

You say "just about every chapter has some kind of heterodox view of some things," then appear to accuse Piper of having a heterodox view of Edwards' definition of love. If I'm reading you correctly, I hardly think "heterodox" is the proper term to describe one theologian's view of another theologian's view of love (even if the first theologian's view is mistaken).

More at the heart of your objection: After re-reading Chapter 2 of Desiring God, I don't see any real warrant, in the context of the whole chapter, for saying Piper's view is "joy precedes faith" in the same sense as "joy is the fruit of faith," since he states that he is using the term "joy" in different senses (as you've quoted: "The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is... But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.").

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox.

If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?

Also, a charge of "malice" in this regard is very serious. You say you are concerned at his "refusal to admit his error," but doesn't this presuppose a demonstration of error that doesn't a-contextually misinterpret the work in question?

Even a slightly benevolent interpretation of the pertinent passages, in context, doesn't seem to lead to your conclusions, particularly not to a charge of false teaching and public sin.

Hey:

I do not have time to respond to all of your points - I will in a few hours.

"Joy is the root an fruit of saving faith" can be found in the original or first edition of Desiring God. I know he deleted the statement from both the 10th Anniversary edition as well as the online edition. The question remains: Does the theology of this statement stand in the text of the online edition.

Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well. I am not buying it. You are free to do so if you like.

In order to prove that Piper still holds to the idea that Joy preceeds saving Faith I will simply ask you to tell me how does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44? Found in Chapter 2 of the online edition of Desiring God.

As far as "Joy overflowing into Love" is concerned I not only mentioned Edwards but also the Orthodox faith:

Edwards teaches that Joy "enlarges" one's love. So, one must first have love in order for joy to "enlarge" it. By replacing the word "enlarge" with "overflow" Piper has not only misrepresented Edwards on the matter, but has also overthrown everything rational and Reformed concerning it.
Piper makes himself out to be an "expert" on Edwards - yet he seems to miss the fundamental nature of Edwards' philosophy - as well as the Orthodox teaching on the subject. Does Edwards teach the Orthodox view in his book Charity and It's Fruits? I think so. Thus, Piper's views would be heterodox if he misrepresented (maliciously or otherwise) the teaching of Edwards.

I hope to receive an answer to my question above concerning Matthew 13:44. Thus, you will see what I mean, and we may communicate more effectively.

Blessings,

-CH
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
If you want to believe whatever Piper teaches, that is your concern. But please do not imply that because I reject Piper I have rejected orthodoxy.

Blessings,

-CH

Hmmmmm....could you show me where I have implied that you rejected orthodoxy in my questions to you? Seems to me that the only one throwing out accusations of heresy and heterodoxy is you brother. And I think those are pretty strong charges.

For Piper, however, "Tasting" is an act of Joy that brings saving faith. As I quoted above:

A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!

No, I think Piper describes tasting as seeing and savoring Jesus Christ as a result of the new birth. Why did you place saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Because you were neutral towards him? You weren't neutral towards him before regeneration. You hated him. So, something changed in the new birth. You were awakened to the beauty and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.



I uphold the orthodox teaching that one must have faith in Christ first before one can experience true joy in Jesus.

True joy IN Jesus does come only when one has faith in Christ and is joined in union with him when we are justified by faith. But to be awakened to the beauty of Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a result of the new birth. That's why we come to him. That's the effectual call of the Spirit. We're not neutral toward Jesus when we believe on him.
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
More at the heart of your objection: After re-reading Chapter 2 of Desiring God, I don't see any real warrant, in the context of the whole chapter, for saying Piper's view is "joy precedes faith" in the same sense as "joy is the fruit of faith," since he states that he is using the term "joy" in different senses (as you've quoted: "The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is... But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.").

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox.

If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?

Also, a charge of "malice" in this regard is very serious. You say you are concerned at his "refusal to admit his error," but doesn't this presuppose a demonstration of error that doesn't a-contextually misinterpret the work in question?

Even a slightly benevolent interpretation of the pertinent passages, in context, doesn't seem to lead to your conclusions, particularly not to a charge of false teaching and public sin.

Hey:

I do not have time to respond to all of your points - I will in a few hours.

"Joy is the root an fruit of saving faith" can be found in the original or first edition of Desiring God. I know he deleted the statement from both the 10th Anniversary edition as well as the online edition. The question remains: Does the theology of this statement stand in the text of the online edition.

Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well. I am not buying it. You are free to do so if you like.

In order to prove that Piper still holds to the idea that Joy preceeds saving Faith I will simply ask you to tell me how does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44? Found in Chapter 2 of the online edition of Desiring God.

As far as "Joy overflowing into Love" is concerned I not only mentioned Edwards but also the Orthodox faith:

Edwards teaches that Joy "enlarges" one's love. So, one must first have love in order for joy to "enlarge" it. By replacing the word "enlarge" with "overflow" Piper has not only misrepresented Edwards on the matter, but has also overthrown everything rational and Reformed concerning it.
Piper makes himself out to be an "expert" on Edwards - yet he seems to miss the fundamental nature of Edwards' philosophy - as well as the Orthodox teaching on the subject. Does Edwards teach the Orthodox view in his book Charity and It's Fruits? I think so. Thus, Piper's views would be heterodox if he misrepresented (maliciously or otherwise) the teaching of Edwards.

I hope to receive an answer to my question above concerning Matthew 13:44. Thus, you will see what I mean, and we may communicate more effectively.

Blessings,

-CH

CH,
I'll trade you. I'll answer your question if you answer mine. (It only seems fair since I asked first, and I already answered your question.) :pilgrim:

I asked:
"If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?"

I'll look forward to your answer.

You asked:
"How does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44?"

I pre-responded:
"Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith (insert: as Piper outlines for 17 pages before the interpretation of the parable), and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox."

In his own words: "This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure... I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy."
As I've already asked, what other terminology might you use in practically describing the experience of conversion?

Let me be as clear as I can. I think Piper is using "joy" to describe the experience of conversion, of being born again as a new creation with new senses and desires. If this "joy" is synonymous with or simply descriptive of conversion/regeneration, then the orthodox position is that is must precede faith.
It is not "joy-faith-more joy," as you have put it, but "joyful conversion, saving faith, persevering faith and joy."

Those seem to be the central issues. Briefly, some things slightly less central to the discussion:

1.) On my earlier reading of your post I missed your mentioning of the orthodox faith in relation to Edwards. Sorry for that. While I still disagree with your statements thus far, I apologize for misrepresenting you in that regard.

2.) This is a sweeping generalization:
"Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well."

3.) Please consider your earlier statements:
"He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie."

I'd like to draw your attention to your signature, where it states "In Essentials Unity, in non-Essentials Liberty, in all things Charity," and simply ask if your think your charges in this regard have been charitable?
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
More at the heart of your objection: After re-reading Chapter 2 of Desiring God, I don't see any real warrant, in the context of the whole chapter, for saying Piper's view is "joy precedes faith" in the same sense as "joy is the fruit of faith," since he states that he is using the term "joy" in different senses (as you've quoted: "The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is... But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.").

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox.

If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?

Also, a charge of "malice" in this regard is very serious. You say you are concerned at his "refusal to admit his error," but doesn't this presuppose a demonstration of error that doesn't a-contextually misinterpret the work in question?

Even a slightly benevolent interpretation of the pertinent passages, in context, doesn't seem to lead to your conclusions, particularly not to a charge of false teaching and public sin.

Hey:

I do not have time to respond to all of your points - I will in a few hours.

"Joy is the root an fruit of saving faith" can be found in the original or first edition of Desiring God. I know he deleted the statement from both the 10th Anniversary edition as well as the online edition. The question remains: Does the theology of this statement stand in the text of the online edition.

Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well. I am not buying it. You are free to do so if you like.

In order to prove that Piper still holds to the idea that Joy preceeds saving Faith I will simply ask you to tell me how does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44? Found in Chapter 2 of the online edition of Desiring God.

As far as "Joy overflowing into Love" is concerned I not only mentioned Edwards but also the Orthodox faith:

Edwards teaches that Joy "enlarges" one's love. So, one must first have love in order for joy to "enlarge" it. By replacing the word "enlarge" with "overflow" Piper has not only misrepresented Edwards on the matter, but has also overthrown everything rational and Reformed concerning it.
Piper makes himself out to be an "expert" on Edwards - yet he seems to miss the fundamental nature of Edwards' philosophy - as well as the Orthodox teaching on the subject. Does Edwards teach the Orthodox view in his book Charity and It's Fruits? I think so. Thus, Piper's views would be heterodox if he misrepresented (maliciously or otherwise) the teaching of Edwards.

I hope to receive an answer to my question above concerning Matthew 13:44. Thus, you will see what I mean, and we may communicate more effectively.

Blessings,

-CH

CH,
I'll trade you. I'll answer your question if you answer mine. (It only seems fair since I asked first, and I already answered your question.) :pilgrim:

I asked:
"If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?"

I'll look forward to your answer.

You asked:
"How does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44?"

I pre-responded:
"Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith (insert: as Piper outlines for 17 pages before the interpretation of the parable), and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox."

In his own words: "This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure... I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy."
As I've already asked, what other terminology might you use in practically describing the experience of conversion?

Let me be as clear as I can. I think Piper is using "joy" to describe the experience of conversion, of being born again as a new creation with new senses and desires. If this "joy" is synonymous with or simply descriptive of conversion/regeneration, then the orthodox position is that is must precede faith.
It is not "joy-faith-more joy," as you have put it, but "joyful conversion, saving faith, persevering faith and joy."

