e-Treasure

19 May 2007

Is John Piper's "Christian Hedonism" a misplaced emphasis on joy over love?

John Piper makes statements such as,

"The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever."
"Maximizing our joy in God is what we were created for."
"Pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling."

Yet in the Bible, Jesus tells us the greatest command is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind". (Matt 22:37).

Therefore, does it not appear that Piper is exalting 'enjoying God' above 'loving God' contrary to the command of Christ? (This was the question raised recently on the Sound of Grace Discussion Group - http://freegroups.net/groups/soundofgrace/).

There is no question that that the Bible teaches that loving the Lord is the greatest command and is to be exalted above all other requirements.

So, to clarify this question in my own mind, I looked up my Thayers Greek Lexicon on the meaning of the word 'love' used in Matt 22:37 (Strongs # 25). In describing the meaning of the word, the lexicon uses terms such as "to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of . . . involves the idea of affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, grateful recognition of benefits received . . . denotes to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without . . . to welcome with desire, long for.".

Matt 22:37 states, " . . . You shall love the Lord your God . . .". Expanded, in light of the meaning of the Greek word, this is the same as saying:

"You shall have preference for, wish well to, and regard the welfare of the Lord your God."

"You shall have affectionate reverence for, prompt obedience to, and grateful recognition of benefits received from, the Lord your God" (I'd suggest 'prompt obedience' in context could better read as 'unconstrained prompt obedience' since constrained obedience is not obedience "with all your heart".).

"You shall take pleasure in, prize above other things, and be unwilling to abandon or do without, the Lord your God."

"You shall welcome with desire and long for the Lord your God."

Therefore, to pursue obedience to the greatest command, with all our heart, mind and soul, is to be a Christian Hedonist.

Relishing Christ with you all-

Shane.

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