I read this article this morning:
- John Piper, “Communing with God in the Things for Which We Contend: How John Owen Killed His Own Sin While Contending for the Truth.” Pages 77-113 in Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen. Vol. 4 of The Swans Are Not Silent. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
- This is based on Piper’s presentation at the 1994 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. An edited manuscript and a link to the MP3 are available here.
I found these two quotations particularly convicting and challenging:
- “Packer says that the Puritans differ from evangelicals today because with them, ‘. . . communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God.'”
- “One great hindrance to holiness in the ministry of the word is that we are prone to preach and write without pressing into the things we say and making them real to our own souls. Over the years words begin to come easy, and we find we can speak of mysteries without standing in awe; we can speak of purity without feeling pure; we can speak of zeal without spiritual passion; we can speak of God’s holiness without trembling; we can speak of sin without sorrow; we can speak of heaven without eagerness. And the result is a terrible hardening of the spiritual life.”