Those seem to be the central issues. Briefly, some things slightly less central to the discussion:

1.) On my earlier reading of your post I missed your mentioning of the orthodox faith in relation to Edwards. Sorry for that. While I still disagree with your statements thus far, I apologize for misrepresenting you in that regard.

2.) This is a sweeping generalization:
"Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well."

3.) Please consider your earlier statements:
"He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie."

I'd like to draw your attention to your signature, where it states "In Essentials Unity, in non-Essentials Liberty, in all things Charity," and simply ask if your think your charges in this regard have been charitable?

Hey:

Apologies for not getting to your question, and your question is a fair one. (Though for my defense I did say that I would respond more completely a few hours later) Well, it is a few hours later - so here it goes.

"If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?"​

Would it be accurate from an Experiential perspective to say that Joy comes before saving faith? I do not think so. From an Experimental (or Experiential) perspective I would say that the blind eyes of my faith were first opened before I saw the beauty and majesty of God.

I would refer you to C.H. Spurgeon's remarkable book, All of Grace for a full explication (and a much better one than I can do) of Experimental Christianity.

As I mentioned above: One first has to see the Treasure in the Field before he/she can have joy in it. If one does not see the Treasure in the Field, then one is not going to have any "joy" in it. The Scriptures everywhere tell us that this "seeing" is an act of faith - not an act of Joy. But, then this ties in with your presentation of what Piper is saying concerning Matthew 13:44.

You wrote:

I pre-responded:
"Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith (insert: as Piper outlines for 17 pages before the interpretation of the parable), and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox."
First, regeneration and conversion - though closely linked - are two distinct works in the soul of man. See: Berkhof, Louis, Systematic Theology, pgs. 465-492. Chapter 2 of Desiring God is entitled, Conversion: The Creation of a Christian Hedonist. So, unless Piper is using sloppy terminology (and I would not be surprised), then I would expect him to be talking about conversion rather than regeneration.

And I see that he is following the orthdox view:

Conversion, then, is repentance (turning from sin and unbelief) and faith (trusting in Christ alone for salvation). They are really two sides of the same coin. One side is tails-turn tail on the fruits of un belief. The other side is heads-head straight for Jesus and trust his promises. You can't have the one without the other any more than you can face two ways at once, or serve two masters.

This means that saving faith in Christ always involves a profound change of heart. It is not merely agreement with the truth of a doctrine. Satan agrees with true doctrine (James 2: 19). Saving faith is far deeper and more pervasive than that.
and here,

Repentance and faith are our work. But we will not repent and believe unless God does his work to overcome our hard and rebellious hearts. This divine work is called regeneration. Our work is called conversion.
So far, I have no problems with him. This is why I call his theology a "heterodoxy" and not a heresy. Heterodoxy is a blending of the Truth with one or more falsehoods. Thus, it is much harder to point out than a simple heresy.

Piper interprets Matthew 13:44 in this way:

This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven.16 A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure. The kingdom of heaven is the abode of the King. The longing to be there is not the longing for heavenly real estate, but for camaraderie with the King. The treasure in the field is the fellowship of God in Christ.

I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy.
The error here is that one must be regenerated in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven - Conversion comes after this.

Jesus says, "You must be born again" i.e. "regenerated."

Next, Piper writes:

How then does this arrival of joy relate to saving faith? The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing' (Romans 15: 13). It is "in believing" that we are filled with joy. Confidence in the promises of God overcomes anxiety and fills us with peace and joy. Paul even calls it the "joy of faith" (Philippians 1 :25).
Piper is laying the groundwork for rewriting everything he said in the prior 15 pages. He will eventually say, in the original first edition of his book, "Joy is both the root and fruit of saving faith." He writes:

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.
What can this mean except that he is going to bring in some "new understanding" of the relationship between faith and joy. Here he puts it:

It implies that 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!
In your opinion here you are saying that Joy is a figure for "regeneration." I see no Biblical warrant for teaching such a thing: that Joy = regeneration. If Piper is speaking in a Metonomy - he has nowhere indicated that he is doing so. I would ask where in Scripture one can use the term "Joy" as a metonomy for "regeneration."

Regeneration is the implatantion of the new life in the elect sinner. This new life opens the eyes of the soul to the beauty and majesty of God. This opening of the eyes of the soul is everywhere spoken of in Scripture as faith:

We believe that this true faith, worked in may by the hearing of God's Word and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man, Belgic Confession of Faith, Art. 24.

Wherefore, in Scripture it says everywhere that we are saved "by faith":

For by grace we are saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, Eph. 2:8.
For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3
Saving Grace brings Saving Faith - if you want to think of Grace here as regeneration I will not argue with you. But what is seriously lacking in every passage of Scripture is an understanding that "Joy" is present. Here are a few passages that do speak about Joy in relation to Saving Faith:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God, Rom. 5:2.
Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet. 1:8.
You will have to show me somewhere in Scripture where Joy is considered a work of Saving Grace in Regeneration. If you cannot, then even resorting to Metonomy will not help you.
Piper's view that Joy preceeds saving faith is nowhere more explicit then when he writes:

Then something miraculous happened. It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever.

And then, faith-the confidence that Christ has made a way for me...
My question is very simple:

How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?

You wrote:

2.) This is a sweeping generalization:
"Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well."
I am simply responding to you here:

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage.
If Piper wants to define words according to his own views - how is such different from Arius, Pelagius, or the Federal Visionists? How then is this a sweeping generalization?

Again, when Piper says that there is "another way of looking at the relation of joy and faith" he is booting the last 17 pages of his text, and is going to say something new and different.

Finally,

3.) Please consider your earlier statements:
"He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie."
You have my forgiveness for having misrepresented me once already. You now do not quote me in full, but edit out certain things in order to make a point.

If I am right, and I know that I am presenting Piper's views objectively and truthfully, then Piper is a false teacher in the Church. I would say that Jesus' statements in Scripture concerning false teachers was far less "charitable" than what I said of John Piper. I have carefully written what I wrote (unedited by you), and I think I am being too lenient on Piper.

Blessings,

-CH
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
If you want to believe whatever Piper teaches, that is your concern. But please do not imply that because I reject Piper I have rejected orthodoxy.

Blessings,

-CH

Hmmmmm....could you show me where I have implied that you rejected orthodoxy in my questions to you? Seems to me that the only one throwing out accusations of heresy and heterodoxy is you brother. And I think those are pretty strong charges.

For Piper, however, "Tasting" is an act of Joy that brings saving faith. As I quoted above:

No, I think Piper describes tasting as seeing and savoring Jesus Christ as a result of the new birth. Why did you place saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Because you were neutral towards him? You weren't neutral towards him before regeneration. You hated him. So, something changed in the new birth. You were awakened to the beauty and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.



I uphold the orthodox teaching that one must have faith in Christ first before one can experience true joy in Jesus.

True joy IN Jesus does come only when one has faith in Christ and is joined in union with him when we are justified by faith. But to be awakened to the beauty of Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a result of the new birth. That's why we come to him. That's the effectual call of the Spirit. We're not neutral toward Jesus when we believe on him.

Barnpreacher writes:

Hmmmmm....could you show me where I have implied that you rejected orthodoxy in my questions to you? Seems to me that the only one throwing out accusations of heresy and heterodoxy is you brother. And I think those are pretty strong charges.
Here:

So, you believe it's inappropriate to say at regeneration God gives us a craving for Christ?
Putting words in my mouth is not proper.

Next,

True joy IN Jesus does come only when one has faith in Christ and is joined in union with him when we are justified by faith. But to be awakened to the beauty of Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a result of the new birth. That's why we come to him. That's the effectual call of the Spirit. We're not neutral toward Jesus when we believe on him.
Yes, but believing in Jesus does not make one "neutral" towards Jesus - just the opposite. Joy in Jesus comes as a result of the regenerating work of faith in the elect sinner by the power of the Spirit of God.

"We are saved by Grace, through faith..."

We are not saved by Grace through Joy or some other emotion which is a fruit of faith, and not faith itself.

Piper is essentially teaching Charismania in Reformed language.

Blessings,

-CH
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
At least John Robbins thinks that Piper himself has problems with Justification...

I'd be skeptical of John Robbins's claims, considering his history and all. Piper's a good writer and is, as several have already said, quite capable of rigorous scholarly work. I'd look forward to a book by Piper against Wright.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
So, you believe it's inappropriate to say at regeneration God gives us a craving for Christ?
Putting words in my mouth is not proper.

I do apologize that you took it as putting words in your mouth. However, if you notice, I did phrase it in a question because that's what it was. If my intentions were to call you unorthodox I would have said so. I should have put 'do' in front of 'you believe' and this misunderstanding could have been avoided.

I think you're wrong in your view on Piper, but it's your right to be wrong. I'll not try and persuade you any differently because neither one of us have the time to waste.

God's blessings upon you!
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
CH,
I'll trade you. I'll answer your question if you answer mine. (It only seems fair since I asked first, and I already answered your question.) :pilgrim:

I asked:
"If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?"

I'll look forward to your answer.

You asked:
"How does Piper interpret the parable of the Pearl of Great Price found in Matthew 13:44?"

I pre-responded:
"Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith (insert: as Piper outlines for 17 pages before the interpretation of the parable), and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage, but the underlying theology is orthodox."

In his own words: "This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure... I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy."
As I've already asked, what other terminology might you use in practically describing the experience of conversion?

