Christian or Hedonism?

Christian and Hedonism?

What are we to make of John Piper? Claiming to be impeccably Reformed and Bible believing, he is a passionate, articulate, highly intelligent Christian preacher with a worldwide ministry.  And yet many Bible believing Christians feel uneasy about Piper’s radical message of Christian Hedonism.  It just does not seem right that the two words, Christian and Hedonism are linked together by the Christian Faith. There seems to be something wrong somewhere, but what is it?

Since 1986, when his now famous book. Desiring God, first burst upon the scene, John Piper has preached and taught his new doctrine of Christian Hedonism across the world, winning over many, especially many young people, to his radical new view of the Christian Faith.

Indeed, the focus of Piper’s first Passion Conference address in 1997 was Christian Hedonism. Preaching to a large audience of young people, he declared: ‘So my call to you now, in the name of God Almighty, is that you might make it your eternal vocation to pursue your pleasure with all the might that God mightily inspires within you.’[1] Over the years Piper has sought to persuade hundreds of thousands of young people to follow the way of Christian Hedonism.

The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure. One of the Greek words in the Bible for pleasure is, hedone; it is the word from which we get our English word hedonism. Its use in the Greek New Testament is uniformly negative, denoting gratification of natural or sinful desires.[2] So the word hedonism, which describes the philosophy of self-centred pleasure-seeking, is a provocative and inappropriate word to describe the Christian life. The Bible warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking does not lead to happiness and fulfilment. There is a profound difference between the genuine joy of the true believer, and the contrived joy offered by Christian Hedonism.

The embedded video, The Folly of John Piper’s Christian Hedonism, seeks to explain what is actually wrong with Christian Hedonism.  We see Christian Hedonism to be a subtle system of false teaching that wrecks the authentic Christian life and shamefully distorts the Word of God. It has no place in the Christian Church.

 

[1] Piper Passion 1997, www.desiringgod.org/messages/passion-for-the-supremacy-of-god-part-2

[2] W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary, Thomas Nelson, 1997, p861