John Piper is one of the great theological minds of our present day. He is (and has been for quite some time) senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church while also finding
significant time to devote to numerous books and articles which form the basis for Desiring God Ministries.
One of his earliest books was Desiring God with the provocative subtitle of “meditations of a christian hedonist.” For those not familiar with the word – a hedonist is someone who pursues pleasure – as such the title seems antithetical to how many Christians (and non-Christians) perceive the Christian faith. Yet within the pages of this book one finds not a call to shallow living but a call to deeper living and a vision of a faith that stretches farther and deeper than many of us had previously imagined. Piper is extremely orthodox and conservative (in an evangelical fashion) theologically but his writings push readers to imagine and understand their traditional faith in deeper (not necessarily new) ways.
It took me several years to read John Piper’s Desiring God…and I am a fairly avaricious reader. The first several times I tried I threw the book down in disgust due to Piper’s heavily deterministic, predestinatory, Calvinistic/Augustinian bent, but at last I struggled through and found that he had much worthwhile to say even if his ideas in this one area were disturbing to me. But even from here, it would be another year or two until I finished this hefty volume – not because of its sheer length but because of its content. So many books are filled with fluff essentially regurgitating the same statements in different guises – each page of Piper’s Desiring God is filled with challenging, convicting, uplifting, need-to-think-this-over content…there is no fluff. This means that I would only read a few pages each day – there was just so much to chew on.
Whether you are a Christian or not I would recommend John Piper’s Desiring God. He does a great job at laying out an exciting vision of the Christian life.