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.
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:
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.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.
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.