For the Fame of God’s Name and in Honour of a Servant
November 4, 2010
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Josh the booster! Not being one of the contributors to this volume, I feel free to ‘boost’ it and commend it to others to read. Piper, of course, has had an influence on my spiritual journey (along with many other people), and I am particularly grateful for his preaching and writing. His book The Supremacy of God in Preaching is still one of my favourite books on preaching, and is I think a genuine classic, along with such tomes as Stott’s and Lloyd-Jones’s on preaching. I first heard him preach at Eden Baptist when I was running the student ministry there. More recently he was preaching on justification at the massive Together for the Gospel conference in America — a remarkable sermon, well worth viewing the whole video online.
Lionising leadersOne of the interesting things about this — from a British point of view — is the willingness to ‘lionise’ their leaders within the American church. It feels slightly uncomfortable to the stiff upper lipped Englishman in me, in some ways, and, with a few exceptions, there are not many examples in English church culture of festschrifts being done (I can think of an excellent volume of sermons attributed to Dick Lucas, and I imagine there was something similar done for John Stott, though I do not recollect). Should we do more of this?
Broader questionIt raises the broader question of ‘honouring’ our leaders. The title of this book (cynic that I am, as a child of Generation X) immediately raised slight eyebrow wrinkles: For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper. Should we really be writing in ‘honour’ of a human? But my mind, thankfully tooled by many an excellent exposition in Cambridge and London, was immediately taken to 1 Thessalonians 5: ‘Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other’ (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
AppreciationIt’s interesting that, for the apostle, ‘teamwork’ (‘Living in peace with each other’) is not at the opposite end of the spectrum to honouring those who work hard among us, but rather a natural fruit of giving honour where honour is due. Now in my second senior pastorate, and having many a time stuck my head over the parapet, both in writing and verbally, to give a message of comfort, or clarity, encouragement, or challenge, I can tell you that working with others who are willing to express appreciation with an unguarded and unfeigned spirit is a deep reservoir of emotional energy from which to draw. The reverse — snide comments, holier than thou attitudes, even simply taking each other for granted — tends in the long and short term to draw down our natural emotional levels, which (psychosomatic units that we are) always impacts our spiritual productivity.
Your pastor?So, in fame of God and honour of John Piper… and… your pastor. What could you do build into his ministry a reservoir of emotional appreciation, appropriate to his ministry, which means he has energy to take the next round of spiritual warfare?]]>
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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