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Time for a Great Quote! (John Piper on the purpose of Jesus’ death)

07 Jan

“The purpose of Jesus’ death was to glorify the Father. Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 9.52.49 PMTo be willing as the Son of God to suffer the loss of so much glory Himself in order to repair the injury done to God’s glory by our sin showed how infinitely valuable the glory of God is. To be sure, the death of Christ also shows God’s love for us. But we are not at the center.”

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Jesus' death

 

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13 responses to “Time for a Great Quote! (John Piper on the purpose of Jesus’ death)

  1. john

    January 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    A true John Piper quote. Hardly anybody else could top it to pack so much non logic
    into four lines. I am fortunate that I do not have to listen to preachers like him, but feel sorry for those who do, and have not enough mental ability to see the illogicality of it.
    John

     
  2. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 12, 2015 at 6:27 am

    John: Once again we disagree. Where do you find Piper’s quote illogical? If God is as holy as the Bible says and we are so sinful as reality shows, where is the logical inconsistency? Simply because you choose not to embrace the Christian worldview does not automatically make the Christian worldview illogical, does it? Blessings. Larry

     
    • john

      January 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Larry,
      Is it really just a question of disagreement? We are worlds apart! I like to think things out by looking at concrete evidences, whereas you are quite satisfied by accepting and adopting the views of others. I give you credit for your ability to suppress your own critical facilities to avoid any fear of blasphemy by leading your mind in a narrow path and ignoring any thought that would fall outside the box.
      Religions of all ages had the central thought of extending life beyond the threshold of death. Six thousand or more years ago, at the early time , at the beginning of the formation of the current prevailing religions the knowledge horizon was limited to the extent of our solar system. We have come a long way since. But even so, we have now only a smattering idea of the extent of the Cosmos and the huge number of galaxies with their billions of solar systems. If you still think in terms of a creator, his size would be enormous. To my mind, to think that such a deity would be offended by the doings of people on this earth is such a ludicrous thought that it would fall way outside of logical contemplation.
      It is beyond my imagination that such a deity would care if we would worship him or not. To think that he would be so upset by the wrong doings of some of his created people that he would go to such a length as to impregnate a woman to create a son whom he could use for his glorification by having him crucified. I can hardly think of a more unlikely “Purpose of Jesus Death”.
      But as always, have it your way. I am surprisingly happy in my way.
      John

       
  3. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    John:

    I must challenge you on the issue of your looking at things on the basis of concrete evidences while I blindly accept and adopt the views of others. Such ad hominems don’t advance our discussion, do they?

    I believe the heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false. I’ve looked at the evidences (historical, textual, experiential, sociological, ethical, etc.) for biblical Christianity and find the evidence persuasive. I grant that you are an intelligent man and a good thinker. Why can’t you give me the same regard?

    I agree that the Creator far exceeds His creation. To suggest that He doesn’t care what His human creatures do, those made in His image, is absurd. I care very much what my children — and my grandchilden! — do. Don’t you? Isn’t it logical to want them to live good, wholesome, other-centered lives? Why is such an idea ludicrous to you regarding a loving Creator who wants the best for us?

    Your view of God seems to be deistic — not sure if He really cares or not. That’s not the storyline of the Bible. I recognize that you don’t seem to care about the Bible’s storyline, but the idea of sacrificial love is a commendable one, no?

    I think, John, you face the same temptation that I do — a kind of mental autonomy where we decide what is logical and we trust our own hearts. But what if you have been deceived? What if the Bible is true? Your happiness wouldn’t really matter one whit then, would it?

    I think you reject the idea of an ego-maniacal god who exists only for Himself and doesn’t care about His creation. I could not agree with you more in rejecting that God. But a God who would give His Son to pay for your (and my) wrong-doings? That’s a very different matter.