Let me be as clear as I can. I think Piper is using "joy" to describe the experience of conversion, of being born again as a new creation with new senses and desires. If this "joy" is synonymous with or simply descriptive of conversion/regeneration, then the orthodox position is that is must precede faith.
It is not "joy-faith-more joy," as you have put it, but "joyful conversion, saving faith, persevering faith and joy."

Those seem to be the central issues. Briefly, some things slightly less central to the discussion:

1.) On my earlier reading of your post I missed your mentioning of the orthodox faith in relation to Edwards. Sorry for that. While I still disagree with your statements thus far, I apologize for misrepresenting you in that regard.

2.) This is a sweeping generalization:
"Any heretic wants to interpret language in his own specialized way, and this is not different in the heterodox as well. Arius wanted to render "Son of God" according to his own understanding of the term. The Federal Visionists want to render orthodox language according to their own understanding. And Piper wishes to do so as well."

3.) Please consider your earlier statements:
"He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie."

I'd like to draw your attention to your signature, where it states "In Essentials Unity, in non-Essentials Liberty, in all things Charity," and simply ask if your think your charges in this regard have been charitable?

Hey:

Apologies for not getting to your question, and your question is a fair one. (Though for my defense I did say that I would respond more completely a few hours later) Well, it is a few hours later - so here it goes.

"If you were trying to accurately describe conversion from a practical, experiential perspective, how would you do it?"​

Would it be accurate from an Experiential perspective to say that Joy comes before saving faith? I do not think so. From an Experimental (or Experiential) perspective I would say that the blind eyes of my faith were first opened before I saw the beauty and majesty of God.

I would refer you to C.H. Spurgeon's remarkable book, All of Grace for a full explication (and a much better one than I can do) of Experimental Christianity.

As I mentioned above: One first has to see the Treasure in the Field before he/she can have joy in it. If one does not see the Treasure in the Field, then one is not going to have any "joy" in it. The Scriptures everywhere tell us that this "seeing" is an act of faith - not an act of Joy. But, then this ties in with your presentation of what Piper is saying concerning Matthew 13:44.

You wrote:


First, regeneration and conversion - though closely linked - are two distinct works in the soul of man. See: Berkhof, Louis, Systematic Theology, pgs. 465-492. Chapter 2 of Desiring God is entitled, Conversion: The Creation of a Christian Hedonist. So, unless Piper is using sloppy terminology (and I would not be surprised), then I would expect him to be talking about conversion rather than regeneration.

And I see that he is following the orthdox view:


and here,


So far, I have no problems with him. This is why I call his theology a "heterodoxy" and not a heresy. Heterodoxy is a blending of the Truth with one or more falsehoods. Thus, it is much harder to point out than a simple heresy.

Piper interprets Matthew 13:44 in this way:


The error here is that one must be regenerated in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven - Conversion comes after this.

Jesus says, "You must be born again" i.e. "regenerated."

Next, Piper writes:


Piper is laying the groundwork for rewriting everything he said in the prior 15 pages. He will eventually say, in the original first edition of his book, "Joy is both the root and fruit of saving faith." He writes:


What can this mean except that he is going to bring in some "new understanding" of the relationship between faith and joy. Here he puts it:


In your opinion here you are saying that Joy is a figure for "regeneration." I see no Biblical warrant for teaching such a thing: that Joy = regeneration. If Piper is speaking in a Metonomy - he has nowhere indicated that he is doing so. I would ask where in Scripture one can use the term "Joy" as a metonomy for "regeneration."

Regeneration is the implatantion of the new life in the elect sinner. This new life opens the eyes of the soul to the beauty and majesty of God. This opening of the eyes of the soul is everywhere spoken of in Scripture as faith:



Wherefore, in Scripture it says everywhere that we are saved "by faith":


Saving Grace brings Saving Faith - if you want to think of Grace here as regeneration I will not argue with you. But what is seriously lacking in every passage of Scripture is an understanding that "Joy" is present. Here are a few passages that do speak about Joy in relation to Saving Faith:


You will have to show me somewhere in Scripture where Joy is considered a work of Saving Grace in Regeneration. If you cannot, then even resorting to Metonomy will not help you.
Piper's view that Joy preceeds saving faith is nowhere more explicit then when he writes:


My question is very simple:

How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?

You wrote:


I am simply responding to you here:

Piper begins the chapter by arguing for using new terminology to describe the necessity of conversion, since the "responsibility (of) a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth." Taking into account the 17 pages of argumentation and explanation of an orthodox view of relating saving faith and conversion which precedes the portion you have quoted, Piper seems to simply be using the term "joy" here to describe conversion in experiential or existential terms. Regarding the parable, "regeneration" or "conversion" is what precedes faith, and he seems to be using the term "joy" here synonymously with "regeneration/conversion" in order to describe it in experiential terms. You can disagree with the verbiage.
If Piper wants to define words according to his own views - how is such different from Arius, Pelagius, or the Federal Visionists? How then is this a sweeping generalization?

Again, when Piper says that there is "another way of looking at the relation of joy and faith" he is booting the last 17 pages of his text, and is going to say something new and different.

Finally,

3.) Please consider your earlier statements:
"He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie."
You have my forgiveness for having misrepresented me once already. You now do not quote me in full, but edit out certain things in order to make a point.

If I am right, and I know that I am presenting Piper's views objectively and truthfully, then Piper is a false teacher in the Church. I would say that Jesus' statements in Scripture concerning false teachers was far less "charitable" than what I said of John Piper. I have carefully written what I wrote (unedited by you), and I think I am being too lenient on Piper.

Blessings,

-CH

CH,
This will be my last post in this regard (I'm leaving town for the weekend. 2nd anniversary!). :D

Let's see...

1.) You wrote:
"Would it be accurate from an Experiential perspective to say that Joy comes before saving faith? I do not think so. From an Experimental (or Experiential) perspective I would say that the blind eyes of my faith were first opened before I saw the beauty and majesty of God.

"I would refer you to C.H. Spurgeon's remarkable book, All of Grace for a full explication (and a much better one than I can do) of Experimental Christianity.

"As I mentioned above: One first has to see the Treasure in the Field before he/she can have joy in it. If one does not see the Treasure in the Field, then one is not going to have any "joy" in it. The Scriptures everywhere tell us that this "seeing" is an act of faith - not an act of Joy. But, then this ties in with your presentation of what Piper is saying concerning Matthew 13:44."

Spurgeon's book is outstanding, and I have actually recommended it to others on occasion, with regard to understanding their own conversions from a biblical standpoint.

Your contention is that Piper's position is "joy-saving faith-more joy," and I would interpret it as "joyful conversion unto saving faith, more joy" or something along those lines. I'm choosing to read Piper's statements benevolently (and I think there is warrant for this given by the preceding context, as I've already stated). You have chosen to read Piper's statements malevolently (though I won't presume to know your intentions), because you see problems with his interpretation of the parable.

Piper states (as you quoted): "But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith."

You ask in response:
"What can this mean except that he is going to bring in some "new understanding" of the relationship between faith and joy?"

Well, it certainly doesn't have to be interpreted to mean "some 'new understanding' of the relationship of faith and joy," as though his statement necessarily means an introduction of "new heterodoxy." Your interpretation begs the question of the meaning of the statement.

I would understand the phrase "a different way of looking at _" to be a reference to simply looking at the same thing from a different perspective. For brevity's sake, if one is familiar with the language John Frame's "multiperspectivalism," then I would say Piper is simply shifting the discussion of conversion from a normative perspective to an existential perspective. Is there anything written therein that precludes this interpretation? I think not.

In fact, it seems your whole charge of heterdoxy hinges upon Piper's meaning in this phrase. Does "a different way of looking at _" mean simply "looking at it from a different perspective" or does it mean "there is an entirely different way of understanding _"? I know what you think. I'll leave it to others to adjudicate for themselves in this matter. :judge:

2.) You said:
"If Piper wants to define words according to his own views - how is such different from Arius, Pelagius, or the Federal Visionists? How then is this a sweeping generalization?"

I have to admit that this is just a bit comical to me, since you repeat the generalization, then immediately ask "how then is this a sweeping generalization?". :)

You're saying that something which may be true in some conditions, must be true in all conditions, in order to put Piper in with the heretics. (Some people who are heretics define words according to their own views. Therefore all people who define words according to their own views are heretics. Piper define words according to his own views, therefore he is a heretic.)
You offer three instances of evidence, make a sweeping generalization, then convict Piper based on this generalization.
I guess if Arius wore pants and Pelagius walked on his feet, then it would only be "orthodox" to wear skirts and walk on our hands (which would be quite embarrassing). ;)

3.) I wrote:
"Please consider your earlier statements:
'He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie.'

I'd like to draw your attention to your signature, where it states 'In Essentials Unity, in non-Essentials Liberty, in all things Charity,' and simply ask if your think your charges in this regard have been charitable?"

You responded:
"You have my forgiveness for having misrepresented me once already. You now do not quote me in full, but edit out certain things in order to make a point.

If I am right, and I know that I am presenting Piper's views objectively and truthfully, then Piper is a false teacher in the Church. I would say that Jesus' statements in Scripture concerning false teachers was far less "charitable" than what I said of John Piper. I have carefully written what I wrote (unedited by you), and I think I am being too lenient on Piper."

I would like to know, by what Gnosticism you have managed to discern my "editorial intentions" as malicious "in order to make a point"?

