The Theology of Pastor CW Booth
Pastor CW Booth, of the Faith Word.org, has made a comprehensive analysis of John Piper’s doctrine of Christian Hedonism. His article, ‘A Biblical Study of the Theological Foundation of Christian Hedonism’, demonstrates in some detail, the error of Piper’s teaching.
The Chief end of Man
Booth argues that Piper’s Christian Hedonism is wrong to place a great emphasis on Question One of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which reads: ‘What is the chief end of man?’ Answer: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’
Booth says the second half of the answer, ‘the chief end of man is to enjoy God forever’, is very much flawed. He raises the question: Will all men enjoy God forever? No, it is impossible to conclude that men who are in Hell are enjoying God. In fact, the moment men are condemned to the lake of fire, any possible enjoyment in God is gone forever. Therefore, the conclusion of the catechism is somewhat in error when it maintains that ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’. Piper, in Desiring God has amended Question One to read: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.’
Appealing to Scripture, Booth challenges the concept of ‘the chief end on man’, and shows that the ‘greatest’ of all the commandments given to men is: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 22:37-40).
The Greatest Commandment
Booth writes: ‘The phrases “on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” and “this is the great and foremost commandment” means that no other statement or purpose or command of God is more supremely binding on man than “love the Lord your God”; not the command to sacrifice, not the command to worship, not the command to praise, not the command to glorify God, not the command to rejoice, not the command to be joyful. All these other commands are secondary commands that depend on “love God” and “love your neighbor”.’
In reply to the question: ‘What commandment is the foremost of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:28b-31
We know that to “love God” is the most supreme of all God’s commands because the actual words of Jesus tell us ‘there is no other commandment greater’. All that the prophets wrote, and all that God has spoken in His word hang from those two most important commands: 1) love and obey God, and 2) love your neighbor.
Booth writes: ‘To love God is to obey God’s commandments. To love God is to walk according to what He has commanded. To observe and keep His commandments with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength is to love God. Again, we need not guess what it means to “love God”. He tells us, in simple words. There is no argument or ambiguity. God sums up love for Himself in a simple yet elegant statement: “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” God’s single highest priority for mankind, or for any specific man, is that a man love God by obeying His commandments. This is the truth. This is from God. There is no more important pursuit, no greater commandment, no more supreme duty. If any man dreams up a higher calling, then he fails to grasp the very nature of “the whole Law and the Prophets”.’
Booth concludes ‘that the catechism is neither a command from God, nor is it a valid precept of men. While the catechism has the appearance of wisdom, no matter how well-intentioned, it is a flawed piece of interpretation.’ The catechism is wrong to elevate the command to ‘glorify God’ above the command to ‘love God’.
To read: A Biblical Study of the Theological Foundation of Christian Hedonism, written by: Craig W. Booth click here http://www.thefaithfulword.org/studyhedonism.html