Wes once said to me, “If you’ve read one John Piper book, you’ve read them all.” To which I replied, “If you’ve heard one Wes Faulk sermon, you’ve heard them all.” Now before you think I was criticizing him, I meant what I said — any and every exposition of the Word of God SHOULD sound similar to all other expositions of the Word of God. There is continuity and agreement in the text of Scripture, and all of Scripture is leading to a central and main focus.
So, Dr. Piper and Wes aren’t running out of material. They just know the material really well!
In his book, God is the Gospel, Dr. Piper leads right to the central and main focus of Scripture. Simply put, the Gospel is not about what God does, how God saves you, or how God is working His redemptive plan throughout creation. The Gospel is God Himself. If we find ourselves praising God for anything apart from who He is (not in light of what He does, but just Him, plain and simple), we’re worshipping idols. If we even praise Him solely on the basis of our salvation, neglecting to say, “Father, You are good even if You never give me redemption,” then we’re worshipping falsely. The good news is not that Jesus saves, not that God is at work, and not even that we are loved. The good news is simply that God IS. (Which brings to mind God’s exclamation towards Moses — “I AM.” Yes, indeed, You are!)
I don’t know about you, but this all hurts my head. Like most of Dr. Piper’s books, the text encouraged me to stretch my understanding beyond what it is (which is admittedly not much) and to think more critically about my own reason for worshipping. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to read this book while also going through the DVD study with a disipleship group in our church, so I feel all completely tuckered out now that we’re done. And, like Wes said, even though this is reminiscent of other Piper books (particularly “Desiring God” and “Don’t Waste Your Life”), I find that the tiny tweaks of focus — God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him — from book to book helped to reinforce the central message of the whole canon of Scripture again and again.
This is a read that is definitely worth the headaches you will get in reading it.