I did not quote you "in full" because I was quoting your accusations, one of which occurred early in your post, the others at the close. The section between the first and second being quoted ("...") contained no accusations, and would include nearly your entire post. Quoting you "in full" would then mean quoting your entire post (the "certain things" I edited out), which I was unwilling to do for the sake of brevity, and since you already know what you wrote.

I haven't misrepresented you on this point in the slightest, which is made apparent by your ability to directly respond to the quote and question without any clarification. Your accusation against me in this respect is demonstrably unfounded, and could only be based upon some "special insight" you have into my intentions, or uncharitable conjecture on your part. Either way, I forgive you.

Enjoy your weekend. I know I will. ;) :D
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
Piper usually writes in a "popular" manner.

If he is going to be effective, that needs to be left behind and he needs to write in a critical manner, (i.e. critical thinking, exegetical, academic, and pastoral).

It needs to be like his doctoral dissertation on Enemy Love.

However, he also needs the WCF behind him, and he doesn't have that as a Particular Baptist.

Yeah, he's stuck arguing using the 66 books of the Bible. What will he do without the 67th? ;)

Just a little joke. :banana:
 

Sydnorphyn

Puritan Board Freshman
For what's worth:

Wright, hands down. I question JP's ability to handle the depth/breath of Wright's knowledge on extent literature of justification and second temple Judaism.

John
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
For what's worth:

Wright, hands down. I question JP's ability to handle the depth/breath of Wright's knowledge on extent literature of justification and second temple Judaism.

John

And even as Wright's opponents concede, Wright is a communicator par excellent. And remember concerning Piper's Romans 9 book: Piper took off a whole year to write that book. He needs to do the same with this one. If he chooses to write on a popular, layman's level, then he will lose the intellectual debate. His popular-level books aren't that good, anyway. His scholarly ones usually are. He can go scholarly, perhaps, but it is going to be like Rocky vs. Drago.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
So, you believe it's inappropriate to say at regeneration God gives us a craving for Christ?
Putting words in my mouth is not proper.

I do apologize that you took it as putting words in your mouth. However, if you notice, I did phrase it in a question because that's what it was. If my intentions were to call you unorthodox I would have said so. I should have put 'do' in front of 'you believe' and this misunderstanding could have been avoided.

I think you're wrong in your view on Piper, but it's your right to be wrong. I'll not try and persuade you any differently because neither one of us have the time to waste.

God's blessings upon you!

Hey:

Your apology is accepted. My point concerning the nature of your question is that "tasting" is an act of faith - it is not an act of joy. Piper claims that "tasting" is an act of joy. Of this I challenge this statement.

Am I wrong? If so, then why?

Peace,

-CH
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
For what's worth:

Wright, hands down. I question JP's ability to handle the depth/breath of Wright's knowledge on extent literature of justification and second temple Judaism.

John

And even as Wright's opponents concede, Wright is a communicator par excellent. And remember concerning Piper's Romans 9 book: Piper took off a whole year to write that book. He needs to do the same with this one. If he chooses to write on a popular, layman's level, then he will lose the intellectual debate. His popular-level books aren't that good, anyway. His scholarly ones usually are. He can go scholarly, perhaps, but it is going to be like Rocky vs. Drago.

Rocky vs. Drago was at least fun to watch. Way better than Rocky vs. Tommy "The Machine" Gunn. :doh:

Personally, I'd like to see D.A. Carson take 'em on...

Maybe we can set up some sort of international "brawl for it all" or something... Piper's little, but he's wiry. :lol:
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Piper claims that "tasting" is an act of joy. Of this I challenge this statement.

Am I wrong? If so, then why?

Peace,

-CH

What does it mean in Acts 2:41 when it says, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized..."?

I take it to mean that our conversion experience is not neutral. I think that is all Piper is trying to say. We gladly receive Christ because the Spirit of God by regeneration has brought us out of darkness into light.

Granted, I can understand your complaint about Piper's use of the word taste in that context. It can be confusing, but to come out and be so adamant about him being unorthodox is a little off base, in my opinion.
 

Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
For what's worth:

Wright, hands down. I question JP's ability to handle the depth/breath of Wright's knowledge on extent literature of justification and second temple Judaism.

John

And even as Wright's opponents concede, Wright is a communicator par excellent. And remember concerning Piper's Romans 9 book: Piper took off a whole year to write that book. He needs to do the same with this one. If he chooses to write on a popular, layman's level, then he will lose the intellectual debate. His popular-level books aren't that good, anyway. His scholarly ones usually are. He can go scholarly, perhaps, but it is going to be like Rocky vs. Drago.

Rocky vs. Drago was at least fun to watch. Way better than Rocky vs. Tommy "The Machine" Gunn. :doh:

Personally, I'd like to see D.A. Carson take 'em on...

Maybe we can set up some sort of international "brawl for it all" or something... Piper's little, but he's wiry. :lol:

No please not Carson :), I would rather John Piper than Carson...
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
CH,
This will be my last post in this regard (I'm leaving town for the weekend. 2nd anniversary!). :D

Let's see...

1.) You wrote:
"Would it be accurate from an Experiential perspective to say that Joy comes before saving faith? I do not think so. From an Experimental (or Experiential) perspective I would say that the blind eyes of my faith were first opened before I saw the beauty and majesty of God.

"I would refer you to C.H. Spurgeon's remarkable book, All of Grace for a full explication (and a much better one than I can do) of Experimental Christianity.

"As I mentioned above: One first has to see the Treasure in the Field before he/she can have joy in it. If one does not see the Treasure in the Field, then one is not going to have any "joy" in it. The Scriptures everywhere tell us that this "seeing" is an act of faith - not an act of Joy. But, then this ties in with your presentation of what Piper is saying concerning Matthew 13:44."

Spurgeon's book is outstanding, and I have actually recommended it to others on occasion, with regard to understanding their own conversions from a biblical standpoint.

Your contention is that Piper's position is "joy-saving faith-more joy," and I would interpret it as "joyful conversion unto saving faith, more joy" or something along those lines. I'm choosing to read Piper's statements benevolently (and I think there is warrant for this given by the preceding context, as I've already stated). You have chosen to read Piper's statements malevolently (though I won't presume to know your intentions), because you see problems with his interpretation of the parable.

Piper states (as you quoted): "But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith."

You ask in response:
"What can this mean except that he is going to bring in some "new understanding" of the relationship between faith and joy?"

Well, it certainly doesn't have to be interpreted to mean "some 'new understanding' of the relationship of faith and joy," as though his statement necessarily means an introduction of "new heterodoxy." Your interpretation begs the question of the meaning of the statement.

I would understand the phrase "a different way of looking at _" to be a reference to simply looking at the same thing from a different perspective. For brevity's sake, if one is familiar with the language John Frame's "multiperspectivalism," then I would say Piper is simply shifting the discussion of conversion from a normative perspective to an existential perspective. Is there anything written therein that precludes this interpretation? I think not.

In fact, it seems your whole charge of heterdoxy hinges upon Piper's meaning in this phrase. Does "a different way of looking at _" mean simply "looking at it from a different perspective" or does it mean "there is an entirely different way of understanding _"? I know what you think. I'll leave it to others to adjudicate for themselves in this matter. :judge:

2.) You said:
"If Piper wants to define words according to his own views - how is such different from Arius, Pelagius, or the Federal Visionists? How then is this a sweeping generalization?"

I have to admit that this is just a bit comical to me, since you repeat the generalization, then immediately ask "how then is this a sweeping generalization?". :)

You're saying that something which may be true in some conditions, must be true in all conditions, in order to put Piper in with the heretics. (Some people who are heretics define words according to their own views. Therefore all people who define words according to their own views are heretics. Piper define words according to his own views, therefore he is a heretic.)
You offer three instances of evidence, make a sweeping generalization, then convict Piper based on this generalization.
I guess if Arius wore pants and Pelagius walked on his feet, then it would only be "orthodox" to wear skirts and walk on our hands (which would be quite embarrassing). ;)

3.) I wrote:
"Please consider your earlier statements:
'He is falsely (and I think maliciously) misinterpreting the parable... Imagine, for example, if he stood up in his pulpit and admitted to his congregation that over the last 20 years he has been wrong about the fundamental nature of the gospel. That he has deceived millions of people because of his error. That this has been pointed out to him by brothers in Christ for over 10 years. He has built his huge ministry on a lie.'

I'd like to draw your attention to your signature, where it states 'In Essentials Unity, in non-Essentials Liberty, in all things Charity,' and simply ask if your think your charges in this regard have been charitable?"

You responded:
"You have my forgiveness for having misrepresented me once already. You now do not quote me in full, but edit out certain things in order to make a point.

If I am right, and I know that I am presenting Piper's views objectively and truthfully, then Piper is a false teacher in the Church. I would say that Jesus' statements in Scripture concerning false teachers was far less "charitable" than what I said of John Piper. I have carefully written what I wrote (unedited by you), and I think I am being too lenient on Piper."

I would like to know, by what Gnosticism you have managed to discern my "editorial intentions" as malicious "in order to make a point"?

I did not quote you "in full" because I was quoting your accusations, one of which occurred early in your post, the others at the close. The section between the first and second being quoted ("...") contained no accusations, and would include nearly your entire post. Quoting you "in full" would then mean quoting your entire post (the "certain things" I edited out), which I was unwilling to do for the sake of brevity, and since you already know what you wrote.

I haven't misrepresented you on this point in the slightest, which is made apparent by your ability to directly respond to the quote and question without any clarification. Your accusation against me in this respect is demonstrably unfounded, and could only be based upon some "special insight" you have into my intentions, or uncharitable conjecture on your part. Either way, I forgive you.

