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    February 8th, 2012 @ 6:28 pm by admin

    In a recent tweet, John Piper said:

    If you are having trouble reading your Bible with deep and affecting meaning, imagine that you will die in about eight hours.

    In other words, if the Bible isn’t doing it for you, the next time you read it, imagine someone is holding a gun to your head. That should make those Scripture passages pop.

    I can only imagine how he would advise someone struggling to get through “War and Peace.”

    And what would John Piper be doing if he found out he had only eight hours to live? Tweeting “Farewell”?



leave a comment on this post (11 Comments)

  1. He obviously subscribes to a fear based theology. 🙁

  2. The analogy to War and Peace doesn’t make sense here. In any case, it’s not worth getting your panties all in a bunch over. I’m sure there are more important things worth thinking about.

  3. Is that what we should do to elicit more devotion from our spouses and children? What if we tried that on them? Wouldn’t they label that MANIPULATION? I guess that’s what Piper must resort to to counter the God who is actually very unpredictable and scary as he predestines random people to heaven and hell. It’s no wonder Piper felt the need to write a book on what to do, “When I Don’t Desire God”.

  4. It sounds like great advice to me. When we take the time to realize for a moment that life is not about the temporal things, then we can have a renewed desire for the things that are eternal.

    Sometimes, it’s easy to get weighed down with the concerns of this world that our Bible and service to God can get drowned out. When we consider that at any moment this life could end, then all things pertaining to God can more excite the believer, whether it be to remind him of the fear of standing before a living God or through seeking instruction on how best to serve our wonderful Master. The Bible is the best source for those things, so we would naturally be more drawn to it.

  5. I do agree Daniel. It is not unlike the response we saw on 9/11 with all the texts that went out to loved ones including from those who put themselves in their position mentally and followed suit. Or perhaps like Covey’s exercise of imaging yourself at your funeral to reflect on what is most important.

    But I guess I saw another side of this suggestion that just smacked of manipulation and perhaps a hyper-spiritualizing where the impression is given that temporal things were “not as important” as prayer and Bible study. Martin Luther when asked what he would do “if the world was going to end tomorrow” said he’d “plant a tree”.

    I guess that’s the trouble with “tweets”, they are awfully short. I would balance Piper’s isolated statement with:

    If you’re struggling to read your Bible with deep and affecting meaning… imagine that Jesus is loving you while washing your feet or serving you at table or even as Keller suggests, on His knee proposing.

    “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock…” Rev 3:20

    • I appreciate the feedback folks. My advice is, if you’re struggling to read your Bible with deep and affecting meaning, instead of looking for some formula to whip your emotions into shape, it may be a good time to put the Bible down and ask yourself why you’re having such a hard time reading it. What’s getting between you and the text? Is it too difficult to understand? Do you no longer consider it relevant? Have you simply read it too many times before? Does it feel too much like an obligation, something you’ve been guilted into doing? Is there an issue in your life–a broken relationship, perhaps–that is distracting you? Are you struggling with an image of God you’ve inherited from a particular interpretation of the text? Rather than soldier on, I would say it’s time for some sober reflection.

  6. Thanks for directing us Admin. Right, it’s more a symptomatic and diagnostic issue than what cure ought we to apply.
    I have heard over and over again by theologians that ALL of our problems stem from not believing that God really loves us. I always had to step back and think about that. So if God has told us that He loves us and proved it then why do we have so many problems? I believe it is because the Gospel is not given as Good News but rather as conditional news and when it is conditional there is no way to ever know if on the one hand you are keeping yourself in the faith (Arminianism) or on the other hand whether you are actually one of the “elect” (Reformed). There is no stable objective assurance with the ever threatening ECT on the horizon. And with no consistent assurance of God’s love (because our emotions and devotion charge up and down) we cannot move forward. I agree, it’s time for some sober reflection, not upon our imaginary death in 8 hours but upon our flawed image of the character of God this loss of affection is stemming from.

  7. My first thought was… “Jesus is coming: look busy!!!”

  8. LOL! Look busy!

  9. That people are so ilniwlung to critically examine what they believe, what they take on faith’ beggars belief.Arguing with Christians is easy since they base their belief on a book that is demonstrably ludicrous. It doesn’t take much time to point out that later writers of the Bible contradicts Jesus Christ himself and that Christians have taken the words of a man as more important since they’re easier to obey than what Jesus himself commanded (uphold the old laws, including circumcision) or that for the alleged death of Jesus to mean anything at all (which isn’t much since it doesn’t make any sense to begin with) you HAVE to believe there was an Adam and Eve and that precedes the even more ludicrous tale of the 600 year old Noah and his boat.For anybody to still believe in that, they have to lie to themselves extensively and that makes it easy to argue with them (but not win, people who are able to accept what Christians do purely on faith are not easily swayed by reality).I find it MUCH more difficult speaking to spiritual’ people who don’t believe in Christianity per se, but have invented their own story based on absolutely nothing. You can’t argue with that because there is nothing more to say, other than, you’re fucking delusional’.Good post, but the stupidity and vacuous drivel that come up in arguments like that just irritate me these days, so I try to keep it to a minimum myself.

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