February 22, 2004

Piper on Media

The following notes were taken by a friend of mine, Mark Ward, when he went to the NRB Convention in Charlotte this past Tuesday.


John Piper
Defending the Faith in the Public Arena

2 Theses:
The supremacy of God is an increasingly public issue.
God’s demand for worship is not a character flaw.

These four questions being asked by so many in our country have made the supremacy of God an increasingly public issue:
1. Who killed Jesus? It was the will of the Lord to bruise Him (Is 53), and Acts 2:23 says the same: “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

2. Sep 11-where was God? He was on the throne of the universe where He always is! With one breath He could have pushed the plane 30 yards to the side.

3. Do Muslims worship the same God? Two things are clear in Islam: Jesus is not God and Jesus did not die for sin. But Jesus is God (“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil”) and did die for sin (“If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose”).

4. Who owns the Holy Land? Rom 11:28ff. As regards the gospel, Jews are our enemies, but as the elect they are precious. Where in the Bible has God promised a covenant-breaking people the Land—while they’re breaking the covenant?

Now concerning the second thesis, why is God’s demand for worship not a character flaw?
Ps 96 “Declare my glory among the nations.” What if John Piper demanded the same? That would be sick, sick, sick, sick!
Ps 19 shows that the heavens declare the glory of God, but who wrote the heavens? God!
Php 2:11 makes clear that God gave Christ a name so He, the Father, would get glory. How can this come across in the media as good news?

God is the one being in the universe who can exalt himself supremely and still be loving, because there is no greater treasure than that found in Him, no greater satisfaction.

Implications for Christian media professionals of the beauty and excellence of God’s self-exaltation:

1. We need to get the gospel right at the root. Few preachers and media professionals are pushing it through the jargon of the good news and getting to why it is good news.

2. In order to do this, media people need to know God. Is your organization encouraging you to know God. Have devotions, sure; pray, by all means! But no one is on your case to get you to study systematic theology.

3. Media should prepare people to embrace the suffering of life under the supremacy of God.

4. We should portray horizontal love, love for people, in a Christ-exalting way that cuts across the grain of the self-loving American church and American culture. Our love for others must not be making much of people, but making much of God, who alone will truly satisfy those whom we love.

5. Christian media professionals should regain a sense of history, where some of the greatest displays of God’s glory and best defenses of the gospel are found. A hypocrite, says Edwards, finds God lovely because God, he thinks, makes much of him.

6. Christian media professionals should move away from levity to holy cheerfulness. (Here Piper quotes from Spurgeon in Lectures to My Students, who decries levity) Mere silly banter on Christian radio is a mask for lack of solid joy. The world doesn’t know how to be happy in suffering, but we can’t beat them in entertaining levity. So let’s focus on the first and forget the latter. The goal of Christian media ought not to be to tell the world, “Christians can have fun too, hee hee!”

7. Christian apologetics can make you feel as if the doctrine you defend depends upon you, as if it is an abstract thing. (Here Piper quotes from Lewis in Essays and Other Stories.)

Posted by bmcallister at February 22, 2004 02:51 PM | TrackBack