Enjoy your weekend. I know I will. ;) :D[/QUOTE]

Hey:

Congratulations on your anniversary! Enjoy.

As I have mentioned Heterodoxy is the most difficult thing to explicate because there is some truth attached to it. Those who hold to Heterodoxy only see the "positive" and refuse to look at the "negative" aspects of it. Since you like to avoid the major points of my posts I also do not see much fruit in our discussion.

You wrote:

You're saying that something which may be true in some conditions, must be true in all conditions, in order to put Piper in with the heretics.
No. I never said that - this again is a misinterpretation of what I have written. I did not use the phraseology "all" in my statements. I am applying it to a particular instance - that is Piper's view that "Joy preceeds faith" wherein, according to you, he wants to redefine words to fit his theology. Such is not a "Sweeping Generalization." What is comical is that by applying "all" in the fashion that you have done so - is a form of the "Hasty Generalization" fallacy. You do not have a sufficient sample of my applying this particular argument to "all" or "every instance" wherein it occurs.

I will shrug off the ad hominen approach you are taking and continue on. I asked the simple question:

How can you have joy in somthing that you do not believe in?

I do not find this a difficult thing to answer - yet it hits at the heart of Piper's heterodoxy. Those who think that I am wrong will have to answer this question rationally.

You wrote:

I would like to know, by what Gnosticism you have managed to discern my "editorial intentions" as malicious "in order to make a point"?
Your point being that I have not been "charitable" to John Piper. You then "edit" my presentation to fit your preconceived notion that I have not been charitable to John Piper. When a person "edits" another persons presentation in order to fit their own preconceived notion, then one can deduce that such an act is malicious.

This is like the third time you have misrepresented my points. In Baseball three strikes and you are out. I wonder how they are teaching you to think and argue at Whitfield Seminary? How did you even get into Seminary by doing things like this?

Though you insist that this is not a misrepresentation the fact is you are misrepresenting. When one makes an accusation one must have reasons for doing so - otherwise it is a violation of the commandment not to make false accusations. Because you "edited out" the reasons for making such an accusation you made it look like I was violating the Commandment.

Now, this may have been innocent on your part, but, given your history of misrepresentations and misinterpretations I am not so confident that it is. If these are blunders on your part, then I would question your ability to think straight.

What is most telling is that you never answer the points that I am making about John Piper's heterodoxy. You skim the surface to find only those points that you can reply to, and ignore the meat of the discussion.

You say you respect C.H. Spurgeon's book All of Grace ? Well, here is the portion that is unanswerable by "Piperism":

Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the aqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men. It is a great pity when the aqueduct is broken. It is a sad sight to see around Rome the many noble aqueducts which no longer convey water into the city, because the arches are broken and the marvelous structures are in ruins. The aqueduct must be kept entire to convey the current; and, even so, faith must be true and sound, leading right up to God and coming right down to ourselves, that it may become a serviceable channel of mercy to our souls.
And, a little later on:

The faith which saves has its analogies in the human frame.
It is the eye which looks. By the eye we bring into the mind that which is far away; we can bring the sun and the far-off stars into the mind by a glance of the eye. So by trust we bring the Lord Jesus near to us; and though He be far away in Heaven, He enters into our heart. Only look to Jesus; for the hymn is strictly true—


There is life in a look at the Crucified One,
There is life at this moment for thee.

Faith is the hand which grasps. When our hand takes hold of anything for itself, it does precisely what faith does when it appropriates Christ and the blessings of His redemption. Faith says, "Jesus is mine." Faith hears of the pardoning blood, and cries, "I accept it to pardon me." Faith calls the legacies of the dying Jesus her own; and they are her own, for faith is Christ's heir; He has given Himself and all that He has to faith. Take, O friend, that which grace has provided for thee. You will not be a thief, for you have a divine permit: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." He who may have a treasure simply by his grasping it will be foolish indeed if he remains poor.
Faith is the mouth which feeds upon Christ. Before food can nourish us, it must be received into us. This is a simple matter—this eating and drinking.
This is the experimental way of describing faith. Spurgeon was a master at it.

If Piper is simply trading the word "joy" for "regeneration" then how does it apply to the parable in Matt. 13:44?

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Are the "finding" the treasure and the "hiding" of it done prior to "regeneration"? Not only do you misrepresent me, but, it seems, that you are misrepresenting Piper here as well.

I would hate to think that you are that incompetant.

The Lord's blessing to you on your anniversary.

-CH
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Piper claims that "tasting" is an act of joy. Of this I challenge this statement.

Am I wrong? If so, then why?

Peace,

-CH

What does it mean in Acts 2:41 when it says, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized..."?

I take it to mean that our conversion experience is not neutral. I think that is all Piper is trying to say. We gladly receive Christ because the Spirit of God by regeneration has brought us out of darkness into light.

Granted, I can understand your complaint about Piper's use of the word taste in that context. It can be confusing, but to come out and be so adamant about him being unorthodox is a little off base, in my opinion.

Hey:

Well, Piper is centering on a vital area of Christianity: How does faith operate in Regeneration? This touches upon the experimental way in which we apprehend Christ and all of His benefits - including Joy. This touches upon the whole Christian life: Do we live by faith? or, Do we have to experience Joy first before living by faith?

Peter and the Apostles, in Acts 2:41, are simply baptizing all those who positively responded to the Word just preached by Peter. Faith is the instrument though which all of the blessings of Grace are received - including Joy.

Piper has reversed the whole teaching and has given to "joy" the instrumentality of faith. That is - if we do not experience "joy" in our lives, then we cannot have true saving faith. This makes our faith based on an emotion. If we are not experiencing "joy in Jesus" are we then without faith? Piper's view is the view of the Charismatics/Arminian position.

There is no Scripture anywhere that teaches that Joy is the instrument through which we receive saving faith. Piper has to misinterpret a parable in order to prove his point.

I think the problem is serious enough to label Piper a false teacher of the Gospel. If faith is dependent upon Joy - then what does that do to Justification? Are we then Justified by Joy? The logical end of his reasoning would inevitably bring one to this point.

As Francis Schaeffer once said, "Heterodoxy in one generation leads to heresy in the next."

Grace,

-CH

PS: I developed this criticism of Piper when I was a credo-baptist. When I brought this to the attention of my pastor he told me not to criticize a fellow credo.

-CH
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
CH,

I have great respect and admiration for John Piper, but I am not a blind follower of the man. (I know you didn't accuse me of being so, but I want to make that clear.) There are terms that Piper uses that I call into question, so I want you to know that I'm not being antagonistic in my responses. It seems as if your mind is already made up about Piper, so I'm not trying to change it either. I'm trying to see where you're coming from. It's late and I have been doing some reading on the matter, but I am too tired to post much more, so I will leave you with one question for now.

Do you agree with Packer in this instance, or do you think he is following the same unorthodox path as Piper?

The concept (regeneration) is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause.

REGENERATION by J.I. Packer

Packer seems to indicate that active faith in Christ is a result of regeneration. To this I would say we both agree. But Packer also says that in the act of regeneration the Holy Spirit implants a new principle of desire that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ.

This is the same thing that I have been saying all along - We're not neutral in our conversion to Christ. Our saving faith is a gift from God and a fruit of our regeneration, but there is a desire to positively (or gladly as Peter puts it in Acts 2) respond to Christ as a result of regeneration. Is there not?

I am more than willing to stand corrected on this issue if I'm off base because I would not want to go against the teaching of the Word of God. I would like to see some more guys weigh in on this point with their thoughts.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
CH,

I have great respect and admiration for John Piper, but I am not a blind follower of the man. (I know you didn't accuse me of being so, but I want to make that clear.) There are terms that Piper uses that I call into question, so I want you to know that I'm not being antagonistic in my responses. It seems as if your mind is already made up about Piper, so I'm not trying to change it either. I'm trying to see where you're coming from. It's late and I have been doing some reading on the matter, but I am too tired to post much more, so I will leave you with one question for now.

Do you agree with Packer in this instance, or do you think he is following the same unorthodox path as Piper?

The concept (regeneration) is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause.

REGENERATION by J.I. Packer

Packer seems to indicate that active faith in Christ is a result of regeneration. To this I would say we both agree. But Packer also says that in the act of regeneration the Holy Spirit implants a new principle of desire that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ.

This is the same thing that I have been saying all along - We're not neutral in our conversion to Christ. Our saving faith is a gift from God and a fruit of our regeneration, but there is a desire to positively (or gladly as Peter puts it in Acts 2) respond to Christ as a result of regeneration. Is there not?

I am more than willing to stand corrected on this issue if I'm off base because I would not want to go against the teaching of the Word of God. I would like to see some more guys weigh in on this point with their thoughts.

Hi:

You are a good man - better than me. I dislike being "negative" about things, but there are times when one has to be. Forgive me if I seem overly harsh.

Yes, as far as the J.I. Packer statement you made goes I agree with it. Regeneration affects the mind, heart, and will: the intellect, emotions, and will. The question is not whether or not Regeneration affects the person, but through what medium does it do so? I will requote Spurgeon because he says it better than myself:

Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the aqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men. It is a great pity when the aqueduct is broken. It is a sad sight to see around Rome the many noble aqueducts which no longer convey water into the city, because the arches are broken and the marvelous structures are in ruins. The aqueduct must be kept entire to convey the current; and, even so, faith must be true and sound, leading right up to God and coming right down to ourselves, that it may become a serviceable channel of mercy to our souls.
We receive all the benefits of Christ through faith - including joy. I could quote a hundred passages from Scripture to prove this. But where in Scripture does it even imply that we receive all the benefits of Christ through joy - including faith?

