Christian Hedonism: A wake-up call to the Church
Pastor C. W. Booth, on his website, The Faithful Word.org, expresses a concern that ‘the church universal appears to be backing away from its obligation to effectively counter unbiblical doctrine’. In his ministry to correct doctrine error, Booth has written a number of articles which comment of John Piper’s dogma of Christian Hedonism. He makes the point that it is ‘only when those who know the Word speak out in defense of God’s revelation will those who seek to abuse, or even to destroy it, be able to “come to their senses” and be reconciled back to God (2 Timothy 2:25 ,26).’
In his article ‘Christian Hedonism—A Wake-up Call to the Church’, Pastor Booth writes:
‘When “Christian Hedonism” was introduced in 1986, it was billed by its conceiver, Dr John Piper, as a “wake-up call” to the believers in every church so that their “slumbering hearts be stabbed broad awake” (Piper, page 55, Desiring God (1996 edition). Broad awake to the “radical implication… that pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling.” (Piper, page 21, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, (2001 edition) Converts to this nouveau philosophy sincerely feel that the acquisition of personal pleasure (sensations of good feelings) is a higher order obligation and better pursuit than any other command or pursuit, such as pursuing love for others…
Booth continues: ‘As the visionary behind the concept, Dr Piper’s proposition is that God made men to desire pleasure, so hedonism must be the good and normal state of a man. He surmises that when an unbeliever converts into a believing Christian, that person becomes a “Christian Hedonist” and his desire for pleasure becomes sanctified with the addition of Christ to his life, for no one and nothing gives more pleasure than Christ. Therefore, since God gives man the most pleasure, men innately seek a relationship with God motivated by their good and natural desire for the fullest life of pleasure. Hence, the name “Christian Hedonist.”…
Unhappily, however, there are serious biblical issues and doctrinal concerns with this philosophy. When one examines closely the books that first introduced and defined “Christian Hedonism” (Desiring God–Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and The Dangerous Duty of Delight) the careful student of God’s Word will find the entire foundation of this new theology is predicated on sundry philosophies, abridged creeds, and is largely propped up by misquoted and abbreviated Bible verses, snatches of verses taken out of context, and an unnerving redefinition of the historic understanding of the doctrine of salvation.
This article is essential reading for every serious Christian who is seeking to understand the error in Piper’s Christian Hedonism.