The Divide in Today’s Evangelicalism

I don’t know if many of you are aware of the divide that is taking place more and more within evangelicalism, or at least American evangelicalism or the wider evangelical church of the west. The polarization between two main groups of people. This has been going on for the better part of a couple of decades, but it has especially gathered some speed over the past few years.

What is this divide? Continue reading

Piper on Fasting

Yesterday, I posted a reflection on the coming season of Lent. I specifically shared some thoughts on fasting as I had re-read Richard Foster’s brief comments in his book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. I quoted his quoting of John Wesley on fasting:

Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.

I have been browsing over some more thoughts in John Piper’s classic work on fasting, A Hunger for God. Many will be aware of his memorable words in Desiring God: ‘God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.’ Not many words like them!

But here are a couple of other quotes just to ponder about the purpose of both food and fasting: Continue reading

John Piper on Spiritual Gifts

Yesterday, John Piper posted an article of interest at his blog, Desiring God. He starts about by reminding us of nine different points to remember about spiritual gifts:

1. God wants us to know about spiritual gifts.

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1 Corinthians 12:1).

2. Objective truths about Jesus govern subjective spiritual experiences.

“No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

3. Different Christians have different spiritual powers given to them by the Holy Spirit.

“There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4).

4. For example, these different spiritual powers include the following:

“Wisdom . . . knowledge . . . faith  . . . healing . . . miracles . . . prophecy . . . ability to distinguish between spirits  . . . tongues . . . interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

5. The Spirit of God is sovereign over when and to whom he gives such powers.

“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

6. The aim of all the gifts is the common good of the church.

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

7. The variety of gifts is like the variety of our body parts, such as eye and ear, hand and foot.

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:14).

8. Therefore, if a spiritual power is not used, it’s like the human body not hearing.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? (1 Corinthians 12:17).

9. Therefore, we should avail ourselves of the spiritual powers God gives us through others.

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:21).

But then Piper looks to specifically connect these truths with the reality of unanswered prayer. He lists some realities of why our prayers might go unanswered, yet he then shares some thoughts on a reason we may have never considered:

But here is a reason we may not think of very often. God may intend to give us the blessing we long for not directly in answer to prayer, but indirectly in answer to prayer—through the spiritual gifting of another believer. And the reason we don’t receive the blessing is that we don’t avail ourselves of the power God intends to channel through the gifts of his people.

Yes, the gifts of God are given for ‘the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:7) and for building up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:26). Paul even challenges us to ‘strive to excel in building up the church’ (1 Corinthians 14:12).

So, whatever the gift, let us build one another up, and who knows, as Piper points out, that ministry expression through the spiritual gift might just be the answer to our petitions before God.

Worship Is Ultimate

I have shared a bit of this quote before in another article on worship. But I thought I would post the fuller quote here.

Interestingly enough, these words are the first words of John Piper’s book on mission, Let the Nations Be Glad. A whole book about mission (though he goes into some deep theological questions as well) and he starts off with these pointed words:

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

For many, it’s all about missions. And, for such a passion, I am thankful. We need to touch the lives of people we are in relationship with. We need to see the gospel of the kingdom taken to all nations.

But we participate in missions because we are ultimately looking to see human beings drawn into the worship-relationship that we have with our Father. We have tasted something good and we are stirred to see others drawn in to such.

Let’s draw people in to the Father.

Two Messages On Worship

This past week, I listened to two teachings by John Piper on worship. As usual, they were mind-blowing and spirit-stirring.

The first was entitled The God of Worship.

The second was entitled The Heart of Worship.

He looks at some texts you would not expect, and some you would expect. Yet, the impact they had on me was astounding. So click on the links above and I hope you become as stirred as I was.