Piper's "theology" that joy preceeds faith is a direct attack upon the Life, Walk, and Triumph of the Christian man. We walk by faith in the Son of God. The more you exercise faith in your life the more you will experience the work of the Spirit in changing your whole soul to be more like Jesus. But try to do the same thing with "joy" and you will find that you are experiencing something quite different - the "Charismatic" experience of an emotional frenzy.

This also touches upon his view of the Westminster Catechism. He rewrites the answer by saying:

Man's chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
At the outset this looks innocent. However, it is not the teaching that the Westminster Divines are setting forth. Piper is constrained by his "hedonism" to look for a human motivation to glorify God. If we seek our pleasure in God, he says, we will be glorifying him. But the catechism says something different:

Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.
The Divines are saying that our end is to glorify God in our lives, and by doing so we will enjoy Him forever. The difference between the two is the matter of motivation:

Piper - we are to seek our pleasure in God.

Divines - we are to glorify God in our lives, and then we will enjoy Him.

The Christian man, like Job, should not be seeking his pleasure in God - as his chief end, but should be committed to the glorification of God nomatter what:

Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him, Job 13:15.

Piper's "Hedonism" says our end is to seek pleasure in God, and then we will glorify Him. The Christian, on the other hand, is to glorify God, and then you will receive pleasure from Him.

Commit yourself body and soul to the glory of God, and you will not be dissappointed. I have never been. Neither has Paul, Peter nor Christ Himself.

Piper's "Desiring God" ministry is deceiving a whole host of people.

In Jesus,

-CH
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
This is like the third time you have misrepresented my points. In Baseball three strikes and you are out.

A "three strikes" baseball reference? How simultaneously fun and novel! Let's run with it. Since apparently I'm "out," I guess I need to take the field, so batter up!

1.) You started your posts in this thread with a link to an article by John Robbins. Need I say more? Strike one.

2.) You accused me of misrepresenting you when, in point of fact, I merely quoted you. This one is so ridiculous, it should require no explanation. Strike two.

3.) You have accused me of misrepresenting you three times. One of those times you were correct and I admitted it, however, you seem to think that this is some "weak spot" which you can capitalize on by declaring everything you don't like to be a misrepresentation, without need of demonstration. It's like you think you'll get a free throw every time you call a foul, just because you missed a lay-up (oops, basketball analogy, sorry about that, back to the diamond...).
I admitted it the first time because you demonstrated it to be true the first time. You didn't demonstrate it the other two times. Because you can't. Because I didn't. Stee-rike three!

New batter, new batter!

1.) I demonstrated your use of a generalization fallacy, to which you responded by declaring that it was I who had, in fact, committed a generalization fallacy in demonstrating your generalization fallacy. In this you effectively commit the tu quoque fallacy, and down-grade the conversation to within one step of typing "nuh uh" and "you too" in all caps. Strike one.
(FYI, since I took the only statements you made in this regard as my "sample" of occurrences, I'm actually using 100% of available data in making my conclusions. As soon as more data becomes available, the conclusion may change; but until then the statement is inductively valid. So your charge of a "hasty generalization" is statistically naive.)

2.) You accuse me of "avoiding the major points" of your posts and say that I "skim the surface to find only those points that (I) can reply to, and ignore the meat of the discussion."
Simply, my issue thus far has been with whether or not your interpretation of Piper is accurate. I have stated from the outset and throughout that this was my main point of contention with your statements. This fact makes your "major points" technically irrelevant, since your main question ("How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?") assumes the truth of your interpretation, which is of course the actual point at issue. Assuming the truth of the point at issue in arguing for it is, as I'm sure you know, begging the question. Begging the question is like watching a big fat one go right down the middle, strike two.

3.) Not only do you seem to be unaware of your own statements (as evidenced by declaring a quote to be a misrepresentation) you also seem to be a bit unfamiliar with your own presuppositions and the implications of the statements you make. This appears to be part of why you repreatedly think others on this board are misinterpreting or misrepresenting you. To demonstrate that I am wrong in certain instances, you simply have to show that you have different presuppositions than I am criticizing or that your statements do not imply what I say they do. Instead, you continue to point out that you "didn't say" an implication or presupposition. This is true, since in the nature of the case a presupposition or implication is generally unstated; however, this makes your objection that you "didn't say" them thoroughly irrelevant. Irrelevant = "Swing and a miss!" = Strike Three.

Two down, new batter.

1.) You continue to refer to a statement in an out of print edition of Desiring God, saying that whether or not the statement is there any more doesn't matter so long as the "underlying theology" is still present. You then move on to ask your "main questions" without demonstrating that this "underlying theology" is present, simply declaring that it is and hoping nobody notices that it's not. That's called ipse dixit, which is a Strike.

2.) I made the obsevation that your whole position seems to hinge upon the proper interpretation of Piper's segue phrase "But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith." You do not interact with my statements about this at all, which seems odd, since it's so central to your arguments. I offered that this phrase probably means looking at the relationship from a different perspective (since, really, that's all that it says), while you seem to assert that it must mean that Piper is giving an "altogether new and different (i.e. heterdox) way of understanding the relationship." This interpretation doesn't seem at all warranted by the phrase or its context, and it seems that one would only come to this conclusion as the result of an a priori commitment to interpreting Piper in this way. Begging the same question from a different perspective gets you a Strike Two.

3.) You say that you "will shrug off the ad hominen approach (I am) taking and continue on." To imagine that someone is attacking you, and to declare so forthrightly that you are "shrugging it off," generally might mean that you can at least pretend to have the ability to avoid using inflamatory rhetorical statements immediately afterward. You know, like: "I wonder how they are teaching you to think and argue at Whitfield Seminary? How did you even get into Seminary by doing things like this?... If these are blunders on your part, then I would question your ability to think straight... I would hate to think that you are that incompetant."
I know by now that you are just being "charitable" in making such statements, but these contradictions in tone and language within a single post make the initial "shrugging it off" statement seem disingenuous at best, delusional at worst. It gets you a foul-tip for being mildly amusing, but, unfortunately, the catcher snagged it. Strike three! You're out!

Boy, what a fun inning! I haven't played ball in a long time. Well, I guess maybe I'll catch you next year for spring training. Have a good one, I'm gonna go ice my pitching arm...
:cheers:
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

Sorry, you are throwing all balls dude.

1) You accused me of Sweeping Generalization:

Sweeping Generalization: is one in which there seems to be sufficient evidence offered to draw a conclusion, but the conclusion drawn far exceeds what the evidence supports.
What did I say in order to receive such a accusation?

1) That you claimed John Piiper to be using words in a special sense.

2) That I pointed out that heretics and those involved in heterodoxy use terms in a special sence.

3) That John Piper in using terms in a special sense is following the lead of those who are heretics and heterodox.

4) You then accused me of "Sweeping Generalization." When I challenged you on this you made the claim that I said "ALL" who use terms in a special sense.

5) I responded by pointing out that I never used the term "ALL" - that was an interpretation on your part (and a false one to be precise). In doing so you are engaging in the Hasty Generalization fallacy:

A hasty generalization is one in which there is an insufficient number of instances on which to base the generalization.
Do you actually have, in evidece, every single time I used #2 above? If not, then your accusation is a Hasty Generalization.

In order to avoid this you write:

FYI, since I took the only statements you made in this regard as my "sample" of occurrences, I'm actually using 100% of available data in making my conclusions. As soon as more data becomes available, the conclusion may change; but until then the statement is inductively valid. So your charge of a "hasty generalization" is statistically naive.)
Sorry, dude that does not cut it - and a good try at a cop out. Am I arguing with a child?

To quote you again concerning this matter:

You're saying that something which may be true in some conditions, must be true in all conditions, in order to put Piper in with the heretics.
No. I never said that. I said that this particular example applies here. By placing the word "all" in you are committing the Hasty Generalization fallacy.

For a guy who throws around logical fallacies I would hope you would know what you are talking about!

Ball One

Next, you wrote:

Simply, my issue thus far has been with whether or not your interpretation of Piper is accurate. I have stated from the outset and throughout that this was my main point of contention with your statements. This fact makes your "major points" technically irrelevant, since your main question ("How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?") assumes the truth of your interpretation, which is of course the actual point at issue. Assuming the truth of the point at issue in arguing for it is, as I'm sure you know, begging the question. Begging the question is like watching a big fat one go right down the middle, strike two.

So? You say you are interested in whether or not I am interpreting Piper correctly? You then say that ONE of my major points is "technically irrelevant" you have never interracted with any of the quotes I made from John Piper nor the interpretations set forth.

You interpret Piper's meaning as "Joy" replacing the word "regeneration" in which I responed in two fashions. One with the challenge concerning changing words without proper explanation - i.e. "heretics using their own special definitions." and the second here:

If Piper is simply trading the word "joy" for "regeneration" then how does it apply to the parable in Matt. 13:44?

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Are the "finding" the treasure and the "hiding" of it done prior to "regeneration"? Not only do you misrepresent me, but, it seems, that you are misrepresenting Piper here as well.