    Blessings. Larry

     
    • john

      January 15, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      Larry,
      Your reference to ad hominems suggest that I use personal attacks to divert from an issue. I only wanted to clarify our respective position. You also infer that I don’t give you the regard you deserve. If this would be the case, we would not have this discussion at all.
      I am gladly accept your challenge on the issue of looking at things on the basis of concrete evidences. You claim, and I don’t dispute it, that you looked at the evidences for biblical Christianity and have found the evidences persuasive. I presume that the evidences of “biblical Christianity” are taken from the writings in the Bible. You believe in them, John Piper believes in them and a lot of Christians do. However, in the balance sheet it might be noticed that more than half of the world’s population does not. This does not sound like the evidences are all persuasive.
      One of the things you frequently use in your responses is the reference to the Holiness as stated in the Bible. It always brings the image to mind when earthly potentates request their underlings to approach him by crouching on all fours. It is meant that this enhances his ego. I could never have respect of a God who so desperatly insists that his holiness to be maintained. Remember the base issue of this discussion: “The purpose of Jesus’ death was to glorify the Father.
      I have the difficult task of ending this discussion in an amiable way. You base any of your thoughts on the assumption that the Bible is true. You cannot loose. I, on the other hand, value my freedom of thoughts higher than all the promised treasures of heaven.
      It is a choice I made a long time ago and see no reason to change my view in the few years left in my life.
      Let our friendship not be marred by the utterings of some bigoted preachers who are blessed by their ignorance. Their heaven is assured for them.
      All the Best,
      John

       
  4. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 16, 2015 at 6:26 am

    John:
    One of the courses I get to teach this semester is a course on theological methods and issues. I’ll spend a class on logical fallacies, illustrating to students (sometimes from my own writing) mistakes in thinking like argumentum ad hominem and argumentum ad populum.

    I felt I needed to challenge your approach of saying things like “I like to think things out by looking at concrete evidences, whereas you are quite satisfied by accepting and adopting the views of others.”
    Your recent comment that “more than half of the world’s population does not [believe in Christianity]” is, to me, an example of the second kind of logical fallacy, argumentum ad populum.

    I’m sure I’ve not done a good job in referring to God’s holiness, but I don’t mean that God needs His ego enhanced or is desperate for the worship of His creatures. If the God of the Bible is real and He is as perfect as perfect can be, is it not logical that He would want His creatures to enter into that perfection by means of a right relationship with Him? This holy God is a self-giving, loving Father who wants His children back.

    You conclude your comment contrasting my assumption that the Bible is true versus your freedom of thought. Could I not equally charge you with assuming your choice long ago was/is the only logical one and you’re willing to stubbornly face God with that choice, rather than being open to the freedom the Bible offers? Just a thought.
    I value your friendship, John.
    Blessings.
    Larry

     
    • john

      January 16, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      Larry,
      I am not equipped to engage you in the subject of “what is true in the bible versus freedom of thoughts”. But I am curious to hear your thoughts on the subject of humans to be made in the image of God. It would be logical to assume then that God has similar features as man, e.g He would have two feet, two hands, 10 fingers, etc. I can easily imagine the average good Christian to adhear to this image.
      Having gotten some idea of the current view of the size of the observable Cosmos it makes me speculate on the size of your God. Does He need the two feet to stratt from one corner of the Cosmos to another corner? Does He need His two hands to keep Him in balance when he moves the distances of billions of light years with every step?
      But, as the Bible is true in all aspects, it must be somehow plausible to you good Christians why He delights in having the same physical features as man, never mind if He needs them or not.
      Just some thoughts!
      John

       
  5. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

    John:
    You asked about the meaning of being made “in the image of God.” Most theologians would suggest this refers to relational characteristics and not to physical. Although our friends, the Mormons, believe that God has a body like us, Genesis 2-3 seem to indicate that man has responsibilities over creation that mirror God’s care.

    It’s certainly true that Christians have depicted God as a grand old man with a long beard, but that’s hardly what the Bible indicates. Some, like the Apostle Paul, suggest that words fail us when we try to describe God or heaven.

