John Piper is a well-respected leader, a gifted teacher, a well-regarded preacher, and a prolific writer of over forty books. He is well-known for his advocacy of a complimentarian view of gender roles, as well as being a leader of the “New Calvinist” movement in the United States. Piper is also well-known for his advocacy of a viewpoint he has coined “Christian Hedonism.” As a matter of fact, his book Desiring God, which explained his view of Christian hedonism, was the book that launched him into notoriety on the stage of American evangelical theology. The book was published twenty-five years ago this year, so the publisher has re-released the book with revisions. Desiring God is as powerful and relevant today as it was twenty-five years ago.
I have a special affection for Desiring God. I discovered it a year after my freshman philosophy class at Trinity College (Now Trinity International University). In my freshman philosophy class, I had to write a special research paper on one issue in philosophy. I wrote it on Christianity as Hedonism. When I read Piper’s book, I discovered I was not alone in my viewpoint. I felt encouraged by Piper’s argument for Christianity as being the most pleasurable way of life for humanity to embrace.
Desiring God is both theologically grounded and uncompromisingly practical. The first few chapters lay out the author’s journey toward Christian Hedonism, a rationale for Christian Hedonism in general, and how God is motivated by his own happiness and joy. After laying the foundation for his argument, Piper begins to lay out a case for living a life of joy and fulfillment in several areas of Christian discipleship.
Desiring God is well-researched. Throughout the text, Piper quotes Scripture extensively. He also quotes a number of theologians and Christian leaders throughout history. Included in his theological sources are Augustine, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, and C. S. Lewis. Also included is a reference to the first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
The revisions of the book are entirely appropriate. Piper added a new chapter on suffering. He updated some of the text based upon cultural changes. The back of the book has an extensive index of verses referenced, as well as another index. It also includes a study guide for groups or individuals. The updates not only make the text more fun to read, they make the book easier to study in small groups and church congregations. Even with an older copy of this book, I feel thankful for the opportunity to have this new, updated copy. – Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Satisfaction…Happiness…Joy. According to John Piper, the pursuit of pleasure in God is not only permissible, it’s essential.
Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.
Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.
Piper beckons us to approach God with the hedonist’s abandon. Finally, we are freed to enjoy Jesus—not only as our Lord and Savior, but also as our all-surpassing, soul-satisfying Treasure.
Desiring God may turn your Christian world upside down. And that will be a good thing, for the glory of God, and for your deepest joy.