Desiring God

Which One Is Right?

PiperBellMcLarenPlantingaZachariasMichaelWillard

Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every telephone, stop every motor and halt all activity for an hour some day to give people a chance to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all about, why they are living, and what they really want.”

–James Truslow Adams

It would be good to have an overall view of things, like an aerial view, so that I can fit any aspect of life into the bigger picture. This seems easy but is actually incredibly difficult, especially if you read a lot of books. Eight years ago I had more direction than I have today, simply because I didn’t know much, and if you don’t know much than you can’t be too confused. But because I’ve learned so much the past few years, it’s very confusing trying to piece all of these things together.

John Piper has based his life and ministry around enjoying God. Rob Bell and the Mars Hill Community make it their aim to put Jesus on display. These are different. If they weren’t, then John Piper’s ministry would be called “Putting Jesus on Display Ministries” rather than “Desiring God Ministries,” and Mars Hill wouldn’t be called a “Jesus Community” it would be called a “Desiring God Community.”

Brian McLaren wrote a book series about a new kind of Christian. Cornelius Plantinga bases his theology around a Creation-Fall-Redemption model.

Can you be a new kind of Christian who puts Jesus on display within a Creation-Fall-Redemption model while desiring God?

Ravi Zacharias’ ministry is called “Let My People Think.” We don’t think enough. Boaz Michael and the folks over at First Fruits of Zion focus on bringing Christians back to the Torah and obeying its instructions. We’re not obeying God like the Bible commands. Dallas Willard believes what’s missing in Christians’ lives is discipline. We’re not being disciples of Jesus like we should be.

This is just seven ministries. There are thousands more who focus on different things. All of these different focuses cause confusion in a guy like me who simply wants the big idea. Is there even a big idea? Of course all of these people and their ministries are in agreement on a lot of things, but apparently not enough that they explain their thoughts on life and God in a similar way, otherwise we wouldn’t have seven different names and agendas from seven different men, plus thousands more, would we?

So if we stopped the world for an hour and let everybody think about what it’s all about and why they are living, how many different answers would we get? Ask seven Christians with big ministries and you get seven different answers.

It’s very confusing. I think I’m getting C.ADD – Christianity Attention Deficit Disorder. Maybe I’ll go watch Joel Osteen.

Osteen

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Tim Keller: If you think you understand the gospel, you don’t

Tim Keller

If you think you really, really understand the gospel, you don’t. If you really think that you haven’t even begun to understand the gospel, you do. Gospel theologizing isn’t anywhere near enough if we’re going to change the world with it. There has to be a lifelong process of more and more deeply realizing the wonder of the gospel.

Tim Keller, Desiring God Conference 2006 (mp3)

This is part of a new way of life: to learn more and more of the deeper things and understand less and less, and to be caught up in wonder.

John Piper on the Emergent Church

John Piper

The following is an excerpt (full mp3 here) from a panel conversation (With Justin Taylor interviewing Tim Keller, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll) at the Desiring God Conference 2006, which took place on September 29. John Piper was asked about the Emergent Church, and after shocking the audience by saying a curse word (Justin said Mark must be rubbing off on him), he said this about a lunch conversation that he had with Tony Jones, national coordinator of Emergent Village:

I just kinda kept going back on my heels, like, I don’t understand the way these guys think, and so there are profound epistemological differences – ways of processing reality – that make the conversation almost impossible; just kind of going by each other. My question sort of is, how profitable would it be to press on with that when your worldviews seem to be so different and your ways of knowing seem to be different, the function of knowledge in transformation, what the goals of transformation are – all those are so different that I’m not sure we would get anywhere.

These words by Dr. Piper caused me to wonder if this is the reason why some leaders are not in the habit of dialoguing with a lot of their critics, because how profitable would it be when your worldviews are so different? I for one don’t think that Brother John should spend a lot of his energy in dialogue with people who come from a totally different angle (although some is healthy), because it takes him away from focusing his attention on the things that he really feels passionate about. It reminds me of Nehemiah 6:3 – “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Pastor Piper is doing a great work. I hope that he’s open to correction, yet always working hard at the work he’s been given.