Monday, July 19, 2010

Wisdom from John Piper

I've been reading Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper - a book I've been wanting to read for a long time. One of the great modern classics. It's basically about missions, but it's way much more than that, and it should be read by every Christian whether they're interested in missions or not. And pretty much if you're a Christian, and you're not interested in missions, you should wonder why.
The third edition of this book includes a new introduction written by Piper which addresses new changes in the world and also his challenge to prosperity preachers. The best part for me was when he addresses the difference between "come-see religion" and "go-tell religion." The OT was full of people who amassed wealth, yes. Abraham, Solomon, etc. But it was because the surrounding nations were to come and see the glory of God (i.e. Queen of Sheba). Now, the stage has changed. I love this:

"The pattern in the Old Testament is a come-see religion. There is a geographic center of the people of God. There is a physical temple, an earthly king, a political regime, an ethnic identity, an army to fight God's earthly battles, and a band of priests to make animal sacrifices for sins.
With the coming of Christ all of this changed. There is no geographic center for Christianity; Jesus has replaced the temple, the priests, and the sacrifices; there is no Christian political regime because Christ's kingdom is not of this world; and we do not fight earthly battles with chariots and horses or bombs and bullets, but spiritual ones with the word and the Spirit...
All of this supports the great change in mission. The New Testament does not present a come-see religion, but a go-tell religion (Matthew 28:18-20).... the implications of this are huge for the way we live and the way we think about money and lifestyle... this leads to a wartime lifestyle. That means we don't amass wealth to show how rich our God can make us. We work hard and seek a wartime austerity for the cause of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. We maximize giving to the war effort, not comforts at home. We raise our children with a view to helping them embrace the suffering that it will cost to finish the mission.
So if a prosperity preacher asks me about all the promises of wealth for faithful people in the Old Testament, my response is: Read your New Testament carefully and see if you see the same emphasis." - John Piper

1 comment:

  1. Great quote! May we press on together in our mutual joy for sharing the true Gospel of our Lord.