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“What Jesus Demands from the World” -Intro

by Dr. D ~ November 21st, 2006

By John Piper (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2006, 400 pgs.)

John Piper has some incredible thoughts in his newest book, on the teaching of Jesus.  I say incredible, because we are so use to preachers and teachers presenting and emphasizing only the barest minimum requirements for salvation as normative Christianity.  Dr. Piper goes way beyond that in this book, he actually presents all the demands that Jesus made of his followers.  Imagine that!  Demands?  Obviously he hasn’t been paying attention to the latest church growth strategies for going after the unchurched in suburbia.      

A recent popular slogan WWJD (what would Jesus do) sounds good, but is typically and severely limited by our modern inadequate perceptions about Jesus.  Pastor Piper presents to us the unvarnished truth in the form of what Jesus actually said.  There is a lot of demands here, a bunch of ‘do’s’, and even some ‘don’ts’.  Some of it is the kind of stuff that many Christians want to discount as ‘Old Covenant’.    

Dr. Piper starts with ‘the great commission’ (Matt. 28:18-20):

 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He points out that the ‘All authority’ includes us and really everyone else in the world.  So Jesus does have the authority to make demands (obviously).  We are supposed to go and make disciples in every nation.  What does it mean ‘make disciples’?  Obviously we are supposed to tell folk about Jesus, and when they believe, we are supposed to baptize them.  That’s about as far as many of us go.  But according to Piper and according to the words of Jesus, we are supposed to teach them to observe all the commands and demands of Jesus. 

How does one observe all the commands and teachings of Jesus?  Isn’t that rather impossible?  Yes it would seem to be:  “With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27)   However, we are not alone.  He is with us all the way and he has given us his Spirit to dwell within.

The book contains 50 short chapters, each one exploring one of the demands of Jesus.  I hope to write short articles on each one.

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2 Responses to “What Jesus Demands from the World” -Intro

  1. Larry

    Unfortunately the author confuses God and man so badly, that by page 3 of the Intro, you are being told that when Christians obey Christ’s commands, people are actually seeing the glory of God.

    “When obedience to his commands happens, what the world sees is the fruit of Jesus’ glorious work and the worth of his glorious person. In other words, they see the glory of God.”

    It will be useful to show how he gets to this. Matthew 5:16 is the exhortation to let our let so shine before others, that two things might come about: first, that they may see our good works, and second, that they, that is, other people, may glorify our Father who is in heaven. Piper (p. 18) goes from the verse, which anticipates that our good works will (if we let our light shine before others), result in others glorifying our Father in heaven, to our works being the glory of our Father in heaven. So, instead of what Jesus exhorts, that others might say “glory to God” when we let our light shine, and they see our good works — instead of that, Piper wants them to say “glory of God” to our good works and obedience.

    Are good works the glory of God? Brothers and sisters, we are not God. The good works of the Christian are not God. The good works of the Christian — may there be more and more of them, and may others see them and glorify God. But for them to call our good works “glory of God” is to treat them as perfect. The glory of God is perfect, and none of our good works are.

    What a shame that Piper appeals to the pride of man in order to supposedly inspire obedience.

  2. Dr. D

    It can be said that real ‘good works’ are the Glory of God being demonstrated, since all genuine ‘good’ works are the product of the Holy Spirit working within the Christian. One can never boast of genuine good works. Pride comes from folks doing their own thing, it may look ‘good’ but such works are not genuine. Only God is really ‘Good’.

    If you are really concerned with what John Piper has to say here, go directly to his website and ask for clarification: http://www.desiringgod.org then go to “About Us” and click on “Contact Us”.

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