Too often, we tend to pit thinking and feeling against each other – particularly when it comes to the Christian experience. But glorifying God with our hearts and minds is not either-or, but both-and. In his latest book Think, John Piper challenges the reader to “think about thinking” and consider how the heart and mind “glorify God together”.
In his introduction, Piper writes,
The ultimate goal of life is that God be displayed as glorious because of all that He is and all that He has made and done – especially the grace He has shown in the work of Christ. The way we glorify Him is by knowing Him truly, by treasuring Him above all things, and by living in a way that shows He is our supreme treasure (Phil. 1:20-21, 23; 3:8).
Therefore, the main reason God has given us minds is that we might seek out and find all the reasons that exist for treasuring Him in all things and above all things. He created the world so that through it and above it we might treasure Him. The more we see of His surpassing greatness and knowledge and wisdom and power and justice and wrath and mercy and patience and goodness and grace and love, the more we will treasure Him. And the more we treasure Him, the more He is consciously and joyfully glorified. The point of this book is that thinking is a God-given means to that end.
… I hope that this book will rescue the victims of evangelical pragmatism, Pentecostal short-cuts, pietistic anti-intellectualism, pluralistic conviction aversion, academic gamesmanship, therapeutic Bible evasion, journalistic bite-sizing, musical mesmerizing, YouTube craving, and postmodern Jell-O juggling. In other words, I believe thinking is good for the church in every way.
Think is a fairly short read – 200 pages or so – but the length does nothing to weaken the impact or importance of Piper’s message. Words are not wasted: each one feels carefully chosen, like it’s there for a reason, instead of merely taking up space on a page. This, coupled with Piper’s frank, humble, and conversational writing style, makes the book an eminently readable one.
This is not to say Think is easy fare: it does, after all, deal with “the life of the mind and the love of God” – a rather complex subject. It goes without saying that in order to really understand this book, you need to apply yourself and think about what is being said. Piper, however, tackles this complicated subject matter in a surprisingly understandable way. He takes what might have been an insufferably dry and academic read and turns it into something we mere mortals can grasp. *wink wink*
Think gets my unqualified recommendation – no two ways about it. Without elevating one over the other, Piper shows us how the mind and the heart must both be used in glorifying and loving God. It’s a fine balance, but he strikes it perfectly.