    Continuing to pray for you, John.
    Larry

     
    • john

      January 19, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Larry,
      Now that we have narrowed down the imagary of God’s image to the relational characteristics and not to the physical ones, we can proceed in a more rational discussion. However, I would like to point out that this leaves a lot of the true believers in a somewhat unstable frame of mind.

      Now let us examine some of the relational aspects of God’s image a little closer. Man has a unique mixture of characteristics in his makeup. Love, hate, vanity, jealousy, envy, vengeance, impatience, cruelty, injustice as predominant over justice, etc, etc.
      Because man has these characteristics, and because we are supposed to be made in His image, one has to assume that He has also these characteristics. There is no doubt about man’s vanity, but I cannot reconcile the Greatness of God to be afflicted by vanity. His greatness should be undisputed amongst His believers and I cannot understand why He would be so concerned if people would or would not believe in Him. I also question His preferential treatment of His people (the Jews) over all the many other human tribes. They were according to the Bible all created by Him and should all be treated in the same way. It is just a bit too much an indication that the Bible was only inspired by the spirit of the Jewish people. Nowhere in the Bible will you find detailed historical accounts of the “enemies” of the Jews. What about the Egyptians history and their interaction with the Jews. Where did the Jews come from? I show my ignorance when it comes to the history of all the human tribes that the Bible brands as the “enemies”, but you might have a much better understanding of all these exclusions.
      I did not include my misgivings on God’s mirror images of man’s hate, cruelty, injustices, vengeance etc.

      I challenged you on these before, but got no response from you. It certainly is foremost in my mind when you keep telling me about the Greatness of your God.
      How would you construct a sermon as directed to a growd of unbelievers like me to make me see your God in a better light?
      Best wishes,
      John

       
  6. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 23, 2015 at 7:59 am

    John:

    I appreciate the points you have made.

    You take man’s characteristics and read them back onto God. I guess I would take the opposite approach: study God, and ask how are we in His image?

    We must separate out “sinful” characteristics from laudable ones, don’t you think? As a follower of Jesus, I certainly don’t believe that God is marked by my characteristics of fallenness, brokenness, rebellion.

    I appreciate your honesty when you say, “I cannot understand why He would be so concerned if people would or would not believe in Him.” I’m sorry, but I don’t remember if you have children, John? Would it not matter to you if they didn’t love you, respect you, care about you? Christian theology does not teach that God’s value depends upon our worship or that He is less divine if His creatures choose not to worship Him. A God who didn’t care if He were worshipped wouldn’t be much of a God — IF worshipping Him means coming into a relationship with a loving, infinite Creator.

    Regarding His choosing the Jews — God Himself declares that it was out of His mercy that He chose the Jewish nation to be the vehicle through which He would send the Savior. They weren’t better than others. The Bible teaches that all nations have gone astray. Even the Jews. All need a Savior.

    I do believe the Bible teaches that God hates, that He will judge, that not all will be saved at the end of time. I’m happy to discuss these issues with you and apologize for missing that previous discussion somehow.

    Great question about how I would craft a sermon on the greatness of God to unbelievers like yourself! I believe the beauty of creation declares the greatness of God (see Psalm 19, for example). But I would also want to point out that our universe is broken by sin.

    I kind of wish, John, that you would simply read the Bible with an open mind. If you search for Him, He will reveal Himself to you.
    Blessings.
    Larry

     
    • john

      January 23, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Larry,
      This dialog is taking on interesting twists. Does it really matter if we read back man’s characteristics onto God or are we adapting His characteristics. Either way you have to believe in a deic personality to make sense either way. As I do not believe in a personal God as you do, my arguments are only playing lip service to your ideas.
      Creation is a man invented term, and applies to material creations or mental ideas. When applied to the Cosmos, it might also have the meaning of constant change. My idea is based on the true meaning of infinity. The Cosmos always was and will always be. There is no need of the idea of a creator, because there was never the need of creation. I always was.
      Do I understand this? Only in a deep hidden way.
      I am very much against your idea that we are part of a broken universe (better term is Cosmos). Wherever I look at Nature, I am full of wonder about how perfect it is. This includes the Good and the Bad. The Bad is the driving force of progress. Without it we would stagnate within one generation.
      The meaning of life? How arrogant to seek out the meaning, when hidden within the glorious reality of Nature.
      I am glad for you that you find piece in your religion, but at the same time I am also glad that I don’t have to carry the imagined sins you seem to struggle with.
      Studying the Bible would be the same a studying the Koran Or the Kama Sutra. I don’t have an open enough mind to handle the context in a proper way.
      As always,
      Cheers,
      John

       
  7. Dr. Larry Dixon

    January 25, 2015 at 7:23 am

    John:

    Always good to hear from you — and to get your perspective.

    Just a couple of comments:
    1. Of course it matters if we look at God through our finite lens, imagining Him what we want Him to be — or — choosing to believe His self-revelation about His character and person! One approach is idolatry; the other is a submissive receiving of what He has said and told us about Himself.
    2. It seems reasonable to me to believe in a personal God because we have personality (intellect, emotions, will). An impersonal God (as in Deism) or no God at all does not explain where our personality comes from, right?
    3. For you to say that “the cosmos always was and will always be” is an assumption, no? Upon what do you base that opinion? Even non-believing scientists think the universe had a beginning (Big Bang). What in the world do you mean “I always was”? Would you tell your momma that?!
    4. John, how could you not admit that our universe is broken? Nature isn’t perfect (tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues). I get your point about the Bad stimulating us to work toward progress, but evil isn’t ontologically necessary.
    5. You seem to scoff at the Christian idea of finding the “meaning of life.” Yet your entire comment is a defense of the meaning you find in the cosmos, no?
    6. Let’s talk about “imagined sins,” John. How do you explain the sharp words you sometimes say to the people you love, the perverse thoughts you (and all of us) have, the clamoring to be first, etc. If you deny your own brokenness, you are being willfully blind. You might not like the Christian answer to evil, but denying evil is intellectually suicidal.

    I hope you’ll comment on my blog for today about doubts.
    Blessings. Larry

     
    • john

      January 25, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Larry,
      I am glad to hear that it is good to get my perspective! But what good does it do when you have no intention to dig into my reasoning on which my perspective are based on. It is easy to shut down any further discussion by dismissing my thoughts as mere assumptions. Any intelligent discussion would include your thoughts why my ideas are flawed. The Big Bang theory is also only an assumption based on unproven theories. The key element is our current perception of the nature of light. We have no way of verifying if the speed of light is not affected by the travel over extremely long distances. If future better insight might discover that light indeed is affected by extreme long travel, the whole Big Bang theory would collapse.
      The Aristotlean worldview was maintained for over two thousand years, but was eventually
      upgraded by better insights.

      You expressed surprise that I do not share your idea of a broken universe. I look at the misc disasters that we have to live with, as part of natures way to follow its course. There is nothing evil in tsunamis, earthquakes and plagues. Plate tectonics is part of how or world is built. and earthquakes, tsunamies and even volkcanos are part of this natural process. Plagues like big scale wars are natures way of house cleaning. They help to keep the world population within sustainable limits. I cannot see anything evil in all this.
      We have all kinds of bugs in our interstine to help us lead a healthy life. Nothing to do with doomsday scenaries or even less with what you consider “SIN”.

      Your arguments on morality, personality are only a justification for a personal God . The personality traits of Dogs, Ants, Elephants. Monkeys, Bacterias etc, would be just the same if the COSMOS was here forever. However, I doubt that the animal forms would be the same over great length of time.Bat a hydrogen atom would have the same structure in the remote past, as it would have in the remote future. Mankind on remote planets in remote solar systems would be entirely different from what we are because they would have evolved in different environments.

      I do not scoff the Christian idea of finding a “meaning of life”. It only appears to me a very fruitless undertaking. It might even be more elusive than finding the “true” properties of light. We just have to be humble enough to accept our limits imposed by nature.

      John

       

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