The Real John Piper in three Videos
We have produced three videos of John Piper’s philosophy of Christian Hedonism that examine his teaching in the light of biblical truth. We believe these videos provide an accurate and fair account of Piper’s ministry. By their very nature they are selective, but we have made every effort to be fair in clips that are presented. Of course, Piper’s vast Desiring God network has every opportunity to respond.
John Piper’s Journey into Christian Hedonism
The first video, records his pathway into hedonism. In his book, Desiring God Piper explains his conversion to Christian Hedonism. During his first quarter in seminary, he was introduced to the argument for Christian Hedonism by the writings of Blaise Pascal, who had written: ‘All men seek happiness. This is without exception.’ This was music to Piper’s ears. ‘This statement so fit with my own deep longings… that I accepted it and have never found any reason to doubt it.’ Henceforth the purpose of Piper’s life, as a Christian Hedonist, was to satisfy his own deep longings for happiness and help others do the same.
Piper’s ‘tremendous longing for happiness’ led to ‘the growing conviction that praise should be motivated solely by the happiness we find in God…’ With the concept of Christian Hedonism firmly implanted in his mind, he turned to the Psalms and ‘found the language of Hedonism everywhere. The quest for pleasure was not even optional, but commanded: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37.4).’ Piper has taken this verse of Scripture to prove that God commands His people to be pleasure seekers.
Piper in the Dark
The second video, focuses on Piper’s preaching to the large Passion Conference over the past decade. The it illustrates Piper’s practice of preaching in the dark, and his association with the contemporary Christian music industry and Christian rap. He passionately supports contemporary worship and Christian rap. He has been keynote speaker at sixteen Passion conferences, delivering his first message, ‘Passion for the Supremacy of God’ in 1997. The focus of Piper’s address was Christian Hedonism. He asserted that ‘God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him… the vocation of your life is to pursue your pleasure. I call it Christian hedonism.’
Since then Passion has expanded into a global movement that uses youth culture, with loud rock music and psychedelic strobe lights, to promote its version of the Christian faith. A feature of Piper’s Passion sermons is that they focus on the philosophy of Christian Hedonism and seldom point young people to the need for repentance of sin.
The Folly of Christian Hedonism
The third video, takes broader look at Piper’s philosophy. A crucial point is the recognition of Piper’s antinomianism. In his sermon to Passion 2017 Piper boldly declares that the essence of evil is to lose a taste for God. He affirms that disobedience to God’s law and law-breaking is not the ultimate essence of evil. Endorsing the assertion of C.S. Lewis that it is a Christian duty for everyone to be as happy as he can, Piper elaborates: ‘Maximum happiness, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is precisely what we are duty-bound to pursue.’ He extols the overwhelming importance of Christian Hedonism as a way of life. ‘Christian Hedonism is not a game. It is what the whole universe is about. The radical implication is that pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling.’ Piper says to his young audience: ‘Disobedience to the command of God is not more basic, not more fundamental, not more ultimate than what they [Adam and Eve] desired above God.’ But Piper’s interpretation of the sin of Adam and Eve is wrong and misleading.