A guy who says he is interested in whether or not I am interpreting John Piper rightly, and then says that he will not interract with my major points? Hmmmm

Ball Two

Next,

3.) Not only do you seem to be unaware of your own statements (as evidenced by declaring a quote to be a misrepresentation) you also seem to be a bit unfamiliar with your own presuppositions and the implications of the statements you make. This appears to be part of why you repreatedly think others on this board are misinterpreting or misrepresenting you. To demonstrate that I am wrong in certain instances, you simply have to show that you have different presuppositions than I am criticizing or that your statements do not imply what I say they do. Instead, you continue to point out that you "didn't say" an implication or presupposition. This is true, since in the nature of the case a presupposition or implication is generally unstated; however, this makes your objection that you "didn't say" them thoroughly irrelevant. Irrelevant
You mean to tell me that a person cannot misrepreent another by misquotation? This is truly the icing on the cake! I know what I said - it is plain for anyone to read. You now say that I say "others on this board are misinterpreting or misrepresenting" Where do you get that from?

Now, I will make a deal with you - we will clean the slate and look at what I am saying about John Piper without throwing around logical fallacise - unless we can so prove them? I am more interested in talking about Piper's "theology" rather than logical fallacies. If you want to continue talking about this, then we should do so privately or on another thread.
Agreed?

Now you write:

1.) You continue to refer to a statement in an out of print edition of Desiring God, saying that whether or not the statement is there any more doesn't matter so long as the "underlying theology" is still present. You then move on to ask your "main questions" without demonstrating that this "underlying theology" is present, simply declaring that it is and hoping nobody notices that it's not. That's called ipse dixit, which is a Strike.
Post #24 on this thread does not at all substantiate your statement above. Especially when I wrote:

So far - this is partially correct - an an orthodox believer can hold to this without heterodoxy. However, it is what he says next that collapses this "orthodoxy":

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith. In Hebrews 11:6 the writer says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him." In other words, the faith which pleases God is a confidence that God will reward us when we come to him. But surely this does not mean that we are to be motivated by material things. Surely the reward we long for is the glory of God himself and the perfected companionship of Christ (Hebrews 2: 10, 3:6, 10:34, 11 :26, 12:22-24, 13:5). We will sell everything to have the treasure of Christ himself.

So the faith which pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find the All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart's eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that 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!

When you stick with the Bible you will not fall into heterodoxy like Piper did. Since, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," then How can Joy be considered prior to faith? If "joy" comes prior to (beneath and behind) faith, then how can that joy be pleasing to God - since it is without faith. The other passages he cites does not substantiate his thesis that Joy preceeds saving faith. bold mine
I will quote Spurgeon, again, since you seem to admire him:

Faith is the mouth which feeds upon Christ. Before food can nourish us, it must be received into us. This is a simple matter—this eating and drinking. We willingly receive into the mouth that which is our food, and then we consent that it should pass down into our inward parts, wherein it is taken up and absorbed into our bodily frame. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Romans, in the tenth chapter, "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth."
To remind you of Piper's view:

a new taste has been created. A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ.[/B] Behold, a joy has been born!
Tasting the goodness of the Lord has never been used as a matter of "Joy." The emotion of "joy" is something you experience when you taste something sweet.

And in Post #34 here:

Piper interprets Matthew 13:44 in this way:

This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven.16 A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure. The kingdom of heaven is the abode of the King. The longing to be there is not the longing for heavenly real estate, but for camaraderie with the King. The treasure in the field is the fellowship of God in Christ.

I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy.

The error here is that one must be regenerated in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven - Conversion comes after this.

Jesus says, "You must be born again" i.e. "regenerated."

Next, Piper writes:

How then does this arrival of joy relate to saving faith? The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing' (Romans 15: 13). It is "in believing" that we are filled with joy. Confidence in the promises of God overcomes anxiety and fills us with peace and joy. Paul even calls it the "joy of faith" (Philippians 1 :25).

Piper is laying the groundwork for rewriting everything he said in the prior 15 pages. He will eventually say, in the original first edition of his book, "Joy is both the root and fruit of saving faith." He writes:

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith.

What can this mean except that he is going to bring in some "new understanding" of the relationship between faith and joy. Here he puts it:

It implies that 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!

In your opinion here you are saying that Joy is a figure for "regeneration." I see no Biblical warrant for teaching such a thing: that Joy = regeneration. If Piper is speaking in a Metonomy - he has nowhere indicated that he is doing so. I would ask where in Scripture one can use the term "Joy" as a metonomy for "regeneration."

Regeneration is the implatantion of the new life in the elect sinner. This new life opens the eyes of the soul to the beauty and majesty of God. This opening of the eyes of the soul is everywhere spoken of in Scripture as faith:

We believe that this true faith, worked in may by the hearing of God's Word and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man, Belgic Confession of Faith, Art. 24.

Wherefore, in Scripture it says everywhere that we are saved "by faith":

For by grace we are saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, Eph. 2:8.
For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3

Saving Grace brings Saving Faith - if you want to think of Grace here as regeneration I will not argue with you. But what is seriously lacking in every passage of Scripture is an understanding that "Joy" is present. Here are a few passages that do speak about Joy in relation to Saving Faith:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God, Rom. 5:2.
Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet. 1:8.

You will have to show me somewhere in Scripture where Joy is considered a work of Saving Grace in Regeneration. If you cannot, then even resorting to Metonomy will not help you.
Piper's view that Joy preceeds saving faith is nowhere more explicit then when he writes:

Then something miraculous happened. It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever.

And then, faith-the confidence that Christ has made a way for me...

My question is very simple:

How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?
In both of these posts, and in a few others, I do not refer to his original formulation "Joy is the Root and Fruit of Saving Faith." I show that the theology still remains.

In this post you point out that my last question, "How can you have joy in something that you do not believe in?" was unsubstantiated - thus irrelevant. I am sorry, but the whole post runs against your thesis. I carefully showed that Piper is still holding to the view that Joy preceeds faith in regeneration. Thus my question is very relevant.

Next, you wrote:

2.) I made the obsevation that your whole position seems to hinge upon the proper interpretation of Piper's segue phrase "But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith." You do not interact with my statements about this at all, which seems odd, since it's so central to your arguments. I offered that this phrase probably means looking at the relationship from a different perspective (since, really, that's all that it says), while you seem to assert that it must mean that Piper is giving an "altogether new and different (i.e. heterdox) way of understanding the relationship." This interpretation doesn't seem at all warranted by the phrase or its context, and it seems that one would only come to this conclusion as the result of an a priori commitment to interpreting Piper in this way. Begging the same question from a different perspective gets you a Strike Two.
Again, my "whole position" is not dependent upon the statement 'But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith." My position is dependent upon whether or not John Piper teaches that Joy preceeds faith in regeneration. How can I not, then, come to the conclusion that you are misrepresenting?

Finally,

3.) You say that you "will shrug off the ad hominen approach (I am) taking and continue on." To imagine that someone is attacking you, and to declare so forthrightly that you are "shrugging it off," generally might mean that you can at least pretend to have the ability to avoid using inflamatory rhetorical statements immediately afterward. You know, like: "I wonder how they are teaching you to think and argue at Whitfield Seminary? How did you even get into Seminary by doing things like this?... If these are blunders on your part, then I would question your ability to think straight... I would hate to think that you are that incompetant."
I know by now that you are just being "charitable" in making such statements, but these contradictions in tone and language within a single post make the initial "shrugging it off" statement seem disingenuous at best, delusional at worst. It gets you a foul-tip for being mildly amusing, but, unfortunately, the catcher snagged it. Strike three! You're out!
I write these posts in a sequential fashion. I was truly hoping to reply to you from a "charitable" disposition. But when I saw how you were "interpreting" me and how poorly you were applying the logical fallacies I was so amazed at the bizarre nature of your "attacks" it was beyond anything I could imagine. Thus, my language got the better of me. Consequently, I apologize. By the way: When one is pointing out logical fallacies one is attacking his opponent's thesis.

The question is simple: Does Piper teach that Joy preceeds faith in regeneration? In my posts #24 and #34 I believe I have shown this to be true.

You side has been retired.

Grace and Peace,

-CH
 

LockTheDeadbolt

Puritan Board Freshman
Now, I will make a deal with you - we will clean the slate and look at what I am saying about John Piper without throwing around logical fallacise - unless we can so prove them? I am more interested in talking about Piper's "theology" rather than logical fallacies. If you want to continue talking about this, then we should do so privately or on another thread.
Agreed?

Homey, you picked up the baseball analogy (which is so much more fun than just jabbing at each other with some rusty old farm equipment), and even started calling me "dude," but you totally dropped the ball! You said I "pitched two balls" then my "side was retired." That doesn't even make sense. You'd still be at bat and I'd be on the mound. Either way, according to my post, your at-bats are done, homeslice.
I know you're probably not used to having fun while thoroughly disagreeing with somebody, but I promise it won't hurt. And I won't throw any bean balls... :D

So let's clear the field, get the infield raked, dust off the plate and get rid of some of this clutter surrounding the "main points," you say? Sounds good.

In order to do that, will you permit me a one or two observations and questions, so I can attempt to understand you more accurately? I'm going to proceed assuming that you want to be accurately understood, and if that's not the case then, well, shoot, you can tell me what it is you are after and just nevermind my questions, homeboy.

1.) In looking over your posts thus far, it seems that a number of things about Piper's ministry are distasteful to you: the size of his church and influence, his relationship to charismatics, a charismatic "undertone" or "overtone" in some of his writing, his re-wording of the WS Catechism (when a Baptist does that, it's really gotta tee some folks off, right?). Is that much true? If so, would you say that your "distaste" in those regards stands separate from the central issues in our discussion, or are they logically prior to or a resultant conclusion from the central issue, as you have defined it ("Does Piper teach that Joy preceeds faith in regeneration?")? In essence, I'm asking what is at the heart of your low esteem of Piper and his ministry? Is it this issue of "joy preceding faith" or is there more to it than that? My sense is that there is a great deal more to it, but I could certainly be wrong in that regard.

2.) Just to be utterly transparent on my end, I am no disciple of Piper and I'm not wedded to his theology by any stretch. I have enjoyed his populist writings (as populist writings) in the past, but he is merely a man and certainly not above reproach, error or heresy. My interest in the conversation thus far hasn't really been in persuading you to "like Piper" or anything so inane as that. Actually, if your interpretation of Piper on this central issue is correct, then the implications you have enumerated would also be accurate. If he does teach we are "justified by joy" in the way you have claimed, then his doctrine of salvation is confused and confusing, at best. I simply think you have chosen to take statements in Piper's book (which, I grant, are more ambiguous than they ought to be), invest them with a certain technical significance which their author doesn't intend, then accuse him of heterodoxy.

My contention from the outset and throughout has been that, while there may be some warrant for your position, there is at least (if not more than) equal warrant for interpreting the statements as I have, especially considering the 17 pages of prior orthodox context and the rather tendentious interpretation you have offered of Piper's segue phrase "But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith."

I see this phrase as central since it is the phrase which creates either conjunction or disjunction with the preceding 17 pages. You maintain it is used to introduce an utterly new and heterdox description of the relationship between joy and faith, and I maintain that no such interpretation is warranted by the wording of the phrase or its context.

I think this is the hinge-point of difference in our interpretations, since if I'm right about this phrase all of your homerun arguments thereafter hook just outside the foul pole. However, if your interpretation here is correct, then you hit a dinger, "touch 'em all."

Also, I'm going to predict that at some point one (or both) of us will feel like we are just :deadhorse:. Eventually, we'll just have to agree that one's interpretation of Piper is a "non-essential" (and we ought to give each other some charitable liberty in that regard), while one's interpretation of the Gospel itself is essential, though I haven't seen where I have any disagreement with you in that regard.

The issue here (to my mind) is not whether or not you or I believe in the pure Gospel of the Word, but whether or not Piper's exposition reflects or clouds that Gospel. The discussion itself, if it is to be remotely fruitful, presupposes that we are talking objectively about the Gospel in which you and I both believe, and for that simple truth I rejoice. :amen:
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

Thank you for your response.

You wrote:

1.) In looking over your posts thus far, it seems that a number of things about Piper's ministry are distasteful to you: the size of his church and influence, his relationship to charismatics, a charismatic "undertone" or "overtone" in some of his writing, his re-wording of the WS Catechism (when a Baptist does that, it's really gotta tee some folks off, right?). Is that much true? If so, would you say that your "distaste" in those regards stands separate from the central issues in our discussion, or are they logically prior to or a resultant conclusion from the central issue, as you have defined it ("Does Piper teach that Joy preceeds faith in regeneration?")? In essence, I'm asking what is at the heart of your low esteem of Piper and his ministry? Is it this issue of "joy preceding faith" or is there more to it than that? My sense is that there is a great deal more to it, but I could certainly be wrong in that regard.
What is distasteful to me is Piper's "theology" of joy-faith-more joy. From this flows all the other things you list as distasteful. I pity those under his ministry that have swallowed this teaching. I am saddened that so many people have been deceived by it. I am revolted by the "charismatic" nature of it. Whether he is a Baptist or a Presbyterian matters little to me. I am just as revolted by J.I. Packer's defection on ECT. John Frame's "perspectivalism" and his position on the regulative principle of worship are also just as distasteful to me. In my opinion, humble as it is, all three of these men (2 paedobaptist and 1 baptist) should not have a teaching chair in the church because of what they teach. (If you want to talk about Packer and Frame we can do so on another thread.) I cannot be "joyful" on a matter that grieves me so, but I was not offended by your use of the baseball analogy - though it was rather amusing despite the serious nature of the discussion.

Next,

2.) Just to be utterly transparent on my end, I am no disciple of Piper and I'm not wedded to his theology by any stretch. I have enjoyed his populist writings (as populist writings) in the past, but he is merely a man and certainly not above reproach, error or heresy. My interest in the conversation thus far hasn't really been in persuading you to "like Piper" or anything so inane as that. Actually, if your interpretation of Piper on this central issue is correct, then the implications you have enumerated would also be accurate. If he does teach we are "justified by joy" in the way you have claimed, then his doctrine of salvation is confused and confusing, at best. I simply think you have chosen to take statements in Piper's book (which, I grant, are more ambiguous than they ought to be), invest them with a certain technical significance which their author doesn't intend, then accuse him of heterodoxy.
I read the original copy of his book back in the 80's - this was the only copy of the book available at the time. And it was this copy that contained the infamous statement, "Joy is both the root and fruit of saving faith." His presentation in that section of chapter 2 was far more clear than it is today. However, I do not believe he has backed off this statement. I think he has tried to bury it more under orthodox language. To come to such a conclusion one has to compare the original copy with today's version.

Again, I never said that he said that we are "justified by joy." What I said was that such is the logical result of his view that joy is instrumental to saving faith. If joy is the "root" of saving faith, then how can we not come to the conclusion that joy is what justifies?

If you think that I am investing in Piper's presentation a technical significance that he does not intend, then one simply has to look at the way he interprets Matt. 13:44. I am taking Piper in the plain sense of his words. It is the responsibility of any writer to use words in a univocal and not an equivocal (or deceptive) sense.

Now, his plain words speak volumes:

How then does this arrival of joy relate to saving faith? The usual answer is that joy is the fruit of faith. And in one sense it is. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing' (Romans 15: 13). It is "in believing" that we are filled with joy. Confidence in the promises of God overcomes anxiety and fills us with peace and joy. Paul even calls it the "joy of faith" (Philippians 1 :25).

But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith. In Hebrews 11:6 the writer says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him." In other words, the faith which pleases God is a confidence that God will reward us when we come to him. But surely this does not mean that we are to be motivated by material things. Surely the reward we long for is the glory of God himself and the perfected companionship of Christ (Hebrews 2: 10, 3:6, 10:34, 11 :26, 12:22-24, 13:5). We will sell everything to have the treasure of Christ himself.
"The usual answer is that joy is a fruit of faith." - that he says is the "usual answer." It is the orthodox answer. It is the answer of Calvin, the Puritans, the American fathers, and Spurgeon.

"But there is a different way of looking at the relationship of joy and faith..." Different from what? The only possible conclusion one can make is that what he is going to say is different from the "usual answer." How does "Christian Hedonism" offer a different answer than that of the usual one? I am taking his words at face value and not seeking to see any "special" or "deeper" meaning than they contain. He has already said that "Joy is the fruit of saving faith." He is now going to explicate the idea that "Joy is the root of saving faith." He writes:

So the faith which pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find the All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart's eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that 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!
Piper says: "...beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created."

I have showed through quoting Spurgeon that "tasting" in the Scriptural sense is understood as faith - that is the "usual answer." I have also quoted the Belgic Confession art. 24:

We believe that this true faith, worked in man by the hearing of God's Word and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man. It makes him live a new life and frees him from the slavery of sin. Therefore it is not true that this justifying faith makes man indifferent to living a good and holy life. On the contrary, without it no one would ever do anything out of love for God, but only out of self-love or fear of being condemned.
What is Piper's "different than the usual answer":

A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!
"Tasting" for Piper is "joy" and this comes "beneath and behind the act of faith." As he affirms here:

Then something miraculous happened. It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever.

And then, faith-the confidence that Christ has made a way for me, bold mine
"Joy" here comes before "faith."

and here,

Behind the repentance that turns away from sin and behind the faith that embraces Christ is the birth of a new taste, a new longing, a new passion for the pleasure of God's presence. This is the root of conversion. This is the creation of a Christian Hedonist.
"Behind" repentance and faith is a "new taste, a new longing, a new passion for the pleasure of God's presence." Faith is not the actual tasting of God's presence, but is now the product of that tasting.

Joy/tasting has become the root of saving faith.

I do not know if I can be any more clear concerning this, but maybe questions and answers on your part would force me to do so.

Blessings, brother, I sincerely hope that your anniversary was a good one.

-CH
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

One of the usual responses I get from the "Piper camp" is a reference to Hebrews 12:2:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Piper tells us that Jesus was motivated by Joy, and so should we. This is true in one sense, but it is not true in the "Christian Hedonistic" sense.

Like the parable in Matthew 13:44 Piper is misinterpreting the verse. If one is walking accross the field, for example, and does not "see" the treasure, or, if he does not "understand" its value, then he/she will have no "joy" in it, but walk past it either not noticing or thinking it garbage. Is that not what the unbeliever does with the grace and glory of God in the Gospel?

However, a believer "seeing" the treasure and understanding its value through faith will, with joy, sell all that he has and follow Jesus Christ. Is this not the right understanding of Matthew 13:44?

Now, I think the same principle applies to Hebrews 12:2 as well. If Jesus did not see nor understand the "Joy set before Him" would he have been motivated to go to the cross? Though I am interpreting in purely human terms I am forced to by Piper's view of things. We are not Jesus. To ascribe the same motivations in us as is done in the Son of God does not seem appropriate to me. However, if we are to do so, then we must look at things from a temporal rather than an eternal motivation - because we are not eternal.

God can have an eternal motivation - man cannot.

Grace and Peace,

